Originally written by Trident athlete Ericka Andersen on her blog The Sweet Life.

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Mr. Johnny Thomas mid-WOD.

Trident CrossFit Athlete Johnny Thomas lost 25 pounds and lowered his blood pressure

One of the great things about writing spotlights on people at gym is that I get to know people I wouldn’t normally — and I love that!

Johnny Thomas is a retired Army Veteran that attends the 5:15am class at Trident every morning. Now, I’m early morning — but 5:15 just isn’t my jam (though occasionally, it has to be done!). That being said, I probably would never have struck up a conversation with Johnny since our classes are at different times.

Like a good number of others at Trident, Johnny’s military service has got my utmost respect and like many others in the military, CrossFit is his fitness of choice. He aims to make it a priority too, getting to the early class before heading to work at the Department of Defense to start his work day.

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Johnny’s been coming to Trident regularly since this past summer and proven that CrossFit weight loss is the real deal. He’s also discovered, like so many of us, what a wonderful community we have here. That’s why it’s important to get to know one another and learn how CrossFit as made our lives better.

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1. Have you always been athletic?
I have participated in athletics my entire life and I have never been hesitant to try different sports. From High School Athletics to intramurals in college to my Army unit teams and county teams; I have been active.

2. When did you first hear about CrossFit and why did you decide to try it?
I knew of CrossFit from the ESPN telecasts, but never considered it a possibility for me until recently. This past summer, I mentioned to my wife that I needed to get serious about exercise. The next day she handed me a Trident business card and, after some research, I noticed the schedule — especially the 5:00am classes. That is what initially brought me in but the people, atmosphere — and specifically the instruction — sold me on Trident.

3. How has CrossFit improved your health? Can you talk about the Whole Life challenge that caused you to lose weight?
CrossFit has definitely improved my health. In addition to losing 25 pounds since beginning in July, I have reduced my waist size by six inches and lowered my blood pressure. My doctor took me off the cholesterol medicine in November and I will return in February to verify that I can permanently remain off the medicine.

I began the Whole Live Challenge two months after starting CrossFit and it was an ideal compliment to my workouts. Whole Life’s nutritional chart added the food component to my health commitment by showing me that most of the things I eat are, in fact, healthy — especially the meat, poultry and fish. I did eliminate the grains, starches, corn, soy, sugars and rice. Most importantly, WLC made me prepare my weekly menu on Sunday. Finally, I continue to track what I am eating on a daily basis using the WLC point system.

**FYI: A new Whole Life Challenge begins January 17th — details here!**

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4. How have you changed since starting CrossFit?
I am working out consistently again. I retired from the Army in 2003 and that was the last time I included exercising (outside of participating in the County Softball Leagues or Coaching) as part of my daily routine.

5. What do you love about CrossFit and why is it different than other fitness activities?

  • The instruction before each class and WOD.
  • That all exercises are scalable or there is substitute.
  • The diversity of the WOD.
  • The WODs are short but intense.
  • The positive vibe in each class.

6. What is your favorite WOD? Least favorite WOD?

My favorite:  Anything with push-ups and team workouts. I like the Chelsea and the Smallpox.  I also liked the following WOD:

EMOM for 16

Minutes:

Odd Minutes:

10 Slamball, 10

Push ups

Even Minutes:

200M Erg Sprint

(175W)

I would not say least favorite — but an exercise I want to perform is the overhead squat. Along with the Snatch, it is a work in progress.

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7. What’s one major goal you’ve accomplished through CrossFit?
Simple, I have improved my health, whether measured by weight lost, inches lost or blood pressure; all of my numbers have improved.

8. What would you say to those considering trying CrossFit for the first time?
Stay with it and do not give up on yourself — especially those days when the body hurts or you are having trouble with certain exercises

9. How does staying fit contribute to your life?
One point I have not mentioned: CrossFit has helped me in other activities such as golf, running and completing my “honey do list.”

10. What kind of diet do you eat? Do you advocate any certain way of eating?
Since beginning the Whole Life Challenge in September, I have used the performance level as my dietary guide eliminating the grains, starches, corn, soy, sugars and rice.

I was surprised that I did not miss those items (except being from the south, I missed my weekend breakfast of grits or pancakes). I do not advocate any definite way of eating (everyone is different), but similar to working out something you can consistently maintain.

11. Any athletic role models? Favorite CrossFitter?
I have always been a big baseball fan and I enjoy watching those athletes. However, I like all sports and enjoy watching any World Class Athlete perform their craft.

What has impressed me the most is the dedication and the athletic ability of the people I workout with everyday at 5:15.

12. Anything else interesting you might want to add that I forgot to ask about?
I need some new clothes.

So…anyone have any suggestions for where Johnny can get some new clothes? I’ll throw mine out there — love me some Reebok CrossFit gear (of course!).

