Carol Penney

6a010534fc7768970b013488ff999d970c-350wi    I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  As a little girl, I was chubby or as my mom would say “solid”.  My step-grandfather referred to me as “Carol the Barrel” and he suggested I should purchase my clothes at “Lane Bryant”, which I eventually did.  In high school I started swimming laps in our 34’ long pool and started counting calories.  (Since this was 40 years ago, and most of you were not even born yet, it was not common for adults to “work out” and the only exercise most kids got was in P.E.)  My little routine got results and soon became an unhealthy obsession of over exercising and starving myself.  The day I married Pat at age 25, I weighed 118lbs and  I remember thinking that I felt fat and disappointed in myself.

Five years later, when I became pregnant with Alice, the starving stopped, but I continued to work out off and on for most of the years raising the kids and occasionally dieting.  I hated working out, so boring!!  I think I created excuses not to work out.  It wasn’t enough to have three kids going three different directions with all their various activities, so I became a professional volunteer.  I was always a President or Chairman, rarely the more sensible “worker bee”.  It made for a great excuse to not eat right or have time to work out.   My body paid the price as shown in my before photo taken in July 2007.

With the kids all off to college and living their own lives, and no more senior citizens to care for, I really had no more excuses. I got into a routine of working out regularly and watching what I ate and dropped about 25lbs. in a year. I HATED every tedious, boring second of it and wasn’t even sure I was doing myself that much good.

As I was working out, I watched all these crazy people doing crazy stuff at the gym. I wanted a change so I took a leap of faith and introduced myself to Justin… and Justin introduced me to CrossFit. I have never looked back. I personal trained with Justin for a year. I am pretty sure he thought I was good for a week at best. After a year of private training, I joined the group at CFES.

Three years and 80lbs lighter, I have never ever been this strong, this fit, this fast or this satisfied with any workout. I have never in my life worked outside of my comfort zone and now I do it every day and love it! I can’t help wonder what a different person I would have been or life I would have had, not just physically but mentally and emotionally, if I had had CrossFit in my life 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. I look forward to CrossFit every day and never even think of excuses not to go. This last year was a true test for finding an excuse with two weddings in five months, living in a trailer for four months while we did a major remodel, a college graduation, a law school graduation, a really bad case of the flu, and a couple of injuries, all would have been excuses for me. I still used food for comfort to a degree, but in the past six months I have even overcome that with the desire to really see all that muscle hiding in there. I found it!!

At nearly 58 years old, I am looking forward to increasing my 14” box jump, leaving the red band behind and doing some unassisted pull-ups, improving my 9:46 mile time, and saying goodbye to knee push-ups. Who does that? Crazy CrossFit people, that’s who!!

Thank you to Justin for taking me on, always knowing the right amount to push or scale and for the words of encouragement like the time you told me “you are an ATHLETE! (Really the little chubby girl who never played a sport in her life?) Travis, Chris and Brooke, I appreciate so much all of the excellent coaching, patience and encouragement and thank you to the entire CFES community for the compliments, acknowledgements and encouragement. Love you all.

-Carol Penney

Donna Shioya

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 12.48.39 PMOn April 4, 2011, I dragged my 40-year old self into CrossFit East Sac and, that day, my life was changed. I know how cliche that sounds, but it’s absolutely true. The previous two years had been the most trying years of my life. I had given birth to identical twin girls very prematurely at 25 weeks (Mina was 1lb 8oz and Emi was 1lb 6 oz), but we lost Mina after just 2 days, and Emi was in the NICU for five and a half months before coming home at just 6 lbs. I was in absolute survival mode with all of my focus on doing what little I could to mother Emi while she was in the hospital hooked up to a myriad of machines and for the first 1.5 years she was home just with us without the 24-hour care of medical professionals keeping her alive. The stress of that lifestyle compounded with the grief of losing Mina resulted in me ballooning to 150 lbs, and a size 10, at 5-foot tall.

I spiraled into depression, affirmatively angry at my body for failing me as a woman and as a mother, for failing Mina and Emi for not being able to carry to term . . or just a week or two longer. At one point, I was acutely aware that I had so disassociated with my body that I actually considered it another entity, separate from myself . .an “it” that I hated through and through. It didn’t matter that I knew better. That I knew that there was nothing that I did to make it happen and nothing I could’ve done to change the outcome. It just happened.

Having been a very goal-oriented person my whole life, I had never been in a situation before where there was absolutely nothing I could do to effect the outcome. I remember standing a couple of feet away from Mina’s incubator, summoning all of my will and energy to try and freeze time because, in that moment, I still had two daughters and I was still Mina’s mommy, as well as Emi’s. Of course, time passed, indifferent to my plight, and Mina was gone a few minutes later.

The effect that Mina’s loss and Emi’s subsequent prolonged NICU stay had on me was profound. I felt like a victim of my life and all of my desire, confidence and belief that I was the mistress of my universe just faded away. I wasn’t living my life, I was floating through it.

