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October Athlete of the Month

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Jen Foley, aka “JenMonster,” has consistently pushed herself out of her comfort zone over the last several years. Recently, she had a renewed focus on improving her form and embodies the saying you should “leave your ego at the door” by knowing when it’s more important to drop the weight in order to improve in the long run.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

What got me into Crossfit? That’s easy! My incredible, super handsome, studly husband. He had been going to CFHE for about a year with his pal Ryan (aka Grumpy Bear). After a year of watching those two have all the fun, my sister-in-law, Jenny, and I thought we’d give it a shot. Since the boys were hogging the 7:30am slot, that left us with 5:30am as the only real option (mom-duties). At first, we thought going to the gym at 5:30am was crazy, but we soon realized it was the perfect time and had the perfect group of people. I mean, you have to be a special kind of crazy to wake up in the 4s to go get a work out in. Why do I keep coming back? There are so many reasons! The programming – All I have to do is show up and I know I’m going to get an incredible workout it. No 2 days in a row are the same and I know that each day will challenge me in a different way. The people – did I mention all of the crazy and wonderful people at the #530 class yet? They’re the best! The coaches – While I already mentioned the variety in the programming, there’s just as much of a variety in the coaches! After going to CrossFit for over three years, I can honestly say, I have never stuck with any type of exercise as long as I have with CrossFit-and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

Kids. That pretty much sums it up. My three kids take up most of my free time but I wouldn't have it any other way. Now that they are a bit older, I am also starting to get back into the working world. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, playing soccer, doing anything active, taking naps (on rare occasions) and traveling. I would travel every weekend if I could!



WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

A bar muscle-up. This was one movement that just seemed unreachable for me. I honestly thought that no matter how long I continued with CrossFit, a bar muscle-up was just out of reach. When I started, I couldn’t even do one pull-up, but I kept showing up. Slowly but surely, I got the hang of it and before I knew it, I was able to string together 5… then 10. Fast forward a couple of years and I was able to do butterfly pull-ups. Still, I didn’t think a muscle-up was going to be possible, but thanks to some great coaching and encouragement and a lot of failed attempts, I finally got my first bar muscle-up.

IF THERE WAS ONE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO PERFECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

When I think of movements that people typically want to perfect, it usually includes a bar. I, however, am not a big fan of the bar so let’s keep it simple: Push-ups. My shoulders burn just thinking about them. It's a movement that starts off easy and doable but then quickly escalates to a movement that will have you falling flat on your face, lying there trying to convince yourself that you can do just one more.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Just give it a shot. It may be scary to walk through that door. You man be introduced to things that you’ve never done before and see things that you think you’ll never be able to do. After finishing your first class, you’ll walk out of that place sweaty, exhausted, and so incredibly sore. When the dust settles, you’ll likely never look at exercise the same way again. You’ll learn that you are so much stronger than you knew you were and that you can push yourself so much further. You’ll remember (or learn for the first time) that exercise can be fun! You’ll be forced to work on things that you always used to just skip. It will be hard and at times you may even want to quit, but when you look over and see a group of people pushing through it right beside you, you’ll get the strength to push through too. 


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September Athlete of the Month

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Chris Bieschke *aka "big sexy"* is constantly setting the bar higher for himself. His commitment to improvement and change is purely intrinsic. Once Chris sets a goal for himself, he pragmatically outlines a way to accomplish it. And then he accomplishes it. Read on to get to know our September Athlete of the Month. 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I signed up last summer as part of the 6 week challenge. What keeps me coming back is Bryce, Matt and Eazy. Those guys are dreamy!

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I pretty much just work and hang out with my wife, 2 dogs and my son.


WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

All jokes aside just being very consistent (4 to 5 times a week) since last April. Hard to improve if you don't show up and try....

IF THERE WAS ONE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO PERFECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Hand to mouth is something I need to master. I likes to eat! I have gotten better, but something I struggle with. My goal for the next year is to be able to do a correct pullup, rope climb and DU's.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Come in and try CF. Don't believe all the hype. There has been times I have been embarrassed and quite frankly ashamed that I could not do a movement. The thing I love about our gym is everyone is very supportive and non-judgmental. Just come in, struggle, put in hard work and even elite athletes will respect you.

