Athlete of the Month

1 October 2017

AOM Amber Pace

1 October 2017, Comments:  Comments

Congrats! You have been chosen as the
Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!


Name:  Amber Pace

Nickname:   I don’t have any. Sometimes folks call me AP.

Where are you from? Raleigh, NC (Tar Heels! – as a friendly reminder, UNC is the reigning national men’s basketball champions!)

Occupation? Senior Project Manager for a large health insurance company

Favorite movie: Sooooo many! I’m probably missing a lot.

• Romantic/Drama: Titanic
• Fantasy: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the Two Towers is the best)
• Scary/Thriller: The Haunting, The Ring, What Lies Beneath
• Comedy: The Hangover, Wedding Crashers
• Superhero: The Dark Knight, The Avengers (I think that Black Panther will soon take this spot once it comes out)
• Action: Red

Favorite music or artist: Rihanna, Bruno Mars, late 90s/early 00s hip hop and R&B (I rarely listen to new or today’s top 40 music, so chances are I don’t know what current songs are out)

Favorite or current book: I do not like to read. (I wish I did though)

Favorite food: All food. Burgers, tacos, chips and salsa/guac, fries (all of the fries), pizza, macaroni and cheese…again all food!

Favorite quote: “Never have any regrets because at one point you wanted to do it.”

What is your fitness background? I dabbled in a little of everything growing up. I cheered for a short period before getting into basketball. I played basketball all through grade school and ran track (short distance) in middle and high school. I danced in college. I started taking group fitness classes at a neighborhood gym when I first moved to Chicago, mainly to restart my fitness journey and meet people. I really enjoyed the high intensity classes, and wanted to take my fitness journey to the next level. That is when I found CrossFit and haven’t looked back since.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? I was training for the Granite Games back in September, a major international CrossFit competition. I was on a team of 3 with fellow EWCFers Jayme and Allie. Allie and I also competed in another local competition together as well as the CrossFit Team Series. My goal with my training is to be more focused on developing my gymnastics skills and strength building to prepare for the Open and next year’s competition season.

How long have you been CrossFitting? I have been CrossFitting unofficially for 2 years and officially for about a year and half.

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Mentally, CrossFit is my stress reliever, my sanctuary. Even when I’ve had a long, tedious day, I still cannot wait to get to the gym. Physically, well I usually don’t like to toot my own horn, but my shoulders and quads are looking pretty good. Now if only my traps would grow… Seriously I just feel better when I work out.

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? This changes, but lately it has been rowing (gah I despise rowing). The assault bike, thrusters, and wall balls are runners up.

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? BURPEES!!!!! Love them. DUs have become a close second.

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Hm, that’s a hard one. I like Annie. I typically like short chippers (especially if they incorporate DUs, power cleans, or burpees!).

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year?

• Socialize more
• Get a muscle up!
• Compete in more competitions


• Met awesome people and made great friends!
• Getting my Level 1 CrossFit certification
• Competing in the Granite Games

I am passionate about: I’m passionate about becoming the best person that I can be in all aspects of my life. CrossFit is a big piece of becoming the best me possible. I’m passionate about the sport and getting better as an athlete. I’m a strong believer that everyone can find something fitness-oriented that works for them and that they truly love doing.

What is something that others may not know about you? You will rarely see me try to jump up to reach/grab a pull up bar because one of my biggest fears is missing, falling, and landing on my back also hitting my head. Is it an irrational fear? – probably. But it’s a fear of mine nonetheless.

4 September 2017

Sept. AOM Allie

4 September 2017, Comments:  Comments

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Name: Allie Kuopus

Nickname: Allie K, Kuopus – so original!

Where are you from? Mequon, WI (just north of Milwaukee)

Occupation? I work in public relations, primarily doing media relations, but always dabbling in a little bit of this and a little more of that.

Favorite movie: That’s a tough one… Anything that gives me a good giggle

Favorite music or artist: Anything I can dance to…Obviously

Favorite or current book: Currently reading Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Trying to catch up on the classics. Rumor has it, it’ll be a movie soon. I’m a firm believer the book is always better than the movie, so we shall see!

Favorite food: Man alive, tough question. Anything delicious… I particularly love burgers. And mashed potatoes. And tacos. And Thai. I just really love eating. Eating is my favorite.

Favorite quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”True in all aspects of life, including (especially?) the gym.

What is your fitness background? My mom put us in skiing, horseback riding, soccer, swimming, etc., when we were little, but nothing really stuck, except dance, which I did throughout high school. I took one weightlifting class my senior year that really set the tone for my future in fitness, apparently! I started running in 2010, did two full marathons and three or four halves, but my knees couldn’t handle it so stopped for good in 2013, never to run again – unless, of course, Senad programs it. In 2012, in the midst oftraining really terribly for distance runs, I tried out my friend’s CrossFit gym (BrewCity) in Milwaukee, and the rest is history!

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? The Granite Games 2017! Would LOVE nothing more than to qualify with my team (Amber and Jayme)in 2018.

