Vasa K on Discipline and Committment

But United Barbell’s community and our amazing coaches really helped me stay afloat.

VASA: LEAN & MEAN!

Leaner and stronger! Feels great.

I signed up for Crossfit in Jan and it was a game changer. It was really intense and challenging, especially for someone who's never been to the gym. But United Barbell's community and our amazing coaches Nikki Staley, Trent Simmons and James Kusama really helped me stay afloat. My main goal was to show up every time and not quit. After a few months I educated myself with the diet aspect and started eating clean as well. There was a snowball effect and towards the end, I was working out 6 days a week and programmed my workouts to suit my work schedule and based on how my body felt each day. If anything, the whole process taught me about the importance of discipline and commitment.

Overall, It's been a truly humbling and fun experience.

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.

Jason L on Enhancing His Athletic Training

I knew that if I stayed at UB the only direction I could go was up.

Jason's Pain Face

My name is Jason Luk and I've been a CrossFitter for six and a half years. I discovered United Barbell about three and a half years ago while beginning the process of preparing to move from my South Bay hometown Milpitas so that I could shorten my round trip work commute of three hours a day. Second to housing, I wanted to make sure I found the right new CrossFit home for me to continue the life changing journey I had started. Little did I know what I would discover...

JASON IS BOTH A SEASONED ATHLETE AS WELL AS A CROSSFIT GAMES JUDGE

My first thought was to go to San Francisco CrossFit given how famous it was within the community. I had met Coach Kelly a few times at events in the past and requested his recommendation given that his location wasn't exactly convenient.  Without hesitation, he told me that if I was looking for a place downtown that he "loved the ladies at United Barbell". As a competitive CrossFitter I happened to be in the city on a weekend participating in LaLanne's Summer Throw-down and stumbled across United Barbell and walked in to check it out. Both Jenny and Olivia were behind the desk and I introduced myself and asked if I could have a look which they welcomed me to. While walking around and checking the space out, I just knew (sixth sense) that what they had created was something that I wanted to be a part of so I requested pricing info and went on my way.

I began dropping into a few classes here and there while still commuting just to get a feel and what I quickly realized having dropped into more than 20 boxes around the country is that the Coaches at UB were of high caliber, passion and excellence. I knew that if I stayed at UB the only direction I could go was up. I also got to meet some of the most wonderful people (members) in existence who have helped to further shape my development as an athlete and human being. Some of my closest friendships were formed here and continue to grow over time. I will never forget the time when I ended a serious relationship, six members (Sri, Mini, Jeremy, Lisa, Alex and Kim) invited me out to dinner which I thought was just to hang out but upon arrival one of them explained that they knew what a difficult time it was for me and that they wanted to remind me of my awesomeness and how things would get better (which they did of course!).

Jason's First Oly Meet

Without a doubt I have enhanced my athletic training within each of the specialty classes: Level 2, Oly and Strength.  Jenny has shown me what's possible with an ever glowing positive attitude and what an owner truly being involved in her space gets to look like.  Trent always pushes me to really go 100% because he knows what I'm capable of.  James helps me strategize a plan of attack having observed my strengths and weaknesses in L2.  I found my "other half" Jon for dynamic duo competitions (we most recently threw down as Captain Kettlebell and Mr. Pistol) who reminded me that I didn't have to wear a mask to be the superhero I am on a daily basis (but I know I can for fun of course!).  I was inspired to compete in an Olympic Lifting Meet for the first time and set a personal record on my Clean and Jerk in doing so. I was invited to join the board of Westside Athletes Association, a non-profit founded by another member Chris who created an extraordinary team committed to transforming the lives of at-risk youth with an on-campus after school program that kicked off this year. I got to support and be featured in Jeremy's WODwell series facing off with Sean who I have such respect for as a fellow athlete. I expanded my awareness of what was possible with food with Joanna leading the community through the Whole30 discovering clearer skin, increased REM sleep and what to look out for in ingredients when shopping.  I am continuing my nutrition optimization with Nikki and feeling increased energy and performance in just a month.  And this is just naming a handful of people who have made a difference for me!

Jason inspires the superhero in all of us

Jason inspires the superhero in all of us

UB is not just a gym where I go to work out. UB is where I get to be surrounded by a community who support my endeavors and remind me of what's possible both inside and outside the box.

