Member Spotlight: Georgia Levin

 

Member Spotlight: Georgia Levin

This month’s member spotlight is probably one of our favorites (don’t even, she’s your favorite too). Grab a cozy corner, and let’s shine light on CrossFit Renew’s most precious angel Lululemon-wearing soul, Georgia Levin.

Q: How did you get into CrossFit and what is your favorite part about it?

A: I was introduced to Crossfit by my previous trainer , Valerie Hunt.  I had been with her for many years and she was the one who thought we should try something new. My favorite part of it is feeling like I am challenging my body and mind. When I leave the studio I feel stress free!

Q: What is one accomplishment in the gym that you’re most proud of?

A: I was very proud of myself when I got a couple of double-unders in a row for the very first time! And when I did hrusters with a 35lb bar. I am usually just happy that I can keep up with the rest of the group!

Q: What do you do besides slay all day in the gym? What’s your favorite part?

A: I work full time as a Realtor and really enjoy helping clients buy or sell a home. I also enjoy staging a home for sale. Relationships are important to me and I enjoy meeting new friends.

Q: Outside of work and working out, what’s your favorite pastime?

A: I am also on an Art committee and enjoy going on Artist visits to select art for our next exhibit. I also enjoy planning our opening receptions. Also, I love shopping and eating out!

Q: What is something about you that we would be surprised to know?

A: I enjoy being with young friends as it makes me feel younger!

Sweet Georgia, we’ll go shopping with you any day. Thanks for bringing such a kind energy into the gym every time you walk into it! We love having you around.

 

Member Spotlight: Evan and AJ

Despite having joined the gym around the same time, and beyond our staff believing they look kinda sorta alike, Evan and AJ are two separate individuals who are completely unrelated whatsoever, but because our staff is full of idiots who think they’re funny, we’ve decided to let you get to know them as a twosome.

Meet Evan:

Meet AJ

One thing they for sure have in common, though, is that they’re consistently the hardest workers in the room every time they walk through those doors. Take note, people!

Q: How did you hear about Renew and why did you decide to join?

Evan: I first heard about Crossfit Renew during a Financial Overview with a fellow member, Alex Morgan (go see him!). I was looking for a workout family, and a place that was welcoming to the new guy in the room. The Texas Flag on the wall didn’t hurt, either.

AJ: My wife found Renew first. With some changes in her job and becoming pregnant, she decided to follow a different workout program. But she was so complimentary of the staff that Renew was the first box I looked at once my schedule opened up and allowed me to start doing CrossFit again. I’ve done CrossFit off and on for the last 10 years and have always found it to be the most fun, challenging, and beneficial workout.  Above all, it pushes me like other workouts don’t.

Q: What is one of your proudest moments in the gym so far?

Evan: On a few occasions, I have finished a tough RX WOD with just a sliver of time remaining, and it usually involved the earlier finishers cheering me on to the end. While I was proud of finishing, I was most proud of the Renew community around me, pulling me up.

AJ: There haven’t been many, but I feel great when I can RX a WOD.  My body doesn’t do the same things it used to 10 years ago, so I’ve had to become okay with scaling workouts.  So anytime I can perform at the RX level, I’m extremely proud.

Q: What is one of your proudest moments outside of the gym?

Evan: Late last year, I finally became debt-free. There was a new sense of freedom that came with that, and I’m glad to share my journey with anyone that asks!

AJ: I’ve been looking at a lot of post-business school job opportunities. Though some aren’t the right fit or don’t have openings, I’m proud when they say I’m the kind of person they want to hire.  Being a good person and demonstrating that you can work hard still means something, so I’m proud when those traits are recognized in me.

Q: Tell us a funny story from college!

Evan: I was a cheerleader at LSU, and part of that job required frequent encounters with live broadcasts. During a nationally televised basketball game, an ESPN cameraman was filming right behind me during a team back flip, which I realized while upside down. The camera shattered, as did the self-control of the cameraman screaming obscenities on live television.

AJ: My buddies and I once took a spring break trip to Big Bend.  We didn’t know what we were getting into, so we were very surprised/upset to find that there were no swimming pools in the area and that liquor stores were few and far between.  Along with those spring break disappointments, my mom’s Jeep that I borrowed broke down, my best friend got sick and had to find a hospital hours away, and our site got demolished by animals while we were gone.  It was the worst trip ever, yet a funny one to look back at and remember now.