How long have you been CrossFitting? It’ll be five years in October. Holy cow!

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Throughout the last three-and-a-half years, I’ve gotten more comfortable being uncomfortable. I’ve pushed myself, both mentally and physically, in movements and lifts and gotten stronger, and gotten hurt and learned to dial it back and adapt, which can be really hard. I’ve learned patience and perseverance, and knowing when it’s OK to call it for the day and come back better tomorrow.

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Handstand walking, because I need to be able to do it in Minnesota soon and it’s been a real jerk. This close!

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Hang power cleans and any gymnastymove I’m decently proficient at, like handstand pushups (not regular, ugh) and pullups (although my hands tend to disagree).

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Since getting pullups, I’ve always really liked Helen. And I like Grace. And Annie. And the 12 Days of Christmas! Probably because it’s only once a year and it gives me time to forget how truly horrible it can be.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Oh boy… Bar and ring muscle ups, butterfly pullups, consecutive chest to bar pullups, strict handstand pushups, consecutive pistols, overall strength, 95# snatch on the regular… Shall I go on?

Achievements: Honestly, every day just getting out of bed to make it (late, usually) to 5:30 am is an achievement! In all seriousness, I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come in the last five years. I look back at old photos from my first year and my form was atrocious! Being able to consistently focus on form, stringing together more and more bodyweight/gymnastic movements, lifting more weight, and legitimately feeling ready to mentally and physically push myself harder than I ever have before are all achievements of the last year that I’m super grateful for. Not to mention this month I can add Granite Games competitor and Level One certificate to the list!

I am passionate about: My dog. He’s the best. My family, friends and cats. And the fitness.

What is something that others may not know about you? Ha! Like I have any secrets.

3 August 2017

Aug. AOM Ben Owen

3 August 2017, Comments:  Comments


Name: Ben Owen

Nickname:   Benito, BC, Turtle

Where are you from? Springfield, IL

Occupation? I am a PhD analytical chemist and work as a Mass Spectrometry Product Specialist with Agilent Technologies (essentially I specialize in a very specific type of scientific instrument and help sales people in my company and their/my customers in the northern Midwest make sure an instrument fits their scientific and assay needs) 

Favorite movie: Let’s see which Disney movie should I pick … Tangled. Although I do love Pride and Prejudice (the BBC TV mini series). Just don’t know if that counts. 

Favorite music or artist: I am kind of an anything and everything goes kind of person with music. Not country though. Been there, done that, tried that, don’t like it, no thank you 🙂 

Favorite or current book: I grew up reading tons of fantasy books and series. Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Shannara, Redwall, Harry Potter … definitely would have to say Lord of the Rings is #1. 

Favorite food: Bacon and cheeeese. If together even better! Easy answer. Next!

Favorite quote: We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one. … The Doctor.

What is your fitness background? Very little. Just as an example of how lazy I was: in high school, if we were in a sport, you could forgo gym class the semester of the season of that sport. If you had full-year classes, that weren’t semester based, you could skip the whole year. I made sure I always had only full year classes to qualify for that and used a work around justification for marching band as a sport. I dabbled in some more serious intramural volleyball and swimming teams later in high school/college, but that’s about it. Crossfit is the first serious and longer term fitness commitment I’ve made.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? Not really anything specific. Right now I’m just focusing on being able to RX the WODs and closing in on those last movements I don’t have (pistols, muscle ups of any kind, and heavier than typical lifts in a WOD like the much above 135# ones, etc etc) and working on those where consistency is a struggle (T2B, C2Bs, HSPUs).

How long have you been CrossFittingA bit over 1.5 years and the Kool-Aid still tastes amazing! 

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Oh gosh. Mentally Crossfit has been life changing for me. For those of you that know me, you know I’m competitive and maybe to an unhealthy level. But for me, it’s more of an internal process to prove to myself what I can do / am worth in regards to those around me. Self-esteem is always a hard road for many of us, and I am no exception. Crossfit is my greatest tool in growing my self-confidence. The native goal-setting nature of Crossfit is my own personal mental and physical experiment. As EWCF morning people know, they don’t always go occording to plan (cough cough Diane), but failure almost doesn’t exist in Crossfit as there is a scalar for every movement that sets you up for success. And, you can celebrate the day you move up the scale in each scaled movement. I’m doing movements currently that I had no belief that I would ever be able to do. 

Which is kind of the perfect segue into physical changes. Every single one of my lifts has at least doubled (some over 3x) their starting weight from my initial point of consistency. Snatch is that one that is definitely 2x, but again, that’s what I love about Crossfit. Progress is easily measurable and success is scaled to the individual free from “shame” that exists in the bro gyms. Now for the gains … hmmm for me, this is something I have definitely noticed in my upper body. Considering this was the most behind for me (my legs are my strength), there has been the most visual progress there. Having back muscles and shoulder muscles etc and watching the progress there has been very rewarding. Part of my reason for joining Crossfit was to gain muscle mass and tone up. This is a natively slower process for me and my metabolism/body type (damn you nutrition as well!!!), and I’m learning to enjoy the journey. But yah, definitely happy to see what’s coming next! Coming for you Diane!!

