This Week’s Open Athlete: Kelly Bolt! 14.4

kellysnatch With each Open announcement, there is glee and groans… Glee for those movements we like or do well; groans for movements that are punishing (though they are all, really) or are challenging… and groans for movements that some of us still have not mastered.

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Enter Kelly. She posted this status update to Facebook the morning before she came into the box to complete the WOD, and there clearly was a bit of prescience there. It turns out, last Saturday WAS her day. As her judge and her husband, Jeremy, stood next to the rig and offered encouragement and strategies, she managed to kick the crap out of that bar 4 times (and nearly hit it on a dozen other occasions). Her perseverance deserves to be commended — but her spirit and enthusiasm are really what make her this week’s Open Athlete. While she can be counted on to always have a smile on her face, Kelly’s smile this week was in the face of a significant challenge — a challenge that she conquered. And you can bet that her smile helped carry her toes right up to that bar.


This Week’s Open Athlete: Angie Warnke! 14.3

Who was excited for deadlifts and box jumps! Well, some of us welcomed the movements as ones we all can, with relative ease and skill, perform. Yet an overwhelming number of us groaned at the prospect of walking around for week, post 14.3, with a therma-care patch on our lower backs. And those of us judging just prayed that none of us would have to watch someone deadlift like Stacie Tovar did.



Angie’s earned this week’s Open Athlete in part because she did all her deadlifts with the most beautiful, flattest back any coach could hope to witness. With each lift, even as it became heavy, she re-set her organized brace and drove into the ground using her hamstrings and glutes. Additionally, her box jumps were steady and powerful. Really, if you know Angie you know she’s a hard working athlete. Her performance this week simply reflects that.





This Week’s Open Athletes: The Fullams! 14.2

joefullampushpressThe coaches couldn’t pick just one athlete to represent the spirit of 14.2… this week we had three athletes that knocked our socks off. And coincidentally, they all come from the same family. Clearly, the Fullam family has positivity and motivation in their genes.



Joe Fullam legitimately rocked this workout. From his unbroken overhead squats (which he has worked extraordinarily hard to overcome flexibility issues in order to improve) to his unconventional chin-up grip on the chest-to-bar pull-ups, Joe managed to post a respectable score that rivaled younger athletes’.tonywarmsup2



Tyler, who is officially our youngest open competitor, came into the box early on Sunday morning — a feat in and of itself for this 17-year-old — to complete 14.2. As an avid lifter who participates regularly in the EVO classes, Tyler’s work on the Olympic lifts has clearly paid off.



jackiesetupAnd then there’s Jackie. Jackie did 14.2 on Saturday morning with the masses, her first score just falling short of one full round. Dissatisfied with her performance, Jackie came back the next day to nearly DOUBLE her first score. Talk about a come back!



So when you see a Fullam in the box, it doesn’t matter which, give him or her a high five. They’re full of Fullam awesomeness.

This Week’s Open Athlete: Ernie Seigle 14.1

ERNIE14.1For some, the announcement of the 14.1 Open Workout brought a small heartbreak: double unders prove to be extraordinarily difficult — and seemingly impossible — for many athletes.


However, for Ernie,  a new crossfitter still struggling to make the rope twice around, this presented a challenge. Instead of being discouraged, he took 14.1 as an opportunity to overcome this particular goat, and managed to finish two full rounds and get into his third round.


Ernie is proof that anyone can participate in the CrossFit Open. Anyone, that is, who has a positive attitude and who is unafraid to meet a challenge head on. Photo credit: Richard Veytsman Photography


Athlete Profile: Michal Tyson

michalstrongman2How long have you been Crossfitting?
I’m closing in on 10 months now.

