Justin Wuetcher

Why did you start CrossFit/kickboxing/yoga? And when?
I started yoga in 2012 on a whim. I didn't have any kind of physical practice at the time, and I wasn't (and am still not) a flex-y/bendy person, but I wanted to get in better shape and loathed going to a traditional gym. I gave it a try and was a once-a-weeker for the 6 months until I found a community that inspired and drove me to grow in my practice. Though it has changed significantly over the last 6 years, a yoga practice has remained a consistent part of my life because it taught me to respect my current limitations and understanding my body's needs, while also teaching me to how to push past those limitations and grow.
I started Crossfit in 2017 fully expecting to quit after the trial ended at my box. My distaste for running and lack of experience with lifting made me think that Crossfit wasn't something I could do, nor was I sure it was something I would want to do. Nevertheless I wanted a practice that would supplement and balance the workout yoga provided me, and would help me develop the muscle tone I was wanting. Much to my own shock, I came to enjoy the constant challenge of new movements that show up in a Crossfit class, and have even (begrudgingly) accepted that running isn't the worst thing ever.

Favorite WOD? And Why?
My favorite WODs are any that involve pull-ups or handstand push-ups. When I first started Crossfit I couldn't do a single pull-up and struggled even with scaling options, while I still find the movement challenging, every time I complete a workout that includes them I realize how far I've come and feel proud of my journey. Similarly, I remember seeing a cartoon when I was little where a character did handstand push-ups. At the time, I didn't realize that was something people could really do, let alone something I could really do. Now I feel like I'm Superman even if I can only manage one.

Favorite movement to teach?
My favorite movement to teach is Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand) because it teaches us so much about our relationships with our bodies and minds. While I most often teach variations that allow handstand to be accessible to anybody and any body, in any iteration you have to be willing to trust yourself, face your fear (of falling on your face), and maintain focus to find success. When students are able to find this pose, even for an instant, you can see their pride and confidence in themselves grow.

Favorite client/athlete memory?
I had a senior student who struggled with back problems which were impacting his daily life. He was hesitant to consider surgery but didn't know how else to ease the pain. We structured our sessions around posture and how to activate different muscle groups during yogic movements that mirrored daily tasks (i.e. how do you bend over when you load the dishwasher or pick up groceries) and even practiced engaging muscles in activities like walking up stairs. After several weeks he became more confident in his movement and found a lightness he hadn't felt in years. As he deepened his practice, he (and his doctor) found he had more strength and stability, and his back pain was easing.

Life/fitness mantra?
My fitness mantra is "Just show up, even if that's all you think you can do. Everything else will follow".

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