Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

 

judy1

Judy Saunders, Upper East Side

How/when did you get involved at EVF? What has motivated you to stick with it? 
Three years ago I decided that 15 years with the same wonderful personal trainer was probably enough. I live right around the corner so that I knew that if I liked EVF I’d have no excuses not to continue.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
The community of acceptance and support. I love the fact that we are all accepted and appreciated for what we do.

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?  
I remember very well that I thought I was going to throw up but knew that I needed to work through it. Although I thought I was in pretty good condition when I started, I had somewhat of an awakening to the fact that I could actually do better — much better.

judy2

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?  
I just wanted to maintain my level of fitness, but that quickly became a challenge to become more fit. I feel like a work in progress.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?  
I have been very fortunate in my life with respect to health and have become even more appreciative of that good luck. I have also become more accepting of myself and my body. It is hard to accept limitations, although I’m aware that they might increase with time (and age).

Favorite movement and workout?  
Knees to bar — working toward toes to bar. Anything that presents a challenge that I think I can meet.

Least favorite movement and workout?  
Burpees, especially toward the end of the workout.

judy3

What drives you through the door each day?  
The complete acceptance of everyone at EVF and the knowledge that just keeping at it is an accomplishment in itself. It feels so good at the end of a workout just to have done it.

Do you have any advice for new members?  
Don’t be intimidated. We’re a very accepting group.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year? 
I’d be happy to just stay at the same level but I think there’s still upside potential for my strength and stamina.

Columbus Circle Athlete of the Month

markc2

Congrats to our CC athlete of the month, Mark Carpenter.

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
2012 Luxembourg, starved of a good gym. Our local place consisted of a small amount of machinery situated next to a nightclub. You could never tell if the receptionists worked at one or the other as they smoked in the doorway between the two. A fantastic new box opened up called CrossFit Valens, the first in the country, owned and run Icelanders. These folks had a fantastic attitude about training to become an all-around athlete. I saw what others were doing there and thought, “I want to do that.” After that I never looked back.

Do you remember your first workout? How was it?
Fran: DESPERATE. Yes, I am still scarred. Foolishly, I didn’t take an intro course because previously some friends and I had dabbled at making our own WODs. No doubt the coach let me in to teach me a lesson because I claimed I’d be fine. It was devastatingly exhausting. For the pull-ups, I didn’t know how to kip so my arms soon packed out. Crippled on the floor, I could not believe that an empty barbell could do so much damage. According to the Icelanders, I was lucky to have met Fran on day 1. Totally shagged out — I wasn’t convinced but I went back …

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
Goal 1: pure survival. I was playing a lot of tennis tournaments and though I felt fit enough in my training, blending the two was tough. CrossFit was revealing to say the least. I was repeatedly destroyed by the intensity (and still am) and back to back days were difficult, so I tried 3 times a week maximum. I liked barbell work early on so I took Olympic lifting lessons. Since arriving in NYC, I’m not playing competitively. Now I do WODs as often as 5 times per week. Another big change this year is I am trying not to hide from the exercises I struggle with. Historically, I was a bit of cherry picker and would ditch WODs I didn’t like to train in other ways.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
My fitness has improved immeasurably. Specific training for other sports can be is highly revealing when you begin CrossFit. About a year in, I changed my diet to something a bit more paleo. While I don’t have any CrossFit fantasies, nor do I daydream of the perfect lift or wod etc., it has become a central part of my well being. And, yes, if I visit a foreign city for holiday, I would probably seek out the local box, just for the T-shirt.

What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
Other than fitness gains, I would say that the massively positive group mojo is the golden factor that makes it all worthwhile, whether in a small group for squatting, a partner chipper, or the sense of individual survival after a class when everyone has given it their all. Would WODs be as fun solo? I doubt it?

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-53-46-pm

Favorite lift and WOD?
I like the snatch because of the great feeling from rising out of the squat. It’s also so olympicky – if that’s a word. Favourite WOD: If I had to pick then Chelsea, 30-minute EMOM of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. I like this one because you fall into a happy coma round after round with the buzzer, and for a while you get a little rest until time catches up with you.

