Success Stories

27
Apr

“KADISON”: Madison Moore & Kelly Wagner

To those who don’t frequent the 5:30 am or weekend classes, hello! We are Kelly and Madison, also known as Kadison. When Tucker approached us about writing a Success Story, he offered that we could do it together or separately… but let’s be real, we already do everything together anyway so here goes our joint interview!
How long have you been doing CrossFit?
M: Somehow it’s already been 2 years and about 3 months since I joined BCF.
K: I started Foundations 3/18/14, so I recently celebrated my 2 year anniversary.

Why did you decide to start CrossFit?
K: After graduating, I was in a fitness rut- I missed the nice gyms at school and my apartment building’s gym just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I did Insanity but really missed lifting weights. CrossFit had always been appealing to me because it was a mix of weightlifting and cardio. A few of my coworkers were also interested in trying it out so we signed up for Foundation classes at BCF. We did the free class and I remember that I could barely walk down stairs for the next week, I was so sore.
M: Well, I had always sort of considered myself to be in good shape (spoiler alert: I wasn’t). I played high school tennis, basketball, and soccer, did club soccer for about a year in college, and after graduating I got into a routine of waking up, running on the treadmill for about 30 minutes at the Gold’s nearby, and that was my workout for the day. CrossFit had always been something I was curious about, but never found the right opportunity to try it out. So, in December 2013 while I was on a work-trip in Ohio, I decided to try a CrossFit workout at a local box with a coworker who had been a regular Crossfitter for about 2 years. We did a 20 minute workout involving front rack lunges, push presses, and pull ups – even using an empty 15lb barbell and 2 large bands for pullups, this 20 minute workout completely whipped my butt, had me sore for a good 3 weeks, and was probably the most fun I’d ever had working out. Naturally, this was all I needed to realize that CrossFit was something I needed in my life. So when I returned to Arlington, I looked around for gyms in the area, tried the free class at BCF (which also kicked my butt), joined Foundations just about a week later and never looked back!
Ballston CrossFit Success Stories
What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?
M: In short – feeling strong. I had never really known what it was like to feel “strong” mostly because all my life any exercise I’d do was solely focused on cardio and endurance training. There is something so empowering about lifting, and a huge part of me regrets not trying weight-training sooner. Similarly, the technique that comes along with lifts, specifically Olympic lifts, I find to be so interesting and so much fun because there is always something new to learn and improve on. Basically, the way CrossFit incorporates skill, strength, and stamina definitely makes it a way of working out that even now, over two years later, has me waking up every morning to tackle the next WOD with the crew. Oh, and hitting new PR’s definitely begins to give you that Christmas-morning feeling.
K: I really enjoy the mix between weightlifting and bodyweight movements- CrossFit is true to the notion of constantly varied functional movements. I think I was most excited to learn technical Olympic lifts when I started- I’m not a particularly fast person and strength is more of my strong suit. Overall, the variation is what keeps me interested- even though you’re not doing the same thing every day, each workout contributes to your improvement in several different movements.
In addition to the physical benefits, I think the sense of community is a big part of CrossFit’s appeal. I love my 5:30 am fam (#teamwedoitbeforedawn)- not only do I get up to go work out, I get up to go grind with friends. Fun fact: Madison and I actually met at CrossFit and we are now roommates/swolemates.
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What have you learned since starting CrossFit?

