March 2018 Athlete of the Month - Nick Soldatenko

It is my pleasure to honor Nick as our March Athlete of the Month. Our coaching staff continuously discusses the members who stand out and display that extra something we are always looking for. Nick has definitely possessed this extra something that is tough to describe. As he mentions below, Anita was his first coach when he joined us back in 2015. Not realizing until reading Nick's answers, Nick and I made the move from Brooklyn to CrossFit Island Park within a month of each other. I am continuously impressed and shocked to witness the growth in many athletes we have. Nick is one of a few former chain smokers. The will power to quit that or any type of addiction is remarkable. I have the utmost respect for the discipline and
determination to make the life changing decision. Nick's sportsmanship and devoted efforts to his goals to not go unnoticed. He loves helping his teammates push towards their goals and loves to be challenged. I enjoy having you in my classes, Nick. And was extremely impressed with your speed through the thrusters and pull-ups on 18.5. Well done!

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

Why did you start Crossfit? What’s your background?
Before CrossFit I was a 30+ year old chain smoking couch potato who never had a gym membership in his entire life. I was realizing that I needed a lifestyle change and happened to see a review of a CrossFit class on YouTube. I thought I would give it a try.

How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I started CrossFit at CF718 in Brooklyn in the end of 2014, was a member there for a few months until I bought a place in Long Beach and moved here. Coach Dariel from 718 told me about CrossFit Island Park. According to him it was a very good box, but it took me a while to give it a try after I moved. On December 1st 2015 I pulled myself together, walked into CFIP, met coach Anita, and the rest is history.

What is your favorite thing about the gym?
Most definitely the coaches and the athletes. They both create this great atmosphere in the box where everyone is encouraged to work on becoming their better self. I think we got extremely lucky with the coaches. This past year I’ve been to a few boxes around the world and realized that not everybody is as lucky as we are.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
My own destructive behaviors. In the beginning it seemed so much easier to stay in bed and skip class, or go have a cigarette and relax instead of getting ready for CrossFit.

What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
18.4 a few weeks ago. Andy [Dickson] and I did it together and were head to head on the HSPUs. This movement is challenging for both of us, so we both had some no reps, kept trying, succeeding, then failing again, then trying some more, but not stopping and not giving up. For me this is what CrossFit is all about – trying, maybe failing, but still making the best effort, and doing it with friends.

What's your favorite "cheat" food?
Ahh muffins, donuts, anything with sugar.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
Do it. This will be the best decision you’ve ever made, and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

What drives you?
Seeing incremental improvements is very powerful. Noticing that I’m able to do a little more, go a little faster is a great validation.

What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
Summer(ish) body. I was with friends in Upstate last summer and someone pointed out that I was starting to show a six pack. That was the first time my name and “six pack” were used in the same sentence. That guy still keeps telling everyone I have a six pack. So I feel very pressured to make sure I actually have it by the summer.