Showout is a strong, confident individual. They are comfortable in their own
skin and live life to the fullest. A Showout works hard and plays hard. His/her
life is all about balance and fun.I
often use the word to refer to myself, my friends, and clients, but it also can
be used as an adjective or verb based on someone’s behavior or actions. For
example, Paige is showin’ out with her tight, red pants and red lipstick!
2. You have incredible energy and seem to value fun as much as you value
fitness. Two questions here -
a. How do you keep training fun for
yourself even when things get challenging physically and/or mentally?
I remind myself of my goals. It is easy for me to get
caught up in thinking I should compete in the CrossFit Games when I am
surrounded by a competitive atmosphere all the time at CrossFit Central;
however, I look at my goals and see the big picture for me. I train because I
love it, I want to inspire others, and I
want to look good! I like variety in my training. Currently my training
schedule involves strongman/underground strength training, sprint track
workouts, yoga, and a skills/strength day.By having a variety in my training, I don’t get bored and have fun at
b. How do you keep
things fun for your clients?
I am adamant on having my
clients let me know their goals up front and then we come up with a reasonable,
attainable plan. Often times I see clients go all or nothing when they jump
into a fitness program, and they end up beating themselves up when they can’t
maintain the integrity of being “perfect” day in and day out.I truly believe I can relate with my athletes
with where they are and remind them that their athletic journey is only one part
of life and not their entire life.When
they understand that consistently showing up and working hard is what it’s all
about, training becomes fun and not a chore.
I am big on class happy hours and
developing friendships outside of the classes I coach. I communicate with my
athletes via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram quite a bit, and we all get to
see each other in a different light besides only working out.In class, I like to do partner workouts once
a week in an effort to build team camaraderie and provide the opportunity for
my athletes to push each other.
3. Aside from having fun, what do you think are the most important elements of
your training program that keep people coming back?
Of course I want my clients to have fun, but if they are not getting the
results they want, then I would not expect them to come back. Like I mentioned
above, I want to know my client’s goals within the 1st week of them
joining my programs. From there we can work together to help them reach their
goals the fastest way possible.
4. What is it about CrossFit that sets it apart from any other training program
that you have tried?
VARIETY.You never know what is going to be programmed
on the white board, and you have to show up and get after it. Also, in boot
camps I get to pick what I want to program for each class. I love the variety
of working with kettlebells, Dynamax med balls, and body weight movements. The
sky is the limit and there are so many different combinations to work from when
writing up the WODs.
COMMUNITY. The community I am a part
of in Austin is unbreakable. I am surrounded by phenomenal coaches and clients
who truly care about me. It is more than showing up and coaching for an hour;
it is developing life-long friendships and changing people’s lives from the
5. As a coach, you are usually the one in the leadership position. Who do you
turn to when you need guidance or coaching?
completely honest, I am looking for a mentor right now. The person who I turn
to for advice is my Dad. He is solid and listens to me with an open-mind but
gives no bull shit feedback. I know when I need to vent to him he will listen,
and when I ask for his feedback it will not be sugar-coated.
6. What are some of the benefits you see from having a Women's Only CrossFit
Women’s Only provides a non-threatening
environment, especially for the new gal, and the perfect opportunity to meet
other ladies who have similar interests. Ladies love to talk, show off their
newest workout attire, and laugh—the Women’s Only class provides this
opportunity all while doing the same CrossFit WODs seen in our coed classes.
7. How is your Women's Only class different from other classes in terms of
programming, the "vibe", the goals, etc.
terms of programming, the workouts are exactly the same as we see in our coed
classes. However, since the ladies I coach are fairly new to CrossFit, I add in
supplemental warm-ups to work on skills they struggle with in class---
pull-ups, perfect pushups, handstand kick ups, wall walks, and kipping.
The vibe in class is all about FUN!
Every morning when I show up I ask the gals what music they are feeling that
day, and I turn to the station they select and crank up the jams. We recap the
weekend or the week during the warm-up and then work hard when I yell, “3, 2, 1
GO!” My Women’s Only class is called A2A, which means Ass 2 Ankles. These gals
know how to drop it like it’s hot now.
8. What is one of your proudest coaching moments?
are a lot! From having athletes shed 30+ pounds and walking around with their
shirts off for the 1st time ever; to my endurance junkies cutting
back on their long distance training and incorporating sprints and boot camp
and shedding 15 minutes or more off their half-marathon times; to receiving an
email from a lady sharing how boot camp has improved her marriage by simply
improving her confidence. When I see athletes change from the inside out, I
know I am coaching my clients exactly how they need to be coached.
9. What is one of your proudest personal athletic moments?
Racing to the top of Frost Bank Tower in a firemen suit for
Fight for Air climb in honor of my grandparents battle with cancer. The
previous 2 years I won the race so I decided to take it to the next level and
add 40+ pounds to my body and climb. Before I even started the race, I was
tearing up because last year had been such a rough year with losing my grandpa,
but the sense of accomplishment of doing something in honor of someone else is
10. What goals have you set for 2013?
·Beat Polycystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS) to the curb and write about my journey in a national
·Pay off all credit card
·Sold out Relentless Boot
Camps in all my coaches classes
·Showout brand fully
launched—new website, apparel, and online coaching
·Say YES—to more dates,
to trying new adventures
As our Fashlete of the Month, Megan is received this customized sterling silver necklace from Fashletics® engraved with the word of her choice. She chose the word BALANCE because it encompasses every bit of who she is-- work hard, play hard. Megan values balance in her life, making sure that she never becomes too extreme with one thing in particular. This balance ensures that she will not miss out on any of life's incredible opportunities
This attitude is exactly what makes Megan a perfect Fashlete - she understands the connection between physical fitness and real life. She has become a leader in a community that is committed to encouraging positive change inside and outside the gym walls.
We are proud to welcome SHOWOUT MEG to
the Fashletics family!
Andrea Ager is currently ranked 5th in the world on the Reebok CrossFit Games Leaderbord. In 2011, Andrea finished the open in 17th place
in SoCal and was part of the Brick team that placed 5th at the 2011
Crossfit Games. Since then, Andrea has had her sights set on competing as an individual. In 2012, Andrea finished the open 6th place in the world and placed 5th at the SoCal Regional. This year, she will go head to head with some of the nation's top athletes in the extremely competitive SoCal Regional in an effort to claim a coveted spot at the CrossFit Games this July.
Andrea is one of those people that lives and breathes CrossFit. In 2012 she competed in 12 different CrossFit competitions placing in the top five (often placing first) at each one. Not only is Andrea a fierce competitor, she is also a dedicated CrossFit coach. She is as passionate about the success of her athletes as she is about her own. When Andrea and I started talking about her Fashlete™ of the Month Feature, we decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity for her to talk about a group of female athletes that she trains called "Making the Elite". I was excited to find out how one of the top CrossFit athletes in the world coaches women who aspire to compete at the elite level. Here's what she had to say....
Competition in the sport of CrossFit has become such a driving force for CrossFitters worldwide. The majority of our members are joining our boxes for other reasons; to lose weight, to lean out, get stronger, and getting closer to that coveted "RX" weight. Meanwhile, the top athletes are now pushing to become well-rounded and good enough to place amongst others in their category of fitness.
Recently I've had athletes competing in events that are targeted to different divisions including masters, entry level, intermediate, advanced, and all-girls team competitions. It seems there's a time and a place for everyone to compete, and it gives athletes a short-term goal to shoot for. It is an opportunity to practice certain skills for the 'test' and the big day.
Taking classes and training with friends from your gym there will always be a "comfort level." It feels like family members that all get taught by the same coaches, do the same programming, and use the same equipment everyday, and it can feel casual (which is a good thing). You can get 'used to' beating the same people, or getting beat by the same friends. The opportunity to compete against people outside the box might not come up very often, but when it does, it's a whole other ball game, and can be very exciting!
"Making the Elite" is Formed
Eight months ago, in July of last year, there were 6 girls that knew each other from different boxes, all very competitive in the Southern California region. They approached me to coach them all, once a week, to focus on fine tuning and learning what they needed to do better in competitions. Immediately I was hooked on this idea! The girls were exactly what I look forward to coaching, they were dedicated, committed, and knew this wasn't going to be an over-night project, and that they'd be training with 2013's Regionals in mind.
The first thing we did was set up boundaries, and made sure we were all on the same page. It was difficult to come up with a time everyone could do, because almost all the girls are CrossFit coaches themselves or spend a lot of time during the day at the gym or with busy schedules. So that we could make it consistent, we planned on meeting every Tuesday night at 9:00pm. It was late, and it wasn't going to be easy staying up and training for an hour and a half creeping into sleep time, but it was the only thing that worked. We made it so that it was a membership, and it was month to month. If the girls missed, they still had access to all the programming, and were expected to do the workouts and post their scores on our group's facebook page. There's something binding about having a financial commitment to bettering yourself, that makes it a priority. It's almost a "date" with yourself that is set, and already planned, and if you have to cancel you're super bummed. The best thing about these girls is they were all in, eager to learn and see where they could be by the time of next year's Open workouts.
Why Just Girls?
Oh it's not like our boys at the gym haven't tried to sneak in! I'm not saying that it wouldn't be just as amazing having male athletes intermixed with the class. In fact, I think men bring a great intensity that can't be replaced; personally speaking, all my training partners are male, and I work better that way. But with this group, they're different in skill, strength, and endurance, they also each compete on the local scene and see how they add up while wearing different box logos across their shirts, representing separate gyms. They're gunning for each other, and bringing them together in one spot means they have to be ready, weekly, to throw down with the reality of their regional competition right next to them. A thought might cross your mind if you're comparing yourself to a guy 'oh we have different weights... it's body weight so of course... guys are better runners... well he's stronger..." but with girls; no excuses, you're equal.
What do we actually do...That's what you want to know right!
We work on speed, we work on power. We work on unbroken sets, or strategy. We pick up different skills and stick with them and build, week after week to make sure everyone is improving. Doing strength and working smoother transitions on Olympic Lifting. We touch back on technique constantly and learn different ways around problem areas and weaknesses. Sprinting at the 3, 2, 1, go, or sometimes staying calm in the beginning and going hard at the end. We work on things that 'might come up' developing skills for the unknown, and we train very typical lifts and combinations. Mostly program myself and use things I've done before, or if I see some popular ones that are going around that will help, we use them. Transitioning into rowers, starting off a lineup, doing team transitions, hand stand walking, and refine gymnastics; you name it, we've done it. Sometimes they pick their own weights based on the workout, other times I perscribe weights and modifications. There is not just one way to improve, and there's not just one way to win. It's experimenting and getting to know your own body and what you're capable of that is the true secret to being a good competitor.
One night a week, after our co-ed gym closes down, we have an all girls night where we train with a purpose. They either have competed individual, or team at Regionals, and this year they want more. I went through a transition in my life, with a changing of gyms after the group was only a month old, and they didn't even skip a beat. We started up training the following week at a new gym, and they made the commute, no questions asked. The group has changed, and we have some new girls that are up and coming. Some are so far ahead with their goals and mind-set that there bodies are playing the catch up game, where as some are the opposite; ready for anything physically but need work on the confidence or the mental aspect that you need to be good at CrossFit. Each girl growing, learning, and transforming before my eyes. From the beginning we all agreed we wanted to keep it small so it stayed a semi-private session rather than a class. So as girls moved, or left, we added, and talked about it beforehand. After all, this isn't 'my group,' this is for them, I'm just coaching.
Athlete Vs. Coach
There has been one night where the group was smaller than usual, that i jumped in and did a workout with them, other than that, I'm just searching to adjust and teach. There have been big competitions like this year's OC Throwdown where we've all gone against each other. Actually, at that competition we always joke about a time when one of the girls got placed next to me in one of the heats. Fans were circled around the event and as I was sprinting through the workout, I came off the rings in my last muscle up and (like a clutz) almost knocked her off her box. I instantly was patting her on the back and started cheering for her to finish because, that's what came naturally: athlete right into coach. Right away I was telling her to get back up on the rings...and she was exchanging that knowing glance that she needed a second. Constantly when competing it distracts me from my own pressures to hope that they remember everything they learned together, and apply everything I've taught them. Now is the time to eliminate the mistakes and give it your best run.