What about your least favorite?
Least favourite lift: Probably heavy jerks when the bar sits like a house on your collar bones and it makes you forget all your technique. WOD: I don’t have one specifically. Generally, any WOD where I don’t scale appropriately and spend an eternity staring at bar or a wall ball is far from pleasing.

What motivates you?
Being in my 40s, I find the prospect of getting fitter now rather than later more motivating than ever. I am also still quite active in other sports so I find CrossFit remains complementary to them. Undoubtedly, the coaching in CrossFit is massively motivating whether through helping to unravel the kinks in a complex movement or simply encouraging you to push a little further than you believed you could go. The coaches play a key role.

Do you have any advice for new members?
Stick with it. I would advise exercising patience on this long journey. The fitness and mojo rewards are immense if you put in the effort. Just check your ego at the door, listen to the coaches, and keep scaling until you no longer need to. Remember that if you feel like your lunges are on fire or you are going to throw up, someone else feels the same.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
I would like to pass 300 pounds on the back squat and keep making progress on handstand push-ups and double unders.

Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

Mario has been one of our most dedicated athletes since day one. He started out as a 360 member, mastering the basics, before transitioning into CrossFit. He always puts proper technique and form first, and his strength numbers and gymnastics ability have grown exponentially as a result. He’s a positive influence in class, supports his training buddies, and never takes himself too seriously. I can always count on Mario to make me laugh (or roll my eyes). Truly a delight to have in class.

— Coach Jenna

mario1

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
At the risk of sounding cliche-ish, I first heard of CrossFit while watching the CrossFit Games on ESPN. When I noticed that a CrossFit box was opening up in my neighborhood, I was further intrigued. After much wavering back and forth, I finally decided to check out EVF and some of their 360 classes. I decided to take the plunge at the beginning of last year and I haven’t looked back since.

Do you remember your first workout? How was it?
I don’t remember my first workout, but I do remember there were lots of push-ups and lots of sit-ups and being sore for days. I also remember thinking “What did I get myself into?” But whether it was a 360, Row, or CrossFit class I loved the feeling of accomplishment I felt at the end and I knew then I was hooked.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
When I first started my goals were pretty simple and that was to try and get into better shape. As time has progressed my goals have definitely changed, but the biggest change is that they are a lot more targeted. For example, while I always want to improve my conditioning and strength, lately I’ve really been focusing on my technique for the Olympic lifts and my gymnastic skills. As for strength, I want to improve upon my overhead strength.

mario2

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
Nowadays I tell everyone that I am in the best shape of my life (I could totally kick 16- and 21-year-old Mario’s asses). I would also have to say I am way more in tune with how I am feeling. Whatever it may be that feels “off,” I can sense it and try to address it sooner than later. Sometimes the answer is a simple as needing a day off, as much as it pains me not to go.

What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
The best part has to be the community and support you get from everyone. It can range from the encouragement you get as you struggle with a certain technique or getting through a WOD to everyone being just as excited, if not more, when you hit a new PR. I can say that I may not always hear the music playing, but I do hear the encouragement. And when I am able to catch my breath, I try and pay it forward.

mario3

Favorite lift and WOD?
My favorite lift would definitely have to be the clean and jerk. When it comes to WODs, I like any chippers. I like just putting my head down and getting to work.

What about your least favorite?
Least favorite lift would have to be thrusters and that ties right into my least favorite workout: 14.5/16.5.

What motivates you?
Honestly what motivates me the most is improvement. I come in every day trying to get better than I was the day before.

mario4

Do you have any advice for new members?
I always try to tell new members to stay within themselves and not try too much too soon and risk injury, but also to be sure to challenge yourself. I would also stress to focus on mobility early and often. I may not be the most mobile person around, but I definitely feel the difference when I’ve slacked on mobility for a few days.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
There are a few tangible goals I have in mind for the coming year. Breaking 300 pounds on my back squat is my strength goal. I also want to improve my gymnastics, specifically getting a muscle-up and being able to string together handstand push-ups.

Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

Congrats to our Upper East Side Athlete of the Month, Jamie Held!

jamiephoto

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
I was a member of NYSC and running half marathons and I was simply bored. My motivation for working out was dwindling and I needed to spice it up. In college I always found myself in the “guys area” lifting weights so Crossfit crossed my mind. A friend from college was coaching out in NJ and she gave me the final push to try the intro class at EVF.

What has motivated you to stick with it?
My motivation stems from the energy that radiates from this place. The camaraderie is what keeps me coming back each and every day. I feel empowered and strong and knowing there is always room to improve and grow keeps me walking through the door each day.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
The people, hands down. The determination on everyone’s faces to dig just a little bit deeper and go that much faster gets me pumped up! The coaches’ programming allows you to scale when needed and push yourself when you’re feeling awesome that day. Especially with my damn broken feet, I always feel supported and safe.

jamie1

Do you remember your first workout?
Well I remember my intro class, and it took me 45 minutes to walk home to 89th and Lex. I wanted to cry I was hurting so bad. Some days I still have that feeling.

Looking back how did it go?
I’ve always been active, but this was truly different. I was hooked from that first day. I guess I’m drawn to pain and I could see right away that I would become obsessed.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
My goals were strength and endurance. They remain the same. After about a year I definitely put a focus on gymnastics and finally getting strict pull ups, chest to bar, and HSPU. Now it’s all about the ring dips. I’m constantly varying my skills and not just focusing on lifting heavy shit.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
This may sound cheesy, but I’ve never been so proud of where I’m at. Finally my career is taking off and I’m happy in that part of my life. Spending time at EVF has made me realize how strong I am physically and mentally. I never could have imagined lifting this amount of weight. It’s damn liberating.

jamie3

Favorite lift and WOD?
I’m all about the clean. Fight Gone Bad is definitely a memorable WOD. It’s brutal and leaves you on the floor for what feels like a lifetime. Another favorite is Diane. I finally did it Rx this year and it was a huge goal for me.

Least favorite movement and workout?
Snatch. There is so much technique involved and it’s taking a lot of time to feel comfortable in that full squat. I’ll never be friends with Fran. Never.

What drives you through the door each day?
The community. We are in full force and I have my fellow athletes and friends to thank for pushing me every day to be better.

jamie2

Do you have any advice for new members?
Stick with it. Don’t get disappointed when it takes a year or two to finally achieve one of your goals. It takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. Some of the best advice I got from a past coach was “I’d rather have you be the last person to finish and push yourself on the weights than go light and be first to finish.” We all have a competitive nature and are sometimes too wrapped up in our finish times. But remember it’s not just about that. It’s about getting strong and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Every day. All day.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
I’d like to hit a 200# back squat and 160# clean. Also focusing on strict gymnastic movements. Other than the actual WODs, I’m all about meeting new friends! We constantly have fresh faces coming in the door. My favorite part of being on the UES is that I’m constantly running into fellow EVFers on the street. Makes me feel like I’m in college again and that is a great feeling!

Columbus Circle Athlete of the Month

Congrats to our August Columbus Circle athlete of the month, Shelly! 

One word comes to my head with the thoughts of Shelly: inspiration. Shelly and I started together with personal training sessions before she got into classes. At first she was shy and didn’t feel very confident in her abilities. Now she is one of the most confident athletes I have ever seen. Shelly has a engine, people! I love training Shelly, and I love that we both like to listen to Hipster Cocktail Radio on Pandora.

— Coach Jamie

shelly1

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit? What has motivated you to stick with it?  
I started about two years ago, just after my 60th birthday, when my son encouraged me to give it a try. The continued results and increased strength and fitness keep me motivated. And it’s fun. I could never stick with anything if I wasn’t having fun.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?  
It’s almost a cliché to talk about the camaraderie, but it’s really true that the enthusiasm of the staff and the encouragement of the other members is inspiring. From day one I felt like I was part of a team.

shelly

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?  
I remember early on doing a Half Cindy. I did jumping pull-ups and knee push-ups, but I still felt I’d accomplished a whole lot in ten minutes!

