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Natalia and Luis Ramos Dompenciel

Congratulations to Natalia and Luis Ramos Dompenciel, The CrossFit Pax Athletes In The Spotlight! This brother/sister duo regularly attends class and are always trying to improve their skills and fitness. They often encourage other athletes in class and inspire everyone with their work ethic. Their positive attitude is contagious and they are always a pleasure to have in class. Congratulations Natalia and Luis, keep up the good work!

Athlete(s) In The Spotlight: Natalia and Luis Ramos Dompenciel

  1. What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?

Luis- I didn’t know much about CrossFit and only saw some videos on YouTube about it. My sister said hey there is a CrossFit class happening let’s do it and I said okay I’ve always wanted to do it.

Natalia- A couple years ago my brother told me about CrossFit and asked me to do some workouts with him. I tried it for like a day and decided it wasn’t for me. Fast forward to my last semester of grad school and I wanted to join planet fitness. My brother said that it would be boring and we wouldn’t know what to do. I magically ended up on the CF PAX website and sent an email to the info one. Mike called me almost immediately. I told him that I just wanted to be stronger and healthier. He told me the prices and a bit of information and I instantly wanted to try it out. The funny thing is that fundamentals was the next day. It must have been perfect timing. So I called Luis and we signed up for fundamentals. 

2.  What was it like getting started?

Luis- It was tough at the beginning a lot of hard work and sweat. A lot of getting to know your body, your mind and how much you can push through during a workout. 

Natalia- It was intimidating. I remember getting into the parking lot and seeing people run up the hill and doing wall balls. I started freaking out and told my brother “If we have to do that I’m gonna die” Tammy, Zach and Kevin were really good coaches to get us started. They broke down the movements and explained everything thoroughly. 

3. How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

Luis- It’s been 8 months now since we started. What’s changed is I have lost 20 pounds and everyday things seem easier. I don’t tire out easily, I have more stamina, and can recover quickly. 

Natalia- We have been members for about eight months. I have lost 17 pounds since starting CrossFit. I have been more energetic and am able to do simple activities without getting gassed out. I also feel like my brother and I are getting closer since we hang out a lot more now. 

4.What are you most proud of accomplishing?

Luis- I’m proud of getting personal records doing workouts or strength building before workouts. CrossFit has helped me get double unders down, hand stands against the wall, and am working on getting them to free standing. I also am proud of finally being able to do some workouts RX. 

Natalia- I’m proud of getting some personal records. It feels awesome when you can do something that you once couldn’t do or to lift weights that you once thought were heavy. I’m super proud of all the running we do because it was something I once avoided at all costs. One thing I’m ridiculously proud about is being able to do the workouts RX. 

5. What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

Luis- My favorite part is working out with my sister and everyone there but my sister and I push each other to work harder and we both love it. I also love the hero workouts because they challenge you mentally and physically. 

I love doing dumbbell snatches. They make me feel like a boss. CrossFit PAX has a great family community everyone is super inviting and willing to help you out if you’re struggling with something. It’s also cool to workout with my brother. We bicker a lot and always try to compete against each other which makes the workouts even more fun. 

6. What are your short term and long term goals?

Luis- My short term goal is to try and get free standing handstands and handstand push-ups. My long term goal is to continue to do CrossFit and get better and lift heavier weights. 

I’d like to get double unders, a pull-up and do a handstand kick up. In the long run I’d like to get stronger and get more PRs. 

7. How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?

Luis- When I started CrossFit I still ate the same things. The only thing I changed was the amount. I was eating less. Now with the nutrition challenge hopefully I will be able to change my diet. 

Natalia- When I first started CrossFit I didn’t change my diet at all. I thought that since I was working out I’d get leaner. I was wrong! Nutrition is actually super important. I am excited to start the nutrition challenge and change the way I eat. One veggie that I love is Brussel sprouts.

8. What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

Luis- The only thing I could say to someone wanting to join is to just try it out. I did fundamentals and fell in love with it. Just commit to everything you do and you will do great.

Natalia- CrossFit is amazing and you need to try it. You don’t have to wait to get fit before you start. If you’re gonna do it give it your 110% every day. Don’t get cocky either because CF will put you in your place really fast. Enjoy the workouts. Don’t purposely miss a workout just because it’s hard. Show up and suck it up. Once you’re done be proud because you just finished that shit. 

Gail Miller- Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Gail Miller, the CrossFit PAX October Athlete of the Month.   Gail comes to class and works hard every day.  She is always trying to her improve her skills and fitness and dedicates extra time to doing so. She always encourages other athletes in class and inspires everyone with her work ethic.  Congratulations Gail!  You are a wonderful member of our community and we are proud of your efforts and progress.  Here is a little about Gail’s journey at CrossFit PAX.