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August Athlete of the Month

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Anyone who has worked out with Elena would agree that she's fully deserving of the August spotlight. She's coachable, determined, eager to be challenged, and always maintains her positive attitude. Elena's body transformation parallels her growth in confidence. Read on to learn more about our August Inspiration, Elena/Monica. 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I got here from a challenge Program that I found on fb, I did not have any idea what Crossfit is, I was just bored going to regular gym and I decided to try it. This is what keeps me here, you never get bored it's an intense workout different day by day
 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

Outside of the gym I work, I love spending time with my boyfriend and my dog. I like to read, also hanging out with friends. Trying to keep myself busy. I don't like to cook and I don't watch TV- it's a waste of time for me 


WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I've accomplished a lot more than I thought was possible which I am very proud of. Thinking that I started from 0 and I couldn't do any movement. I am really proud that I can RX some of the workouts

IF THERE WAS ONE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO PERFECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I am happy with how far I have come, but I still need to improve every movement. I have a lot of work ahead of me, mostly the double unders which I struggle with.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Since I started Crossfit my body shape changed, also I feel more confident and strong. I'm physically and mentally healthy. I tell everyone to try Crossfit, it keeps you in shape, you have fun working out with the group, you get to know interesting people that give you motivation which is Judy in my case :) for me Judy is a super woman she motivates me everyday.

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July Athlete of the Month

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July's Athlete of the Month is the well-deserved Mike Fries. He's the optimist, encourager, intellect, and most goal-oriented athlete in our gym. Mike gives 200% every time he picks up a barbell, focusing equally on his form and strength. He's quietly competitive, so watch out for this guy--he's working hard to pass you up on the leaderboard every.single.day. 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I first got into Crossfit because I challenged my friend to a deadlift competition. I needed a place to train and CFHE was just down the street. Every time I show up now I want to be better than I was before. I get excited to come to class. I never know what the workout is going to be I just know I’m going to give it max effort. My goal is to be in the top 5 of every RX workout. (and to beat Animal)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

Outside of the gym I love to smoke cigars and be outdoors. I am also a big Netflix/binge watcher. I am totally cool with setting aside 4+ hours for binging. I like cooking and entertaining. We just got a new ceramic Kamado grill which is amazing, and last June we bought a new house.

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

My wife would say “getting bulked” lol seriously though, I want to be as mentally tough and as physically capable as I can. I use Crossfit to be more confident in my day to day. It’s like a secret super power. My recent goal has been to be in the top 5 of every RX workout. After about 2 years of 3-5 days a week I feel like I’m finally able to “compete” with others. 

IF THERE WAS ONE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO PERFECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Snatch for sure. I’m okay at it but I want to be great at it. I want to be able to at least snatch my body weight (165-170)

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Don’t give up. It’s hard. Crossfit is meant to be punishing. You’ll be amazed at what’s on the other side.

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June 2018 Athlete of the Month

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Meet our favorite west coast transplant: Meredith. While Meredith is eager to learn and improve in the sport of CrossFit, her genuine passion for people and community shines bright. Read on to learn more about our 5:30am all-star.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I moved here from Southern California, where you can workout outside year round. So running half marathons was my main form of exercise. Out here, I had no idea what to do—winter is confusing. Jumping to last July, when my husband Curtis and I were talking about the question, “What is something you wish you were doing right now, but think that it is too hard in our real lives?” My answer was exercise, and when he asked what I wish that looked like, it just came to me: CrossFit. I knew the workouts were created for you, so you didn’t have to spend mental energy on what you were planning to do that day. I knew they could be scaled down. People always talk about how great the community is, which sounded fun. And I thought I might be able to find an early morning option, the only realistic thing for our full-time work schedules. I keep coming back because the community really is awesome, and it’s fun to be a beginner at something and then get better at it. It’s fun to measure progress through accomplishments and not a scale too.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?


Usually we are just cruising through our workweek together, bookending the day with Transformers or Go Fish. But we happen to all have Mondays off, so we do something fun as a family then (after the WOD). I have two boys—Riley (5) and Peyton (3) who love to ride scooters and bake while sitting on our countertop. Curtis and I love to explore and eat—we have a map of every restaurant in the city we want to try.

