Health and Wellness Despite Yourself

I remember when I first fell in love with fitness and what it could do for people. When I realized health and wellness would have a lasting impact on my life. We were “deployed” to Kuwait on a security mission in 2005. The gym became a place to get away, a place to socialize, and a place to let out frustration. Watching people transform over the course of a year was amazing. What contributed to their success? There was nothing else to do. Our mission was like a job, but we had nothing to do after work and the gym filled the void for a lot of us.

“No matter what your exercise or athletic ability is…” Health and wellness is not a “one size fits all” solution.

I watched people create a habit over the course of a year. A great and healthy habit which would obviously reverberate throughout their life, right? Wrong, I watched most individuals come home and return to their lives where there was no time for fitness. They ended up where they started, and sometimes worse off than before. I watched this happen again in 2009 in Iraq and 2011 in Afghanistan. This experience shaped what we stand for, what we do, and who we are as a gym.

Our baseline is our mission and purpose, read it here, but there is an underlying issue which reverberates just below the surface. An issue of which is negated in times where your freedom is taken from you, like deployments with the military or prison. A culture shift where exercise doesn’t become an obligation but an escape. A culture, where eating healthy, and getting enough sleep is not a weakness or frowned upon. A culture we try to emulate in regards to creating a program in which <2% of your week is spent in the gym. A program which emphasizes nutrition and a support system to help guide you to success. 

We are not an access gym; we are a coaching gym. We do not sell access, if this is what you are looking for shoot us an email and we will point you in the right direction. We have class times, we have coached classes, personal training, nutrition, and we have a community. We have a shared belief in which health and wellness are a priority. We have decided to give up <2% of our week and in return gain freedom in other aspects of our lives. We are passionate about what we do, hence the name Ardent, and we are changing people’s lives. 

No matter what your take on fitness is, what your preferred method is, one thing you can’t deny is that we are changing lives. This brings us to what we stand for. We stand for inclusivity in fitness. We think there is a program for everyone, and if we can’t meet your needs we will send you somewhere which can. We have societal issues, self image issues, obesity issues, and nutritional issues overflowing our lives. We have gyms who think this is a zero-sum game, but it is not. We have skewed priorities as a whole. While we can work with anyone, we are not going to be for everyone. 

 What we do is hard and your journey will be difficult. You may fail from time to time, but we will be there to help you get back on track. You can read about our clients success in their own words here. We truly believe we can help you, even if we do not know you…yet. For this reason, we will continue to persevere, even if it is not a popular movement (health and wellness.) Even if telling you that you could do better on your nutrition or make better choices during the weekend is not what you are looking to hear, we will tell you. We are not here to sugar coat your journey. If you do not see changes in six weeks of starting your journey, something was going on in the background. 

 We are not a free gym and this is not a quick challenge, we focus on your health and wellness. Our program starts YOUR journey, even if that journey branches off from us at some point. We feel we can help you find what lights your fire. We will help find what makes you put your health as a priority. I work out because I want to be active well into old age. I want to hunt, fish, and hike my way through my 80’s, if I am lucky enough to make it that long. I want to arm wrestle my grandkids, if I have any, and win. I do not want my later years to be stagnant because I didn’t put my health as a priority when I was younger. This is what we stand for and we want you to “Live Your Best Life.” We want you to find your why and let that be your motivation to show up for three to five hours a week. 

 Sign up for your free No Sweat Intro to speak with a coach. We will sit down and discuss our programs, how we can help you, and what your personalized journey will look like.  


Client Stories

Desiree Nerenhausen: From Pointe Shoes & Evening Gowns to Lifters & Weight Belts

What brought to you CFO?

I’ll be honest… my husband! I was completely against CrossFit because I had heard some negative talk regarding it. He ended up seeing an ad on social media and convinced me to go and check it out with him. After our first on ramp class, I completely fell in love

Your first impression of CFO?

Our initial meeting was with Austin and not only did he invite us to a box potluck they were having that weekend, he also asked us if it was ok that he swore and I immediately knew we were in the right place. Since day one everyone has been welcoming and motivating!

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting CF?

