Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

John Quinn

John Quinn


I have another athlete of Thor Fitness to introduce to you … John Quinn.  Many of you know John because he attends some morning classes, some night classes and on the weekends as well.  Not only is he an awesome athlete, but he’s an awesome person as well.  Here’s a little insight into who John is.



Where do you live?
I live in Bay Shore.  After years in the city and Boston, I moved back two years ago mostly to help take care of my Mom, who reached that bend in the road.  But I’m starting to think the universe probably had bigger plans in mind, and that I was due for a big midlife change anyway.

What brought you to Thor Fitness?
When people ask me this I always say, the muscle up and the rope-climb.
The muscle up, because, well, I didn’t even know what it was at first but who wouldn’t want to do something called a muscle up?  And once I knew, it seemed to define the CF goal of strong, agile movement.  And the rope climb – well, it gave me hope that CrossFit would be a bit like going back to high school gym class (translation: being YOUNGER!) and therefore a very good thing.
Of course it wasn’t literally just these two exercises but the whole menu of skills and Olympic lifts that I’d heard about—all of which were new to me—and the fact that they change daily.  It’s the brilliant magic of the programming (and with Santa Claus and the tooth fairy gone please, no one break the spell by telling me how Patty does it).
In short, I guess I came to CrossFit to escape boredom and rekindle my passion for fitness.  I live in my head a lot (I’m a fairly bookish, overanalytical type) and so I’ve always needed exercise to balance all that out.  But by midlife exercise had become like housework—a necessary but unbearably boring chore.
As for Thor Fitness, I picked it after a full week of following the websites of several local boxes and went with my gut – I just liked Patty’s and the whole Thor Fitness vibe, and my gut didn’t steer me wrong.  Like someone else recently posted, I pass two other CrossFit boxes each day on my way to Thor Fitness but never look back.

What were your goals when you first started CF?  And have you achieved them?
Because I was so instantly hooked by the variety and intensity of the wods and by the energy and camaraderie of training as a group, my goals (besides getting my first muscle up) were all about restraint, which may sound paradoxical for CrossFit.  I wanted to honor the “scaling” concept and not be intimidated by the folks who lift a ton more weight than I could ever attempt or by the folks who are half my age.  I was willing to go to the verge of throwing up (I haven’t yet) but to be prudent enough to avoid avoidable injury.  And I promised myself to take enough rest days.
A year and a half in, I would say yes, I’ve basically kept to these principles.  I’m glad I was patient enough at the beginning to let myself adapt to all the new movements and the intense pace of the wods before worrying about adding weight.  (PS: As many already know, I did suffer a fairly significant injury this summer, a sad story I’m glad is behind me, but it did not occur at CrossFit.  It was a powerful reminder, though, that no matter your fitness level, injury is lost time and a huge step backward.  So WOD safely!)
My other goal, of course, was to get stronger in the areas where I was weakest.  I had a decent cardio/metcon background from years of running and swimming but not so much in the lifting department. After a year of CrossFit, though, I swam in a meet and in a sprinting event I beat a time from nine years ago.  I’m convinced it was the explosiveness training of the Olympic lifts that made the difference.  Sometimes I think it’s harder to notice the difference if you do just CrossFit competitions because everyone else is doing CrossFit training; but if you go back to your other sport, CrossFit can turn out to be your secret weapon.
PPS: still working on the ring muscle up, though I did white-knuckle my way through a pretty ugly one on the bar.

What do you do when you’re not at the gym?
When I first joined I was commuting to the city for work but this spring I started a sabbatical from my government job (with the federal courts) to work on a book I’ve long wanted to write and to better handle the demands of caregiving.  I know, I know, they say no one buys books anymore but I’m writing one anyway.  It’s supposed to be bad luck to say too much about it while it’s in progress but if I get a contract you’ll hear tons.  I might even be putting my law degree up for sale on e-bay.
Exercise-wise, I still swim and occasionally do hot yoga – it’s a bit crazy but the heat makes the stretching much safer.
What CF exercise or lifts are your favorite and least favorite?
I love swinging from the bar, so I’m happy when I see pullups, K2E or T2B posted.  I also love kettlebell swings – I think it’s the momentum.  It’s also the only “weighted” movement where I can handle the usual Rx weight.  I have a love-hate thing going with the full lifts and overhead squat.  I respect the flexibility they require while lamenting what they show me about my limits. My least favorite exercise, though, is and always has been wall balls.  They just never seem to get any less grueling.

Any other tid bit of info you’d like to share?
I used to be a teacher and still have the bug and toy with the idea of someday seeking CF certification—if I ever master the snatch.  I’ve also got an international side (I have an EU as well as an American passport) and am interested in the growth of CrossFit globally and in developing nations.  People spend so much on home improvement but I always want to say, your body is where you live, start there.  So many health problems are so preventable. And last, a big thank you to Patty and the welcoming Thor Fitness family.  Showing up here has really helped me get through a tough transitional life chapter and landed me on my feet.


Take 15 min to work on full clean or hit a 1 rm

CrossFit WOD:

“Feelin Sassy”

4 rds:

5 hspu

15 burpees

20 alt box step ups  w 95#/65#/ 20″ RX+ 115#/85# /24″


4 rds:

5 hspu or dumbell press 25#/15#

10 modified burpees

20 alt box step ups 65#/35#/14″

10 Responses

  1. Megan Cos

    John Quinn! I love what you wrote! I especially love what you said about home improvement, “your body is where you live, start there.” So true! I will remember that. Thanks for encouraging me to do pull-ups without the band tonight (even though my kip needs A LOT of work lol). It’s great training with you!


    I really enjoyed the Bio as well!!!.. good thing for them.. because i definitely thought this past year his name was Quinn. Welp, thanks for clearing that up 🙂 hahaha

  3. Santiago

    Quinn you’re honestly an inspiration, I hope to have that drive for fitness when I am your age. As for as the muscle up, we’ll get you up there soo enough!

  4. Ann

    John, the way your wrote your story was so amazing and your words and story are such an inspiration. Like Megan said, when you wrote “your body is where you live,start there” stuck out to me also. Something everyone of every age should live by, something that will always stay in my mind! Keep working on the Book!

  5. Laura Z

    Love the athlete profile. Thor Fitness is a great place for an awesome workout, but also a place where we can meet such amazing, inspirational people like Quinn. Quinn, you are an awesome person (and athlete!) and I feel lucky to have met you!

  6. Nicole Bove

    Great bio Quinn!! You are definitely inspiring!!! I miss our warmup runs now that it gets dark out early—keep at those muscle ups & wall balls till they too become your favorites! We can all admit that the movements/skills we are weakest at will someday become one’s strongest with good practice & lots of patience!! Thanks for sharing the bios Patty! It’s a great way to know everyone just a bit more!