March's Athlete of the Month - Gus Pampillon

Gus Pampillon - Athlete of the Month

Gus Pampillon - Athlete of the Month

  • How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF?  I started crossfit in February of 2015 and for the past 7 months I have been training at JSACF and couldn't be happier.
  • What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?  I have changed my diet and stopped smoking and I try to get a minimum of 3-4 WOD's in per week.
  • Tell us about what you do outside of the box! Technically my occupation is in IT as a "Global Desktop Architect", which sounds alot fancier than what the job actually is.  But my main job is to be the best husband and father to my wife and my children and staying healthy and happy for them no matter what.
  • Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  As a successful CrossFitter, I believe one of the main aspects is to know how to breathe for maximum efficiency.  But I have learned it is much more than that because as a cancer survivor it has become a necessity to relearn and control my breathing due to having my diaphragm partially removed and part of my left lung removed.

Now with the help of the coaches at JSA, I have not only gotten my breathing under control but I have been able to complete some workouts which I have never been able to do before. I also feel stronger physically and mentally.

  • If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?  Don't Stop Believin' - Journey. LOUD!
  • What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year? By September 2017 I want to be able to complete a WOD at RX. And by April of 2018 -  I WILL GET ONE STRICT PULL UP!
  • If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?  The Gus Complex - 20 minute AMRAP - 5 Overhead Squats, 10 Hang Power Cleans and 5 Push Press.
  • Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about? Before the holidays in 2016 there was a WOD that consisted of a ton of wall balls.  Everyone was pretty much done but me. I heard everyone cheering me on and it literally brought me to tears because even though my body was at the brink of what I thought was failure the energy that everyone was putting out there gave me the strength to keep going.   That's when I really felt I became a part of the JSACF community.
  • What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? Show up everyday and give your all. But most importantly NEVER believe that you can't.  You will be amazed at what your body can do when you truly believe you can.
  • Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. While going through my cancer journey my oncologist told me to just be happy that I could walk.  I saw this quote somewhere and I have been living by it ever since.

" I DO IT BECAUSE I CAN… I CAN BECAUSE I WANT TO…I WANT TO BECAUSE YOU SAID I COULDN’T…"

 

 

January's Athlete of the Month

Chelsea Saito

Athlete of the Month Questions:

Q: How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF?  

A: I have been with JSACF since August 2014 when my husband Tom and I joined.  Exercise, staying active and playing sports have always been a part of our family’s routine.  

Q: What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?  

A: The biggest change I have made to my exercise routine is building in rest days.  Before joining CrossFit I would exercise every day, however since lifting more weights I realize my body needs more time rest.  I definitely try to eat healthy, but I do have a sweet tooth!

Q: Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

A: Most importantly, I am a mom of three, twins Cade and Kali who are 11 and Teag who is 8.  All three share my love of sports which keeps us all very busy and is the biggest reason I am at JSACF at 5:15.  I am a pediatric Occupational Therapist and work for Lakewood Board of Education as well as provide home therapy through early intervention. Most of my time outside the box is spent with my family usually on a sports field!

Q; Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little.

A: Prior to joining JSACF I was unable to double under, complete handstand push ups. I had never attempted Olympic lifts such as snatches or cleans.  I am able to do all of those now! It is exciting to lift more than my body weight for several of my lifts!

Q: If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?  For those that don’t know the 5:15 gym time is the official, unofficial Dance Party.  The music varies in our 5:15 am dance party! DJ Dan is good about switching it up especially when we aren’t feeling a certain beat. I like 90’s rap the best when lifting.  My favorite gym jam is Flo-rida’s- “Low” 

Q: What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year?

A: In the next few months, I would like to be able to do the following:  kipping ring dips, 300 lb deadlift and a muscle up.  The muscle up is probably a pipe dream ;)

Q: If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?  

A: My ideal WOD wouldprobably consist of exercises that are easier for the “short girls,” such as deadlifts,  handstand push-ups, and 400m run

Q: Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about?  

A: Honestly, I love coming to JSACF first thing every morning. I know I can count on people to be there and there is no judgment. We are there to work out, get a good sweat on and most importantly have fun!  There is a lot of laughing and camaraderie when you roll out of bed and hit the gym!  I can’t say it’s the ideal time to hit PR’s but it’s a great way to start my day.  I also love coming to the gym on the weekends and seeing all the faces I don’t normally see at 5:15!  

Q: What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

A: Do not get discouraged.  Be consistent and set goals for yourself!

Q: Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

A: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Don’t be afraid to try new things, I always tell my kids just try it and if you don’t like it don’t do it again, but you never know unless you try! 

I just want to say thank you to the coaching staff at JSACF for this honor!  

July's Athlete of the Month - Nicole Beer

  JSACF's Athlete of the Month - Nicole Beer

 1    How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF?  I started CrossFit just under 2 years ago.  Prior to that I was into cycling and running, participating in a few duathlons, half marathons, and 1 full marathon.  Before that I was a dancer for 16 years. 

    2    What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? CrossFit has given me a more well-rounded approach to fitness.  My body is never "used to" what we do in the box, it's constantly challenging and varied.  And because it's fun, I find myself committing to a more consistent exercise schedule.  Eating clean makes a huge difference too.  More than anything else, CrossFit has become an anchor to my day and helps to relieve stress. 

    3    Tell us about what you do outside of the box! I spend time with my husband Josh, my 10 month old daughter Billie, and my pitbull named Moses.  We love going to the beach (even during off season), cooking at home, and going to Asbury Park to try new restaurants. 

    4     Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. 3 Months into first starting at JSA, I found out I was pregnant.  When Paige and Skip told me that I could continue to train throughout my pregnancy, it was the best news ever.  Coming to the box kept me active and healthy straight through to the end, and I actually felt like I was getting stronger as my belly got bigger.  After having the baby it was tough to get back to the box, but once I finally did it helped me get back to feeling more like myself.  After getting over the initial hurdle of coming back from a long break, I gradually felt myself getting stronger and it was super motivating.  When I first started, I could barely get a good grip on the rig let alone attempt a pull-up.  Just the other day, I did my first pull-up without a band and it felt like Christmas morning...I was psyched!!  This place has me doing things I never thought possible, and there is something so liberating about that...you can't put a price on it. 

    5    If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? ACDC's Back in Black

    6    What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year? In the next 6 months I would like to be able to do double unders consistently.  In the next year, I want to be Rx-ing every WOD. 

    7    If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? It's funny, the WOD "Nicole" that already exists definitely would not be it...too many pull ups!  I think it would consist of running or box jumps, dead lifts, and push press....I'm partial to those things. 

    8    Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about? Besides doing my first real pull-up, it would have to be the day I Rx'd for the first time and finished within the time limit.  That was pretty sweet.  I thought I was going to vomit, but it was still awesome. 

    9    What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? Go easy on yourself and focus on technique and just wrapping your head around the basics...it's all so surreal at first and it can be tough when it feels like everyone around you knows what they're doing and you don't, but just remember that every single one of those people started out just like you, and they are your biggest cheerleaders.  You have a huge support system in your coaches and fellow athletes.  Stay positive and committed,  and you'll be surprising yourself in no time. 

    10    Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. "Try some things--cross some lines." --Breena Clarke

November's Athlete of the Month: Sarah Mielke

Athlete of the Month: Sarah Mielke

1.  How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF? 

I've been doing CrossFit for about 2.5 years.  I had been a member at a local gym where I was dedicated, but not getting the kind of results I was looking for.  Prior to JSACF, I had tried pretty much everything - spinning, bootcamp, yoga, etc.  I was having a hard time finding something that was challenging but also kept me interested.  I'm a complete Type A, so the competitiveness of CrossFit got me hooked!

2.  What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? 

My diet and lifestyle have changed significantly since starting CrossFit.  I now try to eat clean as much as possible, and I feel a big difference.  I've ditched the bad habit of having pasta as my go-to in the kitchen, and that's huge for a carb addict like me.  I also more recently have gotten into paleo cooking and weekend meal prep.  I think more significantly though, it's completely changed my perspective on body image.   Like many women, I used to be fixated on the number on the scale and the calories I was burning. I found out later that takes way too much energy!  Since I started CrossFit, I've focused more on the amazing things my body can do and how I'm feeling.

