Member Spotlight: Kim Hernandez

It’s safe to say that Kimberly Hernandez has never met a stranger in her entire life. If you haven’t met her, don’t worry, she’ll meet you, and then she’ll ask you how you got to Renew, what you do for a living, how many dogs you have, why you don’t have any dogs yet, what your relationship with your dad is like, what you ate for lunch last week, what your biggest regrets in life are, and who your celebrity crush is.

If you’re looking for a boost in your day, make sure to sign up for a class that Kim is attending. She’ll boost you right up.

Wanna know more about Lil Kim? Keep reading.

Q: What has been your proudest moment in CrossFit Renew to date?

A: Murph. Hands down.  I had a pretty bad back injury three years ago, and it took about three years of rehab before I could go up and down stairs without hurting.  While I’m proud of every workout, Murph was a testament of how much stronger I have become since joining Renew.

Q: What is the most rebellious thing you did as a child?

A: I just had strict Asian parents that wouldn’t let me into the backyard by myself. I was seriously sheltered. They were like, well she’s either gonna be super weird or use drugs. I think that’s why they let me be weird.

Q: If you had one meal left on this earth, what would it be?

A: OH MAN. Am I on death row for this?  I’d take a magic shroom burger from Hopdoddy, a red velvet shake, and the biggest portion of fried okra known to man.

Q: What is one fun fact about yourself that we don’t already know?

A: I don’t think this is fun, but I HATE liquid sunscreen.  I mean, I know you guys know I’m an ICU nurse, and I do all sorts of things at work involving certain liquids… but liquid sunscreen is the only thing that makes me gag and that I refuse to ever touch it.

Q: True or False: you have a tattoo on your body forever of your dog’s tooth. If true, please elaborate.

A: Beyond true.  I didn’t have a dog growing up, so I never understood true unconditional love and companionship until he was having diarrhea in my bed (which I cleaned up no problem but if it was liquid sunscreen….) and trying to cuddle with me the next second.

We love you, Kim! We’d gather up all of the liquid sunscreen and launch it into space for you.

Member Spotlight: The Guertins

Hello and welcome to the May Member Spotlight, ft. The Guertins.

Cali natives and relatively new to Austin and swampy Texas heat, the Guertins have two fur children that they love maybe more than each other, and they both will talk to just about anyone. Check out this Q&A to learn a little more about them!

Q:  Why did you decide to start CrossFit?

A: We moved to Austin from San Diego and had always wanted to try Crossfit, and decided this would be a great time to not only get started, get in shape, but also meet new people! Cause we knew no one, so we were really hurting for some friends.

Q: Why Renew?

A: We took a look at a few other boxes in the area, and this one seemed the most inviting, plus it was close to our place. So I filled out the form online for foundations! Then Justin wouldn’t leave us alone, so here we are!

Q: What is your favorite memory at Renew?

Tatiana: 12 Days of Christmas WOD. I remember looking at that thing and thinking I was going to die, and I did, but I finished it, and everyone was super encouraging! I was just excited to have finished it and been such of a large group.

Simon: The Open. The way everyone came prepared to work followed by their cheers and chants while drinking! It made me feel part of a team, and you never want to disappoint your team.

Q:  If you could have as many dogs as you wanted, and taking care of them wasn’t an issue, how many would you get?

A: We would have a whole freakin’ farm of dogs! Probably 8 max, because they’d of course be primarily inside dogs, and for some reason 8 seems like a manageable amount. But they would be huge! Huge labs and a few newfies! We want all the slobber and all the cuddles!

Q: As relatively new Austinites, what’s your favorite thing about living here?

Tatiana: All the trees, the lakes and rivers, and all the fun outdoor activities!

Simon:The great beer selection and nature — just like Tatiana said. But I think we both agree that our least favorite thing about living here is the humidity. Tatiana is just sweaty in Texas.

We love you Guertins!

Member Spotlight: Charles Menzes

The man above that looks like Moses (probably). That’s Charles.

Every time Charles Menzes takes a leave of absence from the gym — be it an injury or a trip to India or a brief stint with Zumba — the emptiness is palpable. They are long, sad times void of joy, alcohol, and BYO barbell clips.

And if you’re like, “who the hell is Charles?” then, well, that makes sense. Because he’s gone a lot. But when he’s here!! It’s great and Charles is great and we’re so happy that he chooses us as his CrossFit home the 1 time a month he waltzes into the 6:30pm.

Q:. When did you start doing CrossFit and why

A: I think that I started Renew in January or February of 2015. Or maybe it was 2014. I lived just two blocks away from the old box, so I really had no excuses left for not doing Crossfit. I had to phone Allman and Whitney like 5 times before they returned my call. I really started wondering if they wanted new members.