After my first On-Ramp class back in April 2011, I remember feeling that I had finally found the one thing that would help me to uncover and find that kick-ass bitch that once was . . not kick-ass compared to anyone else, just kick-ass compared to myself/who I was at the time. CrossFit gave me small and attainable goals I could work towards: keep coming to class 3 times a week and doing what they tell you to do for just one hour . . . do just one more rep, go just 1 minute longer, put just 2 more pounds on that bar. After having been in a situation where there was nothing I could do to effect the outcome of anything, I welcomed the opportunity to just “pick shit up and then put it down,” knowing that if I did it consistently and long enough that there would be measurable improvement in my strength or, simply, that I would just be able to pick up heavier shit and then put it down. That was enough of an incentive to keep me coming back.

Although I had done gymnastics from 9 to 14 years old, that didn’t help much during my first day of class when I was hanging from the pull-up bar, wondering to myself in dismay, “Is it actually possible for me to dislocate my shoulders by just hanging here?” Apparently, twelve years of sitting on the couch, watching all of my great TV shows had done absolutely nothing for my athletic prowess. My first WOD was a 200M Run, then 15/12/9 Goblet Squats (18#), Knee Push-ups, Jumping Pull-ups and a 200M Run. I thought I was going to die, but I had never felt more alive!

That first day, the little competitor in me jumped up and said, “Yay! I’m back! Let’s go find out what we can work towards!” So, I walked up to Justin, introducing myself, asking, “So, what are all of the different levels of classes and how long before I can move onto the next one, and when do you think I could enter my first competition?” I’m pretty sure he was amused at the delusional ramblings of this 40-year old out of shape woman or maybe just used to it because he answered my questions with a straight face, and so began my love affair with the sport of CrossFit.

I did my first competition at Moxie Madness in November 2011 and I think we came in last (or second to last), but it was so awesome to be out there. I entered as many competitions as I could and was either dead last or very near to dead last in most of them. In one of the competitions, it took me 5 minutes to get 7 chest to bar pull-ups in a 7-minute WOD. . .in front of the entire venue of spectators. At one point, I looked at my judge and wondered if anyone would notice if I just didn’t get back up there and slid back into the audience. Well, I didn’t leave and I’ve continued to use competitions as a way for me to just keep on challenging myself. I’m no longer dead last, but I’m not a top level competitor either. I’m in the middle somewhere, and as long as my body allows me to, I’ll continue to challenge it through competitions and classes.

I’ve dropped down to 130 lbs and am a size 2 now. I’m able to climb a rope, snatch 108 lbs, jerk 148 lbs, back squat 183 lbs and run a mile in under 8 minutes. I feel like a kid again . . . all full of potential and hope and desire!

Whatever the outcome, I know that it’s a result of some action I’ve taken (or not) or decision I’ve made (or not). Nothing is left to chance in your progress in CrossFit. That’s what’s so awesome about it: it’s empowering and through this empowerment, I’ve reawakened the inner mistress of my universe and, in some way, have been able to heal and forgive myself/my body for not being able to carry my babies longer and not being able to do anything to keep Mina with us.

Thanks to CrossFit, I’m the healthiest I’ve been in my life, but most importantly, I’m the happiest and most fulfilled I’ve been in a very long time. My undying love and gratitude to the coaches, the members, and our community which have all played such transformative roles in the life of this once hopeless, distraught, and lost soul.

Laura Goulding

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Sherona Ramos

photo(4)Sherona told me last week, that she had joined here after feeling down on herself about her ability at last year’s Tough Mudder.  We have all seen her come so far in her time here, so I asked if she would write me up something about her experience after she finished the event this year and possibly get me some before and afters.  Luckily she had taken before pictures when she started, which is something I recommend you all do if you are new or even if you have been here a while.  Nothing motivates like results.

9 months ago I started on a journey to better my health and athleticism! Saturday’s Tough Mudder was the “test” for me for how far I’ve come and how much I’ve improved. September 2012, I completed Tough Mudder at Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe. I was not able to run the course very much at all, I needed help with almost every obstacle and pretty much fell in the water on every obstacle that required upper body strength. It also took my body a good 4 days before I remotely started to feel like normal again.

photoThis year I was able to run between every obstacle, I completed every obstacle and made it halfway across the monkey bars before I missed on a bar. Last year, I didn’t even attempt this obstacle because I knew I was going to fall, and gave up before I started. I even climbed a 12′ wall on my own, last year I needed tons of help! I’m completely proud of myself for the athletic accomplishments I’ve made over these last 9 months and the best part is I’m ready to go workout tomorrow. Here are some pictures of me from the start in October 2012 and now July 2013.

Couldn’t have made these improvement without the great instruction from the coaches at CrossFit East Sac and the changes I made in my diet. Can’t wait to see what the next 9 months will bring in my fitness journey.

Cortney Martellucci

So what is the secret to getting fit… could it be the penalty burpees for being late? I could make a good argument for that!

