Joining CrossFit Big Dane completely changed the way I think about fitness and the way I approach training for triathlons of any distance. After spending six years focusing on swimming, biking, and running, my fitness gains had plateaued. A friend suggested I try CrossFit, and after reviewing the boxes in Madison, it was clear that CrossFit Big Dane was the best fit for me.
Within weeks of starting at CrossFit Big Dane, I noticed that my functional threshold power on the bike was increasing. I also noticed that I was feeling stronger during the runs of brick workouts. The variety and intensity of the workouts I have been exposed to at CrossFit Big Dane has allowed me to break through mental barriers and push myself harder than I previously thought was possible.
The coaches at CrossFit Big Dane are a constant source of motivation and advice. After observing several of my lifts, Coach Danz identified where I have muscle imbalances and tailored the advice he gives me throughout workouts. This attention to individual needs fosters an environment of lifting correctly and safely. Regardless of fitness level, I firmly believe that any athlete’s performance will benefit from the training provided at CrossFit Big Dane.
I began CrossFit in June of 2016, and the journey so far has been an incredible experience for me. All throughout my schooling and college years, I was very active in sports. I played competitive soccer and was on a competitive dance team around the year.
All that changed in 2012 when I broke my humerus bone in my left arm. I underwent two surgeries and now have two plates and 12 screws in my arm. Through the healing process, I lost a lot of bodily strength that I had built through my activities. So much so that I wasn’t able to lift a plate of food with my left arm. Through the recovery process, even though I did all sorts of therapies, I was never really able to gain my strength back, particularly in my left arm but overall as well.
When I came to my first On-Ramp class and saw that we had to work with weights I thought “There is no way I can do this, especially since I had never lifted a barbell (even when I was healthy).” I started off using the training bar, and decided to build from there. Every time I was too sore to go back the next day or felt like I had hit my threshold, I thought about what Barrett had told me in the intro class. He said, “It’s all about consistency and mental strength. If you stick with it you’ll see the results. Don’t give up.”
I stuck to his advice, and today, I see many positive changes. I find myself having more strength, more energy, and no longer attend to my weight based on the scale but rather measure my advances based on my strength or endurance performance. This rejuvenated post-workout feeling certainly also carries over to other aspects of my life. In these few months of CrossFit, I feel that I have substantially grown physically and mentally as an athlete – a journey that will only have an upward trajectory going forward!
How long have you been together?
– 4 years.
Who started CrossFit first?
– Melissa started first and Tommy joined about a year later.
Why did you decide to join? And/or what were you doing before you started CrossFit?
– As they had just moved to the area, Melissa was looking for a way to meet good people, make friends and get stronger. Tommy joined because he had began to notice that it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to keep his body fat in check and he saw how much his wife was loving it so he decided to give it a shot.
What was the introduction process like?
– Tommy started in a 1 on 1 format. From the beginner’s program through roughly 5-10 extra PT sessions he wanted to make progress more quickly so as to “catch up” to his wife as quickly as possible. 🙂
Has CF helped strengthen your relationship?
– Yes! Before Tommy started doing CF it was hard to describe to him some of the different exercises and workouts that we would do here. Now that we’re both doing it, we get to share in the post workout talks about how ‘fun’ a workout was. We also just did a MF partner competition for fun together and it was such a cool experience to work through together.
What would you say to another person or couple who is thinking of trying CrossFit?
– Melissa’s best piece of advice: be patient. When she first started and got super excited about all the progress she was making, she reflects that she may have been a bit overzealous in approaching Tommy to try it out. Eventually he figured it out at his own pace. Tommy’s loves that is a great way to spend quality time with his wife. From either just being in the gym at the same time to even working thorough partner workouts together, it has been really fun for them.