We seriously love our sponsored athletes. They are so much more than just athletes too – they are family. Just like in any family, we support our athletes in whatever way they need to help them live their best life and succeed. And we are now happy to introduce a new member to that family: Christian Harris. Not only is Christian (Chris) a highly successful CrossFit athlete, but he is also the owner of Freedom Athletic Academy in Holbrook, NY. We had the opportunity to sit down with Chris to chat about how he got started in CrossFit, his upcoming competitions, teaching at Freedom Athletic Academy, and why Cornucopia fits perfectly to help him succeed.
How It All Started
Chris played sports his whole life growing up, including football, baseball and basketball. But it wasn’t until around high school when he started to really take a liking to working out. So when he went off to L.I.U. CW Post for college football, he knew he wanted to continue to stay focused on strength training and being active in a gym:
I had a part time job at Parisi Speed School doing speed and agility work. [I helped athletes] with their running techniques, helping them to get stronger and faster. So for high school kids and college kids that were looking to go to a big school or go to the pros, we would help them get more fit and be ready to go
At the time, one of Chris’s coworkers had started doing CrossFit, and he wanted Chris to join in. But he kind of brushed it off at first. After saying no for about a year, Chris said “alright let me finally give it a shot” – and that was it. He fell in love with CrossFit right away, and it has been his main method of working out ever since.
Six years later, Chris is still just as in love with CrossFit as the day he first tried it. However, he wanted to take it one step further from just working out. “After doing [CrossFit] for about 3 or 4 months, I took my level 1 course [to become certified] and started working at a gym.” About two years in to that job, Chris had an injury that gave him a lot of downtime. Since he couldn’t workout, he decided to work on a not-so-little business venture. “I wanted to open a gym [of my own] – so I did just that.” That’s how Freedom Athletic Academy started.
Freedom Athletic Academy
Celebrating their third year this month, Chris has truly enjoyed the ride he’s been on since opening Freedom Athletic Academy. Not only is he the owner, but he is also a dedicated coach – available almost all day, every day to teach his athletes. One of our favorite parts of his CrossFit classes is the amazing range of athletes that come in. “My mom does it, I do it, we have competitive athletes that come, and we also have kids that come in. So [it’s really] all ages, all skill levels.”
Between coaching others and training himself, Chris has seen major benefits in CrossFit in the last six years. “Physically I’ve never felt or looked the way that I do than since starting CrossFit. I am more lean and overall, just more fit.” But the benefits of CrossFit are so much more than just the physical. Chris explains that “mentally, for me, it helps me destress…on days that I don’t work out, I’m definitely more tense.” So next time you’re feeling stressed, try a CrossFit class – it may help!
In addition to coaching, Chris devotes his time to prepare for his next competitions. He has a few important ones coming up too. Within the next year, he’s most excited about Wadapalooza, which is in January. Plus, with the competition being in Miami, “it’s pretty awesome to be able to go to Miami in January” he laughs. “[I’m also excited] to do the CrossFit Open again in February. After the Open, if you do well enough, then you move on to Regionals. And then, if you do well enough there, you go to the CrossFit Games.”
These competitions are no joke, either. In the CrossFit Open alone, there are between 200 to 500,000 people who compete. “Everyone can come to compete – anybody can do it and sign up for it.” Chris also explains that there’s different divisions in which you compete - there are divisions for both age and levels. All of these are important as Chris continues to work towards these few next competitions.
Chris told us about why Cornucopia fit in perfectly with both his lifestyle and his goals. Since starting CrossFit, he’s been coming to us – starting with our deli. “I liked the roasted roots and the waldorf chicken salad – I got really hooked on them [right away].” So he continued to enjoy our deli items for a while, but one day he decided to start browsing the other aisles in the store. A couple of supplements caught his eye and he even found one of his soon-to-be favorite products – kombucha! After seeing all that we have to offer, he knew it was just a great match. “The quality of all of the products Cornucopia brings in and the freshness of the food is just amazing”. By providing our customers with wholesome, real ingredients, we strive to cater to all types of lifestyles, from stay-at-home moms to CrossFit gurus like Chris.
Advice to New CrossFit Athletes
Seeing as Chris has been using CrossFit as his main method of working out for over six years, we wanted to know if he had any words of advice for people starting out:
Give it a shot. You just have to go for it. And if you go to the right gym, the trainers and owners there will understand that you’re a beginner and they will take that into consideration…a proper screening and evaluation when you come in can give people a little more confidence and understanding with approaching it
If you are worried you’ll be jumping into the fire at your first CrossFit class, Chris and Freedom Athletic Academy are here to ease that worry. It’s all about having the right people in your corner to make you feel comfortable and confident in trying something new.
Favorite CrossFit Move
As many may know, CrossFit is full of various moves using your own body, weights and/or barbells. So, of course, we wanted to know what Chris’s favorite is. It’s a move called a snatch:
You take a barbell from the ground and it finishes over your head in one fluid motion. So it starts out a little bit like a deadlift, but the grip is much wider than a deadlift. You stand the bar up and as the bar reaches your hips, you kind of jump and catch the bar and receive it over head – all in one fluid motion
We are so proud of all that Chris has accomplished since getting into CrossFit six years ago and successfully running Freedom Athletic Academy for three years. With two major injuries in the books, we are beyond happy to see him work to get back on track and prepare for his next competitions, and we are grateful to be a part of his journey through and through. We are pumped to see what the rest of the year and 2018 has in store for him and can’t wait to share his successes with you all too! Moreover, if you’re now ready to try CrossFit, just head over to Freedom at 1720 Church St. in Holbrook. You can also find Chris on Instagram & Facebook, as well as Freedom Athletic Academy (Instagram; Facebook) to get all of their most current updates and information!