MIKE P.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I really am the luckiest guy in the world. I am surrounded by the most intelligent, funny, and beautiful ladies in the world. My wife, Rachel (CFCH 5 AMer) and I have two daughters (4 and 2 years old) and one on the way due in March. You will see all of us at the gym from time to time. I work with a great team at a midstream energy company. I try to spend as much of my free time as possible with my ladies. Our girls call the weekends “Mommy and Daddy Days.” We know that will not be forever, so we try to do as much together as we can now. 

Which class time do you usually attend? This question is not the simplest question for me to answer. I was an original 5AMer. When my wife Rachel started, she took over the 5 AM slot. Rachel attends the 5 AM, rushes home (bless her for getting in the car with zero recovery time), tags me in for the 6 AM class. Most mornings we look like a finely tuned NASCAR pit crew… the car barely stops. 

Favorite WOD or movement: I am going to take this question in two parts… what I am good at and what is my favorite movement. 

I am good at heavy barbell work, in particular: squats, bench press, deadlifts, and cleans.

My favorite movement might surprise most people… ring muscle ups. The combination of speed, power, flexibility, and coordination make that movement beautiful. Plus, you feel like a superhero when you are on top of the rings. Nobody has ever described a squat or deadlift as beautiful. 

Least favorite WOD or movement: Same format as above:

Not good at: Most gymnastics including HSPUs, muscle ups, T2B, pull ups, and burpees
Least favorite: Farmer carries and running

This is a great list for things I can improve!

Favorite cheat meal: Pizza! Hands down. Meat lovers. Thin crust. Ideally it would have sriracha and powdered parmesan on top with some ranch dressing to dip it in. 

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? My path to CrossFit was different than most. I was always an athlete both in high school and college. After graduating college, I simply quit working out. I was burned out. Done. I could not look at another weight. What happened next was predictable. I entered into a negative feedback loop. I would eat poor, get the temporary dopamine kick, then not feel like moving, so I would eat to feel better. I tried a few things along the way… triathlons and swimming. But after kids, those fell off too.

To be honest, I was a classic CrossFit hater with absolutely no experience or justification for the opinions I held. But, I was lucky and had several friends who did not push me too much. They just suggested I give it a try. They said they thought I would like it. I stepped on the scale two birthdays ago, and I had a little chat with myself. A clean version was something like the following, “Michael, this is completely freaking ridiculous. You have got to get with the freaking program. Make a change now. Make it last. Cowboy up.” I called Phil that day. I was in the free introduction class the next day. I got absolutely humbled in the workout. I signed up right then and there. Never looked back. 

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I have seen incredible changes physically. I have certainly gotten stronger and leaner, but for me the most dramatic changes are mobility related. When I showed up I could not do a handstand due to poor shoulder mobility. While I still need to improve, looking back on where I started is amazing. Another incredible change is with my knees. I have had 4 ACL reconstructions (2 each knee), and I used to get incredible knee pain along with greatly reduced range of motion. Now, knee pain is resolved and range of motion significantly improved. 

This has resulted in huge lifestyle benefits with my ladies. We play hard together. I have the energy and physical capability to do all kinds of fun things with them.

The changes mentally are interesting. You find that place in deep in yourself… it is those moments in workouts when the music has faded away, all you can hear is your heart pounding, all you feel is your lungs heaving, and a little voice shows up… one minute left… can I hang on for one minute? Hell yes I can. 3 – 2 – 1… Time! Then it hits you… I just did something I did not think I was capable of doing. You know you are getting better. You know you just did the hardest thing you will do today. You are proud. You are confident.

What motivates/inspires you?

In life: My family. 

In CrossFit: So much. Seeing people make dramatic changes to their body and life. Seeing people hit a movement they have never done before. Seeing people hit PRs they have chased for months and years. Seeing people fight through a challenging metcon. Shoot… seeing folks sign up for OnRamp because they are ready for a change. All of it. There is some really cool stuff that happens at our gym if you take some time to look. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?

Like most things in life, you will get out of this journey exactly what you put into it…

Learn as much as you can and be personally accountable for your health and fitness. 

Be consistent. In diet. In mobility work. In gym attendance. Always be consistent. 

Dial in nutrition right away. That is the most important thing you can do for your health. 

Work on mobility every day.

Technique first. Always. 

Something you might not know about me: 

I played defensive end for Tulane. 

I am a Star Wars nerd (in fact, I would say I am generally a nerd). 

It is my opinion that the only acceptable music for heavy squat day is Katy Perry. 

DILLON

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I was born and raised in Houston and practice architecture here in town.  I live in the Museum District with my husband Sam and our 3 dogs (one of which is a doppelganger for Abby).  We are avid gardeners and spend almost every weekend planting, pruning, weeding,  etc…   Contemporary art is a major interest and travel usually involves going to see architecture and museums.

2. Which class time do you usually attend? 5AM

3. Favorite WOD or movement: Dead Lift and Rope Climb

4. Least favorite WOD or movement: Wall Balls

5. Favorite cheat meal: Ice Cream in the car driving out to the country

6. What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I played soccer in high school but after that until I was about 35, I almost never exercised or worked out.  I did basic weightlifting at various gyms for about 10 years after that, and for the last 5 years before joining CFCH, I had gradually exercised less and less and was down to stair climber 2-3 times a week.  I was completely bored with working out.

7. What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? The demands of my work have been steadily increasing for a long time and I was struggling to stay focused.  For some unknown reason, I randomly decided to start CrossFit not really knowing what it was.  CFCH was the first entry that came up in my Google search.  So many things have changed radically since I started just over a year ago.  I have way more energy both at work and when not at work.  I am able to focus and execute my work quicker and better and with greater confidence.  My health has improved: better cholesterol, triglycerides, etc..  I am extremely competitive and strive to excel at whatever I do, and CrossFit has been a humbling experience because my most intense effort is middling on the white board.  Interestingly, that never disappoints me, it just makes me want to work harder and the collateral benefits to the rest of my life are invaluable.

8. What motivates/inspires you? I have dropped in on more than a few different CrossFit gyms in various parts of the country and I am honestly not sure I would have bonded with CrossFit if I had not come to CFCH.  I think there is an extremely inspiring and encouraging atmosphere that makes me want to put intensity into every workout.

9. What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? My advice is to let your experience at CFCH be about much more than exercise.  I am an introvert by nature and learning to actively meet new people and yell “time” loudly were difficult adaptations.  I’m glad those were part of the requirements.

10. Something you might not know about me: I’m a huge Sci-Fi fan – anything with space ships or aliens.

Jo

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). Houston has been my home for over a decade, but I’ve also lived in Louisiana, New Jersey, Malaysia, and England. My folks live here in Houston, and my two sisters live in Phoenix and Los Angeles. I work as a Civil Engineer and am currently living in the Heights. Besides CrossFit, my hobbies and interests include cooking, traveling, fishing, listening to music, playing sports, and spending time with family and friends. I absolutely love learning new things – nutrition is my latest and greatest obsession. 

Which class time do you usually attend? 6:30 PM. 

Favorite WOD or movement: Back squats and snatches. 

Least favorite WOD or movement: Thrusters and bar facing burpees. 

Favorite cheat meal: Pizza and beer. (This question reminds me of when someone asks a parent which kid is their favorite.)

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Growing up, I played as many sports as I could manage. Basketball and volleyball were my favorites, but I also loved baseball and tennis. During college I played pick-up basketball and stayed in good shape, but after college was a bit of an issue for me. I would go through phases of working out a ton and working out basically never.

I started CrossFit in the middle of a “working out a ton” phase (treadmill and weight machines at the office gym). My sister Jasmine was visiting for Christmas and wanted to give CrossFit a try, so I figured I would tag along. Six months later, I can say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? This is a tough one to answer succinctly and without sounding like a total cheeseball, but here we go. Physically, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I was a teenager, and I have no doubt that soon enough I will be in the best shape of my entire life. Mentally and emotionally, I’m tougher and more confident. I’ve always been a competitor and an optimist, and I love that CrossFit gives me a daily opportunity to nurture those qualities. And no matter what life throws at me, I always manage to stay in a good mood. I must be really annoying to people that aren’t always in a good mood.    

What motivates/inspires you? When I started CrossFit, I was motivated by a desire to look “better” in the mirror, thinking it would make me happier... But ain’t nobody got time for that now! Sure, looking good nekkid is a side effect of working out a bunch and eating right, but deriving self-esteem from incremental improvements in physical fitness and mental toughness is the true reward of CrossFit. All I care about these days is crushing workouts, reaching PRs, and chasing Firsts. 

I have to give a big shout out to Phil, T, Grace, and all the other coaches at CFCH. Your leadership inspires me every time I step in that box. The culture of community, positivity, and support that you foster at CFCH is what keeps me coming back for more. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Eat right. Be positive. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to fail. Believe in yourself. And most of all, have fun!

Something you might not know about me: I prefer to be called Jo, but my given name is actually Johan. When my mom was eight months pregnant with me, she won the Ladies’ Singles, Ladies’ Doubles, and Mixed Doubles titles at a tennis club tournament. My folks named me Johan, which means “Champion” in Malay, my mother’s native tongue. During the tournament my mom had a tumble or two running after balls she had no business running after with a ten pound alien in her belly. So every once in a while I like to give her a hard time about it, claiming that were it not for her competitive antics, I could have grown up to be tall enough to play in the NBA.  

EMILY R.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.)Hello! My name is Emily and I feel like this is a first question you would find in a dating website—or job interview. Anyways, I am a native Houstonian and my parents are from Thailand. Currently, I am finishing up my training to become a licensed and professional drug dealer (aka gettin’-that-Pharm.D!). My hobbies outside of CrossFitting are finding and enjoying the simple moments in life. Some of my favorite things are laying in clean warm laundry fresh from the dryer, smelling cooked bacon in the morning, and stepping on crisp fall leaves. The leaves make a delightful crunch sound.

Which class time do you usually attend? Five thirty swoooole thirty 

Favorite WOD or movement: Anything with body weight movements like burpees or any gymnastic movements like pullups, toes to bar, BMU, and HSPU. Basically anything that I can hang off the bars like a monkey or anything that lets me go upside down-- I’m game! 

Least favorite WOD or movement: WODs that contains 100% barbell movements or heavy barbell movements. 

Favorite cheat meal: Dim sum! For those of you who are not familiar with dim sum, it is a type of Cantonese food that serves bite sized portions on small steamers or plates. It is so much fun going to these types of restaurants because the food comes fully cooked on carts that are pushed around the restaurant. All you have to do is point to the food you want and the server places it on your table. It’s the most fun to go with a big group/family because then you can order a lot of dishes and sample everything. 

