Category Archives: Stories From the Gym

Here We Go…

What follows are the unfiltered thoughts from one of our newest athletes, Selena.  She has agreed to document her journey through the first month of her CrossFit experience with us at CrossFit Regeneration.  Click HERE to schedule your Free No-Sweat Intro with one of our expert coaches.

Here We Go…

By: Selena Alexander

As I reflect on the decision I made to walk into a CrossFit Box tomorrow, I feel a lot of different emotions—but the one that is the clearest to me is nervousness. At one point in my life, apprehension was a foreign concept to me, certainly as it pertained to physical challenges. As a former college basketball player, being an athlete and competing always came natural, until 2009 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The diagnosis came as a shock to my then nineteen-year-old self, and the aggressiveness of the disease was even harder to wrap my head around. By 2012 I had had four surgeries, including a total knee replacement, in attempts to correct damage the rheumatoid had done to my once superiorly healthy body.

Needless to say, the gym in any form took the backseat. Today, I’m back to exercising (semi) regularly, without many limitations—other than the fact that I have limited range of motion in my right knee and elbow, and absolutely no range of motion in my left elbow. That’s right, it’s stuck in a fixed position, I can’t bend or fully straighten it at all. And let’s face it, CrossFit doesn’t look like the kind of activity where having limited mobility will serve me well. Won’t I need both of my arms to do this?! Not necessarily, according to CrossFit Regeneration owner Charlie Sims. When I shared my situation with Sims, he looked slightly shocked, but with almost no hesitation said it wouldn’t be problem, that he was excited even, to face the challenge of modifying CrossFit workouts to make them conducive to my restricted abilities.

There are still a few hours left before the journey begins, so there’s no telling how this all will go—but while I appreciate Charlie’s enthusiasm, I’d be lying if I said with complete confidence I’m not a little skeptical of his “no problem” attitude. I can hardly do anything with my upper body and this is CrossFit—isn’t that a problem? I anticipate awkward moments and pauses while he tries to figure out what I can do in place of push-ups, rope-climbs, wall balls, and any other elbow-bending exercises he may have planned for this group of “New You Challenge” accepters in the next four weeks.

However, I did in fact accept this challenge, and I will follow Charlie’s lead. Even in the midst of my skepticism, his reassuring attitude is about the only reason why I plan to walk through the doors of CrossFit Regeneration with an open mind and willingness to learn more about this sport. Here goes nothing—let the journey begin!

 

Who Am I Looking At?!

Who am I looking at?

Charlie Sims

My younger brother always makes fun of me for my memory. I can remember certain things as clear as day, but other memories slip away almost completely. He seems to be able to remember the smallest details of experiences we shared when we were little kids. It’s weird. He remembers the date. He remembers the clothes he was wearing. He remembers strange supplementary details like scores of football games happening on the same day. I feel pretty accomplished to remember the experiences and maybe who was President at the time…

That is until a memory comes back to me in a flash. At that point, it’s almost like I’m seeing it on a giant movie screen in my mind.

Last night, we gathered together as a gym for the release of CrossFit Games Open workout 16.4. This is a weekly ritual for us during the Open. Dave Castro, the Director of the CrossFit Games, announces the workout, and immediately afterward, a couple super star Athletes complete the workout. But after we watch that, select members of our gym have a chance of being the main event. It’s exciting, and fun, and it gives our members a chance to be the star at least for one night.

Hollis is a brand new mom to a handsome little boy. She’s strong and confident, yet it blends well with her quiet humility. She is the goal and inspiration to so many people in our gym.

Well, Hollis was one of our competitors throwing down last night at the Reveal Party, going up against 4 men. Each of which deserve to be written about in their own right. But this one is about Hollis.