2013 CrossFit Open
So here we are at the Open! To the world it's a great test when compared to last years standings, an unreplicable way of comparing yourself to anyone's fitness level worldwide. It's the test we've all been waiting for, and I can only hope that they're going to feel truly prepared. The athletes have become sister-like in their friendships and have developed something special that is unheard of between boxes.
This year at Regionals, my "Making the Elite" girls will be wearing shirts for their teams, but there will be a part in their hearts that's representing us.
As our Fashlete™ of the Month, Andrea is receiving this customized sterling silver necklace from Fashletics®. Andrea was chosen this month not only because she is an incredible athlete, but because she has devoted herself to improving the fitness and the lives of others. She is a leader in the CrossFit Community both as a competitor and as a coach. We are proud to welcome AGERBOMB to the Fashletics® family! Good luck to Andrea and the women of "Making the Elite"!
Occupation: Stay at Home Mom/part time
personal trainer/part time entrepreneur/Creator of Busy Mom Gets Fit
With four kids and a husband deployed to Afghanistan, Val knew she would need to find a way to keep her mind and body busy. "One of the hardest things about being an Army wife is to learn to do
things to make every day count, even while you are wishing days away
during the deployments."
It was a pleasure interviewing Val and finding out how she became the fit and confident woman you see pictured here, how she manages her busy life, and how her family benefits from her commitment to health and fitness. She has a lot of wisdom to share... enjoy!
You were an athlete as a teenager and
athletic as a young adult… how did that change when you started having kids?
I was a competitive swimmer as a
teenager.I had muscle then, but I
really did not appreciate it.I didn’t
really want to be different.I remember
being excited that my thighs got really thin a year or so after I stopped
swimming and strength training.Hey, I
looked like the magazine girls finally.
In my 20’s, I had 4 children.For the first 3 pregnancies, I just cut
calories and did cardio to lose the baby weight.It worked, but each year that went by, I lost
muscle also.I was left with a thin,
size 2 body, WITH CELLULITE!Ahh!Skinny fat.
I finally decided to get back into
strength training because I wanted a new hobby and I wanted to strive for a
healthy athletic physique (get rid of cellulite!).I strength trained all through my 4th
pregnancy.I gained about 25lbs.The pregnancy was a breeze, and I lost the
weight really quickly.I attribute that
to the healthy lifestyle and added muscle tone.
How and when did you get back into
fitness as a mother?
In 2011, my husband was deployed for
the entire year.I do not do well just
sitting by and wishing days away.I
decided to set some big HEALTHY goals for that year.I researched how to feed my family healthier,
became a certified personal trainer, and I competed in my first Figure
competition (just 13 months after baby #4 was born).
I fell in love with competing.I am not a very competitive person (with
other people at least) but I love having a big goal that pushes me everyday at
the gym and at home in the kitchen.I
think the science of our bodies is so interesting.It is really amazing what our bodies can do
with the right nourishment.I love that
competing gives you a deadline to work towards.I also love that most of the women at fitness competitions are mothers
and are in their 30s and 40s.Age and children
are not an excuse.I love being around
women that know that.…and I love the
What are the most challenging things
about sticking to a fitness routine with four kids? How do you overcome these
I guess the biggest challenge I have
has is FOOD!I made a lot of mistakes
with what I fed my kids for years, so now I am trying to undo that.They still want their chips and candy!I just take it slow, and over time they have
developed and been interested in eating healthy as well. For my competition diet plan, I just plan
ahead which eliminates chances of messing up.As far as my fitness routine goes, I just do not let skipping it be an
option.I love it, I crave it, and
taking care of myself for a little bit most days of the week makes me a better
How has being an army wife shaped your
life in terms of your fitness goals?
Bring an Army wife kind of pushed
me into fitness. I think a lot of Army wives (and probably moms in
general) feel like they give/sacrifice a lot and don't have much that they do
for themselves. Fitness is a way to have a little time for yourself that
gives back to your family also.
What does your husband think of your
devotion to fitness? How does he show his support?
My husband and I have been together
since I was the muscular 16 year old.He
loved that I was fit then.He hinted a
lot during the years that I didn’t work out that he wished I would.So, he was super pumped when I jumped back
into it.Now he asks me for workout and
diet tips.He loves the lifestyle as
well, so it works out great.He is gone
a lot, so we do a lot of phone talking.Fitness has given us something to talk about when there is not much
else.Ha“So what did you do for leg day?!”
What is the most rewarding aspect of
personal training others?
Most of my personal training clients are women similar to
me… busy moms.I love spending that
little bit of time with them each day teaching them how to get strong.It’s very rewarding so see their excitement
over the progress and the confidence they gain.
What is the most rewarding aspect of training yourself?
The biggest rewards from training hard are
the confidence I have gained.Feeling
like an athlete again is priceless.I
still learn new things about how hard I can push myself and my mental and
physical strength all the time.
How does your family as a whole benefit
from you pursuing your fitness goals?
Hopefully I have made healthy eating
and exercise just seem normal for my kids.I also hope that they will learn from me (and my husband…he’s a
determined fit guy!) that it is ok to go after big goals at any stage in their
life.It’s ok to do things that some
consider crazy or different.Be you and
use your talents to help others.
What is your response to someone who
says “I don’t have time to eat healthy and exercise!” ?
You can’t afford not to.There is so much research out there that
shows the effects of unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle.Somebody has got to make the change in each family.The mom is a pretty good place to start.
What advice do you have for someone who
is trying to fit a fitness routine into their busy life?
My advice is to start small.Pick a few days a week that you can 30min of
any type of cardio that you will enjoy and strength train 2 days (maybe an
upper body day and a lower body day).You will find that you feel so much better on the days that you
exercise.I’ve written a few articles
about this.Basically, you have to
decide for yourself that you are going to make it work.I could list all of the times you could fit
it in (instead of sitting at kid’s soccer practice, or instead of watching TV),
but ultimately you have to decide to stop making excuses for yourself and do
the work. I always say, “I am the same
amount of exhausted at night whether or not I worked out.”So, I might as well make the healthy choice.
As our Fashlete of the Month Val will be receiving a customized sterling silver charm of her choice. Val chose the word "empower"... a perfect choice for someone who has empowered herself, her family, and so many other women through her personal training services and website.
Be sure to check out Val's website, BusyMomGetsFit.com for more workout tips, diet advice, and lots of motivation.
April Lowe has been a competitive CrossFit athlete for 3 1/2 years. In 2011 she and her team, CrossFit Hardcore, qualified for the CrossFit Games and placed 10th. Since then, April has been on mission to qualify for the Games as an individual. After placing 8th at the South East Regional last year, April is just as determined as ever to make it to the Games. I wanted to know more about April's evolution as an athlete and how she plans on attacking the 2013 season. The following interview touches on a variety of components of her preparation physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What type of athletics were you involved with prior to Crossfit?
In high school I played volleyball year round and then I went on to play Division I volleyball for Florida Atlantic University.
What led you to CrossFit and how did you decide that this was the sport for you?
I had a friend who
had been trying to get me to try Crossfit
wasn't interested- I didn't
want to suffer, I had never tried most of the stuff I saw the athletes
doing on videos
and I didn't want to get bulky! Haha. About 6 months after first
hearing about Crossfit I was at a point in my life where I was depressed
and feeling a little lost so I decided to try it. Never could I ever
have imagined what Crossfit would do for me, it has changed my life in
every way possible. How does age play a factor in your training both in terms of challenges and advantages?
Well I absolutely
feel aches and pains on a regular basis and I know I don't recover as
well throughout wods and competitions like the 20-something year olds
but I feel like that is really the only disadvantage I have. My age and
life experience helps me to deal with inevitable low points and
frustrations I experience throughout my training and during
competitions. I find I don't react as
much as I did
when I was younger, I am more patient with myself and with the learning
process and I trust myself more now than when I was
the goal always been to compete at The Games? If not, at what point did
you know you wanted to compete against the fittest in the world?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be in the Olympics. I really had no idea
what that meant, I just knew I wanted to compete at that level. When I
started crossfitting, I felt the same way about competing at The Games.
I thought it would be awesome to compete there but I had no clue what
that really meant or even looked like. In 2010 I went to The Games as a
spectator and it was then that I decided I was going to do whatever it
took compete there. I competed the following year on a team and we
It was an unbelievable experience but it wasn't enough, I knew that I
wanted to compete at that level as
What sacrifices have you had to make in order to achieve your goals?
I schedule my life around my training. I am in bed early on Friday and Saturday nights
because I put in a lot of work on the weekends and need to be as well
rested as possible. I stay pretty strict with my training, food and
recovery year round, regardless if its during the holidays or if I am on
vacation. What little extra money I have goes into my training,
whether its put towards equipment, physical therapy or a training camp. What does a typical day of training/eating/working look like for you?
I get up early,
usually around 4:30 and have coffee
and my quiet time.
Breakfast is 4 eggs with veggies and oatmeal. I go to the gym to
train, usually I have strength training in the mornings, for about two
hours. I will have a
protein shake and sweet potato after. I go home to shower and eat
lunch which is some kind of meat with vegetables and usually an avocado.
Then I go to work. I will snack throughout the day on eggs, nuts,
fruit, etc. After work I go back to the gym for my second training
session which is generally skill work and conditioning. I will have
another protein shake after with either a sweet potato or banana. Then I
go home and eat a big dinner and am pretty much always in bed by 9 or
9:30. I also fit in 2-3 chiropractic/physical therapy sessions during
the week. You
recently competed in (and won) the Heraean Games. How does competing in
an all female competition differ from a typical CrossFit competition?
That competition had
such a great vibe and amazing energy. I
Crossfit does a good job celebrating strength and power in women but
the Heraean Games took that to a whole new level. I felt so proud to be
a woman and I loved seeing
women and girls of all ages compete together. There were so many men
there cheering on their significant others, daughters, sisters, etc. and
I just thought it was really cool to have our strength, power and grace
be the focus for a day.
do you look for in a coach? What type of coaching do you currently have
in order to prepare for sectionals/regionals/games?
Your coach must
believe in you and your ability. And I believe most importantly, your
coach must be invested in you. I've been really fortunate to have great
coaches my entire time in Crossfit but I believe I have finally found
the perfect formula for improving my chances of success. CJ Martin does
my programming, I
started working with him about 4 months before last year's Regionals
and made so
much progress. However, I didn't have a coach on-site coaching me
through the workouts. That was a
big mistake on my part, I thought the great programming would be enough
but I was wrong. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to start working
with Fernando David. Not very many coaches would be open to coaching
athletes who are following different programs. He and I started working
together in November and I've made so much progress. He pushes and
demands more of me than I could ever do on my own. CJ and Fernando
believe in me. They believe I will be competing in the 2013 Games; they
are invested in me and are doing everything in their ability to make
sure that happens.
How does competing at an elite level impact the way that you coach your athletes?
I find that I am
probably more of a
stickler for little details, for good reps and for finishing lifts.
When I am talking about skills to my athletes, I emphasize what I want
to see them doing. I encourage them to focus on technique and skill
first, load second. I practice my "judging" skills when I am coaching,
which I think and hope makes them better.
Why did you choose "trust" as
your focus word for the year?
After Regionals last
year I sat down and really looked at what I wanted to do for the
following season. I knew I was almost good enough, in fact I think
that's probably been the best way of describing me since day 1. It's
scary being almost good enough because you can put it all out there and
very likely be good enough, or you might just fall short. I prayed a
lot about what to do and I decided I was going to do everything in my
power to make it to the Games. Going into 2013, I felt God really put
it into my heart to trust Him, to trust myself and to trust in my
ability. I felt the verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all your ways and
He will make straight your path." (Proverbs 3: 5-6) was my verse for
the year. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that
His plan for
me is so much greater
than my own and that might very well not include me qualifying for the
Games. But I am going to do everything in my power to get there and in
the process I believe and trust He will bless me in ways I never could
would you give an aspiring CrossFit athlete?
I think it's
important to know your "why." I recently listened to Heidi Fearon,
from Crossfit Invictus, speak and she talked about knowing your "why".
Knowing what motivates you to go and train everyday. Your "why" has to
be more than wanting to compete and there has to be emotion and feeling
attached to it. Discovering my "why" has brought more intensity and
focus into my training, especially on the days when I am not feeling at
my best. Also, I believe you must surround yourself with people who
support you and lift you up. I have an unbelievable support system,
something I didn't really have last year, and it has helped me
tremendously. We all need people in our lives who believe in us, who
want to see us succeed and who love and care for us even when we fail.