1.  What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?
I was inspired by the changes I saw in my coworker, Jaclyn Maynard. Another friend, Althea Fejes, was a member which helped as well (she’s my age). I have never done anything like Crossfit before. I knew I do better in a class than on my own. I was very out of shape, had put on 20 pounds since working at PAX (started 2011), and needed something that would let me see progress from hard work. CrossFit PAX was my solution.
2.  What was it like getting started?
Hard. Everything was new to me. I had never heard the term burpee before stepping into the bunker. I’m still learning how to do them properly. From learning new vocabulary to learning new movements, my Coaches and classmates helped me improve and do so safely. Everyone was welcoming. My Coaches and classmates encouraged me each and every time I came to class.
3.  How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?
I joined March 2015. So many things have changed in my life since joining Crossfit. I started coming 2x a week and now show up 4x (and sometimes 5x) a week. I competed in a diet and fitness challenge this year (1/2016) which changed my breakfast. All of these changes resulted in a 20 pound weight loss.
4.  What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Going to class when I know it’s a hard WOD. I haven’t mastered anything yet but I’m getting better. My first double under was a big deal to me as well.
5.  What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?
Favorite workouts? I enjoy tire flipping. I remember being really intimidated the first time I saw folks doing it. I even wondered if I should simply walk back up the hill and skip class that day. It was a partner WOD. It was a first for both of us. My partner and I successfully flipped tires together and re-entered the bunker feeling “large and in charge”.
 Favorite experiences? The best part of CrossFit PAX is its community. I’m thrilled that someone my age fits in with people decades younger.
6.  What are your short term and long term goals?
I’m still chasing the elusive double under (I can string 2 together). Long term, I would like to do a pull up or rope climb. Coach Christine’s been working with me on the rope climbs, breaking down the steps, so I’m hopeful.
7.  How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?
I totally rely on baked potatoes. I refer to my current breakfast as potatoes with mature eggs (i.e. chicken). I add ketchup (so I can pretend that the baked potatoes are French fries). It’s really helped me not only lose weight but stay satisfied.
8.  What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?
I’d like to share some advice from Coach Brandon….
When I’m intimidated by the workout, Brandon will remind me that whatever the number of reps that have been assigned for that workout are… there could have been one more….and there isn’t…..and that really helps.

Kevin Brown

Congratulations to the CrossFit PAX Athlete of the Month, Kevin Brown.  Kevin was chosen as athlete of the month because inspires those around him with his positive attitude and continuous effort.  He regularly puts forth extra time to learn new skills and pushes himself to the max during WOD’s.  Although you sometimes find him in a puddle of sweat on the floor, he is always quick to smile, quick to encourage others and comes back day after day with mindset of growth and improvement.  Congratulations Kevin!

1.  What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?

I had been out of the CrossFit scene for a few months and I had let my body go.  I sought out a new CrossFit gym and had a goal to lose weight and get stronger.

2.  What was it like getting started?

It was hard to get started again after so many months of not doing CrossFit.  I was a little nervous at first but the coaches at CrossFit PAX, as well as the athletes, really made it easy to get back in the swing of things.

3.  How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

I have been a member for a little over a year now and I feel that I have grown as an athlete in that time.  I have improved my body, my way of eating and my mindset.  CrossFit PAX has allowed me to take pride in myself again and feel great!

4.  What are you most proud of accomplishing?

My biggest accomplishment was losing over 20 lbs.  When I started CrossFit PAX I was 188# and with hard work at the gym and good diet I’m now at 166#.  I have abs now!!

5.  What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

My favorite WOD’s are ones with running and lifting.  I love running and when you mix that with lifting, I’m in my element.  My favorite thing about CrossFit PAX is the encouragement among our athletes and coaches which make me excel in everything I do there.

6.  What are your short term and long term goals?

My short term goals are to get at least two muscle ups strung together and to work on my core which the coaches kindly point out from time to time.

My long term goal is to get stronger and improve my deadlift, squat and strict press.

7.  How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?

Here is where everything changed for me!  I was doing well with my workout but I was eating so unhealthy that I was not losing body fat.  Then I asked a few coaches what they did and after a lot of advice and tips, I changed the whole way I ate.

I started breaking up my meals into six smaller portions instead of just two big meals.  My two foods that I rely on the most are chicken and rice.  They are super good and super easy to make and I’m all about easy cooking.

8.  What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

Stick with it, listen to your coaches, and most of all check your ego at the door.  It’s all about improving yourself and taking your fitness to the next level.

