Athlete of the Month - Chelly Wiersum

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Chelly Wiersum

February 2018 Athlete of the Month

Here's more about Chelly Wiersum, our February Athlete of the Month! We chose Chelly because of her no-fuss, consistent approach to CrossFit. Read more about her below: 

Tell us a little about you?
I'm originally from Indianapolis but I was born in Chicago and moved there when I was 5. I just moved to this area a year ago. I work at Allmark Door in Aston where my official job title is 'Systems Administrator', but that tends to include a lot of randomness. You can usually find me at the 4pm or 5:30pm classes.

What was your athletic background before CrossFit? 
Ugh. I was hopelessly un-athletic as a kid. Academics? Not a problem. Athletics? Dread and misery. My athletic journey, l guess, started 2 years ago when I bought something on Groupon for a Bootcamp place. Before that I had never done anything other than the occasional short run, so the idea of things like resistance training, healthy eating and trying to build strength and muscle were completely new to me. I did that for a year before I started CrossFit. 

How did you find CrossFit Delaware Valley? 
Where I used to workout in Indy there was a CrossFit gym across the street and I'd contemplated going but that's really as far as I got. When I moved here it was a really good opportunity to try something new, so the first day I got here I Googled 'CrossFit gyms near me' and found CFDV. That same day I did the demo workout with Jacki, signed up right after that and did the 4pm class too!

What do you like about living in the Philadelphia area? 
Other than a couple of weird things like state inspections on cars, post offices in random old buildings, plus a lot more people and a football team that's actually good... it's not so different than Indianapolis. Your like/dislike of a living in a place has so much to do with you experiences there, and I've had great experiences!

You've progressed from having no pull-ups, to one pull-up, to many pull-ups. How'd you do it? 
It's crazy... I would have never thought I'd be able to do multiple strict pull-ups. Even before I started CrossFit I had been working on building up that strength with movements like lat pulldowns and banded pull-ups. It wasn't until I learned how to actually engage the right muscles before I got my first rep. It really just took me time and lots of repetition to build the strength and the skill. Even strict movements take skill.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their CrossFit journey? 
I couldn't say anything that hasn't already been said by CrossFitters before me but I guess I'd say first, stick with it because it will be hard and there will be days you just aren't motivated, and second, just enjoy the journey. Oh, and sign up for the Open. You won't regret it!

What's your most memorable moment from CrossFit class? 
I don't know. It's pretty hard to pick out just one from the first WOD, first RX WOD (17.4), Murph, the CrossFit total...

But it's more than PR's and firsts.  I remember one really hot day in the summer we were doing like a 100m Farmer's Carry and I can only imagine the pain on our faces. Somebody drove by from one of the area businesses and commented something about how hard it looked and why were we doing it? I said, "We enjoy it, I guess we're crazy!". And that pretty much sums it up. 

What are your goals for 2018? 
In CrossFit, my short-term goals (hopefully short-term anyway) would be to get a bar muscle-up and consistent toes-to-bar. More long-term I'd like to work on my mental toughness. It's something the elite athletes talk about a lot and there's a reason for that.

Two-Part Olympic Lifting Seminar

We will be hosting a two-part Olympic Lifting seminar in February. Taught by USA Weightlifting Level II coach Matt Biller, this is an in-depth course meant to refine Olympic lifting techniques and increase understanding of the lifts. Coaches take notice: your ability to train these lifts is critical to your success and this course will improve your coaching ability! This is also excellent preparation work for the 2018 CrossFit Games Open (which will almost certainly feature Olympic lifting). This course is appropriate for beginners and advanced athletes alike. 

Specifically, this two-session course will cover:

- Weightlifting theory via lecture
- Body and barbell relationship and position work
- Recognizing and correcting common technique errors
- Assistance exercises, specific to your errors
- Improving weightlifting-specific mobility

Each session will conclude with a live lifting session where you will be personally coached and critiqued by Matt and his staff.

The details for the course are:

Dates: Sunday, February 11th (Snatch) & Sunday, February 18th (C&J)
           Both sessions will run 11:15am-2:15pm.

Price: $75 per session or $125 for both

Each session will be capped at 30 total lifters. 

To register, follow this link -->

If you have questions about these seminars, please email us at

More about Matt Biller:

Matt holds a degree in Exercise Science and Kinesiology from West Chester University. He also holds certifications from the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Catalyst Athletics and is a CrossFit Level II coach. Matt has
developed and coached athletes at the USAW Junior Nationals, Collegiate Nationals, American Open, and Masters Nationals. He is a USAW Level II coach and is a former 5 year CrossFit affiliate owner/operator. 