Occupation: Media Buy Coordinator & Executive Assistant of a Natural Health Publishing Company, Blogger - Journey of a Dreamer
Many people make resolutions to "get fit", but don't really know where to start. Weight plates and pull up bars are intimidating and everyone in the room looks more experienced. I decided to share Courtney's story because when it comes to getting fit, so many
people share her insecurities and inhibitions. If you have
ever been terrified of a workout, if you have every looked at someone
else in the gym and thought "I can't do that", if you have ever wanted
more from yourself... you will love this blog and you will love
One of our goals with Fashlete of the Month is to remind "fitness newbies" that they are not alone!
Take it from Courtney... leave your self doubt at the door, face your
fears, and change your life. CHOOSE STRENGTH. Without further ado, I give you Courtney Norman....
I still remember the day I first walked into CrossFit O’Fallon.
It was buzzing with some kind of energy I couldn’t explain. People
laughing and joking while going through their “warm up” (which I thought
should be considered it’s own workout!) and they all looked like they
were having fun. As I looked around the place seemed so foreign. Rowers
were the only “machines” found in the small industrial space. “Learn to
never quit” was the quote plastered on the wall, conveniently placed
right above the pull up station. I remember being terrified that I
wasn’t going to be able to do it. I thought I wouldn’t be strong enough,
fast enough, or good enough. It wasn’t long before I was making a list
of things that I would never be able to do. I spotted the wooden boxes
scattered throughout the room. They jump on to those? No way I’m getting
this chunky butt to do that. Pull ups? Even with those crazy bands I’d
never be able to. Forget about that tumbling mat against the wall, there
was no way I was getting into a handstand. As I watched the normal
class start adding weight to their barbells I thought there is no way…
I’m just not strong enough. The first time I picked up one of the 35lb
bars I didn’t think I’d even get used to using that. Adding on those
intimidating bumper plates was out of the question. I just wasn’t strong enough. I have always been the chunky, out of shape girl… even after training for a marathon. Why would this be any different?
Thing is… It was. Somewhere in between
those 5am workouts, protein shakes, and callouses something awakened on
the inside of me. It wasn’t overnight. For the first several weeks I
couldn’t even get my foot into the bands for pull ups on my own. Then I
started to realize that I may have been scaling down some of the
movements… but I was finishing every workout. I wasn’t the fastest, most
of the time I finished last. Even if I was last I always had the
support and encouragement of the others in the class with me. They were
quick to tell me I did a great job (even if I was on the verge of puke…
or tears… or both). A spark of hope erupted in my soul. At first I was
afraid to embrace it, because I was always disappointed before. This
time felt different though. Maybe this time I could be enough. Fast
enough. Strong Enough. Good enough.
And suddenly it just clicked.
I had been literally working for monthsto try to get a box jump.
I would tell myself to jump and always psych myself out at the last
second. The box jump began to be about so much more than just a box
jump. It was everyone who ever told me I couldn’t. It was everything I
told myself I could never do. It was the “chubby girl can’t jump”
mindset I’ve had since my pre-teen years. It was every fitting room I’ve
run out of crying because nothing fit. Every fat joke I made because
laughing was easier than crying. It was all of my fears, insecurities
and doubts all nailed together in a measly 18″ wooden box. And several
times a week for months I would stare it down. Tell myself I was going
to do it…. and miss. People were watching me struggle. They saw me try
and told me I could do it. I had heard those words before, but this time
I started to believe them. I stacked up some bumper plates the same
height as the box. and I jumped. and I nailed it. I put the pile of
bumper plates next to the box… jumped again. nailed it. I went for the
box. It was the same height I just jumped. I knew it. I am good enough to do this. I jumped…. and nailed it.
That day I conquered the box jump was more than just another physical accomplishment. It was an absolute mental turning point for me. I was enough
the whole time. CrossFit just helped me believe that. It made me think
of other areas of my life that I was holding myself back in. What else
am I missing out on because I believed the lies I had been told (or had
told myself) for years? Suddenly instead of just brushing things off
saying “Oh I could never…” I began to seek out opportunities to try new
things… because Why Couldn’t I?
I still struggle. Just last week we did
the “Victoria” Hero WOD in memory of Victoria Soto, one of the teachers
killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy. I knew it was going to be a tough one
just looking at it.
There was a 40 Minute time cap, which
seemed reasonable until the hubs and his bestie (both complete beasts)
finished in 30 and 32 minutes. Immediately I began telling myself it was
ok to hit the time cap, since their times were so close to it. After
the 3rd round I had come to terms with the fact that I would just hit
the cap. That voice told me I couldn’t. And I started to believe it. The
large 9am class had mostly finished, it was me and 2 others left
working as we approached the time cap… I had burpees and kettlebell
swings left, and was at around 37 minutes. The large group of people
that had finished were cheering me on. And at that moment, I believed I
could. I dropped myself to the ground and peeled myself back up 12 times
for some of the ugliest burpees you’d probably ever seen. It was still
before 39:00… I could do this. I’m not sure if the cheering got louder
or if every part of my body was on edge because of exhaustion… but I
grabbed the kettlebell and started to swing. My palms were sweaty, my
body tired. Up and down up and down… 27 times. I finished that WOD in
39:27, just under the time cap. I totally believe that I finished that
WOD because my CrossFit family believed I could. Had they not cheered me
on, I would have listened to that voice that told me I couldn’t.
So when people ask me why I get up at 4am to workout, this is why.
When people ask me what it is about CrossFit that I love, this is it.
Because it taught me to believe in myself.
Because it reminds me every day that I am enough.
As our Fashlete of the Month Courtney will be receiving a free Pep Talk Charm of her choice from our CrossFIt Jewelry collection. Courtney has chosen the "I Choose Strength" charm. Thank you for sharing your story Courtney, we hope this charm will remind you to continue to face your fears and overcome obstacles!
Occupation: High School Student
Hi, my name is Allie Chrismer and I'm 16 years old. I was
diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), a heart disease, about a year ago. If I do things that
get my heart rate up or drastically change my position, I could pass out.
My heart doesn't pump blood like it should. A normal heart will fill up
with blood and then pump that blood out and send it all over your body.
When my heart beats it doesn't always fill up the whole way. So
sometimes my heart beats faster to try to make up for the blood that my
heart isn't filling up with.
Normally a person with
POTS will pass out after about 20 minutes of being up right. I passed
out in 4 minutes. So you could say my case is pretty severe. After I was
diagnosed I tried a bunch of different medicines. Medicines that made
my blood pressure increase, and ones that made it decrease. There was at
least 12 different ones I tried. Most with unpleasant side effects. So
once they had no more meds to try the doctors pretty much said, there's
nothing else we can do you'll have to live with it.
I was a very
active teenager. I played varsity volleyball my sophomore year and I was
doing CrossFit with
my local trainer. When I got diagnosed the doctors told me that I
wouldn't be able to workout anymore. No volleyball, no CrossFit! Being
the active girl that I was didn't take that very well! I decided I would
take matters into my own hands!
I started searching
online for other people with the same disease and trying to find out if
they were doing any exercise or
not. I then found a program from a school in Texas and I contacted them
asking them about the program. I was doing slow things like rowing and
the stationary bike. They said that slowly building up to more
intense exercises will be beneficial in the long run. I finished the 3 month program for the school in Texas and started a program at CrossFit Hanover.
I'm now working out
everyday. My workouts are still not as intense as normal CrossFit but
I'm getting there. I may not be there yet but I'm closer then I was
yesterday. People ask me all the time, why not just stop exercising, why
make it harder on yourself? I just tell them to think of the thing you
love being taken away and they only thing stopping you from getting it
back was your own limitations. I'm the only person
that can change my life into what I want it to be. I do it to prove the
doctors wrong. I do it to prove to myself that I am stronger than this
disease. I do it because it's what I love doing. To me, taking the easy
way out isn't an option.
I still get check ups with my doctors and I think I
surprise them with the progress that I've made everytime I come back.
They do urge me to be careful and they do EKG's and ultra sounds to make
sure I'm not hurting my heart or anything by doing it.
My goals are mainly to become the healthiest I can be. My
goals are to prove to myself that I am strong enough to overcome
anything that life throws at me. As for volleyball, I most likely won't
be back on the court for a while considering it's such a high impact
sport and it's a lot for my heart to handle. I hope to one day be able
to play on a rec league or something like that in college. To girls,
women, or even men fighting some sort of obstacle, Keep fighting. Be the
best you can be. Only you can control the outcome of your situation.
As our Fashlete of the Month Allie will be receiving a custom, one-of-a-kind charm engraved with her mantra: "I Control the Outcome". Allie says: "This necklace is a reminder that I am the only person who can
control my future. No matter what the doctors told me, I'm already
proving them wrong!"
Name: Michelle Tam Occupation: Clinical Night Pharmacist at a large hospital
Michelle Tam is the talented woman behind the popular Paleo
blog Nom Nom Paleo.Michelle majored in
Nutrition & FoodScience at Berkley and later earned a doctorate in clinical
pharmacy at UCSF.In the summer of 2010,
Michelle made the decision to go Paleo and read everything she could about the
science behind the Paleo diet.She
started Nom Nom Paleo to chronicle her culinary adventures, share tips, and
With tens of thousands of loyal readers, several food
industry blog awards, and her own highly praised iPad recipe app, Michelle is
considered to be an expert in all things Paleo.From her delicious recipes to her mouth-watering food photography,
Michelle covers it all. And there is so much more....
Spend a little while reading Michelle's blog and not only will you find delicious recipes and insightful nutrition advice... you will get a peak into her busy (very busy) life as a wife, mother of two young boys ("The Double-Os"), CrossFitter, and Clinical Night Pharmacist working the graveyard shift at a large hospital.Michelles's inclusion of her day-to-day routine is just as helpful and inspiring as her Paleo knowledge. In addition to learning some great recipes I have learned a lot about the great balancing act of life. While raising two boys and working nights, Michelle still manages to make fitness and nutrition a priority - not just for herself, but for her entire family. That's right, the Double-Os are Paleo too!
How often have you heard (or used) the excuse: "I just don't have time to cook!" Guess what, no one has the time. Time is not a precious little gift that arrives at the foot of our bed every morning that we get to open up in the middle of the day when we are feeling overwhelmed, under prepared, or just really freaking tired. Time is made. By you. Time is a result of prioritizing what is important to you and committing to a particular way of life. If you're not willing to make time, you have to be willing to admit that whatever you aren't making time for is not a priority. If you keep making excuses, you will eventually convince yourself that simple things like cooking healthy meals - things that could drastically improve your life - are impossible. If however, you decide to make something like "clean eating" a priority and understand that you CAN make the time, you will succeed. But don't take my word for it, just peek inside a day in the life of Michelle Tam and it will start to become clear. At least it has to me.
Here's a quick glimpse at how the busy mom recently dealt with an age old question that has been haunting women since the beginning of time... "Mom! What's for dinner??"
If I’d had my way, I would’ve spent all afternoon meandering through the
different specialty shops, but I had to pick up the Double-Os from
school. It’s true — children ruin everything. (If I have to tell you I’m kidding, you must be new here. Welcome, and please be sure to try my recipe for Virgin Boy Eggs.)
By the time the sun started drooping from its
perch in the sky, I, too, was slumping over with exhaustion. I would’ve
marched everyone out to a restaurant if my aversion of Friday night crowds
didn’t override my laziness.
What’s a tired mommy to do?
EMERGENCY PROTEIN, baby — in the form of
sliders and veggies sautéed in the burger drippings.
I grabbed two pounds of ground beef from the
defrost bowl in my fridge…
And just like that, Michelle guides us through her hectic life in a calm, cool, and collected manor and always with a touch of humor. It is reassuring, especially to someone like me (a business owner and mom-to-be)... life can be crazy without actually making you crazy.
The personal narrative aspect of the Nom Nom Paleo blog answers so many questions that come up as one is trying to truly make healthy eating a lifestyle. What should I pack in my kid's lunch? How can I eat out or order in and still stay Paleo? What should I keep in my pantry? How do I make the time? Nom Nom Paleo is about healthy behavior as much as it is about healthy food. To be successful on your Paleo journey you will need more than an arsenal of recipes, you will need routines. And after you establish your routines, you will need to figure out healthy ways to break out of your routines (gotta keep things interesting!) without completely going off the deep end. Thanks to Michelle's creative and personal approach you will not just learn how to cook, you will learn how to integrate your new skills and recipes into your own life... for good.