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I did a handstand push up and squealed like a child. It was way fun. But before that, about 5 months in I took my 5 year old back to California for a Disneyland trip. I didn’t bring a stroller and had to carry him all over the park. And I could; I even felt good doing it! It’s great to feel like I’m keeping up with my kids as they get bigger.

IF THERE WAS ONE CROSSFIT MOVEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO PERFECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

For sure a pull up. I have never done one in my whole life and would love to.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

The advice I received that helped me was that gym culture matters. A good CrossFit box will make everything else about CrossFit easier, because you will feel more comfortable being a beginner, people will be helpful and encouraging, you’ll form community faster, you’ll feel more comfortable asking questions about things you don’t know. So at the beginning, don’t focus so much on whether you like doing CrossFit for exercise, (you will, because it’s hard in the best way) focus on whether you like being at that gym. You’ll show up at 5:30AM for good culture.

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May 2018 Athlete of the Month

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Our May Athlete of the Month is Rachael Bainbridge. Rachael's progress and trajectory is what keeps us all coming back for more CrossFit. Each day she walks out of the gym having achieved her goal of being stronger and/or more skilled. She's nothing short of inspiring to us as coaches. 

What initially got you into CrossFit and what keeps you coming back?

I started at CFHE last September after a small group boot camp class I had been going to ended. I was looking for a local class based workout that would continue to build my strength and endurance. Wow, did I find it! I keep coming back because I love the challenge and variety of the workouts and seeing the results of my hard work. I also love the non-corporate gym atmosphere and continually mastering new skills thanks to the encouragement of the coaches.
 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do outside of the gym?


I’m the English one! We moved here 4 years ago for my husband’s job and are going to be calling the US home for now so I am busy house hunting. Outside of the gym I can be found watching my son play soccer and baseball, hanging out with other local Brits, online shopping like a crazy woman and generally keeping our family organized! I think it’s also important to share that I have type 1 diabetes and this does NOT stop me from doing CrossFit, in fact exercise combined with using an insulin pump and wearing a continuous glucose monitor enables me to maintain pretty steady blood sugar numbers. I do get it wrong sometimes though and can be seen stuffing myself with glucose tablets and secretly hoping there is a medical professional in class!
 

What’s an accomplishment or goal you’ve reached due to CrossFit that’s made you the most proud?

I’m most proud of the confidence I’ve gained with all the lifting moves. I had never picked up a barbell until I started CFHE and was a nervous and cautious beginner. I have since discovered I love deadlifts and that getting stronger as a woman doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to look like a bodybuilding freak! It does mean I can easily lift the packs of waters in Costco now. I also never thought I would be excited to order a pair of lifting shoes….who am I??? 
 

If there was one CrossFit movement you’d like to perfect, what would it be?

That would be my OH squat! I struggle with anything that involves squatting but I literally cannot do a single OH squat properly even just holding a pvc pipe. One day….
 

Any advice for someone interested in trying out CrossFit?

Just try it! The most nerve-racking part is walking through the door the first time but once you’re there you are in safe hands. The workouts are fully scalable for any age and ability. Follow CrossFit on social media and you can see so many inspiring examples of this within the community. As long as you are open to learning and receiving feedback then you’ll be fine!

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April 2018 Athlete of the Month

Tony C.

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While we [impatiently] wait for our introduction to Spring, allow us to introduce to you our April athlete of the month. Tony's positive attitude and work ethic makes our evening class fun for both the coaches and athletes.

What initially got you into CrossFit and what keeps you coming back?
Initially, I had heard about how challenging it was. I was tutoring a guy while I was in grad school who said he worked out at a box that had community WODs on Saturday. So, I tried it one day and it kicked my a$$! I then decided that I needed more of it in my life and haven’t looked back since. Crossfit is the only workout program that I have sustained. I keep coming back for the variety, friends, and challenge. :-)

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do outside of the gym?
Outside the gym I love to eat and drink. Which is why I’m the rarity in Crossfit and have gained fat weight since starting. I also work, hang out with my wife and two cats, and play games with friends.

