Group Classes – Sometimes More IS More

When I first started working out I went to the gym alone and would stand on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour moving at a very moderate pace. I needed a TV right in front of my machine to last the hour and if I woke up not wanting to go, then I didn’t go. I burned my 350-400 calories and was on my way.

After some coaxing from a friend, I tried a group fitness class for the first time and was surprised at how much harder I pushed myself simply because I was in a room full of people doing the same routine as me. Although most people in a group fitness class are only focused on their own workout, I felt compelled to add a little more weight or move a little faster because I felt their eyes on me.

One of the things I love most about CrossFit is that our workouts are always in a group setting and each workout is scored. I never played sports as a kid, so I never had a reason to compete. CrossFit has given me a sense of competition, which pushes me to do the very best that I can do every workout. Intensity is hard to achieve working out alone, especially if you are new to your regimen. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point that I push myself to full capacity on my own, but it certainly cannot compare to working out with a group of people. For most though, motivation comes from the other people in the class with them and the accountability of their peers. Knowing that your 6 AM buddies will give you a hard time if you miss a workout, or making plans to meet your friend at the gym after work will increase your likelihood of getting your workout in.

Human beings are social creatures and most of us thrive in a group environment. The camaraderie that you gain from group fitness is unmatched and we’ve witnessed lifelong friendships and even marriages develop from our classes. If you’re struggling to hit milestones in your fitness, try a group class out. You’ll be amazed at the difference between doing your workout solo in your garage or regular gym and doing your workout in the presence of like-minded people who have become your close friends and accountability partners.

Beate Heyman – Fitter now than in her 20’s

With two small children, I had been struggling to go to the YMCA.  I became very bored using the equipment there.  It was especially difficult because my daughter cried every time I dropped her off in the little daycare.  I would only be able to workout for 15 minutes before the sitters would come get me because she was crying.

I first came to CrossFit Bradenton after my husband Luke told me I should try it out.  I was so nervous, but my nerves were calmed when my great friend Sara agreed to come try it with me.  I was hooked! With the great coaching from Paris, Beth, and the rest of the staff, I went from scaling everything to doing things RX (as prescribed)!!! Those first RX movements were an amazing milestones for me!

There are always going to be movements in CrossFit that I would like to get better at and more weight that I’d like to move, but most of all I’m so much healthier and stronger now in my 30’s than I ever was in my 20’s! I’m so happy I found a way to be a better and stronger version of myself!

Amanda Gilbert – Super Nurse to “Super-Fit”

I have always wanted to try CrossFit, but someone once told me that it was for the “super-fit” athletes, so I never tried it because I was not “super-fit”. My co-worker Beate worked at the hospital with me and I learned that she does CrossFit and after she told me a little about it, so I decided to give it a try.  It was very different than I expected. I thought I would feel intimidated and would be expected to do one arm pull ups or something. But it was so amazing, the atmosphere was very friendly and I felt welcome.  The atmosphere was so welcoming, that I have and continue to form friendships with some awesome people and everyone is so encouraging and supportive. One of the things that I’m proudest of was when I learned to climbed the rope. I have never even done that as a child and to be able to do it as an adult was amazing. I am currently working on building more strength, getting a new Deadlift record, and also working on my endurance by running more. My favorite memory was competing in Festivus Games and getting second place with my partner Beate.

Strong on the Outside and the Inside

I started looking for CrossFit without knowing why.  When Paris asked me that question during the sign-up process, my answer surprised me: because I want to be as strong on the outside as I am on the inside. As a full-time working mother of 2 daughters, I had n0 time to myself.  I could also feel and see myself getting less healthy as time passed.  I didn’t want to show this example to my children so I decided I would find something that could be both: time to myself and an activity that improves my health.

To be honest, my first impression of CrossFit was feeling intimidated.  I really thought I didn’t belong there with such accomplished athletes.  I’ve never been a great athlete (does cheerleading count?) and I never thought of myself as competitive or strong.

