Greg Miller: Founding Member & Law Enforcement Officer

Several of my very good friends were very involved in the CrossFit community and had nothing but great things to say about the workouts and how they related to my career in law enforcement.  Two of which were/are in law enforcement and attested to the benefits of a constantly varied workout.  I attended the Grand Opening of CrossFit Bradenton with my friend Donelle and after recovering from the workout I was surprised as to how welcoming, supportive and informed the coaches (Paris and Beth) were about fitness and weightlifting.  From that moment I was hooked.

Initially was I somewhat intimidated about the workouts because I had never done anything that strenuous before even when I was in college doing strength training.  The workouts are hard for a reason because change doesn’t come easy.  It only comes with hard work and after the first couple of classes that slight intimidation turned into eager anticipation to the classes and workouts.

My first accomplishment was getting my first ring muscle up.  We also got it on video too! I don’t know what spurred Coach Paris to video me just toying around on the rings but his coaches sense must have been tingling.

Ever since my recent car accident, I have been “gun shy” of anything involving heavy deadlifts or heavy Olympic lifts because of a lower back injury.  I’m working on strengthening my lower back and gaining flexibility at the same time to get back to where I was before the accident.

I have two favorite memories.  The first was when I was doing an Open workout and Johnny was my judge.  It was a workout that involved heavy cleans and hand stand push-ups.  I was tired and all I remember hearing was Johnny yelling at me “Find another F*%@ing gear man!’ “That shit isn’t heavy!!” “F*%@ing power clean it!”  We still laugh about that today.  The second is when I had the “Ah Ha” moment for Atlas Athletic Apparel.  We were doing heavy split jerks and I had drank a little too much pre-workout and out of nowhere the phrase “Move Weight” was yelled after getting a PR.  Who knew that pre-workout and adrenaline could make someone creative?

Jhojam Torres: A Beast Unleashed

I’ve been working out ever since I could remember. I practiced Judo when I was 4 and at age 7 I got into Greco Roman Wrestling. Later, I moved to the US with my family and started playing football. Once I was in high school I joined the Football, Weightlifting and Wrestling teams. I also worked out with the Cross Country team and track teams as well. After high school I started working and didn’t exercise for about 5 years. I gained close to 100 lbs.

In January 2016 I made a promise to start getting healthy and started doing Insanity and lost 30 lbs. Then I did Body Beast and lost another 20 lbs., but soon I became bored of my routine. One day my sister told me of this gym that she was going to. She said that she does CrossFit. What’s CrossFit I asked her? She told me and I committed to try it. I didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived at the gym, I saw an open floor, Olympic weights, and ropes hanging from the ceiling. I got a sudden rush and chills! I had to sign up as soon as possible. I started with their Foundations sessions, which taught me the basic movements of CrossFit. I soon asked myself, “what the hell am I doing”? However, I pushed through the workouts and when I finished I often felt like I had died. It was actually like I was reborn though and through it I started to learn my body and what I needed.

After my knee surgery I never thought I would ever be able to straighten my leg or sleep without having a pillow under my leg. Coach Jason showed me what I needed to do to work on my limited mobility. The owner, Paris instructed me on proper form and skills and coach Mike guided me to push harder everyday. Everyone there, including my fellow athletes has helped me along the way. I still work on my flexibility and getting full range of motion with proper form. I’ll never forget the first bar muscle up that I did. I had been here just for a short time and wanted it so bad. I was about to give up and go home when everybody got around me and gave me pointers and cheered me on So I jumped and I swung and I pulled hard as I could! I did it!! Thanks to the support and encouragement from everybody I feel like I can overcome any obstacle that gets in my way and live life to the fullest.



Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Compete in the CrossFit Games Open

The CrossFit Games Open is upon us again. This is one of the most exciting times of the year to be a CrossFitter! The CrossFit Open last from February 23 to March 27th and consists of 5 weeks of workouts that are published on Friday and must be completed by the following Monday. This will be mine and Beth’s 5th consecutive year competing in the Open.  Even from the first year that I competed when I was still relatively new to CrossFit, I always found it interesting to see how I stacked up against others in my gym and my division throughout the world. I went from being in the top 20% in my first year to into the top 5% over the last two years. I’m still trying to make it to the Master’s Qualifiers (the Master’s version of Regionals) and I hope that 2017 is the year that I do. Whether I do or not, doesn’t really matter all that much though, because that is not the only reason that I compete in the Open. I have many reasons why I compete as do most people, but here are a few reasons why YOU should do it.

