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Ardent Fitness and Education: Training Through COVID-19

Friends,

COVID-19 has created a lot of chaos, but we still have Bright Spots, and considering it is Friday, I think it is a great time to point them out #BSF:

  1. If you’re reading this, you have probably prioritized your health and wellness. You have done everything you can to prepare for anything.  Strong, healthy, and hard to kill are not just words, but adjectives you can probably use when describing yourself.
  2. We had time to prepare.  Gyms in Italy, Denmark, and other places have been shut down, but we could plan. We are prepared to help our client base stay fit as the government works on containing and managing this pandemic.
  3. Spring is coming and this means we will be able to use large and well ventilated outside areas soon!
  4. We are in contact with the best gym owners, mentors, and medical staff daily to learn how we safely serve our clients during this unprecedented time.

Standard Operating Procedures:

  • The BIG One: If you are feeling ill or have symptoms please do not come to the gym. If you want to train, email Coach Austin with your equipment list and a description of your space. He will get you moving. Please use this option if you feel under the weather, our best line of defense is being proactive with this illness.
  • Wash your hands. Pretty self explanatory. Wash them when you show up, wash them after the workout, and hell…wash them in the middle of the workout if you feel the need!
  • Cover your face if you’re going to cough or sneeze.  Either a tissue or elbow is your best bet and then go wash your hands again.
  • If you touch it, clean it.

Learn more about COVID-19 Here.

Preparing for the worst case scenario: A government mandated shut down. We have access to a huge network of resources and we are using them to make a solid plan.

If forced to close, we will not stop providing you with programming, coaching, and inspiration. We will use Wodify and our private members page to program and instruct workouts. We will make sure you keep working out, even if the government wants you to do it at home. You pay us for coaching, and we plan to deliver it without interruption.

Using Wodify, we will program workouts everyday with precise instruction. We will tell you how to use household items, and we will leverage technology to coach you. We are prepared for this!

This list will help you prepare:

  1. Get a kettlebell or set of dumbbells.  You can go to Play It Again Sports and get some cheap ones!  Select a weight you would use in a conditioning workout (26, 35, or 53lb kettlebells are common or 20, 25, 35, or 40lb dumbbells). This will be your primary piece of at-home fitness equipment. You can stay very fit with just that equipment.
  2. If you can swing it, buy a heavy and a light object. You can get creative and fill some jugs with water, clean off an old tire, or something of that nature.
  3. Make a space to workout with the “Ardent Members Only” group.  Just watch out for your dog (I am assuming you have a dog, because we all know most people at the gym are that awesome!)
  4. Create a FB account if you do not have one. This is the platform we are going to use to administer the workouts.
  5. Make sure you have a way to set up your phone or device so you can see and hear us during the online session.

We truly hope this passes quickly with minimal disruption to our lives, but if not, we will be ready!

You will be taken care of. We will show you the same care and enthusiasm over the internet. Maybe we won’t fist bump, or our most recent foot bumping after your workout, but our meme, likes, and emoji game is freaking on point!

To learn more about a program which can truly help you “Live Your Best Life” click the button for change!

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A CrossFitter Vegan: What Do You Talk About First?

A CrossFitting Vegan: What Do You Talk About First? 

 First I want to say, this is a 100% opinion piece based on subjective feelings and thoughts. If you’re looking for fodder to either support or thrash veganism or CrossFit, you’re in the wrong place. Next I want to tell the story about why I am toying with veganism, how it has impacted me in only two weeks, and how I plan to move forward.

 

 No matter what you think about health and wellness, if nutrition is not at the top of your to do list you’re missing a huge piece of the puzzle. You can’t out run, out WOD, out lift, or out anything a bad diet (trust me, I have tried). Now, my nutrition has always been decent to sometimes excellent. I am a CrossFit Coach and I truly believe you have to live what you preach. This is why I always do the nutrition challenges with our gym. 

