Eric Han

                    Eric Han

What brought you to CrossFit in the first place?

I was getting up at 5:00 AM every weekday to be at the gym by 5:30 so I could get in a 90-minute workout and be at work by8:00. I would also run three times a week after work for about three to five miles. I was miserable at my job and my workout time was the highlight of my day. It was just me, my headphones, and the same five people every morning. I started to have sleeping issues due to all the pre-workout I was taking to help support my “lifestyle.” I was also having issues like elevated heart rate, mood swings, and getting injuries easier. My coworker told me that I was “overtraining.” I didn’t believe him due to all the CT Fletcher videos I’ve watched. While I was reading up on overtraining I saw an article on why I should incorporate Crossfit into my training. (How ironic) I remember being told by the guy working at Nutrition Zone that Damien knew what he was doing. I decided to sign up for a trial class and stayed.

 What was your first impression, how has that changed if so?

I used to be one of the haters. My roommate was the guy who turned me from being a cardio bunny to lifting bro. He was very against CrossFit and got me to hate on it. After I graduated school I started reading more on Crossfit when I got Mark Divine’s 8 Weeks to SEALFIT. About a year later I walked into Damien’s box. Everyone was very friendly and supportive when I walked in. I used to think that Crossfit coaches were just money hungry people giving out terrible advice from all the videos I saw. What I didn’t see was all the hard working ones that coach because they love helping people.

 What was your first big achievement/proud moment?

Doing Murph with everyone and enjoying what we accomplished after was definitely my proudest moment. Definitely going to do it with the vest next year.

 What are you working on now?

I’ve been working on a bodyweight snatch and a 125% bodyweight clean and jerk.

 What is your favorite thing about CFEH? 

The people here are amazing. Especially how they motivate (scream at) you during Partner WODs to keep going. You are either “motivating” someone are they are “motivating” you. The coaches and members are more that just coaches and members. They are people you talk to when you need someone to complain about your day or just someone to push you. Nothing worthy is accomplished alone.

 What changes have you seen in yourself since starting CrossFit?

My philosophy for life and physical fitness has dramatically changed since I joined. I sleep a lot better and I’m eating slightly better. Just having trouble giving up Ben and Jerry’s. I have also learned to turn it down on training and give myself more rest time. I no longer go heavy six days a week and I haven’t been dealing with CNS fatigue as much. I just need to start running again. I also got a new job so I’m no longer miserable. 



How long have you been doing Crossfit?
I've been  in and out of Crossfit gyms for about 5 years. I've worked with some pretty amazing coaches but I never before took the time to really focus on my training until this year. The support and motivation from the team at CFEH is incredible!

What is your favorite thing about Crossfit?
The way it challenges me - to be more present, more aware of myself and the world around me. It urges me to be a better athlete, healer, and a friend, to myself, and those I care for.

What is your favorite technique/movement? 
Hand stand push-ups and Snatches. They both utilize the body in such a graceful and unique way. They open the shoulders, the heart, balance the hips - they really are very healing techniques. When these movements 'click', it's like beautiful music.

Do you have a favorite WOD?                                                                                                                                  Mm, not yet...but that crazy 1/2 hour WOD laced with 400m sprints was pretty fun.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting?                                                            Omgoodness...patience and honesty with myself for one. In Crossfit, I keep circling back into myself. Here, you can't hide. Knowing yourself deeply, more and more is key. Knowing where your strengths are so you can use them effectively, knowing where your weaknesses are: physically - so that the proper prehab, movement prep and mobility exercises can be applied inside and out of the gym; mentally - so you know where to listen, and know where to push; emotionally - so that you can use the energy strong emotion provides, properly and gracefully; spiritually - so that you know how to breathe life inside you when everything seems to break down.
 I've learned how to trust support, from my coaches, from my friends, and from my own body as well. 
 I've learned, and am learning, how to nurture myself properly. It doesn't serve you to show up for class, ill hydrated or improperly fed. It constantly reminds me that my body is truly a temple, and if I am to emanate a certain vibration, a certain amount of love, I better pay attention to how I'm treating it. Crossfit, and movement in general,  has taught me how to love myself...and each time i 'show up' this love just grows deeper.

