Our Male Athlete of the Month for December is JMac! JMac and his better half Trina (our co-athlete of the month), have been with us a FitTown Jupiter for almost 5 years. This strong duo is the definition of #couplesgoals.
JMac is one of the OG's of the CrossFit world. He has been a CrossFit Games Athlete, Judge, Head Judge, Regional Director, Regional Managing Director, Master Competition Director, Games Competition Director, as well as CrossFit seminar staff, and coach to our coaches right here at FitTown Jupiter. He was Coach Tony's first introduction to CrossFit coaching in a Level 1 seminar in 2012. He has also spent many hours with our staff over the years "paying it forward", showing us how to be better coaches while also making it fun.
If you've ever been around JMac you know "fun" is the name of the game. He has a love for life and using his fitness that exudes in everything he does. At 52, he's more active than most 20-year-olds and is in better physical shape than most too.
But don't let his playful smiles during hard workouts fool you, he is also one of the toughest guys you'll meet. I mean, c'mon, he built his first house with his bare hands, (AND was confident enough to raise his daughter in it). He's been in fire rescue for 26 years and has achieved the rank of Batallion Chief.
We're so grateful to have JMac in our FitTown family. He has this balance of intensity with compassion, working hard and playing hard, and all-inclusiveness to anyone who wants to better themselves. JMac has truly impacted our coaches and FitTown family beyond most will ever know, even he.
Thank you JMac, Trina, and Brooke, the whole McLaughlin family, for being a huge part of our FitTown family!
Tell us a brief background about how the Mac family came to be. What do you do for work and fun?
Trina and I started dating in high school in 1985 after high-school. My first career was as a journeyman lineman for a power company and Trina was starting her education in the medical field. Hurricane Andrew August 1992 was a huge catalyst in our lives. It postponed our wedding to May of 1993 and it gave us the opportunity to move from South Dade County to Jupiter. I shifted careers from Line work to Fire Rescue taking night and weekend classes. 1995 and 1996 were a busy 2 years, we bought a piece of land in Jupiter Farms, I designed a home on paper, proceeded to move a trailer onto the property and spent the next year as a solo owner builder living on lot. We built the entire home from the ground up (every nail and every screw)......while I started my new career as a probationary firefighter and just to add in some real life responsibility Trina was pregnant with Brooke. May 1996 Brooke was born and I finished the house in December of 1996.
Fast forward to present Brooke is 25, recently moved out and has completed her BSN in nursing. I am 26 years Fire Rescue rank of Battalion Chief about to retire, 11 years working for CF and still growing. We simplified and downsized our home as we moved from the farms to Rialto.
What's your athletic background prior to finding CrossFit? Were you athletic growing up?
That’s a loaded question and the list may be shorter when it comes to "what haven’t I exposed myself too?", the cliff notes are always a lot of water sports, early was barefoot waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, diving and windsurfing, now it’s surfing and SUP, also decades of snowboarding and mountain biking.
I started with classic weight training in my 20s, I was lucky in that I only had access to a lot of steel plates and dumbbells, no machines, just a dirty weight room. The majority of my time before CF in my 30s and 40s was in the long slow distance community 6-8 Marathons, dozens of Triathlons, 2 full Ironman and raced all over the US doing adventure races from sprints 4-6hrs to full length expedition races 3-4 Days of nonstop day and night navigation by foot, bike or kayak/canoe. Mountain Bike raced across Costa Rica once too.
I had a lot of lean muscle mass and strength in my 20s, but very little engine. In my 30s and 40s I trained most of my muscle mass and strength away, became super lean from a lot of long slow distance training but had an engine for days! Then found CrossFit and I have since combined both to be in the best complete fitness/shape of my life, without a doubt.
When did you find CrossFit and can you talk about your involvement with them over the years?
- 2005 first workout Helen found on the crossfit.com the website
- 2006 First CF Gym SONZ Jupiter FL (Unaffiliated Franchise)
- 2006 Started coaching CF at SONZ Jupiter FL later renamed to BGI. Started working with Chuck Carswell, Jenni Orr, Mike Giardina and many other OGs
- 2007 Attended a very early version of the L1 Seminar taught by Coach Glassman. July 2007 L1 Certificate Holder. Met Coach, Dave C, Nicloe, Annie, and Tony B
- 2008 Games Individual Athlete in Aromas and began traveling to and working on L1 Seminars for CrossFit, continue to coach CF and a training at Box in Jupiter
- 2009 One of the first Regional Directors assigned by Dave C (South East). Returned to the Games as a Judge. Completed my L2 and continued to teach CF on L1 seminar staff and coach locally at box. Met Justin B as an Affiliate owner in Jacksonville and asked him to be a part of our Regional Team.