K: I’m not as flexible as I thought! When I first started, I had to use one of the black strips when squatting. I joke about my old lady hips, but CrossFit has made me more aware of the importance of mobility- especially now that I’m sitting at work for the majority of my day. I envy how easily kids can plop into a squat… my yogi squat is a still a work in progress, 2 years later.
M: I’ve definitely learned to not take stretching/mobility/yoga for granted. Though I’ve been fortunate enough not to suffer any major injuries in my life, I had never really given stretching or yoga much thought or put any time towards it. However, since starting CrossFit I’ve realized the necessity of stretching. No matter what level of fitness you’re at, CrossFit is sure to make you sore and tight at some point, and utilizing stretching exercises and yoga poses help you to recover SO much quicker. Aside from that, CrossFit has taught me that although competitive sports are super fun, there’s something to be said for how fun and utterly humbling competitive exercise is, too.
Who is your favorite Crossfitter?
M: Lauren Fisher. It probably has something to do with the fact that she’s only 22, near the top of the CrossFit world, a U.S. Olympic Lifter, and the face of Nike compression gear. But all of that aside, she is just a total beast and an inspiration. Definitely my fav(e).
K: CrossFit is awesome because there are so many great athletes, which makes this question difficult. If I had to pick just one, I have to go with Sara Sigmundsdóttir- she’s a beast from Iceland who is also a Nike athlete. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet is a close second for her hilarious Instagram captions and hashtags. I’ll also put Khan Porter out there for the men Crossfitters.
What piece of advice would you give to new members or people considering CrossFit?
K: Be patient and don’t be intimidated! While CrossFit is definitely a wake up call to your physical limitations when you first start, but I think most people don’t recognize or anticipate the mental challenge. It’s easy to look around at the rest of the class when you’re new and be frustrated with how slow you are or how light your weights are in comparison. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s a process and success does not happen overnight. I will say that consistency really lends a hand to progress. Also, I’d recommend that people make sure to write down their training! Not only does it help when trying to figure out percentages, it’s how I track my progress.
M: Don’t get discouraged or frustrated when certain movements or certain weights seem impossible. In my experience, not only will your body adapt, but the more dedication and perseverance you put towards learning and practicing basic movements at light weight, the more successful you will be once your strength begins to match your skill. For instance, it took me a good 5 or so months to even hold myself upside down against the wall, let alone attempt a kipping handstand pushup (that I now can do RX). Through coaching, gaining upper body strength, skill practice using a box, and getting used to the sensation of being upside down – eventually those kipping handstand pushups, which once seemed ENTIRELY impossible, became possible (and next up – strict handstand pushups!). The same thing can be said for weights that seem too heavy. Give it time! “Patience is a virtue”….or something .

28
Mar

Jerry Kelly

I always considered myself an active person. Throughout high school, I was involved in a sport in every season throughout the year from football to basketball, baseball and rugby. In college, I stopped playing “competitive” sports; but, was always involved in intramural leagues and working out with friends which kept me pretty active. After college, I started struggling to keep up with my fitness and I saw my weight increase. I always kept a cheap gym membership and would have periods of time where I would go consistently as well as times that I would never go at all. When I would go to the gym, I would go in and do a few lifts that I really enjoyed (squats, bench press, triceps work, and curls) and would maybe run for about 5 minutes. I may not have been great at working on my weaknesses at this point in my life; but, I was really good at making excuses (running hurts my knees or I can’t come up with a program).

I decided it was time for a change after going to my now fiancé Alye’s CrossFit competition and witnessing CrossFit firsthand. I decided to join a box right by Philadelphia. I liked the idea of CrossFit; but, the box I was at was very focused on the top level competitors and didn’t pay much attention to the newer athletes or scaled workouts which led to a lot of personal frustration.

In May 2015, Alye and I moved to Virginia and I decided to give CrossFit one last shot before going back to my on again off again relationship with working out. I joined Ballston CrossFit and saw a big difference in the atmosphere and focus on the athletes who were not at the elite level like myself. I originally would get frustrated that I was never in the mix with the other athletes in metcons until some of the coaches would work with me and remind me everyone has been there. The atmosphere of the gym and the people I have made friends with allowed me look forward to going to the gym instead of making an excuse to stay home. I saw my max lifts and stamina grow; however, realized something was missing.

At the beginning of 2016, I began to assess whether a change in my diet or nutrition would elevate my performance. I’d become involved with Advocare throughout the year through my fiance’s interactions and decided to begin a 24-day challenge. I started to shed weight and throughout my experience with the products and company; I’ve lost nearly 20 lbs. since the beginning of 2016!