I am currently drooling about my favorite dishes: chicken feet, shumai (a type of pork dumpling), pork spare ribs, baozi (steamed fluffy white buns that can be filled with BBQ pork, red bean, or taro), congee, turnip cake, and egg tarts…okay just give me everything on the cart! 

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before CrossFit, I was running on the treadmill and doing some weight training on the machines at a globo gym. At the time, I thought this was the best way to achieve my health goals. Then in undergrad, I was an avid rugger for the Houston women’s rugby team; and one of my teammates would not shut up about her Fran time! She made me curious so I tried a CrossFit gym in my area. And as the fairy tale goes…she lived happily ever after.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?

Since starting CrossFit, I cared less about trying to look like the skinny girls in the media and trying to fit into the newest skinny jeans; and I focused more on what my body can do. The physical capabilities of the human body is amazing and I love pushing the boundaries of my body to see what I am able to accomplish. I’ve also seen a mental change since starting CrossFit. Rather than comparing myself to other people, I challenge to compete against myself so I can be the fastest and strongest version of Emily. This has translated to my life outside of the gym as well. CrossFit has had a positive impact on my life. Sometimes I am scared to admit this to myself, but I cannot image my life without CrossFit.  

What motivates/inspires you?

Waking up in the morning with gratitude that God has given me another day to live. I know I am never guaranteed a tomorrow or even today, so with each day that I awake is His gift to me. This motivates me to practice being the best version of Emily especially when I find myself in tough situations. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?

Phil, T, Grace, and Jaime are amazing coaches and they are more than happy to help you achieve your goals. If you just started CrossFit, it’s okay to feel lost or frustrated that you cannot achieve a particular movement. Give yourself time and don’t be afraid to lean on the CFCH community. 

Something you might not know about me: 

I have two things to share:

1. As a side job, I torture…I mean expand and mold the musical minds of young children--I teach clarinet lessons to middle school and high school students. I find it incredibly fulfilling to play a part in my kids’ growth into mature musicians and young adults. 

2. I actually met Phil and T pre-CFCH at Clear Lake CrossFit (CLCF). Here are my first memories of Phil and T:

Phil: “This guy is so excited to marry his girl. They are lucky to have each other.” After Phil finished coaching one of the classes I attended at CLCF, someone asked him what he was doing this weekend. He smiled ear to ear and mentioned he was getting hitched. At the time, I had no idea who he was marrying…

T: “OH-EM-GEE, this girl is amazing at CrossFit. She can lift so much weight and she does it with beauty and class. I want to be like that!” And this thought has not changed since.


ANDREW

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I am a Houstonian with brief stops in Louisiana, San Diego, and Ohio.  I went to Lamar High School and graduated from LSU.  I am married to Katie Driscoll (6am Class) and we have a 15 month old daughter Julie.  We love going outdoors and have decided we are “Beach People”.  I have basically been a gym rat since I was 14 and love playing just about any sport.  Also, I’m hyper competitive as some of you may have found out (but in a friendly way).

Which class time do you usually attend? 5:30pm - absolutely love this class!

Favorite WOD or movement: Snatch, Squat Clean, Deadlift

Least favorite WOD or movement: Thrusters & Anything Abs (I like to eat)

Favorite cheat meal: Pizza & Cheese Burgers & Cup Cakes

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I was doing Caveman Training, MMA, and Strongman

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? CrossFit has really changed my attitude.  It really helped encourage me to be more positive, as well as, really understand that you can take your body and mind way past what you thought you could do.  Also, CrossFit has really made me more aware of the quality of food I put in my body.  I may not follow a diet but I really try to eat organic foods.

What motivates/inspires you? First off my wife and daughter really inspire me to be the best person I can be.  They make everyday better and I am so thankful to have them.  Also I saw a quote several months ago that read “Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do”.  For some reason it has stuck with me and really sums up the effort I put into my training.  If I want to see results I have to work for them and I try to implement this in my daily life outside of the gym also.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Talk to people even if you just are saying hi.  I have met some really great people since I started at CFCH.  Also, really be open to listening to the coaches they are awesome and really are there to help you get better.

Something you might not know about me:  I used to be a big CrossFit hater until they converted me.


adriana

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I have been married for five years and I have two wonderful little boys. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2006 with a B.S.c. in Petroleum Engineering. After graduation, I left Austin and moved to Houston to start working as a petroleum engineer for Chevron. One of my interests….I love to dance! I love to take Latin ballroom dance classes with my hubby and I do rather enjoy shaking my tail feather where ever there is music. I also love my annual beach vacations around the world. There is nothing like laying out on a beach watching and hearing the beautiful ocean waves while you are sipping on your alcoholic beverage of choice. Something that has recently sparked my interest believe it or not……Brazilian Jui Jitsu. Well, Brazilian Jui Jitsu promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person….also known as me…..can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger, opponent. Who wouldn’t like to be able to master that art?

Which class time do you usually attend? I attend the 5 am class.

Favorite WOD or movement: My favorite movements hands down are both back squats and deadlifts

Least favorite WOD or movement:  I hate pull ups. I guess because I still haven’t mastered the “kipping” pull up movement yet and I still require a resistance band.  Overall pull-ups are a constant reminder that I have a long way to go in improving my overall strength. 

Favorite cheat meal:  I love eating burgers and sweet potato fries with a large Coke at Bernie’s Bus in Bellaire. Yes, I said a large Coke. 

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before CrossFit, I was doing absolutely no physical activity.  Luckily, I was introduced to Crossfit when my husband was driving to buy challah at 3 Brothers Bakery and noticed Crossfit Central across the street. I went to sign up for OnRamp and worked out for three months when I was on maternity leave with my second baby. Unfortunately, I went back to work and fell off the wagon for two years and missed working out with Phil and Theresa. I never forgot how much I loved working out at Crossfit Central Houston. So after two years of again not working out at all and getting sick every month I decided to commit myself to a lifestyle change and went back to the box that I missed so much. I have been working out there for the past five months and I have loved every minute of it.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? My life had completely changed since I joined back at Crossfit Central Houston. Physically, I used to get sick every month with respiratory infections due to allergies. I was always mentally and physically exhausted balancing both a work career and family. That existence is no longer a reality for me anymore. Since joining Crossfit in the past 5 five months my life has improved dramatically. I am now the upbeat, excitable, high energy person I used to be when I was physically active. My close family members, friends and people at work have all commented that I am much more “peppy and happy”. 

What motivates/inspires you? My family and close friends motivate me get up and kill it each and every day when I work out. And of course, Phil and Teresa both inspire me through there unwavering dedication to their Crossfitters. I also love how they both push me out of my comfort zone during the WODs by telling me to grab more weight and correcting me on my bad lifting postures. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  I would simply say to someone who is just starting Crossfit for the first time…….the WOD’s are going to kick your butt each and every day. You will find yourself sore and intimated by the other experienced crossfitters who Rx every workout in record times. But then you realize after a little bit of time your lifting techniques, the amount of weight you are lifting, and your overall times to complete the WODs improving. Then you find yourself walking with confidence and feeling accomplished that you are doing things that you never thought your body and mind could ever do.  

Something you might not know about me:  I played Divison 1 collegiate soccer at the University of North Texas for two years and won the Sunbelt Conference Championship.

 

ERICA

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I am pretty simple; I like to bowl and do karaoke with friends (no I am not a good singer), and now I enjoy working out!

2.Which class time do you usually attend? 6AM, only THE best time to come!

3. Favorite WOD or movement: LOL is this a trick question? if I had to choose a movement it would be deadlifts and I would not even be able to tell you why.

4. Least favorite WOD or movement: burpees. burpees burpees burpees

5. Favorite cheat meal: Long island ice tea... can we consider that a meal?

6. What were you doing before CrossFiit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before crossfit I was doing ABSOLUTLY NOTHING. I actually found out about crossfit on accident. I was going to specs, saw the gym, looked it up and here I am

7. What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I have been "CrossFitting" now for 7 months and I have lost 60 or more LBS. I don't know I stopped looking, because I have noticed I'm more focused on just improving in my classes. Coming to CrossFit has made me more healthy overall because I choose to go to bed early rather than going out every night. I have also noticed that I'm a lot more confident in my work and personal life.

8. What motivates/inspires you? Hmm... honestly... lately clothes shopping has been motivating me lol.

9. What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? It looks intimidating (I almost cried after On Ramp was over, because I was so nervous). lol But stick with it you won't regret it, plus, Phil and Teresa are pretty damn awesome. Come join the 6am group we are always happy to see new faces.

10.  Something you might not know about me: that I am a huge Harry Potter fan and the tattoo on my leg is in reference to it :) yes I am a nerd.

Dave p.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I have been married for 10 years to Dona (5:30 CFCH class).  I am a medical device sales representative and have been in Houston for a year and a half.  Prior to that, we lived in the Austin area for 8 years.  I have worked and lived in Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Dona and I love to travel to tropical destinations outside the U.S. whenever we get a chance.   Crossfit is my main hobby.  Going to my class at CFCH is the favorite part of my day.  Not only because of the great programming by Phil and Teresa, but because I look forward to seeing all my friends.

Which class time do you usually attend?  4:30 or 5:30.  I will sometimes hit the 6:00 am or 6:30 PM depending on my work schedule.

Favorite WOD or movement:  Depending on what day you ask me, you will get a different answer.  I didn’t think I liked Fran, but now I want to see her show her ugly face.  I do like to move heavy weights and have fallen in love with the Olympic lifts even though I stink at them.

Least favorite WOD or movementburpees or 30 minute EMOMS

Favorite cheat meal: chocolate chip cookies and cheeseburgers…either together or separate.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit?  I was a Gold’s gym guy.  Squats to 45 degrees, bench press, bicep curls, etc.  Our neighbors in Liberty Hill, Texas  invited us to try a Saturday community workout and I was pretty much hooked from that moment on.  It was very humbling to see a 90 lb woman destroy me on my first workout.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?  CrossFit has been a life changing experience for me.  I am almost 50 years old, but feel better than I ever have in my life.  I am stronger, more flexible and have much more cardio vascular endurance than I have since my days as a young Marine in 1986.  I truly feel that my best days are ahead of me because of CrossFit.

What motivates/inspires you?  Besides hitting new PR’s, I am inspired to see how CrossFit has impacted my wife Dona.  When she started, she was intimidated by almost every workout posted.  Now she is at a place in her life where she is getting pissed off if she can’t RX a workout…I love it!