  1. It’s the largest community event of the CrossFit Calendar.
  2. To be a part of your Affiliate Community
  3. To compete with hundreds of thousands across the world from all walks of life.
  4. To see how you stack up against the rest of the state, world, your occupation, the fittest on earth or just others in your box.
  5. It will highlight the areas where you need to improve on.
  6. To see just how far your fitness has come in the last year.
  7. It’s the first step in qualifying for Regionals or the even The CrossFit Games.
  8. There is a division for everyone, including: Rx, Scaled, Teen and Masters divisions (including 35-39 – new this year).
  9. Competition will help you push yourself more than you thought capable.
  10. It’s a blast!

Chris Carey: Chasing a 500# Deadlift

I was looking for a way to get in better shape and lose some weight. Instead of having to come up with my own workout it was nice having it planned out and coaches helping you improve along the way. I remember thinking these people are crazy. I remember being in awe watching people do some of the workouts and different movements.  Now I know those people have worked hard to improve and I try to get advice from them so hopefully I can keep improving in those movements and exercises. One of my bright spots was surviving the “Karen” WOD.  It was the first named WOD I did after signing up a week or two before that.
At the moment I am working on getting my deadlift over 500 pounds and continuing to improve my cardio and strength for upcoming Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions.
I really started to enjoy crossfit when I became more comfortable with all the lifts and WoDs. I began improving and started setting personal records . I went from being scared that I would injure myself doing certain movements and exercises to looking forward to them when I saw them on the board.

Ashley Duvall: Single Mom Making Time for Herself

I’ve been active my whole life with sports and working out. A couple years ago I had decided to go back to college. I was a single mom, working full time and now a full time student. Let’s just say my fitness took a back seat for a while. Nearing the end of school I was going to be in my brothers wedding and had been fitted for a bridesmaids dress earlier. I went to pick it up, tried it on and couldn’t zip it at all! I had to go 2 sizes bigger than what I ordered! That was my wake up call. I started back at a gym for woman and it got me to a certain point, but not nearly where I wanted to be. I had hit a plateau.

I ran into Beth Button, who I had went to college with, at soccer sign-ups and we got to talking about how she started CrossFit and she mentioned I would love it. Well she was right. I was sold with CrossFit Bradenton immediately. The gym was large, clean and the people were amazingly welcoming.  The one goal I had been trying for was a strict pull-up.  I was able to hit that goal in a few months here. Now I’m working on getting 10 strict pull-ups in a row! CrossFit Bradenton will give you the push you need to go for things you never thought you could do. I remember signing up for the CrossFit Open not knowing if I could do the workouts. The first one had a lot of pull-ups and I was nervous. All the members and coaches pushed and cheered me on to be able to do them all! It was a great feeling. The programming is always changing and keeping my body on its toes. I couldn’t be happier with my box and all the friendships I have made the past few years.

