Meet Your Coach: Geoff

For those of you who haven't met Geoff, he's the warm, welcoming face of our Tuesday morning Oly classes! We share him with San Francisco CrossFit where he interned under the great Diane Fu. Without further ado...


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How long have you been working out?

I first started training with weights back in junior high. I was lucky enough to go to a school that had an incredible PE program that involved weight training once per week, along with miles of running, track and field activities, and recreational sports. Training continued through high school, and then off and on through college. After having heart surgery in 2007, I went full-force back into training and haven't looked back. I discovered CrossFit in 2012, which quickly let me to powerlifting and Olympic-style weightlifting. 

What is your work out program?

Right now, I follow a 5-day Olympic-style weightlifting program with 1-2 days of CrossFit sprinkled in for conditioning.

Do you play sports?

I participate in one or two weightlifting competitions per year. I've also attended training camps in China with Coach Wu Chuaunfu in China over the past two years

Do you eat a particular diet or follow a specific diet philosophy?

I'm Level One certified in Precision Nutrition and currently working toward my Level Two. I remain diet agnostic and try to stay away from the magical thinking that plagues our industry. Ultimately, I stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% of your meals should be high quality, whole foods like meats, veggies, nuts, starches and fruits. The other 20% can be all of the pizza and donuts.

 "Fitness is an investment, not a purchase. You have to pay into it everyday with your actions and choices inside and outside of the gym. Those actions and choices will pay dividends in the long-run."

"Fitness is an investment, not a purchase. You have to pay into it everyday with your actions and choices inside and outside of the gym. Those actions and choices will pay dividends in the long-run."

How often do you train?

I train, on average, five days per week, depending on work and life stuff

How often in training do you hit a new PR or acquire a new skill?

New PRs are elusive these days, due to a hectic work and coaching schedule. However, I always have time to try to acquire a new skill.

What do you find contributes to your fitness the most?

Consistency. Consistency is the key to success in any endeavor, especially when life throws curve balls.

What is your next strength /fitness/skill goal to be achieved?

Becoming proficient at really basic gymnastics stuff like handstands, kipping movements, and general bodyweight movement.

What is your pie-in-the-sky health/ fitness/skill goal? Also known as a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

It would be a tie between a 200kg snatch or a ring muscle-up.

Have you ever been injured? How did you move past it?

I've had the usual lower back or shoulder tweak that comes with pushing oneself in training. I've also been out of commission, due to open heart surgery. Dealing with injuries is always tough because they take us away from the activities we love to do. In my opinion, you have to accept that you're injured, come-up with a course of action with your doctors and coaches, and most importantly, keep going into the gym! If you aren't bed-ridden, due to a catastrophic injury, there's always something you can do in the gym. Plus, you get to be around your community, which is also integral to the healing process.


Meet Your Coach: Jason


Coach Jason has been our Monday night delight here at UB for a long time. He's always the most welcoming, flirty, effervescent spirit in the room, and we love him for that. Let's look deeper into the habits and interests that drive him!


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How often do you train?

I have been exercising since Freshmen year in High School starting with Track & Field which lead into Cross Country for all four years and then rowed on the Crew Team my Freshmen year in college but stopped after realizing how serious sport at the collegiate level.

What is your work out program?

I follow the UB programming and had been experimenting with CompTrain a little bit on the weekends and am happy with the current adoption of it for the wider community.  Every seven weeks I cycle off of CrossFit to give my body a break and hop on ClassPass to try other activities including Aerial Yoga, Pole Dance, Spin, TRX, Hip Hop Dance, Sword Fitness, Ultimate Frisbee and more.

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Do you play sports? 

My current sport is the sport of fitness (CrossFit).

How often do you train?

I train five days a week usually resting on Sundays and then either Wednesday or Thursday.  Using my Whoop I’m now basing my rest days on how recovered the device says I am based on the prior night’s sleep so some weeks may get one or two extra rest days.

How often in training do you hit a new PR or acquire a new skill?

