Athlete of the MonthApril

Dave Gates

Career: Civil Engineer

Years at FireTower Athletics: 1

There’s just something about the feeling of Team at FireTower that keeps me dedicated and motivated to grind.

I’m 37, grew up in Anaconda, MT and graduated from Montana State University in Bozeman with a degree in civil engineering. I work for a consulting engineering firm and specialize in highway and street related infrastructure design work. My wife Katie and I have two kids, Hayden is 15 and a freshman at Helena High and our daughter Maryn is 3.

Growing up in Anaconda, athletics were a huge part of my life. I had a great foundation going into my 20’s and perceived I was athletic enough to avoid going to the gym and working out. Moving into my 30’s, I started noticing I couldn’t keep up as well. Just like many others, I spent my 20’s grinding through college followed by chasing career goals and few rainbows too. At around 30, I finally chased the right rainbow and followed my girlfriend back home to western Montana where I belong. Katie and I then married in the summer of 2013. 

I love the outdoors; camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and mountain biking are my “thing”. Specifically, elk hunting. For me, the whole year is about getting physically and mentally ready for elk hunting, and then elk hunting. The process repeats itself and has generally served me well for staying fit. The key challenge is that my type of elk hunting usually creates the predicament of rucking heavy loads from the backcountry. Although, probably more “key to the challenge” is my love for IPA and beer in general…  

My office is only about 127 yards from our gym. I can’t remember when FireTower opened, but I remember feeling both eager and intimidated to join. I kept telling myself, I’ll continue working out by myself to get in shape before I go try it out. I basically did the same workout by myself every day, founded in what I learned way back in high school. Long story short, it took me until about April of 2018 to drop in and talk with Jay. Scott Fanning had a lot to do with that – without his nudging, I’d probably still be making excuses for why I wasn’t ready to join.

What I love about FireTower CrossFit is the structure, coaching, comradery, intensity and loud music. CrossFit has filled a space in my daily routine that is helping me be the person I want to be. I’m stronger than I’ve been in years, and my endurance, performance and confidence is building. I greatly appreciate the positive reinforcement and patience from all the coaching staff and team members. There’s just something about the feeling of Team at FireTower that keeps me dedicated and motivated to grind. Not without mention, working out to loud music in group setting positively balances me!

My typical day consist of waking up around 6 followed by drinking enough coffee until adequately energized. Breakfast is light, usually just some toast, fruit or yogurt. I get Maryn ready for school and drop her off at daycare by 8. I get to the office around 8:15 and usually take dinner left-overs for lunch. Being so close to the gym provides great flexibility for my schedule. Sometimes I go to the noon class but have most recently been going at 3:30 or 4:30. I leave work around 5:15 and pick up Maryn from daycare and start the night routine. Katie’s opportunity to work out is from 6-7, so I usually get dinner ready and we eat around 7:30. Then it’s clean-up and family time until lights out around 10:30.

In summary, CrossFit has proved to be the most efficient and reliable way for me to get daily quality exercise accomplished. The combined strength and cardio training match what I need to keep my body and mind prepared for my hobbies, and it’s really helped my focus at work. I feel like I have more energy than ever, and the demanding workouts are forcing me to pay better attention to how I’m fueling my body with food and rest. CrossFit has given me a reason to commit to being fit, and I’m having a great time doing it.

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