Inspiration Talk: Cody Loffler (Union Forged Fitness & CrossFit French Creek)

My cousin Jeffrey started CrossFit a little over a year ago and he’s always beamed over his coach Cody. So much so that I had to find out what the deal was with his awesomeness. Hence this interview. Anyone Jeff vouches for is 100% ok in my book so I was sure that Cody would be a rockstar for motivating others.

I was right.

Below you will find out his 2 step process for a successful life, fear of being “non fit”, how thinking of hum-vees chasing him helps, and his love for nasty crossfit workouts.

Give us a little background. (ie, name, age, where you live, occupation, certifications [if any], how long you’ve been an athlete ro into fitness)

Cody Loeffler, 27, I live in Phoenixville PA and I am the owner of Union Forged Fitness & CrossFit French Creek.  Crossfit L-1, CrossFit Weightlifting, CrossFit Kids certified, and I am in the process of completing my OPEX CCP associate coach certification. Grew up an active kid. I loved sports, loved to work hard, Played in every possible soccer, basketball, and baseball league I could find. In 8th grade I made the switch over to football and found my calling there more so than with other sports I was playing.

Football off season was really the beginning of “training” for sport, or being in the weight room for me. Played football in college at Susquehanna University from 05-09 and started CrossFit shortly after in 2011 at CrossFit Apex in Souderton, PA. Later went on to train and coach at CrossFit Explode under Brian Quinlan for the next 4 years and have been really fortunate to be competitive in the sport, and to have made it to the Games twice as a member of Team Explode. I love the sport of fitness, I love the work and grit it takes, and I look forward to competing in it for many years to come.

Why did you start working out?

As I stated above, initially for sport preparation, but eventually it was time to hang up the cleats and helmets so I wanted to get in great shape—I was a lineman all my life so I was always a lot bigger and even though I was strong and agile for my size, ultimately I was really unhealthy and that type of lifestyle is not sustainable for a long healthy life.  I started running a ton after college to lose weight and stay in shape—and I found CrossFit shortly thereafter.

What is your mindset throughout the day?

I would say it changes a lot— I guess if you’re asking about what goes on when I am going about what I need to do work wise, training wise, life in general wise— My mindset is simple but I think it consists of a few things:

1. Some words or thoughts that I try to live by simply asking myself each day, with each new task I take on—”Do you live your dream?”  Its important to me that I am following my heart and doing the things that make me most happy and most fulfilled—I think thats a big part of overall fitness.  It’s a shame, and I understand that people for the most part have to “do what they gotta do,” but I think too many people out there are living lives they don’t want to live. Working jobs they hate.  I think too many people are afraid to take the leap or the steps they need to take to be spending their lives doing the things that make them happy.  You only get one try at this thing, and about a year and a half ago I really realized that and made a pretty radical career shift, now I couldn’t be happier when I ask myself “Did you live your dream?” because even on my tough days—I am really loving life.

2. Much more simple than #1—Did I improve somehow today? Did I help someone today? I feel like if I can answer yes to both of those questions, and I can honestly say I am living my dream and that I am thankful for that opportunity, that I know I am making a difference and I am on my way towards what I am trying to achieve.

Define healthy.

Healthy is living a balanced lifestyle primarily centered around clean, paleo-diet quality foods/zone quantity proportions, sleeping 7 plus hours per night, exercising regularly, getting out and enjoying the world around you, spending time with family and loved ones, drinking lots of water, drinking really good coffee, doing what makes you happiest, and knowing that once in a while its okay to deviate from the plan (nutrition wise, sleep wise, stress wise) but having the discipline to know that it really has to be an 80/20 kind of relationship if you want to have results reap the benefits of being in good health.

What foods do you eat and stay away from?

Mostly Paleo foods (lean meat and vegetables, eggs and bacon, nuts and seeds, other good fats) I try to stay away from junk! I stay away from sugar, processed foods, grains for the most part, foods with too many ingredients on the list that I cannot pronounce or that I’ve never heard of.

How do you stay motivated to stay in shape?

I love being Fit! I think the fear of how it feels to be “out of shape” when you are trying to get back into shape (if that makes sense) is always a good motivator for me!! I want to be a model for clients, members, and people who might look up to me.