When I started CrossFit in March 2009, I was stuck in a rut, working a ton, and missing out on the feel good that come from living life out-loud. This is my story…

As a kid, I was of the generation that road their bikes outside all day and played in the neighborhood, running house to house, having never made it home until 5 minutes later than my mom had set the curfew. (hey, maybe that’s why I do so many burpees every morning!) I started swimming when I was 6 and I played school sports as soon as I was old enough. I loved to work hard and play even harder! In time, I decided to dedicate my efforts to swimming. I loved swimming and found that the hard work, competition, and friendships that were a part of that world were my passion. I became a confident, strong, and determined young woman. Swimming has opened doors that serve me to this day. In college, my willingness to work hard and my love of the sport earned me success in the water and in the classroom and the experiences and memories have I hold tight!

And here is where my story begins… After I graduated college, I continued to train in hopes of making the 2000 Olympic Trials. This journey proved harder than I thought and with tears and a heavy heart I decide to hang up my suit. What I didn’t realize is how being a swimmer was woven so tightly into my identity and when I no longer swam, I had nothing feeding the passion for competition and fitness. I ran for a while, but wasn’t the same feeling as when I was swimming 20 hours a week so I stopped. A swimmers appetite and a sedentary lifestyle didn’t mix well. I gained 50 pounds in less than a year. (No, that is not a typo!)

Over the next 6 years I attended two post grad programs, moved to and from the mid- west, and started my first 9 to 5 job. In that time I lost most of the weight through diet, then found it again plus a little extra. When I joined the coaching staff at Arden Hills Swimming, it didn’t take me long to remember how much I loved the water. I found my way back into the pool and onto a bike to lose most of it yet again. But with a crazy busy life and whatever else you can think of as an excuse it all crept back on.

When I decided to start CrossFitting, I was as heavy as I had ever been and my self esteem was in the toilet. My first fundamentals session was a tear-fest (sorry Travis) and I felt like I was starting at rock bottom! I hated burpees. I used a green band for pull ups. I couldn’t run without back pain. I felt like I the mountain was insurmountable. BUT! I found something I was good at… I could lift heavy! There were two specific days that were my buy in. The first workout when I realized what my strength in CrossFit was (no pun intended) was a max push jerk day (my favorite lift). I was paired with Laura B. at the 4:00 class and she helped me grab my first big lift. (Thanks Laura!) The other workout was a max deadlift where I was paired with Brooke and I saw that I could hang with this badass girl who was super strong and near the top of our box. (You rock Brooke!) The confidence I gained by finding something I was good at was huge!

Over the next 9 months, I still struggled with anything cardio but that improved. I still found it hard to lift my body weight, but that got better too. I was getting stronger. I was feeling better. I found myself enjoying all of those things that I missed about swimming, the camaraderie, the coaching, the competitive spirit in the gym, the hard work, the achievement… all things that I never realized how much a part of me they were. And as hard as it was to find a way out of the valley I had started in, I was climbing out and loving it. I still had my occasional pity party (sorry everyone!) but CrossFit helped bring me back to life.

In the time that I had been CrossFitting, I was getting strong, but had not lost any weight nor had the size in my jeans gone down. In December, I decided that it was time to add in a nutrition component. I started eating better, tried the zone a bit, then found that if I focused on eating healthy and natural foods, while limiting the processed foods, it was pretty easy to eat well and the weight started coming off. I had set a goal of losing 30 pounds by the time regionals came around. It was a lofty goal but I succeeded. The support and encouragement I received from my teammates in our CFES box, as well as the others outside of CrossFit, was pivotal. Every complement, every ‘Come on Cort!”, every pat on the back still feels amazing. My deadlift is not as big as it was in 2009, but in July 2010 I can complete multiple sets of 10 pull-ups in the middle of a WOD without coming off the bar. And burpees… (don’t tell but they aren’t really that big of a deal any more!)… they still suck.

Ultimately, the changes on the outside are a reflection of the changes on the inside. Thank you to my CFES friends, and to the ones outside of the box, who have shown me nothing but love an encouragement in this journey to where I stand! I cannot wait to see where the road takes me, and I know there are so many great things to come. I can’t wait to live the ride.

-Cort Martellucci

The Nabetas

6a010534fc7768970b0133f5df51aa970b-350wi A couple months ago Kaleo turned 6 years old and we decided to watch the video taken at the hospital shortly after his birth.  A few minutes into the video Kaleo innocently asked “who is that big lady?”  Brian tried not to laugh when he told Kaleo “that’s mommy.”  I was 185 lbs and apparently big enough for my own son not to recognize me.

Brian was smart to TRY to keep his laughter to himself as he had gained more than a few pounds during my pregnancy and was up to 235lbs and a size 36.  It was about that time when he got an urgent call from the doctor upon blood test results that his cholesterol levels were crazy high and had to go on medication right away to get it under control.

Over the next few years I lost some weight after being pregnant but was probably still about 145lbs and wore a size 12.  We both got some exercise in through tennis & swimming and eventually made it into the weight room for some typical 3 rounds of 10 reps type workouts.

Then we started CrossFit. We were exposed to elements of CrossFit a few months before CFES opened and then really got into it when Justin, Travis and Chris opened CFES last year. “Running Grace” was one of our first WOD’s together at CFES and over the next few months we often worked out with Loren before the 8am class was available. We sometimes reminisce about how we struggled to lift what we do today as warm up reps. After another few months we started going to the 8am class and were able to meet and work out with many of the other CFES members.