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  The first month is going to be the hardest.  Hang in there.  Once you get through the first month and start to meet people, you will begin to look forward to your class. We are all here for you.  The folks at CFCH will become like a second family to you.

Something you might not know about me:   I used to be a rodeo cowboy.  I was a steer wrestler(bulldogger) on the Professional Rodeo Circuit until I had a  horse fall on me and break my pelvis.

elijah

Eli.jpg

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). Est. in 1986…..born in Allentown, PA. I go by a few different names: Eli, EO, E, or just Elijah; any of these works for me. Due to my dad being a pipeliner, we only lived in PA for a few months. The first part of my young life we traveled quite a bit (Oklahoma, Michigan, back to PA, back to Oklahoma) but finally ended up in north Houston when I was in the 3rd grade. I grew up on the north side of H-town but once I moved back to the H, after college, my wife and I bought a place on the south side by NRG Park. I graduated from UT Tyler in 2010 with my BS in Civil Engineering and now work as a project manager/estimator for a pipeline construction company. We live in our home with our two kids (actually they are cats but they seem to think they are humans). I am probably the biggest football fan you will meet (GO FALCONS) and love even more to play football when I can. I am also an avid hunter and fisherman, more so hunter, when work allows it. Finally, my wife and I love to travel so if you have any suggestions and see me around the gym, let me know, we are always up for traveling to new places.

Which class time do you usually attend? 5:30pm of course…..Is there any other classes than that one?

Favorite WOD or movement: I love anything that has to do with moving weight around like a mad man. I have a background in powerlifting so naturally I love to lift heavy weights.

Least favorite WOD or movement: Basically anything to do with running or burpees…..this body wasn’t built for cardio! 

Favorite cheat meal: Mexican food no doubt! Followed by an nice cold cup of ice cream to cool off the stomach.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before Crossfit I was lying to myself by telling myself I will go to the gym 5 days a week….I would go to the YMCA a couple of days here and there, play on my flag football team and that was about it. I was introduced to CrossFit when I was working out of town in the Weatherford, TX area. I had been working out of town for about 3-4 months by then and hadn’t been eating or working out properly. I got sick and tired of how I was feeling everyday (low energy, slow, sluggish, etc.) and just googled gyms in the area. Crossfit Weatherford popped up and I decided to check it out. Once I got done with that project in Weatherford, I moved back to Houston and found the best box ever CFCH!! The rest is history.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? So I started at CFCH in February 2014 and began to notice some body changes but I hadn’t changed my eating habits. From February to October I made slight improvements but it wasn’t until I changed my eating habits in October of 2014 that I began to really see a difference. For me that was a change in lifestyle, I began to eat Paleo and have loved it ever since. I realized how much more your body can do and how much harder you can push yourself with the right ingredients you ingest. I credit my changed lifestyle to CFCH for sure. Seeing all the awesome people at CFCH and how they perform motivated me to change my eating lifestyle! I am happy I did!

What motivates/inspires you? My motivation stems from the self-esteem and confidence I have been given by being/feeling healthier.  God has allowed me the opportunity to get myself back in shape and become healthier, which is my motivation as well. I also love it when I can do more and more RX’d workouts. Having Philly Phil and T at CFCH as coaches has pushed me through so many of the workouts (especially the above mentioned hated cardio workouts) to make myself better and get to those RX’d workouts.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Don’t be frustrated the first day, week, or month of Crossfit. You get out what you put in….trash in, trash out; beast mode in, beast mode out. Leave your ego at the door and stay humble because there is always someone who can do what you can do but better. Strive to be better.

Something you might not know about me: I love traveling to the east coast and if I were to ever move it would more than likely be to the east coast and/or Florida (southeast).

heather

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I am the second youngest of five but my older siblings are half, my younger sister and I are the only ones from the same parents; born and raised in Houston, TX. I am an assistant manager and Nutrition Lead for Snap Kitchen in Bellaire. I am currently completing my second year at the University of Houston and I am getting a degree in nutrition to be a Registered Dietitian; and with that I either want to work in sports dietetics or pregnancy dietetics. I absolutely love discovering new and healthy foods and experimenting with food to figure out what my body works best with. I have tried many different ways of eating (I am pretty sure that counts as a hobby). I absolutely love pizza and because of that my first out of the U.S trip will be Italy. I love the beach and paddle boarding but my most important hobby is CrossFit! 

Which class time do you usually attend?5 am and 9:30 am

Favorite WOD or movement: Front/back squats 

Least favorite WOD or movement: Wall balls 

Favorite cheat meal:Pizza 

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I played softball all through high school and once that ended I just started lifting weights and boxing. When I began working at Snap Kitchen I saw this one girl that always came in drenched in sweat and she was absolutely ripped. One day I asked what she did for a workout and she said CrossFit. I went home that night and watched CrossFit youtube videos and thought it look like a work out that would kick my butt and that I would love to try. I tried out a class at CrossFit Central Houston and the rest is history.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I view myself completely different. When I first started I was vegan (which is still a cool diet just no longer for me), self-conscious, weak, and I battered myself mentally with negative thoughts. I have gained so much physical, emotional, and mental strength since joining this awesome team. I also stopped viewing food as something that either makes you fat or thin and started viewing it as fuel. I find muscular strong women beautiful and that is what I aspire to be; “skinny” is not what I find to be the best form. 

What motivates/inspires you? Adding weight on the bar; each time I walk into a workout I try to get as close as Rx as possible and try to lift more than I did the week before. Also athletes like Christmas Abbott, Jackie Perez, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, and of course Teresa Trojanowski!

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Don’t worry about how heavy or fast someone else is going, worry about what you are going to bring to the table.

Something you might not know about me:  I want a pet micro pig really badly but my boyfriend has to promise not to make bacon out of it. 

CARLY B

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.)My name is Carly B, although technically I have a much longer last name, and very rarely just “Carly.” (In fact, if you refer to me only as my first name I can tell we aren’t that close…) I work for WoodsEdge Community Church in The Woodlands as the Director of Worship Experiences, which is a pretty fancy way of saying that I oversee what happens during our services. Although being at WoodsEdge is a fairly new job, I’ve held this type of position at other churches for over a decade. I can’t imagine doing anything else and think I have the coolest job in the world. I’m also the proud mom of Cheeto the wonder chihuahua. She's perfect.

Which class time do you usually attend? #930twerk30

Favorite WOD or movement: Can I say that my favorite movement is a PR? Actually, I love anything with a barbell. There’s always a pretty big satisfaction afterward knowing that I was capable of moving a lot of weight around.

Least favorite WOD or movement: Running. Rowing. Wallballs. Burpees. (All of the things.)

Favorite cheat mealPizza. Ice cream. Cupcakes. Mexican Food. (All of the things.)

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I wasn’t doing anything except for a lot of complaining about why I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. Real productive… But I knew Teresa from church and wanted to look like her (I’m still waiting for my tan). She told me for months to ‘just come check it out’ before I actually stepped foot inside her gym, and it wasn’t even to work out. But once I saw that it wasn’t too scary I went to a Saturday class… and then to another, and another. Before I knew it, it became something that I was intentionally making time for and doing on a regular basis.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Wow. I feel like everything has changed. I’ve lost 30 pounds and about 12 inches off my waist and hips. I have more confidence than ever before and I’ve gained some of the best friends anyone could ask for. I’ve even physically moved to be closer. Did you know I was driving from Clear Lake just to work out? That’s the type of place Phil and T have created in CFCH. Oh, and there’s that one guy. It’s amazing what a year can do…

What motivates/inspires you? I think an easy answer is that my faith motivates me to be the best I can be… I want to try to honor God with all of me, so for as long as I’m able, I want to make sure that I’m taking care of the body He gave me. In addition to that, I can’t express how much everyone around me motivates me to push a little harder and to go a little faster. If it wasn’t for the community around me, I would be juuuuuuuust fine setting my own pace. Also, it’s extremely inspiring to work out with people that are better than you, and in CrossFit, you always are. Nobody is the best at everything and that always gives you a reason to try harder.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? It’s ok that you’re intimidated. We all were at first. Show up anyway. The community at CFCH is fun, authentic and everyone legitimately wants to get to know you and see you succeed. It’s way better if you celebrate others instead of just yourself. Phil and T are the best around and extremely knowledgeable and have your best interest in mind. Listen to them. And stay humble. 

Something you might not know about me: I went to South Africa 5 times in the span of 3 years on mission trips, where I got 3 of my 9 tattoos.


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Will

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.)I grew up, for the most part in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore, MD. Go O’s!! I landed in Texas in the 90’s and have been here ever since.  While the seafood is not nearly as good, I definitely call Houston home now.  I finished my undergraduate and graduate degrees at UH and currently work in the medical center. Aside from CrossFit, I like running, especially on a trail, camping, making and consuming homebrew, BBQing, college football, live music and hanging out with friends.  I like to make and play outdoor games, corn hole, washers, Polish horseshoes, giant Jenga… tons of fun on the weekends, especially in the fall and spring.

Which class time do you usually attend? The 6:30p.  Shutting her down the right way!

Favorite WOD or movement: As my form and flexibility continue to improve, I’ve been enjoying the Olympic weightlifting techniques.

Least favorite WOD or movement: Anything with multiple rounds of 500m rows or Burpee Box Jumps… just when you think your cardio is great you get a dose of reality.

Favorite cheat meal: Pepperoni and Jalapeno Pizza, with Coffee Ice Cream…same time!  

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I was a member of my neighborhood gym, of which I might have gone on average once a week.  I would do the same workouts over and over until I googled a new “3-day full body workout”.  Moderate gains when I actually went, then I’d get bored and lose focus.  I was introduced to CrossFit by Jesus “Chuy” (the one Ben pulled around the parking lot), we worked together.  I remember coming up to him a while after he started and saying something like… “Damn son what have you been doing?!?” He just laughed and told me about CrossFit.  He invited me to a happy hour where I got to meet quite a few people from class.  I enjoyed it so much I decided to join up.  Glad I did.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Running!  My cardio, stride, and stability have all dramatically increased.  I have so much more confidence now that I have participated in a Tough Mudder and Half-Marathon, things I wouldn’t have signed up for in the past.

What motivates/inspires you? Motivation comes from within and inspiration comes from without.  Let’s just say that the camaraderie of CFCH makes the latter a whole lot easier.  Seeing everyone, no matter their skill level, pushing themselves to be better is awesome.  Phil and T have really created a wonderful environment.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Listen, be humble and work your tail off.

Something you might not know about me: I’m a huge Dead Head.