 Did you play sports growing up? Elaborate! 
I couldn't play football when I was younger so I cheerleaded, danced and skateboarded as much as possible until high school. I sprinted mid distance for the winter track team. I love to run, mostly trails now. It's so freeing to just get out in the forest and go! I played mostly varsity on the Suffern women's lacrosse team as well as club leagues in winter and summer, and I tried my best to be a swimmer in the fall. I've always loved movement and danced my way through all my years. Movement as Medicine - it's a powerful thing! 
Sports and studying have always kept my wild mind grounded.

Fitness Goals 2016? 
 This year my intention is 'focus' and 'consistency'. I'm curious and excited to see what my body can do, and what I can be while I listen to its innate intelligence. I feel more free inside my skin while training and I look forward to continuously developing that sacred relationship with myself, my body, begun so long ago.
 I'd also like to explore racing again. It's getting easier to compete, as I relax into myself, We'll see what 'focus' and 'consistency' bring. And lastly -but 'key to success' number one -have fun! Lots of it, with lots of dancing involved.


             Shirtless Warrior!                        

             Shirtless Warrior!


How long have you been doing CrossFit?  I have been doing CrossFit since January 2014!

 What is your favorite thing about CFEH? The people the people the people! They are all super supportive and nobody minds when I yell obscenities mid wod or that I always take my shirt off Lol!

 What is your favorite technique or movement? I’ve learned to love doing double unders. It took me over 5 months to figure them out and now I feel very proud to be able to do them because of my perseverance!

Do you have a favorite wordAny wod that is not Karen!  I really like The Murph and I think its a terrific benchmark let alone an achievement to complete!

What changes have you seen In yourself since starting CrossFitI have seen an overall return to athleticism. I used to just lift weights so was bigger but totally unhealthy. Now I feel great about my cardiovascular ability as well as my health and well being!

Did you play sports growing up?   I played soccer andbaseball as a kid but in high school I excelled once I quit soccer to become a cross country runner and track runner. I ended up captain of both teams! We had some great victories and a lot of fun along the way including winning the Group 1 state championship for my high school. In my events in track I made it to state level with a 4:31 mile andran D1 for 2 days in college but decided id rather party than run around campus all day, at least I’m honest :-)

 What are some of your fitness goals going into 2016? Competitions? New PRs? My strict goal is 150 wods this year. That works out to be 12/13 per month. I completed 115 wods  last year and I was pretty proud of that but there is  always room for improvement!

                                                                                                 Lenny & Ida Zizza

                                                                                                 Lenny & Ida Zizza

Before I started CFEH I was at a strength and conditioning gym in the area which I loved. Ida had already been training at EHCF and would tell me how much she loved the gym and how much she thought I would love it. She would always come home from a workout and her face would be all red and would be a sweaty mess talking about how great her workouts were. My gym had moved so I was kinda forced to EHCF. My first month was pretty brutal, I felt I was prepared for the strength aspects of crossfit but clearly lacked the conditioning part. I was not prepared for the amount of reps crossfit requires and often ended workouts lying in a pool of my own sweat, gasping for air and my lungs on fire. After the first few workouts I quickly realized that CFEH was the place for me. My favorite thing about CFEH is the atmosphere. I really enjoy working out in groups, especially those days where you force yourself to workout after a long day and you really don't feel like being there. You see someone really crushing a workout and it motivates you to do better. I really enjoy the competitive nature of it as well. Even though you workout for yourself and everyone is on different levels you compare yourself to the men and woman who are out repping you and finishing faster. It just motivates me to keep working. Some of my favorite movements in crossfit are doubleunders, box jumps, handstand push ups, and back squats. My least favorite movement is without a doubt BURPEES. It doesn't matter how good I feel going in or how pumped up i am for a workout. They just destroy me both mentally and physically. I don't enjoy them ever and mixed in with other movements just makes for a miserable day for me. I guess they serve a purpose but I am yet to figure out what. WHATS WORSE THEN 100 BURPEES FOR TIME....HORRIBLE!! I have definitely noticed some changes both mentally and physically from crossfit. In the beginning I would look at a wod and kind of psych myself out before I would get there quietly curse out Damien to myself on the way in. Being in shape overall, my cardio and mobility have improved and instead of psyching myself out, I look at it as a challenge and it helps. I don't find myself cursing Damien too much anymore. For 2016 I am looking forward to doing the crossfit open. Last year was fun but I am definitely more prepared. I would love to back squat 375 pounds and would like to do 150 double unders unbroken. My main goal is for Ida and I to just continue to get through the whole year continually working out as it seems to ground us as a couple and helps us through the stresses of life. Its so fun to be able to workout out with my wife and when we have the rare opportunity to workout together she always impresses me with how far she has come. Its important to us that our girls see us working hard so hopefully it will rub off on them. They love trying to jump rope and imitating the stretches. I would like to say thank you to Damien. You are a great coach and person. You keep us motivated with awesome, challenging, fun, and sometimes insane workouts(for which I will keep cursing you out). I also would like to thank all the members for bringing it everyday. Its so much fun working out with everyone and I really do feed off of everyone. It makes for a great place to workout!!!! Have great holiday season! Sound Body Sound Mind! Thanks
- Lenny Zizza 


