Anthony “Hunchback” Belenchia… Many of you do not know Anthony as he is not actually a CrossFitter, but is a StrongMan competitor that trains in the back room of Fringe. He nicknamed himself “The Hunchback” as he generally keeps to the back corner of the gym for his workouts as if we’re ashamed of him. When Anthony walks in he seems all business, but don’t let his frown fool you – he’s genuinely a warm, caring, and generous guy. He is also the creator of the Show-Me Strength Challenge that we’ve hosted the last 3 years. Just one example of his generosity and connection to our community can be seen from our last competition – he donated 100% of the proceeds raised from the event to our very own #RallyForRhyan campaign, helping us to cross the $2,500 mark. Anthony also regularly fields questions about supplements and nutrition, freely offering his expertise for those that ask (he’s a PhD candidate if you weren’t aware). For these reasons, as well as as a host of others, we are proud to call Anthony Belenchia the CrossFitter of the Month.
How long have you been attending CrossFit Fringe, and what brought you here?
I have been a member since February of 2014. I initially came to CFF in order to rehab my back, which I had broken (2 fractured vertebrae) the previous September. I was living with Tyler at the time and I think that he just got tired of listening to me complain about not having anywhere good to train, so he invited me thinking that I would just be around for a few weeks.
Since starting at CrossFit Fringe, what has changed about your lifestyle or outlook on life?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that my lifestyle or outlook on life has changed, as I had already been training/competing in strongman for about two years prior to joining. However, since I started training at CFF, my appreciation for other strength sports, particularly CrossFit, has become much greater. I would also say that my approach to training has changed to some degree — I used to be completely antisocial while I was training, whereas now I will occasionally say “hello” to someone .
What is your favorite movement/skill?
As far as general regularly-programmed movements are concerned, I am a big fan of overhead pressing (not jerking) but the yoke walk is my favorite event.
What has been the most challenging part of your journey with CrossFit?
Well, I have only actually done 3 WODS; two of them were as a member of the 2015 CFF Open champions (Body Snatchers) and I cherry-picked the other one (I think that it was pretty much just deadlifting and dips). The biggest challenge has been coming up with new excuses not to do any more WODs.
What do you enjoy most about CrossFit/CrossFit Fringe?
I like the fact that no matter when I go in, there is almost always someone there working hard. I don’t want to sound like a motivational meme but effort really is contagious. Even when people are doing something vastly different than you are, there is just something about training alongside others who are pushing themselves that makes you push a little harder.
What do you like to do outside the gym?
I am currently in the final stretch of my doctoral program and in the midst of wedding planning, so there really isn’t a whole lot leisure/pleasure time these days. As shocking as it may be to some, I am a very big family person and really enjoy spending time with my fiancée, step-daughters, and dog Dexter. We really have a lot of fun together and I cherish that time. I also have six nephews in Connecticut whom I try to Skype with regularly. Aside from that, I’m an avid sports fan with a bit of an obsession with professional football (Redskins)…it’s to the point where it’s a year-round thing. I also enjoy reading a lot of science articles from fields outside of my own, particularly astronomy and theoretical physics. As an extension of this, I love sci-fi…as long as it is theoretically plausible and leans more towards science than fiction.