Q & A With Michelle
Earlier this month we asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers to send in their Paleo questions for Michelle to answer. We received some great questions and Michelle has provided some very thorough answers. Thanks everyone! Enjoy!
Q: What are her thoughts on coconut sugar? Evil
or not? -@ElleLoughan
A: Like agave nectar, coconut sugar is frequently marketed as a "healthy," lower-glycemic sugar, but when push comes to shove, it's still sugar. As
a recovering sugarholic, I've done my share of looking for sugar
substitutes, but unfortunately, there's no guilt-free sweetener that
should be eaten in large quantities or on a regular basis.
I try to minimize my consumption of sweeteners because otherwise, I'd
eat myself off a cliff. That's not to say I don't ever indulge, though
-- when the off-roading is truly worth it, I'll happily dig in! (And I
do love me some dark chocolate...)
Love the nom nom
blog. Wondering about Michelle's take on low carb. Ive been hearing about safe
starches and wanted to get her opinion. I see she eats sweet potatoes but does
she eat rice or white potatoes on occasion. Only after workouts, etc? –Victor
don't think of Paleo as being necessarily low carb, though of course
cutting out grains and added sweeteners does tend to reduce the overall
amount of carbohydrate in my diet. To me, it's not that Paleo is "low
carb" -- it just seems that way when compared with the super-high-carb
Standard American Diet.
My meals consist mainly of meat, vegetables, fat, and tubers, but I don't go out of my way to avoid carbs. And yes, I
do eat safe starches from time to time -- and white rice and potatoes
are definitely on that list. It's best to eat them after workouts,
though I'm not super-regimented about it. I think food is meant to be
enjoyed, and let's face it: Sushi is best with rice. Plus, if the
occasional helping of roasted potatoes or white rice is the worst thing
on your plate, I think you're in pretty good shape!
Q: Organic dairy
(cheese, cream, butter, etc) Why is it not included in Paleo but included in
"orthodox" Paleo eaters abstain from all dairy, many of us (including
Robb Wolf, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, and Chris Kresser) include some
forms of pastured, organic, full-fat dairy in our diets. Personally,
I tolerate full-fat dairy (e.g. pastured butter, heavy cream) just
fine, and I enjoy a fair amount of fermented dairy (e.g. full-fat,
pastured yogurt and kefir). I don't eat it all the time, but if it's
well-sourced and high-quality, I don't have a problem with it.
Q: Is it better to eat
something non-paleo or go without and be hungry? –Kelly
A: It all depends on
what you mean by "non-Paleo" and how hungry you are! I can normally pass
on the cheap beer and pizza at a party and wait until I get home to eat
something less gut-wrecking. Especially if your sleep is good and your
stress levels are in check, a missed meal here and there won't hurt you.
the other hand, if you eat healthy, nutrient-dense food most of the
time, indulging in an occasional non-Paleo meal is unlikely to wreak too
much havoc on your system. Some "cheats" will, of course, affect you
more than others, so take note of what you're eating so you can better
gauge what's truly worth the discomfort. If you've done a Whole30,
you'll already know which items will wreck you and which ones won't (as
Q: Does it do any good
to be 100% paleo but only 50% of the time? -Tyler
A: Well, it's certainly better than eating a Standard American Diet 100 percent of the time!
kidding aside, the answer is: "It depends." Of course, if half your
time is spent gorging on all manner of leaky-gut-inducing,
inflammation-causing, blood-sugar-spiking badness, it's probably not
going to matter that you're "clean" the other half of the time. Then
again, if you're not swinging
wildly from one extreme to the other, but simply "off-roading" a bit,
the equation may be totally different, especially if your baseline level
of health and fitness is high.
Personally, I feel better when I stick close to a Paleo template. As
a night shift worker, my metabolism, sleep quality, and cortisol levels
are already sub-optimal, so I operate best when I'm eating "clean" most
of the time.
Q: Paleo Protein shake
Options!!!!! – Shondelle
haven't experimented with protein shakes, so unfortunately, I don't
have any first-hand experiences to share with you. My post-workout food
choices usually consist of some starchy carbs (typically in the form of a
sweet potato) and some protein (like slices of roast beef). If you're a
big fan of protein shakes, you may want to consider Mark Sisson's
Primal Fuel or Stronger Faster Healthier's Recovery/Post Workout Whey
Protein Shakes, which appear to have cleaner, higher-quality ingredients
I would 100% recommend Michelle's Nom Nom Paleo app. It is simple to follow and full of a diverse array of yummy recipes. And talk about a time saver! The Nom Nom app will help you create shopping lists, stay organized, and walk you through recipes with gorgeous photos and simple written instructions. Not to mention the fact that while cruising through the grocery store with my iPad in hand full of healthy visual cues, I am less likely to stray into the "forbidden food" isles. Focus!
And when my little one is old enough to ask: "Mom! What's for dinner??" over and over again... I will be armed with plenty healthy options as answers.
What a lucky kid.
Last but not least, as a thank you for being our September Fashlete of the Month Michelle is receiving a customized sterling silver Nom Nom Paleo necklace.
Name: Eli Sapharti
Occupation: Motivational Speaker & Weight Loss Coach.
Founder: FATBoy FITMan
three years ago, Eli Sapharti was in the worst physical condition of his life. At
6’ tall he was 300lbs with 40% body fat.He had high blood pressure, aching joints, and was always catching a
cold or the flu.
“One day I
looked at myself in the mirror and couldn't believe how fat and unhealthy I had
allowed myself to get. At that moment, I knew I had to do something to change
this downward spiral.”
Started: “One Step at a Time”
attempted many fad diets and “quick fixes” that were only short-term solutions
with temporary results.He had been
battling with his weight since childhood and was ready and eager to for life-long
that dieting and impulsive changes in my physical activity were not going to
bring me the long term results I wanted. So I decided to just make 2
small changes that I knew I could commit to for at least 1 week.”
This “One Step at a Time” approach became Eli’s road map to weight loss success.He created small goals for himself and
committed to them 100% for a set amount of time.
these first 7 days, I had lost 2 lbs. I was sore from the walking and
still going through 'withdrawals' from not drinking soda, but I felt
accomplished and that motivated me to continue.”
•WALK for 20
• Stop eating
scored me another 2 lbs loss! I was on a roll here without ‘dieting’ and
without killing myself at the gym. Every week from that point on I would
make adjustments to my food intake and increase either the intensity or the
duration of my exercise.”
few months walking became jogging (in intervals) and then jogging became
running.After 3 months Eli incorporated
resistance/weigh training.Since the
beginning of his journey, Eli has run numerous 5K and 10K races and has
completed two half marathons (13.1 miles) finishing in the top 5%.
It is Eli’s
“One Step at a Time” approach that finally led him to long-term success after a
life-time of struggling with his weight.He was able to see results without because he took his time, focused on
small goals, and did not make unrealistic promises to himself.
Break Bad Habits
CANNOT be broken. Habits can only be replaced.
to replace a bad eating habit one must make no more than 1 or 2 changes at
a time and they should not be drastic or radical changes. For example, if
you drink several soft drinks per day and you want to eliminate them completely
form your diet, the first step is to reduce the amount you drink little by
little. Start by replacing 1 or 2 regular soft drink with diet ones.
As you get used to this, replace one more until you end up not drinking ANY
regular soft drinks. The key to successfully replacing any bad eating
habit is to do it ONE STEP AT A TIME!”
Important Dietary Change
important dietary change I made was reducing and eventually eliminating 95% of
my sugar consumption. I believe that sugar consumption is one of the top
reasons for the obesity epidemic in this country.”
Eli on Training
“I am a
firm believer that that not all methods work for everyone all the time.
Besides, everyone starts at their own level.Remember I started walking just 15 minutes per day 7 days a
week. Month to month and year to year my training changed dramatically as I
improved my conditioning and got stronger.”
routine is 6 days per week where I incorporate resistance training 4 days
per week and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 6
days. The duration of cardio varies from 30 - 60 minutes
depending on the day. It is a hobby and a passion for me to workout and hit the
gym, but I tell people that you do not have to even step foot in a gym to get
and stay healthy.”
Biggest Weight Loss Mistake
that one of my biggest mistakes was trying to get "there" fast.
As I saw progress, I wanted more of it and I wanted it NOW! So there were
times that I would overtrain and that led to injuries. I have learned
that there are no shortcuts and that the best results come from consistent,
his journey, Eli had no form of support.In retrospect he refers to this as a fortunate situation because his own
struggle has allowed him to be more empathetic towards others. By not having any support, Eli
realized the extreme importance of this aspect of weight loss really. He is now
more passionate than ever about helping guide others to success.
“I have not
invented anything new, nor am I revealing an ancient secret. There are
thousands of 'professionals' out there that have invented gadgets,
gimmicks, diets, exercise programs etc yet the one thing I have seen that is
lacking is as simple as stating the obvious and talking straight up with
people. And the other key missing ingredient is SUPPORT. Everyone
knows that proper eating and exercise is the way to losing weight and a healthy
body, but few people can achieve this because 1) they lack real support and 2)
They believe they have to go from 0-60 in 1 second flat. My mission is to
teach others that simplicity and consistency are the vehicles to their weight
Staying Motivated: Focus on health NOT weight loss!
strange to say you can achieve weight loss without focusing on weight
loss.But I think Eli’s attitude is
right on.He didn’t stress about the
number of pounds lost, he celebrated becoming healthier overall. There is a big
“When I set
out on this "journey" to get healthier, I did not have a number of
pounds I wanted to lose. As a matter of fact, all I wanted to do was to
become a little healthier or at least not gain anymore weight. As the
weight started to come off and my energy levels started to soar I pushed a
little harder. As I pushed a little harder, more weight came off and that
motivated me to keep going. I am not saying that there weren't days that
I wasn't disappointed or frustrated with my progress, but I knew that if I had
lost 50, 60, 80 lbs, the way I did, without gimmicks, diets, surgery, pills or
crazy exercise programs, I knew I could achieve anything. This kept me
Eli’s Advice on Getting Started
I KNOW how overwhelming it feels to think
of how much weight you have to lose.
I KNOW how difficult it seems to reduce
eating all the foods we all love so much.
I KNOW that you can barley walk without
losing your breathe, nonetheless exercising.
I also KNOW that you can achieve
amazing results just like I did.
If I had
only one piece of advice to give you it is that losing weight (no matter how
much you have to lose) is not an "all or nothing" thing. For
example, people ask me what difference a lousy 15 minutes of walking is going
to do for them. I tell them that those "lousy" 15 minutes are 15
minutes that they are doing something positive to improve their health and
life. It is 15 minutes that they are not sitting on the couch eating and
making their situation worse. We all have to start somewhere. As
the quote on my motvational t-shirt says:
"You don't have to be GREAT to
start, but you have to START to be great!"
As a reward for being our August Fashlete of the Month Eli is receiving a customized sterling silver key chain with his personal mantra and best weight loss tip: ONE STEP AT A TIME.
For more information on Eli's weight loss story and his personal coaching services please visit:
Name: Ashley Johns
and Owner of Fierce Forward,Online Consultant
& Mentor, Personal Trainer
compassionate, driven, and motivated mentor and personal trainer who has
dedicated her life to helping others transform their lives through her website, Fierce Forward. Fierce Forward is Ashley's personal mantra, an attitude, and a lifestyleinspired by her own journey and transformation.
Before “The Fierce”
of what makes Ashley so good at what she does is the fact that she was her own
first “project”.She wasn’t always the
fresh face, fierce body that you see pictured here.Just three years ago while working as a
Personal Banker, Ashley was experiencing daily anxiety attacks, turning to food
for comfort, and letting an important relationship fall apart.
enough time, I was very unhappy in not only my job but the choices I made in
response to my environment.I ate to be
happy and to escape and I began turning into a girl I not only didn’t
recognize, but didn’t know anymore.I
was in a dark, deep hole.”
