Since Losing His Arm, He Has Found Competition, Community in CrossFit Open
Eight years ago Victor Castro’s brother told him about “this new sport”—CrossFit.
Then a twenty-year-old Ecuador-native, Castro jumped right in and joined his brother in a local class.
“From the start, it was instant love,” says Castro, reminiscing about the exhaustion he experienced during the infamous ‘deck of cards’ workout that he performed in his first class.
It was a love that turned into a priority – his top priority – as he focused his energy wholeheartedly on striving to qualify for the Latin American Regional.
But in 2012 Castro was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him without his right arm.
It would be 11 months before Castro performed his next CrossFit WOD.
“It was months of silence in being depressed,” says Castro. “I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. It was a rough time.
“One day, I just got out of bed, went into the bathroom for four hours, just crying to myself. That night, I dressed up for the gym, went and did my first workout back.
“Since that point, I started all over again, improvising and overcoming myself.”
I started all over again, improvising and overcoming myself.
Finding New Motivation
Getting used to this new way of doing CrossFit – performing the movements with the use of only one arm – took trial and error for Castro.
“I remember working out with a lot of kettlebells, dumbbells and bumpers,” he says. “I had no idea how to work out because I wasn’t used to working with one arm.
“Inside, I actually was dying to pick up the barbell and start lifting,” he continues. “But, I was teaching myself.”
As he did that, Castro grew more honest about the struggles that came with re-learning movements he had previously deemed simple. He posted about them on his social channels, and Castro’s story began to gain attention in the ever-supportive CrossFit community.
Articles were written about him, and his training videos were re-shared on social media, each greeted with hundreds of comments from CrossFitters across the globe who were inspired by his work ethic.
🤳 @victerie: 📽: ‘GRACE’ • RX 9’40” not happy but happy.. you know what I mean ! “ 📽“Squat clean at 215lb.it’s been a while bruh - A motorcycle accident left Victor Castro 🇪🇨 without motor function or sensation in his right arm. However, he continues to find ways to overcome obstacles and thrive. Castro completed all five of the workouts for the 2017 Open. Read more of his story on the #CrossFitGames Facebook. #CrossFitOpen #CrossFit
A post shared by The CrossFit Games (@crossfitgames) on Dec 13, 2017 at 4:23pm PST
“The great messages I get from around the world, it’s touching to me,” says Castro. “Around the world, the CrossFit community is like a family. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I’d be doing this.”
Around the world, the CrossFit community is like a family. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I’d be doing this.
“It’s been about five years doing CrossFit like this [with one arm],” continues the now 28-year old. “It’s just pure happiness."
With Castro’s comeback to CrossFit, his comeback to competition wasn’t far behind in the form of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open.
“I was pretty nervous about the Open in 2014. But I did every workout.”
Castro has continued to complete every Open workout since. He is already registered for the upcoming 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, admitting that his newfound (and added) love for the community elements of CrossFit is what gets him so excited about the yearly, all-inclusive competition.
“Everyone can do the Open. If you set your mind to it, you can do it,” he says.
“Just being able to share workouts with people from other places in the Open … it’s an especially eye-opening experience.”
“I was a really negative guy six or seven years ago. I didn’t talk too much, didn’t have many friends. I wasn’t involved with a community. I wanted to be the best and I didn’t give a rat’s ass what people thought. But now, it’s a lot different. I am involved in a community. I help people, and I try to teach other people and to motivate.”
I was a really negative guy six or seven years ago ... But now, it’s a lot different. I am involved in a community.