Who are you?
I am Grady Dixon. I work at Fort Hays State University as a professor and dean of the Werth College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. My expertise is in meteorology and climatology, and I earned degrees from Mississippi State University, University of Georgia, and Arizona State University. My family and I moved to Hays in 2014. Prior to that, we lived in Starkville, Mississippi for 9 years. My wife is Melissa (Director of Hays CVB), and we have a daughter (Delia) in sixth grade and a son (Brooks) in third Grade. I will be 42 years old in January.
How has CrossFit impacted your life?
I started doing CrossFit one year before we moved to Hays. At that time, I was 35 and 40 pounds heavier. I had not worked out regularly for 10 years, and my back was a chronic problem due to having such a weak core and poor posture. I began CrossFit with no plans of being competitive with anyone, and my only goal was to be functionally fit enough to avoid severe pain and to play with my kids. I was not trying to lose weight or look trimmer. I had no pride about my workouts. I started with weight that was lighter than most of the women in the gym, and I stuck with that low weight for the first 6 months or so. I was so impressed with people who could do hand-stand push-ups and toes-to-bar. I was terrified watching people do bar muscle-ups because I could not imagine doing it myself without falling and hitting my head. Ring muscle-ups were like watching a circus show…I could not relate to them enough to really be impressed. Heck, I could not do a single pull up.
It took six months for obvious results, but they then started happening quickly. I was able to do 10 pull-ups, and I started doing some workouts as prescribed. I started hitting double-unders regularly, and I lost 30 pounds in about 6 weeks. I got my first bar muscle-up around the ninth month, and then I started doing rope climbs. At that point, I was hooked. It was so exciting to hit PRs and start searching for new goals. I looked and felt younger and stronger, and I was eating better to help with recovery.
Why do you choose to workout at SouthWind CrossFit?
I immediately sought out SouthWind when we moved to Hays approximately one year after I started CrossFit. I was impressed with the cleanliness, friendliness, and professionalism. I travel quite a bit, and I have visited more than 30 other CrossFit facilities across 13 states ranging from California to New York. SouthWind is among the best affiliates I have seen. We are very fortunate to have them in Hays. Joining SouthWind helped me transition from a person on a mission to “get fit” to someone who was establishing a long-term plan for physical and mental health. SouthWind plays a significant role in my quality of life. Even when I experience the occasional lulls in motivation or progress, I still enjoy visiting friends and seeing them have success. I never leave SouthWind in a bad mood even if I arrived that way.
What would you say to someone who is “on the fence” about starting CrossFit?
This is about you. It is not about anyone else. Do not let intimidation be a barrier. You WILL be intimidated, but only because of your own issues. Thankfully, the people at SouthWind will help you get past that quickly. You do not have to attend class every day. You do not have to be “in shape” to start. If you were ever going to get in shape on your own, it would have happened already. Having the exercise programming done by experts, friendly motivation of classmates, and the safe, watchful eyes of coaches makes this a more successful model for a lot of people. Leave your pride at the door. Ask for help, have some fun, and do it for yourself.