Friends I have and other athletes in the Fitness world are motivating.  There are definitely times throughout the year when motivation lacks, but i think there is an inverse relationship between the way competition (in crossfit) can greatly motivate you, but also too much of that type of strict regimented lifestyle for too long will definitely take its toll mentally and can really burn you out.  When things like that happen—I have learned the best thing to do (even though it kills me) is to take as much time off as it takes to feel good and motivated again.  Sometimes thats not very long sometimes that can be a while.  Motivation doesn’t exclusively stem from competition, but it surely brings out the best in me fitness wise—mostly when I am simply competing against myself.

What do you tell yourself when your mind tells you to give up?

Oh man—I have had several voices in my head during these types of moments.  Some stuff is there in the moment and then gone forever like I completely forget what I was thinking at the time or what I was saying to myself that helped me pushed through and finish strong… those are probably the most crazy thoughts or random thoughts to put my mind somewhere else entirely haha… I don’t even want to know what those voices say.  Mental toughness is an attribute that takes a lot of time for some people to develop.  I think I’m lucky to have been brought up both by my parents, and also playing the sports that I played to make me mentally tough.  Our football pre seasons used to feel like something out of a movie with how hot it would be in August, and how hard we hit, and how long we would practice for.  I developed a lot of that mental toughness there because I wanted to be a leader and I wanted to be the best.  Now I think I mostly talk myself through tough times (in and out of workouts) with a really calm inner voice, the same way I would coach someone else through a tough workout.  “just a couple more,” “1 more minute, you can do anything for 1 minute.” And then there are some times when it gets really bad (this might sound weird) where I honestly think about that scene at the end of the movie Black Hawk Down where the U.S. soldiers have to run 11 miles out of the somalian war zone behind the hum-vees after they just spent hours and hours fighting, to get all the way back to their base while being chased and shot at.  I think “what if you HAD to keep going?” (like they did) what if there was no other option and you couldn’t stop or it meant your life?  It’s not as serious I know, its a workout.  But I try to channel some of those types of thoughts because it helps me remember—this isn’t war, this is exercise.  But there are men and women out there defending our country and putting their lives on the line every day—in that way I feel like can quietly honor those who do each day through fitness. You find out who you really are when things get that tough, I love to push those limits.

Who inspires you? (this doesn’t have to be someone famous)

No question— my parents.  I look back on when I was a kid and I wonder how they did everything they did for me and my sisters. I am forever grateful to them, they have always supported me in everything I have ever wanted to do, even when I worried them when I told them I was walking away from being a teacher. They’re behind me, they’re my biggest fans, I don’t know anyone who works harder.  They’re my heroes, I want to make them proud.  That inspires me.

What books/blogs/movies inspire you?

Probably too many to name but I gotta throw the Rocky movies in the mix, Any Given Sunday, Warrior off the top of my head movie wise; I get pretty jacked up watching a lot of the older Rogue/ Mikko Salo videos on youtube—they’re pretty awesome.  A book I read recently that was really inspiring was Simon Sinek, “Leaders Eat Last” definitely check it out.

Best strength move in your opinion and why?

Gotta be Squat. For too many reasons to list but in terms of functionality and fundamental strength its paramount.

If you CrossFit, what’s your fav wod?

Also probably far too many, and to be honest, there are probably a few favorites that no one else would recognize because they are not “hero” or “benchmark” workouts.  For the sake of recognition; I would say “DT” is a favorite of mine, big fan of “Grace,” “Isabel,” and “Amanda” also.

Why?

Classic CrossFit. Simple, super effective, nasty! Love it.

I like to hear (fill in the blank) music when I work out.

Mostly rap, but I like a wide variety of music. Depends on my mood and what I’m doing.  You might catch me working out to Hozier or Of Monsters and Men depending on the day haha. Its cool to mix it up every now and then.

Fav song to wod to?

“Guns and Roses” Jay-Z and Lenny Kravitz
But really anything Jay-Z ; Lots of Drake; Diplo radio, B.O.B. radio.

Favorite quote?

The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.
-John Ruskin

Go Fast. Take Chances.
-Matt Chan

Best advice to anyone struggling to get in shape?

Don’t wait. Start today and if you have already started, set your goals, tighten up your diet, drink lots of water, get adequate sleep, be consistent with exercise. If all those things are REALLY in line, the rest will take care of itself!!

You can follow Cody on his Instagram – @codyloeffler