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.