Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!
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.
Edgewater CrossFit Athlete of the Month!
Name: Kristen Machczynski (Ma-chin-ski)
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.
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?
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.
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!
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! ☺
Name: Samantha Sainsbury
Where are you from? Southwest suburbs of Chicago (Mokena)
Occupation? Community Organizer/Facilitator
Favorite music or artist: You mean besides the songs I sing to my cat? I used to work at a record store so I’ll listen to pretty much anything. Recently, I’ve been listening to musicals (let’s be real, I’m not “listening” to anything and am singing them acapella) — Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rent, and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode are the most frequent.
Favorite or current book: I actually started a book list a couple months ago because any time I’m asked this question I suddenly forget that I’ve ever read a book in my life. My favorite books this year have been Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Saga but Brian K Vaughn, and Shrill by Lindy West.
Favorite food: Ice cream and pizza. For the record, I’m an equal opportunity pizza eater so long as there are quality ingredients, I’m a fan — deep dish, new york style slices, crispy pub pizza, etc are all delicious in their own right.
What is your fitness background? Triathlon in undergrad at Northwestern (because it sounded cool and I liked biking). My favorite race was actually the half ironman since the pace was more chill than the shorter distances where you’re actually supposed to go “fast”.
Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? The everyday life of a person who is constantly running late. On Thanksgiving I had to sprint up the stairs to catch the Red line with a 20 lb storage cube full of food and thought “this is what I’ve been training for.”
How long have you been CrossFitting? Since August 2015
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Physically, I’ve never seen so many muscles in my back and shoulders. I basically flex at every opportunity. Mentally, EWCF keeps me from sinking into the occasional void of despair and ensures that I leave the house almost every day. I’m also noticing and feeling body awareness in a totally different way; every body part has a specific role to play in a movement (instead of sadly flailing).
What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Besides getting to class on time, definitely running, burpees, and wall balls.
What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Back squats, love/hate relationship with snatching, and, now that I can do them, I potentially like rope climbs!
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Shoulder strength & stability, a pull up, better balance, improve ankle mobility, and coming to class on Sundays!
I am passionate about: Cats, cooperative ownership/governance, gender equity, & foods with quality ingredients that taste good.
What is something that others may not know about you? Some people know this. I live in an intentional community with around 30 other people. Functionally, it’s like an adult dorm. It’s more like living with extended family than a frat house, though; it’s very intergenerational. I also work in the same building, so my commute is the 45 seconds it takes to walk down the hallway/stairs.
Where are you from? I was born and raised in Chicago near the Oak Park area.
Occupation? I’m a Registered Nurse working for Sinai. Medical / Surgical Nursing
Favorite movie: My favorite movie of all time is Mannequin, and Death Becomes Her. I love cheesy 80’s and 90’s movies
Favorite music or artist: Rihanna has been dominating my play lately.
Favorite or current book: Girl on the Train
Favorite food: Pizza and chocolate cake are my guilty pleasures
Favorite quote: “It’s not where you are in life, but where you want to be” – unknown. “You never know what your capable of” – unknown.
What is your fitness background? Track & Field in high school, Typical gym membership workouts, P90X helped me lose 40lbs.
Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? “Six Pack” (in my dreams….one day)
How long have you been CrossFitting? Edgewater Crossfit has been my first time in Crossfit and I’m approaching 2 years now
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? I’m always amazed at how far I’ve come along in my fitness development. I’m always improving and taking on new challenges in workouts. Mentally I’m stronger because I embrace the challenge and try to master new movements. I also with the help of the coaches have put great emphasis on mobility and increasing my flexibility, technique, and endurance. I’m getting more confident in abilities I never imagined I had and therefore more confident overall.
What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Pistols, Thrusters, and overhead squats, all which I need to work on and a new challenge.
What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Muscle Up’s are my new favorite movement. NEVER did I ever think I would be able to do them and now I can. Everyone at Edgewater has been so supportive and encouraging and helped to achieve movements I did not see myself able to do. Compared to where I started is like night and day. I’m truly grateful to everyone that has helped me.
Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? 4 Rounds for Time 500m Run, 10 power cleans, 5 muscle ups.
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Achievements: My goal is to stay committed to improving myself physically and mentally and meeting new challenges head on. “You never know what your capable of” I am passionate about: I’m passionate about helping people and being there when they need me the most. As a nurse I’m honored that I get to share in helping people through difficult health and mental issues. I’m grateful that I get to do some good in this world while I’m here
What is something that others may not know about you? I was in a dance group in college called Dance 2XS, and it’s a great time. Love all types of dancing, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia and enjoy dancing whenever when friends and co-workers get together.
