February Athletes of the Month John Burns & Rob Richard-Snipes

How and when did you discover CrossFit?

John – I was introduced to the concept of linking CrossFit and peer-based recovery about 5 years ago by Sandi Coyle who’s part of our program with SOS (scoffed at it back then too).  I then noticed it more and more in a few national programs and have a friend who’s executive director for a recovery community organization in Portland, Oregon who started their own CrossFit gym called the Recovery Gym.  I kept seeing EverProven through daycare as my grandson attended with Able and they were besties and then started talking to Matt & Katie about starting a program with SOS back last winter (but I still stuck to the fact I was NOT going to do this because it wasn’t for me).  Spring we were ready to launch it and along came COVID so we delayed until October.  I had been on about a year long fitness plan for myself and in October reluctantly said I’d give it a shot and see if it would help my fitness and weight management program to the next level.  Here I am, I tasted the Kool-Aid and now I’m hooked.

Rob – In November, we started the CrossFit in Recovery program with SOS and I jumped at the opportunity to get back into a gym! As a college athlete, I often wondered what you do after and I think this just might be it.

How has CrossFit affected you since you started?

John – It has done as I hoped and improved my fitness but more importantly has been the community at Everproven and the impact it has with SOS and the 15 or so people from SOS who have joined.  I’ve seen both staff and members who have become so committed to it and the improvements they are seeing in health, self-esteem and overall wellness.  It’s been inspiring to see how many of our staff and members walked into this, most of them terrified, and now they can’t get enough.  Overall engagement with the program has been tremendous, the EP community has embraced all of us and it’s been amazing to watch as everyone gets more and more involved with their health and fitness.  Peer-based recovery is really built on a foundation of building community and connection so the natural fit between SOS and EP has been amazing.  I think one important part of this is there is so much stigma around addiction and recovery. It’s not lost on me that there are a number of first responders at EP and an awareness that those reversing overdoses and going out on the calls to those still struggling rarely see the other side and are able to witness those in recovery thriving.  This has been a great opportunity to show that we have recovery all around us and a positive side to the hard work, frustration and trauma they often face seeing people overdose or struggle.  It also allows us as a recovery community to show our gratitude and connect with them for helping so many of us when we were at low points.

Rob – Even as a person in long-term recovery I didn’t realize how much I was neglecting the wellness aspect of my recovery plan. Since starting this program I have seen not only my personal health and wellness improve, but I’ve been able to see how programs like these are pivotal for those in recovery. People working on themselves consistently to reach their personal goals is something that both recovery and CrossFit share at their core. Seeing our members excel in both their recovery and fitness goals has been the best part of this program and being part of the gym!

What class do you normally attend?

John – 12pm and occasionally the 4pm

Rob – 5:15 pm

What are your short and long term goals?

John – My personal goals both short and long are to continuously improve my health and fitness, but organizationally a big part of this is to make this program sustainable and find ways to expand and build it out.  Funding is often difficult in the spaces we work as a non-profit so finding a way to make sure we can grow this, and more importantly, find ways to see it replicated across the state for the other recovery community orgs that are around NH in other regions.

Rob – One goal: no longer be scrawny!

What’s your favorite WOD/movement?

John – Probably deadlifts and recently starting to love getting more comfortable with technique around clean and jerks.

Rob – Man makers

What’s your LEAST favorite WOD/movement?

John – Double Unders.  Seldom said without a vulgarity in front of it and nope haven’t gotten one yet.  Evil things.

Rob – Thrusters (mine are really ugly)

What is one interesting fact many people don’t know about you?

John – I used to swim competitively in early teen years (before and as I started struggling with substances and addiction)

Rob – I lived in Japan for 5 years when my mom was stationed in Okinawa.

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