 

DIY Wyoming 2019

For me, doing the nutrition challenge is not a huge change. I usually just need to be a bit more cognizant of what I am putting in my body. This time, I was challenged by a member (Lowell) to participate in the nutrition challenge but do it as a vegan. I have never entertained being a vegan. I did not watch some “documentary” about veganism and decide this is the way for me. My favorite thing to do in the fall is hunt, so it is not some moral stand I am taking. I attached a picture of my pronghorn from last season for good measure, and I will be back out there next year. I am always up for a good challenge, though, and getting uncomfortable once in awhile.

 

 I am two weeks into being a vegan and I actually feel great. I am not missing meat as much as I thought I would but I do have to plan out my meals a little more carefully. I can’t just grab some ground turkey and toss it on some veggies. I have to make sure I have something ready like beans, Beyond Meat, tofu, or any other vegan protein source I can find. The biggest thing for me, though, is the tangible numbers which are associated with my change

Body scan showing weekly results

 I have lost 1.3% body fat, gained 1.5 lbs of muscle mass, and gained a ½ pound of total weight. My weight is irrelevant to me. This is why we use a body scanner and not a scale when measuring success. There are other factors contributing to my success too, so I can’t tell you, “go vegan and you will see the same results!” 

 

 A few other factors: I am using the plate method to make sure I am getting a good balance in my meals. I am making sure to drink at least 80oz of water a day. I am also making sure to TRY and get 7 hours of sleep a night, I say “try”, because sometimes I miss the mark.  I am also hitting three to 4 CrossFit classes a week. This comes out to being only 2% of my week spent working out. This means I am advocating a more holistic approach when it comes to health and wellness. It is not killing yourself at the gym or starving yourself out of the gym. It is finding balance in everything you do. This is something I believe and I will stand behind because it truly supports my “why.”

 

The only change mad was switching lean protein for a vegan protein source.

 At one point in my life I considered myself a “semi-professional competitive amateur CrossFit athlete. “ This meant I put long hours in the gym to be just a little bit better and stronger than I am now. Here is a picture of what that looks like, I also did terrible at this workout because I thought I was more fit than I really was. At 39, my priorities have shifted and spending two to 3 hours a day working out is not my cup of tea. Now I value time. After having my son, my shift went from being the best “semi-professional competitive amateur crossfit athlete” I could be to thinking about longevity. I want to be able to take him hunting out west and be able to traverse ridge tops. And maybe he won’t want to hunt and wants to do some other physical activity. I will be damned if I will be sitting on the sidelines watching him. I will have my old ass out there participating. That is my “why” and if you don’t have one it is going to make your journey way more difficult. It is 100% ok for your “why” to be the best you can be, or maxing the new fitness test for the Army. It only has to be what makes you willing to put some effort into something.

 

Losing a workout

 So what is next? I am going to finish out this six weeks as a vegan and I will put my final results up, but I am not going to stay a vegan. My plan is to cycle my proteins a little more often, which is easy, because before I just had lean meats. This has shown me there are other options, maybe I alternate weeks? I am not sure yet. I am going to find what is best for me and for my goals. Long story and not short, you need to find your “why.” You NEED to focus on a holistic approach to your health and wellness, and you need to make changes if you want to see different results. Let yourself get uncomfortable for a little while and see what happens or you will never know what you can truly accomplish. 

 

 

If you are looking to make a change, challenge yourself, or work towards your “why” follow this link and sign up for a “No Sweat Intro”

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email me at austin@crossfitoshkosh.com

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My “Why”
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Client Stories

Jessica Nokovic: Doctors Who Lift

Brief personal history and journey which led you to Ardent Fitness and Education:

I’m an OB/GYN who just moved to Oshkosh in August 2018 to start my first grown up job. I spent the 12 years prior to that in school/medical training in Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio and Buffalo, NY. In the 4 years prior to moving to Oshkosh, I was living in Buffalo completing my residency, working 80-100 hours per week.  My life was busy, when I wasn’t working, I was studying and when I wasn’t studying I was sleeping. My fitness journey for the last 8 years was random work out videos when I had the chance, sometimes I’d make it to the JCC for a class of sorts. When I was visiting my family in Oregon, I would hike. But nothing consistent or regular.

 What brought you to Ardent Fitness and Education: Home of CrossFit Oshkosh?