I have had three big struggles: my mindset, my lungs and my extra long “giraffe” legs. I was a competitive dancer my entire life and competed in the Miss America system so competition definitely drives me, but I can also over think things and get down on myself. I had to learn very quickly that everyone is at a different chapter and are exactly where they are meant to be. I struggle with asthma and long femur bones (it’s weird that my doctor measured that…). Therefore, I do get quite frustrated when I literally can’t breath during a workout and anytime we have to squat since my giraffe legs have to work a little bit harder.

What is your favorite aspect of CF?

The people and getting the opportunity to improve mentally and physically every single class. I am so thankful to have such inspiring people from all facets of life around me. CrossFit has become my stress reliever and happy place and I feel pretty lucky to have that in my life!

What are your current goals in CF?

To get out of my head, complete some butterfly pull-ups, a muscle up, work on my squats and get under the fricken bar! (And so much more!!) 🙂


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Client Stories

Allen Straka: Sweating For The Wedding, & A Life Full Of Adventures!

Brief personal history and journey towards beginning your CrossFit journey:
I’ve always dieted / exercised back and forth I’d get lazy get up to a weight that I was truly unhappy with workout and diet, get down to it near a goal or reach a goal get content and then within a year be back where I started
What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?
I had a little experience with CrossFit and the community surrounding it so I knew it was something I enjoyed and needed
Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?
Loved it, immediately felt like I was accepted into the “family”
What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?
Cardio… I gas our FAST and pacing i need to learn to pace better so that I don’t gas out as quickly
What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?
The community and heavy lifts
What are your current goals in CrossFit?
I just want to get fit and stay fit. I’m getting  married next August and I want to be around for a long time and have nothing hold me back in our adventures going forward


Looking for a fitness program that will prepare you for life’s adventures, just like Allen? We’ve got you… sign up for your FREE No Sweat Intro today.

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Hunting, Heart Health, and the Real Risk

Hunting is just around the corner and while all of us take time to sight in our firearms, clean our gear, and make sure we have all the supplies we need, how many of us make sure we are physically ready for the hunt? According to Mayo Clinic, “the excitement of seeing a deer can send a hunter’s heart rate soaring. This combined with the strenuous activity can put an unfit hunter at risk of a heart attack.”

Training for Wyoming
Picked up a tough GMU this year. There will be a lot of walking at elevation and hopefully a pack out. Did a mile with a 35lb pack and pulling 90lbs after my strength training.

At 38, I am not going to slow down my younger hunting party. We have three hunts we are training for this year: Wyoming antelope, Wisconsin deer, and intermittent upland game bird hunting. While each of these hunts are unique, a broad-spectrum training program can prepare you for anything you may encounter.

Most of us are not kids anymore, but we have been hunting since we were kids. In our youth, it was easy to plan and execute a hunt since we did not have to worry about heart health. We could just pack up and go. As we age this all changes.

If you have known risk factors such as, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes you need to be aware that this puts you at greater risk of having an episode while hunting. According to Dr. Good, a cardiologist from the University of Michigan, “Heart attacks are three times more likely to take a life than a gunshot injury.” This means, you need to be budgeting time and money into fitness and nutrition into your time before the season starts.

We offer a few different avenues to make sure you are ready to hunt this upcoming season. We have personal training, nutrition, and group classes. We also offer individual program design if you are taking part in a specific hunt you need to prepare for.

Don’t let your fitness level be the factor which holds you back from having the time of your life this fall.  Your personal fitness level should be just as, if not more important than, the zero on your rifle.

Side note: if you know you have high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, please get checked out by your physician before hunting season.  Also, never hunt alone!

Want to begin your own fitness story? Start by signing up for a free No Sweat Intro today:

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Client Stories

Zak Parker: Making Gains Through Consistency & Hard Work

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?
I grew up in Green Bay playing soccer pretty much not non-stop from first grade through college. After college, I was finding myself out of shape. I moved out to Colorado for two years and that’s when a friend of mine suggested I try CrossFit. I was instantly hooked.
After moving back to Wisconsin I wanted to continue with CrossFit, I had visited a few different gyms in the area but the friendliness paired with the professionalism of the CFO coaching was what really won me over.

