Athlete of Month

Nat S.
Member name:

Nat S.

Athlete of the month: August 2019
Details

 

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
Details

 

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!

Mary K.
Member name:

Mary K.

Athlete of the month: May 2020
Details

 

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

 

Well.. pre pandemic, and when I am not at work,  I enjoy getting out and enjoying as much as I could that this city offers. The theatre, dance, comedy, eating out at various restaurants. I am a huge animal lover so I am often out riding my bike to the zoo, aquarium or museums. I enjoy spending time outside being as active as I can, riding my bike, walking my dog, just wandering different neighborhoods. I also enjoy reading and art, recently took up adult coloring. If there is anything to say about this Pandemic is it is allowing me to focus on myself, find new things to try and kind of self reflect.

 

 

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

 

I took a Crossfit class with a friend  way back when I used to live in the suburbs and at that time I honestly had not been very active, and was probably not in the best shape. I about died during that class and couldn’t walk for days and never went back. I also couldn’t fathom paying that much for something that physically made me feel so bad. I will come to later realize just how wrong I was! Flash forward to about 5 years ago, I recently moved to the city and started working for a physical rehab facility for pets. One of my patient’s owners, whom I had become friends with, asked if I would try a free first class at a Crossfit gym in Andersonville. I was hesitant, I had just had surgery on my knee and was still traumatized by that one class I took years ago. But she insisted, said she got all the info, met with George and was even willing to pay for my first month. And so here I am. Yes I am not gonna lie, after that first class with George I couldn’t move. I literally had to roll myself onto the floor because I could not get up from a seated position, but I came back. It was the best decision I ever made and I honestly owe it to Deb Attarian for getting me there in the first place. What keeps me coming back? Well, Hardware has been my community, my family. I owe a profound amount of gratitude to every coach who has pushed me, guided me, encouraged me, to the relationships and friendships I have created here, to all the dogs I get to see and pet and love. You all have been an instrumental part of my life these past 5 years and I don’t know where I would be without you all. Ya’ll are what keeps me coming back. This has been the best investment I could have ever made. I only have one life and one body, and Hardware has pushed me to become the best version of myself. No regrets!

 

 

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

 I will get a strict pull up one of these days! I am almost there, luckily I found a pull up bar in the basement of my apt complex so I can continue to practice while in quarantine. I would also love to one day get a bar muscle up, baby steps.

 

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

Oh boy, well I would have to say that doing all the workouts for the last two Crossfit Opens RX. I also never thought I would love lifting weights and becoming strong. I am doing things that I never thought possible before and I love it! Crossfit is now a priority in my life and its been the one thing I have been most dedicated and committed to.

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

 

Power Cleans and TTB. And thanks to OLY I am starting to enjoy Snatches!

    

 

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

 

Thrusters, Wall Balls, and Burpees!

 

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT? 

 

Just do it. It’s scary, it’s a bit intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you. You will soon come to realize that a Crossfit gym is everything but that. There is a community here, a family with like minded individuals that will push you, cry with you, guide you and help you to accomplish any goal you set out for yourself. It’s an investment, and the best investment you could make for yourself. 

 

Brian D.
Member name:

Brian D.

Athlete of the month: March 2020
Details

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

I’m the Sr. Account Manager/Director at Bag Tags, Inc. Bag Tags is a printing company located in Evanston. Outside of work, I spend most of my time with my girlfriend and chilling with family and friends. I also enjoy watching movies, tv shows, listening to podcasts, playing video games and reading a good book. I’m a huge nerd at heart! I can talk all day about anything Star Wars or Marvel.

 

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

 

Tommy, my brother, and my mom initially got me into CrossFit. Tommy was a member at Hardware for roughly a year before I joined and that was how I found out about it. I made a bet with my mom that if she completed ten classes at Hardware, I would join the gym.  She held up her end of the deal and the rest is history.  If it wasn’t for the awesome community, owners, and coaches I would have stopped coming to Hardware long ago.

 

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

 

My goals are to be able to execute pull-ups, handstands walks, rope climbs and one day muscle-ups. Aside from pull-ups I’m not close to hitting my other goals yet, but I’m going to keep working toward them!

 

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

 

The last seven months has been a huge transformation for me in and out of the gym. I’ve lost almost 40 pounds by making some simple lifestyle changes. I prioritized sleep (6-8 hours per day), eating healthy, and consistently coming to the gym. Since making those lifestyle adjustments I’ve been able to attempt movements and WODs that weren’t possible when I weighed 265 pounds. In the last three months I completed the twelve days of CrossFit, Fran (twice), Annie (RX) and GI Jane.

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Annie / Double-unders

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Fran / Overhead Squats

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

 

Don’t worry about doing the WODs RX. The RX WODs are designed for the most elite athletes in the world. Scale the workouts appropriately so you always hit the intended stimulus. That’s the approach I took the last seven months and the results have been super noticeable.

 

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