 I achieve a personal record about 4-6 times throughout the year so about once every few months.  I “re-test” when the opportunity arises by being programmed in the class workout.

What do you find contributes to your fitness the most? 

My discipline contributes to my fitness the most, I’m one of those humans who commits and goes 100% in whatever endeavor I choose to pursue.

Do you eat a particular diet or follow a specific diet philosophy?

I eat a Macro based diet of 3,000 calories a day with 20% Fat, 23% Protein and 57% Carbs.  I optimized to this level and percentages after working with Coach Nikki to shift off and away from the Zone Diet and have been loving the additional carbs each day.

     "I would advise any one getting started on their fitness journey to really relish the first several months and year on developing proper mechanics so that they advance with good habits, to be able to move as safely and efficiently as possible before increasing their load.  It’s a great test of patience and letting go of the ego to be willing to take things lighter knowing that the end result will be so much more rewarding.  Plus they will have less set backs of re-learning proper movements and bad habits to break later down the line.

  "I would advise any one getting started on their fitness journey to really relish the first several months and year on developing proper mechanics so that they advance with good habits, to be able to move as safely and efficiently as possible before increasing their load.  It’s a great test of patience and letting go of the ego to be willing to take things lighter knowing that the end result will be so much more rewarding.  Plus they will have less set backs of re-learning proper movements and bad habits to break later down the line.

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What is your next strength /fitness/skill goal to be achieved?

I get to do more work on my cardio engine to improve my performance and endurance in activities such as running, rowing, biking and skiing which is where I usually fall behind when they are coupled with other movements in a workout.  One example would be maintaining a sub 1:50 500m row in each round of a workout by the end of this year.

What is your pie-in-the-sky health/ fitness/skill goal? Also known as a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) 

I’m presently pursuing the art of facilitating mindfulness in both corporate and athletic environments to elevate other people.  I will launch a global brand what may or may not be called mindWOD to bring mindfulness to CrossFit Affiliates worldwide to empower 1,000 athletes to deepen their practice by addressing the mindset by 2022.

Have you ever been injured? How did you move past them?

My most serious injury has been a slight labrum tear in my left shoulder after dismounting from a bar muscle up at a CrossFit Competition back in the Summer of 2015.  It was heartbreaking to believe that my competitive CrossFit life had ended as I could barely raise my arm above my shoulder.  I did not skip a beat and got an MRI checked out by two specialists and was grateful that both did not recommend surgery.  One of them was my Chiropractor at Chiro-Medical Group who had experience supporting athletes through this type of injury and he worked with me to prescribe specific movements back into my workout routine.  I was able to keep coming to classes and work around that shoulder and now it’s stronger than the other shoulder!  I did not allow the injury to sideline me from working out and staying part of this incredible community.


Meet Your Coach: Dave


Today we showcase one of our newer coaches who completed the journey from athlete to coach here at UB. Dave's passion for the Oly program is obvious and I know he has been instrumental in inspiring athletes to supplement their CrossFit with the Oly classes run by himself and Geoff. Without further ado... meet Dave!


 "Set goals, but be realistic, disciplined, and patient about journeying to those goals. Nothing comes overnight.  What I mean is, do the requisite steps to do the movements correctly. I see people get frustrated and try all kinds of weird Whacky stuff to try to get a first X, Y, or Z.  What are you rushing for? What are you going to do once you get there with a trash X, Y, or Z?  Probably, blow out your back or shoulder.  To paraphrase Coach Jay: Appreciate the journey."

"Set goals, but be realistic, disciplined, and patient about journeying to those goals. Nothing comes overnight.  What I mean is, do the requisite steps to do the movements correctly. I see people get frustrated and try all kinds of weird Whacky stuff to try to get a first X, Y, or Z.  What are you rushing for? What are you going to do once you get there with a trash X, Y, or Z?  Probably, blow out your back or shoulder.  To paraphrase Coach Jay: Appreciate the journey."

How long have you been exercising? 

With any kind of regularity and formality? Probably since middle school when I joined the track team. Later in high school I was in cross country and dabbled with swimming, tennis and wrestling.