Q:  What is your favorite memory at Renew?

A:  There are too many good memories to pick just one.*

*This is a lame answer

Q:  Where did you learn to make mixed drinks so well?

A:  I don’t think that I make drinks that well. I just make them often.

Q:  What is the strangest thing you’ve done for the sake of fitness?

A:  I’m pretty sure that Crossfit is the strangest thing I’ve done for the sake of fitness.

Q:  What is one fun fact about yourself that would surprise all of us?

A:  I make pottery, so if you need some bowls I can hook you up.

We’ll be here waitin’ on that mem. We love you, Charles! Thanks for forcing Allman and Whitney to take your money all those years ago.

Member Spotlight: Anelisa Martin

The alternate title was: Member of the Month: Mighty Mouse. Because she is small, but she is oh so very mighty.

****Pic of Ben included as part of the fam and unofficial member that needs to become official because we all love him****

Q: Why did you decide to get into CrossFit?

A: Honestly I was so naive and I had no idea what I was getting into. I was looking for a gym to help me lose the freshman 15 (which carried over into grad school and turned into more like 30), and there was a CrossFit gym across the street from where I was living at the time. I’ve been addicted ever since!

Q: What is your favorite memory involving CrossFit?

A: Rich Froning delivered a sled to my house for a Rogue commercial. It’s not every day that the fittest man on earth shows up at your doorstep.

[SIDE NOTE: THAT IS NOT CASUAL NEWS AND IS VERY COOL, HERE IS THE VIDEO.]

Q: Have you ever done The Open, and if so, what is your favorite thing about it?

A: Yes, I’ve done the Open almost every year since 2012. My favorite thing about the Open is the community and cheering on everyone! The energy is always so high and everyone puts in so much effort. It’s like Christmas and Dave Castro is Santa.

Q: What is your goal for The Open this year?

A: To not die!

Q: What is your go-to junk food snack?

A: ICE CREAM. All day, err’day.

Q: What is one thing about you that we would all be surprised to find out?

A: See #2. Haha but also, I used to own a CrossFit affiliate in Nashville and we had a team that went to Regionals. I was not on the team (obviously).

[ALSO NOT CASUAL NEWS.]

Anelisa, we are so glad you ditched Karhu (or changed jobs and had to move… whatever…) to be a part of our crew. We love you!

Member Spotlight: Mike Rondini

You will likely find Mike Rondini Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday mornings, crackin’ jokes and slingin’ smiles among the mob of benches in the warmup area. The 8am ladies are his crew, so you mess with Mike, you mess with all of them. And Dayna is scary AF.

For many reasons, Mike is our member of the month. Check out his spotlight and remember, don’t mess with Dayna.

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit
A: I’ve been doing Crossfit for about two years.

Q: What is your favorite thing about it and why?
A: I like the challenge of mixing strength and endurance. My background is all long distance endurance, so this is a real test for me.

Q: What is your favorite memory with the 8am crew, with us or at BVM?
A: You guys crack me up and are very supportive. It’s the perfect combo. I once got locked in the bathroom at BVM… but that’s for another day.

Q: What is one fun fact about you that would surprise us?
A: Most people don’t know I’m from Las Vegas. I leave my pinky ring and shark skin suit at home most days.

Q: What is your coolest hidden talent?
A: Hidden talent, hmmm. As you know, I’m very modest, so this isn’t an easy one. As a kid, I was a both a pretty competitive bowler and BMX racer — although not usually at the same time. Otherwise, I’m stubborn to a fault and don’t quit. I did my first Ironman about 18 months after learning to swim.

Raise your hand if you’d like to see him bowl and bike at the same time! Mike, we are glad to have you, and thanks for making Tuesday and Thursday mornings so dang fun!

Member Spotlight: Ari Olsh

When she’s not doing techy things for Ama-Whole-Foods-zon or playing with her doggo, you can likely find Ari Olsh bangin’ out back extensions on the GHD or sleeping in her bed because she signed up for the 6:30am and then cancelled last-minute.

That’s right: this month’s member spotlight is shinin’ on our resident Russian and probably coolest member, Ari Olsh!

  1. You tried a few gyms before Renew, so what made you stick around here?

I really like how tight knit and friendly Renew feels. Folks really engage and make an effort to get to know each other.

  1. What is your favorite thing about CrossFit in general?

Like many others, I love the sense of community that comes with CrossFit. The feeling that regardless of someone’s individual fitness level or ability, we all share the same goal of becoming better. And also I love the fact that I have to register for class and someone then expects me to be there because, let’s be honest, if I wasn’t held accountable in some way, I would never show up!

