Athlete Spotlight: Louis Arnold and Shevez Freeman

May 07, 2015 Jamie Tebaldi
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This week in our SAGL Athlete Spotlight, we hear from Louis Arnold of the Atlanta Assassins, and Shevez Freeman of the Capital City Silverbacks.
What's your day job?
ARNOLD: I'm a full-time student at the University of Alabama, majoring in criminal justice with a minor in cyber criminology.
FREEMAN: Executive Officer at a Basic Training company stationed at Ft. Jackson, SC (Active Duty).
How did you hear about grid and what interested you most about it?
ARNOLD: I found out about grid as I was laying on my rack browsing the Internet one night in Afghanistan lol. The fast-paced races and having to strategically work as a team really grasped my interest.
FREEMAN: When I moved here I started coaching at TCB CF on base just to help out, and the head coach there told me about the SAGL. I had already been following grid because I went to the Dallas Combine in 2014, so I was onboard immediately! Went to Athlete Central and created a profile the same day.
What's your training schedule like?
ARNOLD: On a normal day I have grid-specific training in the a.m. (tons of skill work, barbell cycling, and the occasional conditioning workout). In the evening I strictly train Olympic lifts.
FREEMAN: I follow Invictus' Competitors blog, and I just train on base or in my garage, whichever is more convenient. My day-to-day work schedule changes so much that I'm not always able to train, but I do my best to commit 5 days a week to training of some sort, while taking Thursdays and Sundays off.
Have you changed your training style at all to be more grid-specific?
ARNOLD: No answer
FREEMAN: Not at all. I truly believe in following my programming (currently Invictus); I never train differently for a grid match or even for a CF competition. I believe that if I train hard every chance I get and stick to my programming, I will be ready for whatever is thrown at me. I mean, the sport of fitness is about training for the unknown and the unknowable, right? I love the fact that there are times when I'm asked to fill in on the grid for someone doing a movement I've never tried, and I end up kicking that movement in the teeth; it feels great! However, there are some things specific to grid that I would never do in my normal training, so if my coach puts me down for one of those movements I'll try it a few times prior to the match (e.g., sandbag to bar ;-) ). If it's a combination of movements I've done before, I just trust my body if I don't get a chance to test it.
What is your past experience with sports?
ARNOLD: I ran track for most of my athletic career. I had the honor of running at U.S. Junior Nationals and becoming a junior national All-American. I'm still a sprinter at heart!
FREEMAN: I ran track in junior high school and high school (400m run, 4x400m relay, and the 200m sprint). I also did triple jump and long jump. Other than that, nothing I ever took seriously. Although, after signing up for a CrossFit gym membership for the first time in May 2012, I signed up for an adult gymnastics class for about 4 months specifically to learn how to do a muscle up, but they wouldn't allow me to kip, so not too sure that it helped much.
Who is your favorite athlete and/or inspiration?
ARNOLD: My teammates from grid and Olympic Weightlifting (Alabama Weightlifting Squad) are my favorite athletes and biggest inspiration! Having them keeps me grounded and focused to keep going! Couldn't ask for better role models!
FREEMAN: Honestly, right now my favorite athletes are my grid teammates (especially my Bash Brothers Marty, Cal, and Ham) because they show up week after week and give it their all no matter what! My biggest inspiration right now is me, because I look at how far I've come and realize that this is just the beginning, and I understand that my decisions today determine my tomorrow.
Favorite fitness brand?
ARNOLD: NIKE!!!!! ALL DAY BABY.
FREEMAN: Since I'm not getting paid yet to answer this question; I'd say PURGE Apparel because I know the owner and he's a hard-working and great guy with an even better work ethic.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
ARNOLD: It's very weird lol, but before a match just glance over at me and I'll be staring into space. I'm actually visualizing winning the match in my head. Then I take C4 and go crazy. That's my ritual.
FREEMAN: My life is so busy with work and taking care of my daughter there is no real time for rituals. Before our first match, I had just gotten done taking my daughter to an Easter Egg Hunt on base, but normally if we have an afternoon match I go grab Chipotle before I head to the gym; it's definitely my game-day meal of choice. If I'm not too busy talking to the other teams or my teammates, I have a playlist entitled "Mind Gym" on my iPhone that I like to listen to while warming up.
What's one of your non-athletic hobbies?
ARNOLD: I like to take nature photos on my iPhone.
FREEMAN: Again, not a lot of time for hobbies, but oddly enough I enjoy reading and writing, as it allows time for self-reflection. I majored in communications with a minor in psychology, so I guess I paid people to teach me how to read, write, and reflect.
Any advice for people who are new to grid?
ARNOLD: If you like going 136%, moving heavy weight, or doing weird flips on rings or a pull-up bar, then my friend grid is where you should be! Find which element you're better at and almost perfect it.
FREEMAN: Pay attention to the rules, and the referee is always right! Most importantly just have fun! Grid should be the least stressful sport because there's never a dull moment and you always have an entire team and amazing fans to help get you through the tough moments. Oh, and the Triad is always the worst race. ;-)
How can people follow you?
ARNOLD: Instagram - @arnold_lou
Facebook - Louis Arnold III
Fitmoo - Louis Arnold
FREEMAN: I can be found on Facebook under "Shevez LaShae Freeman" and my IG is Shevezlf. I have an athlete page on FB, but honestly haven't had the time to update it.