Trainer Spotlight - Travis Youngs

You've seen him in the mornings. You've seen him on the weekends. He's ALWAYS here, and he's ALWAYS smiling! Learn more about the original Batman of CrossFit, Travis Youngs

You've been training folks for a long time. Take us through your journey as a Fitness Professional: 

I started personal training when I was a freshman in college, so 18 years old.  It started as a summertime position.  I received my initial certifications so I could train the minimum amounts, but it quickly turned into something that I loved and would ultimately decided to major in, Exercise and Sports Science.  Every summer I would return to New York Sports Club and train clients that actually waited for me throughout the school year.  Once I graduated, I transferred to Philadelphia and continued my personal training career at Philadelphia Sports Club in Radnor where I built most of the client base that I have today.  As you progress in this profession you tend to learn your training style.  I began to realize that I loved training my clients with intensity, but care.  I attained my corrective exercise certification through NASM to help previously injured athletes get better, and reach the goals they didn't think previously possible.  I picked up my USA Weightlifting, CrossFit level 1, and TRX trainer certifications as well.  All of that growth over the years led me to Crossfit, and more specifically, CrossFit Delaware Valley.  

We hear that you were a track athlete in college. Tell us about that.

Track and Field ultimately became the sport that I chose to stick with.  I've played just about every sport this tall and long body frame could support, but Track and Field gave me the best collegiate financial support and athletic growth.  I specialized as a triple jumper, long jumper and high jumper.  Triple jump was my baby.  I ended up holding the school records in both indoor and outdoor triple jump, and went to nationals for the triple jump my junior year.  Junior Year was my best year by far as I also qualified for the Olympic Trial qualifier at a B standard, which simply means I would ride the bench should I make it on the team.  Track and Field ended up training my body for the things that make CrossFit athletes successful today, but it also succeeded in making my body feel as old dirt at the age of 29.

In addition to running classes and personal training, you do a lot of programming and coaching for competitive CrossFit athletes. How did you get started working with competitors? What do you like about that process? 

Everyone has a competitor in them.  You wouldn't do CrossFit at any level (beginner to advanced) if you didn't have some sort of competitive streak in you.  To me, it doesn't matter what level of goal that you have.  What matters is how you plan on going about it.  Are athletes giving the best that they can in the safest way possible?  Are athletes cycling and recovering from their training the right way?  Most importantly, Are athletes training their weaknesses!? These were questions that I decided I wanted to ask athletes to see if they truly understood what they wanted when they walk into a training environment.  It started with a handful of athletes who decided that the brutal feeling after class was amazing, but left a hunger for more.  Most of those athletes, however, had no idea as to how to approach their weaknesses or that additional training without being completely burnt out.  That is when I decided to design programs that would allow an athlete the freedom to work with class and work on their weaknesses at the same intensity.  I love being able to watch the growth that comes from that process.  The additional hours are what begin to make a difference in your mental, physical, and emotional self.  

Your friends know that you're a closet sci-fi and fantasy fan. Tell us about that.

I LOVE sci-fi.  My dad got me into it when I was young and I have carried it out ever since.  I love the DC universe, more specifically, everything Batman.  Star Wars might be the number one sci-fi time filler in my life.  I have read most of the books surrounding the movies.  I watched the movies numerous times, excluding the prequels, but I can still recite the lines.  I own a light saber..errr...anyways.  The philosophies the fictional books can actually be applied to life, and I think that is the big thing that grabs me.  I also love Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and most things Xbox related.  #nerdalert. 

Your dog is the BEST. Tell us about her. 

Relating to the nerd question, my dogs name is Evee.  Named after a Pokemon, just spelled with one less E. She is a Native American Indian Dog, which is long jargon for AWESOME.  She is part Husky, Belgian Shepard, and Wolf.  Whenever she comes to Del Val she is beyond excited to run around and play in the space.  It's her fitness hour.  Fun Fact, there is a certain level of excitement that she displays when she knows Carla or myself is coming home.  she displays that same amount of excitement when Rob pulls up to the gym. 

Name your top three songs for PR lifting: 

1) Colbie Caillat- Bubbly (for deadlifting)
2) Nicki Minaj ft. Eminem- Roman's Revenge (for weightlifting)
3) Skrillex ft. chance the rapper- Show me love (CrossFit)

Who would win in a chess match: Kyle Fox or Nick O'Ryon and why? 

Kyle Fox.  Sorry Nick.  Kyle was a state champion chess player before and during high school.  Can't mess with experience.  Nick will give you the greatest argument, however, as to how its physically impossible that any move Kyle made was legal.

What are your goals for 2018? 

Multiple goals for 2018 but Ill keep in concise with some 3 goals from each realm of my life.

1) Personal- Come as close as possible to eliminating debt
2) Athletic- 300lb snatch. a 375lb clean and jerk.  400lb clean
3) Professional-  Help 10 athletes at Del Val work on their goals no matter how big or small the goal.

Any other comments? 

Feelings of being a career trainer and fitness enthusiast... expressed through song lyric:

It starts in my toes
and I crinkle my nose
Wherever it goes, I always know
You make me smile now, please stay for a while now
Just take your time, wherever you go