I could say my first “bright spot” was a PR or when I dropped 2 sizes … But really my first and best “bright spot” was meeting so many friendly members in my 5AM class.  Who knew anyone could be friendly at 5AM?!  Dee, Neddy, Ginger, Ray, Brock, the coaches, and the many other 5AM-ers were welcoming, helpful, and genuinely friendly.

Fast forward a year and I feel a million times better than when I started.  I am specifically working on speed and upper body strength.  I am constantly striving to improve – to be more competitive and strong.  Not competing with others, but competing with myself and what I think is possible.

My experience with CrossFit, and specifically with CFB, has been amazing. My first Murph, the Open, lifting over 200 lbs. in a deadlift, sticking with my training for a year now … As my new favorite quote says: “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.  It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

From Gymnast to CrossFit Competitor

I decided to give CFB a try when my sister, Katie, suggested I join her for a workout. I  had been attending boot camps and kickboxing classes, but I had become bored with them and was ready for a new, different challenge. After a couple of workouts I decided it was just what I was looking for. Rope climbs, handstand push ups, toes to bar etc. I hadn’t done those movements in years. I never thought I would be this passionate about a sport other than gymnastics. All the coaches were very welcoming & encouraging and I immediately felt comfortable at CFB.

I love how there are always new goals to set and something new to aim for in this sport. As with many crossfitters, the ring muscle up was a skill I was determined to master. At first I thought it was a lofty goal, but after many, many failed attempts, tons of advice and coaching, and through my own stubbornness, I was able to get it. Anyone who knows me, knows my competitive drive, so it is no surprise that I really enjoy the competition aspect of crossfit. One that stands out for me, is Wodapalooza. It was such an unforgettable, challenging weekend. It was at times, overwhelming and I had ups and downs throughout the three days of competition, but I pushed myself harder than I imagined I could and had an awesome time. It is a crossfit achievement I am truly proud of. Recently I’ve decided to focus more on my olympic lifts and plan on competing in a weightlifting meet in the near future.

Some of my favorite CFB memories are of course all the competitions. I had never competed on a team or played team sports prior to crossfit, so I was extremely nervous about the first team comp I signed up for. That comp stands out as one of my favorite CFB memories though. I got to compete along side my sister and work together as a team. Battle of the Boxes, Girls Gone Rx, the Throwdowns… whether it be on a team or as an individual, I always enjoy myself.  I honestly have fond memories of each and every one of them and have gained many friends along the way. Regardless of where I end up on the leaderboard, I always take something positive away from each competition.

When to Scale Workouts and Why

One of the questions I’m asked most often as a coach is, “How should I scale the workout?” It comes up almost daily with newer athletes and it has a multitude of answers. At CrossFit Bradenton, our workouts are designed to elicit a specific stimulus and to hit the three metabolic pathways (Phosphagen, Glycolytic and Oxidative) over the course of a week. This will give you a well-rounded routine and will make you more physically fit.  The Phosphagen pathway is used for short, high intensity workouts such as sprinting and one rep max lifts.  Glycolytic is used for 1-3 minutes of high intensity exercises, and the Oxidative system is used for longer workouts performed at lower intensity such as a half/full marathon.

One of the great things about CrossFit is that there are infinite ways to scale a workout so that any athlete, regardless of their fitness level, should be able to perform some version of the same workout.  Knowledgeable coaches should be able to tell you what the desired response of the workout is in order to help guide you in making your scaling choices.  Applying time caps to our workouts has helped our athletes decide what weights to use and if they should do the prescribed movements or scale them. Although an athlete may have the ability to do the prescribed weights and movements, the desired outcome of the workout may be missed if they choose that route. Our job as coaches is to help our athletes choose the proper scaling.  For example, the classic CrossFit benchmark, “Fran” is designed to test the Glycolytic energy system. Glycolysis is the breakdown of carbohydrates (such as glucose) to produce energy. Performing Fran in 10 or more minutes changes the desired response of the workout and puts it more into the Oxidative pathway at a lower in intensity.  

