Athlete Spotlight – Luke Gschwend

This week’s Athlete Spotlight goes to Mr. Luke Gschwend! Luke is one of our veteran crossfitters and has become an integral part of our CrossFit Merge community. While he has been with us, we have seen him grow into an incredible athlete! He is consistent with his workouts, super devoted to eating clean/healthy foods (2nd time around on the Whole Life Challenge – that’s no joke), and is probably the most dedicated athlete to burpees I have ever met 😛 All his hard work is certainly paying off! His witty personality and kind disposition are just a few of the many great attributes that make him the awesome athlete that he is.

And without further ado, here’s Luke G!


How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Long enough to see Bryce’s “head shake of shame” every time I still don’t have double-unders. And that would be more than a year and a half (2 years total but with some injury breaks).

How did you hear about CrossFit Merge?

Google and serendipity.

What was your first CrossFit WOD experience like?

I remember my intro training experience with Bryce. He had me do a circuit with box step ups and some other basic movements. At the end I felt lightheaded and wanted to puke. I said to him, “Wow, that’s a good work out,” and he told me, “that’s the warm up.”

It’s been a love/hate relationship with CrossFit ever since.

What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

That I’m not religious as many people think of religious. I just love Jesus and follow Him with all my heart and I love people! Sometimes during a really difficult and painful WOD when I want to give up because of the pain, I think of the pain Christ went through for me on the Cross for my sin and it puts my pain in perspective and helps me overcome it.

What is your greatest CrossFit accomplishment thus far?

Getting to 215 lbs in the Clean & Jerk ladder was pretty awesome! Or getting muscle ups!

What is your favorite WOD and why?

Anything with one round and less than 3 reps. Scratch that… 2 reps.

What is your least favorite WOD and why?

Kelly. Oh Kelly…. It’s one of the only WODs I’ve quit in the middle (because my back was hurting so much).

What advice would you give a new member?

Here are some gems I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Eating is 60% of the battle, why push your engine hard but then give it crappy fuel (that’s just mean to yourself!)

2. Pick your foil: Someone who is around your fitness level and skill. And then compete with them! Use their score on the board to push you and try to beat it. My foil is one of my favorite people and CrossFit arch-nemesis, the talented early-riser, Chris Backley (right now he’s a little more fit and I’m a little stronger). But iron sharpens iron.

3. Check your ego at the door. We’re all trying to get better today than we were yesterday, so don’t think you’re hot stuff– because there is always someone better. But don’t get down on yourself either– keep at it and in 3 months you’ll look back and be amazed at the progress. One day at a time.

4. Pick your local gym hero: Someone who you aspire to be like in your local gym. I have several heroes (Fred, Chris Horton) but my main one is Cory Ille. I look at Cory and it inspires me to work harder. Of course Bryce is another one, but seeing Bryce work out is like spotting a leopard in the wild– a rare occurrence for a guy who WODs with the 12:30pm crew.

5. Ask questions!

6. Right before a WOD, go to the bathroom (I’m talking number 1). Any weight you can lose will help, plus it’s a good stall tactic.

7. If you need extra burpee practice, show up a little late to class. Just kidding! [Bryce just did his “head shake of shame” again]

8. Do the Whole Life Challenge– my biggest times of growth were while I was doing the WLC.

9. Start out coming at least 3 times a week. Two times a week isn’t enough to get you over the hump. Then once you have your bearings, increase attendance to 4 times a week (if possible). Then I’d recommend if you’re up for it coming a fifth time to an open gym to work on things you want to get better at (the 5th day can be an easier day).

10. Rest. Remember you don’t get stronger when working out, your muscles rebuild (i.e. get stronger) during REST.

11. (bonus tip). Get your double-unders quickly!

Out of all the hours in the day (both sleeping and awake) how much time do you spend working out? Thinking about CrossFit? Dreaming it? Watching vids? etc.

Honestly, I would say 4-5 hours. I’ve found myself more and more interested in the Crossfit Games and CrossFit’s elite athletes. I watch a lot of the youtube videos on the CrossFit Games and tutorials on movements. Between going to the gym, stretching, eating and getting lost in youtube videos it adds up!

If you could be a superhero, who would you be, what superpowers would you have and why?

Rich Froning and the ability to win the CrossFit Games…

My favorite super heroes have been Superman and Batman. I like Superman’s purity– he’s your classic, unselfish, good superhero who really wants to help people. I like Batman’s ingenuity and mystique. The best superpower, though, in my opinion is the ability to freeze time. It is one of the most powerful powers anyone could ever have. Think of how much easier it would be getting your elbows around the bar on that clean. Or you could do a round in a WOD, freeze time and rest, unfreeze and continue fresh. That’s only applying it to CrossFit– there’s so much more!

If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Crossfit Games 2014 Winner: Luke Gschwend

If you were stranded on a desert island what items would you bring with you apart from, food, clothes and water?

My laptop and a very, very long extension cord.

“Items” would need to be clarified and defined for me to answer this for reals (like maybe a boat). Could I bring CrossFit Merge so we could WOD on a desert island together?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Not trying to be cute but technically– right now.

Where do you see yourself in 1 year?

Right here in Los Angeles, owner of a house, married with a family of 8, and writing full time.

Or… doing double-unders… and seeing Bryce’s “half-nod” of approval.

Luke, thanks for being part of our community, and can we PLEASE come with you to the deserted island?! How fun would it be to have all Mergers WODing it up like that?!  😉

Thursday – All Classes


Practice rowing skills

In teams of 2, row 1400 meters for time

Workout of the Day (WOD):

14 minute AMRAP of:
100 meter run
12 weighted box step-ups (24″/20″ as heavy as possible)

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