Rachel S.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). My name is Rachel Sieber. I’m from NY.  I did my undergrad at Syracuse University and grad school at Washington University in St. Louis.  I worked in NY as an Occupational Therapist for about 6 ½ years before moving to Houston in April 2012 for a change in jobs. I currently work at TIRR as an Occupational Therapist specializing in Brain Injury.

Apart from my educational history and job, I love cooking, reading and relaxing. But mainly, my most important past time is exercising. Obviously I love crossfit because it challenges me.  I also love biking, biking while I do it to exercise, it also relaxes me. Early morning bike rides are awesome. No one is there, it’s quiet and it’s not hot. Remember we’re in Houston.

Which class time do you usually attend? I usually go to the 6:30 class. A few months ago I was going to the 9:30 class and once attended the 6 am class.

Favorite WOD or movementI’m not sure about a favorite WOD, but anything that gets my heart pumping.  I love bench press, back squat, front squat or dead lift.

Least favorite WOD or movementBox jumps or running, funny thing is, I’ve done 2 half marathons, go figure.  Maybe they are my least favorite because they are the most challenging for me.  

Favorite cheat meal: Not really a cheat meal, maybe a cheat snack. Anything sweet. Soft baked chocolate chip cookies are my favorite though.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before starting CrossFit, I was going to the gym and seeing a personal trainer. Doing things such as the elliptical, bench press, light weightlifting and basic endurance type exercises and riding my bike about 20-30 miles each weekend. I was introduced to CrossFit by passing CrossFit Central Houston on the way home from work, when I finally noticed the big sign. I stopped, talked to Phil, took the free trial class and I was hooked. I started OnRamp the next week I think.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? CrossFit keeps me mentally sane and relaxed.  Physically because I see improvements in my form and my strength.  Lifestyle, mainly with my eating is a work in progress.

What motivates/inspires you? What motivates me is seeing the results I want to obtain, health, wellness, happiness and strength.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Push yourself. Anything is possible. Phil and T will make it safe for you.

Something you might not know about me: 12 ½ years ago I had a stroke, losing all speech.

Ben D.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.)My name is Ben Douglass and by day I am a numbers man, an accountant for Apache Oil & Gas. But by night I am a CrossFitter. I have grown up and lived just a few miles from the gym my entire life except for a brief few years in college when I went to play football at tiny D-3 Trinity University before graduating from the University of Houston. I went to Bellaire High school where I was coached by none-other than 5am’s Marshall. And yes, he was just as animated then as he is now during workouts. 

Which class time do you usually attend? I’m at CFCH four or five times a week where I’ve been going to the 6:30-swole thirty class for sometime until just recently when given the opportunity to follow a competitor’s programming. (My next competition is September 13-14 so if you see me with a donut or slacking off put me in my place.) So nowadays its 6-7:30 MTW and afternoons on Friday and open gym Saturday. I do miss all my classmates, so that’s why you’ll see me hanging around before and after class; I want to get to know all the new faces and continue to be a part of this community. 

Favorite WOD or movement: My favorite WOD is definitely Grace, or Fran, or Isabel. OK so maybe I like most of the women…I mean female named workouts.  I just feel like I’m able to push for 2-3 minutes before my lungs collapse and those short and sweet workouts do it for me. Flying around doing muscle ups is easily my single favorite movement.  

Least favorite WOD or movement: Wall balls and I have a love/hate relationship. Which is still better than overhead lunges…we’re not on speaking terms right now.  But there is one workout I will never do again! 800m partner sled pull. I don’t know if Jesus and I (the former athlete, not the man upstairs) had too much weight or what. We tried everything from carrying the damn tire to pushing and pulling it. Longest 45 minutes of our lives that we still get together and joke about. My legs have never burned like that since. 

Favorite cheat meal: As far as cheat meals go there’s nothing better than taking a long lunch and devouring a buffet line with General Tsos chicken and fried rice. If ever you’re in the mood please give me a call and I’ll be there before you can say “pan fried pork dumpling.”

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before CrossFit I was going to the local YMCA, benching and curling twice a week with a few jogs thrown in for fun. Boy, how things have changed… 

I had been going to the local Globogym for years but after watching Julie Foucher and the 2012 CrossFit Games being replayed late one night, I realized there was something else out there to try. Turns out I was lucky enough to become interested about a week after Phil and T opened their new gym and so I signed up for my first Saturday WOD…I was promised mimosas!  It was a partner workout with pushups and sledge hammers. After the workout lying on the ground in a puddle of my own sweat I decided right then and there to sign up and become a part of this community. It’ll be two years next month!

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Physically, I’m a completely different person than I was before I began. I’ve lost at least 40 pounds and dropped my body fat percentage a good 15%. But that was the easy part. The real changes in my life have been outside of the gym. My life is a complete 180 from where I was two years ago, and I honestly believe it is because of the support Phil and Teresa give me on a daily basis. And I don’t mean tips on how to lift more weight either. I’ve watched them, from afar at first, create a unique and inviting place for friends to come grunt and sweat and workout but most of all connect to one another.  And once I committed to that, everything changed. I’m a better person today than yesterday and I hope I get to wake up every day and say that. 

What motivates/inspires you? It is hard for me to pinpoint my exact motivation. It’s more than just being happy with my body and loving the ability to throw around heavy iron. It’s knowing that if I miss class I’ll get two or three texts asking where I was. It’s coming in and reading the names on the board watching everyone else get stronger. It’s sharing the joy of achievement when a new PR is reached. There isn’t much better in this world then PR’ing and having everyone in the room know exactly how you feel. The gym is my home now. It’s where I want to be. Most nights I’m there until Phil or Teresa turn the lights out on me. There is something bigger than me going on at the corner of Braeswood and Stella Link and I am so very proud to be a part of it.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? For the beginners, I want to give you some advice. The first one’s easy… introduce yourself. I’ve made some of my best friends in the short two years I’ve been working out here. And each and every one was a stranger before I walked up and said hello. It might take time, but take ownership in this community and you’ll begin to understand. If I miss a workout, I don’t feel bad for maybe not getting stronger but because I didn’t get to see my 15 other classmates that day. Go to the happy hours and other events. Even if you don’t drink, there are plenty of people who just hang out and grow together. After all you never know who you might meet from the 9:30 class that you wouldn’t have had time to meet otherwise. 

My second piece of advice is what gets me through the long workouts and aches and pains. Its 80/20. Eighty percent of my life I try to live perfectly clean but 20 percent of the time I enjoy life. For example, I wont deny myself ice-cream with my girlfriend because it’s going to ruin my workouts. It’s those small moments that make all of this worth it. And I promise you, it is. 

Something you might not know about me:  I’ve been to Pamplona, Spain to run with the bulls. Ask me sometime about it because I love telling the story of almost being trampled to death. Also, I have actually never been to another CrossFit gym besides CrossFit Central Houston. So for all I know we could be doing pilates compared to CrossFit.

Jaime R.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).  I grew up in the border towns of Matamoros, MX and Brownsville, TX and moved to Houston in 2002.  I received my BS in Chemical Engineering from Rice in 2006, where I met my lovely wife and former Spotlight Athlete, Jessica Zwiener.  I’m a Senior Process Engineer at Fluor Corporation, with a focus in downstream refining of heavy crudes.  I was moderately athletic while growing up - I played Little League Baseball, JV and Varsity Baseball, and the occasional pickup street soccer match. 
My other hobby aside from surviving WODs is homebrewing.  I’ve been making beer at home for 6 years and am a member of the best local club – The Foam Rangers – for which I recently served as Grand Wazoo for a year.  It is truly a fun hobby full of great people and I get to seriously nerd out with my engineering background.  Oh, and then there’s the 20+ gallons of beer always on tap at home…
Quick facts – Blue. August 30. Pronounced “Hi-May”. Hate pollen. Love sushi. Brown Ale. 1.75 cats. Grilling. Futbol. Mario Kart 64. Wolverine. Always. No. Cards Against Humanity. Mosquitoes. 3-ply. Hawai’i. Go Owls.      

Which class time do you usually attend? The only one that has its own shirt - 5 AM (Whoosh!). I get an off-day every other Friday so I mix it up a bit and go to 6 AM or 9:30 AM.  I like to WOD early because it helps me be energized for the rest of the day.

Favorite WOD or movement:  Squats and cleans.

Least favorite WOD or movement: Rowing and thrusters.  

Favorite cheat meal: Beer and Chipotle burritos.  Oddly enough, I rarely combine both, which I may remedy after typing this up.  #bulkupbuttercup

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? For a while there after college, not much of anything besides consuming a lot of cooked and fermented calories.  I would do the occasional run around the Rice Loop, go on a bike ride, start and stop P90X and Insanity, and play Wii Sports. In January 2013, I joined a large gym that is open around the clock to get my swole on. This was also right when Jessica joined CFCH.  It wasn’t a competition, but we definitely would brag about our own workout routines and compared progress.  It boiled down to me wasting a lot of time and money while Jessica got buff and was kicking my butt (which she still does on a regular basis). Finally, in July, she convinced me to try out a WOD.  I’ll be honest - I was scared, intimidated, and went into it with a crumby attitude.  At the end of the Front Squat/DU couplet, I couldn’t breathe, my legs stopped working and I wanted to sign up on the spot and take a delicious gulp of the Kool-Aid.  I couldn’t walk for a week. 

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I have caught myself saying “wow, I can’t believe I just did that” so many times about so many things. I eat better, drink less, and sleep more. 
In the 9 months that I’ve been doing CrossFit, I’ve gained the good kind of weight (20 lbs) and have put up some good percent-of-body-weight strength numbers. Heck, two months into CrossFit, I got my first poorly executed muscle up.  I came in not being able to do a single strict pull-up.  I’ve learned how the body should move and perform these movements to the best of my abilities.  Hmm, who knew that a lot of ailments can actually be prevented with good movements and proper nutrition?  
I try to approach CrossFit as not just pushing a lot of weight around, but as a holistic development.  I’ve noticed huge improvements in my confidence, mental toughness, and energy.  Honestly, I find myself approaching work situations like long chipper WODs, strategizing for the best outcome. 
I am not going to attribute my few personal athletic successes on just the “constantly varied movements, broad time and modal domains” stuff and my beard.  I can truly say that the reason why I’m doing alright at this CrossFit thing is due to the positive CFCH culture and the wholehearted interest of Teresa/Phil/Josh in making us better athletes.  

What motivates/inspires you? Phil yelling at me to get back on that bar in 3-2-1. Seeing how far I am able to push myself through some serious physical and mental exhaustion.  I am curious to find my true max genetic ability in strength and skills.  And c’mon, who doesn’t WOD for Happy Hour and nice glutes.  