Amie Panteny

Congratulations to Amie Panteny, CrossFit Pax’s May Athlete of the month.   Amie and her husband David recently welcomed their first son, David, to the world.  During Amie’s pregnancy, she inspired many people around CrossFit PAX with her incredible level of effort and amazing “can do” attitude.  During the 2016 CrossFit Open, Amie took on and completed each workout with determination and intensity.  She was seen still doing double unders and pull-ups all the way up until the last few weeks of her pregnancy.   Many people around PAX were moved by her willingness to adapt movements, give her best effort, and smile the whole way through it.   We loved seeing her posts about Baby P taking on different challenges.   Congratulations Amie for your selection as Athlete of the Month and we can’t wait to see you back in the gym in a few weeks.
What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?
  • I dropped in to a class at PAX with my friend Ashley Duncan.
What was it like getting started?
  • The athletes are very strong and talented at PAX, so initially I was intimidated, but it was motivating and everyone was very welcoming and encouraging.
How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?
  • I have been a member at CrossFit PAX since January 2015. I can do so many things that I didn’t think I would be able to before joining PAX. My lifts are heavier, my endurance has improved and I have increased mental toughness and confidence.
What are you most proud of accomplishing?
  • Getting my first muscle up in the open last year is still a pretty big moment!
What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?
  • My favorite experiences are the community activities. The open, Murph and Barbells for Boobs are some of my favorites.
What are your short term and long term goals?
  • My short term goal right now is just to get back to the gym after the arrival of Baby P 🙂 I am looking forward to coming back when I am released by my doctor.
  • My long term goal is to work on building my strength back up and to be able to get a strict muscle up and walk on my hands.
How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?
  • I was eating close to strict paleo when I first joined PAX, but then I changed to monitoring my macro-nutrients which made a big difference in making strength gains. I have a lot of variety in my diet and don’t really rely on one food.
What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?
  • My advice for anyone new to CrossFit PAX is to be consistent and to get to the gym. That is the best way to make friends and be a part of the community and to see improvements.

Katie Decker

Katie looking tough at the challenging Paddleboard WOD 2015 

If you would have told Katie Decker, CrossFit PAX athlete of the week, that she would be in the best shape of her life after having two kids and working as a physical therapist, she probably would have laughed. But here she is, working out and having fun. Katie has accomplished so much in a year- first rope climb, a 95# clean, greatly improved mobility and flexibility, strength, power, new skills as well as reliving her gymnastics days and doing some back handsprings. This lady is having fun and improving every day. We love her cautious but methodical approach, and it is paying off. As a physical therapist, Katie understands her body and what it is capable of but needed the encouragement and expertise to know just how far she could take it. She is tougher than she knows and a great example to her beautiful little girls. We are so glad she is a part of the family and looking forward to seeing her grow as an athlete and help others as she comes alongside the new folks. Keep it up, lady! Next year at this we’ll be seeing #125 overhead and back tucks!

What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?

Growing up, I was very active, involved in gymnastics and competitive cheerleading.  I went to college for physical therapy, and during that time got a job as a personal trainer.  One of the other trainers was a football player and he would train me with really fun and challenging workouts.  After college I tried numerous times to join a gym and get active, but got bored.  I always had a pretty good metabolism and when you are in your twenties you think you will stay that way forever!  Fast forward to age 35 with 2 kids, three cross country moves in three years, and a thyroid lobectomy due to a growth that luckily turned out to be benign…a cancer scare like that was a big wake up call that I needed to change my life habits and get healthier because I wanted to be around for my family for a lot of years to come!  When we moved back to Southern MD, I joined World’s Gym and went a grand total of once.  I was back in rut.  Then one day at a friend’s house, Meredith Gallagher started talking about CrossFit and how much fun it was.  I started asking her fifty million questions, because I had heard of CrossFit but didn’t know much about it; I thought it was way out of my league.  “But I can’t do a pull-up,” I said.  She told me how they scale the workouts using bands, etc, and I knew then and there that I had to try.  I accompanied her on a Saturday morning, dressed in workout clothes just in case they would let me work in.  It happened to be a day involving ring skill work, and Rachel Brandt let me give it a go…my arms didn’t work for two days and I knew I had found something that would change my life!  I couldn’t wait to get started…

What was it like getting started?

I didn’t take a fundamentals class; I opted instead to take the one-on-one training with Jade, schedule permitting, due to the general craziness of life with two young kiddos.  As a PT, I also had a ton of questions and was thrilled to see how strict they were regarding form and safety during workouts.   Jade was patient and answered all my questions and more.  We had already been eating paleo(ish) for several years since my daughter had some stomach issues, and this felt like the final piece to the puzzle.  I felt like a found a place where I could really fit.

