Athlete Profile: Leo Polovets

Hometown: I grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia and San Jose, California. I currently live in Silver Spring.

Age: 30

Family: Younger brother, parents.

Started CrossFitting? On and off since September 2006.

Favorite WOD? The painful ones: Murph, Fight Gone Bad, Kelly, Filthy Fifty, etc.

Least Fav WOD? The painful ones: Murph, Fight Gone Bad, Kelly, Filthy Fifty, etc (but I like them more than I dislike them).

Sport and Fitness background? Running and Triathlons.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?

One of my friends had been doing CrossFit since 2003, and he kept telling me how great it was. CrossFit Oakland had just opened up next to my apartment, so I decided to give it a try. My first WOD was Cindy. The coach told me I’d probably get winded, and I scoffed. I mean, come on, I was a triathlete — I might get sore from the push-ups and pullups, but no way would I get winded. Sure enough, a few minutes later I was gasping for air. I quickly realized I was not as fit as I thought, and that CrossFit was a much better fitness plan than what I was doing. I was hooked.

What changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?  Body Comp? Strength? Speed? Endurance? Etc?

My favorite fitness change is faster lactic acid flushing — lactic acid builds up as fast as it used to, but its effects disappear much more quickly and I’m ready to go again soon after a WOD.

My favorite changes are not related to fitness though: better self-discipline, increased willingness to endure pain and do things that make me uncomfortable, the feeling that I can do anything with enough hard work, etc.

What’s your favorite CrossFit/CFDR experience or memory?  

I loved doing Murph on Memorial day with all of the army-affiliated folks at the gym. The Open WODs were great too — I really liked all of the support and encouragement in the gym.

Advice for a beginner?

1) If you can’t do a WOD as prescribed, don’t worry about it.

2) If you can do a WOD as prescribed, do it prescribed — even if it means you have the worst time in the class.

3) As tempting as it is, don’t cherry pick the workouts that you do. Don’t avoid a workout because you think it’s too hard, or go to a workout just because you want to show off.

4) Use other people and their results to motivate yourself, but remember that your only competition is you.

5) For 5 minutes before each class, pick something you suck at (double-unders, handstands, etc) and practice it for 5 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve.

Hobbies, interests, activities outside of CrossFit?

Travel, photography, scuba diving, fine dining, reading, programming, startups/entrepreneurship, and almost any outdoor activity.


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