Tom Cronshaw: From Bored to Inspired

What brought me to CrossFit Bradenton was just being bored with my workouts. I was a member at Crunch and just was really tired with my routine. I also was rarely leaving the gym with that good sore feeling. I remember telling my girlfriend Olivia that we should try something different and I had heard that CrossFit was really cool so we searched the area and found your gym.  I remember being really nervous when I first started. I wanted to make a good impression and I wanted to be able to pick things up quickly. Paris and Beth made the transition a lot easier than I thought it would be. They both made me feel comfortable and were really good at teaching me the things that I needed to know. To be honest, I still to this day get nervous before every workout. It’s a good nervous. Its excitement and wanting to perform at my best. I have always been a big competitor and love seeing how I rank compared to the others at CrossFit Bradenton. My scores or times are not even close to being at the top, but I still strive to get there each and every workout. It’s always a challenge and I love challenges. But no matter how I may score in AMRAP’s or time, I always leave knowing I had a killer workout. I’ve had so many bright spots along the way that it’s hard to remember what my first one was. I know that the bright spot that sticks out is my first RX workout. I just love the satisfaction of going RX. I don’t care if I’m last on the list for time or rounds. If I’m in the RX list, I am very proud. I don’t get the opportunity often. It has to be some workouts that are right in my wheel house. But it is always something to strive for. Don’t get me wrong, I get immense satisfaction just completing any workout whether it be RX or scaled. The workouts are all tough either way. But, my ultimate goal would be to be able to do all RX workouts. That would be sweet. I am currently working on so many things! Ring dips, bar muscle ups, double unders, toes to bar, over head squats, squat cleans. Damn there are so many things I need and want to get better at. But, like I said before, it’s all a challenge and I love being challenged.  I have to say honestly I don’t really have a favorite CFB memory. So many equally great memories. I have great workout memories of PR’s and improvement in skills. I have great memories of Olivia and seeing her get PR’s and improve in her skills. To see her huge smile after she accomplishes something is so amazing to see. I have great memories of other members pushing through tough workouts. I have great memories of CFB functions like the Christmas Party or a get together at a restaurant. I have great memories of just pushing through workouts with all the people I have worked out with. So I can’t pick a favorite memory at CFB. Let’s just say I have a lot of favorite memories.

Olivia Kawula: Searching for a Change

 Being in need of a change brought me to CrossFit Bradenton in the first place. The “normal” gym wasn’t fulfilling my needs and wasn’t giving me the results I personally wanted for myself. I remember discussing different options with my boyfriend Thomas and he mentioned trying out CrossFit. We searched the area and were lucky enough to find CrossFit Bradenton!  I remember being really nervous at first, and feeling somewhat intimidated. I wanted to make a good impression and I wanted to feel accepted. My impression has changed so much. I’ve gotten more than what I wanted. CrossFit Bradenton feels like a second home and every member feels like a second family. Huge shoutout to the 9:30 crew who push me each and every day and have made CFB what it is for me today. Also to Beth and Paris who make me feel good throughout my accomplishments and help with my workouts. I don’t recall my first bright spot moment, but each day is definitely a bright spot for me. Being motivated and powering through a work out is an amazing feeling. Thomas and I have been at CFB for a year now and there are STILL so many movements we are learning and perfecting. It’s a never-ending journey and I love every second of it. I’m still working on so many things – it’s awesome! Getting stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally is a daily goal of mine at CFB. Dubs, kipping pull-ups, toes to bar, and overhead squats with weight are on my list as well! I love how once you accomplish something, there’s something else waiting for you! There are sooo many beautiful memories at CFB that I can’t really pinpoint a “favorite”. For me, it’s looking back and seeing how far I have come. With a push from myself and our fellow Crossfitters, I love watching Thomas RX on workouts that he thought he never could RX on. And I love hearing everyone’s awesome stories about their PR’s and their accomplishments. Really seeing how far each and every one of us has come is so motivating.

New Year – New You?

With each new year, there comes new resolutions. Many of which are often health related. Millions of people make a promise to themselves that this will be the year that they make a change. Awesome! I applaud you for making this commitment to yourself. What do the majority of people resolve to do? Here is a list of the top resolutions:

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

However, very few people actually stick to these goals past a few months or in many cases days or weeks. Here are some statistics that outline how long people maintain their New Year’s resolutions:

  • Through first week               75 %
  • Past two weeks                      71 %
  • Past one month                     64 %
  • Past six months                     46 %

So a whopping 25% do not make it past the first week! It’s very easy to make New Year’s resolution, but it takes a lot of determination to stick to them. So how do you hold yourself accountable? There are many ways to do this such as; writing them down, focusing on realistic goals, work on one thing at a time, etc., but one thing that can be particularly helpful for many is to get some support. Telling a friend or loved one or joining a support group can increase your odds of sticking to your resolutions. Having people you can talk to can be an enormous source of support, especially if the people are going through the same experiences as you.

If getting in better shape and being more fit and healthier overall is a goal of yours, we can help. We even have a built in support system. In addition to our normal CrossFit classes or personal training that we offer, we will be kicking off another one of our 6 Week Transformation Challenges on January 11th. This program is for anyone looking to get into better shape. Yes anyone! However, we are limiting this to just 15 people so if you’re interested in reserving your spot you may do so by clicking here à 6 Week Transformation Challenge. Whether you choose this option or not, if getting into better shape is your resolution this year, give yourself a pat on the back. You only get one body, so you need to take care of it. Get moving and start doing something. If you need some help, we’re eager to help you meet those goals.