What a difference CrossFit has made for us over the past year! Thanks to CFES and the Zone, I am now 130lbs and Brian is 185lbs. But as we have been taught (and still trying to get through our thick heads) it’s not all about the weight. I am now a size 4 and Brian a size 32. I have a six pack and occasionally have trouble with shirts being too tight around my arms. Brian is off his cholesterol medication and had to sell his XXL shirts and size 36 jeans at garage sales. We are 36 and 40 years old and in the best shape of our adult lives.

But CrossFit has helped us in more ways than just our physical health and appearance. It is amazing what it has done for our “mental” health. Brian was a competitive swimmer and I was a competitive tennis player growing up. CrossFit has enabled us to bring that competitive nature back out and allow us to compete on a daily basis. We both thrive on trying to PR every day. I certainly have my days when I get down on myself for not meeting my goals and expectations but it’s great to feel passionate about something and crave success every day.

CrossFit has also impacted our marriage. Many CFES members ask how I put up with B yelling at me during WOD’s. I LOVE IT! There is nothing that brings us closer than sharing our joy from PRing and sadness from not meeting our expectations together. We even laugh about how we have similar strengths (any ass hole body weight WODs) and weaknesses (lifting heavy shit) and have a theory that it’s because we’ve been sleeping together for 14 years.

Even our kids love CrossFit. They randomly start doing burpees or squats in the middle of the parking lot or in an aisle at Target. Just from being at the box on Saturdays and hearing us talk about it ALL THE TIME, Kailee and Kaleo not only are starting to learn how to do squats and pull-ups, but more importantly are learning the importance of exercise, hard work and intensity.

CrossFit has also affected our social life. While B has always been a “social butterfly”, I am not as comfortable with groups of people and never felt like I was a part of the “in crowd.” Being around the CFES family has changed that. I feel better about myself and comfortable around CFES members. We enjoy suffering with CFES members during WODs and outside of the box for dinner, drinks and celebrations. We consider many of the CFES members our closest friends and continue to meet and make more relationships with new members.

So we have come a long way thanks to CrossFit. But hopefully we still have a long way to go in our CrossFit journey. If we continue to apply the main principles of CrossFit that Justin, Travis, Brooke and Chris have been teaching us I think we have a few more years worth of PRs until age gets the most of us and we go into maintenance mode.

Thank you Justin, Travis, Chris and Brooke for being such awesome coaches and for CFES members for your friendship throughout this incredible journey!

-Cherie Nabeta

Cori Mering

6a010534fc7768970b01348015ca0f970c-250wiI have been a CFES member for over a year now. I have always been an active person, but when I joined I never imagined I could learn to do some of the things that I can now do – pull ups, clapping push ups and a variety of Olympic weight lifting exercises. It’s kind of addictive.  Maybe that is just my crazy personality but it seems many have caught the bug!  My husband is also a member and it has been fun to watch him improve and accomplish new things. The coaching is outstanding. Justin, Travis, Chris and Brooke encourage people to excel while fostering a safe and fun environment. The personal training with Justin has also really helped me understand and better learn the technique, which has helped me build confidence on some of the more tricky lifts.  At 42 (43 now) am fitter than I have ever been.

Update- Cori is now 50 years old and went the the CrossFit Games 2x as in the 45-49 masters division.  We are trying to get her mind right to make another run at it.

-Cori Mering

Ryan Lippman

(before and after 8 months)
My parents always instilled the importance of eating right. I was never allowed to leave the table until I ate everything on my plate. Steak, no problem. Salmon, great. Salad, hell no! Little did I know that these habits would come back in a huge way later in life.

Through my college years, I strayed away from high intensity sports and focused more on what was important at the time – girls, parties and all of the “other things” that come along with them. I grew into a big, fat, boozy mess of a college kid. From time to time I would do strength training – you know, bench presses, curls, military presses, the standard 24hour fitness routine – yes, “mirror staring” is considered a workout there. All I saw was a more swollen tubby dude staring back at me. To give you some perspective – throughout high school I weighed no more than 160#. When I graduated college I had ballooned up to 210#. I was a mess. Upon graduating college, I immediately focused on my career. Gym? Who has time for that – I need to make that money! Over time, the stress of a messy personal life as well as the demands of a job that was out of town had me falling back into old habits. I was constantly tired, ate like crap, slept a ton and couldn’t figure out why I was always tired and why I looked like crap. The answer was staring me in the face the whole time – I needed to get back to who I really was.

Fast forward to 2009. I had recently moved back to Sacramento from the North Bay and wanted to focus on myself for once. I was hell bent on peeling back all of the layers that had built up and made me resent myself. A coworker of mine had mentioned this gym called CrossFit Diablo where he worked out. The energy that he showed when talking about it was contagious. He talked about how awesome it was, how chicks routinely kick his ass, how he feels spent but full of energy later that same day. I was hooked – I had to check it out.