How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

I have been a member for one year and 3 months.  I feel stronger, more confident, and so happy to have a healthy physical outlet.  Every time we do the budget and I feel guilty about the cost, my husband reminds me that it is basically my “mental health” fund.  It is so true!  It adds more hours to schedule in to an already busy life, but for the first time in a long time I am making time for me.  And as the one who manages the lives of everyone and sets the tone of the household, it is a very good and necessary thing!  Also, my job requires lifting, such as transferring a child from their wheelchair to the mat, or helping a grown-up get up from their hospital bed.   That stuff has gotten much easier.  I had a back injury several years ago and everyday activities felt difficult, so I appreciate the ease with which I simply jump out of bed in the morning.  And – bonus – when I bought a massive trampoline from BJs, and they only sent one guy to help me load it… the look on his face when the thirty-some year-old mother gets down in a squat and helped him lift it up to the car…priceless!!

Also, I appreciate so much the people I have met through CrossFit.  It is an amazing community of amazing, like-minded people.  I love my 9:30 class and the friends I have made.  I have come to rely on Coach Jen and trust her recommendations for weights.  At the end of the day it is my decision but when you train with someone consistently they get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and when you need that mental push.  And the ladies (and occasional men) in that class are so supportive and awesome and everyone works together to encourage and build each other up.  It really is a community like no other.

What have you accomplished?

I participated in Barbells for Boobs last year.  We came in last, but we did it!  I also participated in the Open in March and did the Memorial Day Murph.  All scaled, but who cares?  Showing up is better than not showing up!  If you had told me 2 years ago that I would have been doing anything like this I would have laughed so hard!  I am closer to doing a pull-up than I have ever been in my life, and I can clean and jerk 95 pounds.   I am very happy about those things.

What are you most proud of accomplishing?

We had a worokout at the gymnastics center this summer and I did a back handspring.  That was huge for me.   So I would say that AND climbing to the top of the rope!!

I think the other thing I am the most proud of is role modeling a healthy active lifestyle for my kids.  They beg to do Crossfit Kids and tell me how proud they are of me.  That makes my heart happy.

What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

Definitely Memorial Day Murph.  You look at that workout and think there is no way.  But everyone bands together, shares strategies, and cheers one another along.  It is very cool.  And the workout at the Gymnastics Center was probably the most fun I have had in a very long time.  Talk about reliving the glory days.  Ha!

Katie and some of her lifting buddies at the “Barbell Ball”. Yes, they are sitting on boxes and looking fancy!

What are your short term and long term goals?

Short term goals are to get a strict pull-up, get over 100 pounds from the floor to overhead, and to not stink at running!  Long term goals are to stick with it, stay healthy, and keep attending consistently.  And to improve my flexibility!!!

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?

We already ate paleo-ish; more like the Perfect Health Diet…we eat clean, try to do organic if possible, grass fed local meat, stay away from gluten or any processed dairy, etc.  We do eat a lot of white rice; that works well for our family.  My biggest change has been personal accountability.  When you are doing something “for the kids,” sneaking the junk food after they go to bed seems fine.  But now I am trying to hold myself to the same standard; I am holding myself to “the kitchen is closed after dinner” rule.  Well, I am trying.  ☺

What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

Do it!  But do it with an educated approach.  Do your homework.  Trust coaches, but know your body.  Make sure it is a box that honors those principles and has educated coaches who take the time during EVERY SINGLE CLASS to demonstrate and answer questions.  Know that it is a long-term commitment and don’t get frustrated if the person next to you can do way more than you.  They got there on their own journey, and it is much better to make slow progress and focus on proper technique and form to avoid injury.  And remember that coming and getting out of your comfort zone is difficult, but every single person there has been through it.  So dig out your inner bad-ass and give it a try!

Katie and the PAX crew on Memorial Day 2015, honoring Lt Michael Murphy and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 

Jordan Welsh

Congratulations to Jordan Welsh, who is the Athlete of the Week! Jordan has been one of the most consistent of all of the members of CrossFit PAX in attending classes and has attended more than 300 classes in his 15 months of being a member. He is incredibly positive, coachable, and hard working. After less than a year, Jordan competed in the CrossFit Open with huge success! He has had huge improvement in every aspect of his fitness, especially in flexibility, strength, and endurance. His consistency at running club has brought him some big improvements as well. We can’t say enough good stuff about this guy and can’t wait to watch him continue to hit PR’s and improve!

