CFSA Bright Spots – Eoin Byrne

When we turn the bright spot on members, we want the focus to be on them — and sometimes, it’s because of the light they bring to our community!


Eoin Byrne dove right in to this whole CrossFit thing, crushed his first Open, and has been a team player and friendly face in the gym since Day One. So we asked him a few questions…


What brought you to CrossFit/CFSA in the first place?  I have been training on and off for about 5 years but could never settle into any steady routine beyond 2 / 3 months. CrossFit was recommended to me because I lack the motivation to do the necessary work alone in the gym. I am a very social person so the team dynamic appealed to me.


What was your first impression? How has that changed? My first impression was honestly really positive.  The trainers were all so accommodating and encouraging.  I enjoyed my first session and realized that CrossFit folks were down to earth and could also enjoy the odd laugh during the class. My first impression has not changed so much except personally I have become more goal oriented.  I now care less about how I look cosmetically, rather how fit I am and how much range of motion I can achieve.


What was your first “bright spot” or moment of success?  During the open, in 18.3, I was able to do a full set of chin over bar pull ups…  I was shocked, I think my judge was also.


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?  My favorite CSFA memory should be my pull up achievement in 18.3 but its is actually just the memory of getting to know the other athletes in the gym over the past weeks.  Being new to living in the DMV and indeed new to the US, it has been great to have a social outlet that is not my job and not a bar. I have found CFSA to be a really open and welcoming environment.

With regard to health and fitness what are you working on or working toward now?  I am actively working on my mobility.  After about 2 months I grew frustrated with certain aspects of my mobility.  Specifically I could not reach the required squat depth. I spoke to coach Meredyth who suggested that I do some focused (personal training) with (Coach) Caroline.  During these sessions we focus on my mobility with the goal of properly reaching a good squat depth. She also designed a simple plan for me to follow before each workout.  Caroline has been invaluable. While I am not there yet, I have made significant progress. Other than that, I hope to join the (level) 200 class by the end of the summer.

CFSA Bright Spots – Lauren Manns-Clegg


We’re turning the spotlight on Lauren Manns-Clegg this month — athlete, mom, wife, attorney and all-around badass!


What was your first impression? How has that changed?

First impression of CFSA was that it was super busy and full of people, but somehow everyone seemed to know each other.  I came from a much smaller gym, so it was surprising that the community was so strong at CFSA despite its size.

I don’t think my impression has changed all that much!  I have moved houses and changed jobs, taking me farther away from Crystal/Pentagon City, but I have never found another CrossFit home.  I love knowing that every work out includes hanging out with solid people and sharing some laughs.


What was your first “bright spot”?

This is hard! My first full rope climb (plus high fives from Coach Conor) and the first time I put three toes-to-bar together (plus back slaps from Adam Deitch and Rishi N…) were proud moments. I remember Sarah Stars asking if I wanted to be her partner and I was pretty proud of that too 😉 I will never forget a hug Siddharth Sawkar gave me when I was going through a hard time. I think every single member of CFSA gave me love and encouragement last year while I was working out pregnant… no matter how sluggish I felt, everyone made me feel like I crushed it in the gym that day 🙂


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?

I have many good memories at CFSA, but my favorite might be when Rishi N….and I did half Kalsu together during a noon class.  After we were done I understood why no one else showed up that day–it was a grind!  Rishi absolutely killed it, even though the only person he was competing against was a pregnant lady trying to do a hero workout in the August heat.  I think Coach Bobby was proud of us too, and that’s always a good feeling! There was also a night at the Phillips’ household that involved flambongos that was pretty epic.  We need to bring that back for the 2018 Open 🙂


What are you working on now?

I am about four months postpartum so I’m working on establishing a strong foundation again, especially in my trunk.  I realize now that so much of what we do in CrossFit requires a strong trunk (it is trunk, not “core,” right Coach Bobby?)! I have a few more weeks of specialized programming and then I’m hoping to start building strength and performing gymnastics again.  Doing CrossFit during my pregnancy really helped me to bounce back well, but there is still some hard work to do!


CFSA Bright Spots – Doug Fischer

Doug Fischer and his son Max

There are stories that we really think you should hear. Doug Fischer’s is one of them. We tracked him down and asked him a few questions this week.


What brought you to CFSA in the first place?   

I had started taking fitness and health more seriously about a year earlier after letting myself go a bit in my first few years out of law school. By that time, I was looking for a change of pace from running, P90X, and globo gyms. I had a friend who was super into CrossFit and had been seeing it around. So I came in one Saturday and Megan kicked my ass (wall balls, box jumps, and burpee pullups). I was hooked.


What was your first impression of CFSA? How has that changed?