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  In true engineer fashion, here’s my bulleted list.
1) Give it your best on every WOD but be smart and keep this in mind – being injured is the exact 
opposite of being fit.  Ask anyone in the box about their goals and more than likely one will be “I want to be/stay fit”. Step 1 is not injuring yourself just to say that you RX’d something.  Play it smart.  
2) Educate yourself in proper lifting technique.  Lack of mobility is a (temporary) excuse.  Lack of interest is not.   
3) Put that iDevice down and mobilize for at least 10 minutes a day (on top of what we do as a warm-up).
4) Strength first. Chiseled abs later.
5) Even Rich fails.

Something you might not know about me: I really like working with spreadsheets. I can watch Anchorman over and over again.  I constantly binge on CrossFit videos (seriously, only CrossFitters watch LONG videos of others working out for pleasure). I like to work out to a weird mix of heavy metal and teenage pop.  The name of my homebrew operation is Five Arm Brewery. All of my strength comes from my beard. 

Jesus G.

 Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I was born and raised in a small city of northern Mexico. It’s called Chihuahua (yes, like the dog). I played football (not soccer, actual american football) for 7 years, then went into Med School. After a few years I decided I wanted to do research, so I changed my program and now here I am. Finishing My PhD in Biotechnology and doing cancer research at Houston Methodist.

I really like sports, science and music. I like to read a lot, all kinds of things. I play the guitar, but I’m not that good since I don’t really practice much. I am planning to start writing articles about fitness, nutrition and sport science just as a hobby (for now at least) because I also really enjoy the intellectual part of health and fitness. 

Which class time do you usually attend?  The best one: 6:30    

Favorite WOD or movement:  Clean and Jerk, Hand stand push ups, deadlifts.    

Least favorite WOD or movement: I don’t like rowing, I hate wall balls and have a weird love/hate relationship with thrusters and alternating lunges. 

Favorite cheat meal:  Buffalo wild wings with beer... I am trying to cut my beer intake… but honestly I am not trying too hard...

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to Crossfit? I was getting fat... I also played racquetball for some years. I tried the regular gym and it kind of worked for a few months, but then I got bored and stopped going 

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I have seen A LOT of changes in me... Physically not so much, at least in me they are so slow that I think it is harder to notice. But I have definitely improved my lifestyle. I always say now that CrossFit keeps me sane, not only physically healthy. It has become a very important part of my life. 

What motivates/inspires you? There’s a lot of things that motivate me in life, but unlike many other people I don’t think I really need a motivation for CrossFit. For me CrossFit is a motivator itself, in specific CFCH. What Phil and T have put together in that box, has really changed the way I do things. I don’t go to the gym to get fitter, or healthier or stronger (although I really like those “side effects”), I go there because I have a lot of fun, and because it makes my day a lot better. I enjoy every single aspect of it, the workouts, our coaches, and our community.

So even if some people think that I work really hard, I don’t see it that way. I don’t work, I go and have as much fun as possible doing crossfit. This is why sometimes I refuse to take a rest day, it doesn’t matter if I am really tired, sick or feeling down, going to the gym makes it all better, so for me, CrossFit is my “resting” time. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Don’t even bother to try another place, we have the best coaches and the best community right here. And regarding CrossFit itself, I would say that you should think about what you want to get from it, but also try to just fall in love with the sport, embrace the CrossFit values and have fun! 

Something you might not know about me:   I am dating Catherine Heim from 6:30 (for most part… I think) and we are going to have a CrossFit baby.    

Jim M.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).; I’m married to my high-school sweetheart, Wendy Wight, and have two daughters ages 15 and 9. Wendy and I grew up in New England and moved around quite a lot after we graduated college. I moved the family to Houston in 2001 when I accepted a job at the now infamous Enron and we’ve been here ever since. I have worked in the energy sector since 1994 but gave all that up in 2010 without any real plan (not recommended). I do a little of this and a little of that, which includes residential real estate agency, energy consulting and managing the house (how modern!). I am completely obsessed with eating, drinking, gambling and CrossFit, probably in that order. I’ve had to cut the drinking way back to survive at the gym, but I make up for it on frequent trips to Coushatta or Las Vegas (5 planned this year already!).

Which class time do you usually attend? Given my schedule flexibility, I initially attended the 9:30am classes, but realized very quickly that I wasn’t able to recover and function in the real world until after lunch! Now I almost always go to 5:30pm classes on Mo/Tu/Th/Friday, so that when I get home and pass-out, the day is over anyway. 

Favorite WOD or movement:  As in, which of the many mentally and physically challenging movements do I enjoy subjecting myself to on a regular basis?  I’m not sure there is such a thing!   I probably feel most confident on the rower or doing kettle bell swings.

Least favorite WOD or movement: There is definitely not enough room on this form. Anything body weight-related, anything squat-related, anything sprint-related, any over shoulder movements . . . . wait, why do I go to this gym again?

Favorite cheat meal:  Actually, this seems to be an area that I’ve been able to manage really well, especially with the kick-start help of the WLC.  My weakness is sweets and alcohol, but if I could pick a favorite cheat meal, I would go with truffled mac & cheese.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Yoga at the YMCA (boring), personal training - which was really not that motivating, some sporadic running and too much drinking and eating.  I had wanted to try CrossFit for a while and finally took the plunge after a weekend bender with friends (also not recommended). I love that we all do the same work-out together, pushing ourselves to our own individual limitations and creating a deep bond of shared misery (in a good way).

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?  Everything seems a little easier, whether it’s a physical challenge like moving furniture or showing off my moves on the dance floor or a mental challenge like dealing with 9 year olds. I just feel incredibly healthy, alert and alive.

What motivates/inspires you? I’m a huge, huge fan of our CrossFit community. I’m constantly inspired by the progress I see in others at the gym. Everytime someone gets their first muscle-up, or PRs with major weights, I think, “I can get there too!”I love the before and after moments at the gym, the nervous anticipation and mental math of how to approach the WOD and the exhausted thrill of completing the WOD. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Don’t worry about your score for the WOD, give yourself at least 6 months before you pay attention to scoring. Apply yourself, work as hard as you can, keep coming back. I’m over a year into this and still have workouts that crush me physically and mentally. All that really matters is that you show up for the next workout.

Something you might not know about me:   I was born in Germany, my middle name is Henry, I enjoy shopping, cooking and movies.  I’m a total comic-book nerd and know way too much about super heroes and villians for my own good.  I live pretty close to the gym, but I’m still not ready to run or bike there, mostly because I’m afraid I won’t make it back!

Stephanie S.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I am currently pursuing my Ph.D at UH in Kinesiology with a concentration in obesity studies—I guess you could say exercise, nutrition, and working with people are some of my favorite things.  I am currently focused on researching disability specific aspects of exercise and weight maintenance in women and SMASH rugby athletes.  I am pretty new to Houston, but I am really enjoying my time here thus far.  I love spending my time outside experiencing the city whether it’s kicking around a soccer ball in the park with friends or sitting on a patio enjoying some of the delicious cuisine Houston has to offer.

Which class time do you usually attend? A few months back I would’ve said 9:30, but my new school schedule has given me the opportunity to be a class-hopper and meet more CFCHers.  I do think 9:30 will always be my prime time though if given the choice.

Favorite WOD or movement: I really like Annie.  Though I am just starting to nail down my double-unders I love flying through the sit-ups.  This may move down on the list once I try it with DUs instead of singles though!

Least favorite WOD or movement: Any long workouts with rest worked in!  I definitely prefer a sub-20 minute workout in general, but as soon as I see rest between rounds I know it is going to be a killer. 

Favorite cheat meal: Sweet potato fries and chocolate-chip cookies (in no particular order!)

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before Crossfit I was doing the typical 1 hour gym session or few mile run outside.  I played soccer, basketball, and ran track in high-school and I did some group fitness classes (bootcamp, spin, etc.) my last year of college that really helped me realize how important group workouts are for me to focus and push myself. I had a couple friends in college who raved about Crossfit and thought it would be a cool way to meet new people and stay in shape while I was in Australia this summer.  I was not disappointed at all and haven’t looked back!

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I started Crossfit as a mildly in shape person, but with a long way to go to reach my goals.  Doing Crossfit has increased my confidence in my abilities to do whatever I put my mind to and taught me how to functionally do movements in my daily life.  I have also learned to never doubt my abilities because no matter how horrible the WOD has looked I have had an amazing community to help me to power through and finish to the best of my ability.   I have also become mildly addicted to Crossfit because the variety always keeps me motivated and interested in pursuing new goals and benchmarks. I have just started eating cleaner now that I have really nailed down exercising very regularly and look forward to the physical and mental changes still to come.

What motivates/inspires you? Health and wellness.  I want to continue to grow as a person and I know being healthy and in shape makes me happy.  I am particularly motivated to build good habits now that I will carry through my life and help me to be the best I can be all around.  I am also extremely competitive in general :)

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Never cheat yourself.  Whether it’s that extra rep that you know you can trim off and no one will notice or the technique that will help you move faster, but not as safely.  I always try to focus on doing things properly over doing the most possible weight because down the road I can’t keep moving towards my goals if I am hurt.  That being said… once you know yourself as an athlete in the gym well enough really push yourself out of your comfort zone and you will be surprised at what you are capable of.  

Focus on a couple of movements at a time.  Crossfit can get frustrating because there are so many different movements that you may want to work on at once, but closing in on one or two at a time for a couple weeks will be much more beneficial to developing each skill in the long run.

Most importantly though have fun and don’t be afraid to ask questions because we really do have an amazing group of people at CFCH, particularly Phil and Teresa, who are always there to give a hand or valuable insights when you need it.

Something you might not know about me:  My parents are originally from the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal and it is one of my favorite places in the world to escape for a simple, beautiful, and relaxing vacation.  

 

Grace L.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I have an older brother who works in Chicago and my parents are professors at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO.  I graduated in 2011 from Mizzou with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.  Then moved to Southern California, where I worked as a QC Lab Manager at a medical diagnostics company.  After about a year, I came to Houston to pursue a Master’s in Bioengineering at Rice (graduated in May 2013).  Immediately after graduating, I interned at Johnson Space Center where I researched the efficiency of various space suit designs by measuring the metabolic rates during the performance of various functional movements.  Right now I’m working as a consultant at Hitachi Consulting.  So far it’s a pretty nice job where I get to pick my own hours and work mostly from home. My hobbies include crossfit, being outdoors, cooking, eating, music and misc. research (techniques for CF movements, medicine, nutrition, space, etc.).  I’m interested in exercise physiology and kinesiology, food blogs, and any ways to further improve the health and wellness of others and myself.  I’m also a HUGE foodie, so don’t be surprised if 80% of the words that come out of my mouth are about food.