What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?
There were a couple things that made me want to try Crossfit.  I had caught the games competition on television in passing and was intrigued.  The various workouts they were doing looked so different and interesting then anything that I had seen before.  Also, my workouts at the gym were getting stagnant.  I was not seeing any progress in strength or endurance for the amount of time i was putting in.

What was it like getting started?
I was a little apprehensive about getting started.  Not because of Crossfit PAX itself, but just doing the Crossfit exercises in general.  The olympic lifts, gymnastics, and layout of the workouts was all new to me so I was not sure how that would go.  The fundamentals class was a big help in making me more comfortable in what to expect and work on.

How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?
I have been a member since June 2014. My eating habits have changed.  I am not strict with any particular diet but I do try to eat healthier.  I have also started going to bed earlier which has helped in my recovery and energy during the day.

What have you accomplished?
There have been a number of various movements that have improved for me over the past year.  I was able to get two muscle ups during the Open competition.  My overhead squats have vastly improved and mostly due to an improvement in flexibility.  I am also able to string together butterfly pullups, double unders, and get a bar muscle up or two.  I plan to keep working and improving as I continue with CrossFit!

What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I think I am most proud of my improvement on the overhead squat.  Especially considering how poor it was when I began.  However, it has been exciting to see various other movements improve over time.   Also my ability to get through a WoD.

What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?
I really enjoyed being a part of the Murph Challenge.  I am also really enjoying the running club every Saturday morning.

What are your short term and long term goals?
Short Term – I try to get into the bunker 4 to 5 times a week

Long Term – Is to become proficient in all of the common movements

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?
I do not strictly adhere to any particular diet. However, I try to eat non processed foods as much as possible.  I try to drink water throughout the day.  I also supplement with protein and a preworkout to help with recovery and energy.

What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?
For the newer members I would not put a lot of pressure or get down on yourself if you are not able to do certain movements or finish a WoD. Scaling has an important role in building strength and technique to do a movement correctly.  For those thinking about jumping in I would say sign up for the fundamentals class and give it a try!

Keep doing what you’re doing, Jordan! We are pumped to see what year 2 brings for you- at this rate, it is going to be an awesome year!

Brian Allshouse

Congratulations to Brian Allshouse, Athlete of the Week! Brian has been a regular at the Bunker since June of last year and has seen some great results. Busy with work and family, Brian has made no excuses and has found the community and education offered at the Bunker to be beneficial to continuing a healthy lifestyle he started back in 2009. Brian is smart in his training, very consistent in training, committed to a nutrient dense paleo diet, and welcoming to new members. He is coach-able and positive – we really appreciate him and are glad he made the decision to continue this lifestyle with us! Here is more about Brian…

What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?

Beginning in 2009 I discovered CrossFit through a friend and research on the Internet, and for 2 years or so did the workouts in a globo gym on my own. With the addition of a semi-strict Paleo diet, I experienced phenomenal results and felt better than I ever had. Despite all my progress, moving into a new home, renting another and stress at work sent me off the rails for good, or at least until June 2014 when I decided to try to get things back on track by joining CrossFit PAX.

What was it like getting started?

Getting started was actually pretty hard, I felt like I had learned a lot through drop-ins and workshops, and self-teaching, but had lost all of it. Not to mention I more or less worked out on my own and I knew in a box environment it was always a group, which was a little intimidating. But the benefit I did have was I knew the type of results that were possible, if I just tried.

How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

I’ve been a member at the Bunker for roughly a year, and I’ve experienced multiple changes since joining. The most significant change for me is has been getting back to consistency in the gym, which is an important step in the right direction. I owe a lot of that to the coaches and members at CrossFit PAX.

What have you accomplished?

I’ve made numerous accomplishments since joining the Bunker, I’ve seen increases in my overall strength and conditioning, my ability to perform movements I wasn’t able to do when on my own, and I’m even starting to see gains in movements that a shoulder injury had been previously preventing.

What are you most proud of accomplishing?

I think I’m most proud of the progress I’ve made with my snatch. I’ve really enjoyed the Olympic lifts since I first took a workshop to learn the movements, but the one thing I was always hesitant to do performing CrossFit on my own was the Snatch. Since coming to CrossFit PAX, I’ve gotten the coaching I need to do the movement safely and make consistent progress while doing so.

What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

Typically I prefer strength days/workouts to most others, because it’s just fun to lift heavy stuff. As far as experiences at the Bunker, I think the word “family” says it all, the motivational benefits to working with an encouraging group that are all striving for the same results are immeasurable. This benefit is probably this single most beneficial change to doing CrossFit on my own, and one of the main reasons I’ve been able to have success.

