STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH-SLADE

Each month we highlight an outstanding member of this community as our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH”!!! This month we have chosen a very hard working athlete that continues to improve. He is very consistent and makes the gym a priority every day, some times twice! Let’s get to know SLADE!



What’s your age and athletic background? I am 36. My athletic background is spotty at best. I have worked out at gyms on and off my entire life, but I ramped up my fitness when I started running in 2010 and would run in 5Ks and Half Marathons. In 2012, I started a bootcamp with CrossFit style lifting when I was still living in Florida. Unfortunately, all of the progress I made towards my fitness goals ended when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014. My fitness level returned to zero after my surgery and recovery.


 


What results since starting CrossFit at LaLanne Fitness? After moving to San Francisco and starting at LaLanne, my body has become more toned and my strength has multiplied exponentially. I lost 4 inches around my midsection, and I have gained quite a bit of muscle. I weigh 204 now, and a year ago I was 228. While those stats are great, the biggest result has been gaining confidence in my physical ability. Anyone that has had cancer can tell you that it leaves you feeling broken, mentally and physically. My biggest fear after cancer was that I would never get back to my pre-cancer PRs. I can now happily say that fear is completely gone. I have greatly exceeded my pre-cancer PRs. I never imagined that I would ever be this strong, and I am continually getting stronger!


How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit at LaLanne Fitness? My mindset has changed dramatically. Fitness used to be a chore. It was fun, but it was still something that I felt “I had to do,” and I would look for any excuse to skip. When I did a great workout, it would be an excuse to skip a few days. But now, fitness is my main mode of thinking. I find myself looking for mini-challenges whenever possible. Running up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, speed walking instead of taking BART. I have also started doing workouts twice a day whenever my schedule allows for it – even if the first WOD of the day crushed me, I will come back for more! The days of me saying “I am too sore to workout” are long gone. The biggest mindset shift is that I no longer fear that I am too weak to take on new CrossFit challenges. I used to avoid movements that were challenging, but now I throw myself into it, knowing that if I cannot do it today, that I will be able to do it soon enough. Now I keep a list of movements that I want to master!



What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? This is a tricky question, because any movement I am bad at or I hate becomes my “favorite” – currently my favorite is back squat, which I have been working on for weeks using the Smolov cycles to increase weight, but I have recently started to tackle thrusters and push press. I also have a strange love/hate for the Rower and the Assault Bike because they both kick my ass. I have so many movements to work on and conquer, so the list goes on and on!


Do you have any favorite CF gear? I am a tech/gear addict, so I would say that all my gear is my favorite gear! The ones that help me the most are probably my knee sleeves. Doing a WOD with 150 wall balls in the morning and then coming back to do back squats in the afternoon, really makes one gain an appreciation for knee sleeves! 


Future athletic goals? My future athletic goals are quite infinite. I do not want to let anything conquer me ever again, so I will work hard to conquer everything. It is the one gift that I got from cancer after I finally beat the depression. I became twice as driven in fitness. To answer the question: I want to become CF level 1 Certified, and be able to do all the movements at the RX weights. I feel I owe it to myself and my coaches to take my training to the next level so that I compete and place in a CrossFit competition.  I also want to get back into distance running and do another half marathon. From there, I am sure I will find a new set of physical goals to conquer.


 


What motivates you?

A few things: Fear of not being the best version of myself. Life is so frighteningly short; I want to make sure that I make the most of it. My wife, Ashley. I have always been inspired by how amazing she is physically and intellectually. Every time in the past 15 years where I think I am about to catch up, she takes it to the next level, leaving me with motivation to try harder. The coaches at LaLanne. I would not have been able to make this much progress without the nurturing environment that is so unique to LaLanne. They never gave up on me and I was forced to not give up on myself.


Thank you sincerely to: Michael De Lange for the constant encouragement, Joe Siler for being a brosef and making any WOD seem more fun than it actually was, Michael Mather for his excruciating stretches and telling me to use more weight, TJ Istvan for making Saturday Mornings fun and hilariously inappropriate, Kevin McPhee for never letting me get away with bad form, Sam Smith for being my Instagram Idol and getting my cleans from 85lbs to 155lbs, Val Tenyotkin for somehow making WODs MORE intense, Jonathan Hanna for introducing me to Smolov cycles, and Richie VanOsten for going out of his comfort zone and showing me that I can do the same. Last, but definitely not least, thank you to Chris and Maribel LaLanne for creating the best fitness community I have ever had the pleasure of being part of. It has literally changed my life.

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STUDENT ATHETE OF THE MONTH – JOSEPH THOMAS

Each month we highlight an outstanding member of this community as our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.” This month we have chosen an incredibly dedicated, consistent member. He has made tons of progress over this past year and his insight may resonate with you all. Let’s get to know JOSEPH THOMAS!