Alongside my nutritional changes, I began to take my training seriously and have seen increases in almost all my lifts; my metcon times are down; and I have accomplished things I never thought possible (handstand push-ups and double-unders)! Within the next few short days, I will also complete the CrossFit Open for the first time which has been an amazing way to motivate and see my hard work. I love the camaraderie at the gym and see it as a group of people at different fitness levels cheering each other on to dig a little deeper. I haven’t completed all my goals and reached my ultimate “success” yet; but, I know that no matter if you’re brand new to CrossFit or the reigning games champion, you can always challenge yourself to do a little better at something! With the help of Ballston CrossFit, the coaches, and the other members of the gym; I am definitely heading in the right direction!

jerry

3
Nov

Sean Cavanaugh

IMG_7649My fitness journey started after college.  I played club lacrosse at Radford University, and back then I thought I was in shape.  What I didn’t realize was working at a deli and eating lots of free pizza caused me to put on a lot of weight.
Now I did the typical things most people due to get into shape, I lifted, I ran.  That lead to my first 5k which lead to my first triathlon.  I had a blast training, but I saw little improvement in my strength, cardio, and agility.  I had bad knees, bad ankles, and a bad back.  I just said I was getting old, and that was it.  I was about to give up on just being athletic.
I said I would try CrossFit, starting with the 6 class Foundations and then give this CrossFit thing one month.  That was almost three years ago now. I also said I would never let myself get “too into CrossFit.”  Well, so much for that,I will be doing my fifth competition this month! When I started I never thought I would do half the stuff that I have achieved.  That is all thanks to Tucker and his staff.  I have learned that fitness is a journey and not everyone is the same.  I say this because I know when I started I was hard headed, and I tried to cut corners by avoiding listening to technique, not doing mobility in my off time and avoiding yoga.  It wasn’t working then I realized I wasn’t listening to what the coaches were saying.  Then I checked my ego at the door and started to  listen to the coaches at BCF.  As I begun to open up and ask questions to truly understand the movements, I begun to realize I was limited from years of bad fitness advice from around the water cooler.  Fitness should be fun, and when I was trying it on my own, it wasn’t fun, and I didn’t get any better.11393484_10101349948624243_4731686553273518129_o
CrossFit, just like anything in life is about the fundamentals.  Personally, that is what I love about the process, technique work and mobility are the key to getting better.  It can be a long process if you are an old broken down lacrosse player like I was when I came through those doors.
I would never say that I’m a “success story,” I just came to try CrossFit for a month and I wanted to see if I would like the results.  I weighed 196 lbs when I started crossfit, this past week I weighed in at 177 lbs, the lightest (and leanest) I’ve been since high school.  I was wearing a size 36 jeans when I started at BCF, last month I bought a size 32.  I can say crossfit changed my life, I’m 32 years old I’m in the best shape of my life and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon thanks to the amazing community of friends I’ve made.  So if you have read this far, why not give CrossFit a try?  Just one month and see what happens.
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18
Oct

Abshir Adam

 
 
Check out Abshir and his dance moves at BCF’s 5 Year Anniversary party (2 years into his CF journey and tons of improved confidence!)!
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IMG_7453After exhausting all of my options by trying variety of diets and fitness regiments with no positive or lasting results, I decided to give fitness and a lifestyle change just one last chance before giving up completely.  In February 2015, I joined Ballston CrossFit as a last ditch effort, and after hard work, dedication from my coaches, and re-learning how to eat to live, I can say without a doubt that BCF saved my life.
When I started in February,  I weighed 283lbs with 48 inches waist size. Now, I am down to 218 HEALTHY pounds. Within these past 7 months at BCF, I have lost more than 60lbs and 10+ inches from my waist.  I have not felt this strong, healthy, and happy (weight-wise) since I was 16 years old!  And I am 39 years old! My CrossFit journey is outlined below:
I decided to start by going to a free class at BCF.  In this first class, I was asked to do burpees.  I had never heard of these burpees, and after being shown the proper form, which seemed simple enough, I couldn’t do one simple burpee, and I was crawling like a baby just to get up off the ground. It was so hard, and it would have been easy to throw in the towel, but I had made a decision that 2015 would be the year that I turn my life around by gaining strength, getting healthy, and losing weight.  This has been the best decision I have ever made in my entire adult life.  If it had not been for the dedication of my coaches and fellow-CrossFitters, I would not have stayed at BCF, and I would not have met my goals for 2015.  In short, I would not be happy with the person I am today.
When I first joined BCF, I couldn’t do squats, box jumps, or a hand stand against the wall, or even handle the barbell.  Slowly but surely, I worked my way up from the 15lb barbell to the 45lb barbell.IMG_7454
I have gone from the bare minimum weights and reps at CrossFit to personal bests that I never thought would be achievable.  Because I never thought I would be able to make progress in any type of strength-training, I proudly say that my personal bests are as follows:
1- One max rep DEADLIFT: 175lbs.
2- Power CLEAN: 115lbs.
3- Front/Back SQUATS: 95lbs.
4- One max STRICT PRESS of 85
5- Unbroken 15 BOX JUMPS of 20 inches (but I know I can  go higher).
6-ROW up to 1000m
7- RUN up to 400m twice without stopping!  I could have never done this before BCF.
 
