CrossFit Confessions: “I Became a Model Thanks to CrossFit”

CrossFit, Fitness Model

Hedge fund guys do CrossFit. So do cops. And construction workers, engineers, and professors. (Even rock stars, too!) Here are their stories.

Chris Ryan, 34, is a New York City-based fitness model

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A couple of friends introduced me to a guy who owned a box in Austin, TX. He’s like, “Oh you ran track in college? You should come by.” This was the end of 2009. I’d done most of the CrossFit movements, except for the really gymnastic and Olympic lifting ones. The biggest change I found was that, as an athlete, it really helped me concentrate on my mobility. I had a lot of tight leg muscles from sprinting, and really tight shoulders. I couldn’t do a front squat on a front rack, I had no wrist flexibility. I couldn’t even hold a broomstick over my head to do an overhead squat.        

What CrossFit really helped me do was get back to basics and focus on the biomechanics of movement. I’m a model now, and when I’m on a photo shoot, you can tell the traditional bodybuilders can’t hold their arms straight over their heads. The camera doesn’t lie. If you aren’t mobile, you won’t look mobile. There’s a certain ease and fluidity of motion that you need.

CrossFit has really paid off in shoots and on sets: On one shoot, this guy turns to me and goes, “Man, you’ve got a beautiful squat.” Being more mobile in front of the camera and looking less bulky are great things. But being able to do handstand walks for the camera is pretty fun, too. —As told to David Wescott

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