Athlete of the Month

Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: June 2016 : Craig Grant

June 1, 2016
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FullSizeRenderCraig is the quintessential model student. He is very consistent, is always working hard to get better, and is very coachable. He always comes to class with a great attitude, never complains, and trusts the process. It’s been awesome seeing him make slow and steady gains in the short time he’s been with us. Looking forward to seeing what the next few months will have in store for him.

Please join me in recognizing and honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s June 2016 Athlete of the Month: Craig Grant

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: May 2016 : Kalei Kuratko

May 1, 2016
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Kalei - May 2016As a coach, one of my favorite things is watching an athlete really begin to hit their stride in an area where things just weren’t clicking. Lately especially, I can’t help but smile when I see Kalei move a barbell.

Kalei joined our Stronghold family with a pretty solid athletic background. But when I asked her to lift a barbell from the floor and replace her body under the bar with her arms locked out and sitting in the bottom of a squat in one fell swoop…she struggled at first with the concept of it all and with confidence in having the bar over her head. Both are common challenges for people new to these exercises. I remember the scene of one class session quite vividly in my head. “Don’t pull the bar up with your arms. Pull your body down and around the bar,” I would tell her. “You’re working harder than you need to. You can do it.” She nodded and went back to work.

Kalei continued to struggle with the concept for a while but she never complained. She just kept practicing, smiling the whole time, never getting overly frustrated. She just kept plugging away with a good attitude.

I can’t remember exactly when it really started to click, but as I mentioned earlier, I recently started to notice how proficiently and confidently she’s been managing herself around the bar. She’s getting more comfortable with the snatch and her elbows are fast in the clean.

Along the way, we’ve discovered she has a few strength imbalances side to side. While some athletes struggle with ego wanting to keep pushing through, she happily takes my recommendations to back off a little and focus on improving on her weaknesses.

If only all athletes could be this easy to work with. She really is a joy and its been super fun watching her progress so quickly. Really grateful to have her and her husband Dan as part of the family.

Please join me in recognizing and honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s May 2016 Athlete of the Month: Kaleianuenue Kuratko

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: April 2016 : Taylor Sedensky

April 1, 2016
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Taylor Sedensky

That one time when Taylor broke her nose. 🙂

Choosing who to recognize this month was a total no brainer. As of late, Taylor has been our resident poster child for adaptability and perseverance.

A while ago, she mentioned pain in her shin. Thinking it was a soft tissue problem, we went at it as we normally would. The pain nagged for a while though and she finally got it checked out. Turns it she had a slight fracture on her fibula! Doc told her no CrossFit for at least 6 weeks.

Total bummer, but we took it as an opportunity to focus on weaknesses. For Taylor, it’s historically been upper body strength and stability. We were super limited on things she could do as we needed to limit load on her leg. This led to the adoption of a rather tedious and monotonous workout routine focusing on core stability as well as upper body pressing and pulling of the bro sesh variety.

Taylor doesn’t complain though, not outwardly at least. She comes in faithfully and works on her stuff on her own. Persistence despite the monotony has yielded slow and steady results that will take her far when she’s given the green light to jump (literally) back into the regular routine.

It’s been really awesome seeing Taylor’s dedication and consistency during this time. She’s getting stronger and as always, it’s just fun to have her around.

Please join me in recognizing and honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s April 2016 Athlete of the Month: Taylor Sedensky

 

 

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: March 2016 : Colin Olsen

March 1, 2016
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colinI talk a lot about coach-ability. That is huge in my book. Two other qualities I very much value are self awareness and work ethic. Lots of people use their limitations as excuses. Others recognize their challenges and have the humility to face them head on and put in the extra work required to overcome them.

Colin is one of those guys who exemplifies the latter. From the start, Colin struggled with some mobility challenges. Shortly after beginning his training with us, he injured his ankle playing soccer. That set him back even more. Regardless, Colin has come back and has been working harder than ever.

One of the great things about Colin is he has no ego to deal with. Some guys get offended and lack patience when you take weight away from them because their mobility inhibits them from moving a weight with good position. I have had Colin in tough positions with an empty barbell fighting for mere millimeters to improve his mechanics, without any complaint. I love that he’s not looking for the shortcut approach. Longevity is everything.

Colin is also one of the few people who stays behind after class to work on extra things to accelerate his progress. It’s that work ethic that is going to take him far.

Please join me in recognizing and honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s March 2016 Athlete of the Month: Colin Olsen.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: February 2016 : Mark Stevens

February 1, 2016
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Mark StevensMark StevensMark StevensMark Stevens, is without a doubt, a prime example of how consistency, determination, tenacity, and a great attitude lead to results.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, Mark took that old cliche and proved it dead wrong. By the way, I don’t feel bad calling Mark “old”, he reminds us of that fact all the time and with a smile on his face. If I’m half as active and strong as he is when I’m his age, I’ll be stoked.