What is your work out program?

Currently, I'm on the Club olympic lifting program out of California Strength.  I also have a large Persian man in Milan, Italy telling me to do things.

Do you play sports?

I grab an occasional pick-up basketball game once in a while and play a few tennis sets some weekends.

Do you eat a particular diet or follow a specific diet philosophy?

Not really, portion control is a big deal before weightlifting meets, but otherwise anything goes.  Sweet potatoes are the worst though. Anyone who thinks they are an adequate substitute for regular potatoes is lying to themselves. 

How often do you train?

6 days a week with varying degrees of intensity. I try to take at least one complete rest day a week. Sometimes two.

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How often in training do you hit a new PR or acquire a new skill?
 

These days, not very often. PRs kind of have this logarithmic way of slowing down after the first year and every year thereafter

What do you find contributes to your fitness the most?

Listening to coaches. They see things that are impossible for you to see. This is true of in the gym but even true if you are both looking at the exact same video on the same screen at the same time. 

What is your next strength /fitness/skill goal to be achieved?

Qualify for the American Open series next year.

 

 

What is your pie-in-the-sky health/ fitness/skill goal? Also known as a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)

Qualify for the American Open finals.

Have you ever been injured? How did you move past them?

I've hurt my wrist(s) a few times. Obviously it's hard to oly lift with no wrists, it can be quite frustrating. There's nothing much you can do but take time to let it heal. Work on the things you can work on to stay strong and follow a rehab plan.  Rushing back will almost guarantee a re-injury or a worse injury and then you'll be even more frustrated.

 

 


The Weekly Dose Of Awesome: Coach Cam!


I’m incredibly excited to try a new awesome blog post format of audio for this week!

Tune into my interview with a man who caught my attention when he walked through our doors after moving from Boston who showed up exuding openness, strength and humility. I’ve had the honor and privilege of teaming up with him multiple times to experience how he plays on a team and also have experienced him in a coaching capacity on a few mornings. I’m stoked to be sharing my interview with the one... the only... Cameron Seher.

LISTEN BELOW... LOADING LOADING LOADING


Food for Thought: Stay and Cheer

The open might be over, but the spirit doesn't have to be.  A quick read from Words with Lisbeth.

Don’t be that guy or gal. You know, the one who puts away their gear while others are still working.

This used to be a common rule in the old days of CrossFit. Everybody knew it. If you finished first, you cheered on the people still working.

The old days are long gone.

Now, I see people put away their gear while the class is still going. Sure, affiliates are all different, and some still enforce the old rules, but I’m constantly struck by the idea that we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Some folks may say that’s not such a big deal. “I’m finished. I have places to be.”

I get that. So does your coach. I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, but I do know some boxes have a rule: if you have to leave early, tell the coach and go. Leave your gear out. The coach and the class will take care of it. I think that’s a better option than putting away gear in front of your classmate who is still working. To me, putting gear away during a metcon is a sign of disrespect.

But I’m old-school. And I notice these things because I’m one of the slower class members. I’m not usually the first one done — and, if I am (probably because it’s something like power cleans and kettlebell swings), I leave my gear where it is and I cheer for people who are still working. (But I’m like that anyhow. You can take the coach out of coaching, but you can’t make her shut up.)

Anyhow, it’s not the most important thing in the world, but if you can use a few moments of your day to help lift another person, wouldn’t that be awesome for both of you?

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The Group Mentality

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It was early Monday morning, you looked at the clock, and despite the fact you didn't have work, you got out of bed, and rolled into the gym.  Why?  Because you promised someone you would.  Having a group of people who are expecting to see you (either a gym buddy, or even just the coach) can keep you committed and in the gym.

Even though we are all working toward our individual fitness goals, working in a class environment creates a natural team dynamic. The camaraderie that comes with this can be integral to your workout.

Once you walk through the doors, everyone in the class  is there to suffer along side you.  When you don't feel like you can do another rep, you might look over at Mr. X, who is breathing just as hard as you, but pushing through it, so you hunker down and keep moving.  Or on that particularly sluggish day when you feel like you'll never get through it and everyone else seems to fly through the WOD, the rest of the class cheers you on to the finish.