My life is still chaotic and busy. Early (and I mean EARLY) mornings are the only reliable time that I can work out. After getting settled with my job (still working on that) and my puppy (we’re now teenage years/attitude) I was trying to bring physical activity back into my life. My life goals after graduation from residency were “puppy and personal trainer”. Instead I bought a large, old house and got a puppy and a very busy practice. I was doing the at home stuff but failing. I decided I needed a personal trainer…but I needed to work out at 4 am in order to ensure that I was ready for whatever work threw at me (surgeries, delivering babies, patients in clinic, etc) and who is crazy enough to train people at 4 am?! CrossFitters. So I emailed. And here we are.

 What was your first impression of Ardent?

If I’m being honest, I was skeptical of CrossFit before starting. I’ve managed injuries from people who have done it poorly, at gyms that arent in tune to proper lift technique and would rather get a PR, regardless of how it looked. But I also know of CrossFit gyms that arent that; that are supportive and motivating, but not to the point of injury. That encourage health and wellness without making people drink the koolaid. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ardent is the latter. Austin (and the other coaches I have worked with) are kind, motivating and seem to truly care. They care more about overall health and wellness, celebrate the successes and gains and want you to keep achieving them (injury free).

 What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

Diet. It’s surprising how much easier it is for me to get up at 320 to work out after having slept 4 hours versus eating within the macros. Protein is hard for me. I love vegetables and carbs. French Fries are life. We’re working on it.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

I like the diversity of the work outs. I get bored easily. And turns out, I like lifting really heavy shit.

 What are your current goals in CrossFit?

Ha. To be active. Austin hates that answer.

 What is something we don’t know about you?

You probably don’t know me at all. This post is likely a “does she even go here” moment. (I’m the crazy one at 4 am) (you’re welcome 5 am for preheating the gym). Random facts: My drink is a Whiskey neat. Winter is my favorite season. Reading is my favorite, I have a magnificent library in my house.

If you’re looking for the same success and flexability which Dr. Nokovic found, follow the link and sign up for our next “6 Week Journey”

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Nutrition 2020 Kickoff: Everyone Needs Someone In Their Corner

Have you heard the phrase, “You can’t outrun a bad diet?”

This is more important than you may think.  Most of the population can use help in the nutrition category. Most of us eat too much or eat too little, eat the “wrong” things, or do not know how to pay attention to labels. Most of us think if we put more time in the gym it is going to get us the body we desire while the truth is that we need to put more time in the kitchen.

We need to start paying attention to what we eat and the amount we eat. We need to make sure we are drinking enough water. We must decide when and where to put our effort in and I am willing to bet, if you’re like me, you have always put MORE effort into the gym and not into the nutrition side of things.  This is why I need someone in my corner, an accountabili-buddy.

The last six years I have had the greatest accountability partner, my wife, Sue. I would say, “Lets get some chicken wings” and she would say, “EF Off, eat your premade food!” It was a great symbiotic relationship based on mutualism.  Long story short, Sue is pretty deep into her third trimester so now when I say that line she says, “Cool, pick up or eat in?” So, now what? 

Lucky for me I am surrounded by people who love this stuff on a daily basis. Lucky for me I know some nutrition coaches who are going to be putting on an AWESOME challenge. Our first big nutrition outing of 2020 with new and improved information, but the best part? It is a partner challenge. Sometimes you need someone in your corner all the time, someone who can tell you to put down the cookie.  This accountability based challenge will challenge you in new ways and force your hand on some old habits.

We are almost one month into a new decade and if you find yourself struggling it is time to make some changes. This challenge is for members and non-members alike.  We are going to Kick start this on 17 February, so mark your calendars. 

If you want to know more email mary@crossfitoshkosh.com

You do not need to be a member to participate.

If you don’t have a partner, we will find one for you!

I am still looking for a partner…just throwing that out there. 

We all need someone in our corner.

Only 14 Team Spots Left!  

