April L100 Athlete of the Month, Mariela Alas

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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’ve actually lived in the Northern Virginia area all my life. I’ve lived in Arlington and am now living in Alexandria. I graduated school last May, and started an entry level job with a freight forwarding company (…zzzzz… I know). Currently, I’m trying to break into a law enforcement career. More on that later (I hope).

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 remember seeing a picture of Brooke Ence and Christmas Abbot a couple of years ago and going “HOLY CRAP, WHAT ARE THEY DOING I WANT IN” and I researched and found myself at a couple of boxes in the northern VA area. I am sooooo so glad I went with CFSA. The coaches and the community are 100% the best.

Favorite workout? I love front squats. Super challenging but they always make me feel super strong. My least favorite exercise is running. I hate running. I would rather Fran than run. Seriously.

Prior athleticism? Yeah, that’s a hard no. I have never been athletic, although I’ve always been interested in sports. I dabbled in soccer, did ROTC in college, lifted weights etc… but I’ve always been mediocre at all of those things.

3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

Where to start?? I can do real push-ups now, I just hit my first 20” box jump a couple of weeks ago, I’ve dropped like 15 pounds since joining CFSA, I was able to feel my triceps the other day (!!!)… I can literally continue all day long.

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?

Listen. To. Your. Coaches. They know what they’re talking about. They will push you when you need to be pushed.

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 don’t know how obvious this is, but I am a huge nerd. I’m basically obsessed with video games, I read comic books. I’m the person that collects all the pokemon. No one’s allowed to mention this again.

April L200 Athlete of the Month, Doug Fischer

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 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 came here for college 15 years ago and just never left. I love the energy in the area–you meet so many interesting and inspiring people from so many different walks of life.

I’m a lawyer by trade. My practice focuses on white collar defense and compliance. Recently I’ve started working with a lot of investors in the (legal) marijuana business, which is pretty exciting.
 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?

About 3.5 years ago I was working for the most nightmarish boss and decided I needed to take control over something in my life.  I changed my diet and started working out and managed to lose 35 pounds.  But after a while, running and p90x got stale so a friend introduced me to Crossfit.  Coach Megan kicked my ass one Saturday morning and I was hooked. I’ve been at CFSA about 2.5 years.

My favorite workout is anything with rope climbs, muscle-ups, or other gymnastics. I really love the classic benchmark Mary and the Hero WOD Nate. My least favorite is anything with thrusters.

3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

Physically the accomplishments I was happiest about were my first strict muscle up and deadlifting double body weight.  But the thing I’m most proud of is developing a new attitude that, if I don’t like something is in my life, I can change it with enough work. CFSA has been a huge part of that shift for me. (Cheesy as hell, I know–sorry)
 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?

It’s all about consistency, and that includes putting in work outside of the gym: seek out information from varied sources, practice skills, work on mobility.  Even the most basic movements (air squat, pushup) require a ton of ton of practice to master.

As for what motivates me–I just love this stuff.  It feels incredible to set goals and smash them. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

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 once worked a summer as the mascot for the WB (the now defunct TV channel).  Remember Michigan J Frog?? That was me.  Also, I’m really good at rap karaoke and decent at juggling.

February L200 Athlete(s) of the Month, Casey and Sarah Phillips

 

Sarah
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 was born and raised in Warrenton, VA, which is a small town only 45 minutes from where we live in Arlington now. So I guess you can say that I am from the area. After graduating college from Redford University in 2006, I moved back to Northern VA to start my career in Fashion. After a few years of various jobs, a few major career changes and building my fashion and fitness blog (Fifty-Two Thursdays) I quit my full time job so that I could continue to build my blog and start my own creative consulting firm. 52 Thursdays Consulting has been up and running for a little over a year now and we help all kinds of businesses find their voice online via social media content creation and management, photography, blog writing, online advertising etc. Needless to say it keeps me super busy!

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?