Q: What’s one thing about you that we would be surprised to know?

Evan: I am a terrible swimmer, to the point that swim lessons are in my 2019 plans.

AJ: I’m looking at opening a distillery.  I’ve immersed myself in the business for the last year and have so much yet to learn.  We’ll see if it ever materializes.

So biggest takeaways here: Evan can do a herkie and AJ is giving us free drinks for life as soon as that distillery opens up. Solid.

Member Spotlight: Anna Grimes

She’s an 11:30a regular, loves lifting heavy things, is a wonderful photographer, and is pretty new to the Austin area. Please give a warm welcome to: Anna Grimes! This month’s Member Spotlight. 

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what’s your favorite thing about it? 

A: 1.75 years. I joined a box in Maryland in the summer of 2017, and then sought out a Crossfit home in Austin like seven days after moving here last summer because I needed something that felt familiar and would also help me meet people. When I started Crossfit, my favorite thing about it was overcoming fear. I was scared of everything, I didn’t know how to do any of the lifts or gymnastics movements, and I had to face my fears about those things – getting hurt, looking stupid, failing, and not being able to breathe – every time I showed up. Now that I know how to do some of those things better, my two favorite things about Crossfit are the way it helps me listen to my body, and the community – the people at Renew are great and have been the most welcoming crew I’ve ever met!

(Obviously.)

Q: How did you get into photography and why?

A: In college, I took a film photography class in Italy while I was studying abroad, and I fell in love. I took a few more classes for fun, but I thought I was going to go into a career in music or be a wedding planner, and then instead took a hard left turn and got a job working at Crate&Barrel after college. But I was reading wedding blogs and and learning how to use a digital camera better in my free time, and knew that was something I really wanted to do. So I found jobs working with other photographers, learning from them while I built my own business. And for six years, I got to be part of some incredibly special moments and celebrate love with amazing people. The thing I loved about weddings was the creative energy that went into them, and how for one day, everyone got to bring some kind of dream to life. Now, I want to be able to help more people find ways to bring their creative visions to life, whether that’s by making fun art prints that can live on walls or helping other creative business owners get photos that tell their stories in a fun and fascinating way.

Q: What is one life accomplishment you’re really proud of?

A: I’m proud of saying yes to adventures, even when they seem too big to take on at the outset. Jumping in over my head is something I find myself doing anytime I start feeling safe and comfortable, and that’s lead to a bunch of really cool things I’m proud of, like hiking 80 miles in a week through Scotland and Ireland, completing a 200 hr yoga teacher certification in Mexico in three weeks, doing a photo shoot in a field of flowers, renovating a house, and starting a creative business.

Q: You just got a PUPPY! What’s the best and worst thing about being a new dog mom?

A: Oh man, the puppy happened because I was starting to feel safe and comfortable and we’ve had him for two weeks and even though he’s the cutest little bundle of energy, I’ve reached the place where I’d love to know what past me was thinking!! The hardest thing is self-care, like sleep and showers, when the puppy just wants to be next to me at all hours of the day and barks if he feels left out. The best thing is having this wiggly little joyful being as a companion – I love that he makes me get outside more and is giving me a reason to find new places to love. Last week we took him to Walnut Creek and he had the best time bounding over all the rocks and running through the water. Watching dogs run around and play is just such a happy way to spend an afternoon.

Q: You’re pretty new to Austin…what’s your favorite part about being here so far? What’s been the hardest about moving?

A: The sunshine is hands down my favorite thing. I love being able to lay in a hammock in February and all the vitamin D makes me so happy after trying to escape East Coast winters for years. Also have to say the people here are delightful…I’ve met some of the most genuine, wholehearted people since moving here, and I already know my life is better because they’re in it!

The hardest part of moving was letting go of all the people and places I loved in Maryland – I grew up there and had some deep roots that I didn’t realize I’d have to let go of in order to build a new home somewhere else, and some of the things that got left behind aren’t easily replaceable. There’s a C.S. Lewis quote that has become a mantra for me over the past few months – “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind” – and so far, I think that’s been true!