New Years Day Ashley reflected on the previous night’s events. Everything about the night reminded her of how
much she had let herself go.Ringing in
the New Year has a way of doing this to us.Often we find ourselves thinking about how far we have come, or
conversely, how glad we are to have the opportunity for a fresh start.Ashley’s fresh start was on the horizon but
first she had to confront the stranger in the mirror and let her know it was time
looked into my watery eyes and really, honestly did not know the spirit of the
person I was looking at.It’s the best
way I can explain it.I just was so sad
and unhappy and I knew I had to move forward NOW.So I made a choice while looking at myself in
that mirror and from that day forward, I started working out and bought healthy
food and filled my fridge with pictures of fit women and motivational sayings
and as I say now, ‘Fierce Forward’ towards the life I wanted.”
One year later Ashley had lost a total of 30lbs, quit her job at the
bank, and decided she wanted to be a trainer – the kind of trainer that would
not only help people reach physical goals but also one that would be a constant
source of motivation and inspiration for her clients from beginning to end.
personal experience is part of what allows her to connect with her clients and
offer something beyond training routines and diet tips.
realize that these people, at this point in their journey, are vulnerable and
need positive influences in their lives.I’m able to truly be there for them because I’ve stood in their shoes
three years ago.“
Paying it Forward…
approaches training from a physical and emotional perspective; something that
has facilitated amazing results for her clients such as Voula. A Fierce Forward training program always beings with understanding the client’s goal. Voula’s
goal was to change her body composition and feel good about herself and the
choices she was making.
The Fierce Forward
Training Plan:“I created a lifting and cardio
plan for her that started slow and steady.I told her to come back and see me in 4 weeks and exactly 4 weeks later,
she came back and was ready for a new approach.I coached her with her diet and taught her what it meant to eat clean
and be healthy minded.I created a meal
plan for her based on all of her stats and her goal and she followed it.She listened to all of my advice and here is
what came of her hard work and dedication….“
Fierce Forward Client Results
addition to helping women like Voula achieve their goals, Ashley has ambitious
goals of her own.She continues to
improve her own life while helping others do the same and this is exactly why
she is our Fashlete of the Month.
Ashley’s Personal Goal:
This November Ashley will be taking a trip to Peru for
a four-day treck up Machiu Picchu; a physically challenging adventure that also
(in Ashley’s words) “has the ability to open you up and help you realize what’s
When I asked Ashley what she hoped to achieve
through completing the climb she responded with the following:
spent most of the past two years of my journey focusing on my training,
regimented diet and my body composition.I am in a new place and on a new journey presently.After quickly being swept up within the
Fitness Industry I realized my place was not to be a role model for women who
have lost weight, trying to achieve leaner body compositions, but rather to be
a role model to women to work hard, be healthy and realize that your inner
worth is what matters most; that this is what you should be journeying forward
is not about the “perfect” body for Ashley anymore. Trying to fit a physical
mold (even if it was supposedly a “healthy” one) was having a negative effects
on her mind.
am in a new place, finding balance and a love for my self that I lost when I
was trying to attain a leaner physique and fit into the social ideals of a fit
body.Where ironically, within my
attempt to fit this ideal, my mind slowly became unhealthy.My focus and my energy now go into the
present.Being grateful for what I have
and giving back is what makes me happy.I know on my climb and in my travels, I will be connecting with myself
on a higher level and with others on a level I am not able to most of the
time.I know this climb will bring good
things into my soul.”
It should come as no surprise that even Ashley’s
personal goals involve helping others.After
the climb she plans to stay an extra week to work with a volunteer organization
that is rebuilding homes destroyed by a major landslide that washed
away most of the town of Taray this past February.
“I hope to see things from a new perspective.I believe it’s human nature to take what you
have, the life you lead for granted.I
struggle with this and I really hope to reconnect with others outside of my
daily world to realize that this isn’t just about me.There are other people out there who truly
are struggling not with themselves but with even having enough food to get by
for one day.I really want to reconnect
with the part of me that gets washed with the every day life.I may not have money to give people but I
have positive energy, caring thoughts and Fierce Forward bracelets to give them
to remember to always be strong in their journey.”
wish Ashley the best of luck on her endeavors as a personal trainer and on her
exciting trip to Peru.She is a
wonderful inspiration and a reminder that in order to be of service to others
it is important to fulfill your own ambitions as well.
Fashlete of the Month, Ashley is receiving a sterling silver necklace from
Fashletics customized with the words of her choice: “I Slay Fear”.This is the attitude that started her journey
three years ago and the one that will carry her through her journey up Machu
Picchu and beyond.
Name: Vito Sztykiel
Occupation: Attorney, (Husband, Father of Four, Grandfather)
"I think putting away your childish things when you grow up is ill advised. I think you can stay a kid forever." -Vito
In honor of Father's Day we are featuring Vito - not just because he is a father (and he happens to be my father), but because just two weeks away from his 60th birthday, he is an example of the fact that the constant pursuit of athletic feats will in fact keep you young forever. With two titanium hips and several back surgeries under his belt, he is still playing ice hockey, windsurfing on lake Michigan in the summer, and keeping up with his 4-year-old grandson around the clock.
"Dad is the original warrior. He was Crossfit before there was Crossfit. Everything is for time and everything is hard." -Adam (his son)
Case in point: When my dad helped me move into my college dorm he grew impatient waiting for the freight elevator.Solution? He carried my disassembled lofted bunk bed up 7 flights of stairs... and then rebuilt it without even so much as a sigh. No questions asked, there was work to be done and it had to be done as quickly as possible. He has always maintained his physical fitness by attacking life in the same way that many of us attack workouts. The correlation between being functional and being fit is nothing new to my dad. Sure, he goes to the gym, but I think he finds it more rewarding to work up a sweat by hauling bags of mulch to the backyard in the summer and building ice rinks in the winter. That's right, every winter with his own two hands, my dad built a rink in our backyard... and you can bet that he was out there skating as often as his kids.
I attribute my dad's strength to a lot more than the fact that he has remained physically active throughout his life. Outside of his physical capacity, he has the mindset of a warrior. At some point in our childhood, my dad gave me and each of my three siblings a copy of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. Occasionally he would quote portions of the poem in his deep, clear voice convincing me that words, thoughts, and ideas are all a part of what makes a person strong.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Well... if all that... then what? Kipling would respond: "you'll be a MAN, my son!" My dad, on the other hand, would blow off the choice of pronoun and gender specificity in the poem and leave it to us to figure out what it meant. We got the message dad, loud and clear. We got it through your delivery of a 19th century poem and through your actions and attitudes in our 20th century upbringing. Physical strength starts and ends in the mind. Do not allow external pressures to diminish who you are inside. Your ability to to believe, your willingness to try, and your commitment to act is what gives you true strength. You decide if you are strong or weak before you even lift the first finger.
My dad decided long ago that he is strong. He is 100% committed to this perception of himself and that is the driving force behind everything he does. Strong father. Strong athlete. Strong lawyer. Strong husband. I believe that his mental strength has enabled him to do things physically that many men in their late fifties would have shied away from decades ago. His mind, even more so than his body, has enabled him to continue to do all of the things he loves even as he
approaches his 60th birthday.
We'll be celebrating my dad's 60th in a couple weeks on Lake Michigan where he will be rigging up the windsurfer on a daily basis, taking his family out on boat rides, and tackling his grandson in the sand. He'll smoke a cigar and sip on a glass of cognac at sunset and remark on how Lake Michigan is the best place in the world. And it is. Because he made it so. All of his decisions, all of his efforts to power through life with physical, moral, and mental strength have led him and his family to this place and this moment. Sunkissed and smiling with our bodies tired from play, we will all agree: best place in the world.
June Fashlete of the Month is for all the Vito's out there, all of the dad's that would literally break their own backs for the sake of their families. It is for the dads who lead by example; the dads who steer their children away from danger while simultaneously showing them how to be brave and strong in the face of it. It is for the dads who never stopped running, jumping, and playing; the dads who have kept their minds, bodies, and hearts young for themselves, their kids, and their grandkids.
Name: Melissa Guitron
Occupation: Coach at CrossFit San Mateo - Certified in: Level 1 CrossFit, CF Gymnastics, CF Football, CF Kids and Mobility
You know what you know and you don’t know what do you don’t
know. Four years ago if you asked me to define beauty, I probably would have
told you it involved weighing 120 pounds, wearing a size four and looking “lean
and toned.” Today, though I wear a size 4, I am proud to weigh a strong 150
pounds.Before Crossfit I simply did not
know. In a world that tells us who we are is not enough,
not thin enough, not pretty enough, not tan enough, not strong enough, it is hard to believe that you are enough.
strong become the new skinny?
I discovered CrossFit three years ago through my ex-husband.
When he returned from his deployment to Afghanistan he introduced me to
CrossFit and a completely new world of, you
are not enough. While CrossFit motivates most people to want to better for themselves,
I embraced CrossFit to make my husband happy.For 12 months I had spent hours on the elliptical, counting calories and
skipping meals, starving myself in an attempt turn my body into what I thought
was desirable. I thought exposed hip and collar bones was beauty, yet now I find
myself envious of girls with muscles and strength because that is what my
husband suddenly found attractive.
All my hard work was now, once again, not enough. It was no longer, you are not
skinny enough but instead you are not strong enough.I was now expected to learn to row fast, jump
high and clean massive amounts of weight all while wearing booty shorts if I
wanted to be enough for him.
It is hard to openly admit that I fell in love
with CrossFit for all the wrong reasons, but it’s the truth. I thought that
embracing CrossFit would save my marriage, that it would turn me into what my
husband wanted me to be.What I didn’t
expect was that it would turn out to be the saving grace that gave me the
strength to walk away from an abusive marriage. CrossFit for the first time
taught me to embrace who I am today, not who I want to be tomorrow, as enough.
transformation from I am too fat, to I am too skinny to, hey I am Melissa.
The transition from cardioaholic to CrossFitter was not an
easy one. It’s one thing to be told you don’t need to do hours of cardio in
order to maintain your figure. It is another to be told that you should drink
whole milk instead of soy, eat bacon instead oatmeal, and yolks with your
whites. I think I simply went into a state of shock and didn’t wake up until I
found myself stuck in the middle of a WOD with my coach screaming at me to jump
up on the god damn box. Believe me, I jumped, I jumped head first into my
future right in that moment. I was hooked on the personal competitive nature of
every WOD, fascinated by the nutritional science behind Paleo and mesmerized by
this world of women who didn’t spend all their time complaining about how
unhappy they were with their bodies. I wanted to be a part of their world and
they openly let me in. Muscle quickly replaced bone protrusions and I found
myself caring less about the approval of my husband and more about how amazing
I felt. For the first time his approval of my body stopped being what I yearned
straw was when we were out at dinner with friends. I had hit a good PR that day
and was feeling good. His response to my success was an hour-long tirade
of how CrossFit had changed me too much. I now ate too much, was bulking up too
much, and stupidly cared too much about it. In that moment I realized that
maybe all along I had been too much for him, that maybe I had been enough for
myself and just didn’t know it.
Paying it Forward
After leaving my husband and moving home, I struggled to find
a way to combine my passion for CrossFit with my desire to give others what
CrossFit had given me. I started a job working with at-risk youth in a
transitional group home, and attempted to share my newfound sense of “enough”
with the kids I worked with. While I tried my hardest to cultivate in them a
sense of self worth, I quickly realized that creating a sense of “enough” takes
more than the short amount of time they spent in the transitional home. In a
place where kids come and go every other week, I felt that I could make a
greater impact working with my community somewhere where I could provide
continuity of growth.
Brendon Mahoney and CrossFit San Mateo Team Elite.
In the spring of 2011 I met my partner and best friend
Brendon Mahoney. Not only did Brendon believe that I was enough to be a part of
his team, but he believed in me so much that he gave me the freedom to make my
dreams a reality. Without constraint, he handed me the power to create my own
CrossFit Kids and Women Only Programs.It was through these programs I have finally been able to reach others
the way I wanted to.
In the world of Pintrest boards and air brushed images we
have stopped being enough. We have been taught that you must constantly strive
for more without compassion for where you are today.My goal is to change that mentality. Strong
is not the new skinny in my box. You are you where are you are today, wherever
that may be. Six pack abs are no more a sign of your strength than collar bones
are of your beauty. My 7th grade girls don’t come to my class to get in shape
so that they can impress their peers; their motivational drive is to be better
for themselves. We celebrate a love for ourselves, just as we are.We celebrate elbows finally touching knees on
the pull up bar and graduating from dumbbells to barbells. Whether it’s a teen
or a retired mother, we as a CrossFit family of females are learning together
that who we are is simply enough.