What are your short term and long-term goals?

My short-term goals are mainly focused on my diet, because of its importance with relation to health and performance, and my long-term goals are to continue to make gains with all aspects of my performance.

How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?

Having previously done Paleo, with very good results, I pretty much know what it takes to be successful. But like anyone who has struggled with diet knows consistency is key when making a change of lifestyle with respect to food. I’m still working towards being consistent with my diet, but I do know it is the biggest component to major gains and success in the gym and health.

What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

I try to speak to new members when I can; when I do I imagine most of them feel like I did when first coming to the Bunker, intimidated and wondering if this is right for them. I try to assure them that coaches and members at CrossFit PAX are a really good group and anyone can do CrossFit, if they just give it a chance.


Keep it up, Brian! The benefits are well worth the effort you’re putting in and we are so glad to have you as part of the family! We look forward to seeing your continued improvement this year- the best is yet to come!

Lauryn Nutter

Lauryn and Katie Nutter, the unstoppable mother-daughter duo!

This week we recognize Lauryn Nutter as CrossFit PAX Athlete of the Week! Lauryn has been a member for just over a year and has been to class more than 250 times. Coaching Lauryn and being part of her journey has been a a joy for the staff at CrossFit PAX- the energy, ambition, and enthusiasm she brings to her training has helped her see some huge gains and improvements in every area of her fitness. As a senior in high school who was also in sports and working a part time job, Lauryn managed to make no excuse to miss her workouts. Her determination has paid off, and we are so proud of how far she has come as an athlete and pumped to see where this tough lady goes as she heads to college this fall. Not only is Lauryn talented (she had the heaviest clean and jerk for teens in Maryland int he 2015 Open!), but she works hard, asks questions, and is incredibly coach-able. It may help that she has a great example in her mom, Katie, but this journey is one that ultimately Lauryn has made the decision to do for herself and her own health and future. We are blessed to have them both on Team PAX and look forward to seeing the Nutter family continue to be a big part of the family at CrossFit PAX.

What brought you to CrossFit PAX?

My mom, she had been doing it for about a year already. I thought she was crazy, and the gym had turned her into some monster because all she wanted to do was work out! Little did I know a year later I would be a “monster” too!

What was it like getting started?

It was a journey. I was surrounded by so many different levels of fitness. While I had been a cheerleader in school and wasn’t new to exercise, being part of a community like this was new to me. I was surrounded by a lot of different types of people, ability levels and talents. It was humbling, challenging, and fun. It is of course a struggle trying to be as good as the person next to you, but that is what kept me coming back. Me pushing myself to be the best I could be and never wanting to stop until I was just that.


Lauryn completing pull ups in her second Murph, on Memorial Day 2015. She cut her time in half from last year!


How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

I have been a member for about a year now. If anyone asked me what I am most thankful for in my life, of course my first answer would be my mom, and second would be the bunker. CrossFit PAX has been a place where we have had so much time to bond, to strengthen our relationship, and ourselves (literally!). I have also been so lucky to meet so many new people and become a part of such a great community.

Making friends, then carrying them.

What have you accomplished
In this past year I have competed in my first two competitions, I competed in the CrossFit Open, I was able to do Memorial Day Murph twice, the second time cutting my time in half. I will also be competing in my first team competition with some of the people I am most thankful for, my friends, my coaches, and my mother.


What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I can do things now that I never would have imagined! Having the highest clean and jerk in Maryland for teens in the Open this year has really has blown me away. Tt shows me I have potential, and gives me hope. I like to focus on my weaknesses, and I hope that will help me to grow as an athlete and continue to improve.


Handstand fun with Coach John at Festivus!

What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

I don’t think many people would say this, but Fran. I know, it sucks. I know, it hurts, and I love to see people’s face when that is the WOD. I was amazed that recently I completed Fran with 65#, unscaled, and unbroken thrusters and in LESS TIME than in took me a year ago with just an empty barbell and jumping pull ups!

I also enjoy doing Murph with my CrossFit family on Memorial Day. I love to see how it can bring us all together. We are one family accomplishing one workout, for one very important reason, and there is no better feeling than that you gave it your all for someone who did the most honorable thing for us as Americans.

What are your short term and long term goals?
My short term goals as of right now are to maximize my time left at CrossFit PAX and really just have fun! As I am leaving for college very soon it will pain me to have to leave what I love the most back at CrossFit PAX. However it makes me thankful and ready to take on my long term goals of hopefully one day making it to the CrossFit Games. I am thankful for all the push and encouragement that I have received here at CrossFit PAX and I can’t wait to take it with me to whatever box I travel to in the future.

