Busy Mom shares her secrets to success with a fitness program.
I am the athlete of the month at CrossFit Chronic. Me, Jacqueline Marie Russell, the athlete of the month! Who is this girl that sits here and writes out these words? Let me tell you who I was. I was the girl who would scroll through Instagram, wanting to be like friends and complete strangers, who were working out, losing weight and getting stronger. Everyday, I would say “tomorrow I will go to the gym, tomorrow I will start eating better, tomorrow…tomorrow…tomorrow…” I grew up playing sports, taking dance lessons and after high school, my best friend and I joined a gym and worked out. Between getting married and having babies, the gym season would come and go. I liked the gym but I wanted more. I wanted that TEAM feeling. I missed sports! I watched/stalked a friend on Instagram who did CrossFit. I loved her posts and I loved seeing how it looked a lot like a team. I had just given birth to my 3rd child but I knew I wanted to get in shape. I wanted to be Strong. So, 3 months post baby, I Googled CrossFit and Chronic popped up. I remember sending an inquiry email and Penny called me right back. We talked for a few minutes, she asked me some questions about what I wanted, and we set up a time for me to come in. It was such an easy process. It was my first step to becoming a better me. The next step was walking into the box (what CrossFit calls the gym). I remember feeling a little nervous but I was welcomed by smiling faces and people going out of their way to say hello. I had never experienced anything like that at the other gym! After my first workout, I knew this sport was what I was looking for, I was hooked. I wanted that team feeling, of people pushing you and encouraging you, I found that with CrossFit Chronic.
I started at Chronic in April 2016 and was making 2-3 classes a week, sometimes less. I could feel myself getting stronger but I was not where I wanted to be. I homeschool my older 2 children and like many families, have other commitments. This past June I started thinking about all the other things going on in our lives and was wondering how can I keep working out with everything going on. I was a little weary. I opened up to Coach Heather about how I was feeling and she encouraged me to try out the evening classes, I had been a 9am’er for over a year. I am so glad I opened up to her and didn’t just quit because I was feeling overwhelmed. Later on that week, Coach Penny posted this: “As we move through summer you’ll find there will be days even weeks where your motivation may wane. Consistency is the key in every fitness program. No matter what, shoot for 3 visits each week. Don’t give in, never quit. Do what you need to do to make it happen. Being consistent will ensure steady progress in your fitness program. And if you need an additional motivation, I’m always available to help you set some goals and refocus. Fitness is simple. It’s not easy. Easy is boring. Do what others won’t.” This spoke volumes to me, Fitness is simple. It’s not easy. Easy is boring. Do what others won’t. After I read that, I said, that’s it, you have to make it work. You will make yourself a priority, so you can be a better mama and a better wife. And so I did. I have gone to the box at least 3 times every week since then. My goal is 5 days a week but with little ones sometimes it doesn’t happen but that’s life, try again next week. In the past 3 months, I have PR’ed (personal record) many of the CrossFit movements. I box jumped on to a 20inch box, I finally got some Double Unders (it’s where the jump rope goes under your feet twice before you hit in the ground) and I ran 2 miles without stopping. I am so much stronger physically and mentally. Fitness isn’t just about how strong your muscles are, it’s also about how strong your mind is. Our mind is a powerful thing. I have wanted to talk myself out of many workouts but I turn those thoughts around and tell myself a different story. I tell myself about how strong I am and how strong I will become after doing hard things. I am so thankful I got out of my own way and decided to become a strong woman. I am thankful I found great coaches and awesome teammates at Chronic. I love the way we all cheer for each other, encourage each other and sometimes laugh each other. Chronic is like family!
I still have a ways to go to get to some of my goals ( a handstand and pull ups) but I am enjoying the journey. I hope to be an inspiration to someone who thinks they could never do CrossFit. What I love about CrossFit is that anyone can pursue it. CrossFit is for any age, at any level, all the workouts can be scaled to fit everyone’s needs. My mom even did the workouts for a while and she had never worked out a day in her life! If you are thinking about trying CrossFit, do it, you won’t regret it!
One of my biggest Why’s for CrossFit is my kids. I want to be healthy and strong for them. I love that they get to see me work hard, push myself and never quit. I pray that they will see my determination and they will use it in their own life one day.
To the coaches at Chronic, thank you so much for believing in me, encouraging me and adding weight to my bar! I know it takes my will to walk through that door but yall keep me going when I want to give up!
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"I definitely feel like CrossFit has affected my life outside of the box ...
I live in Virginia Beach in the Dam Neck area with my wife, Megan and our two children, Isla and Declan. I am a Surface to Warfare Officer in the Navy and have been stationed in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area for over eleven years now. I was not much on working out for most of my life, but I was forced to stay in some sort of physical shape for the Navy, so around 2010 as I was starting to gain a lot of weight, Megan and I started CrossFit and it was very beneficial. Once I went back to the ship it was very tough to get into a workout routine, so I took up running and bodyweight exercises almost exclusively, which was great for cardio, but that was about it. I knew I needed more and I was grateful once I transitioned to shore duty and could make time for CrossFit.
I found my way to CrossFit Chronic through my wife Megan. Back in 2010, she was looking for a way to get in shape, so we tried out a box in Virginia Beach. We went there for about three years before it closed down. Megan started going to CrossFit Chronic in 2015 and raved about it. I was stationed on a ship in the Navy and unable to really find the time to make a gym membership worth it. Once I left the ship in April of 2017, I started up at CrossFit Chronic. Now that I have fairly set work hours, I am able to get to the 6 AM class prior to starting work.
I remember my first class at Chronic was majorly scaled, so I didn’t think it was that bad. However, the next day I was so sore I could barely move. Now that I have been there for awhile, my goals at Chronic are to consistently do RX workouts, figure out double unders and get to the gym four times a week. I am getting close to being able to do RX workouts consistently, but I am still not quite there yet. However, I have been able to accomplish a few PRs recently, 195# push press and a 215# front box squat. When I’m in town, I have been able to get to the Chronic about 3 – 4 times a week, so I feel like I am on track with that. Double unders still evade me. It has been seven years since starting CrossFit with ten different coaches trying to help me and I still haven’t gotten them.
I would tell anyone contemplating CrossFit to at least give it a shot and make your own decision. Don’t let any preconceived notions hold you back from giving it a chance. Megan can tell you how begrudgingly I used to workout, especially in a group setting. I am also not the most coordinated person, so learning complex movements has been difficult, and I still don’t have all of them ( lookin’ at you double unders!!! ). But, I think if you let your fears about trying something new get in the way, then you won’t get any better. Also, 6 AM is where it’s at!! Getting your butt kicked with the 6 AM crew is a great way to start the day.
CrossFit Chronic has changed my perception of what a CrossFit gym could be. As I mentioned previously, I am not really one who likes group workouts and the other CrossFit gym Megan and I went to didn’t really help with that. The people were very clique-y and the coaches weren’t very helpful. In three years there I never really got any better or any stronger. I never felt comfortable working out there. Since I have been at Chronic, It has become an integral part of my weekly routine. I am eager to workout and to be around the people at the gym. Everyone is very positive and welcoming. The coaches are helpful and willing to take time to help everyone, not just people they are friends with. A cheesy answer, but I don’t say that tongue-in-cheek.
My goal for the next year is DOUBLE UNDERS………my CrossFit white whale!! Since I have harped on DUs enough, I have to say my other goat is that I also need to improve my balance when squatting. While back squats seem fairly straightforward, I find it difficult to maintain balance while getting to the bottom of the squat, particularly with snatches and OHS, which make it difficult to lift heavier without sacrificing form. My favorite movement is any sort of press.
Something you may not know about me is that I love to play and talk basketball with just about anyone who is willing. I am mainly into college basketball and rarely miss a Maryland Terrapins game. However, I enjoy the NBA as well.
"But I have to say one of my favorite feelings is having people cheer me on when I'm close to the time cap for a WOD."
Although I played volleyball in high school, some intramural sports in college (softball and volleyball), and completed a half marathon in 2009; I didn’t eat green things or work out until January 2015. That was when a friend from work and I did an eating challenge. Then in April of 2015 a friend from church invited me to a “WOD and Wine” event here at CrossFit Chronic. I was already doing the weight loss challenge at work so I decided to give it a try!
When I first heard about CrossFit it was about people who would lift heavy weights and do crazy stuff like climb ropes and pick up heavy stones, but it wasn’t something that I thought I wanted to do…but I was wrong! After my first CrossFit workout (at the WOD and Wine) I was breathless and tired. I saw women who were in great shape and women who were trying things out for the first time. It had been a long time since I had been working out with anyone else, so it was overwhelming to see so many driven people knocking out their goals.