Which class time do you usually attend? 6AM!

Favorite WOD or movement: Any type of sprint to mid-range couplet or triplet that include some barbell movement(s).  My favorite movements are any barbell movement (especially oly lifts because they’re so technical) and overhead squats.  Also any gymnastic movements because they’re just fun.

Least favorite WOD or movement: Waaaaall baaaaalls… I always leave with a bruised face.  I’m not a huge fan of rowing either.

Favorite cheat meal: Anything with dark chocolate and peanut butter.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? I’ve been in athletics throughout my childhood (softball and basketball).  In high school, I was on the golf team and threw discus and shot put.  Before CrossFit, I was doing a variety of workouts, including P90X, Insanity, Insanity Asylum, kick boxing and training for a half marathon.  I’d been researching different types of exercise and came across CF sometime in 2011.  I started doing some of the travel WODs and eventually joined a box in February 2012 while I was living in SoCal.  I had a gap year where I was doing WODs on my own at the Rice rec center before joining CFCH.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? The changes I’ve seen are phenomenal.  A lot of my non-CF friends talk about the physical benefits of CF, which are great, but I think the greatest changes are the mental ones.  The mental discipline from having to push through being uncomfortable during WODs carries over into every aspect of my life.  I’m also much more confident in my abilities and can apply that to my job, how I interact with people, and so much more.

What motivates/inspires you? All the other member of CFCH and crossfitters around the world.  The community that we have is incredible.  Seeing fellow CFCHers improve and hit PRs is one of the most rewarding experiences.  CF has created an atmosphere of competition and camaraderie, and that’s not easy to do. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Don’t be scared or intimidated and just give it a try.  The leaps and bounds you will experience are invaluable.  Also don’t be afraid to fail – it just makes us stronger because we know we’ll succeed the next time.  Don’t sacrifice technique for speed.  And mobilize!

Something you might not know about me:  I was a pretty hefty kid growing up even though I was always physically active – I basically ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  In 2010, I decided to take control of my life and get healthy by really focusing on nutrition and exercise.  I started following the paleo diet and have been eating that way ever since.  I went from 180lbs to 130lbs over the course of about a year by eating right and doing various workouts (mentioned above).  Because of this, I’m one of the success stories in The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking cookbook by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley of The Food Lover’s Primal Palate blogsite.

 

Allie R.

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1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I work for Shell/Pennzoil Lubricants as a Technology Manager for Innovation in Lubricants (motor oil, hydraulic fluids, etc) and Greases.  In this role, I lead a global multi-disciplinary team of scientists.  On a given day I have the opportunity to collaborate with people in China, India, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands (just to name a few examples).  My team is working on developing motor oils that help to improve energy efficiency.  Did you ever know that a lubricant could help you to get more mileage out less fuel in your car?  My team is working on formulations that will help to make this possible and I feel incredibly fortunate to work with a talented group of scientists across the world in this very exciting and impactful area.  I have a lot of opportunities to speak publically and in the media and I was recently featured in the Society for Automotive Engineers publications.  This year I travelled almost 100,000 miles.

My husband and I have two sons aged 3 and 5.  I enjoy spending every possible minute that I can with my boys.  They are at really fun ages and I especially like reading new books with my family.

2.  Which class time do you usually attend? 5AM.  When I began the 5AM class in November 2012 at CFCH there were times that I was the only person in the class.  I remember the day that the5AM class was the first full class at CFCH and then the first class to go onto a waiting list.  Endurance was created for the 5AM class.  There is a reason for this.  5AM is a community, not a class.  This group is the most supportive and energetic community that I have ever worked out with.  Anytime someone is struggling with the workout, there is someone else cheering for them to finish.  If someone is last to finish a 400 meter run, someone will come and complete the run with them.  That is our community.  We are a diverse group of working parents, newlyweds, singles, doctors, nurses, lawyers, students, engineers, and teachers from all walks of life and at various fitness levels.  There are female elementary school teachers who could “clean” their entire class.  We all check our egos at the door and support the group.  There is nothing like the end of class 5AM cheer to start off the day with a burst of energy.

3.  Favorite WOD or movement: Burpees.  They are so simple that a 2 year old can do them, yet the strongest athletes will groan when they are in the workout.  It is almost impossible to mess up a Burpee and they are a fantastic full body workout.  Burpees can be done anywhere, even in a small cramped hotel room.

4.  Least favorite WOD or movement: One of the things that I like most about CrossFit is the variety so you almost never do a workout more than a few times a year.  There are several movements that I have felt frustrated with from time to time during my two years in the CrossFit.  However, it is very gratifying to achieve a PR on one of those moves and realize that it was not so bad after all.

5.  Favorite cheat meal: Chocolate.

6.  What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before we had kids I used to train for marathons and half marathons.  However, with two kids and a full time job with lots, it is no longer practical for me to leave the family for 2-3 hours on Saturday to go for long distance runs.  I want to spend time with my family.  My friends Patricia, Adrienne and Amy have been involved in CrossFit for many years and suggested that I try it.  I liked it immediately because you can get the same level of workout in one hour AND there are classes at 5AM before my kids wake up.

7.  What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I originally started with CrossFit to get back into shape after having my second child.  I lost all of the baby weight and have now began building more muscle mass.  If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be able to Deadlift my body weight, I would not have believed you.  Now I can.

My job can be very stressful with meetings around the clock (sometime even before the 5AM class).  I can walk into class incredibly stressed out and I ALWAYS complete the class much more relaxed.  CrossFit is the single best cure to stress relief that I have ever found.

8.  What motivates/inspires you? To be honest, I like to eat and I like to look good in my clothes.  Therefore, I must burn the calories that I eat.  CrossFit enables me to achieve this efficiently.

9.  What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Learning good form is a table-stake. 

When you first arrive do not try to compare yourself to others.  I have seen many new people feeling very intimidated because people of their same age/body type are lifting a lot of weight.  WE ALL STARTED WITH PVC PIPES AND the 15 LB BAR.  No one is going to laugh at your or think any less of you if you are lifting less weight.  It takes a lot of time to build up to heavy weights safely.  At the same time, do not feel that you have to compete with people.  You are there for your own fitness.  There will be competitions, but do not feel like to have to jump right into it.  Listen to the advice of Phil and Teresa to get the proper foundation.  They are outstanding coaches.

CFCH is a FANTASTIC community.  Everyone is incredibly friendly.  Start out by introducing yourself.  On days when you finish the WOD early or the WOD is run in different heats, cheer (loudly!) for the others in the class.  When someone is having a tough day, cheer extra loud.  Believe me, there will be a day when the WOD is really hard for you and you do not think that you will finish.  However, when you have the entire class cheering for you it is much easier to finish and you will.  The louder you cheer for others the louder they will cheer for you.

10.      Something you might not know about me: I have visited CrossFit boxes all over the world as a visiting CrossFitter.  CFCH is by far my favorite because of the community and fantastic coaches.  My second favorite CrossFIt in the US in CrossFit Portland in Oregon.  Last year I visited CrossFit Portland during the CrossFit Open.  I did not think that I would be able to complete the Snatches is 13.1, but the coach helped me with my form and confidence so that I could PR the Snatch at 45lb and complete 30 repetitions within the allotted time!!  My most memorable CrossFit experience was at a CrossFit box in Moscow.  I speak some Russian, but not enough to follow everything in a class.  I was completely confused when the instructor told me to get a 45 kg (kilo, NOT lb) barbell for sit-ups.  Thankfully, I realized that the exercise was a back-squat and then it all made sense.

Josh Hill

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Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).  Many at CFCH know my wife, Lauren. We actually dated in high school, lost contact for about 8 years, and then found each other once again through a mutual friend. We have a 2 ½ year old daughter named Ellie who likes to tell me that I get sweaty and gross when I go to the gym and we have a 1 year old son named Zachary who never stops smiling. I am a criminal defense lawyer – I used to be a prosecutor alongside previous spotlight athlete Charles Brodsky – and I work with my father who has been practicing criminal law for about 35 years. My hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, mixed martial arts, and cooking/eating BBQ. 
Which class time do you usually attend?   I almost always attend 6am.

Favorite WOD or movement:   My favorite movement is probably handstand pushups because I’m able to do tons of them. My favorite WOD is fight gone bad because it sucks.

Least favorite WOD or movement:  My least favorite movement is probably rowing. My least favorite WOD is fight gone bad because it sucks.  Yes, FGB is my favorite and my least favorite.

Favorite cheat meal:  All cheat meals are my favorites; however, I especially like to eat any of the cakes at the Chocolate Bar, pancakes at Buffalo Grille, and Star Pizza.

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit?  Before CrossFit, I was doing short distance triathlons, heavy power lifting, and MMA/Jiu-Jitsu training.   I thought I was in great shape because I was strong, wrestled a lot, ran 3 miles a few times a week, and biked 40+ miles a week.  I had heard of CrossFit through the MMA community but I never thought using such “light weights” and doing burpees could help me get stronger or better conditioned.  Then, around 2007, a friend of mine who worked with me at the DA’s office suggested that I try a freebie CF workout at CrossFit Houston.  That workout was FGB and I used weights that were probably scaled for a weak child.  After that workout, I cancelled my gym membership, quit riding my bike and running, and began my 3-4x weekly torture sessions with Carlos and Lisa Ibarra.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?   I have seen my strength, especially in the squat and deadlift, shoot through the roof (my DL went from 285# to 425#) and my conditioning has improved greatly.  I am also stronger on the mat and in the ring. Most importantly, I have the energy to deal with life – I can keep up with my kids who crawl and run at about 100mph.

What motivates/inspires you?   My wife and not losing motivate me.  I hate losing at anything and CF makes me better at all the combat sports I engage in.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  Focus on precise technique over everything else.  Proper technique may make movements seem tougher to do, but because proper technique is more efficient, and less injury prone, in the long run, using perfect form makes the movements easier.  If this means going slower or using lighter weight, don’t let your ego get the better of you.  Also, nutrition makes a way bigger difference than you could imagine in your performance.

Something you might not know about me: I like both really scary and really crappy movies.

