December Featured Athlete: Richard Spillman
Several of my children had gotten into it and eventually coaxed me into giving it a try.
2. What is your favorite Crossfit exercise or WOD?
Running and thrusters. Maybe I don’t like them so much as I really like that I can do them. I am 60 years old and before going to Crossfit I had pretty much accepted certain things as inevitable. Running, squats and weight training were some activities that I was beginning to accept that I would never do again. Every time I do those exercises I think of that and I feel like I have a whole new lease on an active life.
3. How long have you been Crossfitting for?
About 3 years. When I started Brad quickly gained my confidence. I could feel that he was there to help me. I never felt pressured to do more. In fact, he would often suggest that I do fewer reps or use less weights. I began dreaming of the day when I would do the WOD without modification. It took about 6 months before I finally accomplished that goal. Sometimes I can start thinking that I am not really any stronger but then I remember that I do the standard WOD now almost every day. I finish dead last 99% of the time but that doesn’t matter to me at all. That’s not why I’m there.
4. What do you do for a living?
I started a software company in the late 70s called Spillman Technologies. Actually, it started as my senior project at USU. We moved it to SLC in 2005. We build, sell and support software to law enforcement agencies. We have over 1,200 agencies across the US and we employ about 250 people. I have been partially retired for the last 5 years.
5. What are your hobbies?
My hobby has always been building my business. That was what I really loved and consumed most of my time. It continues to be my hobby now but I also love spending time with my 7 children and 17 grandchildren. I love to travel with my wife and family. My favorite place to go in the world is Disneyland. Crossfit has even made Disneyland a LOT more enjoyable.
6. What are your goals?
My goals, with regard to fitness, are I want to live to be 80 years old and I want to be able to keep up with my grandkids. My father died of a heart attack when he was 55. Three years ago I was overweight and I was starting to accept that I couldn’t do things anymore. I just thought I was getting old and couldn’t do anything about it. A single flight of stairs became a big obstacle that I would avoid if at all possible. Finally I had enough and knew I needed to make some big changes. I started going to Crossfit and I went on a diet. A year later I had lost 50 pounds (they’re still lost) and I could run around Disneyland all day with my grandkids. That felt so good! As I said, I had accepted the fact that I would never run again. I used to run some. I had a tradition with my children to run the Main Street Mile at the beginning of the Hyrum City parade on the 4th of July. I haven’t done it for many years. This year I ran it with several of my grandkids. It was tough but I never felt so good!
I have a bucket list that I have been working on for a long time. I have raced the Baja 1000, I have stood on the beach of Normandy, I have seen a tornado, I have passed through the Panama Canal, I have been to all 50 states, I have been north of the Arctic Circle. Some things still on my list: see the Great Wall of China, see a solar eclipse, learn to speak Spanish and go into outer space.
7. Why do you Crossfit?
Because there are so many ways that your life is improved when you are fit. There are so many more things that you can do and enjoy. In fact, I don’t think I lost any weight from the exercising at Crossfit. I didn’t Crossfit to lose weight; I lost weight so I could Crossfit better. I hate getting up in the morning and going to Crossfit but that only lasts until I get to the box. From then until the next morning I enjoy a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. We’re talking about quality of life here. It doesn’t just happen. I love that I just have to show up. I don’t have to plan the WOD and it is NEVER boring.
8. Any advice for future CrossFitters?
Build up your courage and walk in the door. That’s the hardest part. Talk to Brad. You will quickly sense that he’s there to help you. Look around and you will realize that the people there are not all hard core muscle-bound specimens. There are also just regular people who are trying to improve their quality of life – just like you. Commit yourself to at least a month. You will likely feel some soreness or aches and pains – be careful but work through them. Come with a friend. Always remember that no matter how hard it is the return is the best investment you will ever make.