Prior to CFEH I was working out at the same gym as Lenny. He started there first. I was @ 5 months prego, HUGE, and he would come home from the gym and flash his abs at me, “Look! Look! Almost there!” I wanted to scream. As he was growing in strength and muscle I was growing forward and out. I truly believe that is when the switch turned on and I knew I really had to be focused on a healthier lifestyle once my second munchkin was born. Out came our munchkin and there I was about 60 lbs heavier. Oh boy! Something had to happen and quick! I started with a personal trainer who taught me that I should be eating to survive and not eating for enjoyment. I was like, “Really? I really enjoy chocolate and pizza.”  I took the training serious and was determined to get healthy. I couldn’t wait for the day I could flash my abs at Lenny and say “Look!!” Long journey ahead but I was so excited to begin my new way of living.  I met our coach Damien in November 2013 for an introductory class and I loved it! I felt so comfortable from the first day. I came home, like Lenny mentioned, red and sweaty! It was great! I was going strong for quite a while and couldn’t believe the difference in my body. I lost the weight and inches at my other gym but working out at CFEH I noticed more muscle tone as well. I remember passing a mirror and noticing my triceps. I wasn’t even flexing. Seeing the difference in my body and my increase in energy really made CFEH an addiction.  Working out at the gym I have realized that overhead squats and squat snatches are my least favorite technique in crossfit. (Just not a fan.) On the other hand, believe it or not, I actually like doing burpees. Maybe not as many as coach Damien makes us do, but I do enjoy them. Now that I can do DUs I really enjoy them as well. Another technique I finally can do without much struggle, again depending on how many reps, are squat cleans. I working with 65lbs at the moment but it’s an improvement. I’ll take it!  Growing up I took dance, gymnastics, played softball and was a cheerleader. Once I got to high school that all changed. I no longer played sports but was a wrestling statistician and watergirl for the football team. I tried all different avenues to lose weight and be fit. I was one of those late night infomercial buyers. I would be up late at night believing everything I saw on TV. If you think of any exercise product for the abs on late night TV I probably have it! I even purchased the one that sends electric shocks to your stomach. I once tried it without the gel... OUCH, that hurt!  My goal for 2016 is to compete in an obstacle sprint race like the Bone Frog. This will only happen if I could successfully swing through the monkey bars. Practice makes perfect so I guess I will be hanging at the park more often with Lenny and the kiddies.  My favorite thing about CFEH is the members. I love how we all support and push one another. When you feel like you are going to die, you hear someone call your name and it makes you feel alive again. Without the support from everyone I feel I would not have reached certain PR and received the Gold Medal on Wodify. So thank you ALL for your support!  An extra special thank you to Lenny! He’s the main motivator. Besides his amazing muscles that I get to stare at he really encourages me. He reminds me how important it is to take time for me and makes life after work much easier. I hope our girls pick up on our healthy lifestyle and are lucky enough to find someone as cool as Lenny! - Ida Zizza


My story leading up to CrossFit is like many others- I went from playing four sports in high school, collegiate hocky,gym workouts 5-6 days a week to then having a career, getting married, kids and my workout time was gone. I was overweight, losing my hair and growing hair in places it shouldn't. I hadn't been to the gym in years and I thought exercising was a thing of the past for me.