Once I started my journey in CrossFit my goals were to get stronger and be a good example for my daughter, Abigail. My daughter has her own set of 1lb weights that she works with at home. She does burpees and squats after seeing me do them! Making time for CrossFit is hard but I see CrossFit membership as a commitment to myself and my daughter. It’s a commitment to better myself. I take my daughter to the box in the mornings before work, she watches me workout (or sleeps) and I head to work afterwards. Having a dedicated start time and end time helps me plan my days as well. Classes are usually an hour long and that’s 3-5 hours a week, which I would otherwise be using to watch TV anyway!
I am setting goals and meeting goals and then setting new ones. On May 13th I cut 2 minutes off my 5K run compared to a race I completed in the summer of 2016. I have been working on my conditioning more so I was pleased with this result! My biggest goat is burpees and I am working on keeping a steady pace even when I’m tired. I can currently do 10 burpees unbroken but it is very challenging. Therefore, my #1 goal this year is to complete 30 burpees unbroken, which is again working on that conditioning and cardio! Coach Mike has been working a lot with me on my burpees and my squats. I’ve gone from a 125# Back Squat to a 215# Back Squat in less than a year! I also had a PR (personal record) for a WOD called “Ring of Fire” where I cut my time in half in 6 months…it was so awesome! But I have to say one of my favorite feelings is having people cheer me on when I’m close to the time cap for a WOD. It is probably the best part of my day!
You may think that CrossFit isn’t for everyone but you may just fall in love with the feeling of utter exhaustion and accomplishment. You don’t have to be super fit, super strong, or young. The workouts are challenging but focused and you will feel accomplished when you walk out at the end of class.The workouts are also designed to help you with functional movements for your entire body both in the box and outside the box. CrossFit has affected my life outside of the box because it has helped me stay focused on the task at hand and get through it. I also have a more resolution focused outlook with larger problems. And as a bonus…groceries are much easier to carry upstairs as well!
Lastly I would encourage everyone to just give it a try and when you do make an effort to get to know your CrossFit community! I have had the unique opportunity to get to know the 6AM, 9AM, and 6:30PM classes due to my work schedule. Everyone at Chronic is there to get the most out of their workout and is crazy supportive! Try to work with every coach that you can…they all have different wheelhouses and will offer suggestions to help you be your best!
"But, secretly I loved it and was totally hooked."
I grew up in Ohio and joined the Navy right out of high school. I spent a little under 6 years as an active duty corpsman before I entered the reserves. I commissioned as a Nurse Corps Officer in the Navy Reserves in 2013. I started working as a new grad nurse in the ICU at Sentara Leigh and have been there for almost 4 ½ years now. The Critical care unit is definitely where my heart is- it is so exciting, exhilarating really, and I am challenged and learn so much every day. I recently stepped down from my position at Sentara Leigh in order to prepare for my upcoming move to Sicily! My husband and I will be moving there with our 2 dogs this spring, which I am both excited and terrified for. We plan to start our human family while there and I am hoping to learn enough Italian to be able to function in a box out there.
Some of my other favorite things involve the water. Beaches, lakes, rivers, basically anything I can dip my toes in or throw a kayak in and paddle away. I spent a lot of time in northern Michigan growing up and still, my favorite place to vacation is up there with family and friends kayaking, fishing, and drinking beers around the campfire.
I heard about Crossfit in general several years ago, I can’t even remember how. Of course, like everyone else, I thought those people were cray! Haha! I used to be an avid runner and over time life changes kind of got in the way and I stopped making my runs a priority. Eventually, I injured my knee during a half marathon and never really got back to it. I floundered for a while going from one type of workout to the next until one afternoon at the hospital, I got the nerve up to chat my friend up about Crossfit. She was a member here at CrossFit Chronic and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to join a class on #bringafriendthursday. I was hooked from that very day, though still nervous about it. I did the Unloaded (Boot Camp Style) classes for about 6 months before I got the courage to go through Fundamentals for CrossFit. I really love this workout style and this community and am so happy I found it! Chronic feels like home. Penny and Heather feel like my fitness moms, Mary feels like my sister, and Mike and Rob like big brothers. (Of course everyone is wonderful!) I love the people here. Funny, just the other day I was trying to explain this to my husband- every day I look at the WOD and feel nervous when I think about coming in. But I do- because I LOVE the people at this box. I am always a happier person when I leave.
After my first workout I was terrified. “I’m the slowest, I’m the weakest, I don’t want to be judged, I felt like everyone was watching me (they weren’t) and they must think I don’t belong (they didn’t).” But, secretly I loved it and was totally hooked. Once I got started I didn’t really have any goals, per se. I had never really done any work with a barbell before so I wanted to learn the movements and be able to do them safely. I did want to be able to do some real pushups, though. I have gone from doing zero when I started to 10 now. Haha, that sounds like such a small number, but it is such a huge deal for me. I am starting to feel my triceps too! Woohoo! My new goal for this year will be to find a box in Sicily and get there and get acclimated. I’d like to be able to do a strict pull up one of these days. (I might have to buy a pull up bar for the house to facilitate that.) However, CrossFit hasn’t just affected me during the hour I WOD, but overflows to the rest of my life as well. I can carry my own luggage up and down the steps now! Ha! My husband is very grateful for that. The strength I have gained through CrossFit has made such a difference though, seriously. At work, I could lift/move patients so much easier. I definitely am more aware of my body mechanics when I’m doing any kind of lifting at home- boxes, etc. and I make efforts to do things more independently, because I can and because I have the strength to do so now.
My favorite movement is front squats. Squatting feels natural to me. On the other hand I used to hate burpees, then I started CrossFit. I then didn’t hate burpees as much as I hated wallballs. And now, I don’t mind either of them, but I HATE pistols. The thought of doing them makes me cringe. I can’t even seem to nail the easiest scaled movement for them. One of these days, I hope to say, “My goat used to be pistols, but now it’s….”
I have recently achieved some personal records! We had to row 1000 meters for time and I did it in 4:05! A few days later, Coach Mike tweaked my rowing technique so I am interested to see how that makes a difference and hope to retest my row before we leave for Europe. And last week I PR’d my power clean by 35#! I love seeing the improvements. I also finally RX’d a WOD! This past Friday, with some encouragement ;), I opted to go with the RX weight for Karen (150 wallballs with a 14# ball) and finished! I am still so sore, but it felt so good. I walked away from Karen SO excited because I RX’d it. I had been playing mind games with myself since the night prior when I looked up the WOD on Chronic’s SugarWOD app. I was debating on whether to use the 14# or go down to the 10# WB. Finally, I said to myself, “Self, if you don’t finish, at least you tried. Don’t sandbag it though.” And I went with the 14#er. I ended up finishing under the time cap which was so awesome!
One other achievement that really stands out in my mind is my first successful rope climb! It made me feel like a bad mama-jama! There is also one specific moment that really sticks out to me- one morning it was just me and Coach Penny at the box. It was a first Thursday and I had jokingly mentioned that we should just go to get some coffee instead of working out (the night before on Facebook). She texted me that morning to see if I wanted some coffee from Starbucks and brought me a cup to the box. That was super thoughtful and really stuck with me. If that doesn’t say something about the kind of people that come to this place, I don’t know what will.
So if you are thinking about Crossfit and even if you still think we are all a bunch of crazy people, just come check out the comradery. That alone will get you in the door. There isn’t a single person in our box that hasn’t cheered me on through a hard workout. Not one person has ever said anything negative to me. Just show up and let us show you how much fun it is and how amazing the community is. And then if you decide to join just keep showing up. Show up whether you are tired, sore, angry, stressed out, unsure of yourself, terrified, or generally just don’t feel like it. The more you show up, the quicker you will become comfortable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; let the coaches help you! And no, you don’t look stupid, I promise!
"I have learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable."
Let me first start with a little information about myself. I was born and raised in a small town of Greenwood, South Carolina. I am an only child and have been active since childhood. I played organized sports such as baseball, football, basketball, and track from little league through college. Sports provided structure for me. As far as interests, I really enjoy fishing. My grandmother introduced me to fishing at the age of seven and a love for the water grew quickly. I find it to be the most relaxing thing. I doubt I will ever stop fishing.
I heard about CrossFit from a co-worker. Although she did not know the name, she described the plyometric type of movements and the type of weight lifting involved. I was later properly introduced to a WOD by a personal trainer. Then in 2012 I decided to give CrossFit a try. I signed up for fundamentals with CrossFit Chronic but I had not followed through because of fear. Then I received an email from the owner Penny. Through our discussion I was reassured that I could do this.