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It is what happened outside of the gym which made the difference.
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A Third Place: Neutral and Welcoming

The “Third Place” was coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. It is the place where people spend their time between home (1st place), and work (2nd place). We strive to be the third place for our clients but what does it take to be a third place and how do we accomplish this?

Justin making a comeback after leaving for the military

A third place is where people conjugate together besides work and home. This could be a bar, barber shop, library, or any other social location. Third places have a few needs in order to fall into this category but to make sure I keep this post under 500 words, I will focus on one or two categories per post. First we are going to talk about how a third place is neutral.

When I talk about a neutral place, I mean that you can come and go without penalty. Work is not neutral; you cannot, usually, come and go as you please. Home is not neutral; especially if you have a significant other, kids, or pets. There are consequences for not showing up, but with us we will take you back if you have been gone one week or five years. 

We want to help as many people as we can. We want you to be successful, have fun, and engage in a healthy community based on fun and progress, but we also know life happens. Do not let neutral make you think disengaged. If you do not show up, we will contact you. We will call you, and we will text you. Not because there are negative repercussions, but because we want to make sure you are ok. 

In a perfect world your days would be filled with laughter, and fun, and donuts would be calorie free. Alas, this is not the case, but we can offer you a place where everyone knows your name and the coaches truly care about your wellness and success. We can be your third place. Next time, in our third place excursion, we will talk about mood and laughter.

If you’re looking for a place to call your third place, click the button and find out how to start your journey. If you’re looking to come back and continue your fitness journey email austin@crossfitoshkosh.com to set up your membership or a time to sit down and talk!

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Client Stories

Jenny Faris: Crushing Kernels and Kettlebells

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit:

Growing up, my parents always had my sisters and me involved in sports. Throughout elementary to high school I was either playing softball, volleyball and soccer so was getting a mix of conditioning year round. When I went to college, I was working out here & there but no where near as hardcore or consistently as I used to. I gradually became a big fan of running then this past April tore my meniscus which completely threw me off. I promised my friend, who had been a CrossFit fanatic, that I would check out CF once my knee was healed. Now, here I am.

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

My friend, Jordan “JP” Pennings. He knew I was somewhat interested in joining for a while, so he was very persistent and kept on me trying to convince me to try it out. A couple minutes into my No-Sweat Intro, I was hooked & knew it was something I wanted to stick with.

 

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

Very intense and intimidating. Starting out, I jumped every time I heard weights drop. Beyond that, the first thing I noticed was how welcoming everyone was and willing to help/answer any of my questions. A lot of times right after class (before I mustered up the courage to just ask people) I would find myself googling various terms that I kept hearing people use so I wouldn’t feel like such a noob.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

Being patient with the movements. I see so many other people mastering the moves so I get eager to try to do the same but need to do better at taking my time to learn & do everything correctly. Also, I suck at pull ups and double unders (probably because of the patience thing).

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

Versatility. Before CrossFit, I would always get so bored with the workouts I was doing, so the fact that everyday is something different makes it really intriguing and exciting to me.

What are you current goals in CrossFit?

Pretty blah but I really just want to do better. I’m very competitive so when I see other people lifting heavier weight than I am or completing moves that I can’t do or finishing faster than I am then it motivates and pushes me to figure out how I can be better. Specifically though, if I could do a couple pull ups, muscle ups, or double unders then that’d be pretty neat.

What is something we don’t know about you?

Somethings:

When I was 9, my sister threw a softball at my nose & broke my nose. It was her birthday so whatever I guess.

When I was 16, my dad and I had the idea to start a gourmet popcorn company. It’s quite possibly the best popcorn you may ever taste (Faris Gourmet Popcorn).

When I was 20, I impulsively got a puppy. Somehow he’s still alive & thriving.

When I was 25, I bought my first house with the intentions of painting a couple walls. I ended up gutting almost the entire house and redoing it.

I talk a lot (if you couldn’t tell by my lengthy responses) so if you want to know anything about my life, I’ll gladly share.