When I first started CrossFit, I thought — now I have to buy special shoes? After you’re hooked, though, the shoes are kind of just part of the drill.

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Check out out other Trident CrossFit athlete spotlights:

Got a recommendation for Member of the month? Feel free to email me at ericka.andersen@gmail.com


Originally written by Trident athlete Ericka Andersen on her blog The Sweet Life.

Back in action!

People say to me sometimes, “Man, you really like CrossFit, don’t you?” If you are asking me that question, it’s obviously true. But what is it about CrossFit that’s so lovable?

I’ve always enjoyed being active — and running marathons has been a major passion of mine since 2010 — but CrossFit is a different animal. With running, it’s during and after that I love — not thinking about it (actually often dreading it) beforehand. But with CrossFit, I am excited to go — and a little sad when class is over!

When I started going to CrossFit 2.5 years ago, a feeling of childhood pleasure came back to me in a way I never expected to experience again. I absolutely loved gymnastics as a kid — loved it so much I would practice at home every single day, attend open gyms, stay after class to work on skills and give it my everything. I watched every second of the Olympics and stopped anything I was doing if a competition appeared on TV (you hardly ever see those, it’s always ice skating — ever notice? I hated that!)

The thing was — I didn’t actually have any natural talent. I wasn’t good enough to make the competition team at my local gym. I never mastered a kip, an aerial or a full vault by myself.

But I worked like I was going for the gold. I loved it so much that it didn’t matter that I’d never place in a competition, I just wanted to work harder and get better. I was on my own level and wanted to complete what I could — which never went further back tucks and fly aways (and not very good ones.) I’d have never been able to whip out four backhandsprings in a row without working my butt off for years.

Looking back, backhandsprings and fly aways and backwalkovers on the high beam seem like insane feats that I could NOT complete now but in reality, they were very low level moves int he gymnastics community as a whole.

That being said, I feel similarly about CrossFit. I know I’m never going to finish all the Open workouts. I know I will probably never be able to do a muscle-up or back squat 200 pounds. I may never be able to do those cool kipping pull-ups all in a row, either.

But everyday, I’m a little excited, a little nervous, a little ready to see what I can do on THIS day. I sometimes like to hang from the bar like I did as a kid on the jungle gym and flip off with my legs. I love it when we do cartwheels and handstands — and the thrill of rope climbing is awesome (also because I have an excuse to wear my cool, CrossFit socks that *certain people [you know who you are!] make fun of me for wearing!

After 6 months of forced break from CrossFit, I’m so excited to be back — and really glad to have that childhood feeling of anticipation back too. There are very few things that can make you feel like a kid again — and that’s just one reason I really love CrossFit.


This post is from Trident athlete Caitlin Parke. You can read more about her at her blog, Crossroads of the Heart.

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The author setting a new record for herself on the snatch during the The Open earlier this year.

Upon joining a CrossFit gym, new members quickly realize that something different is going on here.  Beyond learning foreign fitness movements and namesakes like WOD, Pukie the Clown and what-the-heck-is Rhabdomyalgia, newbies begin to understand what it means to be included in the CrossFit community.

For me personally, I think it revolves around the following statement.

CrossFitters are heavily invested in not only their own successes, but fellow CrossFitters’ goals as well. 

We want to see each other achieve PRs, get a muscle up for the first time or perform a burpee without a box.  This is the nature of CrossFitters’ minds and attitudes.

It is no surprise that CrossFitters are also successful in other areas of life.  Within Trident alone, we have military personnel, non-profit managers, parents, entrepreneurs, teachers, etc.  Our community is full of the most hard working, determined and motivated people you will ever gosh darn meet.

To achieve success, however, we must first establish what success is for each of us, which to most people includes establishing goals.  Within the CrossFit community, this creates an entirely new beast altogether.

What exactly is a CrossFit goal?

Is it a PR in a specific movement?

Is it a specific movement at a certain number of reps?

Is it showing up each day?

Seriously.

I am going to, of course, give you the PC answer. It is all of these things and more.

The most important factor to understand is the importance of creating goals.  As we progress through our CrossFit career, goals are the one thing that will stick with us through the ups and the downs.  They’ll push us forward as we struggle through the hard days and they’ll celebrate with us as we draw a line through them.  Of course, there are always the elusive ones that will tantalize us throughout our entire lifetime, forever reminding us to keep dreaming big.

This is why it’s so important to have a variety of CrossFit goals on your list, both the manageable ones and the big hairy audacious goals (BHAG) that just make you smile. That includes the tangible PR numbers and the ones full of intangible fuzziness.

Unfortunately, we must all come up with these goals on our own.  This is why I decided to design a framework that will help you start thinking about how to create or modify your own personal CrossFit goals.