3.  Tell us about what you do outside of the box! 

I'm an attorney with a commute down to Atlantic City, so the weekdays tend to be very busy.  I always make a point of trying to squeeze in some fun though.  I'm a foodie so I love to experiment with recipes and try out new restaurants in the area.  Any activity involving wine or wine tasting is of definite interest to me.  Every chance to travel I get, I take it!  Right now, I'm also in the midst of planning me and my fiancé's wedding next year which is really exciting.

4.  Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. 

I've found that the most rewarding days at CrossFit weren't necessarily about the weightlifting PRs or putting that "RX" next to my name on the white board.  It was a huge moment for me when I did my first handstand pushup.  Early on, I was absolutely terrified to even kick my feet up into the air.  I was probably on cloud nine for a whole week the first time I was able to do a real pull-up.  The list goes on - there are so many physical feats I never would have thought I'd be able to do.  CrossFit has really reinforced the idea of mental toughness for me and how to break away from any negative self-talk.  I'm a firm believer now that a positive attitude has a lot to do with how much you accomplish in life (and in CrossFit).

5.  If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? 

My taste in music is either awful or awesome, depending on your perspective (and maybe your mood).  I'm a child of the 90s through and through, so hip hop and pop songs from that decade motivate me.  I like a break from the seriousness of a wod and music that lightens the mood.  

6.  What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year?In the next six months, I'd like to improve my form and technique on some of the Olympic lifts, such as the snatch and overhead squat.  Also, I'd like to improve my kipping and become more efficient at doing pull-ups and toes to bar.  On my bucket list for the next few years is to compete in a triathlon, so at some point in the future I plan to use my CrossFit training as a jumpstart for that.

7.  If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? 

As a reminder of how far I've come, my wod would incorporate several of the movements I struggled most with, mixed with a little running for good measure.

AMRAP 20 min.

10 HSPUs

100 meter run

10 power snatches 

100 meter run

10 pullups

50 DUs

8.  What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? 

Have an open mind and check your ego at the door! Everyone has to scale at one point or another, so just focus on your own development, staying safe, and maintaining good form.

9.  Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about?

I sprained my ankle last year and that was when it hit me that JSACF is not just a gym, but a great community of people.  I'm not the type to let a setback stop me for too long, so Skip and Paige were awesome about showing me how to scale the workouts so as to protect my ankle and still safely train.  It's not uncommon for me to walk into JSACF after a tiring or bad day and leave feeling inspired and re-invorgorated after watching other people do amazing things. It's a really positive environment, and I like that. 

10.  Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. 

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."  -Winston Churchill 

September's Athlete of the Month - Kristen Congilose

image.jpg
  1. How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF?  

    I started at JSA in March of 2013 which was my first experience with CrossFit. Frank had started at the end of November and would come home and talk about it every night. Once I started seeing his amazing results I decided to give it a try.  My first class was on a Sunday, it was hard and scary and by the time I finished that class I was already hooked. Before JSA I was mainly a Globo gym gal, running on the treadmill, staying away from the weights, now it's the total opposite! 

2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

       One of our biggest changes has been to our diet.  I try to make well rounded healthy meals for dinner, lots of organic proteins, go gluten free when we can. I also try to keep treats to the weekend but keeping treats to the weekend is not as strict with Baby on the way. 

3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

    I work at the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group, which helps people that are still displaced from Hurricane Sandy. It nice to have a job that no matter how long or hard the day, I feel like I brought someone one step closer to getting home. Frank and I really enjoy spending time with our families so we try to spend time with them as often as possible. I also enjoy spending time with our puppies, Zero and Coco, the beach, pinball, painting, going to shows, and reading. 

4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. 

    While I still have a long way to go which I find exciting, I have really enjoyed finding my strength. When I started 2 1/2 years ago I could barely do a pushup on my knees and I didn't know if I would be able to ever lift anything heavy but surrounding myself with all these amazing positive people and witnessing all of these strong women do things "girls aren't supposed to do" has pushed me to work harder to become a strong positive woman. I know not everyday will be my best day, but everyday does make me better.

5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

    I honestly couldn't pick just one song, but some good older hip hop gets me moving like nothing else. A little Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, some Busta Rhymes, or Biggie makes magic happen out on the floor.  It also allows for excellent mini dance parties with the gals. 

6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year? 

    The next 6 months I'd like to get back to pre-pregnancy levels. I have worked really hard to try and keep as much form as possible during these few months.  I'm excited to start cleaning and snatching at heavier loads again and I even said last night I can't wait to climb the rope again, even though it scares me. 

          The next year I have big plans. I want to FINALLY get a pull up, I'd like to reach 100 lb club for snatch and ultimate goal is to compete in at least one Olympic Lifting Competition. 

7.  If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

    21-15-9-9-15-21

    Overhead squats   80/ 115

    Box Jumps     20/24

    Kettlebell Swings   35/55

    All my favorite things! 

8.  Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about?

     Watching Frank do so many muscle ups during the open this year and Stephen doing so many pull ups during the open. I get really excited seeing my fellow gym mates do something for the first time and hit their new goals. For myself I was so excited when I finally got past the 140 lb wall on back squats, I was hindered by fear. I also loved the day that I was able to finally get under the 90 lb snatch and the day Ashley, Alex and Frank helped me get through the mental block of cleaning 100 lb. 

    Oh and Barbells for Boobs, getting to work with my brother, having our Mom there after she was able to overcome breast cancer, and once Stephen smashed his nose, having Skip jump in and help us finish. That moment meant so much to me and made me so proud to be a part of JSA.

9. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? 

    Just take it one moment at a time. You don't have to be the first to finish, you don't have to finish, you just need to keep moving and you have to breathe.  

10. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has         made all the difference." - Robert Frost

July's Athlete of the Month - Brett Nielsen

  1. Since March of 2014.  My wife got me a trial at JSA for my birthday.  I have always been active; I had a gym membership with good intentions but no structure to my workouts.  I have been pretty consistent with my running and have participated in a few half marathons and several 5 k’s
  2. My awesome wife has been a huge supporter of crossfit.  She has been the driving force to eat healthier since joining the box. Cutting out sugars, snacks and soda. I’m know I could do more to be healthier
  3. Outside the box I have an awesome family. My wife Flora, my daughter Finley(9), and my son Brody(3) whom all have adapted their lives for me to continue crossfit. As for work I am a career Firefighter for the City Of Asbury Park for the past 15 years. Being a firefighter I have a great schedule which allows me to have a full time second job working for the Borough of Manasquan where I oversee the maintenance division for the beach department.  When I’m not working I enjoy working around the house and spending time trying to keep up with my kids. 
  4. When Flora told me that I was going to try crossfit I was a little apprehensive about the idea and for no other reason other than I was the stereotypical “hater” and thought the whole idea was insane and over the top.  I have to say I was proven wrong and I am so happy I was.  When my trial was up I immediately signed up to continue and could not wait for the next challenge.  Everyone that asks me what crossfit is like, I tell it’s a drug to me, its like heroin, “I’m chasing a high” and I love it. I know its not politically correct but it’s the best analogy I have so I’m sticking with it.  I hate when I miss a class, I feel guilty, like I’ve committed a crime (LOL). Since about the 1yr mark I have really seen difference in my overall strength and cardio condition and even more in the past couple of weeks.  At 38 I can honestly say I am the strongest I have ever been in my entire life. I wish I found this 10 years ago. To be able to D.L. 405, C&J 235, and recently get my first muscle up is something I didn’t think was possible, and none of it is possible without all the awesome support for my fellow box mates, coaches and especially Skip and Paige. They never give up on anyone and always drive to make me better. (THANKS)
  5. Trampled under foot (Zeppelin) but that is not a band you hear much in the box, so probably Enter Sandman (Metallica)
  6. I want to really get to a good place with my Olympic lifting especially the snatch, become proficient at double unders and string a few muscle up’s together. By this time next year I would like to maybe have a butterfly pull-up and be moving towards 150# with my snatch
  7. Its humbling to even have that question asked to me, but it would go something like this, “Get on the Floor” 3 TTB-6 C&J 225#- 9 Burpees-12 HSPU-10 rounds
  8. Everyday is a favorite moment, I cant wait to look at the phone at 06:00 to see what the professor has planned for the day, I look forward to getting into the box and just be around my friends.  
  9. Its life changing, stick with it, in the end you will feel physically and mentally tougher and better about yourself.

