Testicular Cancer Survivor
Jason Krause -
My story is not all that different from the other stories here, or from anyone that is looking to make a lifestyle change. I have always been active and consider myself athletic. But, with age, increasing work responsibilities, and kids, I was becoming frustrated with my fitness. When I hit 30, I started to sign up for various runs just to remain active. Running helped set aside time for myself and was convenient, although it wasn’t all that fulfilling as I wasn’t much of a runner. I also tried various gyms (Planet Fitness, YMCA) but they were all short-lived. It was hard to stay motivated, as I had never felt comfortable lifting weights or working out on my own.
In August 2014, though, my (our) world came crashing down. At 32 years old and with three young children (5, 3 and 9 months), I was told I had testicular cancer. The cancer was spreading rapidly and I underwent aggressive chemotherapy over the next several months. By the grace of God, I was given a clean bill of health in late 2014. However, the chemotherapy left me with an increased risk of heart disease and lung scarring, as well as not having much stamina to accomplish even simple tasks. From that point, my motivation to regain my strength and overall health wasn’t just for myself, but also for my wife and kids.
Fast forward to November 2015, my wife heard about Inspiring Fitness. She signed me up for a one-month subscription and told me I was going. I remember driving past the gym that first morning with so many emotions – doubt, anxiety, uncertainty, etc. – and wanting to turn around and head back home. But, walking into the gym has been one of the most fulfilling decisions for so many reasons. CFIF provides an encouraging environment for all ages and body types. It has fostered so many new friendships with people that are genuinely supportive of one another. And, the hard work put in has helped increase confidence in myself, both physically and mentally. Working hard towards a fitness goal, especially one that seems unobtainable, brings a great sense of accomplishment! There’s no feeling in the world that compares to doing a movement/lifting a weight previously thought impossible or hitting a personal record, and then resetting that goal to a higher level!
Annual Health Numbers Getting Worse
Tracy Kellner Kunstamann -
My beginning: I was 52 years old. I was pushing out of my size 12 pants and large tops. Things that used to be easy or normal, like mulching, moving furniture around, etc. were becoming harder - I thought I might pull something, hurt myself and started waiting to do basic things until help was available. I was losing confidence in myself. My mind felt young, but my body was feeling so much older. My annual health check numbers were getting worse every year and I had to participate in 10,000 step challenge to receive full medical benefits. I tried to help myself with good eating and on and off exercise programs but couldn’t move the needle. I knew it was time for something different.
My journey: I knew nothing about CrossFit. I knew of Sandra and heard she had “some fitness program”. I talked to her about the program and decided to try it for a month. My first days were a joke. I tried to do a push up and literally fell on my face. I couldn’t do the simplest things. The box was intimidating - there is a CrossFit language I didn’t know (cleans, jerks, WOD, KB, HSPU, etc.), so many strong people lifting incredible weights and they all seemed to be close friends.I didn’t need friends, I was there for me. Each day I walked in, did the workout and went home. The aches and pains were beyond what I thought possible. I didn’t care - I deserved it for being so out of shape. I was embarrassed and mad - how had I let my body deteriorate to this point? Then, I signed up for 3 more months. I quickly increased to 4 days a week, my goals to do more each day and stay out of the doctor’s office. I loved the variety of the workouts, the personal challenge, and the support of all the people.After a while, I learned CrossFitters are not all the same. Some can lift Herculean amounts of weights, some are great runners, some very agile - each person has a strength of their own. I appreciate and admire all of them. I found my own strengths.
I signed up for more.
My today: I am a few months from 55. I am at “the box” 4 - 5 days a week. My last health check was super positive, all numbers above average for my age. I’m a solid size 6 and medium tops, down 15 pounds. Those chores at home are so much easier and I have the confidence to do them on my own. I. feel strong and my body actually has shape again. My goals are very similar to when I started - do more each day and stay out of the doctor’s office. I added a couple - be happy with consistent progress, listen to my body and don’t worry about my weight.I look forward to the camaraderie and support from my CrossFit family - some days I really need it. I truly love the new people, welcoming them and encouraging their progress-remembering my own first days. CrossFit is now part of my life.
I look forward to being independent and strong well into my senior years. My mind and body are feeling great!
I’m Not Sure I Can Do That
I started CrossFit in August of 2017 with basically just the intention of trying it out. I’ve always enjoyed exercise and was fortunate to have some friends who invited me to join them at our local gym where they started their day off with exercising. One of them had heard about Sandra having a CrossFit gym and said we should check it out; we did. My friends joined right away, I was feeling a bit more apprehensive and thinking “I’m not sure I can do that” and I really don’t want all those people, who I don’t know, watching me. Needless to say, it got boring exercising by myself again and after a few months, I went for it. My first few classes, actually weeks, I didn’t know what was going on, talk about intimidated. I mean, we’re talking push press, push jerks, hang clean, power clean, strict pull up, kipping pull ups and the list goes on. I’m the type of person who needs to do something several times before I get the hang of it, it took me awhile, but Sandra is patient, she works with everyone and never makes me feel like I can’t do it. I have shoulder issues (had them before I started CrossFit) and Sandra is very good at offering modified movements when needed. I love the workouts and the challenges that come with each of them, I would never push myself the way the workouts push me, and no two workouts are ever the same. I’m doing things now I never would have done working out by myself and things I never thought I could do. I still get confused on the moves and I sure as heck can’t do them all, but I have my goals in mind. People tell me I’m crazy getting up so early to exercise…..they’re wrong, it is no doubt the best way to start my day. No matter how I feel when I walk in that door, I walk out feeling great and accomplished and ready to start my day.
This place is so more than just a place to “workout.” I’ve met so many great people here and everyone is so friendly and encouraging, no one is judging you or your ability. The only time people are watching you is when they are encouraging you. I’m so happy I tried it and gave it a chance. Anyone who thinks they can’t do this (like I did) really needs to come to a few sessions and you will see you can; and you will be motivated to come back again and again. I have two granddaughters and I’m hoping I can keep up with them for many years to come, I know if I don’t keep going I’ll be sitting there watching them instead of playing with them.
One last comment, the CrossFit Wear we have, I have had quite a few people comment “You do CrossFit” (makes me smile inside) and I just tell them, I do, and you are welcome to come with me anytime!
Lost my Soul Mate
Jeannie Vonachen -
I started Crossfit 3 and half years ago. The class was open to members to invite a friend, I went, and haven't stopped. I'm 61 year's old. I had just lost my boyfriend, best friend, soul mate to cancer. I found as I had to move myself out of our apartment. I was sore, pulling muscles constantly. That holding my grandchildren made me sore. I wanted to get stronger, healthier. I had been curious about Crossfit, that included lifting weights. I've always tried to have some kind of exercise in my life, walking, swimming, bicycling, YMCA, Form and fitness, snap fitness. I wasn't pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I have found at Crossfit/Inspiring Fitness great people to train, grow, support one another, and trainer Sandra to challenge, and push us to get out of our comfort zone. The benefits of belonging to this amazing box is great for mental, physical health.