What’s your age and athletic background? I am 31. I have always loved outdoor activities. Before joining CrossFit, I would go surfing or hiking on weekends. I had a gym membership but I hated working out alone and got bored with the lack of variety.


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What results have you experienced since starting CrossFit? There has been a significant shift in my body composition. I have gained muscle, strengthened my joints, improved my flexibility and my body is much more resilient. Overall my energy levels have increased and I wake up energetic. A year ago, after a long hike or surf session or even a night out, I would wake up the next day tired. Now I wake up just fine, which means that I can go out late and still make it for an early morning hike!

Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? I am a foodie and love trying out new restaurants/cuisines, so I struggle with limiting my diet. However, I have started putting more effort into eating raw/unprocessed food and avoiding sugar over the past few months. My appetite and metabolism has increased, which is great for someone who loves food!


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How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? CrossFit is very hard for beginners and the challenge is as much psychological as physical. A lot of the movements like muscle-ups or double-unders are overwhelming in the beginning. It is so tempting to try these a few times and conclude that they are unachievable. However, while working through the progressions, you learn that CrossFit is about persistence and technique rather than raw power and your body is capable of so much more than you ever realized.

What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? My favorites are gymnastics based movements like bar muscle-ups or pull-overs. I practice them a lot but I am still far from mastering them. However, it has been an exciting journey so far. Among the Olympic Lifting movements, I love clean and jerks.


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Do you have any favorite CrossFit gear? My gymnast hand grips, they have helped with wear and tear.

Any future athletic goals? Immediate goals include mastering the bar/ring muscle-up, handstand walk, and squat snatch. For next year, I would love to do well in the Crossfit Open.


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STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – MARY LOU

Each month we highlight an outstanding member of this community as our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.” This month we’ve selected one of the strongest women in the gym. She has made incredible progress that we are all proud of. This is a real success story. Let’s get to know MARY LOU!

What’s your age and athletic background? I am 43 years old and I have been athletic all my life.  I played varsity sports (volleyball and softball) in high school and intramural sports in college.  I am a big time outdoor girl who enjoys backpacking and climbing mountains!  I got into triathlon racing in my early 30s for a good 6 years with Lombardi’s Triathlon club racing team.  I completed 3-4 triathlon races a year during that timeframe and ultimately completed the Vineman Half Ironman in 2008 in Santa Rosa, California at the age 36.  I have completed over 15+ Half Marathons throughout my 30s and like every runner I had to complete a full marathon by age 40.  I have always had a competitor mindset so when the women at LaLanne Fitness asked me do a CrossFit competition I didn’t think twice!  I completed the Contra Costa Partner Throwdown with Maridehl Mather in May 2016 and we placed 11th.  Amazing feeling!!!!!


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What results since starting CrossFit? August 2016 marks my one year doing CrossFit and I have seen the most amazing results.  I have seen big time muscle, strength and fitness gain.  Even though I have only lost 10 lbs, I have lost significant inches throughout my entire body while maintaining my Latina curves!  Prior to CrossFit I had a wonderful personal trainer for 3 years and we focused on standard weight lifting (back/biceps, chest/shoulders, leg day, etc) and I would do my “cardio” on my own.  I had good results during that time until I hit a plateau.  Since day one of CrossFit, I was on a new fitness mission and committed to doing 4-5 CrossFit sessions on average a week and logging every lift and WOD in the Beyond the Whiteboard (BTWB) application. Logging the results has been vital and key to my progress. Knowing the data and where I stand, week to week is motivating, empowering and exciting to see.  I also recommend video tapping when you lift. I have created a fun hashtag to track my form, progress and accomplishments:  #lulycrossfitbug. I smile when I go back to see my first snatch and clean.


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Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? I have always been mindful of what I eat and put into my body.  I do confess since starting CrossFit I am a bit more conscious as you get addicted to new lifting PR’s and fitness improvement.  In general, I practice a healthy lifestyle balance. It’s important to live life, enjoy good food and cocktail!  Be kind to yourself.


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How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? I am an introvert (I know many of my new CF friends will not believe this as I am very social at the gym).  I used to workout alone.  I was that girl at the gym with my head phones on with the “don’t talk to me, I’m working out” face.  With CrossFit, I now enjoy working out with people and I love the CrossFit community, mindset and support.  The people at LaLanne makes working out so much fun and I look forward to going to the gym every day.  I have met so many amazing people who have become my dear friends. My mindset on lifting heavy has also changed.  I have never lifted so heavy and pushed myself so hard.  I can honestly say, I would not have hit as many PR’s without the amazing coaches and people at LaLanne Fitness pushing and supporting me!


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What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? The back squat is my jam (240lb PR) and I never skip leg day. I am a pretty good dead lifter (355PR), not sure how this happened.  Crazy! I love the clean and jerk movement (150PR) which is a new move for me. I am pretty proud of this. There is not too much love with the snatch, but I’m getting there. Overall, I am excited to see where I am in the next year.