Then there is the natural competitive spirit that creeps out and pushes you to chase or beat someone else in class, even if its just by one second.  Friendly competition is healthy and encourages you to give 110%, and keeps you from letting your fatigue dictate your effort.

House Cup Standings: Week One

What a week. Friday night's energy and spirit was incredible. Thank you to all who came and participated, the athletes, the judges, the hype men & women, the costumes, the snack table, the sloth, the dogs, the list goes on. I can't wait to see what you come up with this week.

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The Mambas are in the lead! Every Mamba completed the judges course, they had an amazing participation percentage, and they earned Spirit Points for Kim & Adrian, and Chris C.

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Too Fit To Quit aren't far behind! They also earned Spirit Points for Rajesh D. and Whittney T. They had strong placers in the RX and Scaled divisions, and great attendance for 18.1!

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The Ultimates bring up the rear this week. Despite strong RX and Scaled placers, they weren't able to compete on Spirit Points or attendance. Better luck next week!


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This week, Rajesh D, Chris C, Kim C, Adrian A, and Whittney T stood out and all shared the available points.


18.1 Placers

Women: Rx

  1. Hayley Beauchamp
  2. Gillian Pressman
  3. Whittney Tom
  4. Amy Raimundo
  5. Sally Chou

Women: Scaled

  1. Becca Ling
  2. Kim Cook
  3. Michelle Lovejoy
  4. Nathalie Cassidy
  5. Christine Casebolt

Men: Rx

  1. Jon Hanna
  2. Todd MacKinnon
  3. Steve Love
  4. Quinn O'Connell
  5. Royal Addis

Men: Scaled

  1. Michael Ramirez
  2. Mike Stevens
  3. John Yong
  4. Paul Carleton
  5. Nick Pataki

Olivia Graff

Olivia's athletic origins lie in gymnastics and circus arts. After finding CrossFit in 2007, she became obsessed, and three years later left her IT career and opened United Barbell. Olivia is particularly passionate about helping people new to fitness to find joy in their growing athletic abilities. Since the birth of her daughter, Isis, in 2013, Olivia can add helping little ones find their athletic path to her list of passions.

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Nearly 6 years have passed since this man's original awesome acknowledgement. Like a fine wine, some of us improve with age, and this is certainly the case for Andrew. You will recognize him by the giant smile on his face as he walks through the doors of UB. Andrew will be the first one to invite you to partner for a WOD, and the loudest cheerleader as you finish the last grueling reps of your workout. Don't be fooled by his silver hair, Andrew is a bright-eyed kid at heart, filled with fresh perspective and curiosity. Since the beginning, he has been an active participant in all things UB, from The House Cup, to local team competitions, and holiday parties. A better man, you could not have on your team. If you don't know Andrew, you should. Your day will be a little sunnier for it. 

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Name: Andrew W.

Nickname / Alter Ego: oh… so many. For the purposes of UB, Silverback. 

Hometown:  Montreal Canada, calice! 

Occupation: Propagandist

When did you first start CrossFitting? Considering the skill level i have, way too long ago. It's got to be over 6 years now...

Favorite Movements: Anything in moderation (but nothing in CrossFit is moderate). 

Least favorite Movements: Anything in excess (but nothing in CrossFit is excessive).

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?  About 8 years ago I crashed a motorcycle and suffered a spinal injury. Before the accident I was in terrible shape: i wasn’t exercising, i was out partying most nights and i was overweight. 9 weeks of bed rest acted as a sort of detox (no alcohol with pain killers and lots of fresh food) and i lost 15 pounds. At the same time, the spinal surgeon wasn’t sure about how the injury would effect motor functions. Rather than leave things to chance I decided to start exercising with the dual goals of skiing that winter and giving myself the best chance i could of recovery long term. 

In researching exercise programs I saw some crossfit videos which immediately elicited the response of “that’s-insane-I-could-never-do-that!"

