CrossFit Journal: The Performance-Based Lifestyle Resource

Featured Athletes

 
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kristy zacharias

july 2019

CFR: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Kristy: July I will be 42 years old and married to my husband Danny for 19 years. We have three beautiful daughters Emma (10), Sophia (8) and Ruby (5).

We love Jesus and have been attending Grace Center since 2007. Before kids I was a wedding planner, but now my days are filled with homeschooling my girls, and helping people get healthy with the amazing Juice Plus+ products. I was born and raised in Ontario Canada, and lived in Texas, and Florida before settling in Tennessee.



CFR: How were you introduced to CrossFit?

Murph 2019

Murph 2019

Kristy: I met Kylee at a play date and she told me that her husband was doing CrossFit out of their garage. I told my husband who was really interested, but due to his traveling schedule had put it off. So I took the opportunity to find out what it’s all about. In March 2016 I showed up at Shaun and Kylee’s garage not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I have learned so much and have come a long way.



CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

Kristy:

Physical - I’m amazed at my ability to lift heavier, and move faster. I love being around this amazing community that pushes and encourages me. Before CrossFit I had never really lifted a barbell let alone put weights on it. Mental - You already win when you show up, especially on the days you don’t feel like it. Emotional -The last 3 years I have realized that I can do anything…with a little focus. There have been several WODs I didn’t think I would be able to finish but I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving. Those are the WOD that I would burst into tears realizing I did something I thought I couldn’t do, and how proud I was of myself. You have to fight and overcome on a daily bases.



CFR: What’s your can’t live without it piece of gear?

Kristy: I actually don’t own any gear, other than my Nano 6 (Shoes). A must have during a WOD is chewing a piece of gum. It helps with dry mouth.



CFR: Tell us your favorites…

Kristy:

Cheat Meal - Anything from Mojo Taco’s, especially the Korean Cauliflower taco

Protein source - Juice Plus+ Complete (plant based shake mix)

Animal - Koala

Healthy Recipe - Pepper & Chickpea Salad Dice up 2-3 colored bell peppers Dice up cucumber 1-2 can rinsed chickpeas Splash of olive oil & lemon Mrs. Dash seasoning Salt/pepper Mix



CFR: What’s one hidden talent you have or interesting fact about you?

Kristy: Interesting fact - I played Rugby in high school.



CFR: What is a long term goal you have? A short term goal?

Pull-Up Practice

Pull-Up Practice

Kristy: My short term fitness goal is to be able to do a pull up. I’ve been working on it for awhile now. My long term goal is to instill in my girls and the people around me the value of staying active, and making healthy food choices. I love showing my girls that mom does hard things.


CFR: What is your favorite Shaun-ism/quote?

Kristy: “You’ll be fine,” “it’ll be fun!” - as he smiles and watches us all suffer, and “just walk away,” when you’re second guessing a heavy lift.


CFR: What is your favorite movement? Least favorite?

Kristy: I love doing double unders! It took me a few years, but I finally got them. I have a love hate (more hate) relationship with the assault bike. CFR: What is the best piece of wisdom someone ever shared with you? Kristy: “When you stay in your comfort zone, that is the death zone and no growth can happen there.” This applies to every area of your life, so I often put myself in uncomfortable place to be challenged and to grow.


CFR: As a Canadian, what was the strangest cultural difference you have encountered in the U.S.?

Kristy: There are many differences, from our money, to the metric system or to our health care system. The strangest for me was I had to learn quickly that American’s don’t put vinegar on their french fries.


June 2019- OOps!!


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drew kirchhoff

May 2019

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CFR: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Drew: I am 37 years old and happily married to my wife Jesse for 13 years with our 3 beautiful daughters Nora (17), Madalene (15), and Sydney (12). I enjoy working on my farm, church with the family on Sunday, and the 5 am class everyday! Oh, and guns. I have 3 older daughters so shooting guns ... always fun!

CFR: How were you introduced to CrossFit?

