Athlete of Month

Nicole Long
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Nicole Long

Athlete of the month: Summer 2018
Details
Our Athlete of the SUMMER shout out goes to Nicole Long!  Nicole and her sidekick Dylan were a part of the CrossFit Sterling family even before we opened our doors!  Nicole is a working mom, a fantastic CrossFitter and an overall amazing person! And she does our social media for us – thanks Nicole!!
Read on to hear her story! Watch out for Question #5 – it may cause some water works!
Q. WHEN DID YOU START WITH CROSSFIT STERLING?
There are two answers to this question. I started at CrossFit Sterling quite literally the first day I was cleared for exercise postpartum. I drove from my OB follow-up appointment on Friday, July 25th, 2014 straight to the noon class lol. I was so excited to get back into working out. I don’t count that as my official start date though because with my work schedule and Dylan’s newborn schedule, I wasn’t able to come to classes consistently. And by that I mean I was coming once every two months, and that’s generous. On November 30th, 2015, however, I finally settled enough on a new project AND had gotten fairly disgusted with myself that I seriously committed to showing up and getting back into shape the right way. Been coming consistently ever since!
Q. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN? 
I originally fell in love with CrossFit itself in 2012, when I was in grad school. My sister, Alex, and I had happened upon it in a Google search and we were excited there was one close by in Tyson’s. Alex had just graduated from high school that June, and by the time my work, school and summer schedule opened up, it was September before I was able to try a class. It was a noon class on a Wednesday. The coaches who I would ultimately follow to CrossFit Sterling greeted me at the door. At that time, I couldn’t even do chest-to-deck push-ups from my knees, and we were doing ‘Cindy’ that day. I was the new girl who couldn’t do push-ups from her knees and needed Rick’s help getting into the band so that I could do pull-ups because I needed the thickest band they had. I tried to be embarrassed, but Ben and Rick were the best, taking extra time to make sure I felt as comfortable as I could AND keeping a careful eye out to make sure I was learning the movements and forms correctly. They did not care about the thickness of the band I needed, they cared where my hands were on the bar for an effective pull-up and that my chin got over the bar like everyone else’s. They made it clear, and I knew confidently, that they would never let me lift or move unsafe. So, when they left the other gym to start Sterling, it was a no-brainer to switch gyms. So much of CrossFit and the CrossFit experience (for me at least) is the quality of the coaching.
 Q. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO YOUR FIRST CLASS, AND HAS THAT CHANGED NOW?

My first CrossFit class ever I was intimidated out of my mind. I knew absolutely nothing, and everyone else seemed to know absolutely everything. But, I also like to feel challenged, so I was excited to set goals and reach for them. That part hasn’t changed – I come into every month with goals and aspirations, whether they be weight goals, gymnastics goals, technique or mobility goals. I always strive for that feeling of challenge in my workouts. I also initially was mortified about finishing last when I first started. I was a basketball player and coach for most of my life, so speed and finishing fast were the pinnacle goals. It took a lot of patience from Ben and Rick to break that habit and drill the importance of finishing reps for quality, not speed.

 Q. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS? HOW?
Once I got into CrossFit consistently, I started participating in the nutrition challenges Sterling and my old gym put on. Currently, I follow a mostly Paleo diet, and I’ve done a couple of Whole30s. I didn’t consider myself an “unhealthy” eater prior to modifying my eating habits, but learning about Paleo and Whole30 really allowed me to discover how foods affect (or don’t affect) my body. So now, I avoid things like legumes and rice, which do affect me, but also happily indulge in acai bowls and cream in my coffee since they don’t impact me.
Q. DESCRIBE ANY SUCCESSES YOU’VE EXPERIENCED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT.
 Wow. Quite honestly, too many to name. Self-confidence and pride in myself, my body and what it can do. I’ve tracked every workout I’ve done since I started CrossFit in 2012 and to page back through those early days and see what my maxes were then and knowing what they are now is pretty cool. There are so many things I never thought I would be able to do, movements that seemed preposterously out of reach for me (pull-ups being an easy example that comes to mind), and now I can do them. It’s also the little things. It’s that quiet satisfaction of being able to tell the well-intentioned grocer that I do not need any help carrying Dylan and my grocery bags to the car. Or that Dylan looks forward to coming to the gym as much as I do, and happily skips away from me so that she can do stretch progression, Russian twists, abmat situps or burpees with other members. Or that Dylan could watch a show on her tablet but would rather drag out the kid’s stool and toy barbell from the kids’ room and insist that Rick coach her through her own workout. Or that Dylan sees all the examples of body positivity, healthy lifestyles, community support, friendships, working hard and being successful week-in and week-out. Don’t get me wrong, hitting lifts and PRs are amazing feelings that I love, but the true success of CrossFit in my life is in those smaller details.
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE ON THE FENCE OR INTIMIDATED BY CROSSFIT?