Anna, praise sweet baby Jesus for your spontaneity and willingness to try new things, because if it weren’t for that, well, you’d be at some other lame box and we’d never know your joy. We’re so glad you’re here!

Member Spotlight: Qasim Burqawi

Qasim Barqawi is a few things:

  1. A Renewb
  2. A walking miracle (ask him about the plate in his head)
  3. Palestinian
  4. The light of our lives

Now that we have your attention, please enjoy this heartfelt, awesome, fun Q&A with one of the nicest, coolest, weirdest dudes you’ll ever meet.  

Q: Why did you decide to start CrossFit? 

A: Because if frightened the shit out of me. The idea of failing in a “classroom” full of people is not this A student’s idea of fun. So, following the words of my therapist, I chose to do more of what scared me and less of what kept me in my comfort zone.However, from a training point of view, I chose CrossFit for the interactive relationship between athlete and coach. I was attracted to the prospect of having someone walk me through every exercise in a healthy manner rather than me doing it the way I see fit since I’ve never stepped foot in a gym before.

Q: Why Renew?

A: Simply, it is a hop, a skip, and a little bit of gas away from my apartment. But why I chose to stay is more important to me; it’s because of the people. It’s easy to blow smoke up every hungry butt at Renew, because they all are such a cooperative community. I was welcomed with open/well-stretched arms into a group of strangers who have had such a phenomenal influence on both my physical, and more importantly, my mental health.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment since being with us? 

A: I quit smoking. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the people at Renew telling me to quit. Ill quote one person in particular who flat out said to me in front of the whole class as we were warming up “Either quit smoking, or quit CrossFit”. I’d like to think I made the right choice. Jury’s still out though.

Q: What is one fun fact about you that we would all be shocked to know? 

I think most people would be very shocked to find out that I in fact love being quiet and can actually go a while without talking. I enjoy a peaceful night with a soft blues record playing, and a nice rich glass of wine.

And even though this is technically two things, you should know I’m a supreme f*cking baker. My dark chocolate cake with white-wine-poached-fruit stuffing is the ultimate desert. In the middle of the kitchen’s ruckus I am my most focused, and though I can’t do a snatch as smooth as the next person, I move in a kitchen like the conductor of the New York orchestra.

*He also has a Nutella cook book containing only recipes using Nutella. Safe to assume Nutella is life for Qasim.

Q: What are 2 CrossFit goals and 2 life goals you’ve made for yourself this year? 

A: CrossFit goals:

  • To RX a WOD
  • To smoothly execute a snatch.

 

Life goals:

  • To stay as healthy as I could be and strive to find newer ways in which I can bring light into my life.
  • To fight more for causes I care deeply about and to be more active in my community and its betterment.

 

There you have it. I’m not sure how you can read this and not want to be his best friend..  Qasim, we are so glad to have you as a member of our crew; you are such a joy to have in class. CONGRATULATIONS in kicking a nasty habit, and we’re all looking forward to the day you can snatch as well as you can bake. Keep at it!

Member Spotlight: Chelsea Montgomery

What is a Chelsea Montgomery, even? It’s straw hats and arm tats, it’s hugs and coffee mugs,  it was once a Camp Gladiator, now turned CrossFitter, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s this month’s member spotlight. Peep our Q&A with Chels and get to know her a little better!

Q: What brought you to Renew?

  1. Becky’s hungry butt
  2. Sadie threatened to end our friendship if I didn’t join
  3. I heard Hroch was starting Saturday Pour Over Seminars after community wods
  4. I wanted to grow as an athlete and coach

Q: What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

Being challenged, while simultaneously being humbled.

Q: Does your family fitness too?

Cooper (youngest brother): Yes

Dad: No

Mom: Chases goats on the family ranch

Jordan (younger brother): Beer can curls

Erica: Secretly, and in our garage, despite everyone’s efforts to get her to join

Q: What is your most cherished tattoo and why?

A: Oh, man. What a good, good question.

My grandmother, Goose, was my best friend, and she kept little “treasures” in bell jars in her home. I lived with her my last year at A&M (Whoop!), and shortly after I graduated and moved to Houston, she passed away due to congestive heart failure.