Very Bad Allergies
Tammi Augustinak -
By looking at me, you would never know that I have been working out with Sandra for 11 years. I am no size 6 and never will be. As she has grown her business I have stuck with her and become stronger emotionally and physically.
I have very bad allergies (pretty much allergic to everything outside) and CFIF is in the middle of farms, so not the best workout conditions for me. I also have exercise and allergy induced asthma. I do not let these be excuses for me to miss working out. There have been some rough workouts where I could not finish them because of an asthma attack. This is extremely frustrating to me! But, with Sandra and the IF community, I keep coming back.
I am told yearly by the doctor that I need to lose weight. I have never reached a weight that I have been happy with, but I have not given up. Could I eat better, of course I could! I am an emotional eater and use food to handle too many stressful situations. This is an area that I will need to continue to work on. I know I will never be a size 6 so I am concentrating on being strong, fit, and the best me I can be. This is where CrossFit comes in.
When I began working out with Sandra, I could not do one push up. Now I can! I can also climb the rope and lift some heavy weights. Sandra and the IF community are so encouraging and supportive. Not once has anyone made a comment because I have had to stop or modify my workout. It usually is Sandra watching me and saying you need to be done or another athlete asking her if I will be ok. I can’t imagine where I would be physically or mentally without CrossFit IF. I feel so much better after I have completed a workout. I encourage you to try CrossFit, because if I can do this at the age of 48 and feel good about myself you can too
Self Esteem at an All Time Low
Amber Koehler -
When I was growing up, a lot of emphasis was put on my appearance and that stuck with me. I thought I needed to be skinny to feel good about myself. I never had to worry about what I put in my mouth. I was just naturally skinny. After I had my kids, all of this changed.
When I first started CrossFit almost 5 years ago my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was not active in the least bit and I started packing on the weight. I was comparing myself to others and feeling bad about the way I looked. I decided I was going to make my New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I reached out to my sister in law, Ericka to ask for advice and she told me Sandra could help me. I was scared shitless, but this is something I needed to do for me. When I walked in the first day, I had no idea what to expect. I think I managed to do one round of the workout. Each day got a little better and I started feeling more confident and coming out of my shell. The encouragement from everyone there is absolutely amazing. I started to look forward to coming every morning. Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy working out.
After a while, my perception of my body moved from what it looks like, to what it can do. Strong is beautiful. Looks are not everything. The ironic thing is I started working out to lose weight, but I weigh more now than when I started. I have gone up and down with life struggles throughout the years, but I am only human and I need to keep reminding myself of this. There have been a lot of ups and downs with my husband’s health throughout the years and I have had to keep things running smoothly at home with my 2 crazy kids along with my demanding, nonstop work schedule. One thing that is keeping me sane is this box. I have made so many lasting friendships and I honestly cannot imagine my life without our box and the amazing people in it.
Aside from the physical changes, CrossFit has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. I ran my first 5k a couple months in and then decided what the heck? Let’s try a 10k. My competitive side took over and I decided I wanted to push myself further so I signed up for a half marathon. The biggest and craziest leap I made was sign up for a full marathon. That tested me more than anything I’ve ever done and I still cannot believe I did it (and will never do it again).
This box has changed my life so much and I am so happy I made the decision to start.
Without struggle, there is no strength.
Breast Cancer Survivor
Holly Swanson -
When I started CrossFit IF on June 1, 2018 it wasn't because I was in a low place or anything like that. I just wanted more and I wanted my body to look more athletic again and of course, lose some weight, too. I have always been an athlete and I love competing. Unfortunately, you get to a point and your body says I just can't or shouldn't be doing this anymore. Especially since it's really difficult for me to not go all out. Especially playing softball or volleyball. Anyway, I did work out before I started CrossFit. I would walk and do a kettlebell workout but I wanted more, and I'm not a very good self-motivator so for me to join a fitness center and make up my own workout wasn't going to work. A friend introduced me to Sandra and CrossFit IF - Inspiring Fitness. From that first visit I knew I wanted to do that. Of course, I was intimidated but after your first class that feeling goes out the door! Sandra is a great coach, very supportive of her athletes! Always making sure you know it's ok to scale; no one is going to judge you. Everyone at the Box is incredibly supportive and non-judgmental. Just a few short months down the road I found out just how much I needed this place and people. On September 27, 2018 to be exact, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That's when I realized the true meaning of this tribe that Sandra had built! The outpouring of support, concern, love, you name it, it was incredible! Not to mention Sandra going above and beyond to help in any way she could. I didn't want to give up workouts during my treatment. I showed up when I could and all I heard was how strong I was, good job, you're doing great! I honestly believe that was the main reason I was "brought" to the box when I was. It was where I needed to be to help me through what life was throwing at me. It helped keep me positive and strong. Through all of that and the passing of both of my parents, coming to the Box and working out and being with everyone was the best part of some of my days! I honestly have never experienced anything like it!
Stuck in a Rut
About four years ago, I found myself in a rut. I was entering this exciting new stage of my life-newly engaged and planning a wedding. Through all the happiness and excitement, there was still something missing: myself. I was so depressed with the thought of even trying a wedding dress on because I was worried how I would look in them. Throughout high school-I played sports and was always so active. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I slowly just let myself go by putting everyone and everything before myself. I didn't work out as much as I wanted to, and I definitely didn't eat as healthy as I could have. This was the happiest times of my life, but why wasn't I as happy as I should have been? I remember working night shift and just browsing through Sandra's website. I have known her for quite some time. I knew I would feel comfortable with her no matter what type of exercise I was doing. So, I did it. I bit the bullet and signed up for ten classes off the bat. There was no looking back from here.
All the nerves set in driving to my first CrossFit class in that "old shed." I was so nervous that this was going to be another failure of me trying to set some goals. I walked into that shed thinking, "What the heck are you doing to yourself?" But let me tell you this...I walked out of that same shed an hour later feeling so dang proud of myself. I have never looked back since. I couldn't even jump rope. How does a 25-year-old forget how to jump rope? Well...I re-mastered that . THEN- Sandra talked about this crazy thing called double-unders. As she was demonstrating this, I thought she was crazy and making this up. I thought I would never be able to do something with that much cardio. Fast forward a year...I worked on them for a dang year...the CrossFit open workout involved double unders, a lot of them. Still, I was not very consistent with them. I spent the entire forty minutes working on my double unders. There may have been a lot of swear words, frustration, and sweat, but right then and there when I looked up and saw the people surrounding me and cheering me on, I knew I was in the right place. THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!