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.

Renee A on IVF and a CrossFit pregnancy

I worked out up until the day I gave birth and I’m so glad I did.
From giving birth to abs in 5 months!

From giving birth to abs in 5 months!

Let me just start by saying that everyone’s journey through conception, pregnancy and birth is unique.  This is my story of how my fear of working out during conception and pregnancy gave way to a physical need to be active.  I was lucky to find an encouraging community at United Barbell that supported me on my journey.

You’ve probably heard a similar story before... A couple meets, they fall in love, they want a baby and, lo and behold, what you thought would be a fun time trying to get pregnant becomes a 3-year ordeal of doctor visits, tests, fertility treatments and multiple rounds of IVF.  Like many searching for answers, I took to the Internet to see if I was doing something in my daily life that was preventing me from conceiving.  I have always been physically active so as I began reading through blogs, articles and forums about fitness while going through IVF.  I was shocked to learn that others out there, with a similar story to mine, were encouraging women going through IVF and pregnancy to be inactive and refrain from exercise and especially Crossfit.  Granted these are not people with medical degrees but they are women that finally gave birth after IVF and years of trying.  Maybe they knew something I didn’t... the fear set in.  Was my fitness routine preventing me from conceiving?  If I go through another round of IVF will I mess everything up if I continue to exercise?  If I do get pregnant, should I stop working out all together?  

Squatting with weights while pregnant? Yes you can!

Squatting with weights while pregnant? Yes you can!

At my next doctor’s appointment I peppered her with all types of questions around working out, lifting weights, Crossfit, daily workout vs. none at all.  You name it, I asked the question.  My doctor was very direct and told me that maintaining my fitness was not only recommended for my health, but good for the baby.  I would, however, need to scale my workouts, minimize the amount of weight I lifted and be able to maintain a conversation throughout my workout.  My doctor told me that my body should not be sore after a workout because it needed to focus on building a human not repairing muscles.  She then told me to find a trainer that would help me create new fitness goals while I was pregnant.  Someone that could help me scale my normal routine.  This was all helpful information however it didn’t assuage my fears that working out would somehow impact my ability to have a healthy baby.  Here’s where United Barbell comes in...

I was relatively new to Crossfit so I decided that working one-on-one with a trainer through my second round of IVF and into my first month of pregnancy was the right decision for me.  I signed up with Jenny and the first thing we did was talk about the changes in my body, thanks to all the shots and IVF, that we needed to account for when exercising.  She talked to me about reps vs. weight, focus on form not the clock and she pointed me to www.crossfitmom.com, all of which gave me a different perspective on fitness while pregnant.  I had to create new goals for myself. Workouts would no longer be about my next PR or racing the clock.  My new goal was to grow a healthy human while staying active and fit.  My fears were slowly fading away.

CrossFit babies are healthy babies!

CrossFit babies are healthy babies!

About five weeks into my pregnancy I was one of the “lucky” ones who was plagued with morning sickness.  It was constant throughout the day.  The only time I didn’t suffer from nausea or vomiting was the one hour I was in the box at UB.  The minute I started working out my nausea would fade away.  I started going to class more frequently to keep the nausea at bay.  By the time I hit 16 weeks the nausea had passed and my energy returned.  I started seeing patterns between how I was feeling, eating and sleeping and the days I worked out.  I noticed that the baby moved more on days I worked out and that I wasn’t experiencing any back pain or heartburn issues that hit most pregnant women.  This inspired me to increase the frequency I attended class.  I went from two days a week to four.  By the time I was 30 weeks along I could clearly see a link between working out and being able to sleep at night.  All my fears around working out while pregnant were gone.  Working out became a necessity for both my physical and mental well-being.  

With each WOD, I learned new ways to scale workouts and still challenge myself.  All of the coaches and the UB community were so encouraging and I felt as though I had my own personal cheering section supporting me through each WOD.  

Competing the the United For Youth Fight Gone Bad competition - 13 weeks-post partum!

Competing the the United For Youth Fight Gone Bad competition - 13 weeks-post partum!