I couldn’t help but compare the Hollis last night to the one who walked into our gym over 3 years ago. Thanks to my crappy memory, I can’t remember enough of the details from that day to paint a clear picture, but I do remember that one of her first workouts was “Helen”, and consisted of running, pullups and and kettlebell swings. Hollis mostly walked, used our smallest kettlebell, and we had to give her extra bands for her pullups. She walked out discouraged, and almost gave up on CrossFit all together. In fact, she did quit. She quit for at least a few months, but eventually came back to our Foundations class and hasn’t stopped since.

Hollis is different today than she was then. She not only looks completely transformed, but she acts different. We’ve already discussed her humble confidence. But, at least according to me, it seems like she is a much happier person.

16.4 is a 13:00 AMRAP of a long Chipper, and getting through it is a pretty huge accomplishment. It’s 55 Deadlifts at 155 pounds for the women, 55 Wall-Ball Shots, 55 Calories on the rower, and 55 Handstand Push-ups. And Hollis was asking me before if she should do the scaled since she still struggles with Handstand Push-ups. We eventually decided that since she is strong in the Deadlift, that she should give it a shot to see how well she can do.

We saw a competitor. We saw an athlete. We saw a mom. And we saw a friend fight through 55 Deadlifts, 55 Wall Ball shots, and almost 55 Calories on the Rower.

Hollis, You make me proud!

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Charlie Sims

We were in the middle of Friday Night Lights which is a weekly party we hold at the gym during the annual CrossFit Games Open competition. This year’s second workout, 16.2, had been announced and was proving to be an opportunity for us to come face to face with our own heart, and this Friday night, CrossFit Regeneration was filled with excitement, fire, and struggle.

The workout consists of a series of checkpoints, which if the athlete completes the required task, they unlock an opportunity to continue. If they don’t, their workout stops.

With each checkpoint, the athlete is required to do 25 toes to bar, and 50 jump rope double unders. Once this is completed there is a series of weights to be lifted using a squat clean. The weight increases with each round while the required reps decrease. More details can be found HERE.

I don’t brag on my sweet wife enough.

She’s my best friend, my partner, and my love. She impacts how I see the world around me more than any other person I know. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Friday night, she became my inspiration.

Kari had been dealing with a bit of shoulder pain for a couple days and wasn’t totally sure how it would hold up during all the toes to bar during the workout, so she spent a lot of extra attention on it during her warm-up, and I remember her saying, “I just wanna get into it and see how it goes. If it hurts, I’ll quit.”

So the clock started, and she had 4 minutes to get through 25 toes to bar, of which she handled easily, and when she grabbed her jump rope, she smiled at me. Game on!

Toes to Bar and Double Unders are among the things that Kari is especially gifted at. So, for her, the challenge would be all about the Squat Cleans. Her lifetime max is 140 pounds. The weights for the workout would be pretty heavy for her. But she methodically popped off the 15 reps at 85 pounds one at a time, and finished the first checkpoint with plenty of time to spare.

90 reps in.

She then quickly dispatched with the 25 toes to bar, and 50 double unders and came to her bar for 13 squat cleans at 115 pounds. Just a few reps here would be a pretty good performance for her, but she started knocking out one rep after another. Each one looked like it might crush her, and a couple did.

imageAnd with only 15 seconds left before the time cap, she had 2 reps to go. The whole gym was screaming at her to get going. She fought one up. 7 seconds left. She grabbed the bar, heaved it up, caught it in the squat, and fought. We celebrated.

178 reps in.

Kari’s reward for her victory?

Twenty-five more toes to bar. These were a bit tougher but she managed them fine.

Fifty more double unders. Unbroken as usual.

She had about 30 seconds to try and clean 145 pounds. My sweet, beautiful, wife staggered to the bar, and pulled with everything she had. It was a beautiful clean pull, but no squat clean.

253.

Afterward she was laughing. “You guys were yelling at me to pick up the bar, but I could barely pick up myself”.

My wife is my hero.

She didn’t win the workout. Across the world, many women finished that round and moved on to two more rounds and even heavier barbells. An impressive feat. But last Friday night Kari Sims stood over them all.