Theda Johnson: A Physical Transformation of a Different Kind

Theda Johnson“CrossFit!? That must be a workout for those ‘hardcore athletes’. Certainly not for someone like me!” Those were my thoughts when I first heard about CrossFit.

I never did any sports growing up, I wasn’t the type. In my early 20’s, I was introduced to weight-lifting at a big name gym. I really enjoyed it at the time, but it just didn’t stick. So I became a, put-in-a-video-to-workout-at-home exerciser. That’s the extent of my exercise experience and that eventually fell by the way side.

Over the years, the issue of mobility in my back started becoming noticeably limited. My mobility level was to the point of having to brace myself just to sneeze! I knew I had to do something to improve it. I just wasn’t sure of what to do.

About 3 ½ years ago, by divine providence, I met a woman that inspired me to begin working out again. She, being one of those ‘hardcore athletes’, talked about her experience with CrossFit and encouraged me to look into it.

Well, I called the closest box to my home, talked with Beth, and decided to go for it. (Thankfully, that box is owned by Paris & Beth Vannata.) What a sight I must have been that first day. I could not complete the warm-up and barely made it through the WOD (Workout of the Day).

CrossFit has given me a physical transformation of a different kind. I was so limited in my back; bending over was torturous. My first realization of its benefits occurred when I could actually bend over to tie my shoes. That was a big deal for me!

My endurance level has improved greatly. Before I decided to join, it never occurred to me that running would be involved. Had I known it was included, there was no way would I have considered joining. Just recently, I completed a WOD that included running and didn’t walk through any of it- a first for me.

Strength – what a beautiful thing! I’m lifting weight that I never dreamed of and am working toward more.

CrossFit is truly a program that can accommodate any age or physical ability. Every movement can be modified to individual specific level. Being 50+ when I started is a testimony to this. Age doesn’t matter, CrossFit is a diverse community and has a place for everyone!

Finally, I appreciate my coaches, Paris and Beth. They take the time to know and learn the abilities their box members. They know when and how much to push each athlete.

The most moving memory I have is when Paris told me how many rounds I could possibly complete on a WOD. When he came around to find out how many I actually did, it was the number he initially said. (I surprised myself with that number of rounds completed.) Then he said, “I know my athletes.” Later that day it hit me, he called me an athlete… a word I never thought would be used to describe me.   

CrossFit…a workout for ‘hardcore athletes.’ I can confidently and gratefully say, “boy, was I wrong, nothing is further from the truth.”

Alia White: Inspired to Make an Impact

Alia WhiteSeveral friends mentioned to me that they believed I would fall in love with Crossfit. Being the person that I am, it took over a year to convince me to even try my first Crossfit class. Once I stepped foot in the original Crossfit Bradenton gym, that was it! I was hooked. I’ve been active my whole life but have always struggled with “looking active”, physically. I am also the type of person who appreciates and commits to structured & challenging tasks. From the very first trial class at Crossfit Bradenton, I instantly felt both my needs for structure & challenge being met! On top of that, the unexpected community feel knocked me off my feet! Currently, as a member of nearly two and half years, I have built life-long friendships at Crossfit Bradenton, gotten into the best shape I’ve ever been in my entire life, as well as found an additional love, the Paleo diet. Paris & Beth continue to exceed expectations of running the gym by providing the athletes with a variety of workouts, amazing coaches with unique perspectives & techniques, supplemental learning, pristine gym layout & equipment, and an always approachable & genuine atmosphere. The athletes encourage one another, and truly want each member to excel. Working out at Crossfit Bradenton is one of the absolute best parts of my day! I never grow tired of coming 5-6 times/week! Crossfit Bradenton has made such a huge impact on my life that my husband & I are working towards starting our own business, Paleo Pantry. I learned about the Paleo diet through Crossfit Bradenton’s Lurong Challenge a year or so ago and have never looked back. My husband & I aspire to create the service of delivering local organic/sustainable ingredients along with the corresponding Paleo recipe to subscribers! We are excited and hope to make a positive impact in our community! Thank you Crossfit Bradenton!!