Do you have any favorite CF gear? I love all my new CF gear!  I love my Reebok nanos vs Nike metcons for sure.  One thing I recommend to new crossfitters is investing in a pair of CrossFit specific shoes.  I got mine 4 months after I started and I wish I had purchased them sooner.  Doing CrossFit in running shoes is not fun.  I love my Nike Romaleos lifting shoes.  I feel like a badass when I squat and clean and jerk in them!  These shoes were expensive but worth it!  I love my lifting belt when I squat heavy (donated by Mike Mather!) and my wrist wraps for the oly lifts.


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Future athletic goals? Within my first year of doing CrossFit I feel like I have the basics down with all the lifts. Within the Gymnastics moves there is still room for improvement although I am super proud I was able to get into a handstand hold all by myself and do a toes to bar.  My next moves I will focus on this next year will be pull ups, double unders and pistols.  My overall basic goals are simple; continue to get stronger, fitter and live an active/ healthy lifestyle.  I would also like to get CrossFit and/or Fitness certified to start formally training. I have always been passionate about Fitness and feel its time to do something in the fitness industry.

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STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – MIA

Each month we highlight an outstanding member of this community. Our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH” for July is by far one of the most athletic women in this gym. She spends a ton of time every week working hard to get stronger and become the best CrossFit athlete she can be. Let’s get to know MIA!


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What’s your age and athletic background? I’m 27. I played soccer for a couple of seasons when I was a kid, and outside of that, I wasn’t very active at all until just before my 25th birthday when I gained over 50 lbs in four months after going through a tough time. I saw a photo of myself from a holiday party and couldn’t believe how big I’d gotten, so I decided to stop breaking promises to myself and to take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I first lost the weight and made fitness a lifestyle, then I took up CrossFit in 2014 and haven’t looked back.


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What results since starting CrossFit? I’ve become more physically and mentally strong than I ever thought possible. My confidence has increased tremendously and I’ve gained an amazing (though tragically insufficient!) amount of knowledge about nutrition, strength, self-care, and self-love. My body image has improved; I’m no longer obsessing about the scale and I’m not very self-conscious about my body. I’ve learned to love my strength and femininity, and appreciate how hard my body works for me when I do, and even when I don’t, take good care of it.


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Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? Complete 180!! Fitness is now a part of my life, and that includes healthy and mindful eating as well as regular and serious training. It means continual education on food, learning how to cook healthy meals and grocery shop, and what to eat when eating out. I also appreciate a great cheat meal and allllll the donuts… and cake… and cookies… and brownies.. and ice cream… and cupcakes… and pancakes ….periodically I’ve learned to make time for training and physical care every day; the decisions that come with living a healthy life have become a regular part of my lifestyle.


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How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? I now see it as unquestionably necessary, a priority, and something that’s rewarding in more ways than one. To me, the payoff is way more than physical, and I respect anyone working towards their fitness goals


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What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? I LOVE lifting!!! Allll the lifts. The deadlift, back squat, squat cleans, and front squats are my favorite lifts, in that order. I aspire to master the snatch and hit an insanely heavy load. MURPH is one of my favorite WODs just because it’s so brutal, though I love any WOD that’s more than 12 minutes and includes semi-heavy or heavy lifts, gymnastics, and anaerobic or aerobic cycles together. The more brutal the better. I love seeing a respectable amount of time on the clock after a lot of hard work and knowing I’ve still got a lot more that I can and will complete.


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Do you have any favorite CrossFit gear? Every single pair of Reebok booty shorts and sports bras in my closet.


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Future athletic goals? Win the Games.

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STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – SAM

Each month we highlight an outstanding, AWESOME member of this community as our “STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.” This month we’ve chosen a super fit young man. He’s got impressive skills and a drive to finish the toughest workouts. Let’s get to know SAM!


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What’s your age and athletic background? I am 24 years old. I played basketball through out junior high school, high school and college, and I begin weightlifting about 4 years ago.


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What results since starting CrossFit? I have gained many new weightlifting and gymnastics skills, and learned better techniques. I increased my strength, flexibility and endurance. Moreover, I made many new friends.


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Any changes to your lifestyle or diet? For lifestyle, I go out more and do more outdoor activities, like running, cycling and hiking. For diet, I eat more healthy and real food. I eat more meats, vegetables and fruits, and drink a lot of whole milk.


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How has your mindset towards fitness changed since starting CrossFit? Fitness is fun. One of great things about CrossFit is the community. I really enjoy working out with those awesome crossfitters. I always have fun at the gym.


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What’s your favorite CrossFit movement or workout? Favorite movement: Hand stand push up. Favorite workout: “Diane.” Do you have any favorite CrossFit gear? Athletic Tape. Future athletic goals? 10 seconds free hand stand hold, 10 feet hand stand walking, Strict ring muscle ups.

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