Success Stories

29
Jun

Beth & Simson

Q: How did you find out about Ballston CrossFit and what about it convinced

you to join?

Beth: I joined because Simson was so into it and because we became social

with someone else who did CrossFit. I took the Sunday yoga class for about 

a year before that, so I was BCF-adjacent, kind of watching it warily. But other

people convinced me that even I – middle-aged and overweight with bad knees

and no flexibility – could handle it.

Simson: I posted on Facebook that I had broken three ribs and been

diagnosed with osteoporosis. Many friends warned me about taking the

bisphosphonate drugs that my endocrinologist wanted me to take. My doctor

suggested running, but I found it boring. One of my former students saw the

post and suggested that I try BCF—my student knew Tucker and said he had a

good operation. So basically, I started going to BCF because I was tired of

breaking my ribs.

 

Q:When did you start at BCF and what were your goals going into it?

Beth: I took the Foundations class twice in the summer of 2019, and even

before that I trained with Coach Brandon twice a week for 10 weeks just to get

to the point where I could even do Foundations. I had no idea what my goals

were, except somehow to be fitter and maybe do something about my knees.

Simson: I took Foundations twice in August and September 2017. I was still

having issues, so I took a month of personal training in October 2017. Fortunately

I didn’t need to take Foundations for a third time. My first regular class was

October 14, 2017.

 

Q: What has helped you achieve success at BCF?

Beth: Fear. Most days I still come in terrified about the WOD, afraid I’m going

to make a fool of myself – or fail completely, be last, or injure myself somehow.

But I just keep coming, modifying the heck out of a workout if I have to. The

immense pride and exhilaration I feel when I do better than last time, or get Fx

on a METCON, or just transcend my own physical and age-related limitations

keep me coming back (so does the competition with Simson).

Simson: Fear of breaking more bones.

 

Q: What advice can you give to others that are new to CrossFit?

Beth: Don’t quit! Believe in yourself and your abilities. Most of the time you

can achieve more than you think you can. Also, ask the coaches how they can

help you stay focused, competitive and safe. They are amazing resources.

Simson: Number 1 rule: Don’t get hurt. Number 2 rule: Form matters more

than weight.

 

Q: Besides working out, what other lifestyle changes did you make outside of

the gym to achieve your goals?

Beth: I lost about 15 lbs. in 2021, and I’m still working on that. I try to get 8

hours of sleep every night. Right now, I’m trying to understand macros,

particularly how to get more protein without a lot of fat and without whey protein

and chicken breasts, because I’m not a fan of either.

Simson: I lost 10 lbs in 2021 and I’m trying to lose more. I try to get 6 hours of

sleep every night.

 

Q: What has been your favorite thing about Ballston CrossFit?

Beth: Do I have to narrow it to one thing? The workouts are never boring. I am

constantly challenged without feeling shamed. And I feel so proud of the people

around me becoming fitter and stronger, particularly when they join right out of

Foundations.

Simson: The coaching is superlative. I’ve dropped in on perhaps six other

CrossFit gyms, and BCF is the best. I also find that the people are amazingly

friendly.

10
May

Stephanie Remrick

CrossFit never crossed my mind as a workout regimen that would appeal to me. I was always cardio heavy, having run track in high school and then marathons as an adult. Once I achieved my running goals, though, I fell into a workout rut.

 The workout rut intensified when I got pregnant in 2018. My husband and I had to do in-vitro, so I was super worried about anything happening to my body. It was 9 months of little to no activity.

 After my son, Scot, was born in July 2019, I did want to get back in shape. I didn’t want to hang on to any pregnancy weight! Through Mothers of Northern Arlington (MONA), I met Heather and she organized a yoga class at BCF for the MONA group. She’s the one that convinced me that BCF was a great option for anybody and it was at least worth trying. She came with me to my intro session, helped me get signed up for Foundations, then was my accountability buddy for making sure I went to class.

 That was over two years ago and now I’m a mom of two! My daughter, Ruth, was born in February 2021. Unlike my first pregnancy, I continued to workout. I did CrossFit through week 36 of pregnancy and I was less uncomfortable in my second pregnancy because of it. With both pregnancies, CrossFit got me back to a physical state that was stronger than I had been before and I was able to lose all my pregnancy weight.

Now my goals are just to keep showing up and BCF makes that easy! The coaches at 5:30am make mornings fun and relaxed (which is kind of an oxymoron given what we’re doing). And the group of people is very consistent, so we have a very supportive environment. I have yet to wake up at 5am and dread going to CrossFit. This definitely is a testament to the variety of the workouts and the people with whom I do those workouts.