Drew: One if my high school buddies (Coach Daniel) started working out in his garage and invited me to workout with him. He had downloaded an app with a lot of CrossFit gyms workouts posted that we would do. After about 6 months my wife started working out with us and after another 6 months we ( the 3 of us) saw Render opening up with a great new member sign up deal so here we are.

CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

Drew:
Physical Success- the 1st time I got a muscle up was at Render.

Back off ladies, he’s married!

Back off ladies, he’s married!

Mental Success- is showing up everyday. I want/need a challenge everyday and CrossFit pushes me to do things that I won’t otherwise do. Anytime I do something new, better, heavier it’s a great feeling of accomplishment and good for the psyche.

Emotional Success- Only happened a few times but definitely had some workouts where I just worked some shit out. The more emotional, the harder you lift. It is easier sometimes than communicating those feelings to someone else.

CFR: What’s your can’t live without it piece of gear?

Drew: My wrist wraps, I don’t want to say that my wrists are weak. Just that they could be stronger.

CFR: What is your favorite animal? Cheat Meal? Protein source?

Drew: Favorite animal - cheetah
Favorite Protein source - vanilla protein shake
Favorite cheat meal -

::no judging::

A large deep dish pepperoni pizza from Jets with Cajun on the crust and extra sauce on the pizza. 1 order of hot wings (bone-in), and a BOTTLE of Jets ranch for the pizza and wings. Wild Cherry Pepsi to drink with a big glass of milk with Oreo cookies for dessert.

I’m sorry....


CFR: What’s one hidden talent you have or interesting fact about you

Drew: I just found out yesterday (4/28/19) that I will be a father again. Jesse is due at the end of the year!!~however not everyone knows yet, so our little secret for now.

CFR: What is a long term goal you have? A short term goal?

Drew: Short term - 200 double unders unbroken ; Long term - handstand walk

CFR: What is your favorite Shaun-ism/quote?

Drew: His most famous lines “ you’ll be fine” and “ just breathe “ are his go to. But, anytime Shaun quotes an optimal time for us to finish the WOD in RXd, I know that he is laughing like Mr. Burns form the Simpsons on the inside.

CFR: What is your favorite movement? Least favorite?

Drew: My favorite movement is the Snatch, because it is so technical and requires so much focus. It really exposes your weak spots and feels so good when you hit a good lift. My least favorite movement is probably deadlifting just because I am not that good at it.


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Kaitlynn meisenheimer

April 2019

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CFR: Tell us a little about yourself.

Kaitlynn: I am orginally from Long Island, NY and have been in TN for almost 3 years... goodness, what took me so long to leave?! I am a special education teacher, dog mama and coffee lover. I wasn't an athletic kid growing up but I was a competitive (tap) dancer.

CFR: What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

Kaitlynn: I secretly loved the moment coach told me to move to the men's bar to lift with the guys on a back squat day, when there were to many girls on one bar. Oh.. And the day I got my first double under. Who knew I could do that?! I sure didn't lol


CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

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Kaitlynn: Physically- seeing the weight I am able to move. Never thought I'd pick up anything heavier than a 15lb dumbbell, let alone a loaded barbell. Pretty cool!

Mentally- running Ragnar with my Render team with zero training (note: do not recommend). There were a lot of firsts accomplished those two days that never would have happened without the motivation from my team.

Emotionally- I have found an amazing core group of friends that are more like family, they are a genuinely great group of human beings that have been there not only to celebrate PRs but have been there during life’s tougher moments too! Render has been a healthy stress reliever- I am a lot more cheerful and awake on days I workout before work

CFR: What’s your can’t-live-without-it piece of gear?

Kaitlynn: Haha SugarWOD, even though it isn't technically gear... I can't live without! I am totally the reason coach posts the next days WOD an hour earlier #tiredteacher

CFR: Best music/song(s) to get you pumped?

Kaitlynn: Totally depends on the workout but usually something update and fast, bonus points for throwbacks. I can tell you, if I never hear Bring Sally Up again I wouldn’t be upset.


CFR: What is a long term goal you have? A short term goal?