My wife signed up for a half marathon and the night before, like a typical husband, she had to ask me to come and support her instead of me realizing on my own that's what I should do. So I took the next day off of work and decided I was done being lazy- I was going to run it with her. I've done some stupid things and this is near the top. I hadn't exercised in years so I set two goals. First, don't walk but run the whole way. Second was don't die. To this day I am convinced I only reached one of those goals- I ran the whole way. I crossed the finish line and felt like my heart was ready to explode. I fell to the ground so exhausted and to this day I swear I died.  The impact of my chest to the ground was that chest compression I needed to regain life.  The grim reaper took pity on me that day!

     I stuck with running for a while but it wasn't keeping my interest. Then my wife bought me a groupon and made me join boot camp. Again, she had to tell me what to do because I wasn't doing it on my own. Shortly thereafter, Damien took over that boot camp and my crossfit journey began.  I have developed a passion for crossfit and it has entered every aspect of my life. I have begun eating healthier which I had never done before. I read food labels and translate it into how many burpees it will take to burn it off.  When one of my kids collapses on the floor in a tantrum I grab them by the clothes and dead lift them until they start giggling. 

     Twenty years ago if asked what was my motivation for working out I would have said "chicks"!  Typical guy. Fast forward to today and my motivations today are my family and my cholesterol. Before crossfit my cholesterol was high which wasn't surprising since I wasn't doing anything to control it. Now as I am grinding thru a wod and I want to quit, my mind drifts to how doing those extra reps will help me be around longer for my kids.  We all know these WOD's are 90% physical and the other half mental. ;)  So when the suck really sets in I drift off to the fun times with the kids. Just as important as being healthy is the fact that I feel healthy.  At this point in life I want to feel good much more than I want to look good. 

     My favorite workout hands down is "Murph" and for several reasons.  Most importantly, the atmosphere at CFEH that morning is so positive and upbeat. Everybody knows a beat down is coming but there is nothing but words of encouragement for each other.  Also, I love the history behind this WOD. I read the book, saw the movie and it puts another motivation into the mix. I think about what those guys and girls do daily so I better suck it up for this one workout and give it everything.  Any workout that has pullups seems to play into my strength. Finally, after the misery we sit down, relax, and get to know each other on a more personal level without the grunting and snot running down our noses. With all that being said, my least favorite WOD is any WOD other than "Murph"!

     In 2016, I am looking forward to moving forward with my training. I have to be realistic about my goals and constantly remind myself that the only person I need to beat is me.  I see others at CFEH overcome injury, lose weight, run a 5k, do their first double under or pull up, and set pr's. Everyone else is pushing forward so I better not get caught standing still!


Louise. P  

I started doing Crossfit about two and a half years ago after the Bootcamp gym transitioned into a Crossfit box. So, I guess Crossfit found me rather than the other way round! I'm so glad the changes all happened and a bunch of us are still around from the old days! I have finally found my happy workout place with Crossfit. I grew up in a pretty active family - biking, racquet sports, high school field hockey - but the English school culture isn't so into sport, so by the time I finished college I really didn't work out and led a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. My husband and I moved to California in 1999, with our newborn son and by the time the millennium rolled around I was an out of shape 210lb disaster. Seeing the photographs from that holiday season was a big wake up call and I finally joined a gym, got a personal trainer, ate better and lost 50lbs - then I got pregnant with twins! By then though, I was in the zone of exercise and smart eating choices and gave birth to two full term, healthy babies. I spent the next five years doing some personal training, swimming and running, then my Y started a Bootcamp class and I fell in love with HIIT. From that group we started a triathlon club and the year I turned 40 I completed my first open water swim sprint triathlon. Then we moved to NJ. I felt so sad to lose my triathlon buddies. It took three years to find this gym, but I finally feel the same as I did back then - motivated to workout with a great trainer, an awesome group of people and make true friendships through the agony and ecstasy of Crossfit! I love the weightlifting part of Crossfit and am determined to one rep a 300lb deadlift before the end of 2015. Crossfit hasn't just changed me physically but mentally it has helped me change my view of myself - I grew up hating my big, muscular legs and dressed in giant, long shirts to cover up - now I marvel at what those muscles can do and spend most of my days in workout clothes! Burpees will always suck, but the atmosphere at the box and the support of everyone means I give everything my best shot. I knew I had completely fallen in love with Crossfit when I was back working out a week after fracturing my elbow! That's when my family knew I was completely obsessed - but I love to hear my kids tell their friends what I can do and I think they were pretty impressed when they came to watch my first comp! That's the other thing I love about Crossfit - I'm in my late 40's and thinking about competing in events, looking forward to training hard and pushing myself out of my comfort zone - that's all the added benefits of Crossfit. Oh, and my wonderful 9am workout buddies - couldn't do it without you guys . 