The anatomical heart in the bell jar on my forearm represents her heart; how much of an impact it had on me, and how much of an impact I can have on my family, friends, and the people I coach if I lead the way in taking care of my physical heart in ways she didn’t know how. And that, my friends, is how I got into coaching. #fullcircle

Also tattoo pro-tip/fun fact: if you’re going to get a tattoo, don’t just assume the artist knows everything about what you ask them to create. Before getting what happens to be my first real tattoo because my white girl tattoo doesn’t count, never once did I think to ask the Aboriginal Canadian princess who made this piece if she had actually drawn an ACCURATE anatomical heart. Rookie mistake but I asked all of my nurse friends and WE GOOD, Y’ALL.

Why is your Insta full of farm animals? Please explain.

I grew up on a small ranch west of Austin surrounded by everything but horses. Why no horses? Because horses = expensive. No one lives on the ranch currently, but we still raise livestock, so once a week(ish) I drive out there to feed, put out hay, fix fences, birth goats, castrate calves, drive tractors, chew tobacco, wear wranglers, shoot guns, skin deer… you get the idea. And then I take pictures of all of the (live) animals while I’m there. The goats are really cute, but the cattle are my favorite because they have been a life-long project, and they taste great.

So, basically, we can thank Becky’s hungry butt and Sadie’s threats for giving us Chelsea. Three hugs for Chelsea Montgomery!

Member Spotlight: The Browns

This month’s member spotlight is a double doozy, as we’re featuring the incomparable Frank and Dom Brown! But don’t be presumptuous — there’s more to this duo than wearing your shades indoors and out lifting your ass by 200lbs. Peep the Q&A below to learn a little more about these two (more about Frank than Dom, though, because Dom ain’t got time for verbosity).

Q: What sports have you done in the past and how have they translated to CrossFit?

Dom: I ran track at the University of Florida (I was a sprinter) and competed a little post collegiately in the heptathlon. Weight lifting for sprinters consists of a lot of explosive movements, Olympic lifting, and functional fitness, so it’s a good background for a lot of what we do in CrossFit. There are a lot of differences too, though. I’m unfamiliar with a lot of the gymnastic movements and I’m not used to lifting in between cardio sets.  

Frank: I‘ve played a bunch of different sports going back to childhood, when I started out with swimming, basketball, and soccer (coincidentally Dom and I were both nationally ranked youth swimmers… but my moment of dominance only lasted until all the other 11 year olds caught up to my early growth spurt).   But in 8th grade, I started playing football, and continued through high school and into college where I walked on at West Point. Football as a sport has really translated the most to my interest in CrossFit. Well, not so much football but the off-season training regimen for football. Between high school and college, I’ve been hanging out in weight rooms off and on for the last 20 years of my life.  Younger people may not realize this but when I was in high school, Olympic lifting was not as prevalent as it is today. There were no rubber plates, so we were always cleaning with metal plates as the real focus was on powerlifting. That changed when I got to college and we had rubber plates, and it was during this time (circa early 2000s) that I really got a lot better at power cleans and jerks. All the strength coaches in college knew that Olympic lifts were key to strength and speed.  This was slightly before the CrossFit movement went mainstream. So I guess my point is, by the time I went to my first CrossFit box in 2011, I already had a lot of the lifting technique and requisite strength — and what I wasn’t practiced in I was not afraid of learning. I was also excited to get back into Olympic lifting and into this idea of more well-rounded lifting — and also the idea of a metcon as a good workout.

Q: What is something you’re proud of that you’ve done in the gym?

Dom: OH! I finally figured out kipping toes to bar thanks to some great tips from McKenzie!

Frank: I’ve always enjoyed power lifting, even though I’ve never done competitions.  Anyway, my max was in 2002 when I squatted 545 with knee wraps. I was a sophomore in college lifting heavy (and yeah, sorry, CrossFitters still don’t know what heavy lifting is) three times per week under a strength coach throughout the off season.  I’ve never really lifted that consistently since then, but just this past May, I finally beat my Squat PR after just doing CrossFit stuff. And I’m tempted now to train it more seriously and get up really high (700+).

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment outside of the gym?

Dom: Passing the Texas bar exam last year!