Since I started working out by Sandra and dialing my nutrition in-I have been able to lose that twenty pounds. I felt comfortable in my wedding dress. Heck, I felt more than comfortable. Not only was I physically in the best shape of my life, but emotionally and mentally. I knew that there was no way I could ever return to that dark place in my life. Fast forward a year after the wedding-we found out we were expecting a little bundle of joy. My major concern was how this pregnancy would affect my workouts so I could keep this baby safe. Sandra was able to alter my workouts to ensure the safety of the baby. She had to knock some sense into me a couple of times when I wanted to lift heavier than I should have. I was able to work out up until the day my son was born. With the doctor's clearance, I was able to return two weeks after having him. Again, Sandra still altered my workouts to ensure my safety. Sandra knows all of my goals and seems to be more in tune with my body than I even am. She knows exactly when I can do more than what I think, but she is also not afraid to tell me to scale back. It is an amazing feeling to be able to put that much trust into your coach. Again-it gives you affirmation that you are at the right place.
With the greatest thing in my life, also came back the setbacks. I gained back all the weight I previously lost during my pregnancy. I would get frustrated the scale wasn't moving, even though I was tracking my food and consistently working out. I felt myself starting to fall back into that dark place I told myself I would never go back to. I knew I did it before, and could do it again. I needed to be the best version of myself for my family. Sandra reached out to me knowing that I was struggling. With the encouragement of her and many of my close friends that have turned into family-I was able to change my mindset. Here we are today- I am feeling the most comfortable I have with myself than I ever have. I have lost all that weight again, and then some. My workouts have significantly improved and so has my attitude. I honestly do not know where I would be if I didn't have CrossFit IF in my life.
My point to this entire post is-the environment that Sandra has built in this gym is something that needs to be seen. It is indescribable the encouragement you receive from your fellow athletes. The amount of support that everyone has is heartwarming. It actually makes me want to get up at four am four times a week to hit the gym at five am. It is honestly the best start of my day. I thought by joining this box-I would be getting a workout-but I have gotten so much more. I have gained my confidence back, I feel strong, and I have gained an entire tribe I am blessed to call my family. I am no longer in that dark place feeling disgusted by my body. I give all that thanks to Sandra for following her dream and creating this amazing atmosphere that makes me want to show up every day. She has made me find myself again, someone that I wasn't sure how I would ever get back. I don't think she realizes the amount of lives she has touched! My only regret about this place is...I wish I would have started soon.
Business of Life — not an Excuse
Jess Jens -
In 2012, I was in the best shape of my life thanks to a newly discovered fondness for “boot camp” type workouts and a robust floor hockey “league” at work with some rather spectacular co-workers. Fast forward to 2015 after a move to the east side of the state, a new and rather stressful work change, and a life that was going through quite a transition. I had lost my healthy and active lifestyle. In desperation, I finally googled “CrossFit gyms near me” even though all I had ever heard was “people get hurt in CrossFit.”
Nearly 3 ½ years later, I have discovered that CrossFit is an incredible community of a diverse array of people. The constantly changing workouts coupled with a community that keeps me coming back for more (and notices when I’m not there) have led me to a better understanding of my body, nutrition, and of myself. And, it’s safe and there’s nothing to be “afraid” of. I still haven’t totally mastered my willpower in the kitchen and fluctuate 10lbs up and down every year or so, but my body composition, strength, and cardiovascular stamina have changed dramatically.
I stay at CFIF because it’s a healthy escape from my hectic, over scheduled, everyday life. I’m 42, work full time, have two school aged children, and a husband who is a small business owner. Obviously my situation is not unusual. But I no longer let the “businesses” of my life be an excuse for not prioritizing my health. It wasn’t always easy for me to understand that taking time for myself – and focusing on my physical health while also receiving mental health benefits – is a good thing for my family and my job, not a distraction from them.
I also stay at CFIF because I firmly believe it’s a true investment in my “retirement account.” I’m 42 now and look up to each and every member of our CF community that has more life experience and yet is still lifting the weights, doing those burpees, and coming to box week and week out. To me, it’s not about lifting huge weights, it’s about being able to have a long life in which I am functional, healthy, and can enjoy all the decades ahead. Taking care of myself is just as important as financially saving up for that day when I can retire. Since coming to CFIF, Sandra has taught me to listen to my body, push it when I can, and take rest days when I need them. I really, really needed to hear the part about rest days. Because of this, I’ve found an incredible balance that allows me to continue to make gains but not abuse my body to a point in which I’m wearing it down. I need these joints for decades to come!
Finally, my CF lifestyle over these past years has helped me live a pretty fun and functional life. I lift heavy stuff (thanks to deadlifts), race my kids down our long driveway, haul heavy feed bags, “push press” small kids in the air, do “one legged squats” to step up on a high stage or boulder, and still give my almost grown kids piggy back rides up the stairs at home…without thinking twice about it. I love it when someone says, “on no, that’s too heavy, let me get it” and then I promptly carry it away without even a struggle. Inside, I’m smiling 😃
There’s a hundred great excuses for why I shouldn’t prioritize CF, but there’s a thousand good reasons why I should. I can’t imagine life without it and this CFIF family.
One Point Away From Having a Defibrillator
Mary Ann Bichler -
To tell my whole journey to Inspiring Fitness, would take way to long, and be quite boring. I will go from then, until now. Then, was June of 1988….I had a heart attack and in October, bypass surgery. I was 46 Yep, you do the math….I am 77 years of age. Everything was fine until in October of 2017. I had a pulse of 41 and my “ejection fraction” was 37….one point away from having a defibrillator inserted into my body. I had a heart ablation and tried to figure out a way to raise the EJ number. My doctor asked how much exercise I got…..well, I walk a lot, except when it’s too hot, too foggy, too cold…etc. I needed a regimented exercise program…….this is where Inspiring Fitness comes into the picture. It took me months to get up enough nerve to call Sandra, but I did. She was hesitant at first to let me join, due to my heart problems, but after enough times of assuring her I wouldn’t die, I got to join…January, 2018!! To make a long story short, I’ve raised my EF percent 5 points, my balance had improved considerably, but what’s more important, I’ve gained so many friends that help me reach my goals. Sandra gears the workout to my level, not easier, just more attainable giving me the same movements. You are in competition with NO ONE. IF you want to lose weight, that’s up to you and your eating habits. You pick up many suggestions on some of the best way to do this. The friendship, acceptance and guidance I’ve received from joining If, I believe has changed my life for the better. I’ve gained muscle tone and I look forward to everyday I can attend (which is always my choice).
One more thing, I must thank Sandra for her patience (Yep, you heard correctly), and all of the members for their acceptance and help…….love the IF family.
A Divorce with Two Small Children
My journey didn’t originally start here at CrossFit IF. It started 9 years ago when I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered what happened. At the age of 18 I was well overweight and had zero self esteem. I made a promise to myself that I would do something for ME. I began by spending endless hours on the elliptical. It helped but talk about BORING. I tried other forms of exercise; beach body, Zumba, kickboxing, but it just didn’t keep my interest. I then got into running. After a year straight of running every day, and completing my first half marathon, I wanted a new challenge. I was at that ‘skinny’ I wanted to be at; I dropped 40 pounds but I was just skin and bone. At that point it wasn’t about being ‘skinny’ to me. It was about being confident and strong. I went and completed my personal training certification so I could teach myself the proper way to lift. After years of lifting, I fell in love with the way it made me feel and the results it gave me. Again, I needed change. I needed more of a challenge.
