How CrossFit Changed my Life: Interview with Luiz Oliveira – VitalHouse

How CrossFit Changed my Life: Interview with Luiz Oliveira

LUIZ OLIVEIRA SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE STARTING CROSSFIT A YEAR AGO AND HOW HE'S PLANNING ON TAKING THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL MOVING FORWARD. 

Hey guys, how's it going? I'm here with Luiz. He's bringing me into the CrossFit community right now. It's been really awesome to learn more about yourself as well as what you're doing in CrossFit. So, I'd love to chat more about your life. 

Hi Chris, hi everyone. My name is Luiz. The pleasure is all mine. I started CrossFit on March 15th, 2017. It's now my one-year anniversary since I started and I've been doing it ever since. I used to hate the idea of CrossFit actually. My cousin said he started and I got quite excited, I was kind of bored from the normal gym. I was in my normal gym for five years. I was missing classes, missing days. I needed to find something that motivates me more. So, I said OK, let's give CrossFit a try, why not?

"I don't know my limit, so that's why I want to do it. It’s almost like you don't have limits because you get a little stronger tomorrow."

So your cousin told you about CrossFit and you just decided to try?

Yeah, he says that he's climbing ropes, I say OK. Something new. I was searching for calisthenics and stuff, like body, different movements and started getting interested in that. I started CrossFit and fell in love. He recommended me to watch the Froning documentary on Netflix. It kind of matched up why he was doing CrossFit and even why I want to do it which is for recognition, mostly for myself. There's something that I was not used to doing and now I'm able to do it and I’m still getting better. So, it's basically mainly because of recognition, that's my drive.

By recognition, do you mean for yourself or from other people? 

First, mainly for myself and for my parents to see me doing something that is not usual to see. It's not for everyone. I mean everyone can do it if they try, but not everyone can keep going because it's painful. It's a lot of pain for you. You hurt yourself, you have some days that you need to take off because you're hurting, and I'm not used to that. I'm used to working out every day if I can. It's almost like mental training. So, right now, I'm focused on mentally working out. It was like OK, I can do one more. My body can't do it, but my mind can. I don't know my limit, so that's why I want to do it. It’s almost like you don't have limits because you get a little stronger tomorrow, then the next day another half a pound stronger. For me, it doesn't matter if it's one pound or 10 pounds or a hundred pounds. You still get stronger, every day.

It's always seeing that progression, that's why you love doing CrossFit?

Yes, always seeing some progression. I'm not a patient guy so I need to find something that is constantly improving, constantly doing. It depends on me. Of course, I need help from coaches on technique or some friend screaming beside me to keep moving. But in the end, it's is all about you. It depends on you. You have to go, you have to do it, you need to think. You're feeling pain, it's painful as hell, but you didn't have to do it. There's not another way to finish it. The only way is to do it.

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You started in the normal gym setting, right? How long were you doing that for?

I started in 2012, pretty much six years ago. I was in university in Brazil and I started doing it to get in better shape. I started to like it, and I had a friend that introduced me. He went to compete in bodybuilding competitions. I made a promise for him that I would compete for one year, but that's it. It's too much sacrifice, living as a bodybuilder. I just competed once but didn't win anything at all. I just came in last or before last.

You just said that you didn't see any progress for a year while doing bodybuilding exercises before you started CrossFit and you've been doing CrossFit for a year now, so I'm hoping you've seen changes since starting CrossFit?

Oh yeah. Definitely.

What have you seen then?  

My body has gotten leaner and I’ve gotten stronger as well. I was bigger when I was in bodybuilding, but I always had this in my mind. Being a bigger guy doesn't mean they're strong. So, I started doing better here, kind of getting more focused because I found the drive for me. I decided that's what I want to do with my life. It motivates me to wake up early, eat clean, work out every day, work out more. The professional athletes are working out three or four times a day. I need to find a way to do it. I asked the director, he's always saying if you go to the CrossFit gym, eat clean, do one workout, you're fine, but if you want to be an athlete, you need to do more than that. That's what I'm looking for. I'm going to wake up at 4:30am pretty much every day so I can work out two or three times a day. I have a part time job and I'm a full-time student. I come here in my free time, so I need to find more time to eat clean, cook my meals and do more workouts.