What’s an accomplishment or goal you’ve reached due to CrossFit that’s made you the most proud?
You know, I don’t really have a goal that I’m working towards in Crossfit. I’ve really started to appreciate the community aspect of it more over the years. I’m most proud of the friends I’ve made while doing it. Pretty sure that most of my friends on Facebook are from the various Crossfit gyms I’ve been too.... But I would say that I’m proud of the clean and jerk. It’s one of my favorite movements (behind deadlift!) and I’ve been able to see progression in it throughout the years.

If there was one CrossFit movement you’d like to perfect, what would it be?
Ring muscle up. I’ve never been able to do them and I would love to be able to! Unfortunately, I have to drop some pounds and work on my form. :-/

Any advice for someone interested in trying out CrossFit?
In no order:
Just do it.
Embrace the community.
Listen to others.
Check your ego at the door.
Lift heavy s**t!

Most importantly, Have fun!!!

 

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March 2018 Athlete of the Month

Roxana Villanueva

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For March, we are featuring Roxana Villanueva as our Athlete of the Month.  If you've ever seen Roxana workout, you'll know that she gives it her all, never takes shortcuts and always works to improve.  Read on to learn more about Roxana.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do outside of the gym?

Outside the gym I’m crazy busy! I’m a wife, a mother, a student, and my husband and I are Pastors of a growing Spanish ministry. I’m constantly on the go.

What initially got you into CrossFit and what keeps you coming back?

What got me into CrossFit was actually watching the CrossFit games. I saw how the workouts challenged everyone.  The challenge is also what keeps me coming back every workout.  It’s an opportunity to make yourself better.

What’s an accomplishment or goal you’ve reached due to CrossFit that’s made you the most proud?

Wow if I had to pick one accomplishment it would be the gradual change in my body. The muscles and strength I’ve gained is awesome. It’s crazy to see where I started and where I’m at now. I’m really excited to see myself at the one year mark.

If there was one CrossFit movement you’d like to perfect, what would it be?

 I would love to perfect the Snatch. It’s the one that most challenges me.

Any advice for someone interested in trying out CrossFit?

Yes! The best advice I can give is jump in and do it! Yes it’s an investment, yes it’s a challenge, yes you will be sore, but you feel so accomplished after the WOD.

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February 2018 Athlete of the Month

It's February, love is in the air and we are featuring Jenny "The Stanimal" Staniak as our Athlete of the Month!  The coaches selected Jenny not just for her own commitment to improving herself, but also for the positivity and fun that she brings to the 5:30am class.  Read on to learn out more about her love for CrossFit, her family and how she motivates others to live a healthy lifestyle. 

You’ve been doing CrossFit for over 2 years now. What initially got you into it and what keeps you coming back?

I was very hesitant to try CrossFit. I did not think it was for me as I was happy running, do at home workouts, and hot yoga. Ryan (my husband) and Jonathan (my brother) had been going to CFHE for a year so it was time to give it a shot. Jen (my sister-in-law) and I decided to give it a try and we have been going to the 5:30 am class for over two years now. I keep coming back to CFHE because of the different workouts, fun coaches, and the constant motivation. Outside of just the workouts, I have gained fun and encouraging friends that I get to hang with each morning before the sun is up! I may constantly get in "trouble" for talking too much during class, but keeping the atmosphere fun and accomplishing things with others is what keeps me happy and makes the gym so enjoyable.

What do you like to do when you’re not in the gym?

I love spending time with my family, hanging out with friends, and laughing with my husband Ryan. We have three kids, Reese (11), Chase (9), and Blake (7) who are active and energetic and keep us super busy. I enjoy being a mom and watching my kids play soccer and participate in other activities that they enjoy. I would say that at 37, exercising is probably my hobby. so when I am not in the gym and I have some free time, I am likely running, going to hot yoga, or playing soccer. My family and friends are my teammates and workout buddies which is kind of amazing. We all have our Apple watches too which keeps everyone cheering each other on.

What’s an accomplishment or goal you’ve reached due to CrossFit that’s made you the most proud?

It sounds silly, but there are always new accomplishments which is possibly the real reason I enjoy CrossFit. It is the small wins that just make you feel good. I would have never believed I would be able to climb a rope, do a pull-up or even do a few in a row! I did a chest to bar pull-up (thanks to Coach Eazy), and finally can do a few toes to bar in a row (thanks to Coach Matt)! My strength has slowly increased as well and I am able to actually do some of the workouts at the RX weight. (So much patting myself on the back here.) It's all these little victories that make CrossFit exciting. I will never be the person that is at the top of the charts at the gym, but the personal accomplishments are pretty darn exciting! Now, to figure out those darn handstand push-ups...