I walked into that building and completed my first class. My biggest goal was to be able to do a pull-up. I never in my life was able to do a pull-up. Three months in and I was stringing more than one together! I was doing so many things I never thought would be possible! Being around all of the people, the encouragement, made me realize this is exactly where I need to be. The amount of change physically and mentally that I noticed in such a short amount of time was insane.
This place was here for me when I went through the toughest time of my life. Going through a divorce with two kids, this was my escape. This is the one place I could always count on. I knew I could walk in here in my darkest place and crush that WOD walking out of here feeling like a whole different person. This box, these people, and this lifestyle has never failed me. So thank you to everyone here who has encouraged me when I’ve wanted to give up and for wiping away my tears to keep me going.
So this place isn’t only about keeping me in shape, but it’s about keeping me sane. It’s about doing something for ME.
Finding My Way Back to Me
CrossFit for me isn’t about some big transformation but rather about me finding my way back to me. It’s something I look forward to, it’s something I need in my life. After the birth of my daughter I was really struggling. Several hours after being born, a nurse unswaddled my daughter and discovered that she was blue from the waist down. She was then transferred to the NICU in a hospital an hour away from the hospital that I was stuck in. The days that followed were probably some of the worst days of my life. I struggled dealing with everything for a long time afterwards. On top of dealing with all of that, I had the usual struggles of trying to lose the baby weight and adjusting to my new life as a mom. I work from home and I stayed at home with our daughter. I had no outlet; I never left the house. My husband suggested CrossFit as a way to both get out of the house as well as a way to start getting back into shape. I was so nervous that first class. I had enjoyed working out at home prior to being pregnant but that was always by myself or with my husband. I have never been strong so I was worried that people would look at me and think, “what is she doing here, she doesn’t belong”. I fell in love with CrossFit after just one class. I knew it was what I needed in my life. With everything else going on, it felt good to challenge my body and my mind and come out stronger. I would look at a workout and think, “I could never do that”. But then I did. And I realized that strength is more than just muscle, it’s grit. It’s knowing that you can get through anything. It’s wanting to quit but pushing through. Finding that kind of strength was exactly what I needed at that point in my life and I am still loving it 3 years later!
Through breast cancer and a house fire
A friend convinced me to start working out at Inspiring Fitness 5 years ago. I just had my 3rd baby and needed something to do for me, and I have not looked back since. I couldn’t even do a sit up when I started and not once did Sandra or anyone else make me feel out of place. They encouraged and cheered me on, even when I was the last one still trying to finish the workout. Sandra has created such a positive and inspiring place that I look forward to going to.
3 years in and I was in the best shape I have ever been. Then September of 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn’t believe it, I felt like everything became a blur after that. But to my surprise I had each and every person at Inspiring Fitness there to lift me up and help me through my surgery and recovery time. The doctors had told me that I healed so well and fast because of the shape I was in before surgery. 5 weeks after I had my bilateral mastectomy, I was back to working out again. I had a lot of restrictions but that never stopped Sandra from giving me a different workout and helping me to modify everything that I couldn’t do for the time being.
In March of 2018, a few months after my surgery, my family and I lost the majority of our home to a house fire. And once again here was every kind person at Inspiring Fitness there to lift me up once again. Those months to follow were extremely difficult for me and all of the heartache that came with it. Sandra and everyone there kept me from spiraling downhill and keeping me out of a dark place that I felt I was slipping into. Those inspiring humans who I call my other family saved me when I wouldn’t ever know that I needed to be saved.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” I read this quote almost every day and I am thankful for all I have been through that it could have always been worse. I am not as physically strong as I used to be since my surgery, but that doesn’t matter. It’s how I feel on the inside that really counts. So when you tell yourself that there is no way you can do that stuff, I challenge you to just try. You will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.
I will always be forever grateful to Sandra and everyone at Inspiring Fitness for all they have done for me, and to Sandra for creating one amazing place that I like to call my other home.
Chronic illness turned my life upside down
Cheryl Wozniak -
Had I known anything about CrossFit, I would never have walked through the door and met Sandra Large and that would have been a huge mistake!
In 2008, I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and dysautonomia. Orthostatic hypotension was one of the more problematic symptoms. Chronic illness turned my life upside down. Over the years, with changes in work, activities, and medications my health was up and down. In 2016, I was working full time and that was pretty much my life. Working and then crashing at night. I had helped to take care of my Dad during his declining years and saw his atrophying body in my mirror. I knew then that it was time to do something!
When we first moved out to the Port Washington area nearly eight years ago, I had seen an article in the local paper about Sandra Large helping someone become healthier and strong after illness. I saved that article and tucked it away. It was time to contact Sandra to see if she could help.
Sandra invited me to stop in and see her after one of her classes. I did not see the class in action(thank-goodness). We talked about my health struggles and what I wanted to achieve and she said that she thought that she could help me. And then the wild ride began.
A little over three years ago, at the age of 63, I did my first work-out. Sit-ups. Couldn’t do one. So, she had me do leg raises. Now, the push-up. None of those either, and we went to the knees. Had Sandra not been so positive and encouraging, I would have given up! My initial goal was simple, just do one more of anything than I did the last time. Sandra was always kind and supportive. She seemed to always know just what I could handle and when I could handle more. Then, my goal was to do the whole workout, the total reps, with weights and activities appropriate for me. Now, I generally successfully meet the prescribed expectations for those over 55 (and I’m now 66!) My goal now is to consistently meet those expectations and continue to get stronger. I know at my age that I will eventually stop gaining strength, but I will strive to maintain, and then continue working to slow the progression of muscle loss that comes with age.
I use to have episodes of low blood pressure relatively often during workouts. I would experience double vision, nausea, unsteadiness on my feet, inability to walk a straight line, and headaches. But this helped me pay attention to my body, what was happening, and what made it happen. I learned to act on symptoms by drinking more water and taking breaks on the floor with my knees up. I also learned that if I attended to symptoms right away, I could recover relatively quickly rather than in hours or days. This has helped me, not only in workouts, but in everyday life. I’m sure I caused Sandra plenty of concern. She always checked on my wellbeing and expressed her concern, but never once suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t continue. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had! Now, episodes are few and far between, and I know what to do when I experience them. I’m also smarter. I will take that recovery time after a particularly demanding workout to avoid any potential difficulties. During all of that, Sandra continued to support and encourage me, helped me to find alternatives to movements that could be a challenge, held me in check on off-days so that I would not overdo, respected my decisions about what perhaps wasn’t the best choice for me, and always reminded me how far I’ve come when I got discouraged.