When I got home that Friday night, I looked up CrossFit and the “boxes” (yeah, i was laughing) that are here in town. East Sac’s website had the gritty look of a no bullshit gym that I was looking for. Watching the videos of Travis and Justin were inspiring and amazing – how can this little dude bust out box jumps like a freakin’ kangaroo? I had to do this. I called on Saturday afternoon, and Justin had me in on Monday to do the introductory class. Rowing – no problem. Stretching, ok, I can do this. Leg swings, sure. Then we did an extremely easy WOD – air squats + lunges + pull-ups. I felt like i was going to puke all over his feet. I had explained my quasi-athletic background to Justin and I’ll never forget his last comment to me:

As I’m sitting on the floor, slumped against the whiteboards…

Justin: “so, now that you’ve done that how ‘in shape’ do you think you are?” Me: “huh? hold on a sec. I feel really weird” Justin: “dude, you are in terrible shape. sit down, rest, don’t leave here for a while – you can’t drive right now”

After that single hour of hell – I’ve been hooked since.

I fell into a groove of going to the evening classes and have met some amazing people and athletes. John Michelmore inspires me every time we workout together – the dude is a machine! Pat Harty was one of the first people to walk up to me and introduce himself and everytime I see him workout, I get motivated. Justin, Travis and Chris have done an amazing job of creating the space, but the people are what makes this box tick – and it’s awesome.

Now, I’m almost in the best shape of my life. I’ve dropped over 25# since November and have more energy than I did in high school. My mental focus is intense, my body is capable of doing more than I knew it could (except pull ups – WTF?) and friends and family can’t stop making comments about how great and happy I look. I’ve recently started the Zone diet and am hoping for a summer of being fit, happy and feeling on fire. This place truly is the Fountain of Youth.

-Ryan Lippman


Ruth McGloughlin

IMG_1577 Just over a year ago, Chris Lene strongly encouraged me to give CrossFit a try. He had been talking about it during my workouts and even included a “WOD” every now and then during training. I must admit it all seemed rather odd to me and my workout partner Joan. Quite frankly we felt a little more than strong encouragement from Chris to give it a try. We felt like we were getting kicked out of our comfortable gym nest! I made my way over to CrossFit feeling sheepish, scared, nervous and uncomfortable. I remember telling some friends that it was a little too “meat heady” for me and that I didn’t like all of the weight lifting. Justin and Travis were more than encouraging and patient as I attempted to translate the strange language of CrossFit into something that made sense to me.

As I look back over the past year, I realize that not only did I finally begin to understand Olympic weightlifting, I began to understand just how strong and capable I am as woman and an athlete. I have never used the word “athlete” before and maybe that is still a stretch, but I do feel powerful and capable and accomplished when I think of where I came from and where I am today. I was always a cardio junkie at the gym and thought cardio was the only way to get and stay in shape. I would throw in a couple of arm curls every now and then for good measure and call it a day. Now when I drive by other gyms and see people on the elliptical or stationary bike I wonder how I ever put up with the tedium for so long

I check the CFES website first thing in the morning whether I am working out or not. I look forward to seeing what kinds of creative torture Justin and Travis have come up with each day. I do still feel a little scared, depending upon the workout, but I know that it will be over soon and I will feel accomplished and proud that I completed it. Some days I am stronger and faster than others and that is OK. CrossFit is my THING! It is the one thing I do on a consistent basis just for me. Someone was asking me the other day what I do just for myself and when I told them it was my workouts at CFES, clearly, they just didn’t understand. That too is OK!

So thank you Chris, for kicking me out of my comfy nest! Thank you Justin and Travis for your outstanding guidance, teaching and coaching of CrossFit. Thank you for your patience and for pushing me harder than I ever thought possible. Thank you for getting me to age 50 feeling like Super Woman!

-Ruth McLoughlin

Masson Prowse

6a010534fc7768970b012876af6c71970c-250wiLets imagine a 6 ft 3 inch 17 year old that weighs roughly 155 pounds. He is made up of soft tissue and fat (very little that he had). His arms are twigs and he can barely run up and down a basketball court a couple times with out being winded. Well, that was me about a year ago.

I was one of those kids that would just sit around and not really do anything. I loved basketball back then but just never got in the shape for it because I was more interested in hanging out with the wrong people and smoking all day (as much as I hate to admit it). Then I quickly shaped up my attitude and began the process of transforming my body into a basketball players body. My grandpa who I had just moved in with had suggested I try a gym called CrossFit. I thought it would be a waste of my time and after a couple of weeks of putting it off I finally attended a class. I fell in love right off the bat!

I stuck with it and worked my butt off and within 5 months I was in some of the greatest shape of my life! I went from having no hops ever into having slam dunk contest hops. I gained “abs of steal” and I came ripped throughout my body (even though I am not very big) I had gained 15 pounds of muscle over the 5 months.

I began to attend Rio Americano high and tried out for their basketball team. I was so worried on what the coach would think of me. After my first practice he pulled me aside and said I made the team just off pure physical ability alone. I was ecstatic!! I had just made the team because of CrossFit. I continued to train and work on my game and I am now on the starting team going into the season. I currently weigh around 175 to 180. straight muscle you best believe 😉

I owe everything I have to CrossFit East Sac and the trainers there; Justin, Travis, Brooke and Lene as well as my grandparents. I am looking to go play in college and hopefully get scholarships. I am participating in a Cal Poly SLO (mission prep classic) dunk contest, where I will be going against some of the best high risers in California. Once again I owe this all to you guys at CFES! Thank you!