I’m not going to lie, it was hard reminding myself not to focus on the clock or the amount of weight on my bar as opposed to others.  What helped was Jenny working with me to set achievable goals both during and after pregnancy.  I worked out up until the day I gave birth and I’m so glad I did.  I ended up having a beautiful, healthy baby girl and an emergency c-section.  I healed quite quickly after the surgery and my doctors attribute this to my health and the fact that I maintained my fitness level throughout my pregnancy.  I continued to work with Jenny after the birth of my daughter not only to ease back in, but also to generate new goals for myself given my post surgery body.

I competed in the Fight Gone Bad competition 13 weeks after giving birth.  Jenny was so encouraging.  She told me to scale the workout for the competition and that competing on its own was a great accomplishment.  Jenny went on to show me different exercises I could do at home to help get my core back in shape.  At five months post surgery/birth I was able to tackle the Barbara WOD with 200 sit-ups.  

Not everything is back to where it was and that’s ok.  I have achievable goals and a clear path to success with the support of Jenny, all the coaches at UB and the amazing community.  When it comes time to try for baby #2 there will be no fear about working out while pregnant and you can bet I’ll be in the gym swinging a kettle bell over my baby bump.  Mom strong!

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.

Ashley S on Confidence and Competition

I worked hard and results happened - I was leaner, stronger, and doing better and better in class.

40 years old / Public Relations / Joined UB April 2013 

Happy to be done at the Moxie Madness competition

Happy to be done at the Moxie Madness competition

I didn't get into CrossFit to find my inner beast mode, take my training to the next level, or experience life on the vomit comet (aka AirDyne). I did it for a much more mundane reason: a bridesmaid dress. A really, really short one. 

Pre-Crossfit, I'd trained in muay thai for ten years, done a marathon, and, once upon a time, was a certified yoga teacher. I knew Crossfit as the thing my crazy adrenaline-junkie friends did, but my activities were getting stale and I wanted a drastic change. I walked into UB during lunch one day and talked to Trent, then set up an onramp before I could second-guess myself. 

I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I am forever grateful for the kindness, patience, and subtle persistence of the coaches at UB. At first I was plain terrified but determined, and then I realized that some of this stuff was really, really fun. And then I started seeing results - one day I wore a UB shirt and every single coach came up to me to say congratulations on how my hard work was paying off. They didn't say, “omg, you've lost so much weight.” That's not the vibe or the point around here - and honestly I hadn't lost a lot of weight. It's really that I worked hard and results happened - I was leaner, stronger, and doing better and better in class. 

That's pretty awesome, but the more surprising and fulfilling change happened in my mentality. I'm a lot braver than I used to be. Every class has something that scares me a little - a specific movement, a time constraint, a new goal I really want to meet but am not quite sure about - and it's through exposing myself to that little moment of fear and actually doing well with it (thanks to awesome coaching) that my confidence has grown exponentially. 

Since starting with UB in April 2013, I've gotten back into a whole bunch of things I used to love to do - swimming, tumbling - as well as started new things - paddleboarding, indoor climbing. I've done two Crossfit team competitions and will probably do more. UB is a fantastic place for anyone at any level that wants to compete - the community is open and welcoming, and we like to have fun with our WODs. Well, we like to have fun with everything. It's a good, good place.

The dress that started it all

The dress that started it all

After taking on Fight Gone bad with Nikki & Dino

After taking on Fight Gone bad with Nikki & Dino

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.

Jeremy R on the Fitness Slump

The support of the coaches and the other athletes at UB kept me going.

Business Consultant / Joined UB May 2011

I was in the worst shape of my adult life when I first stepped into United Barbell in 2011. I'm not sure I knew it at the time, or even during my CrossFit "on ramp" sessions with coach Trent - because he was only encouraging. It wasn't until I started doing actual classes that I realized how out-of-shape I was. But the support of the coaches and the other athletes at UB kept me going. Just 1 day a week at first, then 2, then 3, and eventually 4-6 days a week. Now 4 years later, at the age of 38 with kid #2 on the way, I have worked my way out of that fitness slump, and might even be in the best shape of my life.