Once fundamentals were over it was time for my first CrossFit workout (WOD). As if I had something to prove, legs still sore from the previous two days of fundamental classes, I went hard during the workout. I’m sure Coach Dan was thinking “What is it with this guy?” I was completely devastated after the workout. I had not been accustomed to pushing my limits like that.
Since starting CrossFit I have seen an effect on my life outside the box. It has definitely improved my physical ability at work. I have learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable! It has improved mental preparation and the ability to decipher during the heat of the moment. My first goal when starting CrossFit was to continue CrossFit on a regular basis. Second goal was to change my body composition and I continue to meet those goals regularly! With the exception of the two goals mentioned I haven’t ever set other goals. Therefore, my plan is to start setting goals, writing them down, and then achieving them! I will put the heavy lifting on the back burner. I will focus more on the fundamentals of Olympic lifts and seriously improve my gymnastic movements such as handstand walks, muscle ups, and L-sits. I have not set any recent personal records, but my overall endurance has improved tremendously. With the CrossFit Open approaching we have been doing a lot of metcon prep. It has forced me to push myself harder during the WODs!
One of my fondest moments here at CrossFit Chronic was when I hit 225# Clean and Jerk PR. See, I had been plagued by fear of being unable to get under the bar and catch heavy weight. I was notorious for not fully committing to the drop and would lose the bar off my fingertips almost causing injury. So on this day I decided I was going to get it! After reviewing the video, it was the ugliest thing I had seen, but I felt so strong and confident afterwards. It isn’t always pretty when setting PR’s!
Push and strict press are my favorite movements. Overhead work is my playground. I can usually put up heavy weight without it over taxing my body. However my goat has to be thrusters…I hate them with a passion. I have the issue of transitioning my hands from the rack position to the push overhead. Due to poor mobility, the bar has to rest on my fingertips which makes it difficult to control the weight. Then on top of all that, the movement is very taxing on the cardiovascular system. As a large man, all 262#, I find it difficult to perform at a high level for an extended period.
So if you are reading this and might be slightly interested in CrossFit…just try it! Everyone will have their own preconceived notion of what is to be expected. I would be willing to bet the perception will change after a couple of months of honest effort. Once starting my advice would be to check your ego! You are battling yourself at this point. Your focus should be increasing mobility and understanding the technique of the movements, training intensity, volume, and frequency. Lastly if you are thinking “I don’t have the time to workout,” it takes sacrifice…sacrifice…sacrifice. I sacrifice approximately 2 hours per workout a day (I like to spend a good amount of time warming up and working on mobility). That is 8-10 hours a week that I could put towards house chores, staying ahead at work, relaxing, or spending quality time with the girlfriend. I prefer my mind and body to feel its best each day and I achieve that through exercise. For me, the sacrifice is well worth it!
"I have always worked out but have never been THIS satisfied."
I grew up in a small town in Ohio. When I was two, my mom put me in ballet. From there, I also studied jazz, tap, belly dancing and gymnastics every night of the week throughout my childhood/teen years. I was a cheerleader from 7th– 12th grade. It fit well with my dance/gymnastics background. I never played a “team” sport. I can’t throw or hit a ball to save my life! After high school, I joined the Air Force. I spent 6 years as a Military Working Dog Handler. I wanted to be a badass FBI agent. Well, here I am at 45… a CPA with a Masters in IT (NERD ALERT) working for the US Navy but most importantly I’m a mom of a pretty awesome (and typical) 13 year old. As far as interests go, my list is long. I am always looking for new things to try and do but I love to travel, photography, any sort of DIY project, yard work, the beach, anything that has me outside (even if my allergies and asthma beg to differ), and any sort of social event. I’ve even taken up playing kickball this last year.
I had heard about CrossFit for a few years. I had the same mindset as most do. I wasn’t interested – seemed extreme. I’ve never been some insane athlete willing to push the limits of my body and that’s how I saw it. I was happy with running half marathons and the occasional “boot camp” classes I was taking. But then I found myself amidst a life change. I had spent the year prior in a very dark place mentally and lost most of my motivation to work out. I was desperately trying to claw my way out of my funk. I wasn’t finding any relief in the things I had previously enjoyed like running and that membership to the ‘Globo’ gym was going unused, (I went 6 times that year). I decided to give CrossFit a try. What did I have to lose? I researched a few boxes close to me and looked for one that I felt would match my workout style and personality.
My goals when I started were basic. I just wanted to learn what each move was, the proper technique and to be able to do most of the movements. Even if they were scaled, I wanted to work on doing them correctly. The first year, I would look up every day’s WOD then I would spend time on YouTube looking up the movements (another NERD ALERT). A split jerk? What’s that again? Let me look it up. I still look at the upcoming WODs but now I do it to put my game plan together for the workout. Our box uses Sugar WOD. This allows our members to see each others scores and notes on how they tackled the workout. It’s really a big piece of what I find so much fun!
For 2017 I have new goals. I would like to improve on those basic movements but also conquer some of the higher level skills such as; double unders and kipping pull ups. Over this past year I have had many achievements. For instance, when I started I didn’t do box jumps. I did step ups. Then one day I did box jumps during the WOD. I left smiling that day. My first back squat recorded in Sept. 2015 was 95#, I just recently PR’d back squats at 180#.
As far as my favorite movement in CrossFit goes I would have to say it is when I sit on the floor after a killer WOD. Is that a movement? Seriously, not sure I have a favorite. I love all the strength movements and I even like burpees – maybe just not 50 at a time. I love that there are so many movements to do and no day is the same.
My special “memories” happen on a pretty regular basis but it mostly relates to the people. I signed up for the CrossFit games last year and I had only been going to the box a few months so it was all new. I hadn’t met Coach Mike before (he wasn’t a coach then) but he was there to do one of the Open WODs. He was finished and I was up next. He gave me a random piece of advice to tackle the burpees. He wasn’t talking to me as a coach, just athlete to athlete swapping ideas. I still use that advice because it works for me and I bet he doesn’t even remember. EVERY SINGLE person at the Box, coach and/or athlete, has said something to me in the past year to motivate me through a tough spot or offered a tip/trick to doing something better. That’s what is most special to me. I’ve never experienced anything like it in all my years of working out.
So if you are new to CrossFit my advice is talk to everyone. Talk to the guys too – they are so helpful. At a global gym, I would have never thought to ask anyone working out anything. Heck, everyone has headphones on and is unapproachable anyway. At Chronic, it’s an amazing team effort so tap into all the knowledge, ask for help. Mostly, I would say that I know how overwhelming it feels at first but after your first few WODs you’ll wonder what took you so long to try it.
I try not to be “that” person who always talks about CrossFit even though I tend to talk a lot and that means talking about things I enjoy. When talking about CrossFit, most of my friends will say they could never do that. I tell them that I have always worked out but have never been THIS satisfied. I’ve never seen this much change in my overall body composition and what I can do. I always tell them that one of the greatest aspects of CrossFit is everything can be scaled and there’s something for everyone. And no matter what version you’re doing, everyone is there to cheer you on and fist bump you at the end.
"CrossFit has made me stronger physically and mentally."
My athletic background is rooted in volleyball. After high school I was awarded a scholarship to play at a University in Texas. After a year there I made the “I’m 19 and think I know everything” decision to get married and follow my then husband to California where I fell off the workout train for a while. After moving to the Tidewater area in 1994 (wow, I’m getting old) I joined the rec center and did weight and cardio on my own while I was working on my undergraduate degree at ODU. I then went on to graduate from the Physician Assistant Program at EVMS in 2005. I am now happily married to my best friend (soul-mate) and have been working for Patient First since graduating. I still play beach volleyball as much as I can. However, I have an old knee injury that keeps rearing it’s ugly head reminding me I’m not 25 anymore.
I was first introduced to CrossFit when I watched the CrossFit Games in 2011. It was the first year Annie Thorisdottir won the games and I was amazed at the diverse athleticism of all the athletes and thought at that moment…I want to do that! I started working out on my own at a local globo gym. My workouts at the standard gym I was a member of started to become stale and I needed a more challenging and varied venue, so after a few years of watching the CrossFit games I finally got the courage to seek out a CrossFit box. I googled “CrossFit Gyms” and found two I wanted to try. Ironically, I somehow didn’t see CrossFit Chronic listed, so I ended up going to these other boxes; I didn’t care for the atmosphere at those boxes. I googled again and I was surprised that I had missed seeing CrossFit Chronic. I then met with Penny and the rest is history!