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?  
My fitness routine had gotten stale and I wanted a challenge. I certainly got that with CrossFit. With each skill I learn I still want to challenge myself. Can I do one more rep? Add ten more pounds to the bar? Complete one more dreaded burpee? My goal now is to know that I’ve worked my hardest and done my best each day.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?  
I honestly think I’m in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in. In the process I’ve learned to face difficult tasks with a “can do” attitude instead of thinking something’s just too hard to try. There are so many things I’ve never done that I’d like to try, maybe learn a new language or study art, and having started CrossFit when I did I now know with certainty that it’s never too late to try something new.

IMG_0218 - Version 2

Favorite lift and WOD?  
I find deadlifts really satisfying; that’s where I lift my heaviest weight. I really enjoyed doing the Memorial Day Murph challenge the past two years. It’s a real burner of a WOD and a true test of my endurance, but it’s also a good way to honor a fallen hero and remember what the holiday is really about.

Least favorite movement and workout?  
I groan whenever I see a workout that includes a run, especially when it’s a stair run.

IMG_1137

What drives you through the door each day? 
Well, for one, my dog needs to be walked! Seriously, I’m a pretty upbeat person. I love my job, I love my family and friends, I love my workouts and knowing my day will include at least one of those encounters makes it pretty easy to get myself going.

Do you have any advice for new members?  
Don’t be afraid to approach a skill, no matter how daunting it may seem at first. And don’t be intimidated by what the person next to you can do. There are scaling options for a reason. Don’t worry about what you can’t do; there’s always something you can do and you’ll get out of the workout what you put in.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?  
Last year was about working on an overhead squat. This year is about pull-ups!

Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Josh Phillips on earning this month’s spotlight as the Upper East Side athlete of the month.  I couldn’t be prouder of Josh’s persistence and hard work since joining EVF in December 2013. Josh has consistently been proactive in working on his technical skills and improving his range of motion; he typically comes to 12:30 class early to work on mobility or to ask a coach for help on a movement or a mobility question so he can improve.  His genuine interest and desire to move better and learn good technique has helped him earn a killer back squat position and stay injury free. I’m so proud of his patience with the process, and I think it’s safe to say he is reaping the benefits. Congrats Josh!

— Coach Nicole

FullSizeRender

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit?
I didn’t know anything about CrossFit. Zero. And I actually stumbled into EVF almost by accident. It occupies a space that has seen a lot of unusual businesses before, so I was curious to see what had just opened up. A friendly coach showed me around the gym (or box) and explained CrossFit’s approach to training and fitness. Then he asked what seemed unusual to me.

“No mirrors,” I answered.

“Exactly,” he said.

And then he explained that was by design — that CrossFit athletes were committed to certain tenets of fitness and felt the fixation with image (which is amplified by a wall of gym mirrors) was a distraction. That stuck with me.

What has motivated you to stick with it?
Stubbornness. I’m a bit thick headed about tackling certain challenges. The first few months of CrossFit were really tough. I wasn’t in great shape when I first started, even though I went to a nearby gym and was running at the time. But my first CrossFit classes showed how inadequate that was and how I needed a fitness routine that was far more challenging.

At first, just getting through a CrossFit program was a real source of motivation. Looking back, I really sucked at some of the basic movements. But I tried to improve my skills and fight through exhausting workouts … with the hope that things would eventually get easier!

Over time, my strength and endurance have improved. Sure, there are still certain workouts that slay me and skills that I haven’t mastered. But I’m determined to work on each challenge, however gradually.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
There are stellar people at EVF, and they provide tremendous support to each other. I dig the camaraderie and that sense that we’re pulling for each other. And the coaches are awesome. They’re fiercely knowledgeable, deeply passionate about fitness and incredibly helpful and encouraging. (Some EVF athletes are also quite experienced and super helpful and supportive.) Whenever they’ve praised me for something, like some improved movement, I toss it right back to them. The truth is, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to stick with CrossFit had it not been for their help and perseverance. It’s hard to overstate this.

