Coach Profile – Najeeb Reyes

1604639_279020132252620_1632480465_nWritten by Najeeb Reyes

I constantly have ideas for a blog, but over the weekend I thought “I know all of our clients, but do they all know me?” So in this blog I will simply introduce myself in hopes to give you better insight as to who is writting some of these blogs, who comes up with the so-called insane WODs we have at times, and who is coaching some of the classes you might be in.

Where do I begin??? I guess at my name – Najeeb Reyes. It is an Arabic first name (Father), and a Latin last name (Mother). I grew up in South America and got to Austin, Texas at about age 11. I always loved sports and from an early age was involved in competitive level swimming and team sports such as Soccer and Baseball.

In Texas I didn’t live with my Parents, so my ‘sub’ parents had me always be involved in sports. My uncle had a rule – “You play every sport offered at school, and after school you play whatever league sport is in season.” My teenage years were spent under the Texan sun playing football in the Fall, Baseball, Basketball and Track during the Spring, and Soccer during the entire summers.

Somewhere along the way I began to gain interest in extreme sports and at around 12 years old, any free time I had was spent skating. My attention later turned to martial arts, primarily Capoeira.

I began Capoeira at 13 years of age, and over the years I shed off all interest for other sports and as I wrapped up high school, I was immersed in the world of this martial art. We trained brutally – from 600pm through 1000pm we trained, with a heavy focus on gymnastics. Being a 6’1″ oversized kid during high school didn’t make my nights of training easy by any means. My heart fell in love with body control – movements such as handstands, walks, pushups, and just about anything that had to do with being on your hands drew me in like no other. I did not care about my height or weight not being “ideal,” I was atimate about learning to balance both on my feet, and on my hands. Within a few years I became one of the standouts of the group when it came to floor exercises and handstand work. By the age of 18 I had never done a single flip, but had spent hundreds of hours upside down on my hands.

I trained Capoeira heavily, at least 5 days per week until I was about 24 years old, on my third year of Engineering School. During that 10 plus years of training I learned to be methodical, repetitive in effort, and most of all, to overcome the mental factor of athletic and physical activities. I had, by then, taught dozens if not 100 plus other people these gymnastic-intensive drills, and despite never having my own academy, I felt happy to have shared so much with just about anyone who asked me “how do you do THAT!?”

My schooling was in Engineering, which funny to say, although has nothing to do with any physical training of any sort, was manageable because of my regimented and methodical approach. During this time I learned about Mechanics, and before I was out of school I began to work on most importantly a field of body mechanics named Orthopedics. I designed and still to this day design orthopedic and spine devices for surgical procedures – in English this means I design hip replacements and spine disk replacements, along with the instruments used by surgeons.

Years ago, I have to say at least 6 or so, years ago, I heard of a friend/fellow Capoeira Instructor getting into something called “CrossFit.” At that time I was of the firm belief that no one needs to be bulky and strong to perform any gymnastic type exercises, which to me where and are the highest level of human physical performance and expression there can be. This point of view immediately put me on the other side of the fence, making me heavily opposed to the idea of doing CrossFit.

Around 4 years ago I decided to go back to training Capoeira, so I called my friend, and he said “Sure, come by and we can train, and then you can hit a WOD. I have the CrossFit gym right next door to the studio.” Reluctant I tried Crossfit, and my first WOD was no other than FILTHY FIFTY. This WOD just murdered me, as it has hundreds of thousands of other athletes around the world. I was instantly hooked and signed up for a 1 year membership at this Box – CrossFit Miami. By the end of that year I was in the best shape I had been since before I began college, and had a totally different point of view about CrossFit. However, life dealt me a series of situations which took me away from much physical activity and I was gone again – No structured training for a bit.

In January of 2012 I was drawn to Coral Gables CF, and began training again. Within two months I was running 5 and 10Ks, and was involved in the winning team of the Mercedes Benz South Florida Team 5K. I trained at Coral Gables for a few months and by May I decided to open up my own Box. At the time I worked for a large Engineering firm and was doing very well for myself, but I saw myself so different, so out of touch with people, with inspiration, with simple raw happiness. I was a happy professional, but not the same kid that greeted anyone who came in the door so happily while walking on his hands. The idea of opening up a Box seemed like a big step for me personally, because it was a huge responsibility to take my short gymnastics and Crossfit experience and change it into a service which I could offer to others, not for money, but for their own well-being.

