Athlete of Month

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.
Vasilis M.
Member name:

Vasilis M.

Athlete of the month: April 2019
Details

 

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

I grew up in Massachusetts and lived in Canada for 12 years before moving to Chicago. I’m proud to have accomplished my goal of becoming a scientist, and I currently work as a management consultant at a small firm focused on helping pharmaceutical companies bring their products to market. In my free time I enjoy cooking, especially grilling, visiting my sister and extended family in Wisconsin, and exploring Chicago with my wife, Heather.

 

 

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

Honestly, seeing the documentary from the 2015 games. I had been weight training and running since high school and was simply blown away by the amazing feats those athletes performed. When I moved to Chicago I knew that I wanted to try something new and the concept of a more community-focused environment was very appealing. Once I started, I was hooked: first by the opportunity to challenge myself to learn new movements and skills, and then by the amazing people I started to meet.

I joined Hardware last year after my first box closed and could not be happier with my decision. I was immediately impressed with the quality of the coaching and the warmth of the community. Every day I look forward to catching up with people during class and celebrating everyone’s accomplishments.

 

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

My current goal is to improve my gymnastic skills. I recently achieved muscle-ups after 6 months of dedicated practice, and now I’m shifting focus to handstand work. I’m predicting a longer time to success for this one; being upside down feels weird and I am already prone to tripping when I’m on my feet.

 

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

This year, I was able to perform all the open workouts Rx. What makes this so special is not just the reward of putting in lots of work and seeing a result, but the fact that many other people helped me to achieve this. I received a ton of guidance and support from coaches and other members along the way and continue to be inspired by the work ethic and generosity of the people around me.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

I’m a fan of long chippers that involve running. It’s really satisfying to tick off each part as you complete it and I always enjoy getting outside.

 

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Sumo deadlift high-pull. I just don’t get it.

 

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT CROSSFIT?

Everyone can do Crossfit. Literally everyone. It can be quite intimidating to step into a group setting with unfamiliar challenges (I felt super nervous for my first class), but the coaches are there to provide you with the tools you need to succeed in your goals, and the members are there to cheer you on.

 

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.

 

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