Marcus Hayward is a former Army Sergeant, physical-therapy assistant, and adaptive athlete who got his start in CrossFit while on deployment in 2007. He's competed at other CrossFit competitions like Wodapalooza and The Working Wounded Games, but this year he'll compete in the CrossFit Open for the first time. JUNK got the chance to ask him a few questions about his personal fitness journey and share the excitement on his road to the Open.
How did you get into CrossFit?
I got into CrossFit while on my 2nd deployment in Northern Iraq. I was working with a fellow Military Working Dog handler from the Marines, and he mentioned they were doing "CrossFit" I had no idea what it was. Our first WOD was 10,9,8... 1 burpees/ 1,2,3... 10 pull-ups. I hated it but was hooked.
What do you love about CrossFit?
I love the challenge and variety that CrossFit brings along with the community. I was a traditional lifter for years before fully crossing over to CrossFit. Going to LA Fitness had become boring, along with the lack of reliable workout partners. CrossFit was the exact opposite.
What challenges have you faced in CrossFit?
For the longest, Olympic lifts, in general, were a challenge. Trying to properly pull "heavy" weight off the ground while having a decrease available range of motion on my left side was both deterring and frustrating at first.
What motivates you to keep training and competing?
The feeling I get after finishing a WOD or training session is what brings me back each day. I love the feeling of both suffering but feeling like I achieved or got better that day. Being in the military, a lot of time was spent in short bursts of action, not saying combat and CrossFit are the same, but that feeling of "BEING ALIVE" is kind of rekindled when I'm training or competing.
What has CrossFit taught you?
Not sure exactly what CrossFit has "taught" me as much as what it has given me. It's given me an outlet, a way of expression, along with maintaining a "high level" of fitness. I guess you can say it has taught or reinforced the drive and warrior ethos instilled from my time in the Army, Never Quit, Never Give Up.
What is your message to other athletes?
Enjoy life, enjoy the sport. Strive to not only make yourself better but make those around you better. The great thing about CrossFit is the community. Embrace that community, feed it and feed off of it also.