Two things–1) I loved that everyone was  friend and there was a sense of community;  2) I was intimidated by seeing all these crazy movements I didn’t know and some badass athletes squatting a zillion pounds. #1 is still 100 percent true – it’s awesome training with people who are all there to help themselves and each other be better.  #2 isn’t true anymore, but it really never should have been my impression in the first place. Sure this stuff is difficult, but everyone truly wants you to get better at it.


What was your first “bright spot”?  

Hard to even remember because there have been so many. My first strict muscle up possibly. Another one that really stands out is a day we were doing Whitten (5 rounds of 22 KB swings, 22 box jumps,  400 m run, 22 burpees, 22 WBs). If anyone remembers Tim Anderlonis, he had always amazed me at 0600 and I thought I’d never be anywhere near his level. I kept up with him through the first two or three rounds of that workout.  Even though he ultimately crushed me, I remember being so happy at my progress and realizing that I could hang with anyone if I just kept working at it.


What’s your favorite CFSA memory?

I’m going to cheat and give two. First is 17.5 last year. I had been sick for two weeks, work was kicking my ass, and I had slept like 3 hours the night before. I came in expecting to suck at the workout and boy did I. But I felt prouder for just making myself grind it out in that workout than I did for a lot of PRs I hit. Felt so great to finish it and have Bobby hand me a cold one.  

Second was the summer of 2015 (I think that was the year). That summer Nick, Seamus, Sam, Jonathan Lee, and myself were all super consistent and every freaking day at 0600 was a competition. No one wanted to let anyone else win and we were all so much better for it.                                      


Doug and his wife Amanda live in South Arlington with their son Max and fur baby Ziggy. Doug has been mastering his fitness at CrossFit South Arlington since October, 2013. These days you can catch him in the wee hours of the morning working on his flips and tricks.

February L100 Athlete of the Month, Caroline Eshleman


1. The DC Metro is very transient; from where did you move? What brought you to area? What do you do as a career?

I grew up in Florida and moved to DC about eight years ago to find a job. I’m a property manager at a building in Maryland.
2. How did you get started in CrossFit? Did you have prior athletic experience? And how long have you been at CFSA? What’s your favorite or least favorite workout?

I have family and friends that swear by CrossFit—they encouraged me to give it a try. I was also getting bored with the running/ yoga routine I had been doing since I graduated from college! I’ve developed a strong love-hate relationship with the erg. Anything with rowing is guaranteed to be my favorite but also my least favorite workout. I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it.
3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

Improvements in my backsquats and pull ups!
4. Now that you’ve been crushing it in the gym, what advice would you offer our CFSA newbies? What motivates and pushes you to continually improve?

Stick with it! CrossFit is great because the program holds you accountable for going to the gym consistently and challenging you to progress. Those challenges keep me motivated.
5. Tell us something about you no one at the gym knows. It can be anything: worst job you’ve ever had, the cheat food you constantly crave, the workout you fear most…anything you’d like to share.

I love to cook and bake. I volunteered at a coffee house/ bakery for a few months right after college—I’m really hopeful that translates well into this Whole 30 nutrition program…

Athlete of the Month (Level 100) – Holly Surbaugh

Holly is brand spanking new to the game that we call CrossFit, and since joining our community just 4-months ago, has made fantastic improvements in body control. So much of what we teach is about getting into the right positions. Holly’s effort is a testimony to that goal. She has been working hard with every chance she gets to leave the gym just a little bit stronger and more in control than when she arrived. She has great focus on getting it right.

Holly also brings a no quit attitude of consistent effort to class with her. No matter how hard the struggle is in any given moment, Holly is someone we can all rely on to push both herself and us through the pain.

We think this most eloquent description from Coach Spandy captures our feelings about Holly perfectly:

‘Holly is the shit.’ So, she’s got that going for her, which is nice.”

Here’s a big congrats to Holly for putting in the hard work at the hardest time and inspiring us all. The first 4-months of CrossFit can be tough, but dedication and effort like Holly’s is bound to produce success in the long run.

Athlete of the Month (Level 200) – Josh Baca

Josh has been quietly busting his butt at 6:00am along with his comrade Doug Fischer and Coach Josh as part of the Dawn Patrol of Barbell Club. He has also quietly been hitting regular classes and making pretty awesome progress from where he was a year ago.

It used to be that you could slow him down by telling him to lift a barbell overhead—well, now he straight up dominates workouts that include push press and really any overhead movement.

How does he do it?


Josh has been dedicated to his own development since the moment he stepped in the door at CrossFit South Arlington. He is someone that aims to tackle his weaknesses head on so he can always progress himself to the next stage of development.

Here’s to recognizing Josh for his dedication, hard work and progress. We’re proud of you and look forward to continuing this journey with you!