What is your sports history?
Swimming mostly. I started when I was little and continued through high school. I swam in school, community, and club teams. I also did Track & Field in high school where I was a thrower (discus, javelin, and shot put). And over the years I have dabbled in different things: soccer (when I was a kid), cross country (until a knee injury side-lined me), and boxing (more recently).
How have your surprised or delighted yourself with Crossfit?
I am very excited by my progress I have made since I joined last April.  About a year before then, when I started boxing, I lost 45 pounds through several months of hard work and eating less. Around the end of the year, I got bored with the same old routines and stopped working out and slipped back into my old eating habits. By April when I started Crossfit, I had gained back a lot of the weight I had lost and I was just in general fed up with myself. I knew something needed to shake up my life–permanently. I had been listening to my sister for the last year lecture me on the advantages of eating Paleo and how awesome Crossfit was, so I decided I had nothing to lose–and that’s when I joined Crossfit York. Since then, I have slimmed down, gotten stronger, gained back my confidence, no longer have issues with my knees, and in general just feel healthier. I am extremely happy with where I am physically and psychologically from 10 months ago.
What sorts of goals have you set for yourself this year?
Ah! The hardest part about writing goals is picking just a few things when there is sooo much you want to get better at! But here are the goals I picked for 2014.
3 months:
-10 ring dips (I currently have 5, but I figured a little extra work in this area couldn’t hurt…when you are already fatigued, ring dips become extremely difficult. Plus it will help me achieve the elusive muscle-up!)

-30 consecutive double-unders (they have been my nemesis since I started Crossfit…I can do them, but not consistently. Now is the time to finally conquer them!)
6 months:
-Handstand push-up (let’s face it–handstand push-ups are bad ass. Who doesn’t want to be able to do them??)
12 months:
-Muscle-up (A little scary, but totally do-able!)
-173# stone-to-shoulder (I’m determined to write my name on that stone!)

What would your favorite WOD look like?
Anything involving overhead lifts, sumo deadlift high-pulls, kettlebells, strongman stuff, burpee pull-ups (I’m going to regret that one). Just no running please!
Talk a little about your foray into strongman competing. How has Crossfit York prepared you, etc?
Specifically, Tony and everyone else who helped me get ready were invaluable. They took the time to help me prepare and it really paid off. But in a more general sense, Crossfit put me in overall better shape than a lot of the other competitors there.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first heard about it, but it seemed like something that would be right up my alley, so I figured I would give it a shot. And I’m glad I did. I did well in both competitions, but mostly I learned a lot and I had fun. It was a great time.

Describe Crossfit York with one word.
The methodology behind Crossfit is undeniably awesome, but the community is what makes it all possible, and we have an exceptionally great group of people at Crossfit York.


What prompted you to earn your Level 1?
That’s easy. Crossfit has changed my life–I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I’m leaner, faster, stronger and happier. I want to help other people experience the same.

Athlete Profile: Robin Ciccarelli

robinsnatch1How long have you been a member of CrossFit York? About 2 months.

What brought you in? I had seen the CrossFit Games on Erobinsnatch2SPN and was intrigued, so I looked online for CrossFit here in York and started snooping around the website. At the time, my class schedule prevented me from being able to attend any of the sessions. So I had to wait for the semester to end before I came in. Next semester I’ll be sure to schedule my classes around my CFY sessions.

What are you studying? I’m working on my Bachelor’s in psychology right now. I’d like to eventually get a Doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

What are your goals? EVERYTHING! Pull ups, then muscle ups (doesn’t everyone want a muscle up?)

You’re already quite athletic; what’s your sports background? I played basketball and softball as a kid, and I’ve always been a runner. My favorite race distance is the half marathon because it’s like a huge party. Everyone at the start is supportive and happy–it’s festive and exciting. Come to think of it, CrossFit York always has this same energy. It’s like race day here, every day. Support, smiles, amazing effort. I love it.

What changes have you experienced since you started coming to CFY? Well, I’m stronger, of course. But I’m also stronger in other ways…not just physically. I carry myself differently now; I walk like a badass, but like a positive, good badass. I’m a really happy badass.

What would you offer someone who is uncertain about trying CrossFit? I would say that sometimes we have to do things afraid. Not just do things we are afraid of, but do them while we’re still afraid. CrossFit is an amazing opportunity to learn how to process fear. And the ability to process fear transfers to other components of your life. Like I know these last two semesters of my Bachelor’s degree are going to be awesome because I’m not afraid to fail. Not anymore. Also, I feel like CrossFit York is very much about positive psychology. What goes on here in the box is a daily example of what “goes right” in life.

Athlete Profile: Steve Kearns

stevekearnshammer1. How long have you been coming to CrossFit York? I started with CrossFit York back in early March (2013), so I’m right at that 3 month mark!