When Mark first started, he struggled quite a bit at relearning what we consider to be fundamental movement patterns. Years of bad habits had left much of his musculature dormant and unused. We had to force his body to rewire itself and re-establish those long lost neuromuscular pathways. There were days when we did little else than practice sitting down to a box and standing back up with sound mechanics. Then we started adding in complex, multi-joint movements with a barbell, and all manner of chaos ensued.

All joking aside, I wish I had taken more video of when Mark started to compare to how he moves today. He’s a totally different person. He still forgets the names of exercises sometimes, but once you get him going, he digs deep and works hard. It’s truly been awesome and an honor to see Mark progress. His dedication and humility are an example for us all.

Also, noteworthy, Mark has signed up to compete in the 2016 CrossFit Games Open Competition as a Masters Competitor. Really looking forward to seeing him surprise himself as to how strong and capable he can be!

Please join me in recognizing and honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s February 2016 Athlete of the Month: Mark Stevens.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: January 2016 : Maggie Miller

January 1, 2016
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MaggieThis bit of recognition is long overdue. Since Day One, Maggie has shown great promise and determination. Not only that, she’s just super fun to have around. She doesn’t get to train as often as she would like, but despite that, she consistently makes steady gains in skill and strength. It’s been a very cool thing to watch. I often dish out playful digs on her being a “sandbagger” but only because it’s clear to me (and many others) that there is a big difference between her perceived capabilities and her actual potential. I’m looking forward to seeing what this new year will have in store for her. Please join me in honoring 2016’s first Athlete of the Month: Maggie Miller.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: December 2015 : Nick Wyllie

December 1, 2015
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in WOD
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Nick WyllieDear Mr. Regno,

My name is Nicholas Wyllie and I am currently a senior studying Kinesiology at Michigan Sate University. I plan on moving to California in the fall and I am looking for a Crossfit internship to start in late August or September 2015. The internship will help me finish my Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, minor in Health promotion. I expect to complete my degree by December 2015.

I have been a life long athlete. I was an All-American swimmer in high school and continued my career as an NCAA Division one scholar athlete at East Carolina University from 2011-2012. I discovered CrossFit through my personal training internship at State of Fitness in 2014 after years of conventional body building type training. CrossFit informed me of entirely new aspects of fitness that I immediately applied to my self and my friends. The results were unparalleled. I received my CrossFit Level-1 certification in December of 2014. And I am very excited to explore a career as a CrossFit coach.

I discovered your box through my research and I believe I will make a great fit to your community. Your vast knowledge and unique background from doing CrossFit for so long is something I believe I can truly learn from.

I look forward to talking to you about this opportunity. Attached you will find my résumé.

11 months ago, I got this random email that I’m sure I almost deleted without reading. I do that with hundreds of emails a day. But for whatever reason, I stopped and read this particular message. According to the time stamps, I let it simmer for a while before responding. I didn’t know what to do with it, honestly. I get emails like this pretty often and they never amount to anything. I was open to the possibility, but wasn’t expecting too much. As the year progressed, though, I continued to get follow up emails. And then a few months ago here he was.

When Nick arrived, I still wasn’t exactly sure what to do with him. Most of the time I have potential interns come in for a day or two so I can size them up and then decide if they are worth the investment to taking them on. But Nick came sight unseen all the way from Michigan. Initially I saw it as a calculated risk bringing in someone I had never met, but for Nick the risk was much bigger. Thankfully, he was all in from the get go; the kid was committed.

It’s been 3 months now since Nick has been with us, and I can say hands down, he is one of the hardest working individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Both as a coach and as an athlete, Nick is humble, extremely coachable, and is constantly hustling to improve and to continue learning and growing. Nick has decided to stay here in San Diego indefinitely and I’m excited to have him as part of the team.

Please join me in honoring the Athlete of the Month for December 2015: Nick Wyllie.

-Ray

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: November 2015 : Keri Covey

November 1, 2015
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in WOD
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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: November 2015 : Keri Covey

Once again, the race for Athlete of the Month was a close one. But the photo of the broomstick pull up bar above was what really tipped the scale in Keri’s favor. Last week, she wasn’t able to come to the gym to do the workout named “Cindy” with the group. “Cindy”, in case you don’t know is a 20 minute workout that consists of as many rounds and reps as possible of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, and 15 squats. The broomstick contraption below was something she whipped up in order to do a modified pull up so she could do the workout at home. Super cool…

Keri is a busy lady. She is a mom, a wife, an interior designer, a beer and wine lover, an avid sports fan (boxing and football)… She is a lot of awesome things… but the word that jumps out at me immediately that I would say best describes Keri is dedicated.