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?
I honestly don’t recall when it was, but I remember that my body hurt like hell for a week! In my case, I had a lot of old sports and work injuries that flared up when I first started. Basic things like squats felt awful, and my joints ached. A lot. Early on, I remember asking one of the coaches, “How often do most people work out here during the week?”

She answered, “At first it’s really hard, but eventually most people work out 3 to 4 times a week.”

That answer stunned me. But sure enough, I eventually became one of those people!

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
At first, my goals were fairly modest. They mostly involved getting through the workouts and developing a basic competency of the skills.

I’m still trying to tackle certain skills (like handstand push-ups) and just get better at certain movements. That means constantly improving my form and, in my case, my flexibility.

I’d say an overall goal is achieving more stamina and endurance. It sounds modest, but it’s pretty challenging.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
When I first started CrossFit, I was battling through a lot of pain and fatigue. Then I started to improve and eventually realized how good I felt afterwards. It wasn’t just physical euphoria after a high-intensity workout — I began to have much sharper mental clarity as well. Eventually, it becomes addictive. And then interesting things begin to happen. You start to figure out what other adjustments you need to make (to your diet, nutrition, sleep, etc.) to better perform and accrue those benefits. It’s like when a movement clicks. At first you’re overcompensating with dominant muscles, and then you’re integrating all of your muscles into a fluid motion.

Favorite lift and WOD?
I’ve become pretty good a deadlifts. Maybe because they don’t require a lot of flexibility! I dunno which WOD I prefer. Probably one without a ridiculous amount of burpees …

Least favorite movement and workout?
“Air Force” is pretty odious. I’m sure there are others, but I haven’t committed them to memory — or maybe I’ve blocked them out!

I’m still battling through limitations with flexibility, so I’m struggling to get a better front rack position.

What drives you through the door each day?
Actually, I’ve hit the point where I crave CrossFit and get irritable when I don’t do it. Seriously. It’s become a kind of drug, and it improves my day in various ways: I’m better focused, I think more clearly and breath more easily, I’ve got more energy, and I sleep better. I’m honestly kicking myself that I didn’t get through the door much sooner.

Do you have any advice for new members?
Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged, even if your body hurts for a week after your first work out. Just keep coming back as often as your body will permit. Some of us need a longer glide path, so take as many modifications as you need and don’t be shy about it.

Use the coaches! Ask questions and seek advice. Constantly. Even the seemingly smallest adjustments can vastly improve your form, and by extension, your efficiency. Remember to stretch and stretch often. You’ll feel much better during workouts (I’ve learned that the hard way).

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Apart from abs and buns of steal!?!? Kidding.

I’m still trying to conquer handstand push-ups, get a better front rack, and more (and better) pull-ups. I’d like to improve my stamina and endurance. As part of that I’m also trying to improve my breathing. Seemingly small goals like better breathing and flexibility go a long way in CrossFit.

Columbus Circle Athlete of the Month

Natasha Desai brings a combination of ambition, focus and dedication that makes her an easy choice for member of the month. Since she began, she’s been one of our most passionate new members, always willing to do the extra work and go the extra mile to improve a lift or skill. She often wears a tank top that says “Though she be small, she be fierce,” and that fits her personality to a T! A welcome member of the community, she is friendly and supportive of all, whether doing a Spartan race or a simple afternoon WOD. Always willing to accept the challenge, whether CrossFit demands a physical or mental test for the day, Natasha is our very own Wonder Woman and ready for battle!

— Coach LJ

IMG_2064

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit? What has motivated you to stick with it?
I started CrossFit in September of last year. I was an avid 360’er and a few coaches were trying to coax me into switching over. However, I was super nervous about throwing around a barbell and really didn’t think I was strong enough for the sport. I don’t think I had ever lifted anything heavier than 60 pounds. Cut to 7 months later, and I am a total addict. I have become stronger and faster than I could have ever imagined, and my drive to get even better has been my motivation to keep with it.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
What’s not to enjoy! The community, the coaches and the energy are all amazing. I have met some of my favorite people at EVF and really look forward to the time I spend pushing myself with them. I love walking through the door knowing there’s likely something difficult to accomplish for that day but have a solid group of people to get through it with.

