For this week’s Athlete Spotlight, I got to talk to JR CrossFit member Logan Zachary. Logan is a newer JR CrossFit athlete with an incredibly inspiring story to tell. In 2016, Logan was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Since then, he has worked to regain his strength and motivation, culminating in him joining JR CrossFit.
Read our conversation below and see why Logan thinks athletes of all ages and fitness levels can start CrossFit.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to this point. What can you tell us about your cancer diagnosis in 2016? How has it shaped who you are today?
I never really went to the gym but I was pretty active. In 2015 I worked at an outdoor adventure church camp and we probably hiked about 5 miles a day. It was fun and I loved the activities. My group beat the record to get to the top of a hill by about 10 minutes. I loved life and was always pretty positive.
On October 20th, 2016 I had a seizure right before I went to bed. I woke up and was freaked out by all of the people in the room. I stayed in the hospital for a week and later referred to MD Anderson where they determined that I had Oligodendroglioma. It is one of the rarest forms of brain cancer and it is also thankfully the slowest grown.
So that’s a good thing. Like I said, I’ve always been positive. Dec 29th, 2016 I had brain surgery. They had to dig a little deeper than they wanted to and when I woke up my entire left side was paralized. Over the next couple of days my hand regained control. After months of rehab and 6 weeks of radiation and a year of chemo. I’m where I am today. Most of my leg has regained control. My foot and inside of my calf is about all that I’m waiting on to come back but it could be worse.
What made you decide to start CrossFit? What are some of your other hobbies?
I started listening to John and Jean’s podcast “Work for Change” and Brooke Ence’s YouTube that made me realize you didn’t have to be a games athlete to do CrossFit. It’s for everyone and can be scaled down.
I love to fish and grill! I used to love hiking but that’s not as fun as it use to be…
What kind of progress (physical, mental, etc) have you seen since you started CrossFit?
I’ve noticed I have more confidence in myself. I haven’t had any faith in myself or my leg since my surgery. But I’ve been able to do free weights and slowly add more and more weight. It doesn’t look like much but my leg sure feels it. Growing physically has greatly improved my overall morale and outlook on life.
What are some of your CrossFit and fitness goals going forward?
I would like to get to where I can jump rope, run an 8 min mile and do a muscle up. That would be a huge accomplishment for me.
Why did you pick JR CrossFit? What is your favorite thing about it?
I picked it because I’m not at games level but I’m not there to just show up. I want a good workout JR seemed like the perfect place to go.
What advice would you give to someone considering joining JR CrossFit?
If you’re scared, don’t be. I was terrified. You always hear how tough and how bad it is. I thought you had to be in perfect health and shape, but that’s so not true. Athletes of all ages and fitness levels meet every day to further themselves as a group. Don’t try to focus on what others are doing but what you are doing and how you are improving.