January Featured Athlete - Adam Gierlach


1. What brought you into CFP?

I moved to the area late May of 2016 after having done CrossFit for a couple years while I lived in Houston, TX. I researched gyms in the process of moving up to Ithaca and was impressed by the staff, the space, and the community of CFP.

2. What's your athletic background?

I played all sorts of sports growing up but focused on competitive basketball through high school. I was a student manager and practice player for the basketball team at Rice University in Houston, TX as well.

3.  Where are you from?

I’m kind of from all over, but if it had to be one place, it would be Houston, TX. I lived in North Jersey (Summit) until I was 9. My family then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area (Moraga) through my sophomore year of high school. I spent my last two years of high school in South Jersey (Moorestown) before moving down to Houston for college. I spent four years after college in Houston as well.

4. What do you do for a living or study?

I’m an assistant men’s basketball coach at Cornell University.

5. You recently set an incredible Fran PR, what was it and what was your previous PR?What attributed to the PR?

My previous Fran PR was 3:45 and during our recent testing week, I finished in 2:40. I think with something like this, it’s really easy to focus on one thing, but it’s really been a lot of things (both from a macro and micro standpoint) that went into the jump.

Technically speaking, it was going unbroken on the thrusters (hadn’t done that previously), fast and unbroken butterfly pull-ups (again hadn’t done that previously), and somewhat fast transitions (still room for improvement obviously).

More importantly, I’ve recently focused on shifting my priorities around a bit in life, and health and wellness is now one of the things that come first. So it’s partly due to a combination of being in the gym a lot and putting in a lot of work. A lot of it is due to a new focus on nutrition. I’m lighter than I’ve been in a long time and that helps for sure on the pull-ups.

Most importantly, there was just some real positivity and support from the community and some special people that day. I struggle a lot with self-doubt and self-worth, and some key people really believed I could achieve a better time than I thought I could.

6. What’s your favorite movement?

Pull-ups. If there’s a workout with pull-ups in it, I’ll probably have a faster time.

7. What’s your least favorite movement?

Heavy kettlebell swings (32 kg). Anything on the heavier end I typically struggle with.

8. If you could write a wod, what would it be?

I like workouts with running and one to two other movements. A workout my eyes would light up a bit at would like something like:


400m Run

15 Pull Ups

10 Power Cleans 135/95

9. What are 5 words that describe 2017 for you?

Painful, Self-Reflection, Learning, Growth, Progress

10. What do you do for self care?

This is an area I’ve really struggled with, but there are definitely a couple of things I do on a daily and/or weekly basis. Most of these have less to do with the physical aspect and more to do with being in a good head space.

The first is sleep. It used to be a badge of honor for me to operate on little sleep. If anyone reading this has a similar line of thinking, I would recommend experimenting with getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night and just seeing how that feels. Getting at least 6 and a half hours (preferably 7-8 hours) of sleep every night makes a huge difference in every area of my life.

The second is tracking my nutrition. I use MyFitnessPal to log everything I eat. When my nutrition is dialed in, I perform better in all aspects as well.

I read every morning while drinking my coffee and every night before going to bed. This allows for self-reflection and puts me in a calmer, more reflective state of mind focused on perspective getting.

I try to go out for a hike every weekend (less so now with the weather). Similar to reading, being out in nature (there are so many beautiful spots in Ithaca) just allows for a better state of mind for me.

Cooking is also very therapeutic for me. I love to cook (specifically breakfast food) and meal prep and it really helps put me in a good place mentally.

And no matter what I”m doing, if Odesza’s newest album (A Moment Apart) is on, it’s going to put me in a better place.

11. If you saw a bear in the woods, what would you do?

There’s a strong possibility I might scream and yell and run away immediately. Hopefully I would stop and assess the situation a bit. Figure out if the bear saw me, what the bear was likely to do next, etc. Probably depends some on the size/type of bear, if there is anyone with me, what resources I had, etc.

12. If you could only use one piece of gym equipment for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This has less to do with my favorite piece of equipment and more to do with what I think would be most useful…a 32 kg kettlebell. You could just do a lot of different exercises with it (swings, snatches, squats, deadlifts, etc.) and still be able to do bodyweight movements, running, etc. to keep things constantly varied.

