Athlete of Month

Gizem S.
Member name:

Gizem S.

Athlete of the month: September 19
Details

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

I am a licensed real estate agent in Illinois and Michigan and support a team of talented field agents and introduce our company to new clients.

As a kid, I loved all types of different sports: basketball, volleyball, table tennis and some soccer. Still love to shoot hoops behind Senn High School.

Outside the gym, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 5 year old son. During warmer months we like to go down to the beach, and ride along the bike path. In the colder months, I like to catch a play in one of our local theaters. Other times, you can find me experimenting in the kitchen: baking and creating new recipes.

 

 

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

Prior to discovering Crossfit, I mostly jogged. But I would get minor injuries and be discouraged, and yo-yo exercise again. One day, I was reading an article that talked about benefits of strength training for runners. It made sense that a strong core and leg muscles would reduce risk of injury. I was sold. Soon after, I watched Crossfit Games on Netflix and started learning about the sport and the amazing athletes (like Tia T. and Matt F.) that inspire us all; I was hooked at first sight. What keeps me coming back is how inclusive and welcoming Crossfit community is.

 

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

There are so many movements that I want to improve on. Top of my list is chaining together my double-unders, followed by 10 unbroken pull-ups in a row (currently at 7). It might be few months away or few weeks away. Not so sure…

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

I am most proud that I have been so consistent with coming to the gym. I chalk it all up to how supportive this community is. Recently was shocked to see that I could do a hand-stand push-up against the wall. Thought I could maybe do just 1, then I ended up doing 4 in a row, that was an exciting day!

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

It’s hard to choose, I have so many favorites: Toes-to-bar. Box jumps, and back squats.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? Squat snatch, because my wide grip is a work in progress, due to having smaller wrists. Anytime I squat low with a wide grip, I’m scared to fall back. Just need to face this fear and work on wrist strength.

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

For someone who is considering trying Crossfit for the first time, I would recommend speaking to a coach. All the heavy lifting can seem scary but coaches will help you make the best choices whether it’s scaling down or altering an exercise so we are safe and yet still able to perform all the fun workouts. You will love having a community to cheer you on!

Jeff J.
Member name:

Jeff J.

Athlete of the month: August 2019
Details
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
In a nutshell: I’m from a small, rural town in Northwest Iowa (think flat land with corn and bean fields as far as the eyes can see), and I moved from Des Moines to Chicago in 2010 for a job.  I really do love Chicago and plan on sticking around for a while.  Outside of the gym, I am quite the socialite…except that I’m not.  I used to work in the concession industry (popcorn specifically), so I have a love for going to movies (again, popcorn specifically).  I enjoy trying out different restaurants in the city and when doing so, like to partake in the full spectrum of starters, drinks, sharing main courses, and dessert.  I grew up golfing a lot so I like to swing my clubs when I can though it is difficult living in the city.  I also like binging a good tv show or turning on HGTV (Love It or List It is currently my fave…hint, they almost always love it).  I also enjoy coffee and whiskey (don’t know much about either) as well as trying my hand at some super amateur wood-working from time to time.
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
I initially got into Crossfit back in 2008 (I think) at a very tiny gym in Des Moines.  I had a good friend in Denver that recommended it to me, and there just happened to be a gym in Des Moines at that time.  I remember my first workout being 21-15-9 of HSPUs, Ring Dips, and Push-Ups (in that order); I got through 5-6 strict HSPU of the 21 round before the coach had to assist my legs, don’t remember the ring dips, and did knee push-ups the entire time.  Needless to say, I was incredibly sore.  What I enjoyed, however, was getting back into lifting (barbell) movements after a sabbatical from the college athletic days.
I keep coming back because I like walking into a gym, having a workout programmed, and leaving an hour later.  I think Crossfit can have a bad reputation because there is a small group of people that feel it is the only way “work out.”  I think different workouts work for different people, and Crossfit just happens to be my preference.
 

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

At this time my goals are to make it to class consistently and to do a better job of stretching.  I would like to say I am close to achieving the latter goal but my hamstrings and lower back would disagree.  Hitting a 350# C&J, 250# snatch, and 450# back squat would also be nice.  I would like to think those are doable in the next year or two! #goalsbeforeturning40

 

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

I think just being in the decent shape that I am in at 38 y/o as well as achieving some strength milestones that I’m not really sure I expected to achieve.  Specific to HWCF, I am stronger than I have ever been (thanks, George!)