Your first impressions of CrossFit Oshkosh?
My first impression of CFO was that I was impressed. Everything was clean and organized.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?
My biggest hurdle since starting CrossFit is consistency. But having so many friends at CFO makes it really easy to make sure I make it to classes.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?
My favorite part of CrossFit is the people. I had the opportunity to compete in my first competition and every single competitor was super friendly and supportive.

What are your current goals in CrossFit?
My current goals are to start building up muscle. It’s pretty hard for me to put on any weight, but since starting with CFO I have noticed results that I am excited to build upon, as well as getting to the gym 4/5 times a week vs my usual 3/4.🤘💪


Want to begin your own fitness story? Start by signing up for a free No Sweat Intro today:


Exercising Your Mental Muscles

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my 6 years of CrossFit, it’s that mindset does absolutely matter. This is something I’ve greatly struggled with, but strive to improve with every workout. Whether it’s wanting to give up during a hard workout, getting upset when you miss a lift, or leaving the gym feeling frustrated because the progress isn’t flowing as you would hope; it’s important to train your mind to snap out of those emotions and instead feel confident, positive, and eager to keep growing as an athlete.

While browsing through Instagram, I found this little piece written by Jim Taylor Ph.D. titled 5 Mental Muscles for Athletic Success. I’ve kept this saved on my phone and read it quite often to help me strengthen my mental game! I wanted to share so you all could begin, or continue to start training your mind and become a better athlete not only physically, but mentally too.

The 5 Mental Muscles for Athletic Success 

  • Motivation is not how committed you say you are, but whether you are actually doing what is necessary to accomplish your goals.
  • Confidence is how strongly you believe in your ability to perform your best and achieve your competitive and long-term goals.
  • Intensity is the level of physiological activity you feel in your body including heart rate, respiration, blood flow, and adrenaline
  • Focus involves paying attention to things that will help you perform your best (e.g., technique, tactics, effort) and avoiding distractions that interfere with your performing well (e.g., results, other athletes, an upcoming stressor).
  • Mindset is what is going through your mind in the 30 seconds before you begin a workout.

After your next workout, do a check of your 5 mental muscles. Did some perform stronger than others? Did any hold back? What can you focus and improve next time? The voice that matter the most to your success is right in between your own two ears – make sure it is on your side and helping you achieve success, rather than tearing you down and deterring you from your goals.

-Coach Mary


Have A Purpose Behind Your Training

Have a purpose behind your training…
Not only should we always remember why we started this crazy fitness journey, but we should also approach each week, each day, and each workout with a purpose or intent!
When we set goals for ourselves, it not only gives us something to focus on and some statistic to hold ourselves accountable for, but it makes it a lot harder for us to give up on ourselves mid-workout!
Imagine if you approached a workout that had running in it, and say you HATE running (like a good majority of us do!) and decided you were going to wing the workout, there’s probably a pretty good chance of you wanting to walk or slow down when the workout gets mildly uncomfortable.
BUT what if you approached it in a way of “I’m going to do all my 400m in under 2:20 today”, that, my friends, will push you to keep going, and fight the pain to run through it instead of walk, because you CAN do it!
Find something to be your parameter, something measurable, so you know what the intent is. You’ll work much harder to achieve those goals!
What are your goals?! Drop them in the comments below!
Need those parameters laid out for you? We can help! Talk to us about any of our programs and what we can do to help you achieve you goals!
Client Stories

Kennady Otto – From Competitive Swimmer to CrossFitter

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?
I was always in sports growing up. It started off with me watching my two older brothers swim competitively and thinking how fun that looked. I swam competitively for 10+ years and loved every second of it. I enjoyed how competitive the sport was and how the team felt like family. In between seasons of swimming, I played club volleyball for the top two teams in the Fox Valley for 2 years. After realizing how much I missed swimming, I dropped volleyball and made swimming my primary sport again up until my junior year of high school.
I was initially drawn to CrossFit after seeing a small clip from the 2016 Games. I liked how it was more than just simple movements, it was movements that involved your entire body and movements that I didn’t know were humanly possible (handstand pushups). I watched some more videos and did a little bit of research and found CrossFit Oshkosh!