Each Fashlete of the Month is presented with a custom sterling silver charm engraved with the word of her choice. In Melissa's case, this word rang loud and clear throughout her story. Not only will Melissa be receiving this custom piece, we are going to add the ENOUGH charm to the Fashletics permanent collection of inspirational CrossFit jewelry online later this summer. Fashletics is also donating ENOUGH charms to all of the girls who participate in Melissa's CrossFit Kids program to help her spread her important message.
Name: Susan Wallis
Occupation: Retired High School Teacher
1982 - A 29 year-old
Susan Wallis runs a local 5k with a group of women from the school where she teaches
high school math. She’s hooked.
1988 - Susan qualifies
for the prestigious Boston Marathon (26.2 miles) with a time of 3 hours and 19
minutes (7:35/mile pace). Qualifying in
1988 was tougher than in 2012. Today, a 35 year old woman would “only” have to
finish in 3 hours 40 minutes or better (8:23/mile).
1991 – An experienced
training buddy tells Susan that she is in shape to do an Ironman (2.4 mile
swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).What a great friend!With little
knowledge of swimming or cycling, Susan signs up for the first Great Florida
Triathlon, a brand new “iron-distance” race.
2012 - Susan is 59 years
old, a mother of two, and a retired school teacher.I’ve come to learn that Susan is as humble as
she is talented and I can thank her daughter Chrissy for nominating her for
Fashlete of the Month.
Since her first
triathlon in 1991, Susan has completed AT LEAST one ironman per year, and at
most THREE.Her total to date is 36
Ironman/iron-distance races.That’s 86.4
miles of swimming, 4,032 miles of cycling, and 943.2 miles of running… and
that’s just the racing part.Imagine the
ground she has covered in training!
Training is an interesting
topic when it comes to Susan’s athletic history.Prior to 2009, she was doing typical long
distance endurance training…. lots and lots of miles with little strength
work.She added CrossFit workouts to her
training plan in 2009 but did not stray from her long distance training plan
until being introduced to CrossFit Endurance in 2011.She was ready to try something new.
“CFE has totally changed
how I do my workouts. At this point last year, (with Kona in my plans for the
fall), I was running 3 times a week, swimming twice and biking 2 times with
long rides building over the summer. Now I am in the gym 4 times a week,
swimming once, and biking twice. I am working in more running now (as I am
recovering from some knee issues). “
Susan is coached by Doug
Katona (managing partner and head coach at CrossFit Endurance).He has no doubt that Susan will get to Kona
again this year with tremendous success by following CFE programming.
“We have had a few
issues to contend with (knees) so focusing on "re-setting" her
systems have been a priority. She has the engine, it just needed to be
revved up and given a power and speed overhaul. We have focused on the
fundamentals of squatting and pressing while dosing in the precise amount of
midline progressions to expose her weaknesses as we piece together a program
that allows her to continue getting faster running/cycling/swimming…. We've
also adjusted her nutrition to accelerate recovery and metabolic burn. In
just a short amount of time, Susan has made tremendous strides” –Doug Katona
Susan has not only
continued to improve her endurance, she is also becoming quite a serious
CrossFit athlete.She finished 27th
in her age group in the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Open and plans on attacking it again in
2013 with even more strength and better technique.She is definitely one to keep your eye on!
have brought Susan to places like Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and most
importantly – Kona.Susan has qualified
for and competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona 6 times. As Susan puts it, this is the “Super Bowl” of
triathlons and “the island has a way of sucking the life out of you with the
winds and heat coming off the lava fields”.She also points out that at this stage you are racing against the best
of the best… everyone at Kona is a winner from another Ironman.
Kona holds both a
special and painful spot in Susan’s heart for a reason other than the tough
competition or harsh racing conditions.In 2001, full of excitement and anticipation, Susan made her first trip
to Kona with her husband Mike.Three
days before the event her husband went fishing off the lava rocks behind the
Natural Energy Lab.He never returned.
“Search and Rescue
looked for four days, with nothing other than a broken fishing pole lodged in a
blow hole, and the rental car to be found.I participated in that Ironman, but with numb feelings.With the exception of 2002, I have been back
every year, to either compete or to volunteer.On the Big Island, in Kona, is where I belong every October, just to be
near where my husband was last seen.Chrissy, my son John, and I have moved on, but we miss him daily.He was my rock.”
“That year I lost
Mike, I did three Ironmans in 5 weeks. Kona was three days after, then two
weeks later Great Floridian and then two more weeks was Ironman Florida.I had to keep doing these and keep active.
My students back home and my cross-country team were all behind me and
helped by just letting me get back into a regular routine. I needed the consistency.”
Susan is grateful for
the support of her friends and family but I think by now you can tell that
Susan is a fighter in her own right… always has been, always will be.She is as fierce of a competitor at age 59 as
she was at age 29.
“The last thing I
look at is her age. I see an athlete. I see a woman who attacks
life and welcomes the opportunity to humbly learn. She is a joy to coach.”
–Doug Katona, CrossFit Endurance
Susan has proven to be
as fierce of a competitor at age 59 as she was at age 29.Every Fashlete of the Month receives a
customized sterling silver necklace engraved with the word or phrase of her
choice.Susan chose “Wahine Koa” which
is Hawaiian for “Warrior Woman”.
Some people are born
warriors who seek out challenges and competitions that allow them to test their
will, strength, and fortitude.Some
people are made into warriors because they are forced to confront unforeseen
obstacles or events that they did not invite into their lives.Susan is both, a true Wahine Koa in every
sense of the phrase.
First of all, how great is the name Radical Hateloss? In a world where so many women are still obsessed with the number on the scale, Radical Hateloss is an important reminder that the problem is not always the weight we carry on our hips or in our bellies... it is the weight we carry on our shoulders. Obsessing over the scale or clothing size is nothing but a burden. And while it may seem like perfectly reasonable motivation to get into the gym, such an obsession can actually be detrimental to your fitness and your happiness.
The theme of our discussion was "Accepting Ourselves and Wanting More". Stephanie and I both agreed that this topic is synonymous with "Live, Love, Lift" and embodies what Fashletics is all about: Enjoy your life, love yourself, and find your strength inside and out.
It's not easy to simultaneously accept yourself and want more. Trust me, I have struggled with this concept myself. How can I accept where I am today if there is so much more I want to accomplish in the future? I used to associate acceptance with complacency (which is absolutely not okay in my book). I was afraid that if I accepted myself I would lose the motivation to become something even better. I thought acceptance was a barrier to growth.
As it turns out, the exact opposite is true. Once you master self-acceptance, you will be able to rid yourself of the burden of doubt, negativity, and all of those thoughts of "I'm just not good enough". You will discover a new sense of inner strength and confidence that will allow you to improve your health, fitness, and relationships. Imagine the difference between approaching a workout and thinking, "I lifted some pretty heavy weight yesterday! I am feeling strong! I've got this!" As opposed to, "Man, I was really off yesterday. I'm not getting any stronger. Why do I even bother?" Which mindset do you think will allow you to have a better (and more enjoyable) workout?
At the end of the group discussion we presented the ladies with a challenge: Write your own "Self-Acceptance Principles" (instructions can be found below). Some of the women from the series posted their principles on RadicalHateloss.com where the discussion continues. One of the participants was so inspired by the call and the challenge that she also wrote an inspiring essay which earned her a spot here as Fashlete of the Month.
And now our Fashlete...
Shanna has gone from a "chubby" kid who felt undeserving of love, to diet-obsessed teen, to personal trainer, to first-time mom. Throughout her many body transformations, Shanna has struggled with self-acceptance. Like all of our Fashletes, her story is relatable and inspiring. Shanna also outlines how you can write your own Self-Acceptance Principles.
Accepting Ourselves and Wanting More
by Shanna Tokarsky
I was part of an
amazing call last night...sorry men this one was all for the ladies! This was
one of the calls in The Ladies RX discussion series put on by Stephanie Vincent
at Radical Hateloss. Here's a quick overview:
women from all over the country gathered to talk about an important topic that
impacts women who CrossFit but also women in general- Accepting Ourselves &
Wanting More with Special Guest Sarah Wilson of Fashletics."
We talked about the difference between acceptance and resignation, the struggle
to accept and about how acceptance helps us reach our goals, possibilities, and
brings the experience of joy and ease. It was a rich conversation that
could have gone on way longer than the hour of the call! If you missed the call you can listen to below or download it here."
This topic is very
near and dear to my heart. As women we have a lot of pressure to conform to
what society declares as beauty. Growing up as a chubby kid I never felt like I
was skinny enough to be loved. I have struggled with body image since I can
remember. Even when I lost 30lbs in High School, I still felt like the
chubby girl. In middle school, high school and the early part of
college I experimented with bulimia, anorexia and a lot of unhealthy extreme
diets and diet pills. I was obsessed with getting skinny. During my
sophomore year in college, when I had gained back my 30lbs I decided to change.
I started researching how to become a personal trainer so that I could learn
the healthy way to "stay thin" I became AFFA certified and landed my
first personal training job. In comes a new obsession: cardio and
counting calories. I replaced my extreme unhealthy ways with extreme
healthy...after all I was a personal trainer now...I needed to "look"
the part. As a personal trainer, I struggled with body image even more than I
did before. I was lost. I wanted so bad to have the 6pack abs that I saw in the
magazines. I felt like a scam, there I was coaching others on how to live happy
and healthy and I was dying inside. Flash forward a few years...I hear about
CrossFit. What is this?
For the first time in my adult life I was proud of my
body. My hands were torn, my legs were bruised and I was so proud of what my
body could accomplish. In an instant my idea of body image changed. I no longer
saw my body for what it physically looked like, I saw it for the first time as
an amazing machine that could accomplish great things. I was happy. I accepted
my body, my fitness and myself completely and I was proud of where I was and
excited about where I was going... Then I got pregnant. Even through my entire
pregnancy I felt great about what my body was accomplishing. I mean really I
was growing a human and I was still crossfitting! Flash forward to a
month after I gave birth to my first son.
In my last post I talked about my struggles with being
at the bottom of our CrossFit gym in terms of athletic abilities since I have
been back post-pregnancy. In my head I was going to be back putting up the top
times in the gym by now...almost 4 months later. I still have baby weight
to lose..my jeans don't fit and I cried during a WOD last week because I felt
so bad about my times. I was back to my old ways of negative body image and
crazy thinking. When the CrossFit Opens started last week, I knew I was
going to compete...but I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the competition.
During that WOD that I cried through...I had a major breakthrough. Well, my
husband helped me have a breakthrough, he was there to witness the hot
mess that I was that day... later that night he said something that changed
me. He said " you have to stop defeating yourself every time you walk into
that gym." He was right, in my head I was already beating myself up before
I even started. I was not accepting myself at all. Now it would be a lie if I
said that those thoughts don't come back into my head, I'm still working on it.
When I saw this call I was excited to share and listen. I'm so glad that I did!
At the end of the call they challenged us to write "self-acceptance
Writing Your Own Self-Acceptance Principles
what you want to accept—about your body, about your fitness, about yourself in
general and then write a principle for each.
For each aspect you will accept ask yourself,
What are your accepting?
What will acceptance allow you to focus on?
What will acceptance bring?
Each principle can go something like this..
I accept ________, which allows me to ________ so that I ___________.
Here are mine:
Body: I accept my left over baby fat, which allows me to spend every ounce of
mental energy on being present to my son and husband so that I can truly
experience life as a new mother.
Fitness: I accept my level of athletic ability post-postpartum, which allows me
to focus on every WOD, every rep, every breath so that I can truly give it my
very best in that moment.
Business Success: I accept where I am financially, which allows me to be fully
available to help and coach others so that I can be a very successful and
inspiring CrossFit coach and AdvoCare Advisor.
That is powerful! Ladies, I can't tell you how awesome it feels to accept yourself.You just need to try this.
As Fashlete of the Month, Shanna is receiving a customized necklace from Fashletics to add to her CrossFit jewelry collection. We would like to thank her for sharing her story and showing that her commitment fitness has improved her life inside and outside of the gym. Congratulations Shanna, keep up the good work!