If I stopped here, it would be only half the story. As an educator, I always promoted a community of learners in a classroom. Anyone walking into a Cross Fit I.F. class would see a model community! A group of people with a wide range of abilities working toward the same goal, doing exactly what each needs to grow and get stronger. Everyone is accepted, respected, encouraged, and supported by the group ranging from young adults to seniors. Thank you, Sandra, for promoting and building such a community and to everyone for all the incredible support and encouragement I’ve gotten on my journey.
As a result of CrossFit I.F., I have a wonderful community that I am a part of; I am stronger than I have been in many, many years; and I am the healthiest I’ve been since 2008! I’ve cut back on medications to raise my blood pressure and have been able to give up support hose as stronger legs and core are doing the work of getting my blood back up to my heart that the stockings use to do. My quality of life has improved dramatically thanks to Sandra, CrossFit I.F. and everyone in the community.
I am blessed! ❤️
Kicking Multiple Sclerosis a**
I started working out with Sandra so long ago that I’m not sure I even remember when it was. She had her little studio gym attached to her home and in summer her outdoor boot camp. Since being diagnosed with MS at 27, health has been my top priority. I started that journey slowly with walking and spin class and group classes that not only left me bored, but failed to really show me any results. I will always say that it’s far more important to me to keep my MS at bay; but let’s be honest, I still wanted to see results. I had been noticing some people with some amazing changes in their appearance and hearing about this Sandra lady and figured it was time for a change. I’m so glad I did!
I often have to remind myself of those changes, but I walked into those doors nervous and a size 12. I instantly felt a connection with this great soul that wanted to see everyone she worked with become the healthiest version they could be. Sandra has a keen eye and knows exactly when I need a push or when I simply need to make it through my workout. She has the confidence in my strength and ability that I severely lack.
Then we fast forward to the big surprise of CrossFit. The physical and emotional strength I’ve gained is immeasurable. I love the feeling of knowing simply that I can do this. I love proving the naysayers wrong that a middle-aged woman with MS has no business in a CrossFit gym. I love the chuckle my neurologist gives me every year when I tell him what I do in the box and I love when he tells me how strong I am and to keep it up.
I thank God every day for Sandra and CrossFit. The road of health can have many twists and turns. Sometimes my nutrition is dialed in perfectly and I see major results, other times I fail in the kitchen; but regardless, the number of pounds on those barbells continues to climb, my balance and endurance improve, and I’m proud to say that although the scale shows I’ve actually gained weight since I’ve started this healthy journey, I walk out of the box now a size 6 and healthier than I’ve ever been, middle-aged MS and all.
Loss of his father at a young age
My dad died when I was 16, he was 51. As my life progressed I have always had his passing on my mind, graduations, wedding, becoming a father, jobs, etc. The loss of my father and the void it left in me has motivated and weighed me down. I’ve had lots of support but have also had to figure out a lot on my own.
In my thirties, as I was advancing in my career and finishing my PhD, I was becoming acutely aware that I was in terrible shape and that I needed to do something about it. I am the father of four and was terribly afraid that my kids would end of facing life without a dad. At 39 years old, shortly after after my birthday I walked into CrossFit IF to check things out. That morning I was able to participate in the workout, 10 rounds, 30-20-10 double unders, pull-ups, overhead squats. The workout almost killed me, I was the token fat guy in the corner trying to finish, the group was supportive and I was hooked. That day I committed to coming every Friday. Some weeks I worked out other days, some weeks that was my only workout, but the Friday morning classes taught me many important lessons about fitness and about myself. First, the challenge of the class workout is what makes it fun. I truly enjoy the most terrible workouts. Simply by finishing them makes the day better. Second, how I eat all week impacts how the Friday morning workout feels. I’ve learned to eat better. Third, the Friday morning group is a great group of people. I do not mean to offend those that attend the other classes, but it does take a unique person to get up everyday before 5am to get the work in. Fourth, consistency is key. Consistently doing the right things leads to results. I’ve learned this from the group and from Sandra. I didn’t get fat and sloppy overnight. It came as a result of years of poor decisions. I know I won’t get fit overnight, but I will get their by working out daily and continuing to improve my eating.
I’ve become comfortable with this journey. One of my students once told me, “you wear your fatness well”. At this point in life, I am comfortable with who I am, I am big, will never be small, but am able to get in shape. CrossFit has helped me be a better father, husband, more effective at my job and definitely happier with myself. God willing, it’s helps me keep the Reaper at bay for a long time!
Lost her athletic self
Sadie Mentink -
I played sports all through high school and also got into Rugby in college. I come from a pretty athletic and competitive family. Being the only girl with 3 brothers and a dad who coached varsity boys basketball for many years only fueled that competitive and athletic nature. After college, getting married and starting an office job I felt like I lost that competitive, athletic side of me, which was a huge part of who I was/am. I gained a bit of weight and went into my first pregnancy pretty unhealthy and boy did it show! I gained around 45-50lbs and did not even recognize myself!
Post partum, I joined my works gym and did some work out classes there. It worked, I lost the weight! Then I switched jobs. I started working from home full time, so I started also attempting to keep up with my workouts at home with different videos.
Then came pregnancy #2. I went into it much healthier and showed. I ate well and kept the weight good, but I did not continue to work out. Post partum the second time around, I lost most of the weight due to nursing, but I felt like something was missing. I knew I could not start working out on my own again now that I had lost the self motivation, so I had to find something new. My sister in law, Abbie, had been doing Crossfit for sometime and encouraged me to try it. She had been getting really fit and had some awesome muscle tone. I kept saying it was too expensive and there is no way I could get up at 4:30 AM to work out (as that would be the only time that would fit my schedule). She made the point that it is an investment in you and you would spend more than that a month on your phone or other luxuries.
So June 2017, 8 months PP with baby #2 I joined and was hooked. It gave me back my athletic and competitive side! I did not realize how much I missed that part of me until I got it back. A year later, I had not really lost any “weight” but my body shape had been transformed and I felt so strong and empowered and myself!
Fast forward to July 2018, I found out I was pregnant with #3 and made the decision to work out through my pregnancy as long as I could. I stuck with it to the day I went into labor! It proved to be totally worth it as I was back in regular size pants within 4 weeks PP.
Here I am today, 5 months PP and getting back to my pre pregnancy stamina and loving every minute. It is amazing to still be able to be me with a marriage, 3 children and a full time job. This box, these people, CrossFit is so worth it!
What you are doing saved your life
Hannelore Bruhn -
Today, August 16th, 2019, was my last doctor’s appointment after 3 surgeries this year. Cleared to go ahead and proceed with life! I have Sandra and the sweet athletes of CFIF to thank for that!
Almost two years ago, during a cross country meet, a sweet friend, Kate Schmitz, invited me to go to a CrossFit class with her, CrossFit Inspiring Fitness. I don’t know if there was ever a time where I did not love to workout. Running and volleyball were my passions, however, my knees did not agree, so Kate said, try CrossFit!
