Man Joins CrossFit Box, Quits Big Soda Job

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to present this guest post by Priscilla Tallman of CrossFit Fury. It originally ran on CrossFit Fury’s website, under the title, ‘One More Bag in the Cart.”

George Maurice has already found a new place in Texas to get his wods in at CrossFit Katy.

George Maurice has already found a new place in Texas to get his wods in at CrossFit Katy.

George Maurice is packing up his life in Goodyear, AZ and leaving Fury.

He’s not giving up on fitness or CrossFit for that matter, but after six months working in sales with a major soda company, he’s decided to take his life in a different direction.  As Category Manager at a Big Soda company, George is responsible for working with retailers (i.e. grocery and convenient stores) to place as many soda and snack products on their shelves as he can sell. George calculates and crunches numbers to formulate the perfect pitch with one goal in mind – getting more shelf space for his products.

With the promise of increased sales, George sells shop owners on the idea that his product can get “one more bag in the cart per person, per shopping trip” and that means more money for everyone. Combining corporate marketing strategies, product placement, lower price points than competing brands and enticing flavors targeted to lower income demographics, he’s part of what keeps these products in stores and in the hands of consumers.

Food for thought: Regional and national flavor pairings are released in certain markets to target specific demographic groups. Photo: Adam Bow

Food for thought: Regional and national flavor pairings are released in certain markets to target specific demographic groups. Photo: Adam Bow

“How do we get one more bag in the cart? You want one more person to put one more bag in the cart per trip. There was an enthusiasm to sell more junk,” said Maurice.

In fact, George is on the forefront of selling soda and chip products to specific socio-economic demographics within his region – and in the South West that means the Hispanic community. Bone shaped chips for the seasonal market, flavor pairings such as chile lime, multi-packs and licensed characters all priced to sell, not one bag, but multiple bags per person per trip.

However, at an annual strategy meeting in early August, the excitement of selling unhealthy food to targeted demographics and lower-income families started to weigh on George’s conscience.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this for a living. It hit me personally. I do CrossFit, I eat Paleo. I know what I’m selling isn’t healthy for me, but these people should go buy it? It felt hypocritical,” said Maurice.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, George kept active and fit with triathlons, hiking, hunting and climbing when he got out of the Navy. But it was after seeing a friend transform his life through CrossFit that he started to take a closer look at the sport. With several military and first responder friends who trained for their jobs with CrossFit, he figured if it was good enough for them, there must be something to it.

He started CrossFit Fury in October, 2014. In his first assessment, he was confident his current level of fitness would carry him through the 6-minute baseline WOD: 500 meter row/AMRAP 5-7-9 pull-ups, push-ups and air squats.

“I looked at the whiteboard and it didn’t seem that hard, but I was beat!” said Maurice.

Over the next several months, he was consistent with CrossFit workouts and nutrition and started seeing strength and conditioning gains transfer into his everyday life. Hunting, climbing and camping became easier, as well as every day activities with his kids and family.

At Fury, he got his first rope climb, his first clean and jerk PR and Rx’d his first workout. Coaches were a source of support and encouragement with small cues and tweaks during WODs, making movements more efficient and creating more speed and endurance over time.

But it wasn’t only physical gains keeping George on a consistent routine at Fury, it was the community and confidence he was gaining too.  As George transformed his physical life, his professional and personal life began to change as well. He thought not only of what he was doing for himself, but of what he was doing for his community and for the world beyond by selling products he knew were nutritionally barren – products designed to target and prey on demographic groups more susceptible to the marketing tactics his company was using to get more bags into more carts for more people.

Drink for thought: One can of soda contains 41g of sugar (approx. 10 packets of sugar). If you drink one can a day for an entire year, you are consuming 35lbs. of sugar in a year. Photo: Adam Bow

Drink for thought: One can of soda contains 41g of sugar (approx. 10 packets of sugar). If you drink one can a day for an entire year, you are consuming 35-lb.. of sugar in a year. Photo: Adam Bow

“I don’t want to be pushing sugar water, I want to get people more active. The confidence you build in CrossFit applies professionally too. If you think you are good enough, you can take a chance,” said Maurice.

George will be taking on a new job with one of the premier sports, outdoor and lifestyle retailers based in Texas. As the Director of Merchandising and Regional Strategy, he’s pitching a new story and developing ways to get more equipment (perhaps even fitness equipment) into the hands and homes of consumers seeking a healthier lifestyle.

And that’s great news for George who just passed a milestone in his life, he turned 42. That was the same age his father was when he had his first heart attack. That’s not all, he also lost a brother to liver failure as a result of Type I Diabetes, so this life change isn’t just for him – it’s part of a bigger picture.

“The immediate is easy – the future looks hard, but if you settle into a routine it gets better. Groups help each other out,” added Maurice.

About the Author:
Priscilla Tallman is CrossFit Fury’s staff writer and social media team member. She holds her Crossfit L1 certificate and is a CrossFit Mobility Trainer, and holds an undergraduate and graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. She teaches a mobility class at CrossFit Fury and is a freelance writer and blogger in her spare time. She is married with two children and in a former life played collegiate and professional volleyball.

One comment

  1. I can relate. I used to be a national brand manager for a pizza franchise. It was all about selling more product, finding ways to make others eat more. I started working out because of the job – I was getting overweight from it myself based on the R&D we did in-house. The best fast food now in my life is that which I make myself. It goes from the freezer or fridge to my stove, oven or grill. Fast enough, paleo and builds my body to the extent I always dreamt.
    Kudos to George and CrossFit for lifting up this topic, one piece at a time.

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