Frank: I don’t know, this is a tough one.  But, if I had to choose one, I am happy to have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s hard to know if the wars were justified or if I even made a difference in the long run (lots of money and lots of seemingly futile rebuilding projects).  But I believe that the local Iraqis and Afghans I met there and worked with on infrastructure and governance improvement projects saw me as a genuine person who wanted the best out of the situation.  My hope is that I represented the US well in that regard, and that over the years, the people I met remember that genuine desire to help them rather than any shortcomings in the execution. Obviously, there’s still a lot of scar tissue here, and that’s largely why I’m drawn to an idea of a lifetime of service to society.

Q: How did you meet? TELL US THE STORYYYYYY.

Dom: Well… the short version: we met as cadets at West Point and we lost touch for about 2 years when I transferred to the University of Florida to run track. Then we randomly ran into each other at a train station in New York! I gave him my number, and he then lost my number (lame) but then we found each other a year later on Facebook. At the time I was getting ready for Nationals and Frank was a 2LT at Ft. Benning. He started visiting me at UF, and the rest is history!

Frank: See above.

Q: Tell us something embarrassing about yourself because you’re both cool and we need to know that you’re real humans.

Dom: I fell off a treadmill once and ever since then I refuse to run on them. Thankfully, there are no treadmills in CrossFit.

Frank: After my NCAA eligibility expired (my clock started ticking when I entered Virginia Tech 2 years prior to transferring to West Point), I got into Cheerleading at West Point.  It was actually a lot of fun. It was also good way to continue to be close to football, take free trips to away games, and work out in the varsity weight room. And since this was at West Point, it meant getting out of drill (picture walking around in circles in the grass while in formation and carrying a rifle) and intramural sports.

Needless to say, The Browns are truly one of a kind, and it’s an honor having them as part of our gym family. Dom, thanks for making a difference in the legal system as a badass lawyer. Frank, thank you for your servitude and, perhaps most importantly, revealing that you were a cheerleader. Love y’all!

Member Spotlight: Jamie Kampman

If you haven’t yet met Jamie Kampman, well, that’s your own damn fault. Jamie is fun, friendly, and freaky fast at every WOD. She also is unabashedly curious about you all of the time no matter what you’re doing or where you are, so instead of us telling her all of our most shallow and deepest darkest (because she will ask), we’re gonna learn a bit about her.

Q: What got you hooked on CrossFit?

A: I’m a little competitive…

Q: What is the biggest way you’ve seen your fitness help others?

A: I love inviting people into what I’m doing. If it’s nutrition stuff or working out. I would much rather do it with people. I loveeee seeing people get excited about fitness and seeing their lives change!

Q:  If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

A: Really good Mexican; chips, queso, salsa and guacamole and a spicy margarita.

Q: What led you to adopt Bubba and how is he so cute and perfect?*

A: As I was looking over these questions earlier and thinking about this question it makes me cry so much. I can’t imagine our lives without Bubba. He is our son and God knew he always would be. A long time ago in college my mentor had adopted, and so that’s where my heart started towards adoption. The more I read about God and His heart is when I knew I wanted to adopt (and when I met my hubs he did too). When I would read my bible, I saw that we were all far from God in our brokenness. And When Jesus died and rose again, He offered for us to turn from our brokenness, believe, and be adopted into his family — believe and BE ADOPTED! We can all have that! What?! That’s amazing news! This made adopting Bubba even more sweet! He is AMAZING and I would adopt 20 more times but the hubs said he is donesy!

*She has an adopted son and he is so cute and perfect

Q: What is one fun fact about yourself that we would all be surprised to know?

A: I shave my legs and armpits everyday! Also, when I get nervous or someone scares me, my armpits tingle.

Tingly armpits? Add weird to the aforementioned list. We love you (and Bubba, and hubs, and your other 1,000 children), Jamie!

Member Spotlight: Brad Otts

Brad Otts in a nutshell: 7 on the Enneagram, tattoos, self-deprecation, sass.

And for Brad Otts in his purest form, proceed (with caution) below:

Q: What did you think about CrossFit before you started doing it, and why did you decide to get into it?

A: I was originally introduced to “Crossfit” via my Father-in-law (also known as the greatest human in existence) Michael Vasko about 7 or so years ago. I didn’t know much about it, but knew that I personally was very athletic, formidably successful at all athletic endeavors I participated in, and confident in my ability to eventually master all aspects of it. After starting, I learned that there were some movements that would take longer for me to master, mostly mobility issues involving my wrists, hips, arms legs, back, neck, chest, feet, head, and general body area, but as previously stated, I was confident my raw natural abilities, so I proceeded.