That all of these would not have been possible without BCF…That is what I love about BCF.  Your abilities are never going to be limited, and “I can’t,” will never be acceptable.  BCF has taught me that, “I can’t,” is temporary, and that it takes hard work and the right coaching to push yourself to achieve new limits and new personal bests.  BCF excites me, and I find reaching new personal goals in CrossFit to be an exhilerating feeling that I never knew I would have.
I set goals for myself that my coaches are eager to help me achieve.  As of now, my goals are to improve upon my personal bests from above, and also the following:
1- Double-under jump rope jumps.
2- Proper push-ups.  As of now,  can do a solid 5 push-ups from from my knees.  It is work in progress.
3- One max strict press up to, then over, 100lbs.
4- Overhead squat of 55lbs.  Currently, I can only hit 45lbs.
5- Pull-ups without any assistance.  I cannot get to one pull-up yet.
In the beginning, I worked out only 3 times per week, and I never thought I would want to go more often than that.  But, as I got stronger, I decided to work out 5 times a week, and CrossFit has become addictive.
I like my gym, and all of my coaches are excellent, especially Tucker Jones (the owner of BCF). Without his support and guidance, I would’ve given up a long time ago on BCF.
The whole BCF community is great and very supportive.  There are times during workouts that I would still like to give up, but thanks to my coaches and fellow BCF members, I stick with it and finish my workout.  It feels amazing to have that kind of support.  BCF’s coaches and my fellow BCFers are  my motivation.  I couldn’t find this level of support anywhere else.  I went to so many CrossFit boxes, and BCF makes me feel as though I can accomplish anything with hardwork and dedication.

8
Sep

Shaun Sleeper

 
image1-3I thought I was an active person coming out of college playing both ice hockey and lacrosse. I found my workouts were pretty basic not exciting and I would attend some classes at my local gyms through the years but had no push or drive.  Not being in my best shape I had a hockey injury that lead to a torn labrum in my le
ft hip followed by a herniated disc in the L4-L5 area of my back all within 3 months in 2012. I thought I would have a tough time playing hockey again let alone getting back into a gym setting. Of course after both surgeries and some lengthy rehab I started to run and bike and lift weights again but I wasn’t finding that my energy, strength
and my appearance were improving. I heard about CrossFit and decided to shop around to make sure I felt it was a good fit with all the pros & cons I had heard. I was hooked the moment Tucker lead me through the free WOD on a Saturday which was only 9 mins long. The feeling I felt that day and just the few words of motivation that Tucker showed in that  “free” session confirmed this was a good fit. This interval training was exactly what I needed and wanted. Along with a community of athletes who are seeking the same goals and carry the same drive to be their best.

I have been at Ballston CrossFit since January 2014 and I am fully committed due to the amazing coaching and the variety of workouts. I was able to join the Nutritional challenge which is something I wanted to build into this routine and I was astonished by the results in just one month losing 10 lbs. The best part about the Nutritional Challenge was that it has become a part of my thought process for everything going into my body now and I continued to stay true to the diet and workouts and as a result have lost over 25 lbs since Jan 2015. I ran in my first Half-Marathon in May and have started to motivate my family and friends to push themselves into opening there minds to healthier eating and engage in more exercise. I have seen gains in strength and feel the best I have in a very long time.
 
The credit goes to Tucker and his coaches for pushing me beyond my comfort zone all while making sure I am doing all exercises correctly. Their knowledge and training continues to add years to my life and I look forward to setting more goals that I can crush in along the way

Hope this motivates someone!