"Tumbling, swinging, jumping, has always been a joy to me. I
am still amazed at what feats the human body can do and I believe anyone can do
it. I understood at an early age that in order to do all those cool tricks I
had to eat, sleep and train smart."
Q. What is your Earliest athletic memory?
A. Impossible to say, my parents hung me from the clothesline while they hung laundry and I have pictures of myself at age 18 months standing on my tricycle seat. I always had a ton of energy and my parents were constantly challenging me, believing in me when other parents would have fainted. My parents enrolled me in dance and acrobats at the age of 3. I wanted to go every night!
I was consumed by a drive and passion to be Olga Korbut! To do the cool things they did on TV. No matter what it took. I was unable to get into a gymnastic center until age 13 but began competing 6 months later. I went from school to dinner to the gym everyday M-F and Sunday for 4 hours each day. I loved it, it was what I desired. When you love something, discipline comes easy.
Building Her Family
"As I grew into adulthood, I married a
wonderful man, and we had 3 beautiful daughters in less than 4 years."
Q. How did building a family affect your athletic life?
A. I gave myself to my babies, I worked out up until I delivered our first child. We had 3 sweet little girls in less than 4 years—I was 26 after the birth of our 3rd daughter. I continued to go to the gym as time permitted with the first child but after we had 3 I gave up for about 8 years on consistent exercise outside the home. I did Joanie Greggin’s and Denise Austin’s VHS tapes in my living room! I knew that my family was worth the sacrifice plus we were a very active family.
Building Her Business
"I soon realized that not all children had the
upbringing on athletics and nutrition that I had. I wanted to make a difference
in children’s lives – to help direct them onto the road of pursuing a healthy
lifestyle. I am proof that attitudes regarding sports and exercise are
developed at a young age.I want those
attitudes to be positive! I started Tumblin4Kids Mobile Gym in 2000. We
have over 500 students and travel to 30 different locations in Ohio."
Q. When did you notice the lack of athletic focus of other children? What did you do to change that?
A. When my girls were all of preschool age I became a lead toddler teacher. WOW! I was totally blown away by the laziness or lack of physical knowledge of the staff during “Free Play”. It was basically bullies picking on the weaker children and the teachers constantly redirecting them. I decided to take a cd player into the muscle room and we got moving! My toddlers loved “Skip to My Lou”, “Stop and Go”, “Do the Pony!” and many more fun songs that encourage movement skills (the students were able to opt out if the wished but rarely did).
I started researching movement in young children and what was age appropriate for my children and my students. I began incorporating the elements into our lesson plans with huge success. I also realized that many preschools did not have a teacher/director that saw this deficit in their curriculum, that is when the idea of Tumblin4Kids Mobile Gym was born. Nutrition in our country is just ridiculous, the food they are allowed to serve in schools canned, processed, full of sugar and additives—truly disastrous for a growing child’s health.
started Crossfit in September of 2010. I was unable to do a strict pull up and
was wanting to get in shape again. I had sacrificed my body for 10 years
building the business plus was tired of slogging along a the local gym.
Crossfit did it for me. I love it, at 47 I feel better and stronger
than I have in years!"
Q. After 10 years of focusing on your business, how did you get yourself back into shape?
A. A parent suggested I check out CrossFit and they gave me a name of the person that owned a gym. I went and was kind of surprised at how different the gym was compared to Lifestyles where I had been going. I was truly humbled and shocked when I could not do a pull up. I weighed more than I ever had not being pregnant and I had fat on my belly—which did not really bother me! What bothered me was I was so weak, and there was so many things I could no longer do. I wanted to do them again, I wanted to be really good at all that CrossFit stuff...the passion reignited! Thankfully they had WOD’s when I could be there and I went! Working out is now one of my main priorities everyday, along with eating, sleeping, family & working.
Q. How has your life changed since finding a balance between business, family, and your own health?
A. I am stronger, with functional muscle and a functional body. I have inspired others to get moving, my husband, brother, cousins and 1 daughter all train in CrossFit. My middle daughter has decided to train to be an IFBB Figure competitor. The ripple effects are amazing! People (co-workers, friends, family) that my family have inspired are now doing CrossFit. It is an amazing community of wonderful people. I have worked out in boxes in Ohio, Florida and Alabama—and the CrossFit community is amazing!
My mental toughness has increased 10 fold, my ability to “embrace the suck” has risen to where I am able to recover somewhat after a WOD before I leave the gym. I have been educated on foam rolling and mobility work that will save my joints. I am excited about going into my 50’s, 60’s and 70’s because of the wonderful CrossFit athletes that inspire me everyday!
Q. You seem to have it all figured out! What's your secret?
A. Priorities, planning and preparation. My family understands that CrossFit is a HUGE part of my life and that I work out everyday for an hour and a half. Having a supportive husband, parents and all our children grown helps tremendously!
Thank you Shellie for sharing your story, your knowledge, and your passion! Shellie is receiving this handmade, one-of-a-kind necklace from Fashletics as a token of our appreciation for her dedication to her own health and fitness and the health and fitness of so many others. Shellie chose the word "DESIRE", the key component to having the discipline to do what she does everyday... change lives.
"I loved it, it was what I desired. When you love something, discipline comes easy."
Name: Amy Albert
Occupation: Firefighter, Palm Beach Fire Rescue
As a mother of two, an accomplished athlete, and a Firefighter, it is easy to see why Amy is the perfect choice for Fashlete of the month. But what makes Amy's selection extra special is that she was nominated by her twin sister Amber. As tough as this duo is, Amber's pride and love for her sister is touching and even brought a tear to my eye (okay fine, more than one tear). After all, success means so much more when you have someone you love to share it with... Amy and Amber have the LIVE LOVE LIFT thing down! Here is Amber's tribute to her sis...
always have to give 110%” our mother would say to Amy all the time while
growing up. My identical twin sister Amy is by far one of the most
remarkable athletes and human beings I know. As long as I can remember
Amy has been the most determined, compassionate, and hard working individual.
There are many stories of Amy’s athleticism that I could share, so I will
give you a few examples of some of the good ones. Amy is like a pit bull,
she has no cut off, a high threshold for pain and will go to complete
exhaustion. Our mother would always tell her that “you don’t have to be
the best” Amy would just smile and do her best, which was always above and
beyond what most could accomplish.
Amy and I played water polo in high school, when we
arrived at Florida State University our freshmen year we both realized that
there was no women’s water polo team. So you ask yourself, what did Amy
do? Amy played with the men’s water polo team, not an easy feat.
Amy took it upon herself her sophomore year to help establish the FSU
women’s water polo team and become the first President. After many water
polo games Amy would complain that her arm would become numb, most would
probably stop whatever physical activity they were doing if something like that
occurred, not Amy! In fact Amy was swimming half the game with her
shoulder dislocated! She would just push past the pain.
After college Amy dabbled in figure competitions and
nutrition. About 2 years ago Amy fell in love with her next sport,
Crossfit! Amy not only excelled as one of the top female athlete in the
gym but regularly beat out most of the men. She was named athlete of the
year for 2010 and is always striving to better herself and those around her.
She is quick to welcome new members and always motivates those around
Last year I had the pleasure of competing in the
Ragnar Relay with Amy and we ran from Miami to Key West on a 12 person team.
Of course we decided to do this race as a fun weekend activity (with no
prior training other than Crossfit). Amy and myself had never run any
distance greater than a 5K, so why not run 26 miles over the weekend! Amy
had the longest single leg of the race, a total of 11.9 miles, she ran in the
dark through Key Largo with a head lamp and reflective vest at an astonishing pace.
I was extremely nervous running my second leg after her, in the dark and
wasn’t sure I would be able to run 9 mile straight, she gave me the best advice
that anyone has ever given me. She said “don’t stop!” I took her
advice to heart and ran like Forrest Gump, passing my team at a rest station
and yelling to them that “Amy said I can’t stop”. I finished strong and
owe it to her, she was my driving force to completing the Ragnar Relay.
By the way, I believe I forgot to mention that after the race, Amy found
out she was a month pregnant.
My awesome twin sister is not only a wife and
firefighter, but an amazing mother of two beautiful children, a little girl
named Livia who is 2 years old and a new baby boy named Lex who is 4 months
old. She leads an active lifestyle with her two children. Her
little girl Livia has grown up at South Florida Crossfit Endurance, from
learning to crawl, her first steps, to hanging from the pull-up bars. Amy
always has her kids at the gym showing them that an active lifestyle is a
priority in her life and theirs.
Amy is an inspiration to all women. She has
dedicated her life to fitness and motivating those around her. She is my
identical twin, but is truly an amazing individual. She is a wonderful
daughter, sister, wife and mother. She exemplifies that strong is
beautiful and confidence is sexy!
Name: Lori Mathews
Occupation: Enrollment and Volunteer Coordinator at The Women's Wilderness Institute, CO
A sandstone tower is my jungle gym. My slide - fluffy, white snow fanning out from my feet as I glide down a ski slope. My treadmill is a rocky, single-track trail winding between tree, boulder, tree. The playground right out the door of my Colorado home offers adventures that engage on so many levels. Your feet flex over rocks on trails that wind forever; smells of pine and juniper wave by with each step, eyes catch glimpses of dew glistening on blades of grass, you can taste the bitterness of cold air at 12,000 feet and maybe hear nothing but your heart beat or perhaps the symphony of birds as they fly overhead. Playing outdoors electrifies all of my senses.
In the outdoors, everything is dynamic. A clear blue sky can give way to storm clouds and challenge you to change route, speed up or slow down, act quickly. I love the rush of setting out on an adventure; preparing myself and also welcoming anything that may come.
Being outdoors has always been a big part of my life. I’ve spent entire days dodging seaweed in the cold waters at my grandparents lake house in Michigan. I liked to see how deep I could dig my toes in the sand and how tall I could make my drip-sand castles. For thirteen consecutive summers, I’d ride horses in open fields and through thick forested trails with friends at summer camp. A pivotal experience for me was setting off on a 30-day adventure carrying everything I needed in my 75lbs pack, hiking for miles up and over mountains and through fields of wild flowers. Butterflies would tickle the insides of my stomach anticipating the view as we crested ridge tops. And there’s nothing like being out of breath from reaching the top of a hill that you weren't sure you’d make save for you knew the views would reward any sore muscle.
Though I’ve had my share of solo journeys which offer their own unique sets of challenges and benefits, many of my adventures are with close friends, a partner, even a group of folks I just met and the interactions and communication within a group are all a part of the challenge. I've had some extreme highs and lows from my adventuring outdoors but all these experiences have allowed me to see what I am capable of not only on a physical level, but an emotional and mental level as well. As I have become more comfortable with my skill sets, sharing my passion for what an amazing classroom the outdoors can be became paramount.
For me, spending time in nature is not just a way to get exercise or release tension, it’s a lifestyle. For the past 6 years, I’ve worked in the realm of outdoor/experiential education sharing with others the benefits of the life out of doors and helping people explore the challenges, and rewards, of the wilderness. And the great thing is, challenge looks different for everyone! Someone might be challenged by a barefoot walk through grass, another might put a climbing harness on for the first time and feel what pocked granite is like, or it might be someone’s 100th summit. To see that moment where someone has pushed to try something new, to take a healthy
risk, is amazing.
I feel lucky and humbled each day I play outside. Whether I am pushing myself to run longer on a trail, climb higher and harder, or simply challenge myself to stop and look at the horizon. Through nature, in all its intricacies, I've learned how to not only listen to myself, but everything that surrounds me, to teach me how to overcome obstacles, how to appreciate simple beauty, and come back to myself.
About Women’s Wilderness:
The Women’s Wilderness Institute, a non-profit based in Boulder, Colorado, believes that if girls can become courageous and confident women, they will lead happier, healthier, better lives and be more likely to change our world for the better. Based on current research, TWWI programs teach a curriculum that taps into girls’ unique strengths and needs, balancing physical challenge with the development of communication and leadership skills that are crucial for girls’ confidence and self-esteem. On our women’s courses, we teach women crucial skills for building self-confidence and personal strength through technical competence. Every day in the outdoors we empower girls and women to find and use their courage to act and think for themselves, because we believe that without courageous and confident women, we’re missing out on 50% of the resources available to the world! Strong girls lead to strong women, and ultimately a better world.