Q: What is the worst nickname you’ve ever had and explain the meaning behind it.

A: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a nickname per se, rather it’s my initials. My first name is Bradley, that first initial being the letter “B”. My middle name is Joseph, that first initial being “J”.  My last name is Otts, that first initial being the letter “O”. As such, no matter which way my given name was presented in abbreviated initialized form… I was a moving target.

“BJ” —- you can do the math.

“BO” — yea… strike 2.

Needless to say, that is how I grew a thick skin and mastered yet another aspect of life. Self deprecation.

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

A: Honestly though, aren’t we all animals in some way? Somewhere deep inside all of us is this deep natural instinct similar to that of a primitive beast. Be it predator or prey, we all find ourselves connecting with that deep naturalistic emotion. Also, I might be part dolphin. Intelligent, high communicative, wickedly fast in salt water and the key character in an award winning documentary on illegal fishing in Southeast Asia.

Q: What is the most ridiculous thing you did as a college student?

A: The details of my life are quite inconsequential… but very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was an 18-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons, and in the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds… pretty standard really. At the age of twelve I received my first scribe and by the time I was attending university I had a lifetime of living already done. By the age 22, I had climbed to the top of the MSC building at Texas A&M University only sit quietly reading 13th Century Jordanian literature.  So really… given my level of life experience, the most ridiculous thing I did in college was start this so-called “formal” education.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment in life and why? 

A: Despite what you might think by this point, I am actually not a complete and utter lunatic… I do have some normalcy to me. I can easily say that the proudest accomplishment of my life is perhaps not necessarily an accomplishment in one single moment, rather a continual accomplishment. This would be that somehow through the the divine mystery of our Creator and the daily patience of my Jersey Girl, that I have been able to convince my wife to stay married to me, despite meeting her online, only knowing her for 4 months, and being a general horse’s ass for the first 75% of our marriage.

I have also had the honor of being a father to 3 wonderful children, 2 of these beautiful young seedlings I helped make (which will be explained in my 1 week Crossfit Renew sponsored speaking series entitled “When a mommy loves a daddy: A Life Explained” – by Brad Otts). The opportunity to be a husband and a father has been the single most humbling experience in my life and that’s saying a lot as we all remember that STUPID WOD where we walked around the entire parking lot doing barbell walking lunges. That said, I am a man of many blessings, more than I deserve, but I would say that being given the opportunity to breathe another day and love my family has been my greatest accomplishment.

He will help you move, he will give you life advice, he will tell you jokes, he will send you podcasts, and he is a killer cook and Green Acres aficionado.  Next time you see him, ask him to guess what number Enneagram you are and get to know each other on a philosophical level.

You rock, Brad!

Member Spotlight: Heather Zeh

Member Spotlight: Heather Zeh

Haaaaaave you met Heather?

Heather is one of the newer faces at Renew, but comes with some CrossFit experience under her belt. If you haven’t met her yet, you’ll probably see her at one of the AM or PM classes because she apparently has the world’s most flexible schedule and is still trying to decide if she wants to A) lose sleep or B) die of a heat stroke.

Here’s Heather’s Q&A — enjoy!

Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit and what made you keep coming back?

A: I was first introduced to CrossFit in the Fall of 2012 when I was in grad school in Colorado. A classmate wanted to try it but was afraid to go alone so we went and fell in love with it. From that point on, any time I found myself in a new area either for a clinical rotation or moving to a new city, it was always a goal of mine to get plugged in to a church and a CrossFit gym. Hands down the community aspect of CrossFit is what made me want to keep coming back and pursuing it.

Q: What is your fondest memory in any gym you’ve been a part of?

A: Between grad school, traveling, and moving to different areas, I’ve been to a lot of gyms. They all have different vibes and things to offer, but my favorite gym thus far (present gym excluded) 😉 was CrossFit the Point in Utah. I went there for a couple months while I was there for a clinical rotation. I don’t have 1 specific fond memory, but I LOVED the coaches, LOVED the members. It was a judgment-free zone and while it was competitive, in was in a safe, healthy, fun way. I seriously almost accepted a job offer because I loved that CrossFit so much. I looked forward to going every time.