2. Describe your athletic background. What sorts of sports or other activities do you compete or participate in? I played hockey, golfed and did martial arts growing up, so I’ve always been pretty active. After college I really turned into a one-sport athlete and put my entire focus into my martial arts training (Tang Soo Do… I study and teach at UTA Karate in Manchester). In that time, I’ve put a big focus on competing at a few select regional, national, or international events each year. That’s what actually brought me to CrossFit York. I was looking for something that could help me improve my strength and conditioning so that I could keep pushing myself further and further.

3. Talk a little about how your CrossFit WODs affect your daily life. They’ve really become a pretty big part of my daily routine. There’s something about being able to go in and just focus on working hard that helps melt away the stress of the day.  I know that after a long day (or any day at that!) I have that outlet. I also can’t deny the results of what we do; I’ve seen some huge changes in myself since I began and it’s amazing knowing that this is really just the beginning for me.

4. What’s your favorite movement? Why? What’s with all of these tough questions? I really enjoy box jumps and clean & jerks!  Really anything that is an explosive movement. I love being able to just power through something that just a few weeks ago, I never would have thought possible.

5. What movements still challenge you? Where to start? There are so many movements that still really challenge me at this point. If I had to narrow it down, though, I’d probably go with the muscle up and snatch as two things that really give me fits. I’m working on them though!

6. What goals have you set for yourself since you’ve been with us? Well, obviously I want to continue to get the movements down and work on increasing my comfort with the lifts. From day one  I’ve continually made it my goal to always be better than I was yesterday. I like to tell my students to always shoot to do everything 1% better than last time…just 1%, it doesn’t have to be this awe-inspiring “ah ha” moment, but the only way to get to that point is constant growth. That’s something that I have always prescribed to. Besides that, I’m really looking forward to doing my first CrossFit competition! There’s nothing like competing to light that fire under your ass and get you to push even harder in training!!

7. What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit York? The people. Plain and simple. Sure, you get an amazing workout… but it’s the people who are there doing it with you that keep you going during those tough WODs and coming back for more!

Athlete Profile: Debbie Ashway

debbie kb lunge1How long have you been with CrossFit York? What’s your history with us?  This is my 5th year. Rusty used to be a personal trainer at Gold’s where I had been working with another trainer. My trainer and Rusty were experimenting with CrossFit and they started me on these crazy new workouts. Rusty would bring kettlebells, boxes, and all this other equipment to Gold’s and it was awesome. Rusty then opened CrossFit York, and I was really intrigued by the workouts he’d put together for me at Gold’s, so I signed up. After a year, Craig started coming with me. He was excited about what I was telling him and seeing my progress. We are now part of the steady 6am crew!

What do you think about the changes CrossFit York has seen since its beginnings nearly 5 years ago? I like the new developments. When I first started, there were no introduction classes. Sometimes the “class” was just me and Rusty, or there would be me and one other athlete. Sometimes the WOD was programmed during the WOD. I love the changes. I like the 2-parts, I think that’s nice. On heavy days, we have a little something else to make us sweat a little.

You live in Lancaster County. Why on earth do you come all the way across the river to CrossFit York? Yes, we do. York County is where we’re from; we work here, and CrossFit York is our home. It is worth the drive. And if we’re going to come that far at 6am, there are no excuses for any one else NOT to take the time and make the drive!

I know you’ve done a bit of travelling. What other exciting CrossFit boxes have you visited? The most exciting box was CrossFit London. That was the highlight of our trip! We managed to find one box to get some local flavor: we walked in and everything was the same, except that the bumper plates were in KILOS. I remember there were front squats in the WOD, so we just guessed and put plates on. I remember saying, “this is heavy,” but I had no idea what the weight was.

What’s your favorite WOD? Anything tabata.They’re fun: short, quick, and intense.

What goals or challenges do you face? I’m still not that happy with my pull-ups. When I first started, I told Rusty that if I got a pull-up I would have a party. (I’m still waiting for that party!) So I have a pull-up, but I’d like to string them together better.

What do you eat? I have really learned to love the paleo lifestyle. I’ve learned so much about food, and it’s really helped me with my performance, my sleeping, and my energy levels. I can tell if I stray a little too far off. I remain 80-20.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about trying CrossFit? Give it a chance. If you’re sore (and you will be), just get up and go the next day. And the next day. Just keep going; you’re going to fall in love with it.