If Greg Glassman steals this un-copyrighted piece of property, someone please buy me a beer. 😉

 

The 5 Elements of Crossfit Goals

1. Lifts

Movements include:
-Front Squat-Shoulder Press
-Snatch-Thruster
-Cleans-Deadlift
-Jerk-Bench Press
-Back Squat-Overhead Squat
-Push Press
Types of Goals include:
-PRs-Number of consecutive reps at specific weight

2. Bodyweight

Movements include:
-Pull Up-TTB
-Muscle Up-Ring Dips
-HSPU
Types of Goals include:
-Number of consecutive reps-Progression (ex. 1ab mat HSPU to 1RX HSPU)

3. Skills

Movements include:
-800m Run-Wall Balls
-500m Row-KB Swings
-Double Unders-Box Jumps
-Rope Climbs
Types of Goals include:
-Sub XMin Time-Number of consecutive reps
-Progression (ex. 10 box jumps to 10 bounding)

4. Competition (optional)

Ex. Compete at a scaled competition by January 2014 Ex. Qualify for Regionals by 2015

5. Intangible

Ex. Leave my ego at the doorEx. Be happy with the outcome of the WOD no matter whatEx. Go big or go home!

 

Here are some things to think about when creating your goals:

  • Your list should, ideally, include goals for each of these categories (competition is totally optional).
  • Be S.M.A.R.T!  (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound)  I usually create my goals with a target of a specific month, year.  For example, a 220 lbs. 1RM Deadlift by December 2013.
  • That being said, yes, you should create attainable goals, but also include the big hairy audacious ones.  Hey, I might never make it to Regionals and, honestly, that whole muscle up one is really eluding me too, but it’s always fun to dream big.  Goals are not supposed to get you down because you haven’t accomplished one. They’re supposed to keep you inspired and engaged in what you’re doing.  Lifetime commitments to CrossFit/working out/life in general require us to think about them!

Things to think about when going after your goals:

  • We all have our good and bad days, but when you’re really feeling it, go HARD after your goal!!  I’ve seen people accomplish some miraculous feats within Trident’s walls.  You can do it!
  • Support others goals and talk about them!  This is what CrossFitting is all about.
  • Have fun!

Let’s get inspirational and share our goals/feedback in the comments!  What’s one that you have for this year?  Do you think this is a good starting off point to start thinking about goals or do you use a different method?

Caitlin has been a member of Trident CrossFit since April 2011 after her friend lost more than 100 pounds CrossFitting and following the paleo diet.  She was hooked after her first kettlebell swing.  When she’s not sweating on Trident’s floors, she blogs over at www.crossroadsoftheheart.com.  Stop by and visit some time! 


This blogpost was originally posted by Trident athlete Ericka Andersen on her site sweetlifeericka.com.

Deadlifts? No problem.

When I was 16, something happened to me that scarred my brain for a long time. I remember it so clearly, sitting at a friends house upstairs listening to music, just hanging out — and one of the guys said to me — “You have big arms for a girl.”

Ryan was his name and that’s the only thing I really remember about him. It stuck with me. I remember the others in the group kind of laughed and were like, Dude — you don’t say that to a girl!

Another time soon after that, I mentioned to a girlfriend that I thought my arms were “getting fat” and she said, no you just have arms like Julie (another friend.) I proceeded to tell Julie that, hoping to feel validated  like that was a good thing. She responded, “Oh god, you don’t want arms like me, their huge.”

And it was then that the hatred of my arms began. Until now.

What has changed? I have. What happened? Crossfit happened.

It’s not always about losing, sometimes it’s about building.

I’ve always been a cardio girl — from the beginnings of my unhealthy relationship with exercise all the way to when I found peace and happiness with exercise. It was run run run, cardio cardio cardio.

Then, I started crossfit at Trident.

“Instead of burning everything away, I started building everything up.”

Instead of carving out 2 hours for a long run, I went balls to the wall for 30 minutes. You don’t think 3 minutes is a long time but try doing 150 wall balls or heavy thrusters followed by rounds of pull ups. The seconds don’t move fast enough!

And while I used to attend a 45 minute step class, then jog 5 miles on the treadmill — this endless flow — that’s not possible these days. I once ran 5 miles before crossfit and said — NEVER again. I need ALL my strength and energy to conquer a class.

I always wanted “skinny arms” — dainty so I looked more feminine. I was so jealous of girls who just had that, while I felt tainted with flab.

But I’m done with skinny arm envy. I looked in the mirror the other day and thought — wow, my shoulders look bigger, my arms a little bulkier. I look…strong, athletic, the anti-dainty.

125, 126, 127…

Instead of worrying my arms would look fat in my wedding pictures, I hoped they’d look strong. And guess what? I was happy with how they looked in all of the photos!

The thing is, my muscles just don’t get “cut” easily. I’m working on it, it’s taking time. And I can’t lift a really heavy weight — some may even find my weightlifting laughable.