10.) “The only way to do great work is to love what you do” Steve Jobs

May's Athlete of the Month: Justin Sarubbi

 

How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training?

My stepdad, Jeff told me about it. I lived right by the location on Bridge Ave in Point

and I always saw people holding plates running outside. I thought they looked silly.

When I saw Jeff with those people, I thought he looked silly. He finally convinced me

to give it a try and over 4 years later I’m glad he did.

What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting

CrossFit?

Oh boy, it’s a complete 180 to my life before CrossFit. I used to be a weekend warrior

and didn’t care about what I ate (or my back squat). Now I pay great attention to my

diet and I am focused on living a healthier life (and having a better Fran time).

Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

I may spend more time inside the box than I really should. When I am not at the gym I

am working towards my Master’s Degree at Rutgers or working. I love going on

hikes, going to the beach and concerts, watching the Jets and Rangers, and eating icecream

and watching movies.

Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.

Brag a little.

I started CrossFit to try and lose weight. It worked. I ended up losing about 30

pounds and I am now lucky enough to compete in CrossFit competitions. I won my

first competition this year and I have found my placing in the Open increase

drastically from year to year. I am excited to see what future competitions and next

year’s Open have in store.

If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

Some people in the gym like to label me a Hipster, so this choice is probably not

going to be too popular. If I had to go with one song it would be “Doin the

Cockroach” by Modest Mouse. I have PR’d my Snatch twice while that song was on,

so it works.

What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?

To be finishing up my Master’s, working on improving my coaching skills, and to be

training my butt off.

The next year?

Hopefully preparing for North East Regionals.

If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

We can call it “Tight(s) Gone Bad”

45 Heavy Front Squats and 45 HSPU

*Every time you drop the bar, or get off the wall, you have to do 3 Muscle Ups

What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

STAY WITH IT! If you enjoy it, stick with it. You may not see the results quick, and

may be super overwhelmed by all the movements, but if you stay consistent with

Woding and learning, you will see wonderful results. During my time coaching I have

seen a lot of people look overwhelmed with all the movements, and I remember being

overwhelmed myself. If you keep a positive mental attitude (PMA) and continue

showing up, you will get better. The workouts may never get better, but you will get

better at them.

Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life

“Do or do not, There is no try.” –Yoda

March's Athlete of the Month - Melissa Schleich

 

Athlete of the Month Questions: Melissa Schleich

  1. How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF? I've been training with JSA for 3 1/2 years now. Before starting CrossFit I always belonged to some sort of gym since I was 14. I've also done kickboxing, MMA and a lot of running prior to CrossFit. I was forever trying to find that exercise routine that would challenge me every day, give me continuous results and NEVER get boring. I have definitely found that since starting CrossFit. Even though it doesn't always seem that way, I really do love the feeling when a workout leaves me flat on my back after time has been called.
  2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? For the most part I've always had a healthy lifestyle even before CrossFit. But......I was always worried about what the scale said and was more concerned about being skinny rather than actually healthy. When I started CrossFit it took me a long time to get use to my changing body. I was in shape when I started, but now I was suddenly growing muscle in places I never knew I could. My arms got bigger, my shoulders got broader and my butt definitely got rounder. I also had to get over worrying about what the scale said. I gained 10 pounds in less than a year when I first joined JSA. I think it hit me most when about 9 months in Skip made a comment that when I first started I was all sorts of skinny and now I had muscle. That comment finally helped me realize that the creeping number on the scale wasn't me gaining weight,  but me getting stronger. I have come to love all of my muscles. 
  3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box! Outside the box I'm a single mother of two great kids. Kayla whom is 19 and Kenny whom is 12. I also work full time for a public school in a self contained autism class for the past 18 years. CrossFit definitely helps me keep up with all of that. 
  4.  Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. Hmmm, not sure what I have to brag about. Things like the Olympic lifts don't come easy for me and they are something I am always trying to work on. But I do feel that I have made some great improvements to lifts such as my deadlift and snatch which were the most difficult for me. It's all technique for me. I know I can lift more once I fix that aspect of the lifts. The overhead squat is one of my favorite and stronger lifts. I do best with moderate weight, certain gymnastic moves and body weight movements. 
  5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? If I could listen to one song on repeat it would be "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor. It's a really motivating song to me and makes me feel like I can do or overcome anything. It sorta sums of the past 8 years of my life as well. 
  6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year? My goal is to just keep trying to improve and better myself. Not just in CrossFit but in my everyday life. To be a better, stronger person than I was yesterday. 
  7. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? My WOD would consist of an AMRAP of 8 overhead squats 95#, 29 pull-ups, 73 abmat sit-ups and 100 meter run. My birthday, 8/29/73. 100 meters just for the heck of it.
  8. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? My advice for a new person starting CrossFit would be not to be hard on yourself if you can't lift a certain weight, or perfect a certain movement fast enough. Even those of us that have been doing it for years struggle with many things. No one person is perfect at everything. It took me 2 years to string together double unders but I've seen others get them in 2 days. Just have fun and do it for no one other than yourself. 
  9. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

February Athlete of the Month: Reagan Barry

February Athlete of the Month: Reagan Barry

How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training?

I was at another gym that seemed to be a little lackluster in their creativity and energy.  Often times we would come in and do a 10 min WOD and head home.  I felt like I was cheating myself out of what CrossFit really stood for and what I wanted out of it. I did a little searching and I found my new home at JSA and haven’t looked back since!

 What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

I already lived a pretty healthy lifestyle prior to joining CrossFit (I am an ex Triathlete, Decathlete, Marathoner), but I do find myself now thinking about what I eat and how it may affect my performance for certain competitions or WOD’s. Before, I just needed to eat calories at a very large rate.  Now I think about what mix of calories.

 Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

I’m really big into snowboarding during the winter and surfing during the summer.  I make my own surfboards.  I would consider myself to be adventurous and love doing everything I can, while I can! As I recently became a dad, I now have signed on for 20+ more years of adventures.

 Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete. Brag a little.

Transitioning from my career as a decathlete, into and an endurance athlete was a challenge, as I lost a lot of muscle weight.  Now, I’m trying to put some muscle back on and find the happy median between the speed, strength, endurance, and gymnastics.  

 If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

This is where I get weird.  I have a long standing background in hardcore/punk, but my music taste is all over the map.  If I had to pick one song, I think it would be:

“Memphis will be laid to waste” by Norma Jean

 What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? 

I have an odd schedule, so for me it would be to settle into a routine that saw more gym time.  I want to trim up a bit and not be so bad at thrusters. Practice makes perfect!

The next year?

The “Murph” un-partitioned, without being sore for a week.

 If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

“The Reagan” or affectionately nicknamed “The Drunken Pirate” 

1 Mile Run

25 Wall Balls

50 DUs

1 Mile Run

25 PU

50 Air squats

1 Mile Run

What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

Don’t be afraid!  Everyone I talk to immediately says “I could never do that”.  YOU’RE WRONG. They are just fearful of the unknown.  Find yourself a great gym (JSA works.) and dive in!  They will make sure you are doing everything right and that you scale the workout for what you can do. Stop making excuses and do it. We only get so much time in life, and the clock it ticking!

 Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” -Pre

January's Athlete of the Month - Phil Gioia

Phil Gioia

1    How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? 

“Shocked and Honored” was my immediate response to Paige and Skip when I received the email about being nominated. Then at Monday's WOD, I asked Paige “are you sure it's me?” Let's just say I'm past the “shock” and now just very humbled and honored to share my story. I am far from being described as Athlete of the Month but I have come to share the same passion and dedication as everyone else at JSACF. The irony of getting nominated now is I just turned 50 on 12/15. I don't feel 50 and I threw out my AARP card when it arrived in the mail in early December. What I did do was make a commitment at age 40 after some years of relative inactivity to get in shape. I was never a runner, but started (first running 1 mile then building up to running about 30 miles a week. I lost the 20 pounds that found me during the preceding years and felt great. I started running in 5k's, 10 k's and ultimately did my first Half-Marathon in Asbury Park. I beat my goal of 2 hours and broke 1:58, but after that event I just started to lose interest in running and my wife recommended CrossFit thru a friend of hers who did it actively. I knew nothing about CrossFit, did some research and was so fortunate to find JSACF 8 months ago. I thought I was in fairly decent cardiovascular shape and knew my core and upper body were not strong. What surprised me the most was learning that I was NOT in good cardiovascular shape. Not only was I not strong, not flexible but the legs I thought were strong were not! That was it for me. I decided to dedicate the next 3-4 months and get going at JSACF. I started with the PVC then graduated to the weighted PVC, started doing air versions (with no weight) of every WOD and was usually seen in the back bent over “sucking wind”. How humbling was that. The other real athletes were so encouraging and motivating and most importantly, welcoming to the older dude from Avon to the box. In short, I was so inspired hearing others stories and as the weeks passed, and I slowly started to catch my breath, I saw the community that exists at JSACF created and led by Skip and Paige and I wanted to part of that.