Any other thoughts or insight you’d care to share? Craig and I are definitely a team. We come and do this together. This place is truly our CrossFit  family; we’ve met so many great people and friends. And we are proud to be Masters! I’m going to be 50 in July. If I can do it, then YOU CAN, no matter who you are.  Training at CrossFit York makes us better at what we love to do: skiing, biking, kayaking. The conditioning makes us able to do whatever we want, and we’ll be able to do it a lot longer.

Athlete Profile: Joe Fullam

joefullampushpressHow long have you been a CrossFitting badass? About 3.5 years.

What brought you to CFYork? In February 2009, my wife Jackie asked me if I wanted to join her to check out a new gym. Rusty had invited a bunch of the employees of Advantage Physical Therapy to a free introductory session at CrossFit York. It was some “new” training approach and it sounded interesting. We had dabbled using personal trainers before, but I really didn’t know what to expect, I’d never heard of Crossfit.


Jackie and I both signed up, but I didn’t get hooked right away. I struggled with so many basic movements. The box was much smaller back then and I found myself doing sessions with big rugby guys who were way out my league. I felt very intimidated, and after just 5-6 weeks, I felt CrossFit was not for me, so I went back to biking, running, and fending off a slow death from sitting behind a desk by regular visits to the JCC.


After 10-11 months of “doing the same old thing” at the JCC and on my road bike, I saw my wife was getting stronger and having all sorts of fun. I felt just a bit left out! She kept egging me to come back. I decided to give it another shot, and this time, I found myself in sessions with some new members who were struggling with some basic movements, too. We all have our different struggles, but seeing people struggle who I could relate to — and to see them overcome some of their “goats” — inspired me to keep pushing. Things started to click my second time around and I began to truly embrace the competitive spirit and enjoy “the sport of fitness.”

As a longtime member, what changes have you seen in CFY? What did the WODs used to look like? How have coaching methods changed? The CFY membership community has grown rapidly, and with this growth, we needed more space, which resulted in the move into our present kickass box in the city! Now in our new space, we have an awesome pull up rig (with a second in the works), 24 ft ropes, a separate Olympic lifting area, and even a boxing ring… awesome stuff and there’s always new stuff happening! Back in the day, the WODs used to be pretty basic, no group warm up, no part A/B, no post-wod group stretch, (you did it on your own…or not…).  There is significant planning that goes into the programming that’s designed to push members to get stronger AND master good form and technique. Additionally, as the membership has grown, some great folks have earned Level 1 Certifications and joined Rusty, helping to expand the offerings of our box.

How/what do you eat? You had to go there, huh? ;-) Over the last 3 years, Jackie and I have done a few Paleo/Primal challenges, and with each one, I learn a little more about how foods affect me. Whereas I do now eat mostly only Paleo foods, my downfall is balance (or lack thereof).  I tend to find a good Paleo food that I like (like dates or nuts) and eat way too much of it during the week. Yes, dates are Paleo, but eating 12 dates and a few fistfuls of nuts a day is probably not gonna get my body to look like Rich Froning’s. I also like to kick back with a good Chocolate or Coffee Porter Beer now and again, but usually 2 is my limit (maybe 3). Finding that delicate balance between eating clean and enjoying the social aspect of food (and drink) is more of an art than a science.. Still working on just listening to what my body is trying to tell me. Truth be told, I’ve been in a bit of a food funk in the last month or two… I think I need some new inspiration, I’ve been eating a lot of the same meals week after week.

What’s your favorite movement or workout? What do you love to see on the whiteboard? I love cleans and pull-ups…And DUs…I struggled for 2+ years trying to get Double-Unders. I feel I have mastered DUs enough where I now look forward to them in a WOD. And if I haven’t said it before, I detest burpees.

Talk a little bit about what it’s like to be married to Jackie, who is one of the most-chased, most-amazing athletes at CFY. How does her success drive you (or not)? If it weren’t for Jackie joining and sticking with CrossFit, I probably wouldn’t be doing it today — I’m thankful for that; she’s my rock and she motivates me to push harder!