In one of my first classes we did burpees as part of our warm-up. Coach Olivia asked me to stop after about 10 because I was flushed and sloppy and probably looked like I was about to puke. 10 burpees? That was maybe 30 seconds of work, and I was done. The workouts just plain sucked in the beginning. I worked out on my lunch break and went back to the office completely depleted, barely functional. I could physically only go once a week at first. Finishing a workout last, as I did often, was never fun, but you know what makes it a hell of a lot better: when everyone who finishes before you cheers you on. Nothing makes it suck less in the moment, but afterward, when I reflected on it, it was that support from fellow athletes and coaches alike that made me more willing to go through it again, and again. You will never push that hard by yourself.

In 2012 I got my wife, Lisa, to join me at UB. She got hooked pretty quickly. We’ve had a blast representing UB in a few local competitions together and with other UB athletes. And in 2014 we created an online CrossFit WOD video project called WODwell, featuring lots of fellow UB athletes in our videos.

CrossFit did change my life, but it’s really all about how supportive my United Barbell coaches and the whole community were when I was at my least-fit.

Jeremy with his team at the Fall Fit Team Challenge in October 2014

Jeremy with his team at the Fall Fit Team Challenge in October 2014

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.

Scott Y on Pushing Limits

They motivated me to push beyond my limits and set new PRs without sacrificing form or safety.

29 years old / Medical Student / Joined UB: October 2012

When I first decided to join a Crossfit box in San Francisco, I looked for a place that had the right combination of strength and conditioning and I found that at United Barbell. The workouts that were posted on the board allowed me to become a stronger and more powerful athlete.

Even though the workouts that United Barbell sparked my interest, it was the community that made me stay. The coaching staff is beyond excellent. They motivated me to push beyond my limits and set new PRs without sacrificing form or safety. No mater the size of the class, the coaches always took the time to make sure every athlete was comfortable before every WOD.

In addition to the coaches, the athletes that frequent United Barbell are second to none. From the first moment you walk into the gym you are surrounded by smiles and laughter. No matter how I placed on a WOD, my fellow UBers always made feel happy about attending class. I have worked out at many gyms before but United Barbell was the first time I felt like I was a part of one.  

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.

Chris C on Community and Opportunity

When you declare what type of athlete you want to be, be ready for the Community to support you.
Chris competing in the NorCal Masters competition

Chris competing in the NorCal Masters competition

Joined UB June 2012

My journey with United Barbell began on May 27, 2012 when I was apartment hunting in San Francisco. I heard about United Barbell from several friends in Dallas.  On my way back to SFO, I dropped by the Box, where I met Coach Trent (aka T-Pain) and and inquired about CrossFit in SF. While contemplating whether I should join, I had the opportunity to have my first T-Pain encounter: "What's it going to be Bro?"

I signed up immediately.

June 16, 2012 was my first CrossFit workout at United Barbell; Tupac's Birthday. Coach Kristin coached a WOD dedicated to Tupac and lit me up. Now, I had been doing CrossFit for two years and had no idea what hit me because I was often holding back, afraid to be present and afraid to channel intensity in workouts. United Barbell and the superb coaching helped me chose differently from day one.  Members challenged me to get my Level 1 certificate, and the coaches, in particular Coach James, started addressing my hesitation and calling me forth to be present which in essence allowed me to address my challenges, while having fun.  

United Barbell has consistently provided opportunities for an athlete to grow and learn.  Whether it is through a WOD, SWOD or Olympic Lifting Classes, open gym, private training, or just throwing down with your squad for Barbell WOD, there are multiple opportunities to grow and become the athlete and person you want to become.

But be careful what you ask for!

You see the other aspect of the United Barbell is the Community. This Community is made up of people who are very talented human beings and supportive of your growth as a person.  When you declare what type of athlete you want to be, be ready for the Community to support you.  Whether it is a local competition, a the CrossFit Open, a Team Competition or your first individual competition, rest assured that when you are struggling with a weight on that last rep and don't you can go any further, someone from UB will call your name and give you that level of encouragement. You may hear your nickname (especially if I gave it to you), you may hear a coach, or you may hear a song that you often heard in the Box, that reminds you that UB is in the house. This is guaranteed for the new CrossFitter to the elite level athletes like Coach James, Coach Trent and Colleen Fotsch - aka Zapatos aka 'MSG- Mad Shoe Game.' 