If you’re looking for the same success and community which Jenny found, follow the link and sign up for our next “6 Week Journey”

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Client Stories

Collin Birkholz: Trusting The Process & Seeing Results

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:

I was always active growing up. I grew up on a Dairy farm so there was always something to do. In high school I was a 3 sport athlete all 4 years, playing football, basketball, and baseball. When I moved to Oshkosh, my active lifestyle started to fizzle away as I became less and less motivated to do anything. I struggled to motivate myself to run a mile on a treadmill. As time went by, and my pants size started to increase, I knew it was time to take responsibility and make a major change to my lifestyle.

 
What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?
I had seen the Crossfit Games on TV before, so I had somewhat of an idea of what it was and it did seem like something fun to try. After doing some research into Crossfit Oshkosh before contacting them, I could tell it was the best fit for me. Between the weightlifting, nutritional help, and classes with a coach and other people to enjoy workouts with.
 
Your first impression of CrossFit:
I came to Crossfit knowing I was out of shape, but boy oh boy did I prove myself right after my first WOD. I was gassed. When I saw people that were proficient at movements and lifts I told myself I wanted to be able to it as well as them someday. However, I knew change wasn’t going to happen overnight. I did a 6 week journey and lost almost 12lbs and 5% bodyfat. I was hooked after that. It was nice to see the hard work pay off and I only wanted to get better.
What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?
I would say my toughest hurdle was to stop stepping on my scale everyday and letting that dictate my crossfit success. I knew if I was nutritionally sound, the number on my scale meant nothing. Over the past month or so, I think I’ve stepped on the scale maybe twice and focused more on getting better at movements and that’s made my crossfit experience much more enjoyable.
 
What is your favorite aspect of Crossfit?
I love the people! I struggled to make friends before I came to Crossfit Oshkosh but now, I have gained so many friends through Crossfit that would drop anything to help each other out and they do so much to help out the community. They are some of the greatest people I have met and I thank them for pushing me to be a better person everyday. You all are awesome!
 
What are your current goals in CrossFit?
My current goal is to get better at my ring/bar muscle ups and high volume double unders. I have trouble not doing my bar muscle ups chicken winged and I am still pretty green at ring muscle ups but they can only get better! I can handle 30-40 double unders at a time but they deteriorate pretty quickly and if anyone has seen my double unders I rotate to my right as I do them and I’ve tried everything to get rid of it. I would love to also do a competition someday!
 
What is something we don’t know about you?
My other hobbies include golfing, snowmobiling, and traveling the country with my dad tractor pulling during the summer.
 
P.S. 
Thanks again to Austin for bringing me in and of course the coaches that have gotten me to where I am now. I am forever in debt to all of you! This is one of been the best decisions I have ever made in my life!
Ready to start your journey and see results like Collin?
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Understanding the Relationship Between Stress & Eating Habits

“The doctor is the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” -Thomas Edison

Stress can cause a spiral of issues that relate to health and wellness, but we can help solve/prevent some of those with the food we eat- gut health and mental health being two of the most prominent.

It has been shown that when we are stressed we tend to crave processed foods, sweets and just junk in general which then can cause issues with our gut and digestion! We start missing out on any micronutrients our body needs, and then our hormones tend to get out of wack which can lead to a variety of mental health issues.

In the article Diet and Mental Health from the Mental Health Foundation, we can start to get a glimpse of the connection between our eating habits and mental health.

“Eating well (i.e. a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrients) may be associated with feelings of wellbeing. One 2014 study found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables 1.  A recent study found that a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.) supplemented with fish oil led to a reduction in depression among participants, which was sustained six months after the intervention. 2.  The importance of good nutritional intake at an early age is explored in multiple studies, including a systematic review in 2014, which found that a poor diet (with high levels of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and processed food products) is linked to poorer mental health in children and adolescents”.

And check out these other statistics from the same article linked below.