Name: Daniela Hagen
Nickname: Dan … for all my American friends 😉
Where are you from? Cologne, Germany
Occupation? Nerd aka Director of Global Compliance & Information Security
Favorite movie: Too many to list. I am a huge fan of the thriller and horror genre but also enjoy a funny chick flick, comedy or cheesy romance. But I probably saw every bloody vampire and zombie movie that is out there. No, I haven’t seen the Twilight saga and I am not planning to.
Favorite music or artist: Bastille
Favorite food: Steak, Italian pizza (thin crust!), peanut butter & Kinderschokolade
What is your fitness background?
I grew up doing competitive air rifle shooting, swimming and dancing (mostly Jazz and Modern Dance). I ended up being a semi-professional dancer until the age of 17, practicing up to 3 hours 3 to 4 days a week plus performances almost every weekend. When I broke my toe hitting the barre, I decided that it’s time to quit. So I moved on to the Martial Arts – Kung Fu To’a (Persian kung fu) and Eskrima (aka Arnis, weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and bladed weapons). And then there was some kind of a break for a couple of years in which I pretended to go to the gym and workout. But let’s be honest, like most people, I went there twice a week, ran on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes, lifted some tiny weights or forced myself on those machines that no one ever explained to me and did whatever I thought was right. Then one day everything changed when I joined my first outdoor boot camp class. Like with CrossFit I got addicted within seconds and worked out 4-5x a week for almost 2 years. So I thought that I was in decent shape when I started with CrossFit, but I quickly learned otherwise.
Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? You mean besides CrossFit? What, there’s a life outside of the box? 😉 But seriously, I spend so much time in the box trying to get stronger and better at CrossFit that I have no other Sport I am training for. But I would like to compete in CrossFit competitions one day. I don’t feel quite ready just yet. Maybe spring 2017? We’ll see.
How long have you been CrossFitting? It’s my 2 years CrossFitversary this month! In September 2014 I started with my free intro class and onramp shortly after moving to the U.S. I started joining regular classes right after in October 2014. Ever since then I am addicted to CrossFit and our EWCF family.
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF?
First of all: Joining EWCF was the best decision ever! Moving to another country, leaving all of your friends and family behind and starting from scratch thousands of miles away from home is tough, especially when you’re older and more of an introvert. At EWCF I was welcomed the moment I set a foot in the gym for the first time. Over time I met so many wonderful and amazing people and most important, I found some true friends who made Chicago my new home. Ever since joining EWCF, I haven’t regretted my decision to move to Chicago for a second. Thank you!
I am definitely stronger and leaner because of CrossFit. Plus this year I started working with a CrossFit nutrition coach who helped me changing my diet with a focus on recomposition, meaning loosing fat while building muscles. Both – EWCF and the nutrition program – helped me getting stronger, lifting more weights and hitting some significant new PRs but also improving my stamina during cardio-heavy workouts.
I only wish I would have started with CrossFit 10 years ago 😉 Mastering all the movements and skills plus going through all those great but ass kicking workouts is way harder when you’re way past your twenties 😉
What is your least favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Thrusters and running … I seriously hate running!
What is your most favorite CrossFit Skill / Movement? Split Jerk and Power Clean
Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Fight Gone Bad – only did it once so far but loved it.
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year?
Master all the CF movements and skills. Competing?!Traveling to new places and exploring the world around me. Living a happy and fulfilled life. Continue to work on making my dreams come true. Spending more time at the beach.
Achievements: Moved across the ocean to a different country. Built a department from scratch. Volunteered at the CrossFit Games 2016. Completed the Tough MudderChicago in 2015. And survived a bunch of really tough CrossFit workouts.
I am passionate about: Love, friends & beach time … and of course CrossFit
What is something that others may not know about you? I think the semi-professional dancer confession (see above) might be something most people don’t expect from me.
Name: Brett Zeeb
Where are you from? I was born in Wichita Falls, Texas; lived in Davenport, Iowa for a bit; lived in Matteson, Illinois (south suburb) from age 3 to 11; northern Kentucky for middle school; Tarpon Springs, Florida for high school; Gainesville, Florida for college; moved to Chicago in 2001. So, I guess I don’t know where I’m from exactly, but Chicago is definitely my home. My parents are both native South Side Chicagoans.
Occupation? I am an attorney at the Office of the State Appellate Defender. In a nutshell, I am a public defender who represents criminal defendants on appeal after they’ve been convicted of a felony.