My thought after my first CrossFit workout was “Geez…I thought I was in OK shape, apparently not!” I watched a couple of CrossFit workouts while I was still in my introductory classes and I remember some of the athletes made it look way easier than it actually is. I had no idea how taxing moving weight around at a fast pace could be. So as a began setting my goals I must admit that I was a bit naive when I wrote down my three goals I wanted to achieve within my first year. 1) 20 strict push-ups 2) 1 strict pull-up 3) rope climb. Let me just say, I’m working on it! I would have to say if I can get one measly strict pull-up I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops!!! (Or I’ll at least tell the checkout person at the grocery store!) As I continue to work on these goals I have still been able to set some personal records. I am amazed that after only 6-7 months at CrossFit Chronic my front squat went from a PR of 115 to 130, back squat from 145 to 160, bench press from 95 to 100, push press from 100 to 110, and sumo deadlift from 195 to 210. My favorite movement is the snatch. I love the snatch…humm that always sounds bad. Anyway, I love that it’s a very technical movement and for me epitomizes the movement I think of when I think of olympic lifting and CrossFit. On the other hand my goat would have to be burpees!!!! Has anyone noticed I’m 6’2”!! That’s a long way down and a long way up for me!
I have made CrossFit one of my top three priorities. It’s up there with getting enough sleep and breathing! One reason for this is because CrossFit has made me stronger physically and mentally. I feel the core philosophy of “functional movements” and varied training has benefits for most people no matter their fitness level or age. I can say, I would not have said that before. CrossFit is about strengthening the body and mind. Yes it is very challenging and may look intimidating from the outside. However, crossfitters come from all ages and levels of fitness. If are looking to become a fitness beast…CrossFit is for you! If you are just looking to stay fit…CrossFit is for you! If you just want to make sure you have the fitness and energy to play with your grandchildren as you age…YES, CrossFit is for you! And yes, even for me who has a bum knee…with help from the coaches and scaling…CrossFit is for me! So if you decide to give CrossFit a try my best advice would be to listen to the coaches, they are there to make you the best you can be and prevent injury. If you want to get the most out of CrossFit, then consistency is key. Keep a regular weekly workout schedule. After 5-6 months you’ll be amazed at your progress. Lastly, have FUN!!!!
I will end with an interesting fact that you might not know about me. My family lived all over the world and I lived in Egypt until I was four. My first words were Arabic “imshi” meaning go away. I would say “imshi, imshi bug”!
"I just wanted to get better and better. I then wanted to be as fit as possible."
I’m the youngest of four children. I never played organized sports for a league or school. I did grow up playing basketball, football, tennis, and any other sports my friends wanted to tryout. I was always at a healthy body weight and was very active. In the later years of highschool and a couple years into college I started to experience a lot with drugs and found myself in a downward spiral. Not caring a lot about myself or others I found myself overweight and in deep depression. Around the same time my father passed away. It didn’t help the situation. For a long time I convinced myself I didn’t have an addiction, but i did. A close friend approached me one day and gave me a book. He simply said “hey you should read this.” It was a self help book and it changed my life. It was by Tony Robbins and was titled unlimited power. Like a lot of self help books it taught me that I was in control of my life, and that with faith and hardwork I could achieve anything. I decided at that point I would start a new chapter in my life. Through a year of running/jogging and eating nothing but chicken and vegetables I lost over 60 to 80lbs finding myself at a very healthy bodyweight for the first time in 6 years. As you can imagine the depression faded away and I found myself ready to attack life once again. I decided to get my aircraft mechanic license and work for the airlines. After about 10 months in the field working at Richmond International I had an opportunity to come back home and work in Norfolk. A little while after coming home I met and fell in love with a high school friend. Eleven years later we are happily married with three beautiful boys. My family is everything and I strive to do better everyday for them.
I first came across CrossFit when I had a buddy call me and tell me to watch ESPN. I think it was the 2012 CrossFit Games, I was amazed of what these men and women were accomplishing. Then about three years ago my wife told me she found CrossFit Chronic and that she wanted to try it out. The rest was history. I was instantly hooked! After my first WOD, I was very humbled. I loved how exhausted it made me. I just wanted to get better and better. I then wanted to be as fit as possible. I noticed right away that CrossFit demanded being versatile at every movement. Not just being good at one or two. I wanted to learn every movement that crossfit had to offer. I like to think that I have accomplished that goal to a certain extent.
CrossFit focuses on functional movement that we use in everyday life. So CrossFit has definitely affected my everyday life. At age 35 I have never felt better. There is a reason why first responders, military, athletes of all different sport, moms, dads, teenagers, and kids train in CrossFit. It’s all around fitness for everyday life. But when first getting started I would stress the importance of technique first then weight. Learn the movements, educate yourself and then focus on getting stronger.
I surround myself with workout equipment. I have a garage gym, a gym at work, and of course I’m a member/coach at CrossFit Chronic. I usually like to get my workouts done early in the morning so I’m not thinking about working out all day. I feel like anybody has time for at least 1 hour out of the day to take care of themselves through exercise.
My favorite movement is the snatch! You need everything to complete it. Technique, strength, power, flexibility, speed and timing. The ultimate lift in my eyes. I currently have a PR of 210lbs. I am striving to hit 220lbs and above in 2017 which is a number that I have been chasing for a couple of years now. I also have my most recent PR which was a power snatch double at 170lbs.
My goat is Wallballs…I feel like my leg to torso ratio is just not right. I tire out really quickly with them. Hahaha! I would also have to say Deadlifts…when I was overweight I had really bad back problems. It still sticks with me today. There is always that fear of hurting my back again.
My main goal for 2016 was to obtain my Level 1 Trainer Certificate and to start coaching. Which I just recently completed and received a passing score! For 2017, my goal would be to keep on educating myself and others on fitness and CrossFit. One thing you might not know about me is that I strive to inspire people. If I can help someone with my story or my actions, then I know I’m headed in the right direction…..and I think I’m addicted to Fitaid. Hahaha.
"After my first workout I knew this was what I was looking for."
Dave has been a member here at CrossFit Chronic since March of 2012. He was a Nuclear Power Operator in the Navy and also a Boat Captain and Patrol Officer on small boats with the Special Boat Unit before retiring. Dave is currently working as an inspector of power plants for the insurance company and the states where they reside. He also teaches scuba diving at Lynnhaven Dive Center and is the training director. And to top it off he teaches first aid/CPR for the Red Cross. Even doing all of that he finds time to stay committed to CrossFit and staying in shape!
I have long history of working out and staying active. During my school days, I ran cross country and track and then during the winter I wrestled. After school I went into the Navy and while on the ship, I was asked by the XO to buy exercise equipment for the boat so that we could keep fit. I continued to run a lot until I started Karate, which affected my long distance running.
A couple of years ago I achieved my black belt in karate, and was working on my second degree black belt when the dojo closed. I was looking for something other than a gym for a good workout. There was a TV spot showing a group in California that was out in a field carrying logs, climbing over cut down trees, flipping tires, etc. and I said to myself, where can I find something like that here on the East Coast? Then, I watched the advertisement on P90X workouts and begin doing more research which eventually led me to CrossFit. Once I learned more about CrossFit I began looking around on the internet and found CrossFit Chronic.
After my very first workout I knew it was what I was looking for. It was very challenging and I liked it! When I first started CrossFit my main goal was to get back into the shape I was when I was very active in Karate. I am not quite there yet but I have made a lot of improvement in that direction. I have recently PR’d my power clean at 145#, back squat at 285#, deadlift at 315#, and bench press at 165#. My big goals now are to get handstand pushups, climb the rope and link pull ups more than 3 at a time. I also want to start linking my double unders…those are definitely my goat! Toes to bar however is my favorite movement! CrossFit has also affected my life outside the box. I am a very active scuba diver instructor and technical diver. Crossfit keeps me in shape to lift double tanks. I noticed after doing CrossFit the difference in how the tanks felt when carrying them. On a side note, it also helps me keep up with my younger students.
CrossFit has also affected my life outside the box. I am a very active scuba diver instructor and technical diver. Crossfit keeps me in shape to lift double tanks. I noticed after doing CrossFit the difference in how the tanks felt when carrying them. On a side note, it also helps me keep up with my younger students. I have been at CrossFit Chronic for over 4 years now and I have definitely had improvements over the years. I have been pushed in ways that have been for the positive. Over these years I have also been diagnosed twice with cancer and have survived. During the second round I competed in two Bend the Bar competitions which kept me going. I have also competed in the CrossFit Open. Competing in these have been great because they showed me what I could actually accomplish and helped me get through a difficult time in my life.
A lot of people think that CrossFit is for the young and those who lift heavy, but if you want to get into shape, CrossFit will change your life. When I first started, the coach would say “put your time up on the board.” I used to write, “I finished!” So the best advice I could give to someone new to CrossFit or thinking about joining, don’t worry about time, how much weight you are lifting, or trying to stay up with people who have been crossfitting for a while. Just do what you can. You will see improvements down the road!