“Poor nutrition can lead to physical health problems such as obesity, though there are a number of demographic variables that could affect the direction and/or strength of the association with mental health including severity of obesity, socioeconomic status and level of education, gender, age and ethnicity.7  The relationship between obesity and mental health problems is complex.  Results from a 2010 systematic review found two-way associations between depression and obesity, finding that people who were obese had a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time, whereas people experiencing depression had a 58% increased risk of becoming obese. 8”

Read more here https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/diet-and-mental-health

So what are some things we can do? When you know a stressful time is coming or you are in the middle of one, I challenge you to take a step back and put yourself first and clean up your diet and sleep patterns! This doesn’t mean 100% prefect, but make a small goal of eating a vegetable with every meal, cut processed food, and give yourself a bedtime! You may still end up eating out (because we are humans and not perfect!) but make a conscious choice and pick the grilled chicken and steamed broccoli over the fried chicken with mashed potatoes and Mac n’ cheese! When we are stressed we we more than likely tired, and when we are tired we will more than likely over eat! See this post from Evelyn Anderson, FNP-C  on how many calories we could be over eating just because we are tired! https://www.instagram.com/p/BwuBnQBlaM7/?igshid=qbffme8vfnti

Let’s remember that food has more power to effect our lives than most other things we have control of!

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Blog

Preventing The Winter Blues

It’s that time of year again. The clock gets pushed back and the amount of sun during the day is significantly less than what it was just a few months ago. When it gets colder and the days get shorter, it can feel like a real chore to get up and do anything other than lay on the couch under some cozy blankets. For many people this can spark SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The CDC says that around 14 percent of people in the United States experience this and exercise can help prevent it. 

Staying active during the winter months is extremely important. Follow these tips and try to avoid SAD, and stay happy throughout Wisconsin’s long winter!

  • Try getting 30-60 minutes of exercise per day
  • Make sure you are getting 20 minutes of sunlight (even when it’s overcast you can still reap the benefits of the good ole sun).
  • If you have a break for lunch, getting outside for a quick walk can help with sun exposure.
  • Make sure you are still eating balanced meals of protein, carbs and fats and drinking plenty of water. 

Push through that urge to skip your daily workout and get in your daily exercise! We promise you’ll feel so much better once you’re finished.

 

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Client Stories

Ashley Schlosser: Channeling Her Inner Badass

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:
Contrary to a lot of other members, I did not grow up an athlete (Seriously. I cannot make a ball go the direction I intend to save my life). I really found that I enjoyed fitness in my early twenties through running & a few group workouts/boot camps that I was in. Fast forward a few years later – I fell out of my fitness routine, I was going out a lot and not eating well. It all was catching up to me and I eventually felt terrible and admittedly, was really self-conscious about how I looked. I tried a couple different fitness routines & memberships, but none of them did much for me. I didn’t know my way around a weight room and I enjoyed working out with others, so it was hard to stay motivated.

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?
I was always curious about CrossFit because of the overall intensity and “badassery” surrounding it. When looking into finding a different fitness routine, I knew that I wanted to learn more about weightlifting as well as be a part of a group workout again. I also wanted to meet new people & surround myself around those with healthier lifestyles. CrossFit & the community here checked all those boxes.

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?
MORTIFIED. People were letting barbells slam on the ground and others were “flailing” on the rig doing some kind of pull-up that I’ve never seen before in my life (pretty sure they were C2Bs lol). I also remember seeing Mary flipping the tire outside and I thought she was the most badass chick ever. I recall thinking to myself, “So if I stay here long enough, I can do something like THAT?”.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?
Heavy barbells and Olympic lifts, for sure. Unlike many of my fellow CrossFitters, I am such weenie when it comes to heavy lifts. I complain about cardio, of course, but I’m way more in my element.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?
The community here always deserves a shout out. It’s so cool to be a part of a community that has fun & supports each other’s goals, no matter where they are in their fitness journey. My favorite aspect of CF though would be the balance it’s brought to my life. It’s exactly what I needed to keep myself on track & living the healthier lifestyle I was wanting for myself.


What are your current goals in CrossFit?
Get better at Olympic lifts. I’m also trying to learn how to pace myself & control my breathing through movements like T2B and Double Unders. I can do them straight out the gate, but mid-WOD I have a hard time keeping up with the movement.

What is something we don’t know about you?
Hard question – I’m a pretty open book. I guess for those that don’t know, I have a younger brother with autism. Between the two of us, he is definitely the cooler sibling!

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