And the Community has a sense of making a difference.  United Barbell played host to my non-profit organization's (Westside Athlete Association), first fundraiser, helping us raise over $11,000.  Moreover, many of Board of Directors and Officers of Westside Athletes Association are also members of United Barbell.

So what has UB meant to me in my 2 1/2 years? Well aside from creating great friendships with people in the Box, and making a difference and impact in the community in which I live, I have transformed from a spectator to a competitor (Two CrossFit Opens, Three in house competitions- Ultimate Lift Off, four team competitions and one recent individual competition).  

Thus, if you want to be in an accountable, encouraging, inspiring and supportive community, look no further, as United Barbell can be your gateway to total transformation.

Christopher 'The Governor' Comma

intimidating beastmode Chris....

intimidating beastmode Chris....

and the sweetheart we all know and love

and the sweetheart we all know and love

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.

Kelly F On Her Amazing Transformation

The short of it: United Barbell has changed my life.
Kelly part-way through her  INCREDIBLE transformation achieved through determination, CrossFit, and the Paleo diet

Kelly part-way through her  INCREDIBLE transformation achieved through determination, CrossFit, and the Paleo diet

34 years old / Law / Joined UB August 2010

I hated PE when I was a kid.  I always failed miserably at the Presidential Fitness Test. I thought I'd never be able to do a pushup or a pull-up, nor did I think I'd ever want to. I thought I was doing right by myself by hitting the elliptical, and the occasional “body conditioning” and spinning classes, but I could never lose weight.

Enter CrossFit and the coaching at United Barbell. The coaches at UB have the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to have taken a total amateur like me, with a timid and ill-advised attitude toward fitness, and changed everything I thought about my body and what it can do.  I was essentially starting from scratch and I never once during class felt left out or inferior to those who are experienced crossfitters.  Each workout can be scaled and adapted to any fitness level and when you're just starting out, this is crucial to avoid injury and well, to get you to keep walking through that door.  The gym itself is spacious and the well-maintained equipment is top of the line and plentiful! The variety of class types and class times can accommodate anyone’s schedule. 

Since starting from Day 1 of UB in August, 2010, I have FULLY transformed my body and made it the machine I never thought it could be. I have made unbelievable strength and endurance gains. Crossfit gave me a solid foundation of fitness for a healthy, active lifestyle of cycling and cyclocross racing. I have a completely different attitude towards fitness and how I live my life. Most importantly, I’m eternally grateful for the community United Barbell has created. And hey, in 2010 I met my (now) husband at UB!

These pants used to fit!

These pants used to fit!

KellyIon-507crop.jpg
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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.

Janine T on Being New to CrossFit

Things are going well! Overall, I am REALLY happy with the whole experience.  This is exactly what I was hoping it would be!

First off, even though this might sound silly, being a girl (especially with very little athletic experience), working out and going to the gym has always been intimidating to me.  And it always seems to be a male-dominated environment.  Coming to a gym run by two women was a huge attraction to me.  All the women at UB are such inspiring, awesome people!  Each in her own way :)  Yesterday I had a class with Joanna and she was also amazing!  I would say, this also extends to the other members within the gym as well.  Many inspiring ladies!

This also gets me to my next point... Everyone is so positive, encouraging, and non-judgmental.  I had the other Janine (!) as my partner last Thursday on a fairly tough workout, and though I was totally lagging behind her, she was constantly encouraging me and telling me to stop apologizing for not being able to catch up with her.  There have been several other members who have encouraged me these last couple weeks, and it really goes a long way.  Especially when I am carrying the lightest weights and it comes from someone lifting something one million times heavier :)

The other thing I really appreciate, is the modifications that the staff has given me for each work out, in terms of how I should be adjusting it as a new comer.  This is INCREDIBLY helpful, especially since this is my first foray into this world :)

In terms of how the Onramp Course prepared us for actual classes, I still feel a little lost on my form for most of the lifts, but in general I feel like I know what to expect, who to ask questions to, etc.  Having Trent take us through a whole class routine was definitely helpful in terms of understanding the pace of the classes.  I also now know that 6:30am really isn't that terrible!  It's actually kind of a nice time of day :)  Also it's worth mentioning probably that the Onramp Course was exactly what I thought it would be.  You guys do a good job of conveying what the experience is on the web site.

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.