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
I am not a big fan of deadlifts (what’s the point of lifting all that weight off the ground if you’re not going to do anything with it, #amirite?), but outside of that anything with a barbell.  And of course I’m partial to both Olympic lifting movements.  I also randomly enjoy kettlebell snatches.  My favorite workout is anything that has heavy barbell movements so that I can beat those that are in much better cardio shape than I am.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Burpees (what’s the point of falling down on purpose??) and muscle-ups (mainly because I can’t do them and choose not to work on them).  Least favorite workout would easily be if/when we ever do the 100 burpee challenge for the leaderboard.
 
 
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
I completely understand the intimidation factor of trying Crossfit (and with the plethora of CF gyms out there, it is key to find one with good coaching).  Having to socialize with people you don’t know, try movements for the first time, thinking you’re too old, etc.  But I don’t think I have heard of anyone regretting trying it.  The support and community are truly amazing, especially when you think about the fact that you spend just a few hours a week with these other members.  So, if you are curious about it and can get to a place that you are comfortable attending a class, definitely give it a try.
Pete B.
Member name:

Pete B.

Athlete of the month: July 2019
Details

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

I’m currently a personal chef – at home for Sarah! After a 20 year career with a special
event production company in the suburbs, I’m enjoying my first ever career break*.
I’m an amateur musician – I’m usually in a band or two and always writing songs (or
forgetting the songs I’ve written). I was able to connect with some old friends this spring
and there might even be a new E.P. in the works. I’m currently training for my 12 th
Marathon this summer. I’ve also been a marathon training pace group leader with the
Chicago Area Runner’s Association for the last 6 years helping other runners get to the
start line and keeping them moving at a steady pace all summer long.
*Hardware friends – if anyone is looking for help with small business management,
recruiting/HR, project management, training/coaching, or anything else interesting let
me know!

 

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

We are longtime residents of Bowmanville and after walking past Hardware for a few
years decided it was time to check it out. I had no idea what it was all about, but
empirical evidence suggested it was intense – a sort of nuclear option for fitness (this
coming from a crazy runner!) I was at a place in my running where I had plateaued and
thought that CrossFit might push me to greater accomplishments by improving overall
fitness and injury prevention.
I still remember my first foundations class where I couldn’t hold a PVC pipe in a front
rack position. Instead of feeling awkward and woefully out of place, my partner for the
warm up (shout out to Neal B!) gave me some pointers and shared some of his “back
when I started” stories. I knew from day 1 that there was something special about
Hardware.
I keep coming back because that feeling is still there. On a personal level there is
always something to be learned, achieved, exceeded, etc. No two visits are the same.
If you put in the work, amazing things will happen. But it’s a lot more than the physical
aspect that keeps me engaged and excited. The comradery and friendships I’ve made
at Hardware are incredible. There is nothing more motivating to me than seeing other
members achieving their goals and overcoming their obstacles.

 

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

As marathon season and running mileage pick up, my primary CrossFit goal is to work
efficiently and safely while maintaining the fitness levels that I’ve been able to build on
the last 8 months. Come the Fall I’m hoping to work towards more shoulder mobility,
grip strength and with that a bar muscle up in time for the CF Open 2020!

 

 

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

At my very first class George went around the room at introductions and asked each of
us what our current fitness goals were. At that time I was chasing a sub 4 hour
marathon. It took two more attempts, but I finally finished one at 3:59:38! Later that
week the grapevine told me that during open gym that morning a group of members
were actually watching me finish on the marathon tracker knowing I was going for it.
That is what Hardware is all about.
A more recent accomplishment was completing the Murph Wod on Memorial Day RX
(no vest) in under the 60 minute time cap. As I came sprinting around the corner at
Pauline’s up Balmoral I knew it was clooooose… Adrian and a group of a dozen others
were cheering me on. “59:40 59:45 59:50 59:55 56 57 58… As I passed the front
door I heard him call out 59:59!!! That was rad.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

My current favorite movements are pull ups and toes to bar – both moves that took me
quite a while to initially get but are still improving on a regular basis

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT? 

Overhead squats – flexibility is an issue for me – but with a good year maybe this will
move into the favorite category! That’s the beauty of CrossFit. So many things to
improve.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

CrossFit is probably not what you think it is. It’s not barbells and rowing machines and
pull ups and sprints and jump ropes and all sorts of other chaos. Those are only the
tools you use to tap into what Hardware CrossFit is. It’s a family, challenging,
motivating, welcoming, it’s ringing the bell, and life affirming and most importantly fun!
Stop on in for a class – I’ll help you get into a front rack position with a PVC pipe.