2    What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

I have a decent diet (eat all the right foods (for the most part), even when I business-travel. I eat a lot fish and drink a lot of water. I always knew if ate too much carbs, the running would counter it and I stayed in the same weight range for years. I stopped running about 4 months ago because I realized my body was not in a position to do both so I'm fully in CrossFit mode. I remember Julian telling me early on I'd gain some muscle weight and I have (but that's all good) and I do admit by living at the shore, we entertain a lot and I enjoy my wine, but I can say I do think about the next day’s WOD which invokes a better discipline. 

3    Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

For many years, I have business traveled quite a bit (more days and hours then I care to note), but since last Spring I am now working from home consulting in the pharmaceutical industry so for the first time in 20+ years, I am home a lot and I truly enjoy the simple things which is spending time with my wife, Michele and my girls, Kathryn and Kristen who are 11 and 8. In the Summer, we are very popular as many friends find their way to the beach and we love hosting them.

4    Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete. Brag a little.

There are two reasons for my growth to date. The first and the most important are the coaches lead by Skip and Paige. Brody, Ash, Dave, Dan, Justin and Rich are simply the best. The second key driver is personal motivation. You have to “want it”, it will not come to you. All the coaches spend a great deal of time on technique and that's what I concentrate on - I watch the motions during warm ups and do my best to mirror them. When I enter the box and see the WOD, I break it down by section and determine early on where I will need to scale. And for the record and for the newer athletes, I scale most days. I set a goal early on that I wanted to RX a WOD and when that happened I would buy a JSACF shirt. Well, I own 2 shirts after almost 8 months and I'm proud to have both. I know I won't be the guy to lift a great deal of weight and while I am simply in awe of watching those athletes execute on a daily basis, my focus is simply to get stronger and push myself on each WOD. Today 12/17, I had a PR for the Back Squats 3x which was 145lbs. I generally don't gong, it's just a great feeling when I am driving home knowing I did something for the first time. I would say my best improvement to date is building my flexibility and my core. I NEVER did a squat of any kind in my life and now I can. But the bottom line for me is the coaching, very specific, very motivating and very much appreciated!

5    If you could listen to one song on repeat in the box, what would it be?

I was never an AC/DC fan, but without question, Thunderstruck - it works for me in the box. One plug, how about some live Springsteen at some point?

6    What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?

So many - to be able to do a HSPU, a rope climb, TTB, Pistols, 10-12 consecutive DU's (I'm at 5 now), 8-12 pull-ups in a row (I am at 3 now)

7    The next year?

I don't set longer term goals personally or professionally (not sure why), but I like to focus on short term so I can visualize executing on that goal. If I had to provide a response, it would be that I am stronger then today and still active in the box working on the next milestone. 

8    If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

Great question and hard to answer for me at this point but I enjoy the combination of conditioning and midline, so maybe starting with 500 SU (FTB) with a 100M penalty for a broken rep followed by a combination of 3 items: box jumps, KB swings, thrusters or push presses for time (20 minute AMRAP) - that's a WOD I might be able to do RX.

9    What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

I still view myself as new. Show up consistently. I maintain a goal of going to the box 3-4 times per week. If you follow this, you will see improvement. When I travel on business now, I am able to find a box in any city and its great to do a drop in - you will feel part of a national community. Be able to distinguish soreness from pain - I have become a big fan of BioFreeze - it works. CrossFit is intense, no question about it but learn to scale at your level and don't worry about what the person next to you is lifting, but most important is to challenge yourself. I find I set goals during a WOD (eg do 5 more box jumps, do 3 more burpees, etc) - it helps to talk to yourself. Come in with humble expectations and be willing to learn new things and listen to your coaches and have fun. I honestly feel I am at 25% of what I can ultimately do at CrossFit and today, I feel stronger and in better shape than I have since my early 20's.

 10    Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life?

Simple and one I live by: There is always a solution!

December's Athlete of the Month - Amber Forbes Kerken

Athlete of the Month - Amber Forbes Kerken
1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? 

I joined JSACF when JSACF was only Garden State CrossFit in Point Pleasant. My good friend was a member of the Aikido program and on a whim he attended a Saturday CrossFit class. I saw him the next weekend and he said “Amber you’d love CrossFit! You have to try it!”  After a few weeks of debate, I decided to try it and sure enough I was hooked, I was extremely sore, but I was most definitely hooked. That was almost three years ago this January! 

2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

Where do begin? Overall, I am just more consistent about my physical health. For so long I struggled to find a routine. I had a gym membership but I never went because I never really knew what to do.  I’d end up running on the treadmill followed by a few lame attempts at some weight exercises.  So basically, I would just run but with no real consistency. I did sign up for a half marathon in an effort to force a program but even with all that running, I never felt truly fit. Now, with CrossFit I do. That feeling has inspired me to work even harder and eat smarter. And by smarter, eating what is necessary to fuel my body even if that means eating more quantity or more fats.  It’s no secret that woman are hard on themselves and are overly critical about their physique. Through CrossFit however, I’ve gained a healthier perception of my body-image. I care less about what my body looks like and more about how it feels. It’s not like I don’t worry about how I look at all but I realize that if you eat smart, then you perform better and it all comes out in the wash. Now pass the bacon and avocados.

3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

Professionally, I am a Recruiting/Human Resources consultant in my 9-5 life. I know, total nerd job. ☺ But I do have a side business as an Event Planner. I work with Jersey Shore Restaurant Week planning and hosting food and wine events throughout the year. Is that a little better? At home, I’m a newlywed to a really awesome guy and Mom to two black Labs, Emmy and Homer. I love to cook and entertain, travel, read and really anything outdoorsy. My husband and I love to go camping whenever possible to hike, explore and channel our inner survivalist. 


4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little.

When I started CrossFit I had zero strength. I distinctly remember struggling through the first week of workouts using PVC. I definitely could not do a “man” push-up, forget pull-ups.  And the barbell? That was pipe dream. As time went on however, I got stronger. I was able to do a regular push-up and soon even a pull-up. I remember that day too. It was a WOD full of pull-ups and Paige pulled me aside after and basically said the next time we do a WOD with pull-ups, you can’t use a band.  And that was that. The next WOD, I surprised myself and did a pull-up without a band. Who knew? It was tough I’m not going to lie. I labored through every single one but I did it. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever lift a barbell, let alone with weight on it. I am still by no means a heavy lifter but over the nearly 3 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been able to surpass any weight I ever thought my body was capable of and now I do about 50% of the WODs RX. 

5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

Really anything 90’s hip hop or electronic pop. I like me a dance party when I work out! 

6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?
The next year?

If I were to set a 6 month goal, it would definitely be to efficiently link T2B and go to one mat on my HSPU. With my monkey arms, HSPUs are a huge challenge for me but one day, I’ll conquer those. You just wait! And maybe just maybe get on the board? Maybe? I’m not a very competitive person but that would be a really sweet personal accomplishment.

The next year? Maybe Ring Dips? And then, dare I say Muscle-Ups?

7. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

It would definitely have Kettlebell Swings and Snatches. I really like both of those. It would most definitely not have Thrusters or really anything in the front rack position!

8. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

Don’t be intimidated. We have all been where you are!! Trust me! Try not to get overwhelmed by the enormity of what you have to learn, instead, just take one day at a time.

Oh and do not neglect your muscles! Be sure to stretch, roll on the foam roller, and do mobility exercises - anything to keep your muscles healthy.

9. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

“Just be nice.” At the end of the day, none of this matters if we are not good human beings and are not nice to the people around us.

November's Athlete of the Month - Greg Marcus

 Athlete of the Month November: Greg Marcus

1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training?