 My advice for newbies is to not look at the workouts before coming. Well, at least this works for me! I think it would be easy for me to see “squat snatches” or “rope climbs” and be like, no thanks! But if you just show up and do what you can, you will see dividends in your fitness. Every move has a modification and there’s no shame in the Fx- approach!

15
Apr

Jude Luciano

As I turned 50 this year, I wanted to get a jumpstart for the next 50. I was on a mission to find the best gym in Arlington with a workout structure that will make an overall impact, where I can progress and maintain a healthier lifestyle. I wanted a program that offered challenges, something that was explosive and not monotonous. Those were the key components I was looking for to help me achieve my personal and professional goals.

 

I always strived to be active growing up, finding outlets that challenged me because I found fulfillment in them and felt that it made me a better person. I’ve always had a lot of energy, so physical fitness naturally became an interest — rucking, hiking, biking, rock climbing, running, and weightlifting was my favorite. But beginning in 2014, I couldn’t run as much anymore due to fractures I sustained, so I had to find other means to do cardio. Then in the last few years, I’ve noticed my energy was slowly declining, and more wear and tear was happening along with an autoimmune condition limiting me out of the blue. It was the most confusing and frustrating time. That’s why I needed to find the right and best gym. In my online search, I went down the list of “the best gym in Arlington” and Ballston Crossfit was the only one that struck my interest. CrossFit itself didn’t cross my mind during my search even though I’ve heard about CrossFit before. What caught my attention were the number of positive reviews. I was immediately in awe when I saw the website, learning about the programs, Yoga and the success stories, and how diverse the coaches’ backgrounds were.

 

One day I decided to visit the gym and I saw coach Mack teaching the class. Although I was a bit intimidated stepping through the door I ended up watching the class that she was teaching.This made me realize that my search was over!

 

After my visit, I immediately signed up for the Free Trial Class through the website. Near the end of 2021 I went to the Free Trial Class and Tucker put my group through a series of workouts that marked the beginning of my journey to CrossFit.

 

Shortly after was the Foundations Class with Brock and Stacey leading it. The first class was nerve-racking for me. I remember vividly hearing one of the beginners referring to us like the contestants in the Squid Game as we waited in the lobby. Quite honestly, as intimidating as it can be at times if you have not done CrossFit, let alone know the coolest terminologies like WOD, EMOM, AMRAP, Split Jerk, etc., all the coaches are there guiding and encouraging you! Finding Ballston CrossFit is more than a check-in-the-box for me.

 

Despite the slow start on my end, because of the many missed WOD days for weeks from travels, work, and school, I have always been looking forward to being back. As I wanted January 2022 to be the turning point of my life-changing moment, I wanted to make sure I was grasping what I was learning from WOD days and not feel lost. Both Tucker and Brock helped set me up with Katie in the buddy program, which helped tremendously, explaining the WOD to me when I had questions. I still have so much to learn, but with everyone helping, my personal goals are starting to progress. I am gaining momentum in strength again, helping me cope with my injuries and ailments, slowly but surely! More importantly, CrossFit has become a part of my daily schedule, helping me with my professional goals for the new Army Physical Fitness test. Each WOD day is like a test of endurance from beginning to end. The fact that I can do the WODs is an achievement. I am slowly venturing into more classes like the Core Blast and Skills class. My favorite WOD so far is the barbell workouts; I am so inspired by it and love it! Each WOD is a fun surprise because it challenges me to the core! 

 

The best advice I can give is to keep going to the WODs. The only way to make progress is to do it! It gets more exciting and life-changing as you do it. Doing CrossFit little by little is like finding my mojo, niche, edge again before the injuries, ailments, and COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on my body and energy. BCF has made a positive impact on my life. My life is slowly transitioning back to my normalcy plus more again. Also, I am more focused and not as consumed with work.

14
Mar

Sean Gooden

I’ll start the story of my journey back in the senior year of high school football days. My senior year we won the regional championship, only to lose the following weekend in the state semifinals.  After the season was over I did what most undisciplined high football players do, I got lazy.  Looking back now I think most of that laziness was a result of the negativity I got from some people who used to tell me I wasn’t smart enough to go to college (I proved them wrong).  Even though it was my intention to play college football, it didn’t register to me that I needed to be prepared for the chance that it might actually happen. It just so happened that I ended up getting offered a full scholarship to play football at Liberty University.  Now that my dream of playing college football was becoming a reality, it still didn’t light a fire under my backside to get ready for the next level of football.  The remainder of my senior year and the summer before going down to summer practice I put on 35lbs, thanks to my regular visits to McDonald’s for a 20 piece chicken nugget meal with french fries. I went from my playing weight of 260lbs to 295lbs, the heaviest I’ve weighed.  Soon after arriving on campus for two-a-days, I was faced with one of the moments that started the long journey from 295lbs to the 215lbs I am today.  

I can remember it like it was yesterday, it was the first or second practice of camp. Practice was over and it was time for conditioning. Thinking that I was the big bad freshman, top defensive recruit in my class, I was going to show the coaches how fast I was for a big dude. Well, gassers were on the menu for that day’s conditioning (you run sideline to sideline twice in under minute).  Stupid me thinking we were only going to run one of these things, I went full speed on the first one, and of course I finished first.  BUT, as soon as I got to the sideline, one of my teammates who was a Junior said to me, “you know we are going to run more than one.”  It was at that moment I knew I messed up, because we ended up running three.  Unfortunately for me I came in last on the third one over the 53 second time cap.  I ended up making the entire team run three extra grassers and got called out by the head coach for being out of shape.  Needless to say, that was one of the most humbling and embarrassing moments of my life.  I made up my mind that day that I would never let that happen again, and I’m happy to say it never did.  That was the day I began to change my mind about my fitness and health.  Three weeks later at the end of summer practice I lost the 35lbs I put on during the summer.  

For the remainder of my college years I stayed around 240 lbs.  By the time I graduated, I was benching 400lbs and power cleaning 325 lbs.  After school, I got a job and like most people, going to the gym got put on the back burner. I stopped working out for a long time, and pretty much lost all my gains.  I went to Golds Gym, and to a few community centers here and there but nothing consistent for a number of years.  Fortunately during that time I started to eat a little healthier, fast food/soda got the boot and salads and greens moved in.  The thought of going back to what I used to be at 295lbs kept me on a somewhat focused path to be healthier and to be more conscious of what I was putting in my body.  This kept my weight pretty consistent around 240lbs even though I wasn’t working out.  

So, around 2013 I got introduced to CrossFit by a gym that moved into a space right next door to my church.  On one Saturday, while I was at the church handing out our monthly food boxes to families, a few of the coaches came over and talked to us about their new CrossFit gym and ended up convincing me to give it a try. Ever since then I’ve been hooked and have experienced steady improvements in my overall fitness. When you’re used to being one of the biggest dudes wherever you go, wearing 3XL shirts with a 44 inch waist at my biggest, and a belly that used to hang over your belt buckle, it was exciting to say the least that I finally had the confidence to do that.  

Fast forward a few years and I came across Ballston CrossFit and I’m very happy that I ended up here! The friendships I’ve developed with my fellow members and the coaches has become an important and meaningful part of my life.  I can truly say that I couldn’t have achieved this level of fitness without my BCF friends and coaches. 

I’ll never forget the day I deadlifted 600lbs at BCF when Head Coach Brock said “you got some mo in ya!” after I had already hit a PR deadlift of 585lbs.  Without that little push I probably wouldn’t have tried it, partly because at that moment I didn’t believe I could do it.  Sometimes it takes the words of a friend to get you to realize you are capable of doing more than you think you can. That 600lbs was the most amount of weight I’ve ever lifted In my life.  I remember doing the math with Owner Tucker sometime last year and we figured out that pound for pound I’m stronger than I was when I was in my 20’s as a D1 football player. It’s many thanks to all my Ballston CrossFit friends and coaches that pushed and encouraged me to get these PRs in the past few years.  

Over the span of the last 20 years, I went from 295lbs to 215lbs, from a 44 inch waist to a 33 inch waist, from 3XL shirts to wearing a size LG and feeling great about myself. I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished at BCF as a 39 year old: 600# deadlift, 475# back squat, 165# strict press (soon to be at least 200 by the end of the year) and 255# power clean. You can also find me on the big leaderboard with a gym record 1220 pounds for the CrossFit Total!!  I think in college, 1100lbs was the highest I ever achieved.  It’s many thanks to all my Ballston CrossFit friends and coaches that pushed and encouraged me to get these PRs in the past two years.  I hope that in the next two years and beyond I’ll be able to lift even more.  

I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been and feel better than I ever have.  Thank you Tucker, Brock and all the coaches, and all the other BCF fam, and especially the T-Boyz at the 4:30pm WOD for making my experience at BCF something that will stick with me for years to come.   Well I hope y’all enjoyed reading this, there’s certainly much more to the story but that’s better told in person.  

Future gym goals:

Deadlift 700lbs 

Bench 350lbs

Squat 500lbs +

Strict press 225lbs

Handstand walks 

Overhead Squat without pain

Mobility, Mobility, Mobility 

Last but not least, beat Ryan Thompson in as many WODs as possible!