Lily L.
Member name:

Lily L.

Athlete of the month: June 2019
Details

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

I’m the Technical Specialist of a blood bank laboratory in a hospital on the southwest side.  In addition to overseeing the lab, I ensure patients receive compatible blood transfusions by determining their blood type and checking for antibodies that may react adversely with the donor blood.

I enjoy spending time with Edzen L, who is also a Hardware member, and our two dogs, Oreo Speedwagon and Lucy Liubita. The four of us enjoy eating, sleeping, and taking road trips — especially to Canada.  Lucy takes the center console while Oreo sits on my lap.

 

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

It started with the movie Wonder Woman in 2017. The women on the island were so fit and athletic. Edzen read an article that some of the women are crossfitters. So for my birthday wish I requested to try our first crossfit class (July 1). It’s been almost two years but every class seems like a new, fun experience.

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

My initial goal was to do a pullup. Now I can do the kipping variation. Next up is the handstand pushup and stringing together TTB. I’m so close. I’ve also literally dreamt of doing muscle ups and chest to bar pullups during the WODs.

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

My skills were very limited during the 2018 open. I told myself 2019 would be different and that I would challenge myself to work hard with the coaches to be able to RX certain WODs in the 2019 open. To be recognized as the most improved was an experience I will never forget. I still grin at the thought of it.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Double unders. I spent so much time dreading double unders because of the painful lashing to my arms, toes, shins, and behind. But with lots of practice I’ve mastered the skill and it has become my favorite. I now look forward to double unders in the WODs.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Burpee, bar facing burpee, lateral burpee over bar, burpee to 6″ target, etc. You get the idea.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Just show up to class, be patient and trust the coaches. And you’ll have so much fun!

 

Katie G.
Member name:

Katie G.

Athlete of the month: May 2019
Details

 

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
I was born outside of Philadelphia, moved to  Chicago in 2014, and have lived here for the past 5 years. I’m a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor and specialize in providing substance use prevention education in K-`12 schools and universities and treatment services for adolescents. Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity through work to travel to over 15 countries as well as all over the US. My next trip is  for my 30th birthday in June–I’ll be exploring Iceland (and checking out CrossFit Reykjavik of course!)
 
 
WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO CROSSFIT AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
It’s pretty cliche but after watching the CrossFit Games and following the “Dottirs” I was like, the Dottirs are goals! My only exposure to CrossFit was the Games, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up or I wasn’t in good enough shape to start, but I quickly realized that CrossFit really does meet people where they are at.
In terms of what keeps me coming back, pretty early on I set a goal for myself to be able to try and do all those movements I saw Games athletes doing. Handstand push-ups, bar muscle-ups, snatches, cleans, kipping pull-ups, pegboard, all of it. I told myself, “You will learn how to do that”. That’s what keeps me coming back. In my early teens I was a competitive skateboarder. CrossFit reminds me a lot of skating. Landing a new trick or getting my first muscle-up is the same rush, I always want more! Similarly to skating, my Olympic lifts and gymnastics will always have room for improvement and mastery and 8 months in I’ve realized I’ve got a long way to go.
 

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

Right now I’m making an effort to lift heavier and always do the RX weight for workouts and continue to work on foundational movements that will make my WODs more efficient.

In terms of reaching those goals, honestly, it depends on the day with weight. I try to honor my body and not push myself beyond what I’m capable of. I have found that the foundational movements are a constant work in progress.

 

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

I think my cardiovascular endurance has increased which probably would not have happened if I had been left to my own devices.

 

 

Favorite WOD/MOVEMENT?
I like bar muscle-ups, snatches, and rowing.
LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
 
Squat Cleans
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?
 
I originally came and did the CrossFit onboarding class 7+ months before I finally joined Hardware. If I could go back and give myself advice, I would have just started that next day. After one month, I fully drank the Kool-Aid — best thing I’ve done for my health and fitness in years. I wish I had started sooner. Try it for a month, be open-minded, patient, and coachable.

Get your free Trial Class now!

“It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime, what better better place than here? What better time than now?” - Zack de la Rocha

Address:

1834 W. Balmoral Ave Chicago, IL 60640

Phone Number:

Email: