Athlete of Month

Sarah P.
Member name:

Sarah P.

Athlete of the month: March 2019
Details

 

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

By day I’m a Training Team Lead for ProQuest, which is a library services and content
company. After years of working in marketing and sales I obtained a Master’s in Library
Science in 2005 from the University of Illinois and have worked in the library industry
ever since. I work with librarians to educate them about our databases which cover a
variety of subjects from history to government to statistics to genealogy. I learn
something new every day and I like that my company preserves content that would
otherwise be lost or forgotten.
I’m a late in life athlete and ran my first marathon in 1997. I’ve got 15 under my belt and
this year am taking a break from running long distances to work on speed training and
CrossFit. I enjoy reading, knitting and travel. My favorite travel companion is Pete
Bush, also a Hardware member, and my favorite knitting companion is our cat,
Pistache. I enjoy Chicago during all seasons but really like when it warms up enough to
ride my bike around or go to the beach. Go Cubs!
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING
BACK?
My friend Rachel, who lives in West Virginia, got me into CrossFit. She kept talking
about how great it was and even got me to a class when we were in DC for work years
ago. We live close to Hardware so Pete and I would see people running outside. We
weren’t making progress in our fitness and knew we needed a change and joined
Hardware after a particularly over the top vacation to Berlin. The rest is history. The
first people I met at Hardware were George for my intro session, Ozzie who assured me
that people of “all ages” work out at HWCF and Owen who did not let me quit during
one of my first workouts that involved 75 burpees.
I keep coming back for so many reasons. I love the athletes and coaches at Hardware
– they are the most positive, encouraging bunch you will ever meet. There is no
judgement. When I first started I thought I couldn’t partner with someone lifting more
than me but that is so wrong. People make accommodations and you can learn from
everyone at the gym. Plus, as adults, how often are we challenged to do something
completely new? And….for pure vanity….I love shopping and life is better when
everything in my closet fits!!
Hardware CrossFit has lowered my embarrassment threshold. I used to worry so much
about what people thought of me and I would be thinking ahead to failing instead of just
giving something a go. This attitude has seeped into other parts of my life. At work I
lead a team and instead of worrying about the outcome of a project I’m the one who will
say “let’s just try this!”.

 

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

I’m working on jumping the bar laterally. I am training to complete Chad (scaled) this
Summer. My other goals are consistency and keeping track to notice improvements.
As my strength increases I sometimes surprise myself. Just today I was closer to the
wall than ever before during a wall walk. I would like to find a few WODs in 2019 that I
can complete RX. I also think I’m really, really close to being able to do toes to bar.
WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO
CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?
Anyone who has seen me work on this knows my proudest moment was when I finally
jumped over the bar for a bar facing burpee! As Chris L. would say “it’s all mental” and
it was. I was thinking too much about “what if I trip?” rather than just Jumping. The.
Damn. Bar. Thanks to Coach Adrian and our recent Nutrition Challenge I feel confident
I have kicked my breakfast cereal habit. It was time and I feel really good. I also can’t
believe I competed in an OLY meet. Some of my friends thought I was kidding when
they heard about it. My mom was so proud and now wonders if I’ll compete in the
Senior Olympics. Ha ha Mom.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Strict press was one of the first movements I learned, and it will always be my favorite.
If you really want to feel strong, take a bar out of the rack and then move it over your
head with no legs. Wow. It’s a full body move while standing still. Bench press clicked
for me recently and it’s becoming a favorite. I also like the Clean and Jerk because it
just looks cool when you do it right and it feels great. My favorite WODs are Chippers –
which remind me of a marathon – you hear 3,2,1 Go and then you just get working on it.
Or any WOD with a burpee over the bar now that I can do them! Bring it on.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I don’t want to have a least favorite movement because if I do it will always be
programmed. I have movements I don’t care for as much as others, but I just try
because you have to at least try. I have even made some small strides on rope climb
and my 8 th grade self is very proud of that effort.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

If you are interested come and check it out. It’s not a competition with anyone but
yourself. CrossFit can be physically and mentally challenging but if you stick with it you
are guaranteed to improve.

 

Alesia T.
Member name:

Alesia T.

Athlete of the month: February
Details

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM? 
I work as a mechanical engineer in the downstream side of petroleum refining with a main focus on maintenance and reliability.  When I’m not working or at CrossFit, I try to spend as much time as possible with my 5 year old baby brother while he still likes hanging out with his big sister. I also enjoy travelling with my super supportive boyfriend and try to schedule something every few months even if it’s a weekend getaway to break away from work. When the weather’s warm, I enjoy riding my Ducati Monster and happily let giddy crossfitters pull the throttle. You can also find me “loving” every puppy and dessert recipe video. 
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
I heard about a world where people lifted heavy weights TOGETHER! I was always a huge fan of group workouts and I loved the idea of being surrounded by people who had the same interests of being healthy and fit. I decided to reach out to multiple Crossfit gyms in the city last summer and honestly, only George got back to me and brought me into the world of Crossfit. It is everything I expected and more! The people, the support, the challenges, the coaches, the puppies… are all great things that come along with being at Hardware Crossfit. It’s just so fun here. What I love is really knowing my strengths and weaknesses now and that I am responsible for deciding how hard I want to push myself at each session. Also, all these muscles! Hello muscles! The physical and mental growth totally keeps me hooked.
 

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

I always think to myself when I see our star Hardware athletes, “If they can do it, then I can do it.” I want to be be able to do it all! At this time, growing my mental strength to fight through is a continuous goal that I think will help me become a better athlete. 

 

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

STRICT PULL UP. It was my goal before Crossfit and it was my first goal coming into Hardware. Crossfit programming made it happen in about 4 months. It was one of my most exciting days.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
BOX JUMPS! (Except for that one time when it alternated with bike for calories.)
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
ASSAULT BIKE. This is a lactic acid bath for me. But you will see me choose it instead of rowing these days because I am trying real hard to love it.
 
 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT? 
Reach out to a few CrossFit boxes for a free class and bring a friend to share the experience! You will see a welcoming, diverse group of people at all ages and fitness levels. It is a safe and positive place. I believe, based on my time here, that when you join CrossFit and show up, your health only goes uphill from there.

Kyle K.
Member name:

Kyle K.

Athlete of the month: January
Details

 

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

I was born and raised in Indianapolis but moved to Chicago a little over 9 years ago. In the day time I work in supply chain for Ulta Beauty where I lead a supplier performance team.  I split my time between our corporate office in Bolingbrook & downtown Chicago. It is not uncommon to find me 1 or 2 days a week working at my favorite local coffee shop, Ridmans! When I am not working or hanging with all my friends at the box, my boyfriend Eric and I love to travel. We make it a priority to travel at least a couple times a year.

 

 

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

Like many others, for years I had a hard time staying motivated to consistently stick with any type of physical fitness.  In 2014, I decided to challenge myself and signed up for the Chicago Marathon.  At that point I had never run more than 5 miles at one time. Hoping to build some strength during my marathon training, and to satisfy Eric who couldn’t stop telling me how wonderful Hardware was, I decided to give Crossfit a try.  Not only did it help with my marathon training, but I loved the way that Crossfit made me feel.  I keep coming back because there is always a challenge and always a new goal to hit. I love the community environment that Jess and George have built at Hardware and some of my greatest friendships have been made there.

 

 

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

My goals are to just keep pushing myself and be consistent.  I try to get to the gym at least 5 days every week.  Even when I am not feeling my best or if I have had a long stressful day at work, I find those are the days I feel the most rewarded after class.  I like the way I feel and at 35 years old I am in the best shape of my life.

 

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

Getting my first pull-up and climbing my first rope are my two proudest moments.  Growing up I was always the chubby and not athletic kid who could not do a pull-up or climb a rope in gym class.  A couple days after I got my first rope climb I was on the phone with my mom and casually (not so casually) brought it up.  She literally screamed across the house to tell my dad that I climbed a rope.  They were proud of me, and that memory always makes me happy.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

My favorite movement is front squats and I like any WOD when there is some form of squatting.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

My least favorite movement is doing burpees!  Does anyone really like doing them?!

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Have comfort in knowing that everyone felt awkward and out of place when they first started.  Just keep showing up, listen to the coaches, and don’t take yourself too serious.  You will get better, stronger, and will naturally want to keep coming back.

 

Torry B.
Member name:

Torry B.

Athlete of the month: December 2018
Details
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
Most of my days, and quite a few evenings, are spent serving as a high school principal.  I am also the proud mother of an 8 year old girl, whose interests in gymnastics, cross country, and basketball keep our family busy.  When we have a free evening, my husband and I enjoy bowling, long walks, and attending concerts together.
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