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / MovementRowing and deadlifts HANDS DOWN … HSPUs used to make this list and still squeak in and out of it day to day. But I seriously have a hard time trusting people who like rowing. There is nothing more tortuous on this planet that those GD rowers. My nightmares have the words “concept” randomly plastered all over, taunting me into the AM WOD.

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / MovementWall balls and cleans and running (that’s a movement right?) 

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Hmmm … there was a workout programmed that was 3 or 5 rounds of wall balls, cleans, and running where reps went down but weight went up. Annie is also sneaking up as a favorite. But ya bc give me running and wall balls and I’m all over it. Generally, I love RFTs and chippers. AMRAPs especially long AMRAPs make me bitch and moan. I would like to think I am not one of the captains of the 6:30a whiners anonymous, but who am I kidding.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? So most of my 2017 goals have been completed: better Diane, 10 unbroken HSPUs (just last month), pull-ups, and +135 on every “common” barbell movement. One of my more nebulous goals is still a work in progress, which is trying to RX every workout even if it scares me or I don’t go fast. Ricky Bobby right here. Some movements keep me from doing that (like muscle ups or pistols), so I guess that creates my new goal list. Pistols. Ugh. You’ve been warned.


I think I am most proud of my pull-ups, rope climbs and the consistent improvements to my Diane time. I never could do pull-ups or rope climbs ever in my life and the day I got each of them provided me so much vindication for my middle school gym class memories! This year, I was able to complete Murph vest-less faster than I ever thought I could. So, trying to make a goal to do it full on RX next year (hoping I can loose 20lbs by that time so that it feels no different, right?)

I am passionate about:

My partner, Charles, the love of my life, my family and my dog. Those are my biggest loves. And honestly, I’m a nerd (level expert) and am super passionate about Mass Spectrometry (the instruments I specialize in) given the huge impact they have in bettering our society from driving better medical decisions and patient outcomes to cleaner and safer water to making sure that people competing in performance sports are all on an even playing field (doping).

What is something that others may not know about you? Two related things from my younger years: (1) my middle name is Curtis and up until college I went by Curtis. So my entire family and everyone from high school days or before, knows me as Curtis, the guy with multiple personalities apparently haha. When I went to college, I got tired of correcting everyone in telling them that I go by my middle name over and over. Figured if they bothered to learn my name, I shouldn’t confuse them as to which and decided to switch. And with that transition (2) before this “name switch” after high school, I was actually quite a shy and introverted person (at least comparatively to now), had very few friends as a result and didn’t speak or speak up too much at all (I know what?!?!). I don’t know what happened in college, but I just kind of blew up and out of my shell and BAM became an extrovert that never shuts up 🙂  maybe the name change was symbolic? I dunno. 

13 July 2017

AOM Stina

13 July 2017, Comments:  Comments

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Name:  Kristina Scholberg

Nickname:   My family and a few friends call me Stina, but otherwise I usually just go by Kristina

Where are you from? Born and raised in Chi

Occupation? Neonatal intensive care nurse

Favorite movie: Such a hard question! If I had to pick I would say Blow (johnny depp is my hubby)

Favorite music or artist: Also a really hard question! I’m into all kinds of music but lately have been listening to Sufjan Stevens and other like artists.. super chill music and good for your soul 🙂

Favorite or current book: Ever since nursing school I kind of got out of the habit of reading for pleasure (too much studying to do), but the latest book I read that caught my attention was Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Callahan. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari is another good one.. it’s hilarious and had me laughing out loud every time I picked it up

Favorite food: Three way tie between sushi, Mexican, and pizza

Favorite quote: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

What is your fitness background? I did competitive Irish dancing from about age six up until I went to college. I remember asking my dad when I was little if I could go to Ireland and he told me I had to earn my way there with dance. I was able to go to the world championships four times with my choreography team and three of those championships were in Ireland (I made it!). Dance kept me in phenomenal shape. I loved the mental and physical challenge of it. It taught me many things that carried over to help me in my life, most of all the value of hard work. In college I tried to keep up with working out on my own but I basically lost all of my muscle and was a cardio bunny. I did a half marathon and biked a lot but I hated trying to motivate myself when I was used to someone pushing me. I’m so happy that I found crossfit because I never thought I would be in as great of shape ever again without dance. But I definitely am in the same if not better shape than before!

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? Just life 🙂 I want to be strong and healthy. I’m also doing a tough mudder onJuly 15th and possibly a sprint triathlon in August!

How long have you been CrossFitting? It will be two years in August.

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Mentally I feel stronger and more confident. I was going through a tough breakup when I first started at the gym and it gave me a healthy outlet to de-stress and something fun to look forward to. Now I feel much more resilient. Crossfit has also helped with my confidence. I struggle with this, especially at work where things can get super stressful. Overcoming and accomplishing things at the gym carries over into real life and it makes me feel more capable and less anxious. Physically I feel stronger as well. I loved seeing all of my muscles pop when I started. I didn’t know I had such defined arms/shoulders hiding in there!