Oh my goodness, I loved it! The people were so kind, and Sandra was an amazing coach! And oh my, I don’t think I knew what being healthy really meant until I started at CFIF! Sandra focused on form, strength and overall good health.In April 2019, my husband rushed me to the hospital with abdominal pain. Two emergency surgeries later I was resting in my room. The anesthesiologist from the second surgery came in and shook his head. “I really do not know how you made it,” he said. “Your levels where so low, we couldn’t get them under control. If your heart had not been so strong and physically fit, this might have been a different outcome. Whatever you are doing saved your life.” I sat there, probably a little in shock. I knew I wasn’t well going into the second surgery, but did not know the extent. I told him I do CrossFit with this amazing group in Belgium. He said to keep doing it, and he then said that one of the surgical nurses did CrossFit!
My family and I are so incredibly thankful and grateful to Sandra and CFIF. I literally would not be here without this amazing community.
Sandra’s dedication to caring for each of the athletes where they are in their health journey is truly amazing. The community is so kind, encouraging and they are at so many different levels of fitness. I have made such wonderful, life long friends through this group in the short period of time I have been there. We see one another through the good times and not so good times. But the positiveness and encouragement is a constant! So very blessed by CFIF!!!💕💕💕
Something Had to Change
Jessica Schneider -
Just about 4 years ago my journey began with CFIF, 3 months post-partum with baby #2. I had never been so uncomfortable in my own skin than I was that year and I knew something had to change to get myself back. I needed to become the wife and mother my family deserved again. My first workout was a cold, December night and I remember thinking to myself on the way there, “What the hell am I doing!?”. I found a corner in that barn I call my second home these days, and I did the work. I sweat, beat myself up mentally, and shed some tears (in the car going home). I struggled, and I struggled hard. I completed just 2 of the 5 rounds on the board that night and even after the agony it caused for weeks to come-I knew I had found something I was desperately looking for and showed up the next day.
Something I will always owe this place and Sandra is keeping me out of a pretty dark place that I entered with my family as my 3rd pregnancy came along. I had many complications and our warrior came 3 months early-he is truly our miracle and I honestly don’t know that I would’ve made it out mentally if it weren’t for this place. The strength, support, encouragement, and love poured out of every crevasse of that barn when I needed it. We lift each other up and love every member as our own. The best part is that love and support never runs out when it’s needed.
This box has become my family in more ways than one and I owe Sandra and the entire CFIF crew so much more than I could ever explain in these paragraphs. I am forever thankful for Inspiring Fitness and can honestly say my life wouldn’t be the same without it. I can’t imagine myself without it.
My favorite part of this progression photo is that it’s real. We don’t stay in the same spot day in and day out. Things change. Routines shift. Life happens. My for the moment “life happening” is bringing 4 beautiful babies into this world. 4 babies in 5 years, folks! Yet, I still find time for me, no questions asked! I do this for me and for more importantly for them. My first photo was 3 months post baby #2. Second photo was during the best shape I’ve ever been in. Third photo is today, 3 months post baby #4.
Bogged Down by Grief
Amanda Didier -
I have spent a long time admiring the strength, grace, and power of female CrossFit athletes. It’s not that I wasn’t athletic, I can actually say I’ve been involved in some form of sports or fitness since I could walk. But, there is something about seeing a woman who has the confidence of knowing she can accomplish the most harrowing of challenges, whether it be performing gymnastic stunts one might think reserved for Olympians or hoisting more than their own body weight over their head in one swift movement. I was enamored, but I thought it was way out of my reach. Along the way more than one friend urged me on, to consider CrossFit. I just always thought it wasn’t for me. I became injured too easily; I didn’t have the time. I couldn’t afford it; I could not be successful at something like that. I didn’t think I was a strong enough person.
Then, a huge loss stopped me in my tracks. I was stilted with grief, bogged down by it. I spent five months this way - terrible eating, not moving, and so, so much sadness. I was not only grieving the loss of my mother, but also the loss of who I had been before her death. But somewhere down in that darkness I knew one thing for sure - I could not be the person I was before. I had to do all new things to feel alive again; hell, to feel something besides aching loss.
So, this is what compelled me to timidly make my way into CrossFit Inspiring Fitness one cold winter day. I shared my story with Sandra, and I was surprised to learn we had quite a bit in common. More importantly, she and the whole gym greeted me with warm, welcoming acceptance. It didn’t take long for me to go from dipping a toe in to diving head-first into the deep end. I quickly went from expecting to go two to three times a week to a steady schedule of four to five days a week, which I’ve maintained since I started. Whatever it takes in managing my schedule and my family’s schedule, I always make it to the gym. For me, this means maneuvering around my kids activities, my husband’s work and activities, and my full-time gig as the executive director and founder of a nonprofit. Even today, when I spent the entire Saturday with one of my two overly ambitious twins at her sport activity, I carved out time to go work out with my friends first.
It’s been a whirlwind seven months since I started this journey, and I know now that I am a better version of myself. My mom would be proud; I just know it. I’m more self-confident, and that confidence shines into every corner of my life. I’ve learned so much at the gym, doing movements I never thought I was capable of. I often bring along my daughters so that they, too, can see that powerful, graceful women come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. I feel emboldened to do the kind of things that make my family proud - in and out of the gym. I have Sandra, CrossFit Inspiring Fitness, and the whole crew there to thank for motivating me day after day. Even the hardest days now are the best days. There’s something so cleansing about an hour of constantly-varied, challenging, and seriously fun fitness - like an oil change for the soul.
Am I stronger? You know what I realized somewhere along this ride? I was strong all along.
Overcoming low self esteem
Kristen Bustamante -
Let’s talk weight gain weight loss yo-yo
When I was in high school I was naturally thin, I ate a giant chocolate chip cookie and chocolate milk for lunch almost everyday and binge drank soda at home, because it was free there. I weighed 120lbs going into college BUT I certainly did not maintain that weight. I slowly started gaining weight and had it pointed out to me by family members and my family doctor which is a great motivational boost right? Ha! Wrong. Nothing can tear away at someone’s already fragile self-esteem than pointing out their flaws. This lead me into a self-hate, self-resenting, and self-sabotaging spiral. I basically fell down the rabbit hole into not caring what I ate or drank because if everyone already saw me as the girl who gained weight in college then what’s the point? So of course I continued gaining weight until I was almost 160lbs, this is by no means meant to bring you down if you weigh that much right now, this is MY personal story of struggle and change and not meant to be taken personally by anyone else!