Kaitlynn: A short term goal is to remain consistent with my workouts and participate in a competition! Now that I said it, I have to do it. Long term is to be in the best physical shape and the healthy version of myself.

CFR: Share your favorite (G or PG) CrossFit meme.
Kaitlynn
: Ok, I have two…

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meme 1.jpg

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Troy birdsong

March 2019


CFR: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Troy: I'm 54 and married to my beautiful wife Toni for 26 years and we have two adult children Zane and Olivia.

CFR: What did your fitness routine look like before starting CrossFit?

Troy: I've never been consistently athletic, but also have never really been overweight. I knew I was getting at an age and was physically not as strong as I should be so a year and a half ago, at the prompting of my 17 year old daughter and my wife, I went from the couch to CrossFit.

CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

Troy: The success of the "challenge" to myself. That is both mentally/emotionallly as well as physically. There were times when I first started that I actually sat in my car and said "I can't go in there.", "I don't belong here.", "What was I thinking or Who was I kidding". I had to remember that is was Me Against Me, toss out the "head trash" and step in the door. If I'm honest, there are days when my ego gets in the way and I still ask "Who do you think you are?", but you walk in, let the coaches kick your butt for an hour, and find out that you're stronger (physically and mentally) than you thought you were. So, I'd have to say my greatest successes have been that of "overcoming".

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CFR: How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit affected other parts of your life than just your physical fitness?

Troy: Yes. I have the confidence to "overcome" things and try new things. That has included running a 15 miles trail run with my Render peeps which included running my longest leg of the race (7 miles) in the middle of the night. I have altered my diet and eat much better, I have always been excited about being able to do a 30" box jump until recently toping that with a 36" box jump. It's not just the activity of doing the physical feat, but the confidence that says "You just might be able to do that if you just try."


CFR: Name one thing on your bucket list?

Troy: To take my wife on a Paris, Italy, Greece trip.


CFR: What’s one hidden talent you have or interesting fact about you?

Troy: I don't find it interesting anymore, but I was a professional clown with Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus a long time ago.


CFR: What is a long term goal you have? A short term goal?

Troy: From a CrossFit standpoint my short term goal would be to gain the mobility in my shoulders back and be able to do a minimum of 10 pull-ups unbroken. My long-term goal would be to do a simply set of "pass throughs".


CFR: Do you have a favorite CFR moment that you’d like to share?

Tryo: I think a pivotal point for me last year was being able to do Murph, even though I scaled it. We did it as a family (My wife, my daughter, and myself) and with my Render family. Not only was it cool to be a "part of", but the overall accomplishment that a year prior I'd never even dreamed I'd be doing. Can't wait to see what the future holds.


 
CrossFit has been a daily exercise [for our family] in doing hard things and being stronger and more confident on the other side.
January 2019

January 2019

Heather Hanks

February 2019

CFR: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Heather:  I’m 43 years old, Shawn’s wife, and mom to Mia (15), Ethan (14), Ella Kate (11), and Ava (9). I’m a Christ follower and have served at Thompson Station Church for 18 years. Back in the day, I was a special education teacher and an ABA therapist for kids on the autism spectrum, but now I am a semi-crazy homeschool mom to our 4 kiddos. I am a proud Texan and love all things Texas-Dallas Cowboys, Texas A&M, and huge bowls of Texas salsa. 

CFR: What did your fitness routine look like before starting CrossFit?  

Heather:  I went through months of at-home workouts using videos. I was consistent for 6-8 months and then boredom inevitably would set in. I would run in the warmer months, but with little results physically.  When I started CrossFit last December, I hadn’t worked out consistently for about 4 months. As far as diet, I have always cooked healthy meals, but portion and balance of macros have always been inconsistent. Also, I had little to no will power when it came to desserts and sugar.

CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

January 2018

January 2018

Heather:  If it’s true that physical fitness is 80% what you eat and 20% what you do, then my greatest success has been balancing my diet. For 7 months, Coach Shaun has guided the balancing of my macros and calories. The results have had a huge impact on my fitness and performance in the gym.