13. What’s your favorite season and why?

Fall is a really special time up here (especially the fall we had this past year) with the weather and leaves changing, all the assorted apple-type foods, and the start of the school year, etc.

However, our schedule with basketball picks up as the fall begins so I would have to go with Spring. Similar weather, opportunities to do things outside, days are getting longer (it’s not pitch black at 4:30 PM), and our schedule with basketball starts to get a bit lighter as well.

14. What’s your favorite food and favorite place to eat in ithaca?

I love bacon and doughnuts (two foods I know), but I haven’t found a really good doughnut spot in Ithaca yet (any suggestions?). So I’d have to go with bacon.

Red’s Place is my favorite spot to eat in Ithaca. There are some sentimental reasons associated with Red’s, but the Aurora Street Burger and an Allagash White is a hard combo to beat.

15. What’s your biggest goal for 2018? In life and CF?

I have a couple huge goals for 2018 that I’m still trying to work through some of the specifics of, and I’m not quite sure where they will take me yet. More importantly, they have to do with living out my new value set every day and kind of answering the question, what does living a good life mean to me? So for me, that means:

-Being active and healthy (sleep, nutrition, working out, mental health)

-Being with good people (positive, supportive)

-Constantly learning & seeking new perspectives (reading, asking questions)

-Enjoying each day (doing things that make me happy)

-Being a good person

-Supporting those I care about

-Helping others

So I guess my biggest goal for 2018 is to do those things every day.

In CrossFit, there are some strength and movement related goals, but the biggest thing I hope to achieve is completing my Level 1. I hope to do this before April.

16. Vodka? Wine? Beer? Cider? Or none of the above?

No all of the above option? Definitely a beer drinker first. I enjoy good wine. Vodka is the liquor I’ll drink if beer/wine isn’t available. And I’m learning and experimenting with cider more given the area of the country I find myself in.

17. What’s your dream car?

I’m not a huge car person, so my answer might be fairly uninteresting.

If it gets me from point A to point B and I can connect my phone to the stereo, that’ll work for me. I like mid-sized SUV’s…and with traveling for work sometimes, I try to rent a Ford Edge whenever I can. A Jeep Grand Cherokee would also be nice.

18. What’s your dream vacation?

Being outside, in the mountains, near water, with my loved ones, no cell phone access, working out at a CrossFit gym every day, great food (cooking and/or restaurants), great coffee, stack of books.

19. Do you have any siblings or pets?

I have an older brother (2 years older), Peter. I do not have any pets in Ithaca. My parents (who now live outside of Seattle) have a dog and a cat that they had when I lived with them as well. We had all sorts of pets growing up…birds, snakes, dogs, cats.

20. What would you tell someone that’s hesitant in trying CF?

I would try to listen to them and explore their hesitations and fears about CrossFit first. It’s hard to come in guns blazing and convince someone off the bat to try something they are scared of or not prioritizing (or whatever the reason may be) to make this type of change. Hopefully we could work through some of that stuff together (currently trying this with my own parents).

CrossFit has some great resources (they just put up this link:https://journal.crossfit.com/article/cfj-how-to-start-crossfit-2 if anyone is in the process of trying to convince someone to start CrossFit) that are very helpful for this question. I think the perception of CrossFit as so intense and so physically demanding and the image people have from seeing the CrossFit Games leads to some hesitations for others. These articles do a great job of presenting what CrossFit is more about: health and wellness, nutrition, an awesome positive community, and a really powerful keystone habit that has positive ramifications across all aspects of life. So I would point someone to that link and let them discover some of the positive benefits themselves.

Additionally, I would encourage them to just go try out and find a great, supportive gym. Find a gym with great coaches, a supportive community, and an extensive on-ramp program and personal training options if the person needs it. The great thing about CrossFit is it’s infinitely scalable and emphasizing that to someone new to CrossFit is important, I think. Reassuring someone that they don’t need to be fit to start CrossFit. A great

Tim Paulson