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?
Yes, it was torture! It was 9/11 and there was a special WOD programmed in its honor. The workout had essentially every lift under the sun. Halfway through, I remember thinking I wouldn’t survive. Then came the push jerks … where I hit my nose extremely hard. I started tearing, and slightly bleeding, but was determined to finish the workout. I took a quick minute to gain my composure, then went on to the 2001 meter row (yuck). It took me a good week to muster up the courage to come back.

13071826_10101015002229387_7037079274853638160_o

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
My goal when I first started was to get more fit and to just look and feel better. As I became more comfortable with the lifts and movements, my goals took a different direction. I still wanted to get stronger, but I more specifically wanted to clean up my cleans, squat heavier, and nail down toes to bar (finally got them last week!). I feel like I am constantly setting goals and working toward them because I am happily a work in progress.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
I can proudly say I am mentally and physically stronger than ever, all thanks to CrossFit. I have become more confident and independent in many aspects of my life and feel like I can take on anything life hands me. A slew of box jumps or a heavy oly lift has quickly become the solution to a rough day.

Favorite lift and WOD?
I love burpees! There, I said it. I guess it might be because I don’t have much space between me and the ground (I’m only 5’2”), but I just love the feeling of springing off the ground. I have also always enjoyed squats but never to the degree that I do now. It’s a great feeling to see the numbers go up during each cycle and to know that my hard work and sore butt are paying off. Favorite WOD is probably 21-15-9 of thrusters and burpees.

Least favorite movement and workout?
Overhead squat! While I love to squat, it’s taking me some time to feel stable holding weight above my head while dropping low. But like I said before, I’m a work in progress.

What drives you through the door each day?
Getting better and the people — getting better together with the people! I love to see the community achieve their goals while simultaneously achieving my own, because I just know that we are feeding off of each other’s positive energy in doing so.

IMG_1297

Do you have any advice for new members?
Take it slow, and know that practice makes perfect. What you put into Crossfit is what you will get out. It might take time for your body and mind to comprehend some of the movements, but never give up and keep working toward a goal. Try not to feel intimidated by those around you. Just focus on yourself and what you want to achieve, because everyone has a different starting point!

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Get a HSPU, perfect my OHS, get stronger and be able to RX more workouts!

April Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

James is one of our oldest and dearest members and one of my favorite people to have in class. He’s exceptionally coachable and has great energy and awesome work ethic — a dream combination for a coach — not to mention the world’s lowest squat.

— Coach Jenna

12745705_1082721851778686_9008520236929240262_n

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit? What has motivated you to stick with it?
I got involved in CrossFit a few years ago when I was living in Philadelphia. I was skinny. Actually, I was scrawny. I had tried various globo-gyms and self-motivating workout programs, but I never found the drive to continue with it. And let’s be honest, when I say I went to the gym, I basically just did bicep curls and went home. I needed direction and CrossFit seemed like a good idea. Four and a half years later, I am 35 pounds heavier (that’s a good thing) and still drinking the Kool-Aid. The results I have seen, especially at EVF, have kept me motivated.

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
The people and the camaraderie. Some of the best moments of my day usually involve lifting weights and pushing myself through a workout with my friends at EVF. It is cliché, but 100% true: I am more motivated to push myself if other people hold me accountable. If I don’t go for it, not only am I letting myself down, I’m letting everyone else down.

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?
My first CrossFit workout ever was Fran. I think I finished around 10 minutes or so, but I did the thrusters with an empty barbell and also subbed in jumping pull-ups. It was awful. I remember going home and watching Games athletes on YouTube conquer Fran in 2:00 minutes or less and I knew I had a long way to go.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
When I first started CrossFit, I wanted to add muscle and get bigger. I was sick of getting pushed around by a strong gust of wind. As I got more involved in CrossFit, my goals became more defined. I wanted to squat over 300 pounds. I wanted to do 100 unbroken double unders. Now it’s just about getting stronger every day, while continuing to push myself and stay healthy. Although squatting double my bodyweight would be pretty sweet.