How has your diet changed since starting, and what foods do you rely on most?
I have tried the Whole30, I have tried Paleo, but what I find best for me and most likely best for any athlete is Zone. I am never left starving, you don’t have to struggle to meet your blocks, heck, you can literally Zone anything. It keeps me fit and makes me feel most strong when it comes to “diets” it is honestly just a way of life now in the Nutter household.

Lauryn and Coach Stan singing karaoke at the 2015 Barbell Ball. Despite being one of the youngest members, Lauryn is not shy! She sets the example as a teammate and friend, and is always up for a good time!

What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

Give it your all. Everything in CrossFit is able to be scaled. Nothing should ever intimidate you because I promise you will come out of the work out feeling so much better. If you see something you hate, make yourself go that day especially. It’s about bettering yourself as a whole. Hypothetically speaking you cannot get around everything you hate in life, so you push yourself to eventually become okay with it; even maybe you end up loving it. That’s what CrossFit became to me, something where I could find my weaknesses and face them to become the best at them. I would never change my decision to be a CrossFit athlete, it is honestly one of the best decisions I have made thus far in my life.

Lauryn, you are an inspiration at the Bunker. We plan to make the most of our training time with you this summer and will surely be keeping up with your progress as you go to college! Thank you for being such an important part of the family and for setting the example in work ethic and energy. We love to see you walk through the doors with a huge smile, ready to learn and push your limits! Keep up the great work! The best is yet to come!

Ryan Shirley

Congratulations to Ryan Shirley, who has unanimously earned “Athlete of the Week”! Ryan has been consistent in attending class and dedicated to steady progress since his first day in January 2014. Ryan is an excellent example of someone who has put his ego aside to work on moving well before loading and moving on to more complex movements. Because of his willingness to learn and take the time needed, he has come a very long way in a year and a half! Rather than give up because he had to stick to the basics for a while, he worked steadily on his mobility and flexibility and stayed humble and consistent. His progress has been impressive and he continues to strive for virtuosity (doing the common uncommonly well!). We are really impressed by Ryan and how far he has come and look forward to seeing that first muscle up along with all of the other benchmark achievements along the way! Ryan likes to use his improved fitness to enjoy the outdoors and try new things! He is pictured above with his fiance, hiking the Tom Tom Trail in Hawaii!  

What or who brought you to CrossFit PAX?

Gibb Dungey!!! When i got to PAX River after my 3 year tour on the submarine, i was in the worst physical shape of my life.  I had played Water Polo in College and was trying to find something that would provide a team atmosphere to push me and help me set some goals again.  Gibb convinced me to try a fundamentals class and I was sold right away.


What was it like getting started?

Extremely Challenging and Frustrating at times.  Flexibility and Mobility were my biggest challenges when i started and it took me quite a while to get mobile enough to do any of the olympic lifting.  I was very frustrated in the beginning that I had let myself get that out of shape.


How long have you been a member and what has changed in your life during that time due to your experience with CrossFit PAX?

Since January 2014.  My overall health is in a much better state than when i started.  I also have found my competitive side again.  I look forward to the workouts everyday and I prioritize my day around getting them in each day.  I haven’t felt like that since  I was playing Water polo in college.


What are you most proud of accomplishing?

Finishing my first Murph.  I had only been at the gym for about 3 months and was still struggling to keep up.  I set the goal that i would finish in under an hour, I did it in 59 minutes.


What are some of your favorite workouts or experiences with CrossFit PAX and your family there?

I enjoy the team workouts,  everyone working together to push each other to be better.  I find i always push myself much harder in those workouts to make sure i am not slowing everyone else down.


What are your short term and long term goals?

Continue to improve on olympic lifting, get stronger at pull-ups and work toward muscle- ups.


How has your diet changed since starting CrossFit (if it has), and what foods do you rely on most?

Diet has probably been one of the biggest challenges for me.  As a kid and all the way through college i was in the pool at least 4 hours a day training.  I ate anything and everything i could just keep weight on.  Giving up Soda and sweets has been the biggest challenge.  For the most part i try to stick with lean meats, fruits and veggies, and limit the amount of sugar, wheat and flour i eat.


What advice do you have for our newer members or those thinking about jumping in?

Stay positive and continue to push yourself a little further each day.  Don’t compare your progress to anyone else.  I got a little complacent early on and started picking weight in the workouts that i knew i could hit every time because i didn’t want to finish last.  I didn’t see as good of results in the beginning because of it.



Congrats again, Ryan, and keep up the hard work! There will always be things to work on and ways to improve and we look forward to taking this journey with you!