What is your least favorite CrossFit Move? Wall balls and snatches

What is your most favorite CrossFit move? Pistols and box jumps

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? I think it was a CrossFt Open workout from 2014. A bunch of deadlifts and box jumps and I loved it.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? I would love to get more on track with a regimented diet. I eat pretty healthy but don’t track anything strictly. I would love to do more research on what exactly my body needs to perform it’s best and be more on top of meal prep.

Achievements: I got my first strict pull-ups at the end of 2016 and I was super happy about that (although I still have a lot of work to do). 215# back squat was also a big PR for me that I was proud of.

I am passionate about: The sick babies I care for at work. I have always had a soft spot for kids and in nursing school I knew right away that it was my calling to take care of children. My patients are precious, strong little fighters and I love them very much.

What is something that others may not know about you? I have a half-moon shaped scar at the top of my back. It’s from a benign tumor that was removed when I was a baby (gross).

7 June 2017

June AOM | Jack

7 June 2017, Comments:  Comments
June AOM

Name: Jay Sutey

Nickname: Jack

Where are you from?
I’m an Army brat so I’m kind of from everywhere, but I consider Fairfax County, VA (DC metroplex) to be my hometown and where I grew up.

Currently I am a freelance musician and private music teacher. I play bassoon full time around the Midwest in different orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as maintain my own studio of private students.
But…I actually just accepted a new job! I won an audition with the US Air Force Band of the Golden West, based out of Travis AFB, California. My full-time duties as an Airman will be to play bassoon in the concert band and awoodwind quintet, while touring around the west coast performing, teaching master classes, etc.

Favorite movie: Whenever I get asked this question, it’s like I suddenly forget I’ve ever even seen a movie in my life. Comedies are great and all (Airplane! is one of the greatest movies in history), but I tend to go for the more artsy stuff. These days I’ve been catching up on some David Lynch films I hadn’t seen in anticipation of the new season of Twin Peaks. That being said, I will take ANY opportunity to watch (and quote the entirety of) Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, which is easily the best worst movie ever. It is Art with a capital “A”.

Favorite music or artist:
This is impossible to answer, but I’ve been really into Chris Thilelately. He’s the mandolin player/lead singer for groups such as Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek, and does a ton of collaborations with Edgar Meyer (bass) and Yo-Yo Ma (cello). His music is an amazing blend of Bach and progressive Bluegrass.

Favorite or current book:
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I honestly believe if more people read this story and took it to heart, children would grow up in a kinder more empathetic world.

Favorite food:
There’s nothing like a freshly shucked Seattle oyster…or dipping a big chocolate chip cookie in a frothy cappuccino at a favorite neighborhood café. I get super nostalgic with food, so anything that brings back happy memories, really.

Favorite quote:
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” ~ Pablo Picasso.

What is your fitness background?
I did Tae KwonDo for about 9 years when I was really young, made it to second degree black belt in the 8thgrade, but decided to stop when music became my focus (I also couldn’t stand fighting…). After that I didn’t do much other than marching band and occasional ultimate frisbee games in high school and college. I basically started CrossFit as a lanky couch potato.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any?
Well, now my focus is to get ready for Air Force Basic Training, but before that, my goals for CrossFit have always been to just be the best, healthiest, and most confident version of myself possible.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
About 5 years on and off. Since moving to Chicago 3-ishyears ago, I’ve been way more consistent and it’s awesome to see that work pay off!

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF?
CrossFit has been a HUGE asset as a musician.Physically, my breathing is more productive, my posture is more balanced, and I have better body/muscular awareness while playing. The mental game is where I have really seen benefits, however. There are so many parallels between weightlifting and music, and I’ve learned to borrow techniques from CrossFit to help my struggles with (crippling) performance anxiety. Just like when you’re standing in front of the bar going for a new one rep max, or staring down some horrifyingly long chipper on the white board, there comes a time when you have to take a breath and go for it. That feeling of hesitation, and maybe a little reluctance or dread, is similar to when you’re all alone on stage auditioning for a panel of judges (of course there are fewer things at stake at the gym, which is a welcome relief…). You just have to take a breath, don’t overthink technique, trust in your training, and put everything you’ve got into the present moment.

What is your least favorite CrossFit Move?
Rowing. Easily.

What is your most favorite CrossFit move? I’m always happy to see double-unders on the board! I also love going for new oly PRs, especially cleans.

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite?
Annie is the best.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year?
Improve/maintain my conditioning, and get through this next big change in my life smoothly.

After 5 years, I finally got bar and ring muscle ups! I also Rx’d the 2017 Open, something I never really thought I would have the athletic capacity to do. This year, I took a whole bunch of steps in understanding nutrition which has made an enormous impact on just about everything. I definitely recommend jumping in on the next EWCF nutrition challenge!