  1. Where are you from originally and where is your favorite place you’ve lived?

I’m originally from Odessa, a coastal city in Ukraine, but ethnically I’m Russian. My first language is Russian. (Yes, it’s true. I’m spying on all of you for Mother Russia). My favorite place I’ve lived is Atlanta. Atlanta is super diverse and very green. Similarly to Austin, it has a rich culture with lots of stuff to do, eat, and see every weekend. It was also my first Southern experience after being a lifelong Yankee, and like all firsts it holds a special place in my heart.

  1. If you had all the monies, what would you do?

Go to Iceland.  

  1. What are your fitness goals for next year?

Improve all of my gymnastic and bodyweight movements. Push-ups, pull-ups, handstand push ups, ring rows, all that stuff. I’d also like to learn to walk to my hands.

And there you have it. So next time you see Ari stroll in a few minutes after class time, first, congratulate her for showing up. And then ask her about Putin. She’ll love it.

We love you, Ari. So glad you chose (and continue to choose) Renew as your gym home! Long live Mother Russia! (Just kidding. Texas forever.)

Member Spotlight: Becca Harris

This month, we have the pleasure of highlighting one of our OG members, Becca Harris. You might know her by her bright workout garb, her abundance of supportive gear, and her “diabetes”. She also has two adopted sons (cute fam pic above) and is the BEST parent to them. Or you may not know her at all, which is totally fine and this blog is about to be super insightful for you.

Let’s jump in!

  1. How long have you been doing CrossFit at Renew?

Since January 2015.

  1. Why did you decide to join?

Because I wanted to be awesome at burpees. As you can tell, it has totally worked. OR, because I wanted to be stronger than my 2 man cubs so I needed to pump some serious iron. The CrossFit box I was a part of previously moved and it was too hard to make it consistently. I had a lot of friends that worked out at Renew and the ol’ shed was literally behind my office so rather than creepily watching everyone workout, I decided to join.

  1. Over all the years you’ve been a member, what is your favorite memory at Renew?

Oh man, how do I pick just one? There was the time I ripped my shorts doing wall-balls and Allman* made me stand in the back of the class. Then there was the time I PR’d my front squat and I peed a little. This also happened when I PR’d my deadlift. Pee and PR’s. Yup I just shared that with you all. You’re welcome.  The 2016 Open was one of my favorites.  It was my first CrossFit Open to compete in and I did it all Rx. It was the first time I did chest to bar pull-ups (!!) and I tried super hard to fake a bar muscle up because my judge was drinking a beer, but alas, we are gym that believes in honesty and dignity and stuff.

  1. What is that thing you wear in your little black pouch when you work out?

My steroids. Its how I juice before a WOD. Just kidding. It is an insulin pump. I have Type 1 Diabetes and that thing is what keeps me alive. I don’t think it is the reason I lay on the floor after EVERY WOD, but I will always use that as my fall back excuse.

These 4 questions hardly scratch the surface of who Becca is. If you’ve never met her, she usually works out at the 11:30am or 5:30pm (and occasionally the 6:30am when pressured), so get yourself there. Or ask her to hang out. She’ll say yes.

We love you, Becca!

*Chris Allman is the founder of Renew and previous owner and all around legend. Know him. Love him.

 

Member Spotlight: Alex Fleming

We remember it well.

Fresh out of Foundations, Alex Fleming faced his first WOD head-on; braving the blazing sun with a partner for a 200m, 400m, 600m sprint sesh. Because he’s a natural-born champion, he and his partner wrapped the workout ahead of time. After confirming that he was, in fact, still alive, he noticed the last team struggling with the sprints. So what does he do? He jumps in for more; using the last of his energy reserves to run alongside his classmates and help encourage them across the finish line.

And that was the last time he ever went to a 5:30pm class.

Here are some more cool things about Alex Fleming, Patron Saint of Sprints:

Q: What made you want to start CrossFit?

A: I needed something that would push me to workout on a consistent basis. Before joining Renew, I would workout maybe once a week (big fat “maybe”) and it was probably a lame workout at best.

Q: What has been your favorite workout and your least favorite workout so far?

A: Favorite… haha, you must be crazy! Maybe any that haven’t included burpees (looking at you, Brett). And of the ones I’ve done, Filthy Fifty is by far my least favorite.

Q: What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

A: Oh man, I’ve eaten some weird stuff… probably cow brains.*

Q: If we got our hands on your old iPod, what’s the most embarrassing song/artist we’d find?

A: What’s worse, Destiny’s Child or Uncle Kracker? #noshame

Q: If you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?