I'm Matt Topolewski and I am 29 years old.  I have been doing Crossfit for about 15 months.  Growing up I was someone who was extremely active, always involved in sports and free time was usually spent outside.  Then after college I got a desk job and began living a more sedentary lifestyle.  As the weight packed on and my energy decreased I knew I needed to make a change in my life.  Luckily I work with 2 Crossfitters, Elmer and Kyrsten and they suggested I go to a trial class.  I was only doing body weight exercises, push ups, pull ups with bands. air squats, and after only a short introductory class I thought I was going to throw up.  But I had to come back.  And 2 weeks later I was attempting Murph for the first time.  Needless to say it kicked my butt.  

Over the past 15 months I have made many changes in my lifestyle, ones that lead to me being healthier and happier.  I have been trying to attend classes 5 days a week, when my schedule permits it, and since the beginning of the summer I have lost over 25 pounds.  Changes have been visible to others and I feel my workouts have gotten much stronger.  My favorite crossfit benchmark is Grace because I feel it works your entire body and really forces you to push yourself to the limit, but after only a few minutes you are left exhausted and unable to stand.  As for regular exercises, I enjoy WOD's that involve box jumps.  The Thursday open gym classes have been fun lately too in that I am able to create my own workouts and cater to what I feel I can improve upon.  On these days I decided to do Murph (thank you Martha for doing it with me and Joey for running that last mile with me when my legs didn't want to move)  or another where the workout was Grace directly into a half Murph (with Julie). Outside of work, Much of my time is spent as a volunteer fireman and assistant chief in my hometown of Lake Parsippany. The demands of this are very physical and lob or intensive, and my performance has improved greatly as a result of my CrossFit training! My workout and health goals over the next 6 months include being able to bench press my weight, doing my first muscle up, and I hope to improve my BMI to an even more healthy and sustainable level.  Without having been a member of CFEH I would not have been able to make all these changes in my life.  I enjoy the friendly nature of the classes where everyone supports and encourages each other.  Without having that social aspect, the motivation to drag myself into the gym just isnt the same.  I love how you never do the same workout and things are always different.  



How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Since June 5th 2012! haha I remember because that was the first day former FBC opened their 2nd location and I hit up the first on ramp. I was in there with another OG Karen. It was simple just ring rows, push ups, air squats and a lap. I didn't consider keeping a pace and it ended up slaying me. It was different than a traditional gym. First, some one told me how to actually do things correctly. Second, there was a plan/program I didn't have to figure out what to do every time or remember what I did the day before, and second the competitiveness made it less of a chore and more like a game. I looked forward to coming back. How sore I was from that day let me know I wasn't active enough and if I kept at it I'd be in the best shape of my life. I enjoyed it so much I signed Lynn up before telling her about it. I figured she'd like it a little...

What is your favorite wod or technique?
I seem to enjoy Cindy. (talking about the WOD here, love ya Cindy :-*)
As for technique, Double Unders! I love/hate them. When they are on; they are on....when they are off.. they are painfully off. haha From there every technique or movements has it's charm. I have longer limbs so some things I'm built for, but some things I'm not. I favor cardio over lifts. Oh, back-squats are cool too.

What changes have you seen since starting?

For what I've seen, I lost weight that's for sure. I came in at 190. The lowest I dropped to 165-170 with a regular diet, and 153 when I hit paleo hard for 2 months. I'm walking around at 160 these days with a regular diet, but that's because I'm keeping active. I was dumb and twisted my ankle doing out of class activities so I assume I'll get some gainz regardless. So I'll have to double time at the gym. 