11
Nov

Anisa Vintimilla

My name is Anisa Vintimilla. I joined BCF in November 2020 (yes, 2020, that awful year when we were stuck at home). I also happened to have just moved to Arlington in the middle of the pandemic and I was bored, had zero friends. I had nothing to do but stay at home watching tv while eating and putting on some extra pounds. That got me scared since I’ve always battled with my weight and body image. In 2018 I was at my heaviest weight of 206lbs, I was able to lose quite a bit over the next 2 years (got down to 160) doing all the popular fad diets (keto, whole 30, IF) but couldn’t lose any more or tone anything. Now thanks to CrossFit I’ve lost another 25lbs and I actually get to eat the foods I like (hi carbs, I missed you)! 

I used to play a lot of sports growing up (soccer, racquetball, tennis, track, roller skating) and considered myself pretty decent at them but when I got to college I just stopped. I always HATED going to the gym, I thought it was boring and would focus on just cardio machines. These were the worst to me because I have asthma and I would give up right away. After doing CrossFit for 9 months I barely use my inhaler and now I can actually run and jog for an extended time.

I didn’t know BCF offered a free trial class. I just showed up one day, asked about getting started and signed up on the spot for the foundations class. Luckily it was starting the next day or I would’ve probably lost the motivation to start. 

During the foundations classes coaches Brock and Madison really knew how to keep us all motivated, and teach us basic technique using the barbell while some good music was playing. They would also make us laugh and feel more relaxed to be there. The first time I picked up a barbell I really liked it, and wanted to add more weight to it right away!

I was super intimidated at first because everyone looked so fit and were having such a good time. I felt like I would never be able to do the same thing, but I was willing to give it a try. I signed up for a 3 month membership with 13 classes a month,  and kept thinking after 3 months I can say I tried and just cancel it. Here I am 9 months later absolutely loving it. 2 months in, I had to upgrade my membership to unlimited classes because I kept running out. 

I set the goal of doing at least 1 pull up by the end of my first year and maybe get close to doing a single rep of toes to bar or climb halfway up the 15ft rope that seemed impossible back then. I can proudly say I can currently do 5-7 strict pull ups, string together 10-12 toes to bar, and fully climb the rope several times during a WOD. Double-unders and handstand push-ups are next ;).

I have had so much fun and have been so motivated that I also decided to learn about my nutrition and counting my macros to make it all work in my favor. Those toned arms, booty and abs I wanted to have my whole life are finally starting to make an appearance!

It is very hard as an adult in a new city to make friends, especially friends that will have the same interests and will help motivate you. However, at BCF that is easy! So many people are willing to welcome you, help you and encourage you to push yourself! In a short time I’ve made some amazing friends. I was never EVER a morning person until I joined BCF and tried out the 5:30am classes, now I wake up easily and am excited to go to the gym every morning to get a good workout in while hanging out with my friends!

The coaches… AMAZING! So knowledgeable, helpful, fun and friendly! They are always willing to go the extra step to make sure you’re doing it right, to help you achieve the goals you set for yourself, to modify a movement if you need to for any reason (injuries, experience level, etc). 

I HAVE to mention the top 3 coaches that have helped me the most (because every coach has helped me one way or another) but Cam & Rich coaching the AM classes with such great energy have had a huge impact on my success. Also, Madison, even though she is not coaching in the morning would go out of her way to give me advice on how to improve a certain movement, checking on the technique and not letting me give up without trying one more time.

The thing is, with BCF you get ALL the tools for success, and it is just a matter of how you use them. They offer skills classes to help you get better at certain things, mobility & yoga classes, nutrition seminars, clinics, and mainly great coaches with a ton of good info who want you to get better! I will never regret the day I walked through that door for the first time! 

Everyone’s experience is different in its own way but in my opinion we all struggle with similar battles of mental walls and fears of failure. At BCF we are constantly reminded by the coaches and peers that we can in fact break through those walls and get it done. I love a quote that I actually have no clue who said it to give credit to, but it goes like this: “You won’t always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined”

6
Oct

Faith Breads

Completing the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in one trip is a mammoth undertaking. Each year, thousands of hikers attempt the over 2,000 mile journey and only about one in four makes it all the way.⁣

One of those hikers is our very own Faith Breads! It’s always nice when our athletes make their fitness functional. Here’s what she had to say about the experience: ⁣

“I’m happy to say that I summited Mount Katahdin and completed my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on Sunday, September 19th. Not only did I feel my strongest on trail thanks to the WODs, I felt super equipped to properly stretch my body and focus on recovery thanks to the mobility tips and seminars I attended.” ⁣

Every journey starts with a first step. What will YOU accomplish next? ⁣

6
Sep

Tommy Behnke

When I started Ballston CrossFit in January 2021, it was the first time I ever picked up  a barbell or incorporated any semblance of strength training into a workout routine.

