What's Your "Y"
Interview with Chris Cioffi, Bodyweight Specialist for the Tampa Bay Brigade
Give us a brief background of how your fitness/sport journey has evolved?
Growing up, I followed in the footsteps of my older siblings playing several different sports including baseball, roller/ice hockey, snowboarding, and gymnastics. It was obvious from a young age that I was not going to be a soccer or hockey all-star, rather I found that gymnastics came to me naturally. I trained competitively for years.
My athletic journey was put on hold through most of high school, college and into my professional career. Stress, office life, and a sedentary lifestyle left me in terrible physical shape. In 2017, at 26 years old, I joined a 6-week CrossFit challenge which would be a turning point in my life.
Getting back in the gym after a long hiatus was extremely tough but with my gymnastics training ingrained in my brain, I was able to pick back up quickly on the CrossFit Gymnastics. Throughout this part of my journey, I wanted to be competitive but couldn’t quite keep up with other athletes when it came to moving weight.
I was introduced to The Florida Grid League in 2020, a unique sport where coed teams have specialists that contribute to their team by focusing on their own strengths (strength specialist, utility play, and bodyweight specialist). I am now going into my third season with the Tampa Bay Brigade as bodyweight specialist and was voted an “all-star player” last season by the league.
Who has been your main source of motivation over the years?
My supportive CrossFit community (Cigar City CrossFit)
Where do you find more motivation: doubters or supporters?
From my teammates… we are always pushing each other to perfect our skills and perform at our peak.
What is the biggest mental challenge you've had to face in your sport and how have you conquered that?
Stepping out on the Grid is a mental challenge, the sheer sense of anxiety can be overwhelming! I’m usually pale as a ghost before each match.
The anxiousness eventually subsides after I go in for my first race- this usually tends to be a high quantity/high skill gymnastic movement. Once that’s done, the butterflies disappear and it's all determination from there.
What do you do to make sure you're physically and mentally prepared for competition?
Physically, I train my gymnastic skills under extreme stress and fatigue so when it comes to competition day; I know that I can perform at my best. I train approximately 3-4 hours, 6 days a week.
Mentally, I watch our previous matches to identify where I have made errors so that I can work with my teammates to avoid making the same mistake twice.
Describe your recovery strategies. How do you know if those recovery strategies are working?
I train at night so nothing too complicated really; some good stretching, a protein shake, YOLKED, and some dinner!
I started incorporating YOLKED into my recovery regimen last season, almost instantly noticing my recovery time and overall muscle soreness cutting in half.
What's Your "Y"? What keeps you going and training as hard as you do?
The fun of competing with an amazing and diverse group of teammates. There is nothing like the feeling of winning out on the Grid.
Where do you see yourself as an athlete in 5 years?
Such an interesting question… If you asked me 5 years ago, I would have never guessed where I wound up today.
I am hopeful that I will still be competing in Grid!
Favorite motivational quote or song.
That’s a tossup; either
“The limit does not exist”- Mean Girls or
“Hakuna Matata”- The Lion King
Adding YOLKED to my daily routine has noticeably reduced my recovery time and helped me put on additional muscle mass. Also, it tastes great! I personally like to throw it in smoothies but it’s tasty enough to eat out of the package.