-Masson Prowse

Linda Gates

6a010534fc7768970b0120a7e50eee970b-250wiAt age 50, I found myself out of energy, over weight, and waking up most every day with back pain and headaches.  My doctor placed me on medications for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  I have been a active person all my life in a recreational sense, but had little understanding of fitness.  I came to a place in my life where I knew it was time to make some changes, so I made the commitment to myself to start doing CrossFit to never give up, no matter what.

I really didn’t think I could do the things my son Justin said were possible, but as we say at our house, “I drank the juice.”  After 7 months of blood sweat and tears I have turned the corner thanks to trainers at CFES and their never ending commitment to excellence.  All my blood work from the doctor is good.  My blood pressure and cholesterol are back to normal and I am medication free.

I Have lost 12 lbs and no longer suffer from back pain or headaches and for the first time in 30 years I am sleeping through the night. My energy level has increased and I feel a lot better about myself. At 50 years old, I know I could challenge any of my non-CrossFit friends to a physical challenge and kick their butts.

I Love CrossFit and I’m so thankful for all of the encouragement from everyone. What a great group of people to be fit with. Keep on drinking the Juice.

-Linda Gates, a.k.a. Justin’s mom

Jennifer Reynaga

6a010534fc7768970b0120a7e514e5970b-250wiAbout two years ago I became a runner. I ran on my own and worked up to my first race, a half marathon. That same year I trained on my own and ran three marathons in five months, qualifying for the Boston Marathon on my second race. Never having done much athletically before, I just kept doing what I was doing and expected to get faster. But I had stalled and was getting nagging overuse injuries. I ran fifty miles a week for two months before the Boston Marathon and did not improve my marathon time. I was hurting more and not getting faster. I needed to do something different, but was not familiar or comfortable with fitness communities.

When I first started coming to Cross Fit East Sacramento in June, I was absurdly outside my comfort zone. I felt weak and uncoordinated. I joke that I run because I am too uncoordinated for anything else, but Justin and Travis have kicked, cajoled, and prodded me on to greater athletic achievement.

Every workout is scary–in the best possible way. The size of the weight, the number of reps, or the complexity of the movement always leave me asking “Is this possible for me?” In one way or another the answer keeps coming back, “Yes.”

The level of intensity of the workouts has allowed me to push past my habit of working out long and slow. The variety of movements CrossFit requires has allowed me to use more of my body while running and helped mitigate overuse problems. The strength training, especially in my core has allowed me to run stronger longer. The tremendous effort required with some of the exercises has helped me push past mental blocks I have had in committing to race goals. Through it all Justin and Travis have encouraged me and their other members to excel in whatever way they can. We compete against ourselves and each other in an environment that is rigorous but supportive. Watching the success of the athletes around me has been hugely inspiring and made me attempt weights and skills I never would have before.

And my running? Even though I did nowhere near the mileage I did before the Boston Marathon, even though the weather conditions were far more difficult that they were the previous year, on December 6 2009 I ran CIM in 3:40:12–nine minutes off of my previous time on that course. To put this in perspective, that nine minute reduction allows me to qualify for the Boston Marathon–even if I were ten years younger than I am.

-Jennifer Reynaga

Jeff Frost

6a010534fc7768970b013480160213970c-250wi I’m 38 years old and have been riding and racing motorcycles for about 26 years.  This sport has left me with several nagging injuries including some extra hardware in my leg, foot and shoulder.  I found CrossFit in February of 2009 while I was searching for body weight exercises.  At the time, I had a broken foot and had been told by the doctor that I can do anything as long as I wear that brace they put me in.  At the time, the main site had a run of body weight WODs and that’s how I got started.

In the summer of that same year, my friend Brendhan suggested that I check out CrossFit East Sacramento.  For the rest of 2009, I spent lots of time doing personal training sessions with Justin as the regular class times didn’t fit my schedule.  I participated in the FGB IV event on my birthday as well as a few other group workouts and realized how great the sense of community is at CFES.

At the beginning of 2010, I got my schedule sorted out and began attending normal classes. Unfortunately, I tore the superior labrum in my left shoulder at the end of 2009 and so starting out, I could only use 1 arm. No problem, the trainers were able to modify all the workouts for me. 2 months later, I got to using both arms again and within 2 weeks set a PR by almost 5 minutes on the 30 rep version of the Filthy Fifty. Wow! All those 1-armed workouts obviously worked!

All that said, I never have to question my fitness prior to a race no matter the distance or temperature. We often race in 100+ degree temperatures. The ability to focus on the task at hand has greatly improved those hour long endurance race shifts. Loading and unloading the truck on race weekends is also greatly improved. Also, a lot of the nagging injuries have gone away.

I think the most important item of note is that my outlook on fitness has changed. It used to be a grind that I had to get out of the way so I was fit enough to race. Now it’s often the highlight of my day!

