Islip Crossfit September 2018 Member Spotlight

Islip Crossfit Member Spotlight

September 2018

This month we are recognizing the effort, achievements, and progress of Tom Bulk.  Tom is a regular 6am guy and actually began his journey at Islip Crossfit when he won a raffle for a free month membership from Cornucopia!  Tom has been with us for just shy of a year and his performance and continued effort and drive to work hard, grow, and improve has impressed just about everyone in the gym.



Tom is such a low key guy at the gym! He just comes in, does the work, then goes home. However one thing I do notice is he is always paying attention! He’s always looking at me when I’m coaching to really soak in what I’m saying and how it can help him move better. It’s certainly been paying off as his strength numbers have been climbing and even if he’s not able to RX the workout, he’s creeping up with the weights and getting close! He’s got such a great attitude and just wants to have fun and learn how do perform the movements correctly.  All his hard work has not gone unnoticed, well deserved to be highlighted this month.–Coach Nick


I get to coach Tom Thursday mornings and weekends, and every time he comes in he’s ready to learn something new and listen. He has been able to improve a great amount because he takes the time to ask questions and learn. During warm ups I always notice him paying extremely close attention through barbell movements and it translates over to his performance. He is also a very laid back guy and says hello to everyone that comes into class and is always in a good mood. He also started taking his shirt off for workouts so you know he loves to fitness. –Coach Andrew


In my short time coaching Tom, I’ve learned that he may be quiet, but he is fierce.  Leave it to him to set the pace for all 6 am runs and push the ladies to run faster than they think they could.  With Tom it’s not always about weight on the bar, it’s about form and purpose of the workout, he makes coaching easy! –Coach Trish



Tell us about yourself?

I’m an Islip born native, lived here the majority of my life. I’m definitively of the outdoor type, I’m often escaping the Island and heading up to the mountains each weekend (actually just spent a week in Maine so please excuse my absences)  I consider myself a multi-sport athlete I participate in triathlons, ski, mountain bike, rock climb, ice climb, mountaineer, trail run and anything else that challenges me physically while getting me outdoors. When I’m home which isn’t too often you can catch me on my sailboat or tending to my vegetable garden.  


What do you do out in the real world?

I’ve worn many hats over the years started as a carpenter as I was finishing up college for the first time. I then went onto a career in the financial world heading to the city each day but that didn’t work for me. Now I’m a Junior Architect working locally at a firm in Bay Shore. I’m in the process of obtaining my architecture license now so if anyone is in need of an architect just let me know.




What brought you to Islip CF? How long have you been doing CrossFit?

I actually won a month membership to Islip Crossfit through Cornucopia which is the best grocery store around btw. I guess I started back in December but I sustained an injury to my shoulder and got caught up in ski season but I feel like I’m beginning to gain momentum.


What was your first CF workout? What did you think after it?

Honestly I can’t remember, I remember Andrew was the instructor we did some barbell work and their were definitely wall balls involved. I was told to just lift with the bar for my first class which was hard for me to accept but now that I look back on it I completely understand. I really like the tempo of the class. I always hate when you go to the gym people just parking on the various machines benches ect. I’ve always like to keep moving when I work out so it seemed like a good fit from the start.


What changes have you made in your workouts that have been the most successful?

At first I got caught up into the competitive aspect of the class. Instead of focusing on form I was more concerned with how much I was lifting  in relation to what others were. I learned to focus on form and build the fundamentals which takes time. I’m now just beginning to feel like I’m proficient in the various movements and beginning to build up more weight but their is still so much to learn and I’m always thankful to the coaches when they point out my faults.


Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?

Nothing to embarrassing but I do remember doing box jumps being slightly exhausted and failing to clear the box which resulted in me falling over it.  I’m sure no one really noticed and if they did probably were only concerned with my well being but it was slightly embarrassing for me.


Favorite movement? Least favorite? Benchmark WOD?

Favorite movement I guess is anything on the rig, I’m not great at it but I’ve enjoyed making progress. Least favorite is definitely the overhead squat but I’m slowly warming up to it.  A benchmark WOD for me would be “Cindy” I tore my hand pretty good that day but it was a great workout for me.


Favorite memory OR most memorable moment at Islip Crossfit? (could be a PR moment or an event etc.)

The WOD was I think a 1500M row and a mile run which we did two times I think? I banged out a 6 minute mile for my first round which is about as fast as I can run. It was nice to showcase some of my skills that day, I don’t always get to hit that RX button or end up on top of the whiteboard.


If you could program it, what is your perfect workout?

As I mentioned earlier I really like the “Cindy” so it would be similar. I’m all about exercises that work with you own body weight. I would probably do something like 1 mile run followed by 20 pull ups, 30 push ups,  40 air squats, 30 box jumps and then do it all over again.


Favorite workout music?

I’m a weirdo so probably some New Wave 80’s music, or if not that Funk Jazz New Orleans style.


Advice for a new member or someone thinking of trying CrossFit?

Remember you are there for you, its easy to get caught up in competition which of course is healthy. But learn the movements build your foundation don’t be silly like me and put on that additional 10lbs because someone else did and injure yourself. Gains take time so be patient and smart. Everyone wants to see you succeed just do it in your own time.