Favorite movie: Don’t have one favorite flick, but I am partial to films by the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, and Wim Wenders. Or anything with Bill Murray or Penelope Cruz in it.
Favorite music or artist: Too many to list. Replacements, Minutemen, Husker Du, Dinosaur, Jr., Guided by Voices, Buzzcocks, Joy Division, the Clash, the Ramones, Sonic Youth, the Jesus Lizard, Elliott Smith, the Cure, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Beny More, My Bloody Valentine, Pavement, Slint, Protomartyr, Spray Paint, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, the Rolling Stones …
Favorite or current book: favorite writers — George Saunders, Charles Bukowski, John Steinbeck, Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Raymond Carver, Celia Perez.
Favorite food: Man, this is difficult. Japanese food is delicious, beautiful, and healthy. But if I was granted a final meal before death, it would be a Pequod’s pizza with garlic and mushrooms, a cold Anchor Steam beer, and a glass of good bourbon.
Favorite quote: “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Charles Bukowski
“If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need — go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help — the only ones.” John Steinbeck
What is your fitness background? I grew up playing baseball, basketball, and football with my neighborhood pals. In the summers all I did was play sports and ride my BMX bike with a gang of latch key kids. I was a skateboarder in high school and college, and I also played a lot of pickup basketball, which I still do occasionally. I practiced choy li fut (a northern Shoalin kung fu style) for three years while I was in law school. Did tai chi for a couple years. Have practiced yoga on and off since 2003. Ran two Chicago Marathons in the early 2000s. Did the Chicago Urbanathlon in 2013 and a Tough Mudder last month. I had never put my hands on a barbell until I started CrossFit.
Sport or activity that you are training for, if any? The sport I am training for is called “Not Letting My 8-Year-Old Son Think I Am An Old Sad Sack Who Can’t Run Or Jump Anymore.” I am also training so I can wear a Leopard print Speedo to the beach to embarrass the hell out of my wife.
How long have you been CrossFitting? Almost two years. Started at Crossfit 312 in June 2012, and came to EWCF in November 2013.
How have you seen yourself change – mentally or physically – since being a part of EWCF? Well, I am definitely physically stronger and leaner, but the most profound change has been overall body/mind awareness. I am hyper-aware now of how I sit, how I walk, how I run, how I breathe, how my body moves and occupies space. CrossFit has helped me better understand things I was taught in kung fu and tai chi (belly breath, using intent, using mantras, efficient movement, interplay of tension/relaxation). Seeing how amazing the coaches and athletes are at EWCF has also been a huge ego check and inspiration. I feel lucky to be able to learn from and train with everyone here.
What is your least favorite CrossFit Move? Whipping the shit out of my arms and toes learning double unders. Bonking my chin on jerks. Dropping the bar off the top of my head on a failed overhead squat. I am getting better at avoiding these things thankfully.
What is your most favorite CrossFit move? Hands down, the squat snatch. What a perfect blend of power, speed, and grace it is.
Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? Fight Gone Bad. I’ve only done this WOD twice, but each time I felt like I’d been run over by a bus afterward, and then the bus backed up and parked on my chest. And then the driver got out and laughed in my face. But in a good way.
What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? Achievements: In general, to keep improving my Olympic lifting technique, keep getting incrementally stronger, and keep showing up. Specifically, I want to eventually snatch my body weight and squat twice my body weight. And of course there is the eternal pursuit of the Holy Grail — the ring muscle up.
I am passionate about: Social justice, music, books, food, square foot gardening, Chicago Bulls basketball, CrossFit, and above all else the happiness and well-being of my son and wife.
What is something that others may not know about you? I am an avid collector of Alf memorabilia. No, that’s not true. That was my Aunt Lou.
Little cheesy, but good video & progressions
Press x 3 (+90%)
Parallette L Sit (Work on one of progressions & accumulate 1:00 of work)
What are “Benchmark WODs” you ask? – Benchmark workouts are a way to “test” our fitness. CrossFit is about data, measurable, observable and repeatable data.
That’s why we write your name and times on the whiteboard board, and you should be recording them somewhere.
From time to time you’lll see these named or benchmark WODs come up. When they do, we expect you to give it your all, like every other workout. With continued training of constantly varied functional movement at high intensity, your scores should improve the next time you do these benchmark workouts.
“DT” | Benchmark
5 Rounds | For Time
9 Hang Power Clean
6 Shoulder 2 Overhead 155/105