I think I would first tell them there is CrossFit the sport, and CrossFit the fitness. They operate under the same name, but they are distinct entities with distinct goals. I would tell them about the unrivaled community and camaraderie. I would tell them about the support and encouragement. And I would also tell them my story. I was that intimidated person on the fence. But sometimes, you just have to jump and try it. No one is going to shame you, everyone has your back. And you can try a class for free, so why not?

  

Pam and Kevin Benedict
Member name:

Pam and Kevin Benedict

Athlete of the month: May 2018
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This month’s Athlete of the Month shout out goes to…Pam & Kevin Benedict!

Parents of one of our members, Pam and Kevin hesitatingly tried CrossFit at the urging of their daughter a little over a year ago and are now faithful regulars at our 5:30am classes! Read on to learn more about them and the successes they have seen so far at CrossFit Sterling!

Q. WHEN DID YOU START WITH CROSSFIT STERLING?

Pam: I started in February of 2017

Kevin: I started late March of 2017

Q. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN?   

Pam: Our daughter had been doing crossfit there and encouraged me to try it when my running partner had an injury and could no longer work out with me.

Kevin: Because I saw Pam getting up for 6 am classes – and she is NOT a morning person- so this crossfit must be something good!

Q. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO YOUR FIRST CLASS, AND HAS THAT CHANGED NOW?

Pam: I was very intimidated and not sure I could do it- especially the weight lifting. I’m so surprised at how much I have accomplished and getting stronger and it is really a community where you are encouraged by the coaches and all the other members!

Kevin: I was never much of a weight lifter and not very strong so I thought it was going to be really hard to do the lifting. Now I am in the best shape of my life, even more than when I was doing mandatory PT while in the military.

Q. DESCRIBE ANY SUCCESSES YOU’VE EXPERIENCED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT.
Pam: I was never really an athlete like Kevin but doing Crossfit, I have learned how to do so much. And I love that Kevin and I get to work out together, getting stronger while having fun together too!

Kevin: I’m getting stronger, learning to lift weights and my balance and agility have gotten better.

Q. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS? HOW?

Pam: Not at first but the more I worked out, the healthier I wanted to be. Kevin and I did the RP challenge together and now we have healthier meals together. 
Kevin: I definitely changed my eating habits. We did the RP nutritional challenge, where I increased protein, cut out sugars and eat less processed foods. I even eat vegetables that I have never eaten in my life.
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE ON THE FENCE OR INTIMIDATED BY CROSSFIT?
Pam: Just try it – because Kevin and I are grandparents in our 50’s, and the coaches at Crossfit Sterling inspire us and encourage us to do things we never thought we were capable of doing!
Kevin: Absolutely do it! It’s a simple process: the workouts are planned out so you just show up and follow the coaches instructions.
Mert Basdogan
Member name:

Mert Basdogan

Athlete of the month: April 2018
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This month’s Athlete of the Month shout out goes to…Mert Basdogan!

Mert truly cares about learning proper technique and how to move correctly, and has been instrumental in encouraging many of his co-workers to try CrossFit as well. He always has a positive attitude and we are so glad he decided to join our gym. Read on to learn more about him!

 

Q. WHEN DID YOU START WITH CROSSFIT STERLING?

I started in June 2017, I had some on and off periods but it’s been one hell of a 10 months so far. 

Q. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN?   

Back at that time, I had no idea what Crossfit was but I was reading a lot about how squats and deadlifts are full body exercises and one of the best way of gaining strength. I couldn’t find any proper gyms with barbell racks. CrossFit Sterling was nearby my home and work so I went for a visit mainly for the Barbell Club. Colleen being so friendly and helpful, she told me all about Crossfit and it piqued my interest. I thought, hey, a little cardio on top won’t kill me so gave it a try. I am glad I did.

Q. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO YOUR FIRST CLASS, AND HAS THAT CHANGED NOW?

I was quite a bit nervous, mainly because of the fast and non-stop (I am looking at you AMRAPS) pace of exercising which I was completely stranger to. Now I embrace the challenge because I can see my stamina is also increasing along with my strength. 

Q. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS? HOW?

It did change for the better, though not as much as I would like. I still have my cheat days. However, I am trying to get more sleep, eat more protein and carbs heavy meals and stay hydrated, especially on Crossfit days, to have more energy and exercise and recover better. 

Q. DESCRIBE ANY SUCCESSES YOU’VE EXPERIENCED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT.

At the beginning I was barely able to hang on to the bar, but now I can do multiple toes to bars and pull-ups. I also didn’t have any barbell experience before so I always pay extra attention to technique and I can feel like it’s continuously improving. And I just joined the 200# club on deadlifts so I am pretty happy with my progress. Next I am looking forward to tackling handstand push-ups and muscle-ups so I will be working on getting them in the coming months.

 
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE ON THE FENCE OR INTIMIDATED BY CROSSFIT?
I understand the intimidation, I had the same feeling. The coaches and people here are super friendly and supportive, it makes you feel you are welcomed and part of the team. I suggest people to try one of the classes and see for themselves, it changes the life for the better.
Nicole DiMario
Member name:

Nicole DiMario

Athlete of the month: March 2018
Details

This month’s Athlete of the Month shout out goes to…Nicole DiMario!