Keri first came to me with a specific goal in mind: to shake off the baby weight. Ever since joining our Stronghold family she has been diligent to get after it. When she isn’t able to make it to the gym, she always asks me how she can make up or modify the workout so she can do it at home. We recently started a Strong Moms class in the park during the day. Keri and her son Clayton have been attending those classes, too. It’s been a ton of fun. In addition to training hard in the gym, Keri has also seen some noticeable changes as a result of making changes to her nutrition. That is one thing that people often overlook. The truth is that you can’t out-train a bad diet. She has proven that making good nutritional choices is crucial to maximizing the results from your hard work in the gym.

Keri is nearing her one year anniversary with us. I can’t believe it’s been that long already. It’s been an awesome ride so far and we look forward to seeing bigger and better things from her in the future. Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s November 2015 Athlete of the Month: Keri Covey

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: October 2015 : Yelena and Kevin Chaulk

October 1, 2015
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Yelena and Kevin ChualkWhen Coach Kaitlyn and I were discussing the nominees for this month’s Athlete of the Month, both Yelena and Kevin were at the top of the list. But rather than try and choose between them, I decided why not honor them together? This amazing power couple joined our family 6 months ago and it’s been an absolute pleasure having them.

Yelena and Kevin came to us with a good amount of CrossFit experience already under their belts. They were looking for a community closer to home but I don’t know that they were expecting to also find one of the most picky coaches on the planet. 🙂 Despite their long experience with CrossFit, they both came in with a few fundamental faults in their movements that had never been cued or corrected. For a while Yelena felt like she was starting over from scratch.

While many experienced athletes might get frustrated and leave, both Yelena and Kevin responded instead by digging in, working harder, and all the while getting better and better. As soon as they walk in the door they go straight to work on their drills and mobility prep. They approach each workout responsibly, understand that longevity is the goal, and they consistently give their best. Post workout, they are diligent about prioritizing and optimizing their recovery and continue working on improving their quality of movement.

Not only are Yelena and Kevin model students, they’re just all around cool people. I’m very thankful that they call our community home. Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s October Athletes of the Month: Yelena and Kevin Chaulk.

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Stronghold Pride – Athlete of the Month: September 2015 : Aaron Myers

August 31, 2015
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Aaron MyersThe race for this month’s Athlete of the Month was a close one. But I’m a sucker for humility… and Aaron is a prime example of that rare and totally underrated virtue.

The first time we met Aaron was back in February during the 2015 Open. He came in to do one of the workouts with Troy, Coach Kyle’s brother. At the time, Aaron was training at another local gym, a very reputable one at that. The trouble at even reputable gyms is that sometimes the coach to athlete ratio during class can get a little out of control and athletes don’t always get the attention they need. It’s hard enough for one coach to keep eyes on 8-10 athletes. When you get upwards of 20-30 athletes it gets REALLY rough. At Aaron’s gym, latter environment situation was very common. Two things were very apparent to me when I watched Aaron warm up that day:

  1. He had a lot of heart and was willing to work hard
  2. Many of his movement patterns were inefficient and some were just plain unsafe; not a good combination.

As I do with everyone that comes into our gym, I did my best to help clean up some of his movement, but there’s only so much you can do in 15 minutes to undo 7 months of habits. Once you sound off “3-2-1 Go!” the habitual movement patterns take over. I really felt bad because I saw a great deal of potential, but unfortunately, I recognized that Aaron wasn’t getting the coaching he needed to reach that potential. He still had several months left on his membership contract at the other gym. Otherwise I would have swooped in and grabbed him on the spot.

Fast forward 5 months. Aaron’s contract was finally up and he made the move to join our community. He knew coming in that he had some work to do. But I’m not entirely sure he was expecting me to be as blunt and relentless as I am about making people move well. I am not shy at all when it comes to stepping people backwards in progressions to help them iron out mechanical flaws. For a guy like Aaron with a year of CrossFit experience under his belt, it would not come as a surprise if he ended up getting frustrated or even bitter with being told he had to start all the way from scratch.

On one occasion, Aaron was the only person to show up to a 5:30pm class. We ended up doing a full hour of drills with nothing but a PVC pipe. There were a few times that day when he got a little frustrated, but he pushed through anyway. On more than one occasion, I’ve taken weight away from Aaron when he wanted to do a workout with heavier loads. I could tell he was disappointed, but  he graciously humored me. I was more concerned with ensuring he moved well throughout the entire workout. I think at the end of the day, he realized I just had his best interest in mind.

Through it all, Aaron has not only been a great sport putting up with my obnoxious, seemingly unattainable standards, but he’s also made huge strides in improving his movement. He has proven himself to be very coachable and it has been paying off. I don’t think he realizes how far he’s come in such a short amount of time. Aaron always has a great attitude coming into the gym and we are looking forward to seeing him continue to get even better and better.

Please join me in honoring CrossFit Stronghold’s September 2015 Athlete of the Month: Aaron Myers.

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