The vast majority of people who join a CrossFit Gym are looking to become healthier for the long haul and that’s what we strive to deliver. The constantly varied aspect of our workouts helps to achieve that goal as well as preparing you for the unknown and unknowable events that life will inevitably test us with.  By testing each energy system consistently, our metabolic efficiency improves and we will see those improvements in new personal records on our benchmark workouts.

CrossFit Bradenton: Our Community

CrossFit Bradenton: Our Community
By Guest Contributor, Alia White, CrossFit Bradenton’s Joy Girl

In a world where life is always on the go and there never seems to be enough time, CrossFit Bradenton serves as a haven, providing an environment where one can, of course, physically work out, but also mentally work out. Our CrossFit community is comprised of fellow people from all walks of life, most of whom you would have never had the opportunity to even meet without CrossFit Bradenton. We join to push ourselves to our physical limits each day, sweating and suffering, only to come in and do it again the next day to improve ourselves, together. We provide one another with encouragement and support, and build friendships. Drama, life worries, and struggles are left at the door, and for your one hour class, we are simply humans on the same journey.
CrossFit Bradenton is an environment where you are welcomed, treated with respect, and valued. It is a place where you can be humbled and work to mitigate your ego. Hate, ignorance, and shame are not tolerated. Our CrossFit community is not just about technique, personal records, and competitions; it is about relating to your fellow athlete, on a face-to-face basis, through life’s ups and downs. It is about knowing that, in spite of what is going on in each individual’s world at the moment, our one hour class period is a time where we can be ourselves, be accepted, and be backed by our community.

Sara Nader-Hund: Strong in Both Body and Mind

I was first brought to CrossFit Bradenton by my dear friend Beate Heyman. I had been working out at “The Y “daily and running. After several years of group fitness, weightlifting, and completing a few marathons, I was looking for a new challenge. Beate and I tried CrossFit Bradenton. I remember being so nervous and the gym looked nothing like what I expected. There were no machines and a lot of open space, and some ropes. I really didn’t know what they did “at CrossFit” but I was definitely curious.

Paris and Beth created a great first experience for me and assured me that CrossFit can be tailored to anyone’s fitness level. While I was in decent shape, I was neither able to do pull ups, nor had I ever done Olympic weightlifting. They helped me find movements and modifications that would build strength, and eventually be able to complete movements such as pull-ups and handstand push-ups.

Since that first day, I have learned to do most of the CrossFit movements and still, some elude me. I truly believe this is the reason people fall in love with this sport. No matter how many skills you are able to attain, there is always more to work on. Every day is different, every workout is different. There are no routines to learn and progress happens quickly and tangibly.

Meeting milestones, reaching personal bests, getting a “first” (pull-up, bar muscle up, double under) are all bright spot moments. The real way however, that CrossFit has created a bright spot in my life, is the way it has empowered me to try achieving “hard” things outside the gym [educationally and professionally speaking]. What started out as a desire to change up my fitness routine proved to be much more. Creating a strong body surprisingly segwayed into building a strong mind and even stronger will.






Liza Zona: Transformed Through CrossFit and a Healthy Diet

My CF journey! I started CrossFit 7 years ago after working out in a cardio class that got boring quick! My firsts 6 months were so challenging but I kept after it and watched myself become someone I never knew I could be, an athlete!  I love to lift and just never knew it. I love to push myself and just never knew it! I have some weakness but I also have some strength and CF bring those to light!

I started to transform my body, build some nice muscles on my frame.  Then my box did a Paleo challenge. Most boxes were pro-paleo even though HQ was pushing The Zone and I lost some weight and kept doing Paleo for another 3 mos. I looked the best I had ever since my wedding. But then summer….my weight slowly crept up. I did another challenge the following year and boom weight came off and then summer again! This became my life. Strict paleo for 3 months then 80/20 for a few months and then summer! I then had rotator surgery and somewhat used that as an excuse not to eat better. Plus I was honestly sick of denying myself certain foods just because a diet told me too, not because I was gluten intolerant!