To say that the beginner “Foundations” classes were challenging for me from a coordination standpoint would be an understatement. Just ask Brock or Mack. I was an absolute train wreck! Never mind the complex movements like cleans and snatches; I struggled with everything. From rounding my back on deadlifts to flipping my wrists on kettlebell cleans to even getting my arms straight on shoulder pass-throughs. Because of how poor I felt my mechanics were, during my Foundations “graduation” class, I asked Brock if I should repeat the two-week program before jumping into the big boys’ and girls’ pool. He said nay, and off I went into regular WODs.

While I never doubted that I would improve eventually, thanks to the caring and talented staff that Tucker has put together at BCF, I started to see improvements very quickly.

During my (very scaled!) initial classes the coaches watched me like a hawk and not only regularly provided counsel on how to improve my form, but before and after class, took the time to give me supplementary drills to do both in the gym and at home to iron out my mechanics.

Coach Madison, specifically, provided many early pointers. I will always appreciate what she did for me, from giving tips on how she overcame similar setbacks to her form when she first started CrossFit to even pausing her off-the-clock workout time to assist when she noticed I was struggling.

The first 2-3 months were what I would call the Stuffed Animal Era. I didn’t have much more than stuffed animals strapped to the ends of the barbells and focused intensely on getting form and mechanics right, both in class and at open gym.

Progress started to come. Not overnight, but it came, and it continues to come. While I still have a lot to work on, I can lift a heck of a lot more — and a heck of a lot more correctly — than I could six months ago. My body composition numbers have also shown improvement. From January to today (July), I have gained 18 pounds of muscle and reduced my body fat from 20-percent to 11-percent.

If you couple the great coaching staff at BCF with hard work, dedication, and a positive mindset, there will never be a ceiling on your growth and progress here. If an uncoordinated keyboard warrior like me can get this stuff, so can you. Seriously, I was as bad as they come, so there are no excuses. Come and join the fun!

22
Jun

Stephanie Percoco

Hi! My name is Stephanie Percoco and I joined Ballston CrossFit in August 2020 as a way to get back on track with my health and fitness. Also, I needed a social outlet during the pandemic. Growing up, I was a competitive figure skater and was part of the color guard in my high school’s marching band. I always considered myself active, competitive, somewhat health conscious and involved, but not someone who was particularly super athletic.  I couldn’t keep up with skating after college so as a way to keep myself “in shape” I would lift weights in the gym. I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted which often left me feeling unmotivated. It was a negative mindset to have. Also, working out alone is really boring. 

In 2018, I moved to New York City to pursue my dreams of working in TV and film, but the job was really intense and I stopped caring about my health. My plan was to get myself to the gym, but I was so tired after work and I was always anxious my boss would call me with some fire to put out so I didn’t go. Working in entertainment can sometimes be a 24/7 job. I gained weight and was the heaviest I’d ever been in life. Then the pandemic happened. The industry shut down and I had to move home. It was time to really reflect on where I was going in life and I decided that I really needed to make some changes both physically and mentally. Once I was settled into my new job working in healthcare, I realized that I just really missed the 5 day/week routine of having an activity that I enjoyed and that made me feel challenged. 

CrossFit was always something I wanted to at least try and I had known about BCF from when I lived in Arlington previously. I doubted myself, but there was something inside me that just knew I should go for it. I had nothing to lose.  At first, I was super insecure and felt awkward being around such a strong group of athletes. After seeing them push through a workout there was no way I was ever going to be able to do that, but instead of giving up, I used it as an opportunity to work on my insecurities. It is we who must not judge the act, but rather see the edge being met. Stay at the edge and do not judge the feat that brings you to the edge. It’s only the edge that matters.

Since joining BCF and with the help of their excellent coaching staff and community, I have lost 30lbs and am in the best shape I have ever been in.  I can squat 160lb, bench 100lb and I am close to getting a pull up. I even completed my first “Murph” this year. The community is so supportive and even if you sometimes get confused by the structure of the workout, like me,  the coaches are always there to help guide you. CrossFit has become my therapy, a place to hold myself accountable and a place where I find community of which I feel a part of. It’s given me a space to push myself beyond my comfort zone and to work hard to make my goals a reality. I am so grateful for what I have learned from the coaches and I am looking forward to continuing making progress. 

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