About 6 months of hard work later I thought “that looks like fun. i CAN do that!"

What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? When I started crossfit I noticed that my performance in any workout was significantly worse if i smoked within 2 hours before the workout. So I started planning cigarettes around my workout. Which meant i was ending meetings early, coming to them late or doing all sorts of other compensatory behaviors to make that cigarette happen. 

It was disruptive and something needed to change. So, after 20+ years with never any desire to quit, I willingly quit smoking. 

So - CrossFit changed my priorities which led to forming new habits (exercise) that replaced old ones (smoking)

What is your next goal? In fitness? In Life? As I get older and creakier, my workouts need to change. I’m starting focus much more on mobility and metabolic conditioning and less on moving maximum weight. 

What inspires you? Everybody. People are freaking amazing. 

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What question do you wish you were asked more often and what is the answer? I prefer to ask the questions. But I never get to show this photo, so…

What’s your secret talent? I can pick out a Canadian out of a crowd. 

What is your biggest phobia? Snakes. So being a Mamba in the house cup last year is ironic, no? 

Pick a superpower? Mind reading. But en masse…like whole populations. The collective conscious (I’m a propagandist, remember). 

What is the first song in your favorite playlist right now? Ain’t talking ‘bout love - Van Halen

What is your favorite meal?
Steak. A really well cooked steak. 

The Sorting Hat: 2018 House Cup

Last week, United Barbell team captains & co-captains got together to do our second annual House Cup team draft!  Your six fearless and feisty leaders scrambled to collect you as their tenacious and spirited teammates. Old teams were split and lovers divided, the night was full of surprises.  The last two House Cups proved to be highlights of their years: 5 weeks filled with cheering, PRs, and healthy competition... and so far this year is stacking up to be even better!

Before you scroll down and read the draft results, please remember if you are not on the team that you were last year (or the year before), consider you may have been snatched up by another team before your captain was able to secure your spot.  That said, welcome to your 2018 House Cup team!!!

First item on the agenda?  Team shirts!  

We continue to work to make the House Cup the best experience for all involved. Stay tuned for all new info on team scoring and ways to secure this year's spot on the House Cup trophy! 

The Weekly Dose of Awesome: Farewell Addition

We interrupt our normal awesome delivery to share some news: one of our ambassadors of awesome has found herself an new opportunity in Chicago and is leaving us. 

Ester is the kind of teammate who shows up, both in and out of the gym.  Need a run buddy at a 12-hour run-a-thon?  She's there.  Need some tough love cheering mid-WOD?  There.   Want to go out for a bite and decompress?  Ester's on it.  Since joining UB, Ester quickly made herself at home and a part of the community while simultaneously putting in the work to become the best version of herself.  Even in the face of a ski accident leading to surgery, Ester found a way to maintain her momentum and did what she could to keep her spirits up. 

Ester is inspiring and a beloved member of the community.  Lady, you will be missed!  Visit us often and good luck on your next adventure! 

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Where you are headed?

So, a business opportunity has come up which will have me travel all through South America and the Caribbeans for potentially the next 2 years.

In order to not get too tan (yes that actually does happen) and getting used to the sun and fun, my company has me moving to Chicago to have an eye on me, while in the states (or maybe my client is just headquartered there - what ever I need to tell myself to make this worth leaving y'all).

Anyhow, I am sad to be leaving but excited about my new adventure.

What have been some favorite moments with UB?

I don't even know where to start... but I'll try to paint the picture right:

3. Four days after my surgery earlier this year, I came into UB to get some fitness in (yes, all the sit-down fitness!!!) and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support from each one of you. No matter if it was helping me setup my little workout station in front of the Skierg or the rack (aka a box, a barbell, DBs or what ever I could workout with sitting down), ideas for new exercises or a comforting hug.

If people say, it is the little things that matter, I totally agree. All those little moments and gestures helped me to get up every day, not feeling sorry for myself, and take one day at the time and kick ass at it. Believe me, there were plenty of times I just wanted to stay home, do nothing, maybe cry a little and eat shitty food, but the thought of seeing you guys at the gym made me get up and out every.single.day. (my surgeon and PT may have seen this as a bad thing, but well... never been good at following the rules.)