I am passionate about:
Learning new things, and the trans-formative power of the arts in empowering students and creating a more empathetic society.

What is something that others may not know about you?
I keep a hacky-sack in my backpack in case it’s a nice day and I get a long break during rehearsal.

1 May 2017

AOM | Jayme

1 May 2017, Comments:  Comments
Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!

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Name:  Jayme

Nickname:   Some of my family members and close friends call me Ja(y)mes or Jaymers. My mom used to call me Priscilla and my dad calls me Shitty (and then says “oh, I mean Sissy” – this is him being a jokester – CALM DOWN people, he doesn’t think I’m a shitty person).

Where are you from? Calhoun County, IL, AKA God’s country/the middle of nowhere/the sticks/the country; more specifically, Kampsville – population 326.

Occupation? Physician Assistant

Favorite movie: Australia, Stepmom, The Recruit, Love & Basketball, Son-in-Law; way too many to list

Favorite music or artist: Rob Thomas, Skillet, 3DG, Papa Roach, Shinedown, Alabama, Blackhawk, Mayday Parade, Crossfade, Relient K, Stroke 9, Sick Puppies, Goo Goo Dolls, Melodime, Scars on 45, and the list goes on.

Favorite or current book: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas because my mom had a great reading/character voice and would read it to all the kids every year at Christmas.

Favorite food: CARBS! All the carbs.

Favorite quote: I honestly don’t have a favorite quote. I know, who am I? Weird…

What is your fitness background? I’ve been waterskiing since I was about 6, played basketball throughout grade school/high school and played racquetball for fun in college.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? I’m not training for anything specifically, but I am looking forward to doing 31 HEROES this summer.

How long have you been CrossFitting? 3 years

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Mentally, I am able to push myself further when I really feel like quitting/giving up. Physically, I’m much stronger; and when I finally changed my diet (yes, it took me 33 years and almost 3 years of crossfit to figure this one out), my muscles started showing!

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Rowing, hands down

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Cleans, WBs, rope climbs

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Karen, or any WOD with WBs, cleans and rope climbs which does not include rowing or burpees.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? I have so many, but a few are to be a better listener, to stay on track with macros, good kipping pull-ups, chest to bar pull-ups, consistent freestanding handstand holds of 8 seconds or more, handstand walks, 5 consecutive toes to bar, 5 consecutive strict pull-ups, Snatch 120#

Achievements: Strict pullups, kipping HSPUs (w/ab mats), snatch 105#, Double Unders, Clean 150#

I am passionate about: WATERSKIING! I could talk all day about waterskiing and just being out on the water in the summertime. Who has a boat and wants to take me waterskiing? Bueller? Bueller?

What is something that others may not know about you? I was born with left hip dysplasia and have had a couple of surgeries on that hip. I really try not to use it as an excuse to avoid doing certain movements (even though I really want to sometimes). Also, I was accidentally run over by a tractor when I was 5.

3 April 2017

AOM | Mak Attack

3 April 2017, Comments:  Comments

Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!
Ryan Mak

Nickname:  Mak Attack, BigMak, Return of the Mak, Macklemore, Mak Man, Makintosh – basically anything with Mak

Where are you from? Born and raised in San Francisco, CA then four years in San Diego, CA for college. I’ve lived in Los Angeles, San Jose, and Spokane (Washington).

Occupation? I am a Jesuit Brother – which means I am a vowed member of the Jesuit Religious Order, which is an international society of Catholic priests and brothers. The Jesuits are my family (we profess vows and live together in community), and we work together through various ministries to serve peoples throughout the world. We are noted for our Jesuit schools throughout the world, our emphasis on social justice, and the guiding of people through our spirituality. My current “occupation” is to be a student in order to become a more educated and broadly aware minister to others. I am currently working on my M.A. in Philosophy and preparing to begin medical school in the Fall of 2018. In the future hope to be a Jesuit who serves as a clinical physician, a medical researcher, and  healthcare advocate.

Favorite movie: Remember the Titans

Favorite music or artist: Almost everything! Too many genres and artists so I won’t say my absolute favorite, but I’ll give a little spread. I enjoy rap (Tupac, Lupe Fiasco), R&B (Usher, Boys II Men), pop (Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna), classical (Mozart, Bach), show-tunes (Wicked, Les Miserables, Newsies), oldies (Temptations, The Platters), classic rock (Beatles, Journey), and I’ll end with 90’s Pop (No Doubt, Backstreet Boys)… the list could go on.

Favorite or current book: Current Book – Modern Death, which describes the evolution of medicine in the last 100-150 years and how this has changed the way we as a medical community and society understand (or don’t understand!) death.

Favorite food: A fresh ground-beef burger, a delicious omelet, guacamole, and fruit/vegetable smoothies.