I moved to Florida and if anything become more lazy about my nutrition. Way too many tasty fast food joints here! My weight crept to probably it’s highest except pregnancy! I knew I had to do something and I started macro-counting after seeing some amazing transformations on Facebook.  Eating a certain amount of protein, carbs & fat every day not going over nor under my allotted numbers. I’m down 42lbs in 20 weeks and I deny myself nothing! No I’m not eating candy & cookies all day but if I want to treat myself once & a while with them I do.  I eat bread almost daily. Yogurt & rice on the regular! I’ve found healthy foods that now make me just as happy as the unhealthy ones used too.  My performance in CrossFit has been a 180! I use to struggle to finish the WoD in the time-cap and now that’s hardly an issue. My lifts are mostly at my pre-surgery numbers and some I’ve even beaten. I started walking while my twins trained at soccer and built myself up to now running 5k 2x a week, and OMG I even like running, can’t believe I am that person now!

I’m a new person inside & out and my goal is to be this woman forever.  I’m thinking of trying for things like bar muscle-ups that I would’ve never thought could be done as the old me, this new me has a chance, slim one due to my shoulder but one never knows what they are capable until you try! If you are looking to change, do it, you honestly have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.  There are so many diets out there, search for the one that’s perfect for you and the one that can truly become a lifestyle not just a diet, those will be sustainable!

Do You Need An Accountability Partner?

By Guest Contributor Hannah Winner, CrossFit Level 1 Coach

The CrossFit community is undoubtedly one of the most supportive when it comes to individual success in a sport. Sure there is competition between fellow athletes, but seldom do you see ‘rivals’ not cheering each other on to keep moving or finish a wod. However, it can still be hard to motivate change in your at home habits or gym routine. This is why finding an accountability partner can be extremely beneficial.

What is an accountability partner?

  • An accountability partner is someone who will hold you to a different set of standards than you may hold yourself. This person has a clear understanding of your goals and is looking to support and motivate you on this journey. At CrossFit Bradenton I have seen them being used to make athletes more aware of their nutritional setbacks, or making sure their partner does extra work to conquer new movements and PR’s.

How to Decide what person may be a good accountability partner for you?

  1. Is this person’s success a reason you have picked them?

Your partner should not be picked just because they are your friend. Ideally, this person will be someone who has taken action and achieved something that you admire. If you are trying to eat better and your accountability partner doesn’t see a problem with the phrase “Treat yo self,” when it comes to a sleeve of Oreo’s, you may have picked the wrong person to keep you on track. Facing temptation will happen in the outside world, but your accountability partner should not be the source of temptation.

2. Does this person have the capacity to follow through with being an accountability partner to you?

When choosing an accountability partner, you should discuss whether they have the time and/or energy to follow through with being there for you. Overseeing other people’s work or feeling like there are deadlines for checking in may be too much for someone to handle on top of their own responsibilities.

3. Is this person going to sugarcoat their words when you fall off track or be bluntly honest with you?

The former may not make them a great fit, but blunt should not feel like you are being berated either.

Things to talk about when you are deciding how you want to utilize your accountability partner.

  • What are your goals and are they realistic?
  • What steps can you take to realistically help you meet these goals?
  • How are you going to check in with your accountability partner? Frequency, method, etc.
  • Will there be consequences should you fall off of your plan? If so, what are they?

It is true in most cases, that you are your toughest critic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are holding yourself accountable. It is easy to tell yourself that you are going to be responsible enough to wake up earlier, eat better, work harder or take time to focus on your weaknesses.

In the end, the decision is yours. You can try to go it alone, but remember that it is always acceptable to ask for help.

Members of CrossFit Bradenton may click the link below to schedule a goal setting session if you need some help:

Member Goal Setting