FullSizeRender (1)

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
When I first started CrossFit, I was a 160-pound vegetarian with a flabby stomach. Now I’m 195 pounds and in the best shape of my life, with lots of small ill-fitting T-shirts buried in my closet and a graveyard of ripped jeans. I know a good workout can fix a bad day. If I don’t squat on Monday or do the Tuesday night competition class, my entire week is awry.

Favorite lift and WOD?
I love double unders and Annie. I used to get immensely frustrated jumping rope, but I took a weakness and made it a strength by practicing DUs daily. I also really enjoy squatting because it’s easy to gauge progress. I remember when my current warm up weight was my one-rep max, and that feels great! If you squat every week, you will see results.

228750_10150184546232811_165583_n-1

Least favorite movement and workout?
Burpees and thrusters. Seriously, does anyone like burpees or thrusters? The best advice I ever received about burpees: no one likes doing them, so just go faster and get them over with sooner. The burning in your lunges after high volume thrusters is awful.

What drives you through the door each day?
Gains and the people. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing hard work pay off. I also enjoy watching other people improve and lift big weights.

58002257-2015-1-10-6138

Do you have any advice for new members?
Keep it up! Early on, so much of the CrossFit experience is just about putting effort into it. The coaches and the programming at EVF are great and if you put in the time and try to eat well, you will see results. Don’t be upset if you have to scale every workout because it will be so much more gratifying when you can do the workouts as prescribed. Consistency is key. Set goals and achieve them.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Consistent muscle ups, a 275-pound clean, a 400-pound deadlift and increased mobility.

Upper East Side Athlete of the Month

“Man of the Year goes to … Couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more. We may be a bit biased, but considering how lucky we feel to have had him as a part of our community for almost 3 years, Jason Fleischer gets our vote.

Jason has also earned the May title of Athlete of the Month.

He’s always a positive prescence in class, trying to learn as much as he can and get better every day. Well deserved, Jason.”

— Julia

jasonflex

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit? What has motivated you to stick with it?
My wife Melissa and I joined back in Oct. 2012. I had spent many years running marathons and triathlons but was a bit burnt out with them, and we were on a downward weight-gaining spiral. Friends of ours on Long Island told us about CrossFit. We were intrigued and got hooked immediately. It was going to be something new for both of us and something we could do together. So we signed up.

My motivation has changed since I first joined. At first, I was motivated with the change in my body and strength. I was motivated to PR every lift, every time. Not smart — led to an injury. I’m now motivated by a variety of different things. I’m still vane as hell, so working out to look good for my wife, fit into my clothes and stay healthy is a big part of it. I’m motivated to get better, the right way: being patient, disciplined and smart. That, oftentimes, is more difficult than the lifts themselves. Lastly, I’m motivated to get to a point where I can be as comfortable taking my shirt off as the other guys in the early morning crew. I’m getting there.

Flexinthecity

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
I love the community we have. I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of members come and go, yet we continue to build a community of like-minded individuals who care as much about their own success as the others around them. Egos are checked at the door, everyone is a cheerleader and supportive. It’s nice to workout with your friends and family.

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?
My first workout?!? I don’t remember yesterday’s workout! I do remember meeting Eric — he did our on ramp and was great. I remember thinking how weak I was and how out of shape I was afterward. I was coming from a place (marathons/tris) where most workouts were aerobic and this was anaerobic. Really different, but I survived (barely) and I’m sure if I look in my logbook I’d have a good laugh.

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
When I first started this was all brand new and I was going full tilt all the time. The Olympic lifts, the WODS, etc. My goal was to get better and stronger, period. I was hooked to my logbook. I was an undisciplined athlete. My goals now are to stay healthy and injury free by being a smarter, more disciplined athlete. I’ve been very conservative these last 6 months, always going lighter than heavier and it’s paying off. I’m still getting stronger, setting PRs, but I’m listening to my body more and resting or de-loading more than I used to. I feel really good about that.