Favorite quote: “Nothing is more practical than falling in love.” Pedro Arrupe S.J. (Former leader of the Jesuits)

What is your fitness background? I played organized basketball from 1st grade through high school, and I played a few years of high school football. During my high school years, I grew very interested and became involved in the Strength and Conditioning Program. I realized that I enjoyed training/working out more than playing those other sports. I did my first CrossFit workout (Fran in 11 minutes) my senior year of high school when my Strength and Conditioning Coach introduced me to it. However, I did not really discover CrossFit until a year after college when I lived in Spokane, WA. In college, I was on the Men’s Crew team for a year (walk-on!), but simply worked out at the school gym and played recreational basketball and football my remaining 3 years.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? I enjoy competing in local CrossFit competitions, perhaps 2-3 times a year. I train for those, but primarily, I have a lot of fun in the gym, and I enjoy the process of everyday training, trying live a healthy, and sharing in a community that thinks similarly. I train so as to live more fully and to promote healthy lifestyles to others.

How long have you been CrossFitting? Since September 2014 at CrossFit Duratus in Spokane, WA. Shout out also to CrossFit Willow Glen in San Jose, CA which is one of my CrossFit hometowns.

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? I am absolutely mentally and physically stronger. Physically, I continue to see my skills in the gym improve. It took me 3 years to get consistent double under and a 135# snatch. Although being involve in athletics since I was in elementary school, I find my fitness continues to measurably improve from my regular participation in CrossFit. Mentally, I am stronger because I continually have moments, whether it be a long WOD I feel like quitting halfway through, or that collapsing after a sprint WOD, which I realize that I can continue to improve and reach more of my potential each day.

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Deadlift and Press (Strict or Push Press) — I don’t like anything that feels like a pure strength movement!

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Burpees — Seriously! Also love Rope Climbs, Hand-Stand Push-ups, and Cleans! You can see how this differs from what I mention above.

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 Thrusters and Burpees-over-the-Bar; That’s my Jam. I know it’s going to hurt a lot, but I know I can crush it and have an incredible workout in less than 15 minutes.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Achievements: Snatch 185#, Clean 225#, and show up each day of training to work hard, have fun, and be grateful for the opportunity

I am passionate about: Social justice in caring for others, particularly in the field medicine, fitness, and healthcare. Right now, I’m focusing my Philosophy Master’s Thesis on why the toxicity of sugar and the work of the food industry is an moral discussion and an issue social justice.

What is something that others may not know about you?

CrossFit has been a very important part of my life as physical outlet but also a spiritual and mental outlet as well. I often receive a lot of anxiety thinking about the past or worry about the future. I get frustrated with societal problems that seem too big to address. I often find myself lost in the realization that certain realities are beyond my control. From my experience, I dwell continually on the transient and finite nature of our life. CrossFit helps me stay in the present. Giving my entire mind, body, and spirit to each WOD helps me live in the moment and focus exclusively on what is in front of me and what I can control. As a CrossFit athlete, I don’t worry about the fact that life is not forever and that my fitness, among many other realities, will not be the same when I’m 70 as it is now. As a CrossFit athlete, I am simply grateful for the current journey, the modern pilgrimage, the present ability to live, move, and breathe.

28 February 2017


28 February 2017, Comments:  Comments

Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!
Kristen Machczynski


Name:  Kristen Machczynski (Ma-chin-ski)

Nickname:   Mac!

Where are you from? Northville, Michigan (halfway between Detroit and Ann Arbor). If you ask, I will totally show you on my hand. #mitten4ever

Occupation? Educator – My current title is Research and Innovation Lead, though I have been an International Baccalaureate Coordinator for the previous 4 years. Loved it.

Warning: The following “favorite” questions are SO not easy for me. I will probably give more than one answer. You have been warned. I’m breaking the rules. #sorrynotsorry

Favorite movie: Seriously?! I love anything that is NOT serious, sad, or that requires emotional investment. A sampler, in no particular order: Clue, ANYTHING Christopher Guest, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Coming to America, Spaceballs, All Die Hard movies, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Deadpool, Clueless…I can’t anymore. Oh, but a few serious ones…Higher Learning, Amistad, Seven. So many. I’m so overwhelmed.

Favorite music or artist: Queen. Rise Against. Metallica. Michael Jackson. Def Leppard. Billy Joel. Linkin Park. Whitney Houston. #rip Green Day. Britney. Imogen Heap. Santana. Neil Diamond #sentimental #dontjudgeme (And I’m a secret Broadway junkie, too.)

Favorite or current book: Not fair. Totally not fair to ask me this. There are way too many, but I love historical fiction and trashy-chick-lit. If I must pick? Erik Larson is pretty dope, so The Devil in the White City will do (for now).

Favorite food: Rainbow sprinkles. And gin. Not necessarily together, but I don’t think it’d be totally disgusting….fancy, hoity-toity food at super ridiculously expensive restaurants, and my family’s sauce and homemade pasta. Because Italians.

