Athlete of Month

Mary K.
Member name:

Mary K.

Athlete of the month: May 2020
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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.

 

Connie M.
Member name:

Connie M.

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

I work at Northwestern Mutual where I train and coach Financial Advisors as they build their businesses and help people achieve financial security.  I am married to Stephen who is also a HW member and I’ve lived in Chicago for 10 years. Outside of work and the gym, I love spending time with family and friends,   exploring the city, and a good movie or a live concert. I am also a member of a monthly running club that combines life coaching with physical movement. Pretty much I love being active, outdoors, crafty/creative and anything food-related!

 

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

I started Crossfit just over 3 years ago after feeling burnt out from triathlons and wanting to try something new.  My sister, a CrossFit coach in North Carolina, encouraged me to try it out. I am so glad I did!

SO MANY reasons I keep coming back:

  • Community & friends: constant support, encouragement & inspiration to be a better human … you cheer your friends through that very last burpee!

  • Variety of movements… there’s always something new & fun to work on

  • Training for life!

  • Getting healthy, fit and strong & more accepting of myself/my body

  • Welcoming and safe space to take risks and try new things

  • Challenging myself to do more than I think I can

  • Opportunities to compete with yourself/others if you want

  • Scaling/meeting yourself where you’re at

  • Learning and growing all the time: CrossFit is really a metaphor for life

I find that the more I show up for myself and the community, it gives back ten-fold.

 

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

I have so many but my biggest goal for 2020 is to get a muscle up – eek!  I am excited that I’ve made a ton of progress in my pull-ups, technique and overall strength so I am hopeful a muscle up is in sight!  I also want to continue to rock my double unders, improve my handstand push-ups and get some pistols.

 

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

This is hard!  I feel like everyday I experience mini “wins”.  Where I feel most proud is my overall strength and improvement as an athlete.  Seeing my pull-ups go from using a band to doing strict chest-to-bar, watching my push-ups move from the “worm” to good form, and squatting heavy weights after knee and hip surgeries.  My most recent accomplishments I’m excited about are PR’ing my Crossfit Total and my Fran time.

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Power Cleans and Toes to Bar
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Box Jumps… My poor shins!
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
You may be intimidated at first, but like anything new, it’s just about taking that first step.  We all were in your shoes at one point. We are all cheering for you and everyone is super supportive of beginners!  Plus we are all still learning new things. CrossFit really is about creating your adventure and giving yourself the opportunity to be courageous and challenge yourself to something bigger. Don’t compare your experience/body, etc. to anyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try that thing you never thought possible.  Beware, you’ll probably get addicted and meet great friends!
Caitlin F.
Member name:

Caitlin F.

Athlete of the month: January 2020
Details
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
 
Professionally, I am a buyer for a food service distributor in Rosemont. In my free time I play ice hockey and softball, go to see live music, and read.
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
 
I have a lot of friends who do or have previously done CrossFit, and encouraged me to try it out. It took a while for me to actually walk in the door, but once I did I was hooked.
The two things that keep me coming back are the community and the tangibility of progression in CrossFit itself. I think having something that is so easily measurable in so many different ways pushes me to constantly focus on something new to improve upon. Also, it is great to have friends around who constantly push you to do your best and cheer you on. At the start, I found both of these things intimidating–I thought that there was this endless list of skills to learn before I’d become comfortable in classes, and I would get stage fright whenever someone cheered me on in the middle of a workout. Now I see these things both as positives that have motivated me to continue pushing myself harder.

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

UGH SO MANY! As I said above, the beauty of CrossFit is that you always have something new to work on, but that makes setting and sticking to goals difficult sometimes since I have the attention span of a golden retriever puppy when it comes to athletics. My ultimate goal is to be able to try anything. If I have a friend who invites me to do an activity I’m not familiar with, I want to be able to jump in trusting that I may not have the technical skills necessary to be an expert, but have the basic athleticism to not hurt myself.

On a more short-term scale, I realized this last open that I need to work on my upper body strength and my gymnastics, so I am focusing on working on extended time hanging from the bar, toes to bar, and anything with a dumbbell/barbell that involves upper body, especially overhead. I am hoping by the middle of the year to start Rx’ing some workouts that require overhead squats, thrusters, and the like, and by the end of the year to have comfortable working sets of major gymnastics movements.

 

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

I am most proud of being someone who prioritizes fitness in my life, and no longer hesitates or looks for reasons why I should not go work out. On a more measurable level, I am pretty proud of getting my first unassisted pull ups this year.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
I like long chipper WODs, because I like the idea of being finished with a movement and not having to go back.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
 
Wall balls.
 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
When you walk in for the first time, and for each time after that, don’t compare your day one to someone else’s day 600, or even someone else’s day 15. This community has been so helpful for me because it helped me move my focus from all the Instagram/”Health and Wellness Industry” noise and focus on my own goals and my own process. Keep showing up, keep putting in the work, and keep giving high-fives and you’ll surprise yourself this time next year.
Mélon D.
Member name:

Mélon D.

Athlete of the month: December 2019
Details
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
Outside of the gym, I am a UPS Account Exec and part time day trader. When I’m not working or at the gym, I’m home with the wife and kid.
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
At work, I went from being a very active dock worker to spending most of my time sitting at a desk or sitting behind the wheel. I quickly gained weight and before I knew it I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. My blood work showed signs of hyperglycemia and high cholesterol as well. What really influenced me to try Crossfit was being told by my family doc that I would have to take statin pills for the rest of my life. I remember the conversation vividly. She wrote the prescription and gave it to me. I asked her, ‘How long will I have to take these pills? She looked at me confusingly. She responded, ‘For the rest of your years.’ I simply was not going to accept that as my reality. A day or two after my diagnosis, I walked into a CrossFit gym and signed up. Shortly after, my wife Torry signed up. I quickly took to CrossFit. I loved playing sports and being active so CrossFit gave me the perfect outlet. About six months after my initial diagnoses, I got my bloodwork tested again – everything was fine. No longer considered pre-diabetic, no signs of hyperglycemia, and cholesterol levels were normal. Doc thought it was the statin pills, but I knew better. A few months later, I was off the pills.

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

My Crossfit goal for 2020 is to be in the top 2500 in the world for my age group in the open.

 

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

I started CrossFit to lose weight and get off the statin pills, but I’ve become involved in something more – I’m part of an awesome community and we have a great, supportive coaching staff. The community and staff has had a significant impact on my well-being. I’m extremely grateful. November marked 1 year of not smoking. That was a tough habit to break – I don’t think I could’ve done it without being surrounded by our inspirational, supportive athletes & coaches.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Murph.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
 
Thrusters.
 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
Give it 3 months, 3-4 day’s/week. Work hard at it. Listen to the coaches. And  it can change your life.

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