"I love squats! Back, front, overhead...I don’t care what kind!"
Katie has been a member at CrossFit Chronic for over 3 years now. Five months ago she had her first baby! She continued to workout during her entire pregnancy and came back shortly after with the approval of her doctor! She remained committed and the result is she’s already back to pre-pregnancy weights on her lifts and many of them she has surpassed! She recently achieved a 20#PR on her deadlift bringing it to 235#. I hope you enjoying hearing about Katie’s journey in CrossFit…
I found as I was looking online trying to find something that was more weight centric and came across CrossFit. I tried a few different boxes in the area and really like Chronic the most! After I started fundamentals I was sore and thought I was going to die, yet I keep going back for more three years later. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment!
I love squats! Back, front, overhead…I don’t care what kind…I just love them! When I first started CrossFit I wanted to be able to back squat my bodyweight. I surpassed that milestone just in the past few months so now it’s on to the next one! Now my number one goal is handstand push-ups! If you asked me what my goat was I would have to say running. I hate, hate, hate running…so do my knees and shin splints…but I’ll do it begrudgingly. Maybe one day that will change too since I have seen a lot of changes in my life as a result of CrossFit. Changes have not just been in my physical appearance or in my strength but also in my life outside the box. I think I am more relaxed now. I am definitely happier and less stressed.
I am luckily self employed so being less stressed is very helpful. I own a Bail Bonds Company in Tidewater so my hours are random, making it easiest for me to work out first thing in the morning…with the “Breakfast Club.” I have to go in the morning otherwise it will never happen. If I miss a day or so I really feel it so I fight to stay consistent…even if it means losing sleep!
A friend of mine told me that he thought this was a “very aggressive” sport. To a point I can agree with him but really it’s just me vs. me…and that’s always the greatest battle anyone has to fight. It has made me more confident in my everyday life no matter what type of situations I have to handle. I have learned not to treat yourself too hard because there are plenty of other people in the world willing to do that for you.
There has been a big change in my life recently…I had a baby! CrossFit helped me stay fit and active during my whole pregnancy. I worked out 5 days a week up until 39 weeks. I had to have a c-section but I was up and moving and soon as I could. Since I was in good shape they released me from the hospital 24 hours after surgery. Thanks to a strong core I never had any issues and healed well. I was back the morning after the doctor cleared me at my 6 week checkup. I probably missed working out more than I missed anything else I gave up. It was a slow start in the beginning but I have came back faster and stronger than I imagined possible.
There are a ton on special moments and achievements during my time here at CrossFit Chronic. But I would have to say the most important is that I have made some amazing friends who I would have not met otherwise!
"I really need the strength training and conditioning to be more successful at my job."
Exercise has been an important part of my life since high school. I need it for stress relief and my overall mental and physical health. I feel so much better if I’m working out on a regular basis. My dad taught me how to lift weights when I was in high school so I was always comfortable lifting weights in the gym and I was frequently the only female in the weight room while all of the other women were on the treadmills and ellipticals…don’t get me wrong, I did my fare share of that as well but I’ve always enjoyed lifting. I was never worried about “bulking up like a man.” Now looking back I was never lifting heavy enough for that to even be possible! LOL!
I found my way to CrossFit Chronic because of my husband (fiancé at the time). He found the place and we thought we would try it out especially since we were getting married in a few months. It seemed like a good way to tone up a little before the wedding. Little did I know that we needed a lot more than just a few months! After my first workout I thought I was going to die! I was so exhausted by doing a short 10 min AMRAP of 2 simple movements (I can’t remember what the movements were now) but I loved the challenge and was excited about doing something different every day. I was bored with my typical gym routine at the local global gym. Now that I have been doing CrossFit for a while I finally hit the 200# club in January 2016 which was an 8# PR for my back squat. I love back squats because that’s my strongest movement! Ha! My goat on the other hand is running because I hate it! And I’m soooooo slow!
When I first started CrossFit I set some goals. I wanted to be able to do DUs and strict pull ups. I can do DUs but I still haven’t been able to do a strict pull up since my daughter was born ( I was in the best shape of my life because of CrossFit before I got pregnant). Getting a strict pull up is now my #1 goal for this year! I used to always want to RX the WODs but after having my daughter my priorities have changed and now I’m just glad when I show up and do what I can. I have to make working out a priority. The only way I can find the time is by going to 6 am even if my daughter wakes me up in the middle of the night. I know I’ll feel better if I go even if it isn’t my best performance that day. Showing up is better than nothing! I’m thankful that I have a supportive husband who knows CrossFit is important to me and who equally shares parenting responsibilities.
CrossFit has affected my life outside the box as well. I really need the strength training and conditioning to be more successful at my job. I’m a physical therapist in a hospital based rehab unit. The majority of my patients have had a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, cardiac surgery, etc. and they need A LOT of physical assistance. So I need CrossFit to make lifting people easier without injuring myself. My diet and awareness of what I’m eating has also been affected. I try to eat clean as much as possible and our box nutrition challenges have been really helpful. I am currently doing my second round of Whole 30 and it seems easier this time around because I’ve been more consistently eating clean.
I would want to tell anyone new to CrossFit that I know it is expensive but worth every penny! Where else can you get an amazing workout, get 1:1 coaching, and make friends? You will never go back to a globo gym again. Hang in there!! All of the movements will get easier the more you practice the skill. One of my favorite things about CrossFit Chronic has been meeting great people who genuinely care and notice that you haven’t been to the box in a few days…no one would ever know or care that you didn’t show up at a globo gym!
"I am now able to keep up and to complete WODs as prescribed!"
My name is Thomas Smith and I am married to Sheena who is also a member here at CrossFit Chronic. We have two puppies Fable and Zelda and we just had our first baby girl April 13th. I currently work for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools as an Instructional Technology Specialist. My job is to work with teachers on how to incorporate technology into the classroom. Eventually I want to be an Assistant Principal or even Principal.
Let me start with a little background information. In high school I used to play soccer and outrun everyone on the field and I also ran the 500 meter sprint for track. During college I let things go a little….ok a lot. Lucky for me Sheena loved me for me and not for my body. I got up to 280lbs and went to the doctor who told me that I had very high blood pressure and needed to do something to fix it. At this time I could not run very far without breathing heavy. Sheena decided that she was going to do a 5K and made me do the shorter runs/walks with her. I could not even run from one light pole to the other without getting so winded that I had to stop. Sheena kept forcing me to run (I needed to be forced) and kept upping the ante. Eventually Sheena decided to do the Rock-n-Roll ½ and I had to show my support by watching. I remember watching people bigger than me run the race so next year I signed up. Shortly after we found CrossFit and now I can not see myself ever leaving.
I really had no intention of ever joining any gym and I was content with just running ½ marathons at my slow pace of 11+ minutes a mile. Sheena told me about Crossfit and that she was going to give it a shot. Once she got started, she was hooked. She started going to classes twice a week and kept begging me to go too. I told her that I could do just fine on my own without spending “that much money” on a gym. That year I had a very lazy summer and got up to 250lbs, which prompted Sheena to purchase the CrossFit membership for me. Now being fruggle I just had to go and get my money’s worth. Needless to say I now go to the box more than she does and she has to beg me to come home instead of going to the box. Haha!
I still remember my first WOD and it was HELL! I remember laying on the floor trying to breathe thinking, “what the hell did I just get myself into?” I also remember looking over at everyone else recovering so easily and thought that they were superhuman and had some talent that I did not possess. I have been coming now for over 2 years and I am now able to keep up and to complete WODs as prescribed! But CrossFit has also changed my life outside the box as well. To be honest I can say that I am not winded by a flight of stairs anymore and I often can pick up and move things that baffle people. CrossFit has also helped me become a better softball player.
My favorite movements are any squats! I don’t care if its front, back, or overhead. I think I like squats so much because I am good at them and they just seem easy. However my goat is double unders. I have never been able to perfect them and I always end up with whip marks and even bruises on my right arm after attempting them. When I was new to CrossFit I used to only be concerned about the PR’s. I really didn’t want to focus on perfecting my form and I hit a wall. That mindset changed and that would be my big tip for newbies, spend as much time working on form as possible. Be patient. After working on my clean and jerk for a few months I was able to add another 10lbs to my lift. I have started to experience this in many of our various lifts. My most recent PR’s are Push Press 225# added 20#, Front Squat 330# added 15#, Overhead Squat 230# added 5#, Bench Press 240# added 5#, and a 10 minute mile.
