Athlete of the Month- Toby Hunter



tobyMy name is Toby Hunter and  I am 39 years old. I was born and raised in Clarksville.  I work for Orgain Ready Mix which has been in existence in Clarksville for over 60 years.  My wonderful wife’s name is Carmen.  Some of you may know her from a nutrition clinic she did a few months ago for Sola Fide at Sola Gratia or maybe by her involvement on the “What I ate Today” SolaFide Group on Facebook.   With her being so healthy and knowledgeable about food I am lucky I don’t have to worry about any of it.  I just get to eat what she cooks!  We have a son named Brayden who is a third grader at Rossview.  He’s an active little guy with interests in Soccer, Rock Climbing, Bike riding, Swimming and occasionally Crossfit Kids. Crossfit helps me to keep up with him but not even a HERO WOD can get you ready for the energy of this 8 year old!    My mother was a teacher and my father was a banker.  I have a brother that is five years younger than me and we fought like all brothers do.  The age difference let me take great advantage of that!  We grew up on a very small farm that had a small amount of animals mainly just to keep me and my brother busy.  One of my favorite things to do was to convince my two year old brother that he could ride the goats.  I would hold the goat while he climbed on and held his horns.  When he was ready I would smack the goat and he would take off running.  After about ten feet my brother would fall off hit the ground and start crying.  A few minutes later he would want to do it again.  Besides torturing my little brother I was very active growing up playing soccer, baseball and basketball.   I played travel soccer until high school which kept me very active and on the move every weekend. In High school I played Soccer, Basketball and Football.   My father really modeled a natural desire to be active as he has been a runner all of his life.  I remember as a boy, waking up and my dad coming in from a six mile run bright and early.   That fostered the idea at an early age that exercising daily was normal.  He loves to tell a story of how he got started running. In the late sixties a friend encouraged him to try running after a visit to California.  His friend said “ Do you know what they are doing out there for exercise?    People are running!”   My dad started running early in the morning with the friend and running was so new in this area that people thought they had stolen something and would throw garbage at them to get off the roads.   He still runs today at age 70. 


It seems that I gravitate back to exercise no matter how long I take off.  After high school I attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville but ended up finishing college at APSU with a degree in finance.  All this sounds like pretty normal college boy stuff but there is a twist. 

On October 15th 1995 at the age of 21 with the help of my family I admitted myself into a treatment center for Addiction to Alcohol and Drugs.  There are many stories of jails I’ve spent time in and parties that got me to the point of Addiction… but that’s not who I Am.    Addiction is a Self Diagnosis.  No matter how obvious it is that someone is addicted to anything until they themselves realize they are addicted no help will be accepted.  It was a very scary time in my life.  I can remember lying in a plastic hospital bed with a plastic pillow case and every movement being loud and annoying!  The room was filled with people like me experiencing withdrawal.  The screams and the moaning are forever burned into my brain.  The physical addiction was bearable within a few days but mentally it was a much longer process.   Fear ran my life.  Fear of not being good enough and fear of failure.  The mindset I had felt like pure insanity.  I could justify anything and continuously played the victim.   As much as that was a bad time of my life it is a part of what I had to go through to become who I am today.  I presently choose not to drink or use drugs simply because I have the traits of an addict even 18 years later.  The experience of addiction and recovery brought wonderful things to my life. 

 toby2After college I moved to Atlanta and met my amazing wife.  We got married in 2001 and in the “happily married state” I gained a little weight even though we were active.  My wife got pregnant in March 2004 and until December 2004 I ate like a pregnant woman!   She gained 42  lbs during that pregnancy and being the supportive husband I am I gained that and MORE with her.  She lost her weight pretty quickly but not me.  She likes to tell the story that one day she looked at me while breastfeeding our son and she said “ You really need to move your body.  You have gotten fat”.  I was sitting there with the remote control eating a Michaels Pizza.  

So in 2006 I decided I was going to go for a run.  I remember running around the neighborhood for a little over a mile and almost passing out in my driveway thinking “This is not good and it is not supposed to hurt this bad.”  That was the beginning of a life changing journey.  In 2007 I did my first Marathon and followed it up with a few Triathlons.  I did multiple Olympic and Half Ironman Triathlons to prep for an Ironman which I completed in 2009.  In 2011 I did another Ironman with my family following me around the course and cheering me the whole way.  After such intense and extensive training for IM I decided to try something different. 

That’s when I found SolaFide. I strutted into the box with my “website” knowledge of Crossfit and my own personal experience from doing a few WODS at home.  I remember the first “3. 2. 1. Go!” moment and thinking to myself “I am about to blow this out of the water!”  About two minutes later I was sure I was having a heart attack and there was no way I could finish this.  I remember thinking I am a two time Ironman I can’t quit the first workout!   I did survive that WOD  but walked out a little more humble and immediately hooked.  I think I realized that this was the place for me when I was 3 rep max back squatting and I was paired with the girls and they were just cheering me on to get that third rep.  No one cared what I could or couldn’t do they just cheered me on.  I’m amazed every day at what people of all genders and ages are able to accomplish.  Being fit and healthy isn’t a goal I set for myself…it’s an example I want to set for my son and a goal I want to achieve to be here for my family. 

toby3What gets me to the box every day?  You do.  I know that you’re all going to be there giving everything you have. It’s inspiring.  I’m amazed every day at what the beginners accomplish. I am in awe of the beasts throwing the heavy weights around. My competitive addictive behavior definitely pushes me…but the history of my father’s example, and knowing that all of you will be there cheering for what I can do and not caring about what I can’t do gets me in the garage door everyday. Now enough about me!  Whats the WOD??




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