October 2017 – Jerry McNicholas
“Jerry’s positive attitude, consistent effort, and willingness to work hard make him a great all-around athlete. Keep up the good work! ” – Coach Mike Z
I have had a lot of nicknames over the years. A few that come to mind are: Jer, Jer-Bear, Jerry Curl, Villain, Jerry Mac, JMac and McNich. Since joining Crossfit 312, I’ve also been called Big Boy and Crossfit Ninja thanks to Clare Warren and Rachel DeTillio, respectively.
35 – The transition from regular athlete to master’s athlete has been exhilarating.
I help people to get, live and be well every day, at the corner of Happy and Healthy. I actually manage the real estate tax liability for about one quarter of Walgreens U.S. properties’, including retail locations, distribution centers and the global corporate headquarters in Deerfield, IL.
In general, what is your background?
I grew up Irish Catholic, in a Chicago suburb on the edge of the city’s South Side. I played baseball and football growing up, but wasn’t the most athletic person in general. Me, my wife Brooke, and our dog Miss Jackson live in the West Loop, just a few blocks from 312.
How long have you been a member at our gym, how did you learn about CF and why did you start?
I started Crossfit shortly after turning 30. I had been over-indulging in food and alcohol for much of my 20’s and had packed on some extra weight. I tried the typical gym routine & even a few rounds of P90X, but elliptical machines weren’t cutting it and Tony Horton couldn’t convince me to “bring it” any harder on those plyo-pushups. A friend recommended that I try CrossFit, so I did and it worked almost immediately. I started losing weight, feeling better and became encouraged to participate in other activities. And now, at 35, I would say that I am probably in the best shape of my life or very close to it. I have been a member at 312 for almost one year. I had planned to try out several gyms in the city when we moved to the West Loop and 312 was first on the list, but it also ended up being the last on the list. Something about running through a dark alley (at the old gym) and hanging out with the 7:30pm crew (the burnouts) had me hooked. It takes a special group of slackers to bond over the desire to be in really, really good shape, but to try and accomplish this while doing as little work as possible. After I met these people, I never looked back.
How has being a member at 312 changed your life/lifestyle/level of fitness?
Crossfit 312 attracts a variety of athletes with diverse backgrounds. The gym and the community at 312 encourages each athlete to pursue their own individual fitness goals. I believe this makes for a challenging, but laid-back environment full of individuals that strive to be in ridiculously good shape, but also have a ton of fun getting there. It’s great to surround yourself with people that encourage you to use your fitness both in and out of the gym.
Short term goals (gym and/or personal):
Better at handstand walks and pistols. Improve my mobility…I am no supple leopard.
Long term goals (gym and/or personal):
To get stronger and feel better during longer workouts. I am also trying to find a way to maintain good abs, while utilizing a diet primarily consisting of chips and salsa. It’s not working.
What do you like most about being a member at 312?
The 3-5 minutes that Steve Bergstrom keeps his shirt on every day, Rachel’s knee-high socks and her inability to see further than 10 feet, Coach Jess’s dance moves and Coach Dante’s ability to explain important things to the 6:30 pm class, like the true definition of a “jabroni”. In all seriousness, the environment at 312 has been great and the owners, coaches and members are extremely welcoming. It’s laid back and fun, but the workouts can be grueling. It’s honestly one of the things that I look forward to most in my day.
Favorite and least favorite movements:
Favorite – Wallballs, Toes 2 Bars, Bar Muscle Ups
Least Favorites – Thrusters, pistols and handstand pushups
Favorite and least favorite WODs:
Lease favorite – Fran
Favorite – I tend to gravitate towards longer/endurance type workouts AKA Hero WODs. Two that are particularly near and dear to me are “Victoria” and “Lowry”.
Favorite post-WOD meal:
Tacos, Chips and Salsa with Guacamole
Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Pulp Fiction, Rudy, Saving Private Ryan, Super Troopers, Casino and many more.
So many to pick from, but two of my favorite Chicago books are “Devil in the White City” and “The Jungle.” A few other favorites include “The Long Run” (Matt Long story), “Into the Wild”, “Where Men Win Glory” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.
Favorite quote or words you live by?
A famous Crossfit 312 athlete once told me something profound, “In life, as in fitness, we all need to remember that it is simply not possible to be both jacked and run fast.” Some of you may remember her as Nell Shuttleworth, avid Crossfitter, Triathlete, Boston Marathon Qualifier, regional CrossFit athlete and crowned the 2017 Lightweight Masters Rowing National Champion. Nell left 312 some time ago in pursuit of year-round warmth and a new fitness community to hide her accomplishments from. Her words still haunt me day in and day out, as I chase the impossible and try to prove her wrong. Nell is probably going to kill me for this, but in all honestly, I do want to wish her and Dan all the best on their new lives in California. They are both amazing people and will be genuinely missed by everyone at 312.
What are a few of your most notable achievements?
I actually wasn’t much of an athlete growing up and/or in my 20’s. Prior to 30 I had actually never even run in an organized race (not even a 5k). Since turning 30 I have done 5k’s, ½ Marathons, the Chicago Marathon, triathlons, open water swims, bike rides, CrossFit Competitions, etc. Apparently, I was saving it all for my golden years.
I’m passionate about:
I am passionate about spicy margaritas.
Simple Spicy Margarita Recipe:
1oz Tres Agaves Organic Lime Margarita Mix
2-3 slices of jalapeños
1oz Lime juice
Place ingredients into shaker and shake it like a polaroid picture, add a salt or tajin rim to your glass and strain over ice. Boom.
I have also been known to volunteer and/or raise money for various organizations: CPD Memorial Foundation, PADS Homeless Shelter, St Vincent DePaul and Wounded Warrior Foundation are just a few that hold a place close to my heart. The thing that I have always admired about the fitness community is their ability to raise millions of dollars for a variety of wonderful organizations.
Fun fact that we don’t know about you:
I lived in California and I worked on the ABC reality television series “The Bachelor” in 2003. In that season of “The Bachelor”, a former Bachelorette finalist named Bob Guiney would win America’s hearts as one of the show’s most popular contestants to date. Lesser known production assistant, Jerry McNicholas, would go on to achieve his own fame nearly 14 years later as the Crossfit 312 Athlete of the Month.