The transition was a long one for me – I spent every second of 2012 working my hair off to save and to put together what would become Riptide. I drove all the day to Coral Gables every morning, tinkering of the ideas for the Box, and drove every day at 500 excited and eager to get to the Box and keep remodeling. 90% of the remodeling wasn’t done by a contractor of any sort, it was done by myself and Corey, sometimes going until 3 or 4 AM.

The year 2013 was the year I transitioned out of my career as a full-time Engineer and into a part-time contractor so that I could devote more time to the Box. By the end of the year, just two months ago, I had come full circled and decided that although the money and stability was better at a desk calling myself an engineer, what I wanted to do was lend a good service to people, the service of health. This last Christmas vacation left me decided more than ever that what I want to do with my life is help build communities. These communities don’t have to be anything – not CrossFit, not Yoga, not Capoeira, not Karate, not Football…all I desire is to make communities of individuals who are willing to face their own doubts and overcome them to become healthy individuals both emotionally and physically. I want to be surrounded and to surround people with others of their kind that are accountable and responsible individuals.
CrossFit is proving to be a great vehicle for this venture. I believe in its’ system, its’ flexibility and the accountability that it brings to our life. I don’t want to ramble a long time about how CrossFit is great, but I will say it is amazing to reach your goals as far as fitness is concerned.

So now 2014 is the year I am committing myself to becoming a full-time coach. For roughly 9 months I have been learning, studying and taking a crack at doing the programming for our Box, which in past blogs we discussed briefly about what it takes and what it means to do programming. This focused effort along with the years of gymnastics practice and experience brings me a great challenge which I am happy to face – to train individuals to whatever level they want. Before I only trained athletes in their teens and twenties, but now I am faced with a population of all ages and experience levels at the Box. I don’t look to have quit my career as an Engineer to come to the Box and just yell at athletes and call that Coaching, no! I look to get to know every one of my athletes, as I already have been with some which I am coaching, and get to push them up to and past their own limit to show them what they are capable of.

I aspire to make this year the best for myself by giving all I have to all of you through whatever method I can at the Box – Whether it be train the lifts, learning the gymnastics, or pacing you for a faster mile run, or perhaps rehabbing an ailing shoulder or sore knee. My happiness is truly not in money, but in passing on the wealth of knowledge and health. Many of our athletes whom I have befriended ask me during weekends – “What are you up to?” And most often than not I have said – “programming WODs.” The truth is I spend over 20 hours a week just reading and studying athletics, lifting, mechanics, mobility, human performance, athletic development, psychology of athletes, etc. and I do it because if there is something I don’t know, how can I share that non-existent knowledge? Hopefully throughout 2014 I may help to reach some of your goals!

Regarding my selfish goals, I can share a few so that we may share the happiness when I reach these and surpass them. These are all very CrossFitty goals, so bare with me – at this time I weigh 195lbs, Clean and Jerk 225lbs, snatch 125lbs, Back squat 265lbs x4, front squat somewhere around 245lbs, no idea deadlift, best Fran time was 5:35rx back in October, and Filthy Fifty was somewhere around 21:00 last September. My goals numbers-wise are 215lb body weight, C&J 305lbs, Snatch 205lbs, Back Squat 350 plus, Front Squat whatever I need for my C&J to go up, and have a sub 3 Fran and a Sub 18min Filthy Fifty. But beyond the numbers I would love to become a Team Specialist, meaning, I would love to assemble teams to compete. I don’t look forward to the CrossFit Games, nor do I even want to compete as an individual. Instead this year’s goal of mine is to represent Riptide at the Summer Crush Games in a team and do well.

So those who are with me, leave a comment in the Facebook and let’s continue this journey together!

Although the blog is not intended for personal purposes, instead to share information to all our clients, I will be devoting one day per week to blogging about my progress on the above goals. I honestly don’t wish to have much attention, but I think it is a great tool for other’s who need the motivation of being able to track my progress and can say “I can do it like or even better than this guy!” As long as at least 1 person becomes motivated through this blog effort, the battle has been won on my end and I will have a happy 2014!

Coach N

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