You've spearheaded your own fitness/health competition on Facebook that's seemed to motivate a lot of people, both inside and outside of the gym.  Can you tell us a little more about it and how it started?

The silly competitions that I have on Facebook started over 10 years ago with a blog and my family's willingness to participate.  I found that we all have days that we need a little push not to be lazy and use some extra motivation.  Being part of a little team with a friendly month long competition keeps things from getting boring.  Each month the challenge is a little different with your own exercise goals, food challenges and bonus activities.  Everyone throws in a small amount of cash so that we can pick some random winners at the end.  The members vary each challenge, mixing it up with family, friends and friends of friends!  It always surprises me when people ask for another competition. 

Describe your favorite workout. What does it entail?

I enjoy any workout that is an AMRAP or has a time cap. I also enjoy anything cardio. I actually don't mind burpees or box jumps. I like to get my heart rate up and sweat! I really like to do lunges as well because they always seem to make me sore... a good sore.

Any advice for someone interested in trying out CrossFit?

Crossfit isn't as scary as it sounds or looks on TV. I recall thinking that I was going to get hurt or would have to lift too much weight and become a muscle woman. Crossfit is fun, challenging, motivating and tough. If you think you can't do it, you should because you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you are capable of.

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January 2018 Athlete of the month

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We are ringing in the new year by showcasing Andy Kuhlmann as our January 2018 Athlete of the Month!  Since he started with us, Andy has been a prime example of how hard work and discipline can pay off.  Like most everyone who does Crossfit, he hasn't mastered everything, but we've been impressed with his progress over the last several months which is why we thought everyone should get to learn a bit more about him. 

1.  How long have you been doing CrossFit for and what made you decide to start?

I started this past January 2017 so I'm just coming up on one full year.

The main reason I started was because I was going to be turning 50 years old in May of that year, and like many people coming up on a milestone birthday, I was reflecting on where I was in life and what goals I wanted to establish ahead. One of those goals was a commitment to myself to get into the best shape of my life. 

The question, at that point, was how was I going to achieve that objective.

I really had no idea what Crossfit was a year ago however, on one occasion I went to a restaurant by my home where I saw two guys I knew but hadn’t seen for a while. They both looked physically great and noticeably “fitter” from the last time I had seen them and they both said they had been doing CF so they went on to define and explain CF and my wife said, “That sounds like something you would really like, I’m signing you up to start the new year”, and so she did.

2.  You've progressed pretty quickly in many of the movements in a short amount of time.  What do you attribute this to? 

I would attribute it to a few main things:

First, I would say the biggest factor has been a commitment to consistency.  In the past, I had always let some life or work happening derail any consistent progress I had made in the area of fitness.

Since I started Crossfit HE, this past January, I can't think of a week where I have missed going 3-4 per week. 

Second, I feel like Eazy (and all the coaches for that matter) have shown an interest in my progress so that type of encouragement certainly has helped and the workout programming has continued to be so varied and well structured that every workout is new, interesting and challenging. 

Third, I watch a lot of videos on technique, progressions and other Crossfit resources that have provided me little tips and methods for increasing my efficiency.

Lastly, I have people in my class that have been great examples of the positive results achievable from consistency and a dedicated work effort.  Over the last year I have learned tips and techniques from them as well, that I have incorporated into my own practice.

3.  Tell us a bit about yourself.  What do you like to do when you are not sweating it out in the gym?

One thing I love to do is travel with my wife, Debbie and often our two daughters , Lexi & Trina,  who join us as well. 

With the encouragement of my wife, Crossfit has found its way into my travels as I have dropped-in for workouts this past year in Maui HI, Boulder CO, Nashville TN, and just recently in Amsterdam, NL. It’s really cool to experience the community of CF at different gyms around the world and I plan on continuing that in the future.

I also like snow skiing and playing softball and taking outdoor runs in the summer with my wife. 