- 2011 First year of the Open, no Sectionals but 17 Regionals, Regional director of South East and moved into a global position assisting all directors in other Regions to develop systems and standardization. Was tasked with directing and running all Masters competitions at Games as this event grew to over a hundred athletes. Continued to teach CF on L1 seminar staff and coach locally at box.
- 2013 Qualified as a Masters Athlete but declined the invite to work with Games Team. Final year as Regional director of South East and all responsibilities developing all other 17 Regions. Transitioned all Masters competition to a new director. Greater leadership role at Games managing all competition staffing and continuing to improve Incident Management Systems leading the complexity of Games. Continued to teach CF on L1 seminar staff and coach locally at box.
- 2014 Qualified as a Masters Athlete again but declined again to work with Games Team. All responsibilities developing all other 17 Regions. Leadership role at Games managing all competition staffing and continuing to improve Incident Management Systems leading the complexity of Games. Continued to teach CF on L1 seminar staff and coach locally at box.
- 2015 All responsibilities coordinating and developing the reformatted 8 Regions. A greater leadership role at Games managing all competition staffing and directing all competition events, coordination of all teams for competition. Last year on L1 seminar staff, still coaching locally at box.
- 2016 10yr anniversary last year in California. All responsibilities coordinating and developing the now 8 Regions. Big leadership focus year of systems and teams, added greater flexibility and response to competition events and programming. Managing all competition staffing and directing all competition events, coordination of all teams for competition.
- 2017 All responsibilities coordinating and developing the Regionals. First year in Madison, leadership and systems pays off managing all competition staffing and directing all competition events, coordination of all teams for competition. Given responsibility to program and deliver an Individual event at Games - The Cyclocross. Work in off season for CF Invitational.
- 2018 Final year of Regionals, all responsibilities coordinating and developing Games Competition Events. Work in off season for CF Invitational.
- 2019 First Year of Sactionals begin to build format for Sactional oversight and safety protocol. All responsibilities coordinating and developing Games Competition Events.
Proud that I have competed once as an individual athlete and have qualified the decline twice as a masters athlete to work and lead "give the test and not take the test".
Similar to Fire Rescue I have been very fortunate to have touched event rung on the ladder, working and leading in every position, building from the bottom with CrossFit. Very proud to have my DNA or contribution, ever so subtle, throughout CrossFit and CrossFit Games. I’ve been a Games Athlete, Judge, Head Judge, Regional Director, Regional Managing Director, Master Competition Director, Games Competition Director.
Do you have any funny or interesting stories about any memorable workouts over the years?
2 moments: My very first CrossFit workout Helen in 2005, we did not understand that it was for total time, we broke up the three movements in the same way we would any gym workout and couldn’t understand how some athletes online finished in under 10min. Very soon after we did some real digging and found the secret sauce and error of our ways. Second moment was the very first time I walked into a CrossFit like gym in Jupiter that had high rings, I was challenged by one of the coaches to try a movement called a strict muscle up (kipping didn’t exist then). I failed my first attempt, was given a corrective cue (pull rings to my chest) and I made my second attempt ever.
Have you had any big setbacks or obstacles with your health/injuries you had to overcome?
Yep, lumbar herniation and bilateral subacromial decompressions of both shoulders. Any or all machines or organisms have failure points or breakdowns, in the totality of my experience with everything that I do I strongly believe it is just part of a normal life cycle and nothing to be fearful of. I adjust or scale when needed and I always perform the maintenance my body needs daily.
What's a routine you have that you believe is vital to your success? Do you have any mottos or inspirational words that you live by?
Really warm up, use a lot of intensity within your ability, and do the maintenance your body needs. Mottos hummm how about “Hakuna Matata”
How competitive are you guys with comparing scores? Is there anytime you let the other win?
Trina and I are not very competitive with each other or at least that’s how I see it (For a good laugh, see Trina's answer in her athlete feature blog post.), there are some movements that she will completely smoke me at and I have others that I am better at. Brooke on the other hand can be a very fun driver/motivator and competitive with me or Trina, which I love.
What do you love most about coming to FitTown Jupiter?
The peeps, the facility and culture is one of the best I have ever experienced bar none.
What advice do you have for the person at home who may be contemplating a new fitness routine?
Nothing to fear. Try it, you might like it.
Thank you JMac and Trina for being such amazing members of our FitTown family over the past five years. We are grateful for the impact and inspiration you've given us!