"Yeah, just do it. There's no other way, you just have to do it."

You mentioned eating clean, what's your diet been consisting of so far?

Mostly, I've started eating a variety of vegetables. I didn't used to like them, but I had to eat them, since I’ve started to like them. Meat, chicken, fish. Carbs: mostly sweet potatoes, rice, sometimes pasta. I'm always changing during the week. If I eat meat in the afternoon as a lunch, I'm not going to eat the same meat for dinner. I'm going to switch to chicken or fish. I make these switches. I don't have any doctors helping me, it's just from my knowledge from bodybuilding and all the years in the gym. I’ve had nutrition help from my friends as well. I use MyFitnessPal, the app, so I'm eating 5,000 to 7,000 calories a day. It just depends on the day, if I work out more. It depends on the type of workout as well.

How has the Open been for you so far?

I’m surprised because this is my first Open and I wasn't expecting that I'd be in the middle of the pack. People say like top 50% at most is impressive. Right now, checking the worldwide app, I'm in the top 10% which for me is amazing. One year of training, position 22,273 out of almost 230,000 people in the world. 931th position in the regionals, third at the gym. It stimulates me, gives me more passion to do it. As soon as the Open finishes, I'm going to focus on the Regionals 2019 or 2020. That will be my next goal for CrossFit. I have some weight goals for this year like back squat will be 400 pounds, a 500-pound deadlift. Let's see how it goes. I'm pretty happy with my performance. That's what happens with CrossFit and it's my drive as well. You think you can't do it, but actually, you can. So, you have to do. As they say, you don't know that you can do something until you have to do that thing. It's pretty much the same thing. You always have to get stronger every day, but you need to enjoy yourself.

"It helps me a lot with snacks. At work, it's easy to just fill a bottle up with water, shake a little bit and it's done. It's pretty fast."

We set you up with a week's worth of Athlete Shakes. You liked the vanilla one better, right?

Yeah.

How was that? How did that fit into your schedule?

It was awesome. It helps me a lot with snacks. I usually have them between breakfast and lunch or after lunch, before dinner. Usually, I have two snacks between lunch and dinner, but if I take the shake, I usually just have that. It's enough for me. At work, it's easy to just fill a bottle up with water, shake a little bit and it's done. It's pretty fast. Normally, I'd fill up the night before and I leave them in the fridge so it gets cold. I like it when it's cold, and it's pretty fast.

So, it helped?

It helps a lot. Surprisingly, vanilla's my favorite flavor. The chocolate one is awesome, I like it, but I'm surprised that I like the vanilla more than the chocolate. I saw Nini's interview, she said the same thing. It's pretty fun, it's pretty surprising, but both of them are good. It's helping a lot.

To everyone who wants to be more like yourself, what recommendations can you make to start CrossFit?

I would say to just start it. If you think too much about should I, shouldn't I, just give it a shot. Like I said, I used to hate CrossFit and then I gave it a shot and now I love it. I want to be an athlete, that's what I want to do. It's hard, it's going to hurt, it's going to be painful, but as people said, you learn from that. It's from your stress, from your hard moments that you learn everything, that you get stronger. The same applies for CrossFit. I learned that and I'm still learning. My hands are still open, I have a lot of calluses, my wrist is a little bit painful. Just learn how your body works and you actually learn that you can do things that you're not used to doing. It gives you motivation to wake up early and do all the things you need to do. You work better, you see the world differently, you see people differently. I see people outside the gym here and think why they're struggling, with what and why? When you see something that's just a small thing that you thought was annoying and that you can't do it and it's too hard, actually, it's not hard. Just focus, learn the technique, learn what basics you need to learn and just do it. The weight comes with time but if you want to improve something technical, CrossFit is a good thing to do.

So, just do it?

Yeah, just do it. There's no other way, you just have to do it.