After years at Gold Gym, going to the same old boring classes, Casey finally dragged me out of there and convinced me to try Crossfit. I had always been super active in the gym but never felt like I was making serious improvements. I kind of stayed at the same level of tone, no matter what I did. That was until I found Crossfit and whoa have things changed for me! I have been Crossfitting for a year and a half now and am addicted. I can barely stand if I miss a day in the gym!

My least favorite workout is riding the Assault bike, it gives me butterflies in my stomach every time I lay eyes on that thing.
3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

It’s hard to pick just one because everything has been improving and continues to daily! Three months ago, I don’t think I could do one strict pull-up and now I can do 7! I also hadn’t deadlifted more than 160 and now I am deadlifting 225.  I owe that to the amazing coaches for pushing me past what I thought were my limits and for making me realize that I am way stronger then I ever thought I was. Crossfit Football has also been a game changer for me, I have seen serious gains since starting the program a little over a month ago. I think I PR every time we have class! I know that won’t last forever but I am loving how strong I look and feel in and out of the gym.

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?

Don’t give up. Even though something is super hard and you feel like you will never get there, just keep practicing and you will get it. Just keep showing up and giving your all and it will pay off, I promise! If you are looking to get stronger, you really should try Crossfit Football. I can’t say enough good things about the program!

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 am terrified of birds, have been in a rap video and once shut down the GW parkway when my car was struck by a lawn mower.
Casey
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 was born and raised on a cattle ranch in western South Dakota but lived on the road as a political campaign worker for around a decade after college.  After wrapping up a campaign in Mississippi in 2007 I got a job on capitol hill and moved to Arlington.  Politics brought me here but a “local” girl and a business start-up have kept me here.
I started RedPrint Strategy which is a political consulting and advertising agency 5 years ago where we focus on writing and creating political and corporate advertising.  It was a real grind at the beginning but we’ve grown quickly from just me to now a 10 person shop in a brand new and bigger office in Old Town Alexandria (next door to Chipotle) visitors are always welcome, we have beer.

 

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 played offensive line for the University of Wyoming and Augustana College, was an all state basketball player in South Dakota, ran track and threw shot / discus in high school and even been in a couple rodeos. So I’ve had extensive athletic experience and quite a bit of good strength training and experience in olympic lifting but I had let my fitness level diminish greatly over the first few years in the DC area just going to Gold’s Gym from time to time with no real plan or goals wasn’t cutting it.
2 years ago in January I tried to workout at Golds on January 3rd it was a terrible experience and I was disgusted by not being able to find a space to park or to lift so I walked out, got in my car and drove past all the local Crossfit gyms, came home, researched them online, decided on CFSA and signed up for an intro class, the next day Conor kicked my butt and I was hooked.
Favorite workout is anything involving moving heavy ass weight.
Least favorite but most needed is anything involving moving my heavy ass around

 
3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?
My body has changed drastically I’m a lot leaner and quite a bit stronger too, I did 35 double unders the other day and have gone from not being able to do a single pull up to being able to do 10 butterfly pull ups in a row.  I have a long way to go but the gains I have made encourage to show up every day and keep improving.

 
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?
I’ve made ridiculous strength and flexibility gains and those have improved my daily life dramatically,  but it’s really the community that motivates me.  I’ve made lifelong friends at the gym by having fun in class and embracing the other athletes and team culture we have at CFSA.  It is absolutely the right combination of seeing friends, being encouraged and banging weight that brings me back through the door day after day.
I travel a lot for work and drop into boxes all over the country and I’ve never seen a gym culture or the detail of instruction that we get at CFSA so newbies shouldn’t be afraid to jump in and embrace the culture and take advantage of the great coaching we have.  Also don’t be afraid to show up on days when the programming isn’t something you are good at, if I can do burpees as a 300 pounder with rebuilt knees anybody can.
Also since my wife has joined the gym we are in constant competition, keeping up with Sarah is my ultimate motivator because I always know if I skipped class I’d be in trouble at home.
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 rode my horse to grade school, played bass guitar in 2 college bands, was a semi-professional magician and I’ll never understand why Wall Balls always seem to show up in between my sets of deadlifts.
See y’all at the gym.
Nooners represent!

