January 2021 Athlete of the Month – Eric Kufs

1. How long have you been a member of Nela Athletics?
Five years or so.

2. What is your favorite fitness achievement?
After years of failed attempts, I figured out how to do a muscle-up. I got three in a row, one day, after a noon class. Everyone had left. No coach was there to catch it on their phone and post it to IG. So did it happen? Was I dreaming? I haven’t been able to get another one since, but I’ll keep trying.

3. What are three benefits that you have experienced through working out?
I’ve lost weight and gained muscle over the years; at times that has made me feel better. Overall though, working out has served as a meditation practice. Maybe it’s the sense of accomplishment or maybe it’s just a release of endorphins. Whatever it is, I feel mentally and emotionally reset or reinvigorated after a workout and ready to start my day. My wife will attest. I’m less of an asshole after I’ve been to a class, and this is why she’s okay with me working out every day.

4. Have you had any physical changes that you noticed? (Example: Loss of body weight if so how many pounds, gained muscle mass if so how many pounds, had to buy new clothing…)
My weight fluctuates, but never so much that I need to buy new pants. I haven’t noticed too much of difference in my size but for some reason Danny Richter always comments on the size of my arms.

5. What motivates you in the gym and outside of the gym?
I find that the gym is one place where consistent hard work bears immediate benefits. The harder I push myself, the better I feel. Day to day, week to week results can come quickly with a daily practice. I can’t say that for my other regular routines of parenting, teaching, writing, performing music, etc. (I also like to beat Garrett McKechnie in the WOD, which happens quite often. You should ask him about it.)

6. What is your favorite part of the Nela Athletics experience?
The community. Before my knees gave out, the solitude of long-distance running was something I loved to do. I’ve always been a shy introvert. When I’d go to the gym, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to anyone. However, at NELA, I’ve come to appreciate getting to know all the great people: members and coaches. I’d be lying if I said that the folks in the 8:30am Zoom class haven’t been essential to maintaining sanity during this challenging year in a pandemic lockdown. It’s been great to have a regular group to laugh with each weekday. Each morning I look forward to taking the piss out of Old Man Ron. It keeps me going.

7. What are some hobbies or activities that you enjoy besides working out?
I enjoy walking with my daughter to the playground, writing and singing songs, practicing jazz/blues guitar, BBQing, drinking whiskey, reading, …and taking the piss out of Ron.

8. What is the most interesting thing about you or the coolest thing you’ve ever done? The coolest thing I’ve ever done is to travel to the upper Yukon in the dead of winter to perform my music for a Yupik Inuit village for a week. Beyond cool.. it was cold… like forty below cold. But I had the opportunity to eat seal. So… cool? Right?

9. What is your motto/ words that you live by or try to remind yourself of everyday? Each day, I always try to remind myself, “It could be worse. You could be as old as fuck, like Ron.”

10. What is something that you’ve always wanted to do or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go?
I’ve always wanted to write a book.
I’ve always wanted to travel to India.

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