Athlete of Month

Gisselle G.
Member name:

Gisselle G.

Athlete of the month: October '20
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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM? 

I am originally from the Philippines, but Chicago has been my home for almost nine years now. I work as a Physical Therapist in a rehab facility on the Southside. Most of my patients are African American seniors that require therapy for long term care and short term rehab. I am grateful for having a job that is both fulfilling and challenging at the same time. It gives me a sense of pride knowing that my job as a PT can help people recover from diseases, injuries and improve quality of life. 

Living here in the city, I enjoy the perks of trying new restaurants and bars  (I eat a lot and that surprises most people lol! ) and going to concerts and music festivals which i’m very much looking forward to once this pandemic is over.  Outside the gym, I enjoy outdoor activities like running and hiking. I’m lucky to have a group of friends who are physically active, marathon runners, bikers and triathletes. I recently learned how to ride a bike and did my first 18 mile bike ride with my friends. I also learned how to roller skate a few months ago and did kayaking for the first time too! This is the year that I have learned to let go of the idea that it’s too late to learn something new. It is never, ever too late 🙂

I also enjoy listening to The Daily Stoic podcast every morning as part of my routine. In my downtime I enjoy watching documentaries, Spanish series on Netflix and reading books about personal development. (I’m currently reading Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday)

 

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

I was never athletic or sporty when growing up so being physically active is something foreign to me. I started my fitness journey in 2014 when I first started doing group exercise classes and pole fitness/ dance classes in an all girls gym in Lincoln Park.  I did it for a few years until I had to stop because of an injury. One of my best friends who was living in California started doing Crossfit at that time and told me about how he enjoys his new workouts. I told him that I’m looking for a new fitness challenge so he advised me to drop in to one of the gyms here in the city. It took months before I had the courage to do a trial class and went with my two co workers. I still remember the workout, it was back squat for strength and rowing, box jumps and push ups for the Metcon.  I was hooked in lifting weights and doing different workouts, different movements everyday. I was one of those who never stopped talking about Crossfit at that time. 

Training helped me a lot with my job as I am required to do some lifting  when I have dependent patients. At times, when I have high level patients, I have them do some of our workouts with modifications. My patients enjoy it and told me they feel like they were in a bootcamp during therapy.

I have learned to love running because of training. I used to struggle running a mile and through training I finished my first half marathon, 20 miler and a full marathon all in one year!

I can list down all the positive effects of training and exercise to my physical health but what keeps me coming back is the process of developing my mindset when I face challenges, discomfort, failures and fatigue during a workout. I’m learning to embrace the struggle, to adapt and find an opportunity to  do better in every Wod. I love getting into the headspace where I don’t think about work and my life outside the gym.

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My main fitness goal is to finish the six major marathons (I’ve done 1 out of 6) and to finish a triathlon. Those are just some of my long term goals and might take years to accomplish. 

For short term goals, I would like to consistently do a workout Rx, hence, I need to be efficient in gymnastic movements and double unders (I used to jump rope backwards and I really thought it was normal lol! ) I’m doing accessory work at home to build upper body strength for strict movements. 

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I can say lifting heavier than I used to was one of my accomplishments while training at Hardware but the one that I am the most proud of is surviving and recovering from Covid. I got sick this April because of viral overload at work (fyi we are being tested at work and I take extra precaution before going to the gym)  Although my symptoms were not too severe, I was weak, was short of breath even with going up and down the stairs, had no appetite, lost a few pounds and was depressed since I had to quarantine for weeks. I am grateful that Hardware started doing home workouts at that time and that I was able to do them when I could. Working out helped boost my immune system, improve my endurance and kept me sane in times of isolation.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­

I love doing long Metcons, or anything that involves running and bodyweight movements. I also like cleans and thrusters. I know a lot of people will hate me for this but I love BURPEES!

Parker G.
Member name:

Parker G.

Athlete of the month: September '20
Details

 

 

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

 

My name is Parker, and my pronouns are they/them/theirs. I’m originally from South Louisiana, though I’ve been in Chicago for ten years. I moved here to study acting, and have been privileged enough to be a working actor in this city since. I primarily do musicals, though I was juuuuust starting to work in TV and film before COVID-19 came along and decided to slow the industry down (rude, Rona). For my day job, I work for a company that runs PR software, and part of my job is helping to run our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, providing education and on LGBTQ+ issues for our global offices, and helping create an inclusive work environment. In my (little) spare time, I love fashion, and I love drag.

I’m also very passionate about being a visible and vocal trans/non-binary person. Quick breakdown: “Transgender” is an umbrella term for anyone whose gender identity does not align with the gender they were assigned at birth. Some trans people’s gender identity falls along the gender binary: they are either a man or a woman. If a person is non-binary, that means that their gender identity is not strictly “male” or “female.” So while many non-binary people identify as transgender, not all transgender people are non-binary. So I am a transgender and non-binary person. (Hit me up if you’re curious to learn more about gender!)