Favorite quote:

Again – more than one (in no particular order):

Keep your heels, head, and standards high. – Coco Chanel

The question isn’t ‘Who’s going to let me’, it’s ‘Who’s going to stop me?’ – Ayn Rand

A bad day can be made better by going to the gym. – Dunno

Let the wild rumpus start! – Maurice Sendak

What is your fitness background? I started dancing when I was three years old and it quickly became a central part of my identity. I did it all – jazz, ballet (yes, me in a tutu), pointe (ouchies – toes are still mangled), baton, hawaiian, and, my FAVORITE, tap. 🙂 I was also a cheerleader as a kiddo for a local little league team (Go COLTS!), in middle school (GO RAIDERS!), and then on pompon in high school (GO MARLINS!). If you think pompon isn’t an athletic event, you haven’t seen what we used to do. Good lord. I coached/served on staff for a pompon organization throughout high school – I even got to coach a team of All Stars when we performed in George W’s (I know) inaugural parade – and we were the only organization asked from Michigan. Yup. Super cool. As an adult? Did some lame college-student cardio and pathetic “weights” (read: baby dumbbells and a small foray into the “guy” side of the gym…yup), then later, worked with a meathead trainer until I found my home with CrossFit. (PHEW.) Just this past summer, I completed my L1 training certification, so I feel like I’m a little more legit? Maybe not.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any?

My sanity.

How long have you been CrossFitting?

6+ years. Good lord, that’s a long time.

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF?
Changes from CrossFit have been iterative for me for lots of reasons. Mentally, I continue to learn that I’m stronger than I think. I often take my happy, energetic personality for granted and CrossFit has forced me to dig deeply to find my inner badass; it’s been an amazing journey. When I started, I couldn’t do a pull-up without a giant band that no longer exists in the gym. Yup. I was blown away by my body’s ability to adapt and absorb new movements, techniques, and standards. Looking back at my progress, then pregnancy, injuries, and recoveries, I can only say that I am proud of both my mental and physical strength. I take pride in my traps, my quads, when I sweat like a beast and leave smiling. CrossFit keeps my head in a place that is healthier and happier than ever before. All considered, I’ve lost 40 pounds and grown into the most fit version of myself I’ve ever been, which has helped me move away from the serious body dysmorphia from which I suffer (well, some of it, anyway). In return, I’ve learned about “Forcing Family through Fitness” and happily added a community of people who have truly shaped my adult life in myriad positive ways. #grateful

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement?
Overhead madness. When in the hell am I ever going to need to functionally, in real life, squat with more than 100# over my head?! Never, that’s when.

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement?
Double unders, deadlifts, toes to rings (wheee!), cleans.

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite?
Annie. ALWAYS ANNIE. (well, if my double unders are cooperating…)

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year?
Stop my shoulder from hurting. Avoid any other injuries. Mobility, mobility, mobility. MUSCLE UPS. Rx HSPUs on the regs. 300# Deadlift…at some point in my life. Be kind to myself. Eat clean 80% of the time. Maybe coach? We’ll see.

I’m proud of the fact that I acknowledge my aversion to competition within the CrossFit community. There is nothing more I’d love to do than say I’m pumped to participate in CrossFit competition, but it’s too overwhelming because of my ridiculous expectations of myself. It ends up being no fun at all, and I know that pretty much defeats the purpose! Learning to walk away from it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. While it goes against most of what I’m made of, what most of us are made of, it’s best for me, for my mental health, and for everyone else! (Seriously, It gets ugly. No one needs to be a part of that.) Thanks to our amazing coaches (always) who continue to support this work during each and every class. I love youse guys.

I am passionate about:
A lot – the passion I feel for (fill in the blank) is one of the strongest emotions I possess. A short list: My amazeballs family – immediate, extended, collected, and adopted. My students and their development into capable, resourceful, good citizens of the world. My personal, continuing, neverending curiosity and thirst for knowledge/learning. Quality friends. Equity, equality, and making resources universally accessible. My car. Sparkly stuff. Personal style. Mental and physical balance. Making sure people feel welcomed and respected. School spirit, or anything where I get to cheer/participate in celebrating something. Hugs. Kid snuggles. Empathy. Love. Caring. Kindness. Humility. Travel. Photography. Cooking. Being Italian. General Badassery.  Yup.

What is something that others may not know about you?
My sister and I weren’t allowed to have big pets when we were young. We were away too long and it wouldn’t have been fair to the dog/cat/whatever, so none for us. We were, however, allowed to have whatever rodent or fish we liked. As a result, our house was a crazy menagerie any given moment. During my childhood, we had rabbits, hedgehogs, gerbils, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and a terrifying number of fish. If someone ever had to excavate our backyard, we would totally be at risk for an investigation into our family’s treatment of animals. Because yikes.  

31 January 2017

AOM | Feb | Miranda

31 January 2017, Comments:  Comments

Name:  Miranda Lynn Johnson

Nickname:   My family calls me Mandy and some of my friends refer to me as Mirs or M.

Where are you from: Harpswell, Maine! I grew up with the ocean as my backyard and my family are lobstermen.

Occupation: Hospice Social Worker

Favorite movie: Braveheart! I have seriously seen it over 40 times.

Favorite music or artist: Coach Tommy and I are best friends with our rock music during the workouts.

