April Athlete of the Month

Apr 6, 2021

 by Billy Bacarella

Tell us about yourself, hobbies, interests, family, job, etc.

Well, I’m Eric but most everyone at LTF calls me Flash. A lot of people had nicknames when LTF first opened. Mine seems to have stuck the longest. I work as a Test Engineer for an automotive supplier in Monroe. I love my job because it appeals to my analytical brain. I have a son, Rex, whom I love very much. He’s almost 4 yrs old. Time flies! I used to be a long distance runner. Some of my fondest memories are running 200 mile relay races. I still occasionally run. I absolutely love to cook. I’m very comfortable in the Kitchen and I’ve been told I make some pretty kick-ass food. I occasionally wonder what Gordon Ramsay would think of my cooking. Lol. I love listening to music, mostly rock, but I enjoy everything from hip-hop to pop. Unfortunately, Rex doesn’t share my love of music. I love being outdoors anytime of the year. I like to spend time with family and friends whenever possible.


How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I started doing CrossFit in October 2014. Just a couple of months after LTF officially opened. I’ve loved every moment of it so far. CrossFit has turned my little hot-rod-bod into a sexy muscle machine. I mean, just look at those photos (Hey ladies!). Seriously, all joking aside, when I started I barely weighed 100 lbs and struggled lifting an empty barbell. Since then I’ve gained 25lbs of muscle mass and can comfortably handle weight on the barbell. It’s been amazing.


What do you remember about your first CrossFit experience?

It was super nerve-racking. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For the first couple of months I was so confused; I had no idea what a snatch or clean was. I just waited for someone else in the class to start moving first then I’d mimic what they were doing. I also had a lot of anxiety before coming in to class. I was worried I wouldn’t make it through a WOD. Then after a couple of months I realized there wasn’t a single WOD I hadn’t made it through yet. After that, it was smooth sailing.


What do you most enjoy about CrossFit?

That’s a toss-up between the community/family aspect & the physical aspect. I love challenging myself with the workouts and seeing how far I can test my limits. And I also love the camaraderie at the gym.


What do you most enjoy about being part of Light the Fire CrossFit family?

Everyone at the gym is really supportive of each other and there’s an all around good vibe from everyone. I’m very thankful to have made some great friends at the gym. There’s also some pretty awesome coaches too.


What motivates you to come to the box?

I like how CrossFit has changed me mentally, physically, and socially. It has truly made me into a version of myself that I’m happy with. I keep coming back for those reasons.


Also, it’s oddly fun. It doesn’t feel like it during the workout but afterwards there is a sense of joy and pride…. Hmmm, seems like something someone in a cult would say. OMG am I in a CrossFit cult!??!


What is you most recent PR/biggest accomplishment?

About a year ago I got my first bar muscle up. Recently I busted out some strict handstand pushups in one of our Level Method tests. I also PR’d on the mile run last week. I’m currently working on handstand walks; hopefully I’ll have those soon.


What is your favorite wod, lift, movement, or skill?

Any body-weight exercise like pull-ups or push-ups is in my wheelhouse. My two favorite WODs are Nancy (overhead squats & running) and Nicole (pull-ups & running). I think I’m one of the only people at the gym who loves over-head squats. I’ve got the endurance and mobility for those WODs.


What is your least favorite wod, lift, movement, or skill?

I’m not the biggest fan of barbell work but my absolute least favorite barbell movement is the snatch. The assault bike is probably what I hate the most though. I’d rather do anything else than bike. In the words of famous football legend Bobby Boucher, “The assault bike is the devil” (ya have to say that with a southern Louisiana drawl). Either he or his momma said that, I can’t remember which.


What is your current CrossFit goal?

My current goal is to keep showing up and put in 100% effort. I’m excited to see where the Level Method takes me.


What would you tell a newbie or someone that has never done CrossFit?

I would tell them that it looks and sounds intimidating but once you get to understand everything, it’s not. Don’t be timid about it. Just jump in, you’ll love it. I’m very thankful and fortunate that I had someone push me into joining. The people are friendly and will make you feel welcome with no judgements.


Have you had a life changing experience since starting CrossFit?

Oh where to begin…. Of course I have. Both in & out of the gym. Good, bad, and devastating. If I didn’t have any life changing experiences then I’d say I’m not living much of a life. The one consistency throughout it all has been CrossFit, specifically, Light the Fire CrossFit. It’s been my anchor, my place to socialize, my place to challenge myself.