 

It’s become a mission of mine that in everything I do – from the shows I’m in, to the work I do, to the places I go, that I am providing some kind of visibility for trans and queer people, and making space for others in my community. Because I had to go through a lot to accept and embrace myself for who I am, and I want to do everything I can to help create a world where trauma is no longer intrinsic to the experience of being trans and/or queer.

 

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

 

So growing up, I was never really an athletic or “fit” person – I was always skinny, always feminine, and kind of always seen as a weakling or a “wuss.” I did drama and music; most of my middle and high school bullies were guys on athletic teams, so I stayed far away from any sort of gym.

 

A few years ago, I was assaulted on the street for wearing heels and feminine clothing, and it left me feeling very vulnerable. Like I couldn’t defend myself. So, I decided to take working out very seriously. I knew Adrian through his wife, Brie, and reached out to see if he could teach me the basics of navigating a gym so that I could start on my own.

 

And that not only started a friendship with my fave coach (!!!!), but also an interest in crossfit (are we still calling it that?). Adrian and I went on to have several conversations about ways to make crossfit more accessible and inclusive to people of all genders, because so much of it, especially in competitive settings, was/is tied to the male/female gender binary. And more or less didn’t consider transgender and non-binary people when it came to how they should train. 

 

Ultimately, that got me interested in Hardware, because I could tell they were doing the work to make fitness feel more accessible to me and people like me. And then I joined, and met all of the PEOPLE. We have a pretty great community, and sometimes I forget how that is equally important to the programming/coaching/equipment/etc. I keep coming back because I learned to love challenging my body and doing it with a great group of folks.

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

 

In a way, I’ve already achieved some of my goals – I started training to become more confident in my strength and ability to take care of myself. It’s been about a year since I joined Hardware, and I already feel physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger. Now, my goal is to continue challenging myself, and keep looking for ways to improve. What movements can I improve on? How can I make my technique better? Do I hate a certain movement, and can I learn to embrace it and grow from it? (Though I will probably always hate wall balls with a burning passion, and I think I am at peace with that… for now.)

 

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

 

So trans people tend to have pretty complicated relationships with their bodies. I mean, in today’s society, who DOESN’T? But for a lot of trans folks, that’s compounded by the fact that not only do societal pressures tell us to look a certain way – our bodies are even further from the traditional beauty standards imposed on them. 

 

And since non-binary is a gender identity that is less defined, I’ve grappled with feeling like by body is supposed to look a certain way, without even really knowing what that is; it’s pretty confusing to navigate. 

 

Training here at Hardware has helped me sort of disassociate the way my body looks with what it is capable of. And I’ve found a way of looking at fitness that makes me excited about squatting 200 pounds for the first time, or climbing to the top of the rope, or chaining toes-to-bar reps, rather than focusing only on the way it makes me look.

 

Also like, I can squat most of my friends, how cool is that? 

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

DEADLIFTS, BABY!!! (though I love a toes-to-bar challenge, or a rope climb)

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

You know, I cannot find it within me to care one bit about achieving double-unders… but my arch nemesis will always be wall balls.

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Throw what you think you know about it out the window. And don’t approach it by assessing the things you can’t do or keep up with; it’s all about building upon what you can do, and going from there to learn and do more.

Nat S.
Member name:

Nat S.

Athlete of the month: August 2019
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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

 

This fall, I’ll be starting my 10th year of teaching—a year that is sure to be (and hopefully is!) the wildest in my career. I currently teach third and fourth art in the northern suburbs. I also have my own art practice, creating mixed media work that can be found at Transistor in Andersonville and on Etsy. Other than Hardware’s workouts, I enjoy taking advantage being an athlete in Chicago—running on the lakefront and doing competitive tower racing. (Yes, believe it or not… vertical, skyscraper races are real thing that provide all the lovely dopamine those metcons do!) 

 

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

 

I initially joined Hardware as a way to incorporate more structured strength workouts into my routine with primary goals of running injury prevention and improving my stair climbing. I used to see strength training as a necessary evil. I rarely made progress because I hated it and didn’t have enough knowledge to design my own workouts. There are myriad reasons that I keep coming back! First of all, it’s so fun! I thrive in a competitive, challenging atmosphere—so it was a natural fit from the start. What I’ve really appreciated, though, is that Hardware is also a place where we are encouraged to both challenge and respect our limits, and it’s a safe place fail.  The playful, positive  and welcoming energy of all the members and coaches always makes me look forward to my next class. Because of Hardware, I now value and actually enjoy strength training in its own right. I was surprised at how much I missed working with heavy weights while the gym was closed down!

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?\

 

Some of my long-term goals of consecutive strict pull-ups and handstand push-ups are on hold. Presently, my main goal is to maintain my current level of strength throughout my entire pregnancy. (Surprise! There’s a new athlete scheduled to arrive mid-January!) I know I’ll eventually have some limitations, but I’ve gotta have goals!

 

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

 

During the shelter-in-place, I finally got my first strict pull-up! After working toward that goal for a year, I had almost given up. As a last ditch effort, I decided to use my extra time at home to finally get there. I installed a pull-up bar, reached out to Coach Landree for help, and applied her stellar advice of doing a little work each day!