How do you find/make time to get your workouts in?

I have become part of the 6AM crew. Sure its easy to hit that snooze button but I just get up get it done and my day is a whole lot better when I do. But I’ve struggled with this because I do have my own cardio schedule that I like to adhere to each week so its been tough finding the balance. Overall I think I’m a better athlete when I incorporate strength training into my regiment so I will continue to roll out of bed and make it to class.


What is your favorite part of Islip CrossFit?

The camaraderie! Its funny I was always someone who worked out alone because it was my time to escape and reflect and just put in work. I never thought I would like the group mentality but it allows you to reach goals you could not achieve on your own.


What motivates you to keep coming back each day?

Progress, I’m getting stronger I’m moving faster I’m building a better me. I’ve struggled with some injuries bad joints ect. and I know by building myself up I will just become more resilient.


What is your greatest achievement in your fitness so far?

For me its been my progress as a triathlete. I don’t know why exactly I decide to do one a couple years ago. I was terrified of the swim ended up swimming off course took me about an hour to swim a mile now I can do that in 30 minutes. I have my first Iron Man 70.3 coming up at the end of the month I’m scared I’m nervous but I love that and when I’m done I can drink all the beer and eat all the food.


What has been the most challenging part?

Just keeping the regiment. It takes a lot of time and dedication and sometimes I just want to kick back and relax but I hate moving backwards so I just keep forging on.


Short term goal? Long term goal?

Short term if I could just do a damn hand stand push-up already. Long Term I want to do a full Iron Man.


What/Who motivates or inspires you?

I’m inspired by lots of people but I guess when I think about it would be my father. He was just a can do kind of guy, when we were young he would pick out the tallest tree and invite us to come join him in climbing it. He just taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. One of his classic stories was the Cross Bay Swim. He was not a swimmer didn’t train and I was not there to witness but rumor has it he finished his cigarette jump in the water and proceed to swim across the bay. He finished dead last that day but never quit. I guess that can do never give up mentality just always stuck with me.




Favorite Cheat Meal?

I’m a pretty clean eater but an Eggplant Parm Hero comes to mind.


What changes have you made in your diet that have been the most successful?

Over the years my diet has changed a lot I mostly just focus on eating whole foods nothing processed lots of raw veggies things like that.


What is the worst “diet” you’ve ever been on?

I never really did diets but I do remember when I was a struggling college student which little money to spare I would get bean burritos from taco bell all the time because I think they were something like 70 cents, I could stuff my face for less than 3 dollars.


What’s your go to breakfast?

Smoothie every morning. Normally bananas, handful of spinach, protein powder, dash of cinnamon, some ice and non-dairy milk.  


Do you eat before you workout? (If so, what?)

Being that I normally work out at 6 am I don’t normally eat before. I was on the coffee kick to jump start me but I’ve been weaning off of that. I’m kind of addicted to coconut water at the moment I normally will drink that before I come to the gym.




Something no one at the gym knows about you?

I’m a vegan been that way for about three years now. Every once in a blue I might eat a piece of cheese.


Favorite Quote?

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery non but ourselves can free our minds” Bob Marley


What Superhero are you?

Wolverine I guess because why not ?


Biggest Fear?

Missing out (FOMO), so much to do in this world never stop exploring.


Best Vacation?

High on a mountain upon a glacier just climbing and getting away from the daily stresses of life and focusing in on what’s right in front of you.


If you aren’t at the box, where would we find you?

Probably escaping to the mountains as I alluded to earlier. I’m a Long Islander for now but I know I belong in the mountains its my happy place for sure.


If you won lotto, what would you do?

Immediately travel. I don’t know that I would have a home I would just go from place to place (mostly in the mountains) climb everything I’ve always dreamed of, ski deep pow in the winter, sail around the world that kind of thing.


If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Alaska, I’ve been dreaming of climbing Denali for about 15 years now. Its just such an untouched place but there are so many other places I would like to go as well but I guess I would start there.


Who is your celebrity crush?

Not an easy question for me I’m way out of the loop when it comes to celebs, last time I step foot in a moving theater was well over 10 years ago. My crushes are mostly pro skiers, climbers and just any type of women bad asses out there, not into the girly types.


Last pic on your phone?

Why who has been looking?  No, sunrise from Cadillac mountain highest point in Acadia national forest. It’s one of the first places you can see the sunrise on all of the east coast, we popped champagne when it came up because why not?


What’s the wallpaper on your phone right now?

Had to look haha, El Capitan Yosemite National Park I believe the longest vertical rock formation in the US. No, I have not climbed it but one day I hope to.


What’s in your most frequently used emoji tab? (get a screenshot)

Pretty cheesy but the kissy face, conversations with my girlfriend and I won’t be sharing a screen shot of that.  


What’s the last thing you searched for on Google?

Jobs at the Matterhorn ski resort in Switzerland. As I mentioned I’m honing in on obtaining my architecture license and I was originally planing on moving to Washington State when I was done but now I’m thinking about being a ski bum for a winter before I settle down someplace new.


Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less

“Never stop exploring” stole that from the North Face but it was the first thing that came to mind.

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