But I don’t care. I lift things up and I put them down — and it feels powerful, exhilirating, confidence-boosting.

I can do kipping pull ups (most of the time), I’m finally working my way to reaaaal push-ups, I climbed all the way to the top of the rope and back down!

I love my arms because they help me become stronger — mentally and physically. Did I have big arms for a girl when I was 16? Probably not. Do I have big arms for a girl now? Well, maybe. But guess what? I built them that way this time around.

Thanks to crossfit, I can appreciate real physical fitness, strength and the beauty of a hard working body.  And I have some great role models in the bad ass lady coaches at Trident who amaze me with their muscles every time I go! (Here’s to you Karen & Melanie — my morning ladies!)


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Andrea and Chriss looking sharp.

May 15, 2010 – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Three years ago today I hopped through the bay doors of Trident for the Opening WOD. I was greeted by Andrea and Chriss who had coached me at the box where I had previously WOD’d. Being the introvert I am, they were the only 2 people I had connected with during my time at the other box. It had been over 9 months since I had seen either of them, but they both greeted me by my first name like no time had passed. The WOD kicked my butt and I ran out of there heads down (INTROVERT), but I recognized how the people were different, the coaches were different, the community was different.  That Monday I was back for their first official WOD and I have not looked back since.

In the three years that Trident has been open I have seen the community grow, fostered by the vibrant personalities of Andrea and Chriss. I have seen athletes flourish into amazing coaches, self-admitted non-athletes become strong athletes, strong athletes become stronger and strong athletes become competitors.

I personally have grown immensely since that day three years ago. From “just a runner” to an athlete that can recognize my own strength. An introvert that can now make connections (it’s still a work in progress, but SO much better than before!). An athlete to a coach who strives to help others around me.

Yes this is my own personal journey, but I know you each have your own. So on this great day send a shout out to the wonderful founders of this great community, to the coach that pushed you to achieve what you thought you couldn’t or to the athlete beside you that didn’t let you quit. I would not be who I am today without their friendship, leadership and faith in me. Thank you Andrea and Chriss for being such amazing people! I strive to be like you two every day.

Next time you see them give them a high five and chest bump!

Sandy

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It’s a long way to the top, but you can do it.

This post is from Trident athlete Kristina Thomas. It’s from her personal blog, Dawn Points, and was originally posted in January. We wanted to share it with the Trident community to let you know that there’s so much support at 2504 Oakville St., it’s ridiculous.

Today, I climbed a rope. At the top, I cried.

I have worked for ten months to scale the fifteen feet to the ceiling of Trident CrossFit. Tapping the mark, I was triumphant. Then I looked down. My feet slipped. My hands gripped. My focus was hopelessly devoted to remaining calm: a dire mistake. Had I instead channeled my concentration to re-locking my feet, would I have descended with some grace? It is a question of no practical content; despite Aby’s promise to grant me any comfort I could imagine, he could not rewind time.

When my arms began to shake with exhaustion, my focus cracked and I began to cry. I did not only cry, I wailed. Then, realizing I blubbered in front of a gym of peers, friends, coaches I respected, admired, to whom I never want to show anything but my best, I sobbed.

They had me slide, until I could grab the nearby Rogue rig and shimmy my way to stand on Andy’s shoulders. Initially I ran to escape, but Trident’s given me strength of character as well as body. With some moments by a tree, I confirmed that I was back on solid ground then went back inside to roll out my muscles and face my shame.

My past self would not have returned. When I overheard girls at my high school discussing my eating disorder, I transferred to a public school for a clean slate. When I did not have the strength of character to accompany a good friend to her brother’s funeral because I had a conflicting test, I distanced myself and ended the friendship. When a cute boy made fun of my Tranformer’s Halloween costume, I switched majors. Shame, guilt, embarrassment: drivers of my life since 1999 (oh those formative pre-teen years.)

But when I made myself enter the gym, I received high-fives and hugs. I fought back against the undertow of shame, embarrassment, and guilt that usually pulls me under and sweeps me away. I did pull down my hair and avoid all eye contact. I did cry in the car. But I also did a lot better than I usually do.

I think it was a bit of a Jessica Day moment. Same circumstances. Lots of puppies in lots of cups.


iPhone 5 - from of Apple.

iPhone 5 – from Apple.

Dear Chriss and Andrea:

Happy New Year!

I have this crazy story to tell you and I really don’t think this story would be complete without acknowledging the excellent coaching and training that I have received at Trident.

So on New Year’s Eve, I got out of work early around 2 p.m. and was sitting on a bench waiting for a train at the Archives Metro Station.  And then suddenly, this guy comes from behind and snatches my iPhone 5 (this was a birthday gift from Erik/my first EVER smartphone!) out of my hand.  The guy quickly hops on the train on the other side of the platform.