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

 

I’m a fan of endurance work and intensity, so my favorite types of workouts are long AMRAPS. I love getting into the headspace that they put me in and just grinding it out! I also really love toes-to-bar. It brings me back to my elementary school monkey bar days, dreaming that I was one of the Magnificent Seven (1996 USA gymnastics team). 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

 

Strict press–It was the very first movement I ever did at Hardware and it has not gotten any easier or any more enjoyable! It’s so hard for me to make progress (or commit to making progress) on this movement! 

 

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

 

Do it! One of the really great features is the ability to scale. Regardless of your current fitness level, the workouts can be adapted so that you will get a solid, challenging workout every single time! Other than the obvious physical benefits of Hardware’s workouts, they will also grow your mental grit —a skill we carry with us outside of the gym atmosphere.

Jim D.
Member name:

Jim D.

Athlete of the month: July 2020
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TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

Outside of work and the gym, I like to travel with my partner Mark, going out to eat with friends, reading, watching movies, listening to podcasts and spending time with my nephews and nieces.

 

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

I was looking to change up my regular routine for something that would push me outside of my comfort zone and hold me more accountable. A good friend of mine had joined Hardware and he really liked the programming and suggested that I try it out. I took my first class and it kicked my ass but I knew right away that this is what I was looking for. Watching everyone lift huge amount of weights and perform these crazy gymnastic movements was highly intimidating but it was also super motivating.

I credit the community that Hardware has created for what keeps me coming back; everyone is so supportive of each other’s journey and the coaching team is really focused on everyone’s progression and development.  

On a more personal level, I really appreciate George, Adrian and team’s commitment to social justice and their efforts in giving back to the local community.

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Thanks to coaching team of Mitch and Alia, I feel like I’ve made some solid improvements on my form. OLY has become my favorite class and I’m hoping to throw myself back into it once classes resume.

 

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

Lots of small victories along the way – getting my first bar muscle-up, being able to do handstand push-ups, doing workouts Rx that I previously scaled – there’s still a lot that I want to work and improve on, but I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made so far on my overall strength as an athlete.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Clean & Jerk

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Toss-up between Thrusters and Wall Balls

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

It may seem pretty intimidating walking through the door for the first time, but the Hardware community is incredibly supportive. Everyone will be cheering you on as you cross every milestone. Attend classes, really focus on your own journey and goals (don’t compare your progress to other athletes) and have fun!

Martin C.
Member name:

Martin C.

Athlete of the month: June 2020
Details

 

 

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

Outside of the gym I’m a teacher. I work at National Louis University in their undergraduate college, teaching courses in the humanities and social sciences. It can be really hard, and it keeps me very busy, but I love my job! I love working with undergrads and especially first-generation college students, and I love creating new curriculum (I’m working on a course called “Art and Power” for the fall) and doing research and writing. I’m a nerd, and I like teaching, so this is pretty much my dream job right now.

 

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

Initially I got into Crossfit when I was living in North Carolina through a guy I was dating. I got addicted to the workouts, the crazy exhaustion, endorphins, and teamwork. I really liked pushing myself working on new muscle groups I hadn’t been paying as much attention (hello legs!), and I liked the integration of gymnastics, which made it seem less overwhelming. It was only at Hardware though that I really began to see Crossfit as a sustainable part of my life and fitness goals, and that all really started clicking at last fall’s Crossfit Open and 

Friday night lights. Everyone was so supportive and welcoming and Blue team leader Eddie did a great job of keeping folks motivated and full of spirit. I feel like at Crossfit I have found a group of coaches and athletes that aren’t showing up just for the competition or the flex, but who are a mutual support and accountability towards improvement in overall health and wellness. I really like the familial and collegial atmosphere and the embrace of everyone’s bodies and ability-levels as part of what the gym is about.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My goals are always evolving, but I’d like to keep working on my bar and ring kipping pull-ups when we’re back in the gym. I’d also like to gain more capacity with a heavy bar. I want to do my next Crossfit completely Rx for at least 3 of the weeks. I think that’s doable?

 

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

Generally, just getting in a more intentional place with my workouts and now (thanks to Landree) better eating and sleeping habits, but I did ring the bell lightly one night after finally beginning to master double unders and did 50 in a row. You can teach an old dog new tricks!

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I like WODs that mix it up body-weight wise (rings, rope climbs, handstands, pistols, etc), but I recently enjoyed the “Death by Burpees” WOD we did at home. I like how it starts off manageable and then takes you to the dark side. We did 15 rounds, and I look forward to trying it again, maybe 16!

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I have a love-hate relationship with squats, deadlifting, etc., but Mitch and Aaliyah have been helping me improve with the Oly workouts. However, I’ll definitely have to go with heavy bar snatches. There’s so much happening in terms of coordination, and it’s a lot of strength plus balance, so getting better at those is also on my list.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Go for it! Don’t forget to stretch!

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