Let me end with some of my personal memories here at Chronic, as well as, my main goal for this year! I will always remember Friday Night Lights at the box. (This is when the whole box comes together to compete in the CrossFit Open.) My first year of doing the Open WODs showed me that I needed tons of work and that I could not even RX one WOD and for a few WODs I had to scale the scale. My second year showed me that I could finally RX an open WOD and even put a respectable time on the board. These events were so amazing because I got to see and cheer on the rest of my box and because I got to have friends cheer me on.
Finally my goal for this year is simple, don’t let little Baby Smith be an excuse for not going to the box! I have already worked out a plan with Sheena where I can still get to Chronic at least twice a week. Look for us to be coming to the gym as a family soon!
"I was an aircraft mechanic on A-6 Intruders and F/A-18 Hornets".
Athlete of the Month: Robyn Roche-Paull
Let me start by telling you a little about myself…oh wow, um but where to start?!? Let’s see, I was a competitive swimmer all through school (I also did synchronized swimming) and then I joined the Navy out of high school. I was an aircraft mechanic on A-6 Intruders and F/A-18 Hornets. I was one of the first women assigned to a combat air squadron and deployed on the USS Eisenhower when it first opened to women. Being a mechanic meant I need to be fit and strong to work on the planes, doing stuff like lifting large tires, engines, rudder assemblies and the like; but also have the endurance to manage working the flight deck for 12-18 hours at a time in the sweltering heat of the Persian Gulf. I met my husband, Stephen, 25 years ago while we were both in the military and once on shore duty we decided to start our family. I’m now a mom to 3 ‘big’ kids: two boys, Morgan who is 20, and Tiernan who is 13; and one daughter, Siobhan who is 17. Having children is what led me to my second career: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which is a fancy way of saying I help moms to breastfeed their babies! I currently work at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth as their Inpatient Lactation Consultant. I’m also the Author of the book “Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military” and Executive Director of the non-profit Breastfeeding in Combat Boots (check it out on the web: www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com). Interests outside of boobs and babies include adding to my tattoo collection (I have 12 so far), photography, hiking/camping, sci-fi novels, lots of coffee and dark chocolate.
I was inspired to walk through the doors at CrossFit Chronic for the first time because I was seriously OUT OF SHAPE! I’d let myself go after having kids and just never ‘had the time’ to exercise. I was always finding excuses not to workout, and while I love swimming, the rec center wasn’t open when I could go, and frankly I was kind of bored with it. Not being able to get into my favorite jeans, the number on the scale, and being out of breath hiking with my kids on our summer vacation made me realize that I needed to make some changes ASAP. I knew one of the Coaches over at Chronic through my work with new moms and babies, and she put me in touch with Penny who wanted to have me be a part of her Open House this past August. It seemed to be serendipity that it all came together at the same time.
I started with Unloaded because I needed a way to ease into CrossFit since I was far out of shape. Plain and simple. No way I was going to make it more than 5 minutes in a regular CrossFit class when I first started. As I continued with Unloaded I found myself wanting do more than just the basics, I was getting bored. Using the bar and pushing myself even further was always part of the plan. I want to get even stronger, and have more definition and endurance as an athlete. CrossFit classes seemed like the next logical step. And I’ll be honest….I really like the way I look and how I feel now, imagine how much better I’ll feel about myself once I’m lifting too! Unloaded definitely helped me get to this place where I have the ‘engine’ as Penny says to make it through a workout and not drop over dead anymore. It also allowed me to move at my own pace and get comfortable with the lingo, the moves, the gym, and the people here.
I have gotten my whole family involved at Chronic. My husband had been complaining about being out of shape and I wanted someone to go with me so it seemed like a no-brainer to invite him. Then we had the Gifts & Gainz thing in November so I invited my daughter to join us to get a taste of CrossFit. She has had some injuries playing field hockey that have kept her off the field, and was also complaining that she wanted to stay in shape, so again this seemed like the perfect fit. She really liked the Unloaded and wanted to keep coming after the Gifts & Gainz was over. I was thrilled that Penny decided to have the JV/V Kids CrossFit because my youngest son doesn’t like team sports but also wants and needs to stay in shape. He looks forward to the workouts every week. Still working on my eldest son, I think he’s allergic to working out.
My favorite thing about CrossFit is that it’s fast and furious, never the same thing twice, always moving, and fun! One thing I have done that I didn’t think I would have been able to do is finally set a PR managing 50 Single Unders in a row!! (If you know me you know I can get tangled up in a jump rope just looking at it. I was never able to jump rope in grade school and clearly I still can’t as an adult!) My #1 CrossFit goal for 2016 is to continue getting in better shape and mastering that damn jump rope! I think that the biggest myth about CrossFit is that it’s for hard core special ops type military guys…NOPE! We’ve got everyone at our box and it’s great! (I especially love that there is a place for the little kids while you work out at Chronic. If that had been available when my kids were little, I’d have been ALL OVER this so much earlier and wouldn’t have let myself go for so long!)
I am motivated by my kids. I want to set good examples for them of a mom who manages a lot and still finds time to fit in exercise and get healthy. I know that a lot of people say that they don’t have time to work out but I just make the time (some weeks are better than others). I usually come home from work, change out of my scrubs and grab my gym bag and whichever family members are coming with me, and head out the door. If I stop or get distracted it’s all over!
We all enjoy the workouts, and it gives our family a way to spend time together and bond. Bonus: everyone is eating better, sleeping better, clothes are fitting better, and our moods are better. I’d say CrossFitting together has been wonderful for our family. The Family That CrossFits Together Stays Together!
"Once I completed Fundamentals I was so excited to get started"!
Athlete of the Month: Jackie Hartman
I have always been into sports and exercise, which primarily took the form of swimming. I swam competitively from age 5 through college, and now I thrive in individual and team competition because of that background, which is why I love CrossFit so much. I get a little individual, and a lot of team! I also am fairly familiar with the weight room from my swimming days, so this helps as well. I work as a physical therapist so body awareness and functional movement is something I find so interesting. I grew up in Williamsburg, VA and my family still lives there. My other interest are my boyfriend, Andy, my friends, and my 18 year old cat, Nanook!
I was finally inspired to walk through the doors of CrossFit Chronic because of Teresa. Teresa has been telling me that I’ll love CrossFit pretty much since I started working with her, and in the back of my mind I knew she was right. I knew I would love the team atmosphere, the coaching aspect, and the movements. After trying my hand at serious triathlon training, and dreading the workouts everyday, I knew something had to change and I needed something I would look forward to everyday. Enter CrossFit Chronic!
Once I completed Fundamentals I was so excited to get started! I wanted to learn all these new movements, get stronger, and become part of the community! My favorite thing about CrossFit is the versatility. I love that the workouts are always different, I’m never bored, and I can always expect a challenge!
When thinking about what motivates me to keep coming I think I would have to say that I’ve always been a competition-driven person, so in the future I would love to compete in CrossFit. But at this time I am just motivated to get stronger and keep learning and improving. My #1 goal for 2016 is that I would like to be able to complete the fitness level for all WODs consistently.
One thing that I have done at CrossFit Chronic that I didn’t think I would be able to do is finally understand the lingo! I never thought I would understand which movement was which between snatches and jerks and cleans…but now I think I finally have the hang of it.
If I could offer any advice for those people thinking about CrossFit I would say JUST JOIN! I was really unsure, mostly because of the cost, and I thought I could do similar workouts on my own at a gym, but boy was I wrong! I was not pushing myself anywhere near as hard as I’m pushed at Chronic when I was working out on my own! It is more expensive than a normal gym, but it is SO worth it to have the environment, the coaching, the investment in myself, and the motivation at Chronic! What helps me to find the time to workout is doing my workouts first thing in the morning so I can’t talk myself out of it later in the day. On those long days at work when I just want to go home, I don’t have to convince myself to workout because I’ve already done it! Lastly I want to add that the biggest myth I think you will hear about CrossFit is that you’ll definitely get injured! Now that’s not to say that it won’t happen, you can get injured doing any sport. You need to be smart, know your body and your limits. And find a place that has good coaches (like at Chronic!) to prevent or limit injuries.
"Although I can be pretty quiet, I really do love the community of people at Chronic."
Growing up I was always involved in sports (soccer, swimming, track). I liked being part of a team and having that sense of community when working out. Once I went to college at Penn State, I played a little intramural soccer, but was pretty inactive for the most part. I’ve never been one to enjoy just going out and running by myself and I was definitely intimidated by the weights at the gym. I think I was lacking that sense of community so I was just never motivated to get out and stay in shape. After I graduated college, I took a job as an engineer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and moved to Virginia Beach. I met my husband here in 2009. He’s a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy.