4. What's one accomplishment you've achieved in the gym that you're most proud of?

I would probably say being able to do ring and bar muscle-ups in a WOD. I’m probably most proud of that because I remember my very first “full” workout last January was Fran (after my foundation classes) and I couldn’t even do one pullup without using a band. I try to tell that story, especially to new people in Crossfit to encourage them not to give up and to keep moving forward in their progress even though they may be feeling weak or unfit comparatively to others.

5.  What's the most noticeable change you've witnessed since you've started? 

The most noticeable change is that I now only need two days to recover from a “Tri-Fri” workout and not four days.

Seriously, probably that Crossfit with its concentration on Olympic style lifts and gymnastic bar work has really helped me develop areas of my body that I never had developed before. I have witnessed Crossfit provide me with significant gains in both my aerobic and anaerobic development over the last year.

6.  What advice do you have for people interested in starting CrossFit?

My advice is, even though you may not consider yourself an athlete, don’t let worry or fear stop you from trying CF.  No matter what age you are or what level of fitness you may consider yourself to be, you can scale or modify Crossfit workouts to continually challenge yourself. 

Take foundation classes to learn proper techniques and then work on small progressions until you have established a solid base. 

Make sure you begin with “horse blinders” on and only compete with yourself…leave your ego at the door.

Really focus on the “technique” aspects of the lifts and of the gymnastic movements and don’t concern yourself with the weight.

And finally, have fun with the workouts and be able to laugh at yourself (like I do every time I try to do a squat snatch with any weight).

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December Athlete of the Month

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CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR DECEMBER 2017 ATHLETE OF THE MONTH, GABRIELA (GABY) TORO!

Be sure to take a read and familiarize yourself with the woman who, on most occasions, is beating you at the gym. 

Being one of the original members of CrossFit Hoffman Estates (since 2014), what keeps you coming back into the gym each day?  How do you stay motivated for so long? 

I use to do HIIT and boot camp style workouts so when CFHE opened I had my doubts about shifting to CrossFit. After my first WOD I was immediately hooked and have been doing it consistently 4-6 times a week. I love coming to the gym, enjoy the atmosphere and look forward to do all the crazy programming because it is the one hour I have for myself every day. Once the alarm goes off I don’t think twice about it and get out of bed.

I keep coming back because every day is different and so it never gets boring. It also motivates me knowing you can always get better, you can always lift more weight or learn a new skill so goals are always evolving. When I started CF in 2014 I could barely clean 75 pounds, couldn’t OH squat an empty bar or do a pullup, I was so skinny and weak! After a couple of months of Andrew and Eazy pushing me, I was able to do things I never thought possible. 

What is the one goal that you’ve accomplished in the gym that you are most proud of and why?

CrossFitting has always given me such an appreciation for what my body can accomplish, but after having my first baby last year, CrossFitting pregnant has taken that appreciation to a totally different level. I think this is probably one of the best things I did for my baby girl and myself so I am very proud of it…and YES, I have to admit that beating people with a pregnant belly was pretty sweet too.

In terms of skills, my first ring muscle up a couple of years ago was something I really struggled with, it took about 2 months of trying and failing every single day, so when I finally got on top of those rings it was the greatest feeling ever! My first pull-up was pretty exciting too because, even though I don’t make gender distinctions (except with rowing of course), I think doing a pull-up is kind of a big deal for any woman. I still remember watching Gail making it look so easy while thinking, "Man! I can’t even do one!"

Your husband of 9 years also works out at CFHE.  What do you talk about when you’re not talking about Crossfit?

We have a couple more things in common, we dated for 6 years before getting married, share the same engineering background and our love for food, we both come from Chile (or the rainforest) and have the cutest little daughter so that gives us plenty to talk about, although I have to admit we talk about CrossFit almost every day. He usually asks about my strategy when I get home from the 5:30AM class. I share it with him unless there is a chance he might beat me…I kind of hate losing to anyone but you already know that.

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When you were pregnant with your daughter, Mariana, you worked out until the very day that you had your baby.  How did you find that CrossFit was able to help you during and after your pregnancy?

