Peering through the glass door, slightly framed by the condensation triggered by those working up a sweat on the other side, we watched a 13-year-old power house double tap his chest then thrust the barbell – furnished with at least three hefty plates on each side – upward. The woman next to me looked on with maternal pride, “he’s into it,” she said, beaming with satisfaction as he pushed through a challenging final rep. “He stepped away from tae kwon do after earning his black belt last year and he’s been here ever since.”
That 13-year-old powerhouse is CrossFit 100 owner Marcela Perea’s son Ian. We sat down with him to learn what it’s like to start over, be part of a fit family, what his greatest accomplishment has been thus far at CF100 and what’s next for him.
You earned a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Why switch to CrossFit and start all over?
I started Tae Kwon Do when I was about six years old, and the last few years, I went four times every week. I liked the people, I made tons of new friends and while I was in it, I gained a lot of confidence in myself. I also really enjoyed seeing the progress I made week over week. My ultimate goal was to earn a black belt. After I achieved that, I was ready to move on to something else, but I stuck with it for two years until I figured out what that next thing was.
So we know now that your journey led you to CrossFit. How long have you been coming now and what were your first impressions of the workouts?
I’ve been coming to CrossFit 100 for just about a year now. I think what really excited about me about CrossFit was that every workout is different – and there’s a lot of variety even in the movements we’re doing so I don’t ever get bored.
How did your first few workouts make you feel?
Well I’ve been coming for about a year now and I love seeing the progress I make with every workout. I’m not scrawny anymore and that’s pretty cool.
What do you find the most challenging about CrossFit? What exercises are your favorite?
Coming back for another workout usually feels easy, but burpees, overhead squats, rowing, biking and toes-to-bar are challenging for me. Leaving [CrossFit 100] though always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I really enjoy deadlifts, pull ups, cleans and box jumps.
What are your greatest achievements in CrossFit thus far – the ones you’re most proud of?
About a month ago, I hit my box jump PR of 51 inches. Last summer, I got my deadlift PR of 285lbs. My goal is 300, so I still have a ways to go.
What’s the most important part of your work here?
I’m really like making connections with other people here. Even on bad days when I feel like I’m not doing my best, there are other people fist bumping me and telling me I did a good job. I like encouraging people, too. I’m also really focused on becoming stronger.
How do you feel about your mom owning her own box?
At first I didn’t like it because my friends used to comment on how buff she is. Now that I’m into CrossFit though, I think it’s so cool how determined she is and how she helps people achieve their goals.
Do you feel like committing to CrossFit has brought you closer with your mom / family?
Ohhhhh yeah! We workout together a lot and talk about our workouts on our way home at night. We’re always pushing each other and congratulating each other for PRs and improvements we’ve made, and that’s definitely helped build a stronger bond for our family.
What’s next for you? What goals do you have in mind?
I’d really like to beat my dad’s numbers. We have friendly competition, but I’d like to be better than he is when he’s at his best.
Describe your CrossFit experience in five words.