-Jeff Frost

Sabrina and Trey Teller

6a010534fc7768970b013480161f29970c-250wiTrey and I joined CFES in May 2009 and since then have become some of your most vocal ambassadors to our family and friends.  We’ve both been active and athletic all of our lives, but were never able to find, until now, the fitness program we wanted to stick with for the rest of our lives.  I’ve been an equestrian, a distance runner, a kickboxer, and a boxer, but I was always plagued by repetitive stress injuries that made me frustrated and led me to look for something different to stay in shape.  (That, and I also decided that receiving repeated blows to the head was really not a smart, long-term work productivity strategy.)  Trey has been a BMX racer, basketball player, kickboxer, runner, and now a mountain biker, but he too suffered repeated injuries that forced him to lay off his favorite activities to heal up.  Add to that the fact that we both have sedentary, but stressful jobs that require us to have a physical outlet if we want to stay healthy and productive.

I tried a free class one Saturday morning after driving by and curiously surfing the website.  I had read all about WODs, the CrossFit Games, and the philosophy behind CrossFit, but I still wasn’t quite sure what I was in for.  I was treated to an awesomely challenging but fun workout and came home bright red, sweaty and exhilarated.  When I walked in the door, I told Trey, “I found a place we’re both going to love.  You’re coming with me next Saturday.”  He tried it the following week, loved it like I did, and we both joined up immediately.

Since then, we’ve come to classes three to four times a week, religiously, and we’ve never been so enthusiastic about working out. It used to be hard to drag myself out of bed at 5:00 to go work out, but I did it out of a sense of duty thinking that I had to get it over with so I could get on with my day. It was one more obligation on my to-do list to check off. Now, although it’s still hard to get out of bed, it’s because I’m tired or sore from whatever we did here the previous day, but I get up because I can’t wait to find out what we’re doing next. And it’s now the best thing I do all day.

We’ve both been able to accomplish things here that we never expected to do, or ever realized we wanted to do, but now we can’t imagine doing anything else. Before CrossFit, I couldn’t do “real” pull-ups, or pushups, and I had never done serious weightlifting. Now, I love heavy lift days, and I’m thrilled to be able to deadlift 1 ½ times my body weight, lift 120 pounds over my head and see progress in the number of “real” pull-ups and pushups I can do. Trey broke his kneecap into little pieces as a kid and was warned never to do deep knee squats and told he might not even be able to walk by the time he was 40. Now, at age 40, with proper instruction on form, he’s doing heavy squats with no problems, and his knees feel better than ever. Trey has also lost 25 pounds since May just by following the Zone diet and doing these workouts. I’ve lost about 5, since I’m not as strict about following it as he is (New Year’s resolution!), but I’ve still seen significant changes in my form that make me pretty happy.

We’re both easily bored and very impatient with instructors who aren’t in better shape than us or who don’t push us beyond our comfort zone. No worries with that at CrossFit! Justin, Travis and Brooke strike the right balance of inspiration, motivation, instruction and education. Having been screamed at by riding, running and boxing coaches all my life, I’ve found there’s a very difficult balance to be struck between coddling and criticizing people to find what motivates them to be their best. Spare the criticism and people get complacent. Praise too little and criticize too much and people get discouraged and quit trying. Whatever the right balance is, the CFES coaches have found it, which is why we keep coming back for more.

When I was first checking out the CFES and other CrossFit sites, I noticed a lot of talk about how nobody needed to do anything but CrossFit to stay in shape for other sports. We already understood the value of cross-training and weight-lifting to excel in sports like running and biking, but didn’t really appreciate how well this program has prepared us for everything else until now. Trey’s still an avid mountain biker, and despite not getting to go out and ride as often as he would like, he’s able to blaze up steep trails with no trouble. I joined a relay team for the California International Marathon, and despite not having run more than 2 miles at one time since May, I was able to run 7 miles in December with no problem at a 9-minute pace, fast for me. So, yes, now we can agree that you really don’t need to spend hours and hours pounding the pavement, spinning to nowhere, climbing the stairmaster to god-knows-where, or lifting little plastic Barbie weights 600 times to get fit enough to tackle just about anything you want to do.

The fitness results alone would be enough to keep us coming back, but one of the reasons we l-o-v-e it here is the community of supportive, positive, and interesting people. From day one, the coaches and students treated us like we belonged here, regardless of the shape we were in when we started. The other reason is that we’ve finally found something we can do together, that we both enjoy, that we both excel at and can challenge ourselves in our own ways. We’ve spent a long time (20 years!) trying to find activities we could both like without much success until now. Trey suffered through a few 50K trail ultra-marathons to be able to spend time with me. I almost killed myself on a mountain bike to be with him. Here, we don’t have to “put up with” doing anything we don’t like just to spend time with each other. We plan on doing this together for at least another 20 years, so we offer CFES a special thanks for that.

-Sabrina and Trey Teller

Joan Abate

6a010534fc7768970b013480164068970c-250wiOver the past several years I spent plenty of time in various gyms and always found myself getting bored.  I never really pushed myself as hard as I could or should during instructor led classes or my own less than challenging workouts.  So when I was approached by my friend Ruth to share a personal training session with Chris Lene, I jumped at the opportunity.  As Chris pushed us to do things that we had never done before, he kept talking about CrossFit.  Chris introduced us to WOD’s and strongly suggested we give CrossFit a try.   So we decided we would, not knowing exactly what we were walking into, and that is when we met Justin and Travis for the first time.