After my husband, Chris, and I got engaged, we both decided we needed to drop some of our unhealthy habits and get in shape. I had heard of CrossFit, but didn’t really know too much about it until a coworker of mine told me about her gym. I knew I was looking for something intense and fun and CrossFit sounded like a great alternative to going to your average gym and hopping on a treadmill. In December of 2010, Chris and I went to check it out and I was immediately hooked. Chris’ current tour has kept him working long hours and he’s now currently deployed, but once he’s on short duty again I plan on recruiting him to be part of the Chronic community!
After having our daughter, I knew it was going to be harder to make time for the gym. I wanted to try to find a box a little closer to home to make it as convenient as possible to workout. I just started Googling for places nearby, and Chronic popped up and I decided I would check it out after I had the baby and was ready to start working out again. Coincidentally, after I found Chronic on the web, I emailed Brandy Burd to inquire about her doula services. I noticed in her email signature that she was a coach at CrossFit Chronic. Meeting a Chronic coach made it even easier to make the box switch and head on into Chronic.
Once our daughter, Isla, was born, I decided that I really wanted to stay home and be a full time mom to her. Chronic has been a great place for me to bring her and keep a good eye on her while I work out. She’s now almost 11 months old and has been coming to Chronic with me since she was just 8 weeks old!
Thinking back about my first WOD I can’t remember exactly what the WOD was , but I know that the trainer gave me a much shorter, scaled WOD to do. When I finished, I remember looking around at all of the regular members still working hard and just being in awe that they could keep going. I didn’t know how long it would take me to get up to everyone else’s level, but I knew that I wanted to get there. After getting started with CrossFit, I’d say probably being able to do a pullup was one of the first things I really wanted to do and that was my goal. Double Unders was another thing I wanted to get. Pullups didn’t take too long after some practice, but being able to string a decent amount of double unders together took me YEARS! That was definitely a great feeling once it finally “clicked”!
Now that I have stuck with CrossFit, I am able to complete WODs at the RX level and have recently hit some new PR’s, which include my Deadlift at 215#, Back Squat at 170#, Push Press at 130#, Clean at 130#, and Bench Press at 115#. Even though I’ve been doing CrossFit for several years, since I started at Chronic I’ve gotten multiple PR’s on several of my lifts. I definitely think the programming has been great in helping me get stronger and stronger. My new goal for this year is that I’d really like to be able to do handstand pushups. Right now I’m working on handstand lowering, but hope to get past that soon. My favorite movement is a deadlift. Deadlifts were the first lift I tested for a 1RM and I just remember feeling really proud of myself after so I think that makes me biased towards them. My goat is definitely rowing. I just find it boring and monotonous and would rather be doing any other movement!
Some advice for those new to CrossFit…First, don’t be intimidated! I think people who have never set foot in a box have a lot of misconceptions about CrossFit. The great thing about it is that everything can be tailored to your comfort and skill level and no one is going to judge you or make you feel like you’re doing less of a workout because your movement or weights are different. Second piece of advice…stick with it! I’m fortunate in that since becoming a stay at home mom my schedule is a little more flexible, but there are still days when I’m sore or tired from being up all night with the baby. I push myself to get to the gym because I know it’s something my body needs just as much as I need food or sleep. I always tell myself that I’m never going to regret having gone to the gym, but if I skip a workout, that’s something I will definitely regret.
Although I can be pretty quiet, I really do love the community of people at Chronic. I haven’t met a friendlier or more welcoming group of people anywhere!
"I loved that you need to face the challenges placed in front of you and your fellow CrossFitters."
Let me start by telling you a little about my background and how I came to CrossFit. I have always been someone who liked competing. In high school I played soccer and volleyball. As a young adult I have continued to play in rec leagues whenever I could. Then life got busy and exercise/sports got put on a back burner. Around 30 or so I was not healthy and started looking for a change. I started to take care of myself because I wanted to have children. I went to the traditional gyms for exercise. My journey through the traditional gyms was for about 8 years. I’m thankful for that time, I got to learn about what I liked and didn’t like about exercise. I got excited when I heard about CrossFit. I went to my first box a few years ago with a friend in Syracuse, NY. I fell in love because I loved the environment and it’s comradery. I loved that you need to face the challenges placed in front of you and your fellow CrossFitters. The formats for the WOD’s are a lot like team sport exercise. (Team building and whole body fitness) I was able to go for about a month since my parents were able to watch my daughters for me. When I returned to Virginia Beach, I unwillingly returned to the traditional gym because they offered childcare That continued until the Bumphus’ invited me to Chronic for a Holiday WOD. The timing was perfect and I was able to bring my girls with me. I like that they can see me working out.
Now I find myself at a time in my life where I am blessed with having a part time job being a design consultant for Home Depot. This job allows me to make extra money to be part of the Chronic family. With me working though, it’s challenging finding time for family, work, church, friends, and exercise, but I have come to realize that I have more energy for all of those things when I find the time to exercise. Although my husband doesn’t quite understand my desire to exercise he is supportive and this is very helpful.
My usual WOD time is in the morning at the 8am UNLOADED classes or the 9am CrossFit class, but with my schedule you can sometimes find me there at the 6:30pm class. One of my favorite movements are box jumps…and I don’t mind burpees! I’m excited about doing handstands. I never thought I would be able to do handstands when I first started. My daughters have been asking me to do handstands for a while and now I love showing them that I can! My new goal is to be able to do a pistol. Not sure that will be happening this year, but I’m okay with that. I have 2016 in front of me. This past year I have learned to do rope climbs, strict pull-ups, handstands, and recently got a 95# power clean. I’m now focused on a few movements such as the pistol and my goat…DOUBLE UNDERS! I am really working hard on these because they are in my first competition next month!
Lastly some advice for anyone who is new or just considering trying CrossFit, even if you feel overwhelmed with all the new things to learn, each day it becomes easier. Just keep coming!
"CrossFit has changed my life in many ways. It encourages me to want to make healthier lifestyle choices."
First let me start by telling you a little about myself. I just turned 49 years old and I have 2 sons, Justin is 28 and Landyn is 20. I have been married for 30 years to my sweet husband Mark which I have been with since I was 17 years old! He is a Residential Home Builder and I work as a Kindergarten teacher at Princess Anne Elementary School. We love the outdoors and any sport. People may not know that I was a Regional Champion Speed Skater. I made it to Nationals, placing 5th when I was 12 years old!
My adventure in functional fitness/CrossFit started at the very beginning with Penny when she opened her own fitness gym in 2009, Shift HPFD which is now CrossFit Chronic. I had friends who did private training with Penny. So I decided to give it a try. Keep in mind I had never had any gym membership and did not work out. I discovered CrossFit with Penny as she learned about it and became an affiliate.
I remember when we actually had our 1st member. My thoughts after my first WOD was humiliation. Penny told me to do some push ups, I said “OK” and quickly dropped down. That is when I realized I couldn’t do a strict push up! Looking up from the floor to Penny she just smiled and said, “No problem, just use this scale!”
I didn’t have any goals when I first started. Along the way I have set and met many. I have finally been able to Clean & Jerk properly…I tend to want to push press everything. I am most proud of my hand stand push-ups! My goal is to always keep trying new things. Embrace my fears is what I tell myself! I love any squat or push press but my goat is rowing…my form needs a little work.
CrossFit has changed my life in many ways. It encourages me to want to make healthier lifestyle choices. I have to find time to workout or I get grumpy now. I will admit that it is easier to get to the box now the boys are older. When they are little it is easy to bring them but once they get their own schedules you have to work around them. I have to say that I have so many memories through the years and I have met some of my BEST FRIENDS here!
"I won’t be the best at everything, but I will get better."
In high school I was a former track athlete, competing in sprints and hurdles, and I also did competitive cheerleading, which is where my flexibility comes from. I first started CrossFit because of my friend Sooz. Over the last 3 years I have created healthy routines for myslef that will last a lifetime. I’m definitely more fit. I even lost weight which wasn’t my focus. My friends constantly ask me for workout tips.
Penny seems to have the best recollection of my first WOD. Haha! I was white in the face. She thought I was never coming back. I will say after fundamentals I was sore for a week. Once I started CrossFit my goal was to keep going to CrossFit! I won’t be the best at everything, but I will get better. Look at me now…I am part of the Committed Club, Team 6:30 Honorary Captain…I am knocking down goals daily! I surprisingly achieved several PR’s this past cycle. I can now Deadlift 285# (+45#), Snatch 115# (+10#), Clean & Jerk 145# (+10#), and Push Press 130# (+15#). Now to work on my number one goal for this year which is to get a muscle up! I’ve gotten it twice on the bar. My baby hands just don’t like them!
Some of my special memories here at CrossFit Chronic are competing. For about a year coaches and members have been trying to get to me to compete. In 2015 I competed in the Open (Friday Night Lights) and Girls Gone RX. I got to experience competing with 2 others from our box who had also never competed.
