What brought you to CrossFit? How long have you been a member of CrossFit Delaware Valley? What has changed in your life since starting CrossFit?
My CrossFit adventure began over two years ago when my older brother Andrew (shout out @thecharlotteathlete on Instagram for great advice) joined a box in Charlotte. He introduced me to it and while I was skeptical at first, I started looking into the sport. I then learned my (at the time) fiancé's cousins belong to CrossFit Summa in Doylestown. We attended 4 classes to try it out and really enjoyed the atmosphere! Fast forward a year, my wife and I moved to Delaware County and trialed the local CrossFit boxes and ultimately decided to join DelVal! Since I joined CrossFit in October 2017, I have begun attending graduate school (online PSU MBA) and my wife, Casey, is pregnant!
To date, what is one thing that you are most proud of in relation to CrossFit? What's on the list for 2019 goals?
One aspect that has kept me committed to CrossFit is the unknown. I played sports growing up and have a background in basic weightlifting. However, I had little experience in Olympic lifting and practically zero experience in gymnastics movements. When I first started, I was scared and embarrassed to go upside down. I have overcome this fear and am now on the brink of handstand walking! As for my 2019 goals, I want to continue to improve my Olympic lifting skills and boost my PRs by 10-15%. But a much larger, and potentially more important goal is to maintain my attendance once my first-born child is born! I have a lot of unknown ahead of me and am hoping the birth of my child along with graduate school does not prevent me from attending class.
You have participated in a few in-house competitions at DelVal, are there any future competitions that you are looking to compete in?
Unfortunately, I am not really too sure of any at this point but would like to test my skills some time in the future before the baby arrives! If anyone knows of any in the late winter/spring, let me know!
What is your favorite workout that you have completed? What is you least favorite (if you don't have one- I'll take least favorite movement!)
I am a huge fan of Murph and Cindy. I recently broke 20 rounds in Cindy and was very proud. My favorite type of workout has to be AMRAPs. Outside of those named workouts, I am a huge fan of box jumps and now that I am learning butterfly pullups, I am really enjoying anything on the bar -- pullups, chest to bar, and muscle ups. While people know me as a good runner, it is absolutely one of my least favorite "movements" but this may only be because of our damned mountainous terrain.I don't really have a least favorite movement as I love the diversity that CrossFit brings, and how it forces me to work on my weaknesses.
What is your diet