 

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Chris Fowler

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).  I participated in Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at the University of Michigan and graduated with a BSE in 2008. Following college, I spent a year at Navy Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC learning about Navy nuclear power and operating a shore-based reactor on the James River. After that I went to Portsmouth, NH to my first sea tour on the USS Helena (SSN-725) until the boat moved from the shipyard to Norfolk, VA. While on my sea tour, I deployed with the USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) in 2010 and then again on the USS Helena in 2012. After deployment in 2012, I came to Houston for my first shore tour as an Assistant Professor of Naval Science. I teach 3 classes at Rice University for the Houston Consortium and help ensure that Midshipmen successfully earn a commission. I am currently engaged to Leah from 6am. We’ve been together since 2009 and will be getting married on October 12th.

Which class time do you usually attend?  I normally attend the 4:30 but sometimes drop in on later classes depending on what I’ve got going on in the afternoon.

Favorite WOD or movement:   Deadlift. It’s truly amazing how much weight the human body can lift without injury. 
Least favorite WOD or movement:  Inch worm with a push-up. I’m good with push-ups and the inch worm separately. Combined they are not okay.

Favorite cheat meal:  Chick-Fil-A

What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to Crossfit?     Before CrossFit I did the standard military routine of running, push-ups, and sit-ups repeated for 40-50 minutes with the occasional flutter kick and leg lift thrown in. I initially heard of CrossFit back in my senior year of college in 2008. A friend said I should try this cool workout and that it would change my life. It started with knees to elbows and when I really couldn’t do those, I just assumed if you weren’t already in shape, you couldn’t do CrossFit. I held that belief until January 2013 when Leah finally got me to try a class with her and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?   I think the biggest change I’ve seen physically is dropping 25lbs since January and noticing significant muscle growth and definition. Leah and I started eating paleo back in February and I’m always surprised by how awful I feel when I have non-paleo meal. 

What motivates/inspires you?   At the NROTC unit we have Physical Training 3 days a week at 0545 and running faster, doing more push-ups, sit-ups etc than those 18-21 year old kids makes me work harder. I’m also inspired by beating PR’s on a pretty regular basis.

I’m also inspired to keep going just to prove the naysayers wrong.  I’m sure everyone at the gym has heard someone talk about how CrossFit leads to injury, it’s not sustainable, or it’s just good competition for people who aren’t athletic.  I say tweaking your lower back in the gym, heel striking followed by shin splints, and sitting around cause I’m not “athletic” are neither safe nor sustainable.  I prefer to work out in a manner that emphasizes good technique over maximum weight, is constantly varied so I’m never bored, and can be adjusted to fit my level of fitness.

What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  First, focus on technique. Good technique keeps you safe and gets you stronger in the entire range of motion. Second, buy a lacrosse ball and use it. Seriously, they are only $1.99 plus tax at Academy and will change your life. Third, don’t be shy in class. Class is more fun with people you know and we all have some experience and knowledge that might help you out.

Something you might not know about me:  My latest goal is to hunt my own food and stock my freezer with things I killed. I just need to find a good place to go and get started with it.
 

 

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Jessica Zwiener

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I graduated from Rice in 2006, and from med school at UT Houston in 2011.  Currently I’m in my last year of internal medicine residency at UT Houston, and will be doing an endocrinology fellowship for 2-3 years after that.  I’m married to Jaime Robles, who finally joined CrossFit after six months of nagging/seeing my awesome results day after day.  We’ve got 3 cats, and I spend what little free time I’ve got cooking, spending time with friends, studying, and sleeping.

    Which class time do you usually attend?  Usually 5 am.  If I’m on a call month, I just come whenever I can fit in a class.

    Favorite WOD or movement: handstands, running, overhead squats, deadlifts

    Least favorite WOD or movement: Turkish get-ups, any kind of cleans, rope climbs

    Favorite cheat meal: peanut butter pie from Raven Grill

    What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit?   Before I started, all I knew about CrossFit was that a Facebook friend did it, and posted incessantly about girls with old-fashioned names and these things called WODs.  I didn’t think anything much of it until I saw CFCH open up 3 minutes from my house.  I googled it, and liked what I saw, and I’ve been here ever since!  Before starting CrossFit, I had been a runner for a few years, but had to quit because my knees were always bothering me.  I bounced around through a couple different activities - group “boot camp” classes that were free at my apartment complex, barefoot/minimalist running (got rid of my knee problems - that’s why you always see me in weird footwear!), even a little bit of lifting - but never stuck with anything longer than a few months before getting bored.

    What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?  I’ve had fantastic results with CrossFit.  I’ve actually gained about 10 pounds since I started - gained muscle in places I never knew existed, and lost fat.  I wear skirts to work now because all of my pants are too loose.  I pay a lot more attention to what I eat, and I’ve almost completely lost my sweet tooth.  I actually get on Facebook now that Teresa keeps posting CrossFit things all the time!  Instead of wasting time on news sites, I now spend time on CrossFit sites.  (I have zero kinesthetic awareness - I can’t just watch someone demonstrate a move and then copy it; I have to break it down piece by piece.)

    What motivates/inspires you? When we went to the recent Katy competition, there were so many competitors doing so many amazing things!  I’ve never seen that many girls doing pull-ups.  It really showed me that anyone can do this stuff if you work hard enough - you don’t have to be a genetically gifted super-athlete.  It’s also motivating to see your lifts keep getting heavier, and to compare your current WOD times to previous ones to see how much faster you’ve gotten.

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? 1. Learn the techniques.  Really understanding the most efficient form for each lift or movement will help you lift more and keep from getting injured.  Understanding the basic common positions is hugely important - rowing is just like a deadlift; you should have the same shoulder position in the top of a pull-up as you do in the start of a press, etc).  It’s also easier to learn good form when you’re starting, than to realize that you’ve been doing it wrong for a year and have to dial down your weight until you relearn how to do it properly.  There is a ridiculous amount of information out there about just about every move - check out youtube or CrossFit Journal or MobilityWOD/Becoming a Supple Leopard.  2. Record your WODs in a journal or on your phone, and keep an easily accessible list of your PRs and girl WODs so you can always compare current weights/times to previous ones.  3. If you go to the 5am class, it’s less painful if you didn’t stay up till 11 the night before.  4. Try out barefoot/minimalist shoes - it’s much easier to run with good form (= less injuries), and it really helps keep you more stable especially on heavy lifts, since you don’t have an inch of squishy foam between you and the ground.  5. If you’re having trouble with a particular movement, have someone take a video of you - it makes it so much easier to see what you’re doing wrong.  6. Check out the video series called “The Position” with Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli - it’s all about how to apply a hollow body position to basic movements (double unders, push-ups, pull-ups, etc) (http://journal.crossfit.com/2011/03/theposition1doubleunder.tpl).  7. If you value your Achilles, step down - don’t jump down - from box jumps.

      Something you might not know about me: I’m vegetarian!  (And before you ask, yes, I get plenty of protein :)).  Also, I’m terrible with names, faces, and directions, and I have been known to lose my car more than once.

      Marshall Law

      January 2013 and June 2013

      January 2013 and June 2013

      Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).  Without a doubt,  I am the luckiest guy I know.  Somehow I talked the hottest chick on the planet (the former Melissa Brezik) into marrying me on 7-7-07.  Since then, she has given me the three most beautiful children in the world: Maverick (5), Colt (3) and Savannah (1).

      I am a self-employed salesperson in the scholastic products industry.  I am a regional sales rep for both Balfour (class rings, caps and gowns, letterman jackets) and Photo Texas Photography (a school photography company).

      My wife and I are both big college football fans.  We both went to the University of Texas and go up for games as often as we can (although that has been less and less since those beautiful children have come along).  And, of course, we can’t go to Austin and not hit up Trudy’s, Magnolia Café or see the Spazmatics at Cedar Street.  We love to go two-steppin’ (to a live band if possible) and do anything on the water… floating down the Guadalupe, wakeboarding, kayaking, catching specs and reds… you name it.  But, my absolute favorite thing to do is coach my sons’ YMCA T-Ball team.  Is it bad to make your 3-year old watch film on his swing after every game? (jk)  

      Which class time do you usually attend? The class of all CFCH classes.  The baddest of the bad.  The class that sets the bar every day.  The class that is wreckin’ WODs while you’re still slobbering on your pillow.  5AM, Baby!  WHOOSH!

      Favorite WOD or movement: Hang Cleans/Power Cleans.  Because, thanks to our great coaches, it is the movement in which I have made the most progress.  My max has gone up 50 lbs. since I started in January.  

      Any 20-min AMRAP.  Because I usually look up at the clock when there are 17 minutes left and think, “How in the hell am I gonna finish this?”  And somehow my amazing 5AM teammates always get me through.

      Least favorite WOD or movement:  Front squats and thrusters.  My front rack and flexibility suck.

      Favorite cheat meal: Without a doubt, Trudy’s (Austin) Queso Especial and Stuffed Avocado.  ¡Qué Magnífico!

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit?  Ironically, my CrossFit journey started in the Shipley’s parking lot. Yes, that one. George Hope (another 5AM’er) and I, being the great dads that we are, ran into each other buying our children donuts one Saturday morning.  He told me that he had started doing this CrossFit thing right around the corner and that I should try it out.  It was great timing.  I was in a health rut.  I needed something to get me untracked.  CFCH is exactly what I needed.  Six months later and 39 lbs. lighter, I have the honor of answering these questions. <wink>

       What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit?  I have lost 39 lbs. (242 to 203) and 9 inches in my waistline (44 to 35) since I started CFCH 7 months ago.  I didn’t start CrossFit with a real desire to get “weight room” stronger (I just wanted to lose some weight), but it’s just happening.  To think that at 42 I am approaching some of the max lifts that I had in my 20’s is just crazy.  

      Even more important than those numbers is the positive impact Teresa, Phil, my 5AM compadres and the entire CFCH community have had on my life. CFCH has really rewired me.  It has changed my daily approach to nutrition and really life in general.  It is the most physically AND mentally challenging thing I have ever done. Not Organic Chemistry challenging, but finding-out-how-mentally-tough-you-really-are challenging.  You learn a lot about yourself in the 19th minute of a 20-minute AMRAP. I know you feel me. 

      Tell me if this sounds familiar.  Before I joined CFCH, I would run on the treadmill for 6 months, lose 20 lbs., get bored and gain it all back 6 months later.  I have done Nutrisystem twice, lost about 20-25 lbs. both times, only to gain it all back in 6 months.  As an outside salesperson, I drive about 50,000 miles a year on average.  Before I started CFCH, every time I would clean out my truck, I would have a floorboard full of empty bags from Taco Bell, Jack in the Box and Whataburger.  One time at the end of a week, I threw away 17 cans of Red Bull!  Last week when I cleaned out my truck, I pulled 11 water bottles off the floorboard... no fast food bags, no Red Bull.  Embarrassing, but I tell you this to demonstrate the power of CrossFit and how Phil and Teresa have helped me understand the importance of diet as a part of the fitness equation.  I am not 100% Paleo, but like Angie the Great mentioned last month, I eat well enough that when I don’t eat right, I immediately feel like crap.  Great motivation to make better choices.  And maybe even more motivating than that is the fact that we are working our asses off before the sun comes up.  Crushin’ a WOD is not a “morning jog” or “going to the gym”.  I am not going to waste the work I just did finishing a WOD that almost killed me on a #5 Combo with a sweet tea from Chick-Fil-A.  I think the physical and mental suffering you put yourself through is probably the greatest motivation for dietary discipline throughout the day.  If you don’t feel this way, then you’re not working hard enough! 

