February 2022 – Christian “Crushtian” Stellisch

Christian also know in the gym as “Crushtian” has been part of our BeachSide CrossFit 5:30 a.m. crew for just over 2 years. From day one he’s been such a great addition to BeachSide. Christian always has a smile on his face and is ready to take on every WOD. If you’re lucky you may also catch him throwing down Saturday morning.

Tell us about yourself:
I was born and raised in Aachen, Germany until my dad ( who worked for the German Government) took an assignment in Dayton, OH when I was in  third grade. From then on,  it was more or less a back and forth between the US and Germany – finishing with graduating from High School in Ohio. (A good deal for me since I only had to do 12 years of school instead of the usual 13 in Germany). After high school I joined the Luftwaffe (aka the German Air Force During my 12 year service commitment, I  got to serve with multinational teams working on helicopters, transport planes, and fighter jets as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. The military finally had pity on me and transferred me to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico for the last few years of my service. There, after 8 years (give or take) of a transcontinental relationship I married my high school sweetheart Kelly and got our Golden Retriever Bentley in the deal.

The three of us made the move to Ventura in 2016 and have since been enjoying the California life with beach days, hikes, trips to Mammoth, and of course wine tasting in Paso Robles and Napa Valley. I still love to travel, to go on adventures, as well as to enjoy some local beers and wines with friends (on both sides of the Atlantic).

What do you do for a job?
I joined a German company that had a subsidiary in the area (DEKRA) when I left the military. The shortest description of my job is “Mädchen für alles” (a German idiom for a jack of all trades). I get to work in project management, process improvement/optimization as well as bridging the cultural gap between Germans and Americans.

Tell us something people might not know about you:
By this time, you may have guessed: I’m a citizen of both Germany and the US. Although, I’m often met with disbelief when I tell people that I am German first. As Kelly likes to point out though, some words are still hard to pronounce and as I get tired or “sufficiently lubricated”, German sentence structures sneak into my English.

What brought you to CrossFit in the first place?
As with so many things, I blame Kelly. Since my military service, I’ve always enjoyed working out. Unfortunately, most of what I enjoyed was very time-intensive: skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and eventually running (marathons). While I could make the time during the military,  that time was hard to find afterwards.  I tried to get back into an exercise routine using  P90x and the Insanity Workouts but had trouble staying motivated with these “old” programs.  So, Kelly eventually talked me into trying CrossFit. I hate to admit that she’s right about this, so let’s hope she doesn’t read this.

What was your first impression? How has it changed?
Part of my hesitance to try CrossFit was my preconceived notion that it was cult-like and filled with meatheads. I thought I knew the type from military gyms and definitely did not want any part of that. With Kelly, I found out that this is not entirely true and that each gym has its own culture. Traveling and dropping into different CrossFit gyms really drove that point home: the culture and community at BeachSide was exactly what I was looking for (without even knowing it). Both the members and coaches have a safety-first attitude where we all challenge each other but not let our egos get in the way of a good workout.

What was your first “bright spot”?
There are bright spots?

Honestly, two things stand out to me: First, knowing what (most) of the movements and lifts are called, enables me to focus on performing them rather than trying to think through each step and ultimately getting stuck. Second, being able to do more and more workouts as prescribed, namely Fran or the 12 days of BSCF. (Horrible times, mind you, but Rx nonetheless).

What are you working on now?
Trying to not hate Burpees. And trying not to hurt myself attempting double-unders (I can already do sets of 1 unbroken!). And working on muscle ups. Handstand pushups are on the list too. And …….

What is your favorite BeachSide memory?
The community and culture at the gym: social events such as the Christmas Party, Summer Birthday Party, or ending the evening WOD with a trip through the fence to Topa Topa. As much as these extracurricular activities are favorites, so are the Hero WODs we complete together. Most notably Murph and of course our beach workout: Big Nate (burpees in the water are somehow better).