How do you feel since starting?

For what I've felt, I sleep better and I'm tired less often. Less guilt on the cheat meals!

What are some of your hobbies?

Too many. I sort of dipped my toe in everything, which makes it easier when I meet new people there has to be something I've done or know about that we share in common and we go from there. Physically, I play some pick up games of futbol here and there with friends, family, or sometimes league. I find myself still having energy while others are huffing and puffing around. I also practice the Muay Thai discipline where I've been focusing my time there lately. I want to get it down before I can split training and CF. I plan to balance both out to complement each other. Using Crossfit I can condition my body for strength and endurance. Think about it, other than better quality of life, what good is being strong or fast if you can't test out all those gainz and hard work you make. 

What are some of your goals?

I want to get my gymnastics on point. Handstands or muscle ups. That's how you get the ladies. 

Whats your favorite part of being a member at CFEH?

Favorite part?? I heard you get a free (M) T-shirt for being member of the month ;) ;)

Everyone's family, and the coach is a friend that cares about his clients. His goals are to help you reach yours. Positivity is a reoccurring motif throughout the gym. It's not a competition between members its a competition between yourself. Everyone helps each other out in their own way. Its a safe haven where you can leave your problems elsewhere and just come work out, hang out, and forget your troubles.

Martha with kittens.jpg

I joined CFEH on August 26th, 2014. I had come in for a trial month during the spring/summer, and learned very quickly that I had a LONG way to go to becoming fitter.  Karen D and I happened to take the introductory sessions together, and then it was time for our very first “real” WOD. I remember we were warming up doing broad jumps. One minute I was up in the air, and the next I was lying on the ground in the fetal position with a stabbing pain in my abdomen. I was so out of shape that by simply jumping across the floor I pulled a muscle in my lower abs. Yikes! Here I was for my first real workout, and I couldn’t even get through the warm up. I didn’t let that stop me, though. I spent a few weeks recovering, then worked on conditioning and core strength before joining “for real” in August. I started out coming 3 days a week, and in November I decided to bump it up and now come 5 or 6 days a week on a regular basis. 

 I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, and was never very athletic, although I have always been pretty strong. We raised livestock (cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens) and so doing chores and caring for the animals kept me fairly strong. I ran track in 8th grade (hated it), but other than that didn’t play sports at all when I was growing up. During and after college, I did go to the gym on a regular basis, mostly doing cardio on machines or a weightlifting class. But when we moved to New Jersey 10 years ago, I just couldn’t find a gym that I liked (I tried a bunch). So I became a sporadic exerciser in my home. I bought an elliptical (which I didn’t use more than a dozen times and ended up selling). I have free weights, a “step,” lots of exercise videos, a stability ball. But the problem was that I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it. I’d start and just end up quitting because I was tired. Or because I was bored and knew the entire video forward and backward. Or I wouldn’t work out for months (perhaps years) at a time. What I like about crossfit is that it’s different every time I go, and that keeps me coming back for more. I also like the “community” we have at CFEH. That’s what was missing when I was trying to work out in my living room, and a real reason for me to keep coming back. 

 There are a lot of exercises that I like doing here. Deadlifts play to my strength, so I like doing them, but I also like double-unders. When I came in I couldn’t do one. I was soooo frustrated by that. I bought a speed rope and practiced. A lot. Almost every time I come to the gym and there’s bit of time at the end I work for 5 minutes on doubles, and little by little I have been getting better. First I got one, then two, then 4, and so on until yesterday I got a new PR of 37!!! I will keep working. My next goal is for 50, but I will probably reach that in small increments. For me, persistence and practice is the key to getting better at double unders. I also learned recently that I like the split-jerk. My husband and I were back in Minnesota and Wisconsin for a couple of weeks earlier this summer, and I decided to drop in at a couple Crossfit gyms while we were there. One of the days they were doing the split jerk. We drilled the movement, and it was time to find a 2 rep max. I did 110 lbs that day, which I though was awesome for my first real time doing the movement. I am excited to continue to learn new moves and get better at the ones we do. My least favorite exercises are probably toes to bar and pull-ups, because I haven’t been able to master them yet. I am still working on my abs and upper body strength, but I know if I keep at it I will get better. Not sure if I’ll ever get my toes to that bar, but I’ll keep trying! 