Your first impressions of CrossFit Oshkosh?
“What am I getting myself into?!” was definitely my first thought I had when I first walked in the gym. I didn’t know anyone that did CrossFit at the time and had no clue what I was getting myself into so I was very hesitant. After watching a small portion of a class, I knew I’d like it after watching the camaraderie between everyone, even after a burpee workout.

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?
My biggest hurdle since starting CrossFit is hands down ALL the gymnastics stuff. I came from a sport that only involved water, so having to learn movements that involved me “swinging” on a bar made me feel like a fish out of water flopping all around…literally.

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?
My favorite aspect of CrossFit is that people will always be there for you no matter what. Whether you’re doing a workout or performing a lift, you’re going to have people cheering you on.

What are your current goals in CrossFit?
My current goals are trying to eat healthier and work more on gymnastics, two things that don’t come easy for me lol.


A Healthy You Includes Healthy Skin… Sun Protection 101

Happy 4th of July week!
I know many of you will spend most of the weekend outside (let’s hope the weather cooperates!) and though this may be a topic not directly related to fitness, it is about a healthy life and that’s what we’re all about, right?! So let’s talk sunscreen and other things to help you make the best choice!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sunscreen options in stores and rumors you hear about them, here are a few things to keep in mind when picking the best products for you and your family to keep you safe from the sun!

–Use a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and a maximum of SPF 50 (many studies show that the amount of “extra” protection you get from a sunscreen over SPF 50 is minimal for the money – as long as you are reapplying you’ll be good!)

–Make sure it’s a broad spectrum (meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays)

–Avoid products containing oxybenzone and retinyl palminate if you’re concerned about potentially toxic chemicals (that’s a whole different topic!!)

–Choose lotions versus spray sunscreens for a more evenly distributed protection (trust me, I’ve experienced this one!!)

– -Remember to apply at least 2 ounces of lotion (about a shot glass full) and reapply often. The sun breaks down the ingredients in sunscreen that protect your skin. Experts recommend reapplying every two hours, or after swimming or heavy sweating!

Healthy skin is a large part of a healthy YOU, so make sure to stock up on sun screen and protect that skin every time you go have fun in the sun!


How Are You Allowing Cortisol To Impact Your Health?

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. It’s important for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress.
Cortisol can be good for us. Normal levels of cortisol are released when you wake up in the morning or exercise. These levels can help regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar levels and even strengthen your heart muscle. In small doses, the hormone can heighten memory, increase your immune system and lower sensitivity to pain.
However, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can hurt you more than it helps. Over time, high levels of cortisol may cause weight gain and high blood pressure, disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce your energy levels, and contribute to diabetes.
Unfortunately, the danger of a fast-paced culture (in which most of us live in), leaves many in a constant high-stress mode, and cortisol levels stay high. When our cortisol levels are too high problems like weight gain, tiredness, impaired brain function, and chronic disease can start to arise.
Fortunately there are many things we can do to help keep our levels in a normal range all. We can start to focus on things like:
  • Getting enough sleep: It’s important to make sure we are getting a minimum of 6 hours of sleep a night, if not 8! If you have a schedule that changes daily, or work a swing shift, don’t be afraid of those naps to help you catch up on sleep!
  • Learn to recognize stressful thoughts: The more we are aware of our body’s reaction to stimuli, the more we can handle how we process that stress. Stress is inevitable, but if we can handle it in a calmer fashion, our bodies will thank us.
  • Learn to relax and have fun: It’s hard to be stressed and feel anxious when we are smiling and laughing! Take some time for yourself everyday to do something you enjoy.
  • Maintain healthy relationships: Fill your life with relationships that bring your happiness and joy. Don’t let other people’s stress become yours!
  • Play with your pet: Again, it’s hard to be stressed when your happy!
  • Exercise and eat healthy foods: Make some time for the gym, and if you can’t make it go on a walk or something to get your body moving. Don’t forget to fuel up with healthy and natural foods, watch your sugar consumption, and take an Omega 3 supplement!
Overall we play the main role in our own health, so take some responsibility for your body and do something good for it!