I actually received emails from Living Social and saw other people posting pictures about CrossFit on Facebook. I was curious, so I googled Manasquan and CrossFit.  JSACF was the first one that popped up. I was getting bored with the typical gym workout so I showed up on a random Saturday morning and that’s how it started.  I believe I just completed my first year.

2.      What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? 

I don’t drink as much alcohol (I was never a big drinker anyway).  I noticed the human body doesn’t respond well to CrossFit the following morning after a night out.  I try to avoid processed foods (all the middle aisles in the supermarket).  I never was able to actually stick with a diet.  I now find myself looking up the calorie amounts of some of the foods that I order when I’m out.  The most difficult part is portion control which has been uphill battle since I was born. I’ve also increased the amount I work out. I used to only work out 3 times a week.  I try to make it to 5 classes a week now.  I’m working out more frequently and harder than I ever had in my life prior to JSACF.

3.       Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

I have two older brothers who both have 3 kids (all under the age of 7), so I try to see them once a week.  I gave up on the traditional 9 to 5 job when I was 26, which was about 8 years ago.  I had a hard time seeing myself doing that the rest of my life.  I have an online business that distributes cell phone accessories, (shameless plug http://stores.ebay.com/mrcellshop ), that takes up most of my day during the week.  Every other year I’ll go on a road trip during the spring/summer to see a few baseball games somewhere in the US.  I only have about 12 stadiums left!

4.      Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little.

I WAS one of those guys who did machines at the gym.  I thought my workouts were pretty good, but I learned very quickly that they weren't.  After my first week at JSACF, I realized that I never really pushed myself mentally or physically.  I never attempted most of the fundamental movements that are performed in CrossFit (thrusters, any type of squats, hand stand pushups, wall ball).  I’m proud that I can “brag” and say that in just under a year, I can do most of the exercises scaled to both a comfortable and challenging weight with good form.  I definitely have seen a tremendous improvement in my cardiovascular system.  I’m much more consistent (working hard at about 80%) since I started and I’ve significantly shorted my downtime during the WOD.

I actually think my mental mindset in life has changed more than my physical growth as an athlete.  I always thought I gave it my all in everything I attempted. I saw the glass half empty a majority of the time (like a majority of people).  Whenever I was tired and couldn’t do another rep, I accepted it.  I now push through that mental and physical block with PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), which I never did.  I definitely believe CrossFit is the sole reason for the new mindset which I never really had before.    

5.       If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

Put on the Rocky IV Soundtrack, Hearts on Fire by John Cafferty. I might be showing my age to the young people with that pick. 

6.      What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?

When I first started, I couldn’t come close to doing a double under. Currently I can do 4 or 5 on a good day.  Maybe in 6 months I can do 10-12 of them. Each WOD I usually evaluate what I feel is comfortable.  This is normally about 10-20 lbs less than the Women’s RX weight.  In 6 months, maybe I’ll be comfortable consistently doing the workout at the Women’s RX Weight. 

7.       The next year?

Maybe I can do a muscle up and use the RX weight between the Men’s and Women’s RX weight?? 

In 2 years? I’ll be comfortable wearing spandex pants and no shirt during a WOD.

8.       If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

Anything where agility is super important, that’s definitely my strength.  Burpees, Push Ups, Pulls Ups, and mix in some 100 meter sprints. 

9.       What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

Two things I would definitely tell them, Check your ego at the door.  CrossFit is super humbling.  The other piece of advice I would tell them is to use tunnel vision.  Don’t look left or right & compare yourself.  Concentrate on what you’re doing and be comfortable with it.  You’re here to make yourself better mentally and physically.

10.  Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

If you’re going to do something, give it 100%.  If you’re going to do only enough to get by, you might as well not do it all.

OCTOBER'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - Patrick Petruzziello

Athlete of the Month - Patrick Petruzziello

1.  How did you get started with JSACF/GSCF and how long have you been training?   

I’ve been doing Crossfit for a little over two years now. I started because my wife, Sue and friends, Chris and Rose Frey convinced me to give it a try.  To be honest, prior to trying it out I was a “hater” and kept saying I wasn’t interested.  Obviously, I eventually went to a class, got my ass kicked and was sore as hell.  That only made me want to go back.  Prior to Crossfit I worked out not because I necessarily enjoyed it, but because that’s what you’re supposed to do- stay in shape or at least try to.  With Crossfit working out is not a chore, I enjoy it and look forward to going. It makes me feel better, not only physically, but mentally as well.  

2.  What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

I’m definitely more aware of what I eat and how it directly effects my workouts: garbage in, garbage out kind of thing. Although I don’t subscribe to any particular way of eating I just try and eat as healthy as possible when I can.  I believe that not only being in better shape physically, my overall health has improved. Crossfit for me is a great stress reliever.  There has been many times that I get home from work and don’t feel like working out. Maybe the day was rough or too long and I would rather just sit home and relax. But I go, and afterwards I always feel better and glad I went.  I get to the box, look at the board, don’t have to think about much and just do the workout.

3.  Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

With two boys ages 6 and 9 they generally keep me pretty busy, and family time is important.  We spend time on the boat, fishing and camping.  In addition to the family stuff, I always seem to have some project going on around the house.  However, when I can, I enjoy spending time in my workshop building furniture or any other woodworking project I have going on. I am currently working on a desk for my youngest son, Matthew.  

4.  Since you have been at JSACF/GSCF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete. Brag a little. 

Since starting Crossfit I have definitely become stronger and my overall conditioning has improved dramatically.  I am more comfortable with the Olympic lifts which I didn’t have too much experience with before.  I can now manage to string a couple of double under’s together and my kipping hand stand pushups are solid.  Pistols are still a work in progress.

5.  If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

In general I can listen to just about anything (even Dan Sibol’s Saturday morning “oldies” station) because after 3-2-1 go, I really don’t even hear or listen to the music.  I basically just focus on the workout and do what I have to do.

 6.  What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?

For me I really don’t have any specific goal in the next 6 months. I certainly can build upon the skill set I already have and get stronger.  With the right programming, great coaching, and guys like Chris, AJ and Dave pushing me to work harder, inevitably there will be improvements and I’m good with that.  I’m definitely not the strongest, fastest or have the best agility but I will always give 100 % and that so far has provided decent results, so I’m just going to continue that way and have fun.

7.  The next year?

 I’m sticking with my answer for #6 but I’m still chasing the elusive ring muscle up.....

8.  If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

One thing for sure is that it WOULD NOT consist of running with a med ball, plate or anything else.  Other than that anything is good, I like being out of my comfort zone sometimes. I think it makes you a better, more well rounded athlete. The perfect WOD for me isn’t about any particular modality as much as it the format. I like anything in the "Fight Gone Bad" style, with short reps and moving continuously between exercises.

9.  What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

Don’t worry about how much weight you’re lifting, reps you’re on, or the fact that someone finished before you.  If you are working as hard as you can, that’s all that matters.  The workouts never get easier, you just get a little better, faster or stronger.  Just keep going, never quit, don’t complain, and have fun.

10.    Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

“When you walk up to opportunity's door, don’t knock... kick that bitch in and introduce yourself”

SEPTEMBER'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - NANCY BALUNIS

How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training?

Last month I celebrated my 5 year anniversary at the "Chapman Fountain of Youth", and I probably owe them my life - or at least my first born - hmm maybe they want a 16yr old...

I am not a big believer in fate so it's a little weird for me to say that I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  My daughter started taking Aikido classes in Jan 2005, so I had been their client for a few years when I started seeing CF posters on the walls.  I was over 40 and my kids were getting older, so I started doing the things I loved again.  I went waterskiing and lasted for only a few minutes.  I went windsurfing and was so wiped out that I was falling asleep during dinner.  I didn't realize how much strength I lost when I wasn't carrying around little kids all of the time.  I had been back into my old routine for a few years at that point, and it was obvious it wasn't enough anymore, so a month before I turned 42 I signed up.  It was easy for me because I already knew the Chapmans' commitment and dedication to teaching others, and I already knew all of the coaches.  I decided to be open minded for at least a year, and I kept telling myself that if I was able to waterski again it would all be worth it.