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2. A few days, weeks, months later, a few pounds lighter (yes, there was some post-injury-feeling-sorry-for-myself-almond-croissants), I finally got back into taking some crossfit classes (I kept myself away from them as long as I could because I did see myself overdoing it because I just cant help myself once that clock is running...) and then...

All the happiness, the smiles, and excitement of all the coaches and you fellow athletes to have me back at it was overwhelming. I know I'm loud, I yell like a crazy person, and I'm sure the one or the other of you gets terrible annoyed at me for it - but just know, I don't do it on purpose, its just who I am I guess - at my age, one just gotta accept the person we are :) haha... and I guess all of you too :) (sorry!) (Also I am an Ambassador of Awesome so I can pretty much do what ever the hell I want at UB! :))

1. 17.5...! after 22:something minutes, and I was still alive. I remember signing up for a heat and was TERRIFIED because I picked the heat with all the top notch bad asses and I knew I have to hurry the hell up if I don't want to be the last one having to finish up these 1389 Snatches and 34027 double unders (I think those numbers felt pretty accurate). I just got my double unders a couple of weeks before and was determined to go RX, and I did. i faced the window, so I couldn't see anyone else (kicking my butt), arranged my teal-mamba-ubstrong-tutu and got after it.

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I remember hearing more and more of you guys cheering me on while the torture went on. I heard someone scream to pop my hips on those snatches, someone was complimenting my tutu, and many were willing to help my awesome judge counting my reps. I'm telling you, if it wasn't for each one of you I wouldn't have been able to leave it all out there on the floor and make it to the great moment of relieve to having finished the open, dropping to the floor and still being able to beg for someone to hand me my water bottle... It may have not looked like it but this was probably one of the proudest moments in my life! :)

What will you miss about your UB family?

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For who ever has made it as far as this question, I think its pretty clear what you guys mean to me.

I may have moved here for a job a couple of years ago, but I stayed because of you.

If there was one thing that could keep me from moving away it is my UB family - my home away from home.

What has been your greatest fitness achievement while at UB? 

I don't want to sound boring but I'll have to go with nutrition. I started with RP inspired by some fellow athletes and it was super successful for me. I became a total nutrition nerd in the past couple of years and I am loving it. I have always been an ambitious cook of healthy food but getting the science behind it was life changing. Yes, it also is a negative sometime to know too much, but I think I am finally finding the balance to make this successful and fun. And, I am eating more than I ever have before, I am stronger than I ever though I'd be and I feel simply amazing. (In case one of you is on the verge of trying out some nutrition experiments and needs some motivation).

What's next for you in fitness/sport?  Life?

What a stupid question... SKIING :)... after 10.25 months since my (skiing)injury, I only have 1.5 months left until I am officially cleared to get back to what I love the most. :) And as the above may let you guess, I will be likely breaking that rule by a day or two and will enjoy my beloved Swiss Alps at there best when I go there end of February for a quick vacation.

Anything would you like to say to your gym rivals/buddies?

I am trying to crunch the days and work travel back and forth to somehow make it to at least one open workout at UB because I still can't believe I can't help to defend our title this year and suffer along side you guys. (For now it looks like my open workouts will be performed in Switzerland, Chicago, Colombia, Costa Rica and... maybe/hopefully SF...)

What I'd like to say to all of you, from the bottom of my heart is: thank you!

Thank you for taking me in, helping me grow, being my home away from home, encouraging me to go beyond what I thought was possible, helping me heal after I felt broken, making me try new (fitness) things, letting me yell at you in workouts and just being amazing coaches, co-work-out-ers and friends.

And, you better hit me up when in Chicago, I have already started to benchmark all Crossfit gyms in town to be sure I'll be residing close to the very (very) best.

I’m sorry for not telling you guys in person but I just didn’t know how... also, I do not believe in “Goodbye’s” rather in, see you soon and stay awesome. ;)

I love you guys