Sean Shallis at CrossFit Annex

To describe Sean Shallis as goal-oriented is a bit of an understatement. He’s now a devoted CrossFit junkie who relishes in how it sets the tone for his day job as a top real estate agent in the region. Fortunately, Sean is not shy about poking fun at himself, which made our Member of the Month profile an unexpectedly revealing window into Sean’s fantastic journey to becoming fit.

We chose Sean for this honor for his dedication, infectious energy and continued improvement as a CrossFitter.

Question: How did you discover CrossFit?

Answer: My wacko California friends said, “Dude, the best workout on Earth is CrossFit.” This was five or six years ago. After Googling for CrossFit, I found that the Annex was close to my home in Florham Park. I called the box and, thank God, Mickey answered and reassured me, "No worries, come on in. I'll do the ramp up with you myself to make sure you'll be OK.” I think Mickey thought it would be best just to make sure I wasn't an insurance risk. It may be hard to get a paramedic at 4:45 a.m. God forbid. He was great.

Q: How has CrossFit changed your life? 

A: As luck would have it, CrossFit wasn't a cult at all. It’s like a family. The men and women that come to the box are different ages, shapes, sizes and levels of athleticism. Yet they have a common thread that either you're born with or not. Their attitude, approach, and expectations are almost exactly the same. They all appear to be disciplined, committed, supportive, coachable and trainable. These also happen to be common traits of highly successful people. No shock.

Last year my sister passed away at 53 after battling cancer for 16 months. At some point she made me promise her, “Don't let anyone steal your dreams. Stay fit and healthy." 

At the time I was showing up and going through the motions while doing doing CrossFit at 6 feet and 230 pounds, roughly 30 pounds overweight. When my sister passed, I decided that’s it. I committed to myself, and everyone I came in contact with, and declared, "I will be fit by 50 in August 2016." 

As the competitive S.O.B. that I am, I go on a CrossFit-style diet for 45 days and loose 30 pounds. First week back I feel like a hero and I was on a mission. Unfortunately toes to the bar turned into body to the ground. I slipped off the bar trying to keep up with the younger guys and was out of commission for almost three months. Yet, I couldn’t wait to go back for more.

When my sister passed, I decided that’s it. I committed to myself, and everyone I came in contact with, and declared, ‘I will be fit by 50 in August 2016.’

Q: What is your favorite WOD, least favorite WOD?

A: My favorite WOD? That’s easy. It’s every one I finish. Least favorite is Kelly.

Q: What skills are you good at and which ones do you need to improve in?

A: I’m really happy with the progress I've made in Olympic lifts and rowing. I still want to get the double under and rope climb mastered over the next six months or so. 

Q: Any misconceptions you had about CrossFit before joining in?

A: Unlike most workouts and or training programs, it truly does train your body for the day-to-day life style. For example, all the lunges and squats are awesome for endurance in snowboarding, which makes my 8- and 10-year-old girls very happy. By the way, they do CrossFit Kids with Chelsey. Or for instance, it helps me when I’m carrying firewood and just being fit, not some muscle head with a chiseled delicate body that is all show and no go.

Q: Does CrossFit help you in your professional life?

A: I recently said to Mickey, "Thank you for providing the environment, structure, coaching, mentoring and support for me to start everyday with a win win.”

As many of the 5 to 6 a.m. CrossFitters, I'm in a high-stress occupation. For more than two decades I've been a professional full-time real estate agent. In our industry, mediocre is the norm. The average Full time agent will sell five to seven homes per year. In contrast I'll help more than 80 families, individuals and or companies buy, sell or invest in a home this year personally with two support staff. In order to accomplish this level of performance consistently for more than two decades it takes all the same core elements that CrossFitters apply in every workout: relentless commitment to excellence, a positive attitude, show up on time, meaning 10 minutes before or you’re late, keeping an open mind, being coachable, being willing to learn and constantly testing your limits, then raise the bar again.

Never ever ever accept mediocrity when excellence is possible. CrossFitters say "Our warm-up is your workout."

I've had agents I'm mentoring and or coaching come to "shadow" me for the day.  They'll meet me in the office at 7:15 a.m. to 2 to 3 p.m. to follow me for the day to see what a top producer does daily. By noon they are spent.

Q: Tell us something about yourself others might not know about.

A: When my wife and I were first dating, she came to my home. After making a gourmet dinner for two she was almost hooked, than she went to use my  bathroom.

She looked at me with a very strange look and said, "Do you really think you can sell a hundred homes this year, earn $75,000 a month, loose 30 pounds, do a Half Ironman and date me all at the same time?”

“Yes, absolutely!” I replied.

What I forgot was my goals for the next week, month and year were spelled out on a one-page document taped to the inside cover of the toilet seat. Obviously this was the one place that I could be guaranteed to read my goals each and every morning..

Being a self-made/self help junkie, over the last two plus decades I've invested literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for mindset gurus, physical, mental, professional coaches, mentors, trainers, nutritionist, ultra marathon runners, pro triathletes, neuro linguistic programming coaches training. I’ve never regretted any of it.

Q: What forms of exercise did you do before CrossFit?

A: Ha, pick one. Triathlons, Half Ironman, swim, PX’d myself to death, Spin classes, boot camps, tennis, softball, yoga.

Q: What motivates you to keep going?

A: A very successful friend and mentor once said to me, "Sean, do what no one else is willing to do for five years. Then spend the rest of your life doing whatever you want."

The Why in life is fairly easy to determine. The challenge is finding a discipline and environment that supports your personal goals and dreams while contributing to other people's goals and desire to succeed. Having the support of a great leader or a coach to push you when you’re just going through the motions and or switch it up to break through the repetitious boredom and push you to the next level, levels you would have never known were possible. 

The Annex Sports complex, Mickey and the coaches give me the ability to start every day with a win. My family and I truly appreciate the time, energy and dedication of the Annex family. Thank you.