At first, I was a bit overwhelmed with what was going on, but Justin and Travis broke everything down in steps making it easier to understand what I was supposed to be doing.  Some things I could pick up faster than others, like double-unders, but other things were extremely challenging.  Early on, I had a high level of frustration because I couldn’t do the basic movements let alone the fact that I had never done any type of weightlifting prior to CrossFit.  I was my own worst critic.  I kept asking myself for example, how hard can it be to do an air squat?  How can I move on and do front or back squats if I can’t even do an air squat.  Justin and Travis never gave up on me and continued to coaching and encouraging me to keep at it until I got it right.  Everyone else in the community was very supportive which was also very helpful.  I feel myself getting stronger with each and every front and back squat, and my next goal is to master that ever so frustrating overhead squat.

I’m proud to be a part of this community and I feel blessed for the friendships that have developed because of all the people that Justin, Travis and Brooke have brought together. Each member that I have had the privilege to work out with inspires me to keep pushing myself to reach new levels each and every day. It is a pleasure to be surrounded by so many gifted athletes.

You will never hear me use the word bored to describe how I feel about CrossFit. Excited, committed, passionate about getting stronger; that is how I feel about CrossFit. I can’t imagine ever going back to any of my old gyms, stepping onto a piece of exercise equipment that requires electricity and telling myself, “now that was a good WOD.” I am committed to CrossFit forever. So thank you to everyone who has helped me get there.

-Joan Abate

Bryant Harris (Dr. of Chiropractic)

6a010534fc7768970b0133f2d30491970b-250wiI’ve been had.  I’ve been took.  I’ve been HOODWINKED, BAMBOOZLED, led astray, run amok!  How’d I end up here?!?!?  To be honest, I knew nothing of CrossFit, let alone had any intentions of joining CFES.  I had recently moved to Sacramento and was trying to build my business in East Sac and was going to local business trying to get brand recognition and stumbled into CrossFit East Sacramento – at the time I thought it was another gym.

Unbeknownst to me while I was trying to market myself and Chiropractic to Justin, he had been able to flip the script and proceeded to tell me the philosophy behind CrossFit – constantly varied, high intensity, functional training; and it peeked my curiosity.  Although I remained a skeptic, I was interested in giving it a try – hold up, how’d the tables get turned, I was trying to get business from him and he turned me into a client; DAMNIT! It was suggested that if I could come in on a specific Saturday to do a workout that I should  – WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!?!  I arranged my schedule so I could come and I was welcomed by…::drum roll please::……FILTHY FIFTIES!!!!  WTF is this?!?!!?  I’ve been set up and this man was trying to kill me!!! Right then I realized that CrossFit was something different, even more so CFES.

CFES was a changing point for me, in terms of exercise and my life, as I knew it in Sacramento. After that “workout”, I woke up the next day sore as all hell, couldn’t move and wanting more – why I wanted more I will never know. SIGN ME UP!!! But I was locked in to some absurd amount of personal training sessions at 24Hour Fitness, so I altered my training schedule to 3 times a week so I would breeze through my training sessions so I could get into the box as soon as possible. Starting in December of 09, I became part of the gym but more importantly the CFES family. What I didn’t realize that when I joined that my passion for exercising would return, that exercising doesn’t have to feel like a chore – I had lost that passion after I quit playing lacrosse and competitive swimming – YES, black people can swim and play lacrosse!

Essentially the rest is history! For the past several months I’ve been religiously going 3-4 times a week at 8 am, working out with the usual group of intimidating athletes – which proves to be a humbling experience every time I go. Who would of thought that I would be getting my butt handed to me on a daily basis by people 10 years my elder?? (Don’t get me wrong 8amers, you all are badasses and you all inspire me to know that physical fitness and elite athleticism has no age boundaries.) But through the tutelage of Brooke, Justin, Travis and the rest of the CFES family; you all have assisted me in reaching my potential and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to expose me to CrossFit and travel this road towards elite fitness.

Now on a more somber note: When I found out that I was returning back East, I was most saddened by the fact that I knew I would be leaving you all. I didn’t know how I would break the news to you all and I felt that I was abandoning something that became so near to me. I realized in visiting other CrossFit facilities that what I have experienced at CFES in this short few months is unique to this box in terms of the instruction and the community that has been formed. I can honestly say if it wasn’t for you all that I would have been miserable in Sacramento so I would like to thank you for helping facilitate this shift for me in my consciousness and my demeanor.

There are not enough words of gratitude that I can express to show how appreciative I am of everything you all have done for me (physically & mentally) and everyone else in this community. I have the utmost respect for you all as people and as fierce competitors and by me leaving I hope this will not be the last time I see or hear from you all. I wish you all the best in the future and if you ever make it to the RIGHT coast, feel free to look me up and I will do my best to show you all a great time and show you off at whatever box I am then attending. I plan on seeing you all at the top!!! Keep up the great work!!!

With the Utmost Love and Gratitude,
Bryant Harris