What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

CrossFit has made many areas of my life healthier.  The biggest one is diet.  When I started CF I had already been following a diet for hypoglycemics that was pretty strict.  It took a long time for me to transition into it (a lot of denial, trial and error, and baby steps), but I was feeling better than I had in years, so I wasn't ready to make any more diet changes just yet.  When I decided to participate in the CF Open for the first time (2013), I got curious.  I knew my current diet was already about 70% paleo, but since I wanted to perform as well as I could in the Open, I changed my nutrition to about 95% paleo (but still within hypoglycemic guidelines) for several months before and during the Open.  I completed all 5 workouts, had 2 PRs, and I felt AMAZING!!!  It was the most fun that I have had in a long time and my nutrition has been so much better ever since (about 80%).  I feel even better now than I did years ago when I was so relieved to feel good again!

The second change has been to my overall well being.  There are a lot of reasons why being a full time parent is the best decision for our family right now.  But since I am a little Type A (ok a lot), I love CrossFit because I get to learn something new.  I get to work hard, set goals, and challenge myself.  I think and concentrate so hard that most of the time my mind is as exhausted as the rest of me.  It makes me feel peaceful, content, and just deep down happy inside.  I tend to worry about everything and everybody...I don't worry as much anymore.  I am more patient and calm than I have ever been.  Every now and then when I have a big breakthrough, and I accomplish something that is just huge for me, I float around on a cloud for the rest of the day.  Yes, it is as scary as it sounds...

Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

Since the storm, I have temporarily canceled all of my outside commitments.  Right now I just keep busy with my family.  I have my husband, Pat, and 2 active teenagers, Loren and Rachel, who are sometimes at the box with me.  I cook a lot, and thanks to 2 active dogs, I clean a lot - although probably not as much as I should!  Once a year we go on vacation for 10 days to Maine and we get to do the things we don't have time for in NJ.  We hike, we bike, waterski, windsurf and kayak - depending on what the weather is.

Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little.

I really don't "want" to brag, but beginners should know that they're not alone because only a handful of people remember my skills when I started.  I was not in horrible shape, I could probably do air squats or walking lunges all day long and I liked to run, but I had absolutely no upper body and no core strength (none, zero, probably negative).  I couldn't even do 10 sit-ups or 10 pushups (not kidding).  Knees to elbows made me want to cry.  I used a band for pull-ups for at least a year.  I did pushups on my knees for a year.  Two years after I had been here, I was in the parking lot doing pushups (not on my knees), and I remember Coach Dan Sibol gently reminding me midWOD to try not to snake.  I had a mini tantrum (all in good fun) and started kicking, and banging on the ground, and shouting, "It's been TWO YEARS and my pushups STILL SUCK!!!!"  It took me over 2 years to do toes to bar.  Chest to bar was a PR for me in the 2013 Open (so that's 3 and a half years).  I just started doing pistols and ring dips last summer (4 years).

As far as Olympic lifting goes...It took me TWO YEARS to lift more than an EMPTY BAR (again not kidding)!  I am finally able to do some benchmark WODs Rx and this has been really fun.  It takes me about 3 times to do a benchmark Rx before I can actually finish within the time limit.  I push pressed 85lbs in a benchmark WOD recently.  I used 75lbs to overhead squat in a WOD last week.  I have also been trying to use 65lbs to power snatch, and 85lbs to clean and jerk, on a regular basis.

My coaches were all great and had a lot of patience.  They spent a lot of time trying to guide me in the right direction.  I think I made progress slowly because of my age and my mindset.  I knew I would get in shape, but once I improved, I thought I would just maintain my fitness level and stay that way.  I didn't know that I would keep getting better.  I still can't believe it... but I know from doing benchmarks that each year I am stronger, and each year I am faster, even though I have gotten another year older!  I wouldn't trade being strong again for anything.

If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

I am not overly opinionated about music and I like mostly everything, but I would probably pick something energetic and loud by either Van Halen or Aerosmith.

What is a goal you have set for yourself in the nest 6 months?  The next year?

6 months from now will be the 2015 CF Open.  I have a lot of fun during the Open because it is the only time when I am not in a room full of people 10-20 years younger than I am.  I would like to be in the top half for women in my age group worldwide.  I am working on deadlifts, double-unders and wall ball, because I am far below average on those modalities and they are holding me back.  It would also be nice to clean 95lbs without looking like a train wreck.  (My apologies to everyone that morning who had to watch me do Elizabeth - ugh so sorry!)  Last, I am thinking about running a half marathon for the first time at the end of October.

A year from now...I have no idea!  I exceeded my expectations a LONG time ago, and every new accomplishment since then has been icing on the cake.  Right now I am in uncharted waters, and I am having the time of my life!!!  I started taking the Comp Prep class and have already noticed a difference.  It should be interesting because now instead of getting better by accident, I am actually getting better on purpose!  And of course doing a muscle up might be fun too...

If you could have ANY workout partner in the world, who would it be and why?

I don't even have words to say how happy I am to be able to meet so many truly incredible people.  I couldn't choose just one so it would be the veteran 9:00am women who helped me realize what CF was all about:  Julie, Colleen, Cindy, Baby Kris, Courtney, Patti, Sue and Rose.  Having always been in a class of 1-3 people, I didn't really "get it" until they came along and made things fun.  Up until then it was still just exercise for me.  Their energy and skills were amazing and they set a high bar for me to follow - that I'm still following.  I look at the level where they are, and I remind myself to work harder and keep at it.  I would also have to add Brody Longo and Christian Thompson because they were both in the 9:00am class every day for years, and they are always nice to me.  It is fun to have them in your class because they are always encouraging, they do everything perfectly, and all you have to do is watch and learn.

If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

Even though there already is a WOD named after me :) I would pick something else...  I think I face my weaknesses day after day, year after year, when I come in and can rarely do the WOD Rx, so not any of those!  I was lucky enough to grow up with a lot of land and spent my free time running around doing crazy tomboy stuff.  Anything climbing, jumping, running or upside down that tapped into my inner 10yr old would probably make my day.

What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

Don't compare yourself to other people.  Everyone was a beginner once.  Listen to the coaches.  Have fun and let the magic happen.  It also helps to learn mobility.  It keeps you from being sore and it can help you reach your goals faster.  Oh yeah and remember to learn from my mistakes - don't wait too long to buy the right shoes!  Your skills will improve when your body is in the right position and your joints will thank you.

Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

"Where there is a will there is a way."  (And if a goal seems too big to accomplish, then start out small and chip away at it.  Baby steps will get you there.)

AUGUST'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - FRANK CONGILOSE

1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training?

 

I got started with JSACF in November 2012. I was married just over a year prior to joining. I was in decent shape at the time of the wedding but being a happy newlywed to my lovely wife Kristen I got a little lazy with my training and workout schedule. It was at our annual Halloween party the month before that I was talking to Joe and Melissa Caivano about getting back into shape and they told me about JSA and CrossFit. I hadn't seen them in a few months before the party and they both looked great, especially Joe in his AC Slater wresting singlet.

I was ready to get back into a routine and the Caivanos had convinced me, and I’m so thankful they did. So I made a deal with my sister Kate, who was also looking to do something new, that after Thanksgiving we were joining JSACF. Sure enough, that Sunday after Thanksgiving we were partner carrying each other down the tunnel and neither one of us have looked back since.

 

2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?

 

I eat a lot healthier now that’s for sure and training has become routine. Kristen and I have become way more health conscious and we’ve cut down significantly on sugars and processed foods. I’ve also completely given up alcohol since I started CrossFitting. This was something that I thought would be difficult but having friends in the box that also don’t drink like Brody, Alex, Rich, and even Matt it’s been easier than I thought it would be. Honestly with these lifestyle changes I don’t think I have ever felt better in my life.

 

3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box!

 

I work at the family business, C&A Financial Group, here in Manasquan where I am CFO and Director of IT. It’s a 9-5pm job (which has become 9-4:45 so I can make 5pm class) that I really enjoy. I work with some really great people, and like what I do.

When I’m not working or at the box, I try to spend as much time with my wife Kristen as possible. We enjoy a lot of the same geeky and nerdy things so we always have a lot of fun together. Whether it’s going out to dinner, the beach, bike riding, movies, or just hanging out on the couch with our two dogs we just try to spend as much time together as we can. Also we've made some truly wonderful friends at the box that I really I enjoy talking to and spending time with.