I was introduced to CrossFit in 2017 and it was HARD! One of the most challenging things I have ever attempted in recent years but I did it, I survived the sore muscles, the ripped hands, the bruised knees, and I went back for more with a smile. I started lifting more, the movements because less challenging, my cardio finally got to a point that I could jog compared to getting winded from a power walk. I lost SOME weight, not all, but it was a start. But if you read the title you will know my story doesn’t end there. I lost 20lbs in the beginning but then gained 10 back. Why? Because I did not have the commitment in the kitchen that I did in the gym. I sought advice, I did my research, I got serious about myfitnesspal, and I made the change I needed. I lost the weight again but this time I am armed with the tools and skills to maintain my progress. Yes I have cheat days and yes I have setbacks but nothing that my long term healthy changes can’t get back in check. I now weigh an extremely healthy and lean 140lbs, no it’s not 120 but that number is not realistic or healthy for me anymore. What I’m really trying to say is no matter how old you are, what stage of life you’re in, what other people have planted in your head, YOU CAN CHANGE! And what better way to prove those A-holes wrong than by showing up a happier healthier you?
I don’t like to workout in front of people
Amy Langland -
I started CrossFit a little over 5 years ago at the heaviest weight I'd been ever. After two kids, I'd tried everything to lose weight. I had worked out with Sandra in the past so it was the first place I went to for help and I am so glad I did. I was a bit over 200 lbs when I started. I took a short hiatus when I was about 25 weeks pregnant with my third child. I was determined to get back and when I did, my weight was even higher at around 225. I couldn't do a lot of the movements others were doing. And by a lot I mean almost all. But that didn't matter. CrossFit is a sport that offers many alternative movements, like ring row instead of pulls up, and is able to accommodate all levels. And the gains come quickly. It might be doing 3 more ring rows before resting or adding 5 more pounds to the barbell. A gain is a gain.
CrossFit isn't only exercise, it's a group of people that all have the same goal of improving themselves. And through that culture, I was was able to lose weight, learn about nutrition and how to feed my body. I never would have found that without CrossFit. I had lost about 25 lbs with CrossFit alone and with additional help I was able to lose another 60. That was two years ago. Fast forward a few hard years with some really hard life events, I have gained some of that weight back. I have no doubt with my coach at CrossFit IF and the support from all the other athletes there I will be able to lose again. Not only do the the people at this box cheer you on and push you during a workout, but they do the same for you in your life outside of the box. The support the athlete at CrossFit IF have for each other is truly amazing.
I was very nervous when I first started, as I don't like to workout in front of people, and my anxiety tells me everyone is judging me, but that couldn't be more wrong. I am so glad I put myself out there and took the first step in joining CrossFit and CrossFit IF. It has strengthened not only my body, but my mind. I am a better mom and wife because of it. I can do so much more in life now. I go for walks and run with my kids, I run in races, I can lift my kids up without throwing out my back. There is no way I could have done that 5 or 6 years ago. I am setting an example for my kids and leading them down the path to a long and healthy life. I am showing them that just because something is hard, doesn't mean you shouldn't try. And if you fail or falter, get back up, brush yourself off and "just keep swimming".
Former Causal Jogger
Cara Mueller Dekker -
I was always a casual jogger. Let’s just say, I wasn’t bringing home medals but my blood pressure was good! However, as I got a little older (can’t be a spring chicken forever sadly), I noticed my knee would experience odd pings along with my back issues getting aggravated. CrossFit IF was just what I needed to mix my fitness routine up and strengthen areas that were weak. Bye bye, knee pings and backaches. However, what I have found is so much more than that: a community of positive encouragement and zero judgement, an accomplished feeling every day walking out, and just being a stronger version of myself! Plus being able to regularly witness some gorgeous sunrises is just an added bonus ☺️
Breast Cancer Survivor
Denise Benson -
In February 2017 at the age of 52 my BFF and I made the decision to join CrossFit-Inspiring Fitness. This was an extremely uncomfortable decision for me, actually us. I had never done anything of the sort. Totally fell in love immediately. The positive, encouraging atmosphere helped so much with my anxiety. Fast forward to January 2019....breast cancer diagnosis. Double mastectomy followed. I am proud to say I came through all of this much better than I could have ever imagined. I know Inspiring Fitness played a huge role in that. I went in stronger than I would have ever imagined. My doctors were thoroughly impressed with my recovery! My surgeon said my recovery had a lot to do with the strong physical shape I was in! The friendship and support that I receive from the people is like nothing I have ever been a part of before. In between my two surgeries I was able to come back for a few weeks...Wow, what a great feeling. Everything was scaled to what I needed. Sandra is so knowledgeable, supportive, and willing to scale for one individual. It was such a great feeling both physically and emotionally to get back at it. I now await my return again and cannot wait! It all helps so much in the healing process. I am so thankful I made the very wise decision to go out of my comfort zone! I originally joined thinking it would be nice to lose a few pounds but it's been much more than that!
Double Knee Replacement
Leslie Langan-Gluck -
” Don’t measure yourself using someone else’s yardstick.” Two years ago I hit rock bottom with my weight and lack of fitness. I reached out to my friend and humbly asked her for help. She brought me to CFIF. Sandra acted like it was normal for someone who was 56 years old and 100 pounds overweight to walk through her door. The list of things that I couldn’t do was staggering. I was 30 months post double knee replacement. I had no balance, strength or confidence in my body. Fast forward 2 years of coming to the box consistently 3 times a week. I have lost weight, gained strength, tone, balance and confidence! I trust my body and I am no longer in pain. My anxiety is managed when I consistently workout. I have found a tribe of people who are caring, supportive and encouraging. We celebrate each other’s successes and challenge one another every day. My life and my body are changed because I took the scariest first step of my life and asked for help. Am I perfect? Absolutely not! I am much better than I was and not finished yet. I am a work in progress!
Post-Partum “you’re doing great mommy”
Alycia Gooding -
I started CrossFit in early 2016. I was 6 months post-partum and physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unhappy. I was at my all-time heaviest weight, 260ish pounds. I knew I needed someone to help me, with a new baby, 2 demanding jobs, and home duties, I was not motivated to go to a gym and figure out how to use the equipment myself.
I used to lift weights in high school. I have always been strong. Growing up on a farm, it kind of just happens. Someone has to move the hay bales and feed the chickens their pails of grain.
But here I was starting from the beginning. I had no cardio, I got winded walking up the basement stairs.
Let’s fast forward 3 and a half years. I could tell you about all the heavy weights I can lift now, but I’m not here for that. I am here to tell you that you too can-do CrossFit. Everyone has their own reasons as to why, and mine might not be the same as yours.
Yes, I lost almost 60 pounds. Yes, I gained muscle. Yes, I can run up the stairs without breaking into a sweat. But we all know that any type of regimented activity will have those results. I’m going to talk about the things people do not necessarily think about once joining CrossFit.