      What motivates/inspires you?  I am 42 and my kids are 5, 3 and 1 (took me awhile to find the right girl).  I have a lot of batting practice and fade routes to throw in the next 17 years.  Moreover, I don’t want people to say, “Aww… isn’t that sweet?  Savannah’s grandpa is dropping her off at school again”.  

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston?  Push your chips to middle of the table.  Go all in.  And this doesn’t mean do a CrossFit class every day.  Go for a jog at Memorial or a swim or a bike ride on your off days.  Hit the regular gym or a spinning or yoga class.  Phil talked to me early on about the CrossFit philosophy.  Ask him about it.  It makes sense. You don’t have to be 100% Paleo, just eat as Paleo/healthy as you can as often as you can.  Whatever results you want WILL come. This stuff woks.  Just ask Frank Rodriguez (another 5AM’er).  He’s lost more than 50 lbs in four months since joining CFCH. Wow!

      In addition, Teresa puts a lot of time and effort into the website/blog/Facebook/Twitter for us.  Read the blog every day.  Follow the links, read the articles, cook her recipes.  She is providing us with an incredible resource.  Take advantage of it.  We are lucky to have two of the best in the business running CFCH.  Experts in nutrition, experts in strength programming, experts in biomechanics, expert motivators and experts in helping you achieve whatever fitness goals you want to achieve. Believe it! 

      And lastly, like Angie said, work on your flexibility and stretch as often as possible.  Buy a foam roller and a lacrosse ball.  It will cut your soreness and recovery time in half. 

       Something you might not know about me:  I was a high school football coach for 14 years and had the great honor of coaching Ben Douglass (6:30PM class) at Bellaire HS.  Ben was the only kid I ever coached that never missed a summer workout in four years of high school.  We inherited a football program that had not won more than 5 games in a single season in over 30 years.  Ben was a captain on the first back-to-back playoff teams at Bellaire since 1971-72.  In the program’s signature victory in 2003 over Madison (Vince Young’s alma mater), Ben blocked a punt and had a critical run in overtime that set up the win.  Bellaire hadn’t beaten Madison since 1979 before that night.

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      Angie Villasenor

       

      Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).  Four of the family members in my home have tails and are covered in fur, well five if you count Eimile ;).  My job is to fix things Eimile breaks and helping her on her mission to rescue dogs, then there is that side engineering thing I do during the day to help fund the first two jobs. My hobbies include crossfit, surfing, day dreaming about building stuff I never have time for, books and any form of manual labor.  I’m interested in science, history and how things work including the human body. 

       

      2. Which class time do you usually attend? Well I’ll always say I was one of the two original 5AM attendees….in fact we were the ONLY 5AM attendees before it became the coolest class and I couldn’t keep up with that level of awesomeness =)  so  I started attending either of the PM classes.

      Favorite WOD or movement: “Favorite” is such an ambiguous term…..more like “it hurts so bad” -  wall balls!! So for a WOD that would KAREN I guess

      Least favorite WOD or movement: THRUSTERS….irony is they are kind of like wall balls now that I think of it

      Favorite cheat meal: I wouldn’t call it a meal ….it’s bite size….more like a piece….by piece I mean a slice….and really a slice just equals the whole thing as long as you don’t cut it.   It’s a Coconut Pie for those that need future gift ideas for me, and don’t worry repeat gifts will be greatly appreciated =). Noticed how I capitalized Coconut Pie because in my heart it deserves nothing less.

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Running, biking and surfing. I had heard of crossfit from some friends, but it wasn’t until Eimile introduced me to Teresa and Phi that I actually tried it. We met over dinner at BJ’s where I’m sure we ordered  the worst food for you off the menu, drank beer and stayed out late drinking and dancing…..why we had  said yes to going to a 9am  class with them the following morning I have no idea.  Almost two years later they opened their own gym and now I attend their Saturday 9am class….minus all the bad food and beer the night before of course. 

      What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? My clothes don’t fit ….champagne problems. Thanks to crossfit I mentally I feel bad eating chips and salsa and then I physically regret it the next day in class. I will say though it does encourage me to make better food choices more often than before I started crossfit.

      What motivates/inspires you?  See question number 5. No but seriously I like doing things that I think are challenging and crossfit definitely belongs in that category. 

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? #1 Stick with it  #2 Do mobility and stretching on the side or #1 will be difficult 

      Something you might not know about me: There are 3 televisions in my house, but I don’t watch TV unless it’s episodes of Seinfeld or Modern Family on DVD.

       PS Eimile if you’re reading this I meant a pony tail and beautiful long hair =D

       

       

      Charles Brodsky

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      Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I have been an ADA with the Harris County DA's Office for 6 years. My family is all in Houston but thankfully no kids yet.  Interests include hunting, reading, and good food.

      Which class time do you usually attend? I attend the 6:30pm class

      Favorite WOD or movement: Rope climbs, push presses, and push ups

      Least favorite WOD or movement: kettle bells, inch worm with a pushup, and I HATE thrusters

      Favorite cheat mealBW3s is the greatest place that has ever served food in the history of mankind. 

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit?  I was attending a big gym and doing the same workouts multiple times a week.  Crossfit was introduced to me by being lucky enough to be friends with Phil and Teresa.   

      What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? I can tell that I am significantly stronger and I can do workouts that I never thought were possible.  I feel more confident about my abilities. 

      What motivates/inspires you?  I dont want to go back to being that fat kid that I was.  

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Dont get intimidated.  The workouts are bad but the significant results will come with just a little effort and time.

      Something you might not know about me:  Even though I was just over five feet tall in high school I was the captain of the volleyball team.

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      Eimile Gavagan

      Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.) :  I’m an independent dog rescuer and aspiring gardener who loves to cook and has a hard time driving from one place to another without picking up a stray dog.

      Which class time do you usually attend? It varies.  Right now I’ve started attending the 9:30 class.

      Favorite WOD or movement: Deadlift

      Least favorite WOD or movement: Front squats, ugh.

      Favorite cheat meal: BISCUITS AND GRAVY

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Before CrossFit I did some running and classes at the gym (zumba, yoga, spin) but the monotony was pretty hard to deal with.  I was introduced to CrossFit because Teresa is my best friend!  We were throwers on the track team together (Go Owls haha!) and I’ve watched her and Phil DOMINATE in CrossFit competitions for years now.  It seemed so intense and awesome, I was really excited when they decided to open their own gym.  

      What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Suffering through a CrossFit workout makes me much more conscious of my decisions outside of the gym.  I have had some pretty bad habits.  So, when I want to have a cigarette or a drink it helps me to think about how terrible I’m going to feel at the gym the next day if I give into those cravings.  And that’s been really valuable for my overall health.

      What motivates/inspires you? Angie. She is so naturally gifted and she LOVES TO BE HEALTHY.  So, while that’s sometimes annoying when I want to go get some nachos or something, it’s also a really handy motivation tool.  I know she’s always going to be healthy and energetic and on the go and I don’t want to be left in the dust!  So I have to pick up the pace.

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Prepare to make friends and bond over the pain and suffering.  :)  And also cheer for people right after you finish your WOD.  It helps you forget how tired you are.

      Something you might not know about me:  I could recite to you the entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

      Pete Gerety

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       Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). Work as a Lawyer. Joined because Phil and Teresa were opening the gym. I probably would still be running up and down the bayous if they hadn’t opened the gym

      Which class time do you usually attend? 5:30 and the occasional 6:30 and Saturday

      Favorite WOD or movement: Anything that puts me on the floor after the work out. (power clean or deadlift with burpee over the bar/ any lifting movement with running in between / AMRAPs).

      Least favorite WOD or movement: Inch worms with a push up (hate) and anything handstand. Add on: knees to elbows.

      Favorite cheat meal: Jimmy Johns

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to CrossFit? Running a lot and lifting with poor form. 

      What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Sleep better, try to eat better (but not always) because it affects performance. 

      What motivates/inspires you? Faster times, getting to RX.

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Listen to the coaches and scale. 

      Something you might not know about me:  I have no idea what to put here, probably lots of things…

      Rene Garza

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        Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). I graduated from Texas A&M University (Whoop) in 2011 and am working in the procurement department at Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation. I’m originally from Cotulla, a small town south of San Antonio. I have an older sister and an awesome 4 year old niece. Some of my hobbies include working out, going hunting, going to the movies, cooking, and traveling. 

      Which class time do you usually attend? Either the 5:30 or 6:30pm. 

      Favorite WOD or movement: Favorite WOD would be Fran and favorite movement would be Kettle bell swings. 

      Least favorite WOD or movement: Least favorite WOD would be Diane and least favorite movement is doing HSPU

      Favorite cheat meal: Pizza or Chipotle

      What were you doing before CrossFit and how were you introduced to Crossfit? Before Crossfit, I would run and lift weights and not really seeing results. A friend introduced me to crossfit during my senior year at A&M. His brother owns a Crossfit gym in College Station and he was offering a free month trial period.  During that time we also did a 24 day challenge and I quickly learned how effective Crossfit was and saw great results.   

      What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit? Overall, I have more energy, I’m able to sleep better at night, I don’t get stressed out as easily as I used to. Physically, I’m seeing great results, however, I’ve seen better when I eat paelo foods.  

      What motivates/inspires you? When I feel like giving up I was say to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Also, when I don’t feel like working out, I’ll start to read other people’s Crossfit success stories and those motivate me to go workout and go the extra mile. 

      What advice would you give to someone just starting at CrossFit Central Houston? Learn and master the techniques.  Scale to your appropriate fitness level. Be outgoing and make friends…it makes the workouts fun when you have friends cheering and encouraging you when you need that extra push.

      Something you might not know about me:  I work 90+ hours a week. I have a full time job and started a college décor and merchandise manufacturing company with my college roommate. We started in our dorm room, two years ago, and have migrated to an office/warehouse that is located two miles from the box. My goal is to be doing our business full time within a year.