February L100 Athlete of the Month, Caroline Eshleman

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Christmas-Abbott-Photo2

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…

December Athlete of the Month, Kristine Rufener

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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 moved from Wisconsin to DC for work.  I currently work in Government Relations for a healthcare organization.

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 used to race triathlons but got injured last fall and was taking some time off to recover when Dave suggested we try crossfit.  I’ve been coming to CFSA since March.  My favorite workout is rowing and my least favorite is anything with burpees.

3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?
I had never lifted weights before crossfit – as in, I had never even touched a barbell in my life- so getting more comfortable with deadlifts and back squats is certainly a big achievement for me.

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?
The coaches provide great instruction, and want to see you succeed. Seeing small improvements each week keeps me coming back.

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.

Cheat food?  I can’t live without my cereal in the morning.  If I run out of milk and/or cereal, the entire day is ruined.  I can forego coffee, but not my bowl full of carbs..

December Athlete of the Month, Dipo Akin-Deko aka “Jackie Moon”

Dipo Halloween Pull-up 2015

Dipo Halloween Pull-up 2015

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 came to DC in 2006 to get a masters of law (LLM)  from George Washington University Law School after getting my JD in Texas.  My plan was to head back to Texas after receiving my LLM to work with state government.  One thing after another occurred and I was led to stay here in DC in which I hope will be home for a long time.  Career wise I am an attorney with my own law practice in Alexandria, VA.  I represent businesses and individuals in starting and operating businesses, contract drafting, civil litigation, government contracts and labor/employment law.

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 started Crossfit  as a last ditch effort to get back in shape.  I always played sports and worked out pretty rigorously into my late 20’s . I then fell into what seemed like 4 years of inactivity where I was unable to motivate myself to workout out more than 15 minutes.  My wife and I had always watched the Crossfit games so she said “why dont you try Crossfit.”  I tried a gym in Old Town and didnt like the lack of instruction I received so I was going to quitmy Crossfit experience before it really started.   A then trainer for my wife suggested a box “close to Pentagon City.”  So I dropped in at CFSA.  I later found out he meant a different box other than CFSA but I am glad I made the mistake and came to CFSA. I started at CFSA  and Crossfit in May of 2014.

My least favorite exercise started off as burpees but its actually one of my favorites now.  My current least favorite is thrusters.  Hopefully I can turn it into a favorite as well.

 
 3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

My greatest improvement would have to be my pull-ups. My pull-up evolution is really a “started from the bottom” story.  When Megan first asked me to do a pull-up, my pride was hurt because i couldn’t do one quality pull-up.  I was 30 pounds heavier than I am now and had to use green bands to get three pull-ups.  All the coaches helped me and so did the CFSA family via competition and encouragement.   Now no green or any band needed and I can do many more than I would have imagined back when I started.
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?

Seek guidance and counsel from our coaches.  The greatest set of coaches I have ever had are my high school track coach and my coaches at Crossfit.  I could name something each coach at CFSA has helped me improve on.  If you work hard and listen, they will help build a strong foundation in you.  And don’t feel rushed to keep up with someone else.  Greatest thing you can do is persevere and take lessons learned to get better at it the next time.

What motivates me an encouragement for someone else including in the area of fitness.  I am not good or the best at a lot of things, but I want to try hard so others can feel they can do it to.    If I can encourage someone else through my fitness or help them along through there fitness, then I am glad.

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.

My cheat food, everyone knows about. It’s Sugar Shack where I am known on a first name basis.  Worst job was cleaning toilets at the Q Gym (bought out by 24 hour Fitness)  while in college. I lasted three days.  One thing most don’t know about me is in college I was a ladies shoes salesman for two years at what is now Macy’s and damn good one too!  My go to shoes to sale were Nine West and Enzo Angiolini.  For those who needed comfortable shoes, I sold Aerosoles and Borns.   Though its been a little over 15 years I can still recommend and pick out a mean pair of shoes ladies!