I keep asking myself how on Earth I did it, it was like working out with a permanent weighted vest. Joke aside, I had a very good pregnancy and I believe part of it is because I was in good shape thanks to CrossFit. Being able to keep working out and stay active made everything so much easier, physically because I didn’t gain a ton of weight, kept my energy level up and didn’t have any joint pain or discomfort, and mentally because pushing through a workout knowing my body was changing so much made me realize I was capable of great things. It also made the after process more bearable. Turns out my daughter, Mariana, is more stubborn than I am, she refused to flip her head down which meant I had to have a C-Section; my first surgery ever. Having to take 2 months off, without being able to lift anything besides my 6 pound daughter drove me nuts, but I am sure I was able to recover faster because I knew how to get stronger again.

 Another thing I appreciate about CrossFitting while pregnant is it helped me feel “normal”. You know how some people look at pregnant women as if they were sick and truly believe they should hibernate for 9 months? Luckily I didn’t get any weird attitude from anyone at our gym and so I loved coming in every day. All the coaches and people from the 5:30 AM class were very encouraging and supportive of my decision to stay fit. I would tell any woman who has already been doing CrossFit for a while that becomes pregnant to continue to do so, as long as both mom and baby, are safe and healthy at all times.

Describe your favorite workout.  What kind of movements would it include?  Which do you hate the most?  

 I like traditional CrossFit WODs like DT, Diane and Seven, and if they are mixed in between a triple threat or Tri Fri, even better. I usually like anything with a barbell, specially deadlifts and power cleans. I also love single arm KB snatches and pistol squats. Although I am not the best on the rig, I like toes to bar, bar muscle ups and any kind of pullup. I prefer shorter rep schemes or 21-15-9. 

Two movements I absolutely hate are wallballs and rowing, I am 5’4’’ so I struggle with them every single time. I don’t like thrusters either but let’s be honest, who does?? As much as I don’t like these I don’t ever avoid them, challenging WODs are the best to keep me mentally stronger because whenever I feel like quitting I go ahead and try to do one more rep.

What would you recommend to people who are interested in trying out CrossFit for the first time?

CrossFit doesn’t discriminate against gender, age, weight, or capability, every WOD can be scaled so I would encourage anyone to try it at least once. If you walk into a CrossFit gym and see people doing things you don’t think you’re capable of, don’t feel intimidated just because they seem fitter or stronger…breaking news, there will always be someone better at something so try to focus on yourself and set realistic goals. No matter how competitive you are, be patient and consistent, you may have to modify movements or lower the weight sometimes but who cares, do it anyway. You may not do as well as you anticipated, or you may surprise yourself, just play and have fun with it.

Also, don’t get frustrated if you can’t do something, just keep on trying. You’ll never be able to do double unders if you skip DU WODs or if you do singles every time, dare to get uncomfortable and challenge yourself, hard work goes long ways and is so gratifying when you are finally able to do what you struggled with.

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November Athlete of the Month

The November Athlete of the Month is our beloved "Animal." Alan shows up to every class ready to work hard with an evident desire to be a better athlete. He's one of the most coachable people we've trained and his positive attitude and energy impacts every person in class with him.

 

What do you do when you're not killing it in the gym?

Work :( Wish I can give a more exciting answer. Coming to gym is a great way to de-stress.
 

How long have you been doing CrossFit and what made you start?

About 1 and half year. Was going to normal gym group workouts but wanted to try something new and challenging. Never look back ever since.

What's a goal of yours that you're working toward?

Best part about CrossFit is various skills and lift movements to master. Hoping to master all but for now working to improve double under.

Think about your favorite type of workout - what lift/movement would it include?  What about the lift/movement that makes you want to want to run for the hills?

Favorite would be Clean, any Clean lift. Double under would make me cry for help. Every time I see WOD with DU, my heart sank.

What's one accomplishment you've achieved that's made you the most proud?

Rope climb!!!! I have a fear of climbing ladder. My heart pounded heavily when I first started rope climb in CFHE. One part is learning how to climb, another part is overcoming the fear. With patience and encouragement from Gina and Eazy, I made it :) AWESOME!!

What's the most noticeable change you've witnessed since you've started?

Grew some muscles and a beard

What advice do you have for people interested in starting CrossFit?

If you are new to workout, there are foundation classes to start you off. If you are already an athlete, try CrossFit to improve yourself further. Give CrossFit a try and you may discover the fun from all the huffing and panting.

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