Godsmack has been my favorite band since I was 10 years old. Otherwise I am a country girl and Chris Stapleton is my main squeeze :-*

Favorite or current book: I’m a nerdy reader and love books on brain science or death and dying (comes with the work territory). Some notable favorites are ‘The Brain that Changes itself”, ‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths’, ‘Final Gifts’ and ‘Smoke gets in your Eyes and other stories from the crematory.’

Favorite food: I like food. ALL of it. But for the sake of narrowing it down a bit, burgers and donuts are my favorite cheat foods. I could eat Thai and Indian every day for the rest of my life. Spaghetti and meatloaf are my comfort foods at home.

Favorite quote: Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for  —  I actually have this tattooed on my rib-cage.

What is your fitness background: I played softball for 12 years but other than that I never really found my niche in fitness. I would go to the gym and do cardio, fitness classes and lift light weights but I would get bored easily and fall off the wagon. I can honestly say Crossfit is the first thing to keep me challenged and engaged.

Sport or activity that you are training for, if any: You mean to tell me there are other things besides crossfit? Haha I have set a lot of fitness goals for myself, so I guess you could say I am training to be an even better crossfitter! I wouldn’t mind running a half marathon someday just to say I did it. (A full marathon is just crazy talk)

How long have you been CrossFitting: I just had my one year anniversary!

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Whew, there are so many changes! Mentally, I’m tougher and can push through fatigue and “hard” workouts a lot better than I could before. I’m also just more confident in my own abilities in general. Physically, I have muscles showing in places I never  thought I would have visible muscles! Crossfit really re-shapes your whole body, I’ve lost 5% body fat and have gained a lot of lean muscle mass.

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement: Thrusters, wallballs and overhead squats – Not – like whoever came up with these were thinking, “How can we take something that is fun (squats) and make it suck? Oh, I know…”

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement: Back squats, deadlifts and cleans.

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite: I love Sally, even though it isn’t a WOD. I don’t have a particular WOD itself, but a favorite WOD moment would be when we were doing Fight Gone Bad and the Rx+ was 5 rounds. I wasn’t planning on doing 5 but when 2 other women kept going, I thought to myself, well okay here goes. The magic moment though was the round of applause and cheers from everyone when we finished the 5th round. I thought, “This. This is crossfit and it’s community.& I felt a lot of love for my EWCF folks in that moment.

I do have a soft spot for Murph because it really challenges you mentally and physically and I like a good challenge.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year: I have so many! Let's see- Strict pull-ups, double unders (gosh darn-it), consistent toes to bar, 200lb back squat, 250lb deadlift, 130lb clean.. And so many upper body goals because I know that’s a real weakness of mine.

Life goals in general for the next year are to adjust to living in England and do a lot of exploring 🙂

Achievements: The most notable achievement from this past year was finding crossfit!! And with that came a lot of progress, specifically push-ups, chin-ups, 215lb deadlift, 170lb back squat, 90lb bench, 135lb front squat and improved my fastest mile by nearly 2 minutes.

2016 was also a big year career wise in getting my clinical licensure and being accepted into an international social work group that ultimately led to me getting a job offer in England.

I am passionate about: Family/friends, travel, education, crossfit and cats. I have two black cats named Jeffrey and Dennis and they are my children. I'll show you pictures of them anytime, just ask. (I’m clearly not that interesting).

What is something that others may not know about you: I’m the first in my family to go to college and I have a Masters degree. I feel like I owe it to them to go all the way and get a PhD someday, so that’s on my to-do list.

I want to be a good role model for my niece 🙂 I also have always wanted to write a book which I plan to actually do!

2 January 2017

AOM Jan | Sofian Ghadab

2 January 2017, Comments:  Comments

Name:  Sofian Ghadab

Where are you from? Originally from Algeria (north Africa)

Occupation? Software Engineer

Favorite movie: Goodfellas

Current book: The Civil War: The war that divided the United States (L. T. Stewart)

Favorite food: No real favorites, I’m open to try anything healthy! ☺

Favorite quote:“Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you are probably right.”

What is your fitness background? A little bit of Martial Arts (Karate Shotokan, BJJ) and I also old school bodybuilding weightlifting

How long have you been CrossFitting? Close to 4 years now. I wish I started earlier!

How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? I felt I have finally settled in Chicago the day I found EWCF! Great coaches, awesome and friendly community!

What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Wallballs….no question!!! Probably because they never get easier and they kick my butt every time!  ☹

What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? I like T2B…and despite all the hate they get, I really don’t mind Burpees!!

Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite?Any good MetCon that makes you want to puke at the end!! But, if I have to pick a single WOD, it is probably Fran.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Improve on my Snatches, improve on my Clean & Jerk, improve my strength, improve my cardio…pretty much I need to work on everything!!! And yes, try to stay healthy and injury-free while doing it…which has been my struggle!!!

 What is something that others may not know about you?I may look like a bouncer but I have a PhD, 2 Masters egrees and an MBA! ☺