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment in life?

A: The easy answer is probably getting my Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology.

But on a deeper level, I would have to say the season of life I’m in right now. I haven’t done CrossFit in 2 years (so basically I’m starting over). I’m coming back from injuries and bad experiences at other gyms. I’m finding it takes a lot of strength to embrace where you’re at and stop playing the comparison game of where you used to be and the things you used to be able to do. Life isn’t linear. There are ups and downs. You make progress and there are setbacks. Letting go of the past is a big accomplishment in my opinion, and I’m learning how to do that through coming back to CrossFit. I love the name CrossFit Renew because that’s what’s actually happening in my life right now – I’m being renewed. My success isn’t defined by how lean I get again, or if I ever am able to do what I “used to do” anymore. I just want to enjoy the community, contribute positively to the environment, and get a good workout in – even if that means I have to scale. You have to meet yourself where you’re at. There’s a lot of freedom in that and opportunities for growth as an athlete and a human. I see this as an accomplishment that’s happening in my life right now and it’s exciting.

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

A: Childhood camping trip. Graham crackers with ketchup and mustard. Don’t ask me why… I don’t know.

Do not recommend.

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

A: When we were pretty young, I remember my older sister and I would dare each other to squeeze through the rails on the 2nd story of our home to walk on the wrong side before squeezing our way back in, unnoticed by our parents… for obvious reasons we weren’t allowed to do that. One day I ended up slipping and falling from the 2nd story on my back (I ended up being okay). Maybe that’s what led me to thinking eating graham crackers with ketchup and mustard was a good idea. 😉 Also I’m afraid of heights now.

Yikes. Well, we are so glad to have you, Heather! Here’s to spending the next unmentionable amount of time devoted to knocking CrossFit the Point out of the #1 spot.

Member Spotlight: the Devalls

 

This month’s member spotlight is shinin’ bright on the two and only Michelle and Alan DeVall! These two work so hard, day-in and day-out, and aren’t afraid of any challenge that comes their way — whether that’s triathlons, taking up a new hobby (ice skating, anyone?), running long distances in Texas at any point of the year, or otherwise.. They are also cat people and band teachers (at different schools), so that’s neat and adorable.

Let’s get to know Michelle and Alan!

 

What is the #1 thing that got you hooked on CrossFit?

Michelle: We were members of a regular gym that closed for remodeling. A group of teachers I ate lunch with kept talking about the CrossFit they went to nearby. I decided to check it out while our gym was closed. I really liked that I could attend classes at any time of the day and still get the same workout. I kept going back because I liked the challenge.

Alan: I got hooked on Crossfit through Michelle. In the fall of 2013 we were living in Fort Myers, FL. Michelle tried it out and told me I would like it. She was right and I was hooked. We moved to Austin 6 months later and decided we definitely didn’t want to give it up.

 

What made you both want to be band teachers?

Michelle: I was on the student leadership team when I was in high school marching band. I enjoyed helping other students learn how to march and play better. Teaching music seemed like a natural fit.

Alan: I was always involved in Music growing up (playing piano, guitar and trombone). My high school Band director was the main inspiration for me deciding to become a music teacher.

 

What is the most ridiculous thing a student has done in your time as teachers?

Michelle: I’ve been fortunate to not have too many bad things happen. The worst I can think of is that two students go into some kind of discourse, and one threw a drum stick at another.

Alan: The craziest thing that ever happened to me as a teacher was in 2013. I had two students break into the band hall after I had left. They then proceeded to climb into the drop ceiling to try to hide something, but instead they fell through causing the ceiling tiles and lighting to collapse. They had to pay a couple thousand dollars worth of damages.

 

Were you teachers pets in school or rebels?

Michelle: Not really either. I mostly kept to myself and just did the work.

Alan: I’m not sure I tried to be a teacher’s pet when I was in school, but I’m sure other people thought I was. I just tried to do my best. As a trombone player we always sit in the back row, so I have seen all the ways people can goof off (even as adults). Now I use it as leverage when my students goof off.

 

There you have it.

They CrossFit, they music, and they mold the minds of baby children to raise up the next Mozart! They are a pair of joys and if you don’t know ‘em, introduce yourself the next time you’re in the gym…

because they will most likely be there.