Ever since I was a kid I've had a love for professional sports. We’re big Devils fans so we spend a lot of time during the season at games. Besides hockey I like watching NY Jets Football, NY Red Bulls and Manchester City soccer. I’m also an avid golfer and love getting together with my oldest and best friends out on the course during the weekends. Playing guitar and bass have always been passions of mine since middle school so I play whenever I have some free time to myself at home.

 

4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little.

 

I’m doing things today that I would have never thought I could before joining JSACF. I was never into weight lifting before CrossFit so those times when I first put over 200lbs overhead and deadlifted double my body weight were huge personal accomplishments. Learning how to double under, pistol squat, handstand push up, one pull rope climb, and some of the benchmark times/score I put up were really satisfying as well. I've gained so much strength and learned so many skills that I never had before CrossFit. Its all thanks to some excellent coaching and support from the JSACF community that I continue to grow every single day as an athlete and I’m very grateful for that.

 

5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?

 

That’s a tough question; anything punk or hardcore really pumps me up. If I had to choose one it would be One Life, One Chance by H20. If I could listen to one album on repeat it’d be Bad Brains – Bad Brains. Although I do appreciate all the Misfits songs that have been playing recently at the box, and of course Punk Rock Mondays.

 

6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year?

 

In six months I would like to get muscle ups, greatly improve my snatches and overhead squats, and finally end my long running feud with the 155lb should press. In a year I’d like to compete at Mayhem, be able to string together muscle ups, multiple strict HSPUs, and get triple-unders. My never ending goal at the box would be to always work on improving my form on everything.

 

7. If you could have ANY workout partner in the world, who would it be and why?

 

Well, I love the friends I made and the JSA family so getting to work out with them every day is always a lot of fun and motivating. I’m also so glad that I get to work out with my family members, Kristen, Kate and Stephen and I’m so proud of all of their accomplishments. The one name that popped into my head though who I haven’t worked out with yet was Stone Cold Steve Austin, I imagine he’d be pretty motivating.

 

8. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?

 

1000m row buy in – 4 rounds of 3 rope climbs, 10 x 225lb deadlifts, and 30 abmat situps -1000m row buy out

 

9. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit

Don’t cherry pick! I’ve found the best days to show up are the days where the WOD has modalities you struggle with. It’s how you’ll improve.

CrossFit is an incredible humbling and rewarding experience. If you don’t PR every day it’s not a big deal, we all have good days and bad days. But when you do PR the sense of accomplishment is one of the best feelings in the world.

Take the time to work on mobility.

And TAKE REST DAYS! (This is advice that I personally struggle with)

 

10. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.

PMA (positive mental attitude) all day, every day.

Athlete of the Month

JULY'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - JAKE KLEINKNECHT

WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2014 AT 4:14PM

JULY'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - JAKE KLEINKNECHT

  1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? 

    I started at JSACF after my wife suggested we give it a try. We just had returned from a vacation so we really needed the workout. I was going to a traditional gym at that time. I was getting bored and seemed to find reasons to cut my workouts short. Since I work in town I would often see the athletes at JSACF running outside and they always looked like they were having fun. After two week and the initial soreness wearing off I was hooked!
  2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting Cross Fit? 

    I am much more committed and make time at the box a priority. The times I most often go coincides with Happy Hour, so I am definitely not making that stop after work anymore, or at least a lot less often!
  3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box!  

    Outside of the box I spend a lot of time with family and friends.  That includes hanging out with my best friend of 28 years and wife for the last 25 Gloria. We enjoy hiking and the outdoors and she always has a home improvement project in the works.  I have two daughters and a son and four granddaughters that keep me laughing and are my life’s joy.
  4.  Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. 

    I think my most rewarding day was when I first did a HSPU. When I started I had trouble getting on the wall. Thanks to Drew for letting me watch him in order to figure out how to get up on the wall. Also the Olympic lifts were tough but I am now getting better especially overhead squats, I hated overhead squats when I started.. Thanks to all the coaches who always have a tip for more efficient lifting. It is amazing how the weight goes up when you maintain good for and technique. My flexibility has greatly improved. I would like to thank all the encouragement I get from the others at the box; they always seem to cheer me on just as I feel like dropping the weight or stop moving! The encouragement from other athletes is a real motivator. 
  5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? 

    Kick Start My Heart, by Motley Crew.
  6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? 

    I definitely want to start paying more attention to my eating, but I know there is no chance until after the summer. I also want to put in extra time working on my flexibility and mobility.
  7. The next year?

    I want to be able to improve my double unders from the 2 or 3 I can string together now. Also pistols, I am working on them but they have proved most challenging.
  8. If you could have ANY workout partner in the world, who would it be and why? 

    Terry Cruz, he is a beast and he would keep me laughing the whole time!
  9. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? 

    400-meter runs, rope climbs, push presses and back squats!
  10. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? 

    Don’t worry about weight or your times. Learn the techniques and all that will follow. Enjoy yourself!
  11. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. 

    Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it! (Ferris Buhler’s Day Off)

JSACROSSFIT | POST A COMMENT | 1 REFERENCE | SHARE ARTICLE

JUNE'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - ED REILLY

MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2014 AT 6:03PM

 

Athlete of the Month - Ed Reilly

1.How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? I first started crossfit about 2 years ago while I was going to a gym in Pt Beach. This was not a CrossFit gym. And to tell you the truth they didn't really like me running around from machine to machine, then doing (bad) overhead squats and dropping weights, understandably.  I became obsessed with the website and watched everything I could on the lifts, workouts, and anything that I could learn from. But there was still so much I was missing, and I knew it. So, I bit the bullet saved some cash for about 6 months and jumped in.

2.What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? I have always tried to be a health conscious person, especially what I eat.  You get out what you put in, so I want to be able to perform at a thousand miles an hour. I have since cut out dairy, wheat and vastly decreased the amount of sugar I eat.

3.Tell us about what you do outside of the box! Ummm, well, I work in special education. Currently, I'm trying to get a teaching position as a high school art teacher. I am the conditioning coach for a club swim team, the Monmouth county Barracudas. I have been a lifeguard on the spring lake beach patrol for 16 years. I row with the Monmouth county race club. I run around town with my wife and two dogs and basically love where I live.

4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. I have been involved in athletics for the majority of my life, and the largest factor that has contributed to any success I have had are the athletes around me. The professionalism and care of the coaching staff at JSA have created an environment that enables the individual to find their niche within a collective that drives the dedicated to their goals.  So I can can only brag about the people who kick my ass everyday.

5.If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? I couldn't pick one song, it would make me crazy, I can handle almost anything, except country. Honestly, once we get past the second minute in any WOD we have done my hearing goes and I am just trying to breathe.

6.What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year? In the next 6 months to a year, I hope to put on some weight and really improve my squats, my leg strength has always been an issue and I plan on conquering pistols, oh and hand stand push ups, they kill me.

7.If you could have ANY workout partner in the world, who would it be and why? Bruce Lee, It would probably be a relentless pace, and then we could philosophize over a cup of green tea.

8.If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? 3 x 315 lb dead lift, 5 TTB/5 CTB Must be done unbroken without dropping, 500 row - 7 rounds

JSACROSSFIT | POST A COMMENT | SHARE ARTICLE

MAY'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - NINA BALDASARE

WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2014 AT 9:08PM

MAY’S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - NINA BALDASARE

1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? I was introduced to JSA  CrossFit in August 2011 by my husband Brian.  We were planning our wedding for that upcoming October and I needed to do something to feel good about myself and my body.  He had joined about a month earlier and insisted that I would love it. I admit I was skeptical because I honestly I HATED the “regular” gyms, and well, he had a really hard time moving after his workouts.  It didn’t look like something that I wanted to partake in, but I caved. Maybe I should listen to him more? …Nah.

2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? I have undoubtedly changed my eating habits, water intake and general awareness and knowledge of nutrition and performance.  However, it’s much more than that. Mentally I am much stronger and in tune with my body.  I challenge myself and learn every day that I can do a lot more than I ever imagined I could. It feels great knowing that I am working hard to improve my lifestyle and become healthier.

3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box! Normally when I am not at the box I am hard at work at Ocean County Veterinary Hospital; a job I love! Outside of that I’m sort of a homebody. I like cleaning, cooking and gardening. Nothing too exciting. ha!