Nicole is coming up on her CrossFit one year anniversary and her hard work is showing with all her recent firsts! Read on to learn more about her and get inspired!

Q. WHEN DID YOU START WITH CROSSFIT STERLING?

I dropped in for my first class in late March 2017, which happened to be 17.5 for the Open, and I did the basics series in April.

Q. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN?  

My younger brother, Mark, had been doing CrossFit for several years in Pennsylvania. I admired his dedication to fitness, but more important, I saw how he was part of a community at CrossFit. I wanted to find something like that–a place where I could try something new physically and also meet some new people.

Q. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO YOUR FIRST CLASS, AND HAS THAT CHANGED NOW?

Well, I had no idea when I signed up for a “Community Class” that I’d see such an intense class–(it was an Open workout.) When I arrived, a few people told me that this was not a typical class. (Funny story: Double unders were part of the workout that day, but I had no clue what those were. I remember thinking, “Why don’t they just call this jumping rope?” I had no idea I wasn’t doing the same thing as everyone else.) I also remember how welcoming and warm the coaches and members were. That feeling, of course, has not changed! Over the past year I’ve gained a lot of confidence with the different movements and workouts. I’m still working toward those double unders, though!

Q. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS? HOW?

I wish I could say that I’ve cleaned up my eating, but that’s just not the case yet. I joke with Rick that I have the diet of a four-year-old: pizza, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly. (The pizza is usually from Whole Foods, so that counts for something, right?)

Q. DESCRIBE ANY SUCCESSES YOU’VE EXPERIENCED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT.

I’ve hit a handful of firsts in the last six months: chin-ups, toes-to-bar, and rope climbs. I was always intimidated by trying to climb the rope, so I was pretty surprised when I made it to the top.

Q. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE ON THE FENCE OR INTIMIDATED BY CROSSFIT?

I completely get the intimidation factor, but it’s not like that at all at CrossFit Sterling. Bring a buddy if that will make you feel more comfortable, and I promise I’ll say hi!

Melinda Villalba
Member name:

Melinda Villalba

Athlete of the month: February 2018
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This month’s Athlete of the Month shout out goes to…Melinda Villalba!

A regular at our noon classes with Coach Rick, Melinda has gotten so strong since first joining CrossFit Sterling! Read on to learn more about her and get inspired by her determination!

Q. WHEN DID YOU START WITH CROSSFIT STERLING?

March 2015 so almost 3 years ago

Q. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN?  

Well… it helps that I work next door to the gym :). But, it was really after getting to talk to Rick & Colleen at a Redskins game (organized by our building complex property management company).  I had done every different kind of workout routine…belonged to the big gyms, had a personal trainer, did Zumba classes, cycling, yoga… you name it I probably tried it.   But, I wanted to kick it up a notch and really work on getting results in overall strength and endurance.  I thought CrossFit Sterling could be the answer.

Q. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO YOUR FIRST CLASS, AND HAS THAT CHANGED NOW?

Goodness, I’m sure I was a little intimidated since I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and a little worried I was going to pass out!  I also thought I wouldn’t know how to do any of the lifting moves and could hurt myself.  But I quickly saw how caring the coaches were and ensured everyone was working at a level that made sense for them.  And they are so cautious about proper technique to ensure safety!  Now I can’t wait to see what the next workout is and pushing myself to the next level!

Q. DID YOU CHANGE YOUR EATING HABITS? HOW?

Honestly, the first 2 years, I didn’t make any changes to my diet and although I got stronger, I didn’t see any change to my weight (actually went up a little).  So, a year ago, I made some changes by reducing my sugar intake and just being more aware of what I was putting in my body and definitely portion control!  I lost 10 lbs and finally felt lean and mean!  I also feel I have amped up my strength training ever since.

Q. DESCRIBE ANY SUCCESSES YOU’VE EXPERIENCED SINCE STARTING CROSSFIT.

I’ve had different types of successes but the biggest is my overall strength and improvement to my overall technique of all the different CrossFit moves.  I’m proud that I truly know the correct technique to do all the moves correctly and that has ultimately got me to where I am now.  In terms of specific successes, I have learned to do consecutive T2B’s, I do push-ups on my feet (no easy task for a 6’1” woman!), I do 100+# power cleans, do full rope climbs in workouts and can finally do a pull-up!!!

Q. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANYONE ON THE FENCE OR INTIMIDATED BY CROSSFIT?

Well… first, I’d recommend they try it specifically at CrossFit Sterling because of the wonderful community environment and as much as you can make it competitive if that drives you (which it does for me), it never “feels” like a competition among your fellow Crossfitters.  We are a team and rooting each other on.  No one should be intimidated to come try it… we are all here for the same reason.   To get stronger and healthier.  Just do it!

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Hint: You are here because you are ready to make a change.

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