Before beginning CF, I had never touched a barbell, and I had zero gymnastics skills under my belt. Now, I can do Olympic lifts, strict pull-ups, handstand holds, toes to bar, and my biggest feat of all…the box jump. One thing I learned about myself when joining CF, is that I had a lot of fears. I was scared to be upside down in a handstand, scared to put a barbell over my head, and terrified to the point of tears of box jumping. With encouragement and some tough love, the coaches gently pushed me in small increments until I conquered those fears. When I walk in the doors of CFR, I am always excited to work hard, a little nervous about crushing goals, but I’m not afraid of anything.

CFR:   How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit affected other parts of your life than just your physical fitness?

Heather:  Well, isn’t the number one rule of CrossFit to always talk about CrossFit? I could talk about each day’s work out and analyze my performance for hours on end, but to avoid being too obnoxious I keep it to my CF friend group. The biggest change is that I have a new group of friends who cheer me on and push me to be the best version of myself physically. My Render friends are family, and I am so grateful for such an amazing group of people with whom I can pursue a healthy, fit lifestyle.

As far as other parts of my life, in our family we have a saying that we “do hard things.” Shawn and I teach our kids to seek activities that stretch us and push us out of our comfort zones. CrossFit has been a daily exercise in doing hard things and being stronger and more confident on the other side.

CFR:   What advice can you give to others, especially those looking to try CrossFit for the first time?

Heather:  Listen, just show up. Show up no matter what the workout is scheduled to be. Show up when it’s your favorite workout and show up when you think you aren’t capable of completing any of the elements. Your only regrets will be the days you don’t show up. I’ll be waiting for you at 7 am! 

CFR: Do you have any Special talents?

Heather:  Like any good Texas girl, I can make killer salsa, queso, and guacamole. 

CFR: What is your favorite [Coach] Shaun catchphrase?  

Heather:  There are so many funny ones, but the appropriate ones are, “You’ll be fine!” AND “Stop thinking and jump, Heather!”

CFR: What are your goals for this year?

Heather:  I’m learning so much about healthy eating and balancing macro nutrients. My goal is to make that a consistent lifestyle. And, if I don’t get double unders this year then…I’m going to quit; just kidding. It will just be my goal next year. Lol.


CFR: Do you have a favorite CFR moment that you’d like to share?

Heather:  I could say it was the day I did box jumps for the first time in a workout, or the day I got three double unders in a row (and scared the bejeesus out of Kylee when I screamed), but overall my favorite CFR moments are the ones when we as the CFR family are all together celebrating big gains or pulling together to help a member going through a rough time. 


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Joe pangallo

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January 2019

CFR: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Joe: Husband, Dad, Christian, used to have long hair and play rock and roll.

CFR: What did your fitness routine look like before starting CrossFit?

Joe: Did some group workout, bootcamp style classes. Hadn’t worked out in 5 years before starting CrossFit.

CFR: What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began?

Joe: I did not play sports or ever do anything athletic so there is lots of stuff I had never done before and never thought I would: double-unders, any Olympic lift, handstand push-ups, handstand walking, 20+ strict pull-ups unbroken, muscle ups, being able to run without feeling like I want to die... I’ve also learned a lot about nutrition. It’s become easy to be completely in control of what I eat without stressing out over it.

CFR:   How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?

Joe: I feel more physically capable, I’ve made new friends, the routine has helped build other rhythms into my life: time for prayer & reflection.

 
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CFR: Best workout music?

Joe: Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters

CFR: Why CrossFit Render?

Joe: Fellow athletes and coaches who care about training and are also genuinely fun to be around. I look forward to working out and seeing these people every day.

CFR: What's your Wheelhouse (favorite movement/type of movements) and Nemesis?

Joe: Don’t know if I’d called it my wheelhouse, but I don’t hate burpees as much as most people. My nemesis is sit-ups.

CFR:   What advice can you give to others wanting to try CrossFit?

Joe: Just start. Don’t overthink it. Being fit is good; sedentary lifestyle and chronic disease...not as good.