A: Let’s go with the elusive Honey Badger. I’ve heard he’s a badass so i’ll roll with that.

So, in summary:

Sir Alex Fleming, the cow brain-eating Honey Badger who will serenade you with “Survivor” from the sidelines of Filthy Fifty.

Keep up the good work, Alex. We love having you around Renew!

*Gross, Alex.

Member Spotlight: Michelle Kwan

MichelleKwan (1)

**Refraining from Michelle Kwan figure skater references and jokes because our Michelle Kwan probably gets 24/7/365 and is already rolling her eyes**

She’s quiet.

She’s quick.

She’s deeply loyal to her 8am ex-BVMer class (and often leads the pack!).

She’s… Michelle Kwan!

Q: When did you start CrossFit?

A: I’ve been CrossFitting (can that be a verb?) on and off for three-ish years.  I hope to keep the “on” streak going for awhile.

Q: What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?

A: Some days, CrossFit inspires me to dig deep, test my mental and physical fortitude and push myself to new levels.  Other mornings, my favorite thing is just jaw-jacking with the 8am’ers during the post-WOD pigeon stretch.  Either way though, I’m always glad that I showed up.

Q: What are your favorite ways to pass the time?

A: Hanging out with my daughter is at the top of my list for how I like to spend my free time.  (She’s twelve; I’m not sure she’d give the same answer.)  My second choice is hanging out with our puppy.  (She’s one; I’m more confident that she feels likewise.)  I also like to read, travel and occasionally binge-watch Netflix.

Q: What is one thing about you that would surprise us if we knew?

A: I’m a pretty private person; I’m actually kind of shy.  People who know me would be surprised I agreed to answer these questions.

Q: Please describe the craziest thing you’ve ever done.

A: I dove the Blue Hole in Belize as a newbie scuba diver (and lifelong scaredy-cat).  I descended 130 feet into the deep, dark abyss of a giant sinkhole, just to impress a boy.  I’m wiser now.  I might still do something crazy like that, but not for the same reason.    

There you have it, people. A little glimpse into Michelle Kwan. You’re probably wondering if she ended up marrying that boy for whom she dove into the abyss…

The answer is I have no idea but love is crazy amirite?

Michelle, we are so glad you are a part of our community. See you at 8am!

Member Spotlight: Michael Vasko

Every month, we’re going to be spotlighting one of you guys. Maybe you’ve been a member since the Renew dawn, or maybe you just finished foundations — no one is immune to our public displays of affection. To kick off our new segment, we thought we would start with one of our beloved veteran members…

Vasko

Michael Vasko

AKA the old(er) guy who claps during his workouts. Let’s jump in!

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit?

A: I have been doing CrossFit for 6 years! Easy question!

Q: How many marathons have you run?

A: Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon, Austin full Marathon with my daughter Noelle, and Austin 1/2 Marathon with my son and my son-in-law. Oh yeah, a 10 mile beach race in Wildwood NJ with Noelle.  They said running on the hard sand by the ocean would be easy. They lied!

Q: What do you love about CrossFit and why do you clap so much?

A: Crossfit is like church, yes I said that, and it is why I love it soooo much. When I started Crossfit I was broken and there was no shame attached to the fact I could not do what everyone else could. The coaches led me, mentored me, were patient, kind and motivated me to be a better version of me. They took 2 years of patient mentoring, after 2 years of training I could finally do 1 overhead squat with a PVC pipe. They applauded and my classmates cheered.

I have always been humbled by the care shown to me and I love to return that care to others. I clap because I am so grateful that I can be at the gym, that I can participate, that I can make those that are new to Crossfit Renew feel welcomed. I also want them to know that, just as I was cared for, that we will care for them as well. I will tell them about Burpees later. I enjoy and admire what the young people can lift, can move, can leap and be pregnant at the same time. It is great watching people mature into wonderful athletes. I clap because I know I will never catch up to everyone’s athleticism and their strength, but I also know that they will catch up to me! Yeah!

Q: What is one thing about you that would surprise us if we knew it?

A:  He gave us a huge list (of course) so we narrowed it town to our favorites!

  1. I am an ex-con in Mexico. I was arrested in Mexico city at age 14 and put in jail (and lived).
  2. At age 13, I was stabbed in the back, and the Catholic Church gave me Last Rites (but I lived).
  3. I once passed out in 120′ of water while wreck diving off the Long Island (but I lived).

Next time you see Vasko around the box, give him a high five and a few extra claps during his workout. His positive attitude and impressive endurance should be motivation for all of us.

Clap on, Vasko! We can’t wait for more stories from you.