MeandMelxfit

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
I’m no longer canceling workouts where I don’t like the lift or WOD. I’m working on my weaknesses. As I mentioned above, I’ve become disciplined and patient. I’m not in a rush to lift a certain weight or perfect a certain move. I’m not competing against anyone else in the gym. That’s easier said than done for a lot of us — so my mind has matured, I guess, when it comes to my approach each workout. A strong mind will always lead to healthy balanced body, so I feel like I’m in a really good place with all of that at this time.

Favorite lift and WOD?
Anything overhead. Strict press is probably where I’m strongest. WOD: Murph/Jackie/Fight Gone Bad/The Seven.

Least favorite movement and workout?
Least favorite move: thrusters. Workout? Fran.

What drives you through the door each day?
The opportunity to get better, to get stronger and more fit, to challenge myself physically and mentally. Meeting my friends bright and early. How many other people get to meet 15 to 20 awesome people before 6 a.m. multiple times a week?!

jasonoh

Do you have any advice for new members?
Be patient and disciplined. The coaches we have are fantastic, but they can’t monitor every person’s weekly volume. These moves take years to perfect. When in doubt, go light and always listen to your body.

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
First and foremost, staying healthy. I’m old. In the short term, I’m looking forward to doing Murph this month. Last year, it literally shut down my immune system. This year, I’m hoping to get through it without hallucinating. It’s a great WOD, for an American hero. Sign up!

Columbus Circle Athlete of the Month

“Sabrina is one of the most motivated athletes I have ever coached. Every day Sabrina put the extra time in to achieve her goals. From her hard work and great attitude, she became a role model for many of our female and male athletes.

Even though Sabrina will be residing mostly in Texas, we all look forward to her monthly trips back home. We miss you a ton Sabrina. Come back soon!”

— Coach Jamie

sabrinasmall

How/when did you get involved in CrossFit? What has motivated you to stick with it?
I started CrossFit about a year ago, a month after my daughter was born. Seeing myself stronger, faster and overall more fit than before my pregnancy has motivated me to keep training. The constant variety and the great community makes it even easier!

What do you enjoy most about being a member at EVF?
The community, the coaches, and my CrossFit sisters!

Do you remember your first workout? Looking back how did it go?
It wasn’t my first workout, but within the first few weeks of starting I did Murph. It was incredibly hard and it took forever. Eventually I finished. I remember feeling incredibly proud and grateful that I could complete such a workout after having a baby a few months before. After that, I thought, “OK, CrossFit is really hard, but I got this!”

IMG_1804

What were your goals when you first started? How have they changed?
My goal when I first started was to get my pre-baby body back ASAP. Somewhere along the way, the focus on my appearance were overshadowed by my goals of getting strong, faster and more agile. I am constantly setting goals and working toward them. Sometimes, I’m feeling gymnasty and my focus will be handstands, pistols and muscle up progressions. Other times I’m more focused on getting stronger. Other times it’s the Olympic lifts. What I love about CrossFit is that there is always something to improve on.

How have you grown in that time — health, body, mind, etc.?
I am grateful for the strength I have gained through CrossFit. It has given me a lot more confidence and independence. Last week I traveled from NY to Houston along with my daughter, who is now 15 months. I had her strapped to my front, a backpack on my back and carrying a portable car seat one hand. I have CrossFit to thank for that.

Favorite lift and WOD?
Favorite lifts are overhead squats and deadlifts. Favorite WOD is Annie.

FullSizeRender

Least favorite movement and workout?
Thrusters, wall balls and Fran … a common theme here!

What drives you through the door each day?
The excitement of potentially surprising myself with a new movement, a faster time, a heavier lift, or all of the above!

Do you have any advice for new members?
Have fun! The rest will fall into place naturally.

IMG_1279

What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
So many things! My current focus areas are: (1) a muscle-up; (2) 20-second handstand hold; (3) 20 strict pull-ups; (4) 125-pound clean; and (5) 225-pound deadlift.