Basketball has been Zep’s favorite activity for most of his life. But since joining Fearless Athletics about two years ago, basketball has been demoted to his second favorite activity.

In CrossFit, Zep has learned to do things he never would have tried before, like handstand pushups. When he first started, Zep couldn’t kick up to the wall. Now, he can do deficit handstand pushups.

When he first started, he never dreamed he’d be able to lift 200 pounds over his head. He recently PR’d his clean and jerk at 225.

“The coaching is really good,” he says of Fearless. “They help you to improve every day. I’ve made improvements across the board, so it’s pretty cool. After a while you start seeing the same faces and you see everyone improve just like you.”

And Zep has discovered that his two passions — CrossFit and basketball — are actually mutually beneficial: doing box jumps in CrossFit has helped with his jumping in basketball. Once he masters double unders, he’ll be dunking from the foul line!

Zep (whose full name is Zephaniah) is lead of logistics and operations for a fast-growing real estate startup that buys houses in rough neighborhoods, rehabs them and then rents them affordably to individuals in the neighborhood who don’t have a lot of income. He lives near the South Philly gym and goes about three or four times a week.

After participating in the past two Festivus games competitions, he felt ready to take on his first CrossFit Open last month. He loved it.

“The first workout was tough,” says Zep. “When I was done, it made me respect how good the top athletes are.”

Seeing how into CrossFit Zep has become inspired his girlfriend of 10 years, Kelly, to try the sport. Kelly recently finished On Ramp and is now a Fearless member, too. Fearless loves couples who CrossFit!

-written by Abny Santicola