November Athlete of the Month, Justin Angus

justin

justin

1.   The DC Metro is very transient; from where did you move?  What brought you to  area?  What do you do as a career? (P.S. Why are you leaving?)

I’m originally from a small-unincorporated area of West Virginia called Sandyville. However, before moving to DC about three years ago, I spent five years living in San Diego, CA pursuing a graduate degree. I moved to DC to work on a post-doc at the Naval Research Laboratory located in southwest DC, where I am currently employed as a plasma physicist.

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 worked with weights throughout college like any normal college kid, but I had never been a member of a gym until joining CFSA. I traded the weights for running after moving to DC and did that for about two years until one day I was walking down an alley near Long Bridge Park and I saw CFSA. I had always liked the concept of combining weight training with cardio and since it was so close to where I live I decided to give it a go. I have been at CFSA for about 15 months now and I really love the workout variety and the group concept.

It’s hard to say what my favorite workout is, but I do enjoy doing workouts where we work in teams. As for my least favorite, I would have to say that wall balls are not fun. Why is that green line so high?

3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

One of the things I love about CrossFit is that there is always something to improve on. There are a lot of workouts where I feel that I am very mobility limited. Especially when it comes to my shoulders and upper back. I remember barely being able to front squat 75 pounds when I first started because I just couldn’t get into the position. I still have a hard time keeping the elbows high when I’m at the bottom of the FS, but I feel that I’ve improved a lot on that particular workout. I recently did a set of eight with 165 during a metcon.

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?

I would tell newbies to stick with it and to challenge themselves to do different things and to be better. There are a lot of things about CrossFit workouts that are different than what most people have done before. Be open to new ideas and doing things differently.

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 have had several bad jobs, ranging from unloading watermelon trucks to telemarketing, and the numbers of cheat foods I have are too many to list. There is one thing about me that people probably don’t know and that I’m happy to share. My wife and I are expecting our first child soon. By the end of October I will be the proud father of a baby girl!

**Editor’s Note: CFSA congratulations Justin and his wife on the arrival of their daughter, Ava!**

Novemeber Athlete of the Month, Yazmin Tome

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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 moved here from Tampa, FL, although, it is not my first time in the DC metro area. I went back to Florida and after my sister’s miscarriage (sad face), I knew that if she and her husband were going to try to have another one, they would need help. My parents and brother live in Miami and are set in their life there. I was living alone in Tampa and was recently divorced, so I saw this as an opportunity to start fresh…again. Since the move, I worked for a non profit organization as a Testing Coordinator for candidates trying to obtain their defense financial management certification; however, I’ve recently taken a new position. Goddess of Logistics for Beautiful Solutions Group. In other words, I’m the Operations/Production Manager for the company.

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?
In 2012, I realized that I was going down a very ugly road. Both in my personal life and in health. My father, who works out 6 days a week and eats healthier than I do, underwent heart surgery for an aneurysm. I knew that if I hadn’t made the changes in my at that moment, I would have health issues later. I started working out 5-6 days a week and completely revamped my eating habits. I lost 40 lbs in 5 months. After that initial weight loss, I wanted to try CrossFIt, but I was intimated and it’s super expensive (UGH). When I moved up here, I saw CFSA right outside my doorstep. I knew at that moment, that I would not have any excuse to not go because 1) the financial investment is too great and 2) I can jump the small fence. I’ve been at CFSA for 4 months now. My favorite workout would have to be the back squat. My least favorite workout is the wall ball. I’m exhausted even talking about it!
3. What’s your greatest improvement/achievement since joining us at CFSA?

My greatest achievement is my strength. Everyone has noticed how much stronger I am.
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 to it. When I would talk to other people from other boxes about CF, they would tell me how aggressive and intimidating it is. However, this box is not like that. I can definitely see how it can be overwhelming at first, but everyone motivates each other. We are all going through the same thing. Maybe at a different level, but we are there for support.
 
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 don’t know if I can call this the worst job because I was able to use the skills I acquired later on, but I was a clown for kids parties. It was fun and I love kids!!