My husband, Mélon, who is also part of the Hardware community, suggested that we join a box a little over a year ago. After having previously been active, fit adults, we noticed that we let busy careers and family responsibilities interfere with regular exercise and healthful eating.  We were both experiencing health concerns that were the result of poor lifestyle choices and knew that we needed to pursue fitness in order to improve our quality of life.  My husband found a crossfit box and signed up right away.  He asked me to come check it out on the first night of his on-ramp class.  The sights and sounds of the first WOD that I observed were incredibly intimidating–I mean, who were these hardcore people jumping on boxes, pushing heavy weights over their heads, doing gymnastics, hopping on rowing machines, over and over, and then smiling and giving each other high-fives and hugs at the end?  I was certain that I could not do any of what I witnessed, but I went for it anyway.  As the old adage states, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Eight months later, I entered my first in-house powerlifting meet and a year later I did the Crossfit Open.  When my box closed unexpectedly, I knew that I wanted to continue with Crossfit. I was stronger, faster, and 15 pounds lighter.  My health concerns had long disappeared. I made amazing friends who were dedicated to fit lifestyles.  The Crossfit community provided the keys to managing the stress of juggling an intense job and parenting responsibilities.  I was not interested in returning to a globo gym or pursuing an alternate fitness program.  A friend suggested that I check out Hardware. I liked the high-quality coaching and the welcoming community so I signed up right away.

 

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

 

What I love about Crossfit is that there is always something on which you need to work.  Right now, I am working on the push press and pull ups. I’d like to move my push press to 135 pounds and, well, be able to do strict pull ups. I’ve just started working on these skills, so I am not close to achieving them.  However, I am giving myself until March to achieve the 135 push press and to be able to do 5 strict pull ups.
 
WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED DUE TO CROSSFIT THAT’S MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?
I am proud of achieving a 245-lb deadlift and finally being able to string 10-20 double-unders together.  I worked hard for those!
 
FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
The deadlift is my favorite movement.  I also like ab mat sit-ups.  While I don’t have a favorite WOD, I do enjoy Hero WODs.
 
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Running.  I do not like running.  Therefore, I am so grateful that Hardware programmed all those running WODs last summer and fall. Every time I went to the gym, there was some kind of running interval in the WOD.  I’ve really improved as a result.

Wall balls are also at the bottom of my list..

 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Crossfit is for everyone.  No matter what your fitness level, the Crossfit community will welcome you and support you in achieving your fitness goals. You have everything to gain.

Eric S.
Member name:

Eric S.

Athlete of the month: November 2018
Details
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
 
I’m originally from Wisconsin, but I’ve lived in Chicago for over 15 years. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years and being from Wisconsin, cheese will always be a part of my diet! I enjoy what I do for work where I currently manage the development of software for a mortgage company. In my free time, I enjoy checking out restaurants around the city and hanging out with friends. Kyle and I love to travel whenever we get the chance, especially to places where we can immerse ourselves in different cultures.
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
 
I had a buddy that I worked out with at the gym pretty regularly and he started doing CrossFit. He loved it and would tell me about the variety of workouts that he was doing. He kept encouraging me to try it for about a year before I finally decided to give it a go. Once I tried it, I was hooked! That was 5 years ago and I’m just as hooked today as I was back then! I love that the workouts change constantly and there is always something to work toward. Although I love the workouts, I think what keeps me coming back is the strong sense of community. I feel like I am part of a family at Hardware – one that is there to not only encourage you to do better during a workout, but is also there to support you when life gets you down. I feel really lucky to have found such an awesome group of people to be a part of my life.
 

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

One of the things that I love most about CrossFit is that there is always room for improvement in everything we do. All of the exercises have different variations that increase in difficulty and skill as you progress. My goal is keep pushing myself to higher levels of difficulty and skill in all of the movements we perform, especially the ones I am less proficient at. 

 

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

Some of the movements that we do in CrossFit don’t necessarily come naturally for me. One of the hardest movements for me to learn was the snatch. There’s something about the technique needed that just goes against the way my brain and body are wired! I had to put in a lot of work to get to the place I am at today (which still needs plenty of improvement)! One of the goals I set for myself early on was to someday snatch 135 lbs. It literally took me years of small incremental improvements to get there, but I finally hit it earlier this year. It was a great feeling!

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 
One of my favorite movements is probably the burpee. I feel like it not only pushes me physically, but mentally as well.
Overhead squats and snatches are particularly challenging for me, so probably my least favorite.
 
 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
 

Before I tried CrossFit, I remember feeling really intimidated by it and felt like I had to be at some higher level of fitness to be a part of it. I couldn’t have been more wrong! All of the movements that we do in CrossFit are scalable to any level of fitness and the people couldn’t be more encouraging. The sense of community is really strong and everyone pushes each other to be the best versions of themselves. If you have doubts like I did, I encourage you to just try it! I think you’ll be surprised by how comfortable you’ll feel in the gym and you might even surprise yourself with what you’re capable of!

 

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