 I try not to let setbacks stop me. I had a pretty major one in December when I went for a box jump in a WOD and hit the edge of the box with my shins. I had never missed a jump before and I was really surprised. I knew I had hit pretty hard, but it wasn’t until Damien said “you’re bleeding” that I realized how bad it was. Turns out I needed 8 stitches to get my right shin back together. I came back to the gym 4 days later because I was feeling fine and I knew if I took more time off that I probably would get lazy and not want to come back. I was pretty scared for a long time to do box jumps again. I did step ups for a long time. But it got to the point that I knew it was mental, and not physical. I knew I could get on that box again. So I bought a set of soccer shin guards, and the next time a WOD with box jumps came along, I gave it a try. That was May 8th, and I did about the first 10 jumps with the shin guards before they fell off—haha! After that I knew I could do it without them. So much of what we do is physical, but a lot is mental too, and conquering that fear boosted my confidence a lot. 

 I remember when I first started we did a WOD and we were supposed to do 4 rounds of something, and after the 3rdround I was wiped and way behind everyone else. I knew I was going to be last to finish and didn’t want that to happen. Damien said “that’s OK” so I didn’t finish the 4th round, but I went home feeling funny about it. I was kind of mad at myself for not finishing. I took that experience and have applied it to a lot of the WODs we have done since. One memorable one was the Open 15.5: 27-21-15-9 of calories rowing and 65lb thrusters. I was going to scale the workout, but Louise was like “even if I have to do one thruster at a time, I’m going to do it.” She inspired me to give it a try, and although I had the slowest time in the gym, I FINISHED that workout. Something I never thought I could do. Then Matt T was doing Murph recently on an open gym day and didn’t want to do it by himself, so I said I’d do it with him. I wanted to quit so badly, but I said I’d do it with him and so I finished that one too (thanks to Joey for running with me at the end). I know I will never be the fastest or the strongest in the gym, but I am persistent and when I put my mind to doing something I will do it. That’s a pretty big change for me (compared to the “working out at home Martha”), and one that I hope stays with me. Also having a coach to let me know that “you can do it” helps a lot. Damien has figured out how to push me so that I keep getting better, which is awesome. Thanks, Damien! 

Although I haven’t lost a lot of weight (actually none), I know I have gotten WAY stronger since starting this about 10 months ago. My PRs on Wodify tell me that, and I feel a lot stronger, but my fellow members also are so great about encouraging me and letting me know how much progress I’ve made. I come at all different times of the day and have gotten to meet just about everyone who comes to the gym. The only people I haven’t gotten to meet are the very early morning girls, since I work night shift and there’s no way I’m getting up that early on a day off--LOL! Maybe someday, though! It’s really fun and inspiring to work out with all of you. There are so many strong women (and men) at our gym, and it’s really great to work out alongside all of them. I am constantly amazed when tiny Kathy S or Susie S lift the same or more weight than I do (since they weigh about half of what I do J). And then there’s Karen D who came in at the same time as me and is doing strict pull ups like they’re easy. You go, girl! And I have to give a shout out to one of our newer members, Julie D, who came in from doing crossfit at another gym for a couple of years and has been so inspiring and motivating for me. Watching her get her first CTB pull-up was awesome! And makes me think that maybe, someday, I can do that too. Thanks also to Cindy, Jean, Karen S, Bruce, Monika, Johnny F, Rose, Andy, Tracy, Sam, Ida, Lenny, Mary, Becca, Bruce, Pat, Frank (both of them), Tony, Mike, Jessica, Tara, Rose, Coach Julia--the list could go on and on and on (if I forgot you I didn’t mean to!). It’s been great to get to know you and get fitter alongside you. I love that we’ve got lots of new people coming into the gym recently, and can’t wait to get to know everyone.  See you at the gym! 

Martha Hill

 PS—if you didn’t know this about me already, in addition to loving crossfit, I am also a cat lover. We foster for the Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter, and at any given point have a bunch of little kittens running around our house. So I’m a cross-fitting cat lady. Hey, there are worse things to be, right?