4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. The personal growth that CrossFit has provided to me is beyond anything I could have imagined.  When I started almost 3 years ago a #75 deadlift was a milestone, and at the time rightfully so, now I am hoping for a big #300! But, I have come so much further than that!  I have made amazing friends and competed with such great athletes and hit “PeeR’s” (my friends will understand the extra -ee!) doing so.  I owe a majority of my milestones and ability to do well to my boxmates and coaches who kick ass, dedicate themselves and work hard every day to inspire me to hit those times and numbers.  If it wasn’t for the family that I have become part of there is no way I would have the motivation and drive to make myself better.

5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? For me it’s more about the music being loud…so loud that I can’t hear anything and it’s impossible to drown out.  If I were to choose a song, right now I would pick Linkin Park, Bleed it Out …that works for me, but I can’t go wrong with Eminem as a backup.

 

6. You have had quite the year! Can you share with us your journey? For those of you reading this who do not know me well, I am 9 months pregnant with my 1st baby.  As I stated earlier I have been training at JSA for almost (3) years and I have trained with the Competition class for a little over a year, while I was pleasantly surprised with this pregnancy news, I knew that things were going to be changing!  I immediately started research …but there are no clear guidelines on how to do this. So at my first doctor’s appointment the first thing I asked, of course, is about my daily high intensity workouts.  I was told as long as I did whatever form of exercise I was doing BEFORE I got pregnant, there was no reason why I couldn’t continue to do it while pregnant just at a lower intensity and perhaps less frequently.

And so it began, I wasn’t strict about my workouts from the beginning because I was so exhausted all the time, not to mention it is amazing what excuses your mind can come up with to keep you from the gym. But when I could go, I did. When I could lift heavy, I did. And when couldn’t, I scaled. Cardio and endurance went out the window, and PR’s were no longer in the equation. Some days I didn’t finish because I could feel when I had done enough work for the day. Do I sound like I am being positive?  I. Am. Not. Honestly, it SUCKED! I missed every second of what I knew I could do, what I wanted to achieve and that I couldn’t give it my all.  

It has, however, gotten better. I am now 39 weeks along, 40 pounds heavier and still try my hardest to keep moving so my mental game has changed and I have become proud of what my body has done these past few months and how good I feel. Ultimately, I have had an amazing pregnancy and CrossFit has empowered me. I owe it to myself and baby Morgan to be the healthiest I can be!

7. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months?

I would like to participate RX in The Pump Games in September! 

8. The next year?

I am going to focus on being healthy and juggling a new Baby, CrossFit and Work!

9. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? 

It would be a chipper…I really like chippers.

“Meana Nina”

Heavy Cleans and Snatches, Squats, Box Jumps, Handstand Push-ups, Pull Ups, KB Swings, Push Press….

(It would be fun to let someone else pick the weight and not tell till afterward.)

It would NOT consist of: Running, Sprinting, Running, Broad Jumps, Running, T2B, and did I say RUNNING!

10. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?

The workouts Suck, until you’re done. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself! 

Do not feel intimated!  Everybody starts somewhere and we all get better every day!  

Use profanity when necessary!

Tell all your friends who don’t CrossFit about your daily workout and watch how mad they get!  

11. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. 

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right.

***Since the time of this interview, Nina has given birth to a beautiful baby girl! I hear she already has six pack abs;-) Congratulations Nina and Brian!

JSACROSSFIT | 1 COMMENT | SHARE ARTICLE

APRIL'S ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - CHRISTIAN RUFF

FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2014 AT 10:18PM

1. How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? 

I got started at JSACF about 10 months ago after having a conversation with Kristen Szymanski-Congilose at work. I really wanted to get in shape and stop being lazy, but I hated going to the gym. I had heard good things about CrossFit, so I decided to give it a try. 

2. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? 

Since starting CrossFit I have made several changes in my life to be healthier. I have played around with the Paleo diet and have tried my best to maintain a 70-30 balance (not always easy). I no longer eat pizza at midnight after getting home from work. I no longer stay up till 3 A.M. I wake up earlier because I go to mostly AM classes and I find that my day is more productive because of it. 

3. Tell us about what you do outside of the box! 

Outside the box i spend most of my days bar tending/ serving at Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza in Red Bank. I enjoy my job, but I hope to be back in school this summer to get started on my Radiology Tech Degree. I also play in a Billiard League on Tuesday nights and have been doing that for about 12 years now. Other than that I enjoy going to concerts during the summer, taking my buddies jet ski or boat out on the weekends, and venturing out to the local bar with friends.

4. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete.  Brag a little. 

 

Since joining JSA I have done things I never thought was possible for me to accomplish. I can do pull-ups on my own now, can actually run a mile without having a heart attack, can do a handstand pushup (new accomplishment), and can lift more than I thought I’d ever be able to. 

5. If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be? 

Flogging Molly-Drunken Lullabies or any Music that was played on St Paddies day. It’s my Jam. lol

6. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? 

In 6 months I would like to be able to do a muscle up, butterfly pull-ups and135-155# power cleans with consistency. I would really like to conquer my arch-nemesis, the double under. I read an article the other day saying that in your first two years of CrossFit you should be PRing almost every time you train, so that would be nice as well. 

7. The next year?

Next year i would like to be able to Rx most workouts and be consistent overall in everything that i do. 

8. If you could have ANY workout partner in the world, who would it be and why? 

If I could have any workout partner in the world it would be Colin Kaepernick, QB of the San Francisco. The 49ers are my favorite team Colin’s offseason workout routines are insane.

9. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? 

If i had a WOD named after me I would want want it to consist of all three things I currently struggle with, but will conquer: DU’s, CTB, and thrusters. 

10. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? 

If I could give advice to anyone starting I would say to not be intimidated by the workouts. Do what you can, and don’t worry about anyone else’s score. You will be sore the next day, but that means you did something right. Just keep coming back, because it get so much easier. 

11. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. 

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” - Thomas A. Edison

JSACROSSFIT | POST A COMMENT | SHARE ARTICLE

MARCH ATHLETE OF THE MONTH - JOANIE MANSFIELD

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2014 AT 8:56AM

March Athlete of the Month

Joanie Mansfield

How did you get started with JSACF and how long have you been training? I joined JSACF in spring of 2012 at the recommendation of Garry Linstra. I had been complaining to him of stagnation in my exercise routine. It took me three months to overcome my fear and walk through that door. What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit? By far the healthiest shift I have made since joining CF is working to change my attitude. I lived in a place of fear and doubt. Participating in CF helped me see that, and to work to overcome those fears. It's proving to me that I am capable of so much more. Every WOD, and every accomplishment, I work to crush that voice of doubt. I'm learning to applaud my strengths, rather than focus on my shortcomings. It's about progress, not perfection. Tell us about what you do outside of the box! Working two jobs and keeping track of my teenager takes a lot of my time. When I am able to carve out some free time I usually end up at the beach. I've recently been getting back into a favorite hobby, photography. I've been having some fun with that. Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete. Brag a little. Shortly after joining JSA, my life changed drastically. The foundation I had built upon crumbled. Facing my new reality, and starting over has been difficult. Having CF as an outlet helped me to find the courage and the confidence to improve my situation. Courage to accept, forgive, and discover who I am capable of being. For the hour I am in the box, my mind is clear, everything else melts away. As I get stronger physically, it transforms how I look at my problems, and how I see myself. What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months. The next year? I'd like to master a pull up, and double unders. I'm going to dive into the Open and see how that goes. I am also looking forward to seeing my son graduate college this spring, and I'd also like to travel to California to visit my daughter. Long term is a clean slate, I'm trying to believe nothing is impossible. If you could have ANY workout partner in the world (living or deceased), who would it be and why? I consider myself lucky to have the support and encouragement of the JSA family. They believed in me when I didn't. That's a perfect partner. Maybe Lisbeth Darsh. Her writing on CF seems to sum up why I come, and why I keep coming. If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of? A WOD named Joanie would include all the things I dreaded and now feel like Superwoman doing....Running, box jumps, rope climbs, even a few burpees! Throw in some shoulder to overhead lifts just because that is where I struggle. What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit? Don't compare yourself to the other athletes. You don't have to be in shape to join CF, you get in shape at CF. It's ok to scale. Listen to your body, and listen to your Coaches. Don't give up, keep moving. Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life. Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be