It’s awesome having a common interest like CrossFit to share with my wife, and because we both love CrossFit so much, we are eager to support each other to ensure we both get enough time to do what we love. Jackie will sometimes do a 6Am WOD, then I’ll go in later in the day and try to beat her time. This is usually followed by some trash talk via text…she mostly beats me, but once in a while, I eke out a small victory! We usually WOD separately during the week, but we try to do the weekend WODs together as much as possible.

I know your teenaged son, Tyler, is also a regular at CFY. How has crossfitting transformed your family? Your parenting? Your marriage? CrossFit has had a tremendously positive impact on our family and how we parent. Our involvement in CrossFit sets a great example of a fit lifestyle to our kids.


My son saw our excitement and dedication to CrossFit and asked to join. He now does Olympic lifting sessions twice per week and wants to start wodding, too. The CrossFit lifestyle and our Paleo eating changed the foods we buy and eat when at home and when we are out at restaurants. This affects the way our entire family eats — for the better. At first, there was resistance, but now we see our kids making smarter choices about what they eat.


Confidence, strength (physical and mental), tenacity, empathy, compassion, joy, triumph, enthusiasm, patience, honesty (you’re just cheating yourself) — these are just some of the virtues that, by simply practicing CrossFit, we have the ability to reveal and hone. And these virtues cross over into everyday life, making our relationships stronger, making our lives better. Was our marriage pretty awesome before Crossfit? Yup. Has Crossfit made our marriage even better?… You betcha!

You’re an athlete outside the box, too. What are your favorite local events/races? I’ve done the various Adventure/Extreme races like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and the Cap City Challenge up in Harrisburg.  They are all always fun events when you get a crew from CFY to join in.


Last year we did the Civilian Military Challenge (CMC) and we will do it again this year. The CMC is neat because it incorporates CrossFit movements in the “Pit” at the start of the race. I also like to try to do 2 or 3 CrossFit competitions during the year.


The Mid-Atlantic Hopper down in Baltimore is a favorite (Oct/Nov) and of course, the CrossFit Open in March-April each year.  Jackie and I also plan to compete in the Master’s Division at the Atlas Games at Titan Crossfit in Cockeysville, MD this June.  Fun stuff!

Athlete Profile: Jheysyn Brown

How long have you been coming to CrossFit York? I am 8 months in.

jheysyntopWhat’s your favorite movement? The deadlift. I love the deadlift. My PR (for double-overhand grip; not mixed) is 352#.

What do you still find challenging? Burpees. Box jumps. I don’t have the “wind” yet to do those movements quickly. Also, my left knee doesn’t like box jumps (yet).

Talk a little about your athletic history. Well, my left knee is trashed. After high school, I spent every weekend, pretty much 8 hours or more a day, playing street ball (basketball) in Baltimore. Eventually I tore my ACL, but I didn’t fix it right away. When I finally did have the surgery to fix my knee, the surgeons had planned to work arthroscopically, using the small camera to make the repairs. However, once they got the cameras in there, they realized it was completely ruined. The surgeons had to cut me wide open to repair not only the ACL but also the MCL and to fully rebuild the kneecap.

What brought you initially to CrossFit York? Well, I had gained weight after my knee surgery, and that extra weight was actually creating additional discomfort on my left knee joint. So I came primarily to find a way to lose weight so that my knee would be able to comfortably support my body weight.

Ah. This explains your “funky squat.” Yes, my left knee is still extraordinarily weak compared to my right, which makes a pretty substantial difference in strength. My right knee and leg are far stronger than my left. In fact, my left leg still looks pretty emaciated compared to my right… just from underuse.

jheysynbottomSo, what would you say to jheysynmidsomeone who might still wonder if they are “good enough” for CrossFit? Just get in. It’s gonna suck the first week. It will probably suck the second week. But by the third week, you’ll be dreaming about it. One day my wife (editor’s note: Jheysyn’s wife is the lovey Lisa, also part of our wonderful CFY family) and I were sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store, getting ready to go in. I had been unconsciously practicing the “pop” of opening my hips as I sat in the car. She was like, “What the heck are you doing?” CrossFit becomes part of you whether you like it or not, it becomes part of who you are — when you are thinking about it and even when you’re NOT thinking about it.

Who are your current recruits? Well, Lisa, my wife, of course. Also my younger brother now works out at CrossFit South Baltimore. He was inspired by the pictures I’d posted of my own progress.