Thank you Lori! You are a wonderful example of what it means to "LIVE LOVE LIFT". You have developed your physical and mental strength in a way that allows you to have meaningful relationships with the people and world around you. You are the true definition of FASHLETE!
Lori received this custom made, sterling silver necklace as a reward for being our December Fashlete of the Month. She chose these words based on her passion for the wild outdoors and her view on the benefits of taking risks in life.
"Risk. It can often have negative connotations: danger, hazard, threat. I would rather focus on what risk has granted me in life: possibility,
opportunity, adventure. To risk is to try, and to trust. For me, taking a
risk is to see what is possible and trust in my decisions." - Lori
Name: Tina Daneshmand
Occupation: Bookkeeper, Full Time Business Law Student, CrossFit Coach
Let’s face it, high school can be rough. Trying
to fit in when you still have no idea who you are is an almost impossible
task. And yet, so many teenagers put pressure on themselves to become
what they think they are supposed to be in order to be accepted.
Tina viewed herself as an outcast in high school. She was overweight, had no self-confidence,
and no idea how to relate to the other students. Instead of reaching out
to Tina, her peers turned on her and not only drove her out of school, they
drove her to a point of physical self-destruction.
"One morning, my junior year, I came to campus
& found posters all over the school that said: “Don’t feed Tina” with my face
on it & everything. I left that day & never went back. I decided to
homeschool because what was the purpose of going to campus & not
socializing anyhow? Three months later, I went from 150 pounds to 98 pounds
(I’m only 5’ tall, so although it doesn’t sound like much when I say 150, keep
in mind I’m a shorty). I threw myself into a downward spiral that was so
twisted. I never thought I’d be the girl who would be skinny. I had thrown
myself into a deeper ball of depression & swore to myself if I didn’t see
double digits on the scale that it was the end of the world."
A False Sense of Power
"Anorexia gave me power, it put me in control.
It controlled the numbers on the scale. The decision I made was to live off of
vitamins and sugar water. VITAMINS AND SUGAR WATER. My family continuously
worried about me, and I was threatened to be hospitalized. I tried to eat in
front of them, a few nibbles here and there, but it ultimately went down the
drain. I did this for months until my body finally went into shock and couldn’t
take it anymore. I was always exhausted, always sick, obviously I had no
I just woke up, sat in front of the mirror and cried. I honestly remember just
sitting there thinking....I am day by day watching and allowing myself to die.
I felt like it was a slow suicide, and not only was I hurting myself, but I was
hurting my family, the people who loved me the most. I felt selfish. I finally forced myself to make a
change & began eating a little at a time."
Tina says that although her eating disorder was “short-lived”,
it changed her. She was eating again but still struggled with a distorted
body image and continued to look for ways to lose weight. Instead of starving herself, Tina planned to
hit the gym and burn unwanted calories.Forty-five
minutes on the elliptical five days a week became Tina’s routine. She did this for three months straight… and
did not lose a single pound. When Tina met
someone with an alternative training plan she was all ears.
Firefighter to the Rescue!
"It wasn’t till July 2010 that my life would
change. I participated in the Irvine Lake Mud Run & met a firefighter by
the name of Kasra. He told me I should check out CrossFit, and that one
had just opened up near him in Westlake Village, CA. I figured what the heck. I
walked into CrossFit Conejo Valley on July 21, 2010 where I met Steve
Tina’s coach introduced her to the CrossFit
methodology: constantly varied, functional movement such a squats, pull-ups,
push-ups, deadlifts, and more.
"I thought to myself, holy crap - I can’t do a
single pull up to save my life, push ups I was okay at, but when it came to
squats, my legs were so weak & I lacked so much flexibility that I
legitimately couldn’t do a full ROM (range of motion) AIR SQUAT! AN AIR SQUAT!!!!"
Progress: A Healthy Addiction
Since high school, Tina had been looking for a way to
gain control of her body and have a positive self-image. Anorexia was not
the answer and neither was chronic cardio. She thought her problems would
be solved by being skinny even at the expense of her physical well-being.
Finally through CrossFit, Tina found a way to make positive changes and gain
control of her body in a completely healthy way. Instead of destroying
her body, she began building herself back up. The progress she saw in her
strength and conditioning was addicting and far more rewarding than the
destructive methods she had tried before.
"I continuously went to CrossFit Conejo Valley,
I was progressing so much. I was running a lot more, I was learning new
movements like power cleans, jerks, overhead squatting, thrusters, etc. I was
continuously PR’ing, but most importantly, my confidence was through the roof.
I never imagined I’d feel this way. I felt good about myself, I felt great
being around other people."
A Greater Purpose
With a new-found feeling of self-confidence and
purpose, Tina discovered that she was ready to help others. I believe
this is a true sign of being a completely healed person… when you have gained
so much in terms of your own strength that you are able to give something
back. Now that Tina has learned how to take care of herself, she is ready
to help others do the same.
" I realized this is
what I’m passionate about, this is what I was born to do, I was born to be a
warrior and I learned how to do things and make changes for MYSELF and be
happy. If I could do this, anyone can. A few months had gone by & I
realized this is what I needed to do with my life, I needed to help people
reach goals, and make changes within themselves and realize that they’re
amazing. I received my Level 1 cert and I began coaching classes, watching
people progress gave me instant gratification."
"I’ve been Crossfitting for about 16 months now,
& I’ve hit PRs I never thought possible. I did my first deadlift in July of
2010 where I hit 105#, I now deadlift 320#, just 25# shy of hitting triple my
bodyweight. I’ve completed the Super Spartan race which was 9 miles long, I’ve
hit a 44# weighted pull up, I can do muscle ups, I front squat 165#, I power clean
130#, my max one handed handstand hold on a kettlebell is 51 seconds, I have a
sub 5 Fran, & I’ve even done Fran at the men’s weight for fun! My most
recent PR is hitting a bodyweight overhead squat."
"I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in
life. I’ve learned that life really is about YOU vs YOU. Who cares what people
think? Make changes for yourself. Take that first step & never look back!
It’s a road to happiness, & I thank CrossFit for making me realize this
because I’ve never felt better!"
Tina is receiving a customized necklace inscribed with the words of her choice: "I will. I can." Fashletics is proud to present Tina with this unique piece as a symbol of her dedication to a healthy and happy life. Thank you Tina! STRONG WINS
Name: Maggie Prior
Occupation: Medical Student
I received an email from Maggie after she completed the Detroit Marathon last week. Maggie is an avid CrossFitter, medical student, and has more than a few marathons under her belt. Yea, kind of an overachiever. She is one of those people who has extremely high expectations of herself and is used to excelling at pretty much whatever she wants. You tend to find quite a few of these types of people in CrossFit boxes everywhere. We aren't superheroes, but man, we sure think we are!
Somewhere around mile marker 14, Maggie's high speed life caught up with her. When people rehash a marathon experience, I find they spend very little time talking about what it felt like physically. "It hurt." Wow. Shocking. In Maggie's words: "I had a rough go of it in the middle there." What followed that statement was not a laundry list of aches and pains, it was an outpouring of the stress and anxiety that she had packed on through the months of her training. Sometimes when you are as fit as someone like Maggie, it's hard to realize that you are actually carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
I asked Maggie to share her story because I know that so many of you out there have been in her shoes.... literally and figuratively speaking. Some of the the most beautiful moments in life seem to be inextricably linked to something painful. The best is yet to come for Maggie, and when it does she will look back on this marathon with a smile, with gratitude, and knowing Maggie... with an overwhelming desire to do it all over again.
by Maggie Prior
Writing this is one of the most
nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done, because I have to admit to a lot of
vulnerability. It’s rare that I let people see that – to admit that I have
feelings or doubts or insecurities. I’m starting to learn that it really isn’t
so horrible if you do. You don’t have to be the strongest person in the world
all the time. Actually, you just can’t be. But, the people that love you will
step up to the plate and help you out, and you end up just fine. Better than
fine; you end up much stronger, with amazing stories and memories of even the
smallest things people will do for you that make your day brighter. So, here
I live life at 110 miles per hour. I’m in
medical school, do research in a lab part time, am an avid crossfitter,
volunteer in clinics and with an afterschool running program for kids and in my
“spare” time, signed up to run the Detroit marathon with my best friend. I’ve
always been able to handle this much, and I do it on my own. But, any sane
person can look at my life and know it’s too much. In fact, when people see my
Google calendar, they get so stressed out for me that they have to close it
immediately. Lately, things have caught up with me, and I just can’t do
everything I want to.
I’ve always thought that if I work hard enough, I can do
anything I set my mind to. But,I can’t. I’m spread so thin and pulled
in so many directions everyday that I’m worried I won’t succeed, at least to
the level that I’m used to and the level that everyone expects from me.It makes me really frustrated, angry,
and sad and I’m not used to it. The hardest part for me has been actually
admitting that I can’t do this all by myself, and to ask people for help. I
have amazing family and friends that I know would bend over backwards to do
anything for me at the drop of a hat. I brag about that fact all the time, but
never actually ask them to do anything for me - because I thought it was a sign
of weakness. But, admitting vulnerability and that I can’t do something isn’t
actually the weakness. Not doing anything about it is.
Midway through the marathon last week,
during a particular low when I was literally kicking cups on the side of the
road in frustration, Natalie made me pull out my headphones and talk to
her.At one point she asked me what made me happy and
feel better and I said, "Lifting really heavy weight at the box". School
is a mind f*#$ when it comes to self-confidence when you are constantly
measured against 300+ other students every week on an exam (literally, I am
ranked, every week, every exam). So, even when I do well, there's always a
reminder I could have done better, and no real sense of accomplishment. I’ve
never cared about grades, and can usually tune out chatter about them, but it’s
gotten in my head that my best right now isn’t good enough. Not with lifting at
the box. Sure, there are a few of us that are relatively in the same range and
we trade scores and PRs, but everyone is totally independent and it varies day
to day and lift to lift what we can pull.
The one thing that I have in my life
right now that I feel like I can really celebrate and take ownership of
and not feel like I've half-assed is lifting weight. And, a lot of it.So
weird, but so true. Every time I snatch that bar, I concentrate so intently and
hard and just will it to come over my head that it does. And there’s a little
flash of euphoria and pride in what I've done. It’s for maybe 30 seconds and
fleeting, but if I could transform that feeling into every minute of my day I’d
be back on track. Little by little, I’m getting there.
After college, a few of my friends rode their
bikes across the country. They crossed
the continental divide on bikes. A featthat flat out astounds me. I’m
pretty sure it wasn’t easy, but they didn’t do it alone – they did it together.
I think about them all the time in the middle of physically grueling tasks I’m
not sure I can finish. Before the marathon, Natalie and I joked we would trade
off pushing each other over the continental divide. And, we did. I couldn’t
have made it through miles 14-18 without her next to me. And she couldn’t have
made it through miles 22-26.2 without me. Yeah, it sort of sucked, because
marathons sort of suck when you’re going through them, but I wouldn’t trade
that Sunday morning for anything in the world. I don’t know the next time I’ll
have five hours, uninterrupted by life, to spend with her. According to my
Google calendar, it’s not anytime soon.
Lately, for a lot of
reasons, everyday is like a continental divide for me to get over. A little too
metaphorical maybe, but that’s how it feels. But, everyday, someone gets me
through it. They stand next to me in the middle of a WOD when I’m exhausted and
tell me to pick up the bar over and over and over again when I think that I
can’t possibly do it one more time – and because they have faith that I can,
they make me believe that I can. They bring me pumpkin spice lattes and put the dog in bed
next to me when I’m too overwhelmed to even get up and start my day. They bring
me coconut M&Ms when I’m holed up in the library studying because those are
my favorite. They stand out in the cold and rain for hours to cheer me on in a
marathon (and run a half mile in jeans and non-running shoes with us at mile
17). They lift me over that proverbial continental divide in really little and
really big ways. Everyday. I can’t
begin to thank them all enough.
I have a “lift” charm that I got this
summer, but I didn’t even know how much that word could mean to me then. Now, I
wear it as a reminder to ask people to do that for me, to return the favor
whenever I can, and to keep lifting really heavy weights.
As a thank you for sharing her story, Maggie has been gifted with this custom designed "Go Heavy Be Happy" double tag charm to remind her that she has all the strength she needs to make herself happy. Keep lifting heavy stuff Maggie!