My kids, they’ve come watch me crush a WOD, or watch me struggle through a WOD, they have watched me reach my breaking point, but they have never seen me give up. We need to be strong for our kids, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. We teach our kids by our actions and showing them that when physical strength has left us, mental strength gets us to the finish line. If we failed once and gave up, why would our children listen to us when we tell them to keep trying? CrossFit might break you one day, but it also whispers in your ear to come back the next day and try again. Tomorrow is another day, an entirely different workout, and possibly one you will crush! I love hearing my little one say “you’re doing great mommy” especially when I am struggling through a WOD, that is the only encouragement I need to finish.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. I suck at pull-ups, but I work at them every time we have them in a WOD. I was asked when I started 3 and half years ago what my goal was. My goal, which I am still working towards, is a strict pull-up. I’ve been working at it for 3 and half years. And one day I will get there. Just because I am not there yet, doesn’t mean that I should quit trying. Where would that get me?
I am not a size 2, I will never be a size 2. I do not want to be a size 2. I am here, letting CrossFit kick my ass some days, so that my girls know it is perfectly ok to never be a size 2. It is ok for them to pick strength over pants size. To eat food and enjoy it, but to also use food as fuel for our bodies. And CrossFit is teaching me all these things. Let our CrossFit community help teach you some amazing things too!!!
Angie Geisler -
Before I joined IF, I ran for exercise. I was in good health, but I was not strong. As I crept towards my 40s, I felt the need to incorporate strength training into my exercise routine. I tried out a few area gyms and hated them. There were weights I was somewhat familiar with and the employees showed me how to use the rest, but I didn’t know if my form was correct, how many reps to do, which ones to use on which days, etc. On top of that, I felt like everyone was judging me and I felt out of place. A friend encouraged me to try Inspiring Fitness. She said it is not like a normal gym; she said I would love it. She was so right! It was everything I needed. Sandra and the clients at IF made me feel welcome, wanted, and were so patient with me. Two years later, I am more fit and stronger than ever before in my life. The best part about it is that it is fun! I work out first thing in the morning and it is the best way to start my day. The atmosphere is upbeat and positive. People cheer for you and celebrate all of your accomplishments with you. Before IF, I had never worked out and thought to myself, “I can’t wait to come back tomorrow.” That is how I feel every time I leave Inspiring Fitness. I’m so incredibly thankful I took my friend’s suggestion two years ago.
Former College Athlete
Meghan Schmidt -
Two years ago, I was in a big funk and I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore. I had always been in pretty good shape having played sports throughout college, but I just got too comfortable with being comfortable…. Something needed to change.
I had been seeing a lot of people posting about CrossFit on Facebook, so I googled it to see what it was about. I found CFIF as the closest place to me, so I reached out to Sandra to see if she did 1 on 1 training. She said she didn’t but that I should come and try a class to see how I liked it. I was unsure as I wasn’t the biggest fan about working out in front of people... well two years later, down 25 lbs and 4inches off my waist, I’m still here and I love it!
The people I have met here have now become some of my closest friends and for that I will forever be grateful for! Sandra is awesome! Her knowledge and willingness to help everyone that walks through that door achieve their goals is what makes me keep coming back!
Bottom line, if you have doubts or hesitations about trying CrossFit… just try it once… I promise you will become addicted!
High School “C” team athlete
Vicki Depies -
At the age of 53 my BFF and I decided to step way out of our comfort zone and join CrossFit/ Inspiring Fitness. What a ride it has been. I had never done anything like that before. I like to tell the story that in high school I joined the volleyball team and was on the C team. Even while on the C team my most important job was keeping the bench warm! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do what I now do. Sandra starts everyone out at the level they need to be at...I started with a 20 pound empty bar. The fun, encouragement, and feeling you get from being able to do what we do is like no other. I have the privilege of working out with people 20 to 30 years younger than me who make me feel like I am just like them. The feeling of being able to lift 90 pounds over my head...cannot wait to reach 100 lbs. I also climb a rope! Sandra offers many different class times to fit everyone's needs. I go to the 5:00 AM class 3 to 4 days a week. A few years back I would never have imagined getting up at 4:00 AM 3 to 4 days a week to exercise; however, there is absolutely no better way to start your day! I feel like I will be doing this at the age of 90 yet!
Overcoming Degenerative Disc
Stacey Mammen -
July 20, 2015 was the day that changed everything! The day I walked into CFIF. Intimidating for sure but within 5 minutes I already knew it was the right decision. I needed something challenging and something to get me strong. At that point I had been dealing with degenerative discs and nerve pain. I had tried the chiropractor, physical therapy, injections, you name it. A surgeon did suggest surgery and that was a hard no in my mind! I had a setback 4 months in but when I returned, it was nothing but uphill from there. I educated myself and let Sandra guide me down that road of success. Since then I have not only become stronger physically and mentally, but have made the best friends inside those walls. The support and encouragement are unbelievable. I get the opportunity to challenge myself daily and do things that really are something to be proud of. CrossFit is not just for professional athletes. It’s not about lifting 300lbs every day. It’s about community, support and working on being the best person you can and want to be. It’s a lifestyle. It’s being committed yourself. I encourage you to step outside your box and come enter our box at CFIF. I promise you it’ll be life changing, and I can’t wait to welcome you to this family! ❤️
Time For Herself
Julia Ingelse -
I started CrossFit 3 years ago. I was at a point in my life where my babies were all in school full time and I realized I actually had time to do something for myself! I was not happy with the way my body looked and the fact that I never really lost the baby weight! After a friend telling me several times how fun CFIF was, I decided to give it a try! It is truly one of the best things I have ever done for myself!! I have learned so much on this journey. I have learned what and how to eat. I have learned how to fuel my body the right way. I have learned not to be so hard on myself. I have learned that I can do things I never thought I would be able to do. Most of all I have learned to embrace ALL of this body that God gave me! I did loose the weight I wanted to, but I also gained so much more!! I truly value all the friendships I have made and I cannot imagine my life without Sandra and this wonderful community!!💕
I Can't Do That Stuff
Kati Robishaw -
In October 2018, my good friend Carmen invited me to CrossFit. My first thought was "I can't do that stuff..." I actually said that out loud. But she assured me I could. The first few weeks were rough, I tried to keep up with everyone else...athletes that have been practicing for years. I very quickly learned that scaling was not a crime, and you need to listen to your body and modify workouts when necessary. The owner Sandra was always there to offer a modified workout option if needed. The first week we had to do pull ups. Nope. Can't do it. I immediately felt defeated. Sandra had me hang from the bar. Just hang. Now I am slowly getting there with bands and I know I will eventually do a pull up without band assistance. Why am I writing this? Because I needed this in my life and I never knew it. CrossFit I.F - Inspiring Fitness is a place that offers incredible support, a mental escape and I know without a doubt that I am 100% a better mother, wife, daughter and friend because I take the time to focus on me. The energy in the box is infectious, everyone pushes you to be a better athlete. This is my tribe and I am so thankful for the support and encouragement they provide. I go 4 days a week. 4 hours a week. That's it. Those 4 hours have not only transformed my body and helped me to lose over 20 pounds, but they have also transformed my physical and mental health. I am so glad I took the leap and did it.