Kyle Beilke

Congratulations to Kyle Beilke, CrossFit PAX athlete of the week! Kyle joined in January of 2014 and has been consistently attending and quickly progressing since, despite his busy work schedule and two baby girls under age two! Kyle is a super husband and dad, great athlete, and committed teammate to his fellow athletes at CrossFit PAX. He has managed to change his diet and make exercise a regular part of his week by working out with the 11:30 class a few times a week. Kyle has been to class well over one hundred times and enjoys watching his friends at the Bunker progress as well. He completed his first CrossFit Open this year and set a few personal records, got his first muscle up and kipping handstand push up over the challenging five weeks of workouts! He and his wife Kelly have made this a family affair and we look forward to seeing their little ones grow up and love burpees, too! Kyle has some awesome, practical advice for us all and is living proof that a few small changes can yield big results.


From Kyle:


Why did you start?

My wife, Kelly, was interested in joining, as she had previously done Crossfit-type workouts in California. I wanted to support her, plus try it out for myself. I was interested in the Olympic lifting, which I had previously enjoyed in college, but found impossible to do in normal gyms with all their machines.

What was it like starting out at CrossFit PAX?

We attended fundamentals in January 2014. There was definitely a Crossfit lingo that took time to understand. Also, that first month you had to figure out the exercise and an appropriate scaling technique so it was a bit of a two-fer challenge each day. What has changed in your life since starting?
I am definitely stronger and leaner, but I really like that my back has stopped hurting when I sleep. I think the year at TPS, hunched over a computer and sitting four hours in class did a number on my mid-back. The workouts have strengthened my midsection and loosened everything back up. Additionally, the improvement in my physical conditioning have driven home the fact that I am in control of my progress in life. There is no-one else to blame for being flabby and weak, its not my genetics, the grocery store or restaurants’ fault. Just take action and life will be better than yesterday.


How has your diet changed? What does your current diet look like? What foods do you rely on most?

Kelly and I mostly completed the Whole30 back in January 2014 when we first started. That really solidified my distaste for unnecessary sugar in my diet. I’m down to one soda every month or less, mostly due to the fact it makes me feel terrible an hour after I drink it. I’ve been more aware of empty carbs as well. The biggest change has come from just being aware of how different foods make me feel and if they keep my hunger pangs at bay. I’ve loved the change to healthy fats and how they sustain you throughout the day. I also started a little breakfast and lunch system for both convenience and health. It consists of a smoothie and homemade egg muffin in the morning and a salad with chicken for lunch that I’ll make in bulk one day a week. Saves time and tastes better than my usual turkey sandwich for lunch. I’m still a sucker for a good pizza and a juicy burger and those aren’t going anywhere!


What have you accomplished and what are you the most proud of? 

Went from a couple dead hang pull-ups to 10. Somehow completed a muscle up and figured out kipping hand stand pushups during the Open. Clean and jerked 195#, which is a little more than my current bodyweight. Most proud of just showing up each day (by each day I mean 3 days a week), continuing the process of getting stronger and staying healthy. I have two LONG term goals that I’m working towards. First goal is to keep getting stronger so I can threaten and beat up my two daughters’ future boyfriends if necessary. I have a 12-15 year time horizon, since Elsie is the oldest at 1.5 years old. Second goal is to be a spry and active 85 year old who isn’t stuck to a chair watching TV. Short term goals are a strict muscle-up and 20 dead hang pullups in a row.


What do you enjoy most about CrossFit PAX?

I appreciate the size of Crossfit PAX, not too big but has everything we need. It allows for consistent coaching with a personal touch and you usually see the same people in class at least a couple of times a month so you can see them improve too. My favorite part of class is always the mobility at the end. I’m guessing that not every affiliate does the mobility, and while it hurts in the moment I always feel great walking out the door. I also appreciate watching Coach Jen call out an unsuspecting victim for going too light on their barbell weight for the workout. They usually argue for about 10 seconds and then reluctantly give in to the future pain.


What advice would you give to anyone starting CrossFit?

Just show up and follow the process. Your primary goal should only be to show up X times a week. Results will follow. There is no need to set a weight loss goal or strength goal in the first year, those are just distractions and have potential to disappoint. Instead, commit to showing up and let those deadlifts work their magic. I started Crossfit trying to go 4-5 times a week and I just couldn’t sustain it so I would skip a whole week or more sometimes. In 2015, I decided I was going to go 3 times a week and no more. That helped me manage expectations and better stick to the process since it was more attainable. I am still making strength progress at 3 times a week and I expect that progress to continue for a least another year.

Keep up the great work, Kyle! The best is yet to come for all of the Beilke Family!