Crossfit Blog

September Male Athlete of the Month

in The Whiteboard by Lindsay

He's no newbie to Crossfit, yet he's always willing to not only take a coach's advice, but to also apply it. He's learned when to push himself hard, and when to dial it back and scale a workout. He crushes WODs, works hard at improving his technique with the NHWLC, and he does it all with that bright white smile (shameless plug for his Orthodontic practice Brace-Asaurus.)

Without further ado, we'd like to present our male Athlete of the Month: Shamik Desai!


1.When and where did you start CrossFitting?

I started at Crossfit Fenway (Boston) in 2012.  About 6 months later I moved to NYC and I stopped going to Crossfit because there was not a convenient box location (hard to imagine since they’re everywhere now). After working out on my own for half a year, I felt it wasn’t the same. So I endured a longer commute and joined Crossfit Fifth Avenue, then Crossfit Brick in Chelsea (most of my Crossfit T-shirts are from this box; I need to update my swag!). In the summer of 2015 I moved to Peoria, IL for work and joined Crossfit North Peoria. I moved back to CT (my home state) late 2016 and joined CFNH January of this year.

2.  Tell us how your goals and/or motivations have changed in the last year.  Since we're halfway through 2017, what are some of your goals for the rest of the year?  

My goal for 2017 is to spend more time on preparation and recovery.  The days of stepping up to a heavy squat-clean without properly warming up are long gone for this guy.

In the past I didn’t do much outside of the class in terms of recovery but over the years I’ve noticed that I would come away with a tweaked lower back or shoulder or wrist and not pay it the attention it needs. Now, I’m a believer in prevention and listening to the body (it’s smart, it’ll definitely tell you when something is wrong).

Now I don’t view injuries as a failure or set-back, but rather as an opportunity. Sometimes, these are more valuable than successes. They are indicators of imbalances and point to what needs attention.
So for the rest of 2017, I’d like to keep improving my range of motion and continue the habit of recovery.

3.  What are some of your recent accomplishments of which you're most proud?

In 2002 I had surgery on my left shoulder for torn ligaments.  It didn’t give me much of an issue thereafter (although it was weaker than my right side). Then in 2014, I suffered an anterior shoulder dislocation while overhead squatting on the same surgically repaired shoulder. Ever since that incident, I would shy away from overhead movements and anything excess with the shoulders. Then I began to realize that this had consequences in other activities such as left shoulder pain during bench press or subluxation of the shoulder while swinging a golf club.

A few months ago, I decided that ignoring the issue wouldn’t solve anything and the only way overcome the physical and mental hurdle was to attack it head-on so I started taking class with New Haven Weightlifting Club and have been using the Crossover Symmetry. With the help of the WOD/OLY coaches and doing extra work to gain more stability and confidence in my shoulder, I am finally able to snatch and overhead squat again. For now I am keeping the weights relatively light with these movements and I know there’s still a ways to go, but definitely headed in the right direction.

4.  Do you adhere to any form of daily/weekly diet regimen to power your workouts?  What does your dream cheat meal/day look like?

Right now I am trying to be better at tracking my macros (thanks Mike Haggerty).  For my macros, I am trying more of a ketogenic style diet paired with intermittent fasting (thanks Salman).

I’ll eat for an 8-hour window during the day (let’s say 12pm to 8pm) and fast for the remainder 16 hours. In the morning, if I feel inclined, I’ll drink a black coffee and water. The key is to get all your calories in during that 8-hour window so eating bigger meals and snacks is imperative.  At first I would get hunger pangs around 11am and count down until noon, but after a few days of this, it actually becomes pretty easy.

But let’s be real, there’s always room for pizza, cake and other goodies on the weekends and vacations – why else do we work so hard?

Dream cheat meal:  Appetizer: Boneless wings from Winger’s (Villanova, PA), Main dish: $20 worth of Taco Bell, Dessert: Fudge Brownie made by my mom with a scoop of vanilla bean cream on top.

5. Design 2 WODs:  1 that is your bread & butter, filled with your movement strengths; 1 that is all goats (movement weaknesses you feel you need to improve).

Bread & Butter: I enjoy pulling and jumping movements.

5 rounds for time
15 HPC #95
50 Double Unders
10 GHD sit-ups
15 pull-ups

Goats: These movements definitely need extra attention

12 minute AMAP
10 overhead squat #95
8 pistols
4 Muscle-ups
2 rope climbs

6. How do you spend your time when you're away from CFNH?

I am an orthodontist at Brace-Asaurus in Hamden, CT.  I enjoy the work because we strive to create great healthy smiles and improve self-confidence (which also has many parallels to Crossfit and fitness in general). Since we follow our patients for an extended period of time, building relationships and contributing to the community is very rewarding to me.

When I am not at the office or at CFNH, I enjoy international city travel along with domestic national park travel, snowboarding, golfing, podcasts TED Radio Hour, How I Built This, Freakonomics), books and mindfulness.

7. What is one fact that other CFNHers may not know about you?

I have been giving myself haircuts since 8th grade.  If I ever come in with a bad one, please just have sympathy.

8.  Do you have any motivational thoughts or suggestions to folks just getting started at CFNH?

The CFNH community is very supportive and encouraging. The coaches are here to help so use them as a resource for general knowledge, technique, and tips. Lastly, remember in Crossfit you are essentially competing against the “you” of yesterday. Use other people in class as motivation, but not a measuring tool. As long as you are doing your best to improve, then you are doing a great job. Cheers.


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