October Athlete of the Month - Brody Haydel

Published October 1, 2017


Hello, my name is Brody Haydel.  I’m 50 years old. (Still not used to saying that).  I’m married, and my wife Vivian and I have three daughters, Joie, Jewel and Jovianne.  I spent nine years in the Marines, mostly flying helicopters.  I always wanted to fly from my earliest memories.  I now work as a contracting officer for the Navy.  My interests include working out as much as possible and finding great new food places.  

I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost three years now.  I’ve been at OCF for the last year and a half. I was happy at my old gym, and I credit our programmer Greg with my early success.  He challenged me, but at the same time, he knew I was no “spring chicken”.  When Greg moved to Colorado, the gym seemed to go through an identity crisis; so a group of us from the late class (Shannon, Lorena, Will and I) decided to try OCF.  Our first impression of OCF was that they really emphasized heavy weightlifting, which was intimidating at first. I had worked through a lot of injuries my first year and didn’t want a repeat.  But I had always pushed myself to do more.  Surprisingly, my body responded well when challenged, and my one reps went up.   I still listened to my body, but I was also focused on getting better.  I admit though, I didn’t think we would leave the old gym, but we wanted to keep our group together and OCF turned out to be the right choice for all of us.   I still sometimes don’t believe the progress I’ve made since joining OCF.  CrossFit has definitely changed my idea of what fitness is.

I had been athletic and active my entire life.  I competed in track and cross country in high school and could run the half mile in under two minutes in college.  In the Marines, I had a perfect 300 PFT.  Most of my workouts involved running, but I also hit the weight room a couple days a week.   

My journey to CrossFit really began ten years ago.  My 40th birthday just hit me like a freight train.  I found myself stuck in a miserable job.  I was unhappy.  I wasn’t interested in working out anymore.  Four years later I weighed over 200lbs, my blood pressure was high, I had back and knee problems and my perfect 20/15 vision was gone, and I needed glasses.  I changed jobs and my work life improved, but it wasn’t enough to get me off the couch.  I could always talk myself out of taking that first step.  I needed that spark to get me going, and I didn’t know what it was.  Then it happened - my arches starting throbbing with pain.  Up to that point, I could rationalize anything, but the thought that my increased weight was actually flattening my feet was the final straw.  I decided I wasn’t going to go out like that.  I got off the couch and started working out regularly again.  I did what I had always done.  Long runs and cardio supplemented by weight training.  I had to make some adjustments in the beginning like spending more time on the treadmill and bike to reduce the stress on my lower legs.  Although I made decent strides at getting back into shape, I just wasn’t getting the same results.  I guess my body knew all my previous tricks.  Then my youngest daughter approached me about trying CrossFit.  She had just retired from competitive gymnastics and was looking for her next thing.  I resisted for months.  I didn’t want to do organized classes (just wasn’t my thing).  Luckily, she was persistent, and I finally gave in.   We did the essential elements class and then I showed up for my first real CrossFit workout.  Ten minutes in I was standing in a puddle of my own sweat.  (And we were just finishing the warmup.)  I thought to myself, this might be what I’ve been looking for.

My current goals are to improve my technique, work toward getting the skills I haven’t achieved yet (like double-unders and handstand walks) and getting stronger.  My long-term goal is to be able to lift at least 200lbs in every discipline.

What I like best about CrossFit, and especially OCF, are the people and the friendships I’ve made.  If you’ve worked out with me, you know I like to crack jokes and keep things light.  Over the years I’ve found a little sense of humor goes a long way in handling what life throws at you.

LIFTS – past/ current/ goals:



Back squat




Clean and jerk


Front squat


Bench press


Shoulder press




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