So if you are considering CrossFit or new to CrossFit I know it looks crazy. I know it looks hard. Keep going! It only gets easier and you will get better! And when you tell yourself you don’t have the time…MAKE IT! That’s why I was so stoked years ago when the 6:30 slot opened. My friends know if it’s during the week, I’m not skipping. No plans until after 7:30!
Something you might not know about me…especially if you workout with me at 6:30…I really am shy and quiet. I know you would have never guessed that! I work in admin so when it’s time to clock out, it’s time to let loose, hence why I talk all of 6:30!
Their desire to encourage and push one another is exactly what our community is all about.
Audrey Hinkle and Eva Kinstler
Audrey and Eva were selected as the Athletes of the Month because of their dedication to Crossfit Chronic and each other. Their desire to encourage and push one another is exactly what our community is all about. As the “experienced” members of the committed club, these two athletes are an inspiration to everyone at Chronic. You can usually find these two lovely ladies at the box Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 9:00am and Tuesday, Thursday for unloaded at 8:00am.
I started seriously working out in 1999 and have been exercising ever since in some form or another. Some of my exercise routines that I still continue to do is spin class and scuba diving. I am actually on my way to completing 400 dives.
I first heard about Crossfit Chronic through my husband David. He was working out at Chronic and talked about Penny, the WODs, and the other members. Chronic was his support during his radiation treatments. David bought my membership as a birthday present along with my first pair of crossfit shoes. After completing my first Crossfit workout I thought, “Are you kidding me?” “I’m too old for this!” “My body can’t do that!”
Now I feel like everything is a PR since I am just getting the forms down and adding weight. However my most recent PR was doing a rope climb and improving my front squat by 20#! My favorite movement is SQUATS because now I can do them!
When I first started my goals were to be fit and healthy! The last few years have taken a toll on my health. Do I feel like I have achieved my goal? YES, I’m on my way! It takes longer because of my age but it is working. So if you are new to Crossfit my advice would be to stick with it! It works! Since retirement from teaching special education, which I started back in 1978, I have made crossfit fit into my schedule. I have found that consistency has made a world of difference in my progression. My #1 goal for this year is handstands or getting a pull up, I’ll take either one. But my overall goal is to be the best I can be at 60 years old. I’m turning 59 and doing pretty good! I feel so much better.
I have some special memories here at Crossfit Chronic which include participating in the events like Friday Night Lights (Crossfit Open Event) and Girls Night Out and getting to meet the people we don’t see at our regular workout times. Also meeting friends like Eva. Eva has been an inspiration. Being able to work out together has been one reason I continue.
I am a mom of three kids; Heather, Stephanie, and Greg and grandmother of 7 grandkids. My kids are very athletic and when they were growing I was always the team mom. I loved supporting my kids in their sports even though I didn’t have a sports background. I started working out in 1997 when Heather was being personally trained at a local gym. Her trainer would give me workouts to do too and sometimes train me. I liked it but when Heather left for college I didn’t want to spend the money to continue. So I just stuck to walking with friends or on my treadmill.
I first heard about crossfit from Heather when she bought a living social deal for her and her brother to “try” crossfit. Well she loved it and all she did was talk about it and tried to get me to do it with her. I found my way to Crossfit Chronic when she finally bought me a membership so I could “try” it too. After my first Crossfit workout I thought, “What am I doing here?” “I don’t think I belong!” But the people here made me feel otherwise.
When I first started Crossfit I wanted to feel better and be able to exercise and I have achieved a lot of that. I am able to do a lot that I haven’t done since I was a teenager, like jumping rope (singles only, no DU’s yet!), running, and doing a plank hold. My #1 goal for this year is to do a real burpee. I am still using a box and keep going to a lower box but I want to get all the way down to the ground. I would also love to do a pull up.
I have a few favorite movements; kettle bell swings, rowing (although I would like to get better at this still), and deadlifts.
My advice for those new to Crossfit Chronic is to take baby steps and realize it takes time. Hang in there because it works! Crossfit has affected my life outside the box and now I feel better and more confident. I find the time to workout by making it a priority because I know that it is good for my health!
I have had special memories here at Crossfit Chronic like Friday Night Lights. I was so nervous about participating but it was so much fun. I didn’t want everyone watching me but I have to admit it was an awesome experience to have friends such as Audrey, Grazia, and Shirley cheer me on while I pushed myself harder than I ever had before. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have created and for Crossfit helping me to live a healthier life.
May Athlete of the Month- Heather L.
Crossfit Chronic’s Athlete of the Month for May is Heather L. She is already a repeating member of the Committed Club, and one of our most dedicated members at the box. A member since April 2013, Heather has logged in 428 classes, and over 430 hours of time at the box. She can usually be found at the 9am class with her youngest of four children in tow (sometimes she brings them all!), but occasionally pops around to other classes to fit in a workout when kids get sick or life happens. She’s even been known to show up at 6am.
Heather is one of our favorite gym members because she always comes into the box happy and smiling, no matter what the WOD or the hour. Her love for Crossfit is contagious; she even got her mother to join. Heather’s great attitude is welcoming to new members and encouraging to veterans. She keeps pushing us to keep at it, and is always reminding her WOD partners that they can do it (even when the look of misery on their face says otherwise).
Heather has made amazing stride
s in the 2 years she’s been Crossfitting. With her past sports experience she is naturally strong. She has added 35 pounds to her front squat max (165#), 75 pounds to her deadlift max (225#), 35 pounds to her strict shoulder press max (85#) and now has a power clean max of 135 pounds despite the fact she had – 0 – experience in Olympic lifting before joining CrossFit Chronic.
Q: Tell us how you first heard about CrossFit?
A: I was looking to find a place to workout but didn’t want the traditional gym because I needed somewhere that would challenge me and keep me accountable. So my husband and I started looking at bootcamps and Crossfit.
Q: How did you find your way to CrossFit Chronic?
A: I stumbled across a Living Social deal and thought it looked interesting. Even though it was a little further from my house it was near my son’s preschool at the time so it seemed like a perfect place to check out.
A: It was intense, fun, challenging, and I loved it!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. (Exercise history, family, job, interest)
A: I have always played sports and during high school I trained with a personal trainer to prepare for college since I was given a field hockey scholarship. I was used to a team atmosphere and always getting pushed to get better. This is one of the reasons I love Crossfit. It reminds me of my college field hockey days even though that was many years ago.
I have been married for over 13 years to my high school sweet heart (we have been together since 1995). I have 4 children, Mallory (11), Isabel (8), Elijah (6), and Adeline (2). I used to teach math at Tallwood High School and actually coached the girl’s JV basketball team.
Q: We always hear how people don’t have time to workout. How do you find time to workout?
A: Well to be honest it helps that my kids can come with me so that makes it easier. I have three in school so as soon as I get them on the bus, Adeline and I head out to the 9am class. She actually likes going to the box and at night will usually ask if we are going to Crossfit in the morning.
Q: What were your goals when you first started CrossFit? Have you achieved any of those goals?
A: When I first started I was planning to just do a month. I thought it would be enough to jumpstart my desire to workout again, get fit, lose some of the baby weight, and get healthy. But once I started I was hooked and I haven’t stopped!
I have achieved most of those goals. I definitely have more of a desire to work out and I did lose some weight but most importantly I feel better about myself physically.
A: It has given me more confidence in myself. It has also allowed me to encourage other moms especially, that they can do it if they are willing to work at it.
Q: Best advice for those new to CrossFit Chronic?
A: Give it a try and don’t be scared to ask questions and have coaches look at your movement. I remember at first I wanted to stay as far away from a coach as possible because I didn’t want them watching me but then I realized that the coaches were there to help and I started asking them to watch me and as I did I realized they would give great tips to help me improve.
Q: Do you have any special memories/ achievements during your time here at CrossFit Chronic?
A: I have really enjoyed the friendships I have made and the encouragement that I get from fellow athletes and coaches. A specific memory would be during 14.5 Open workout. It was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of 65-lb thrusters and burpees. It was so hard but as I came to the end of it everyone gathered around me to cheer for me as I wanted to give up. It was a great feeling and the only way that I completed it!
Q: #1 CrossFit goal for 2015?
A: Improve my split jerk.
Q: What is your Goat and why?
A: Box Jumps…it’s all in my head!
Q: What is your favorite movement?
A: I love squatting but my strongest movement is probably the deadlift.
Q: What do you keep in your gym bag?
A: I have my Nanos, Reebok lifters, wrist wraps, jump rope, tape, band aides, shin skins (for rope climbs), and that’s about it.
Q: Something you might not know about me?
A: Scored the game-winning goal in my college field hockey district championship game.