 

18
Mar

“Mom” Allyn Jones

photo64 years young and getting stronger every day!
I came from a fairly active group class at a regional gym where all around aerobics, body and hand weights were our medium.   Except for a torn rotator cuff that kept me from many movements and a knee that hurt to bend I thought I was physically fit!  An orthopedic Doctor looking at my MRI said my shoulder could only be fixed through surgery and my knee was an age issue….he said I was old!!  The more my son Tucker told me about CrossFit and the more I watched his physical improvements, the more I wished to join.  But I thought I was too “elderly”.    Somehow the conversation came up and Tucker said it was never too late to get in shape, so I made the commitment to begin.  I joined CrossFit during the Foundations class in May 2014 and I expected to “try” it out for 2-3 months.  Within weeks my “try” turned to a very positive addiction even though I had to make the time commitment to drive more than 20 minutes to get to Ballston.
The encouragement (and education) to do mobility before and after class has been a most positive affect on my ability to hold correct positions and then increase my weights as strength improved. When I started, my shoulders and hips were so tight that I could not even do an overhead squat with PVC (using weight was impossible).  After months of mobility in the shoulder and hips I can now do an overhead squat with 35lbs and good form! Here are some other things I have accomplished

  • 12 full rope climbs to a 15′ height
  • Can do 10 “real push-ups”!!
  • Double unders w jump rope (52 in a row – can you believe it?!?)
  • Jump on a 24″ box
  • Power clean 75lbs
  • Back squat and deadlift over 100lbs
  • Bench Press 50lbs

The other blessing about Ballston CF and CFR7 is that no one seems to mind how old I am.  The point for each individual is to improve their strength, function, mobility and nutrition.  Some people practice and some don’t but the obvious successes are by those athletes who improve because of focus and the work they do on both mobility and strength training.
I wish I would return to those orthopedists who said I was old and needed surgery, to show them my massive improvement (and share that I’ve lost 8lbs doing CF and gained new muscles).  CrossFit and all that goes along with its focus such as chiropractic care (ART) and Thai massage which have all been parts of my rehab and reconditioning.
I am very thankful to my son Tucker, his excellent standards at BCF and CFR7, his incredible team of coaches, and the wonderful encouraging community which he has built for introducing me to the wonderful world of CrossFit. I have had an incredible improvement in my fitness since starting CrossFit and can’t wait to meet my new fitness goals! See you in the box!
 

29
Nov

Meg Krasenics

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After graduating college and moving 300 miles away from home, I found myself in a fitness rut. This was the first time in eighteen years that I was not a part of a team and felt lost without the support and bond of a team , which I had grown accustomed to while running cross country and track in college. I accepted the fact that my “glory days” of running were over and joined a run-of-the-mill gym.
Months of 5lb dumbbell curls in a smelly room of meatheads I finally attended a free class at Ballston CrossFit. The camaraderie and dedication was apparent from the moment I stepped through the doors. Several days of hobbling around and being sore told me that this was the place I needed to be to get in shape.
Within the first few weeks I had achieved several physical accomplishments and, more importantly, gained numerous friendships. Each day I look forward to going to the gym, seeing friends, and setting new personal bests. The BCF coaches and members motivate you to push yourself beyond limits, setting and accomplishing goals on a regular basis. In addition to setting goals in the gym, the BCF community supports and motivates you in all other aspects of life.
I have recently begun racing again, and, much to my surprise, begun setting personal bests that were unachievable while running in college. Having only ran 3 times in the month leading up to my first half marathon I maintained a 7:00 mile pace for a time of 1:31. Most recently I achieved a lifetime goal that a year ago I considered impossible, I ran my first ever sub 20 minute 5k (setting over a 30 second personal record) with only a handful of training runs to supplement my CrossFit training!! I attribute all my running success to Crossfit. It has strengthened my entire body from head to toe and taught me how to persevere through hard workouts by relying on mental strength.

29
Nov

Chris Goodenow

To say I’m happy with the changes I’ve seen in my mental and physical condition since I started coming to BCF would be an understatement.  When I first walked through the doors, I was on a host of medications for cholesterol, heartburn, and blood sugar, and my doctor was about to add another for blood pressure.  In the six months since I joined, I’ve seen tremendous gains in my strength and conditioning, and I’m down 40 pounds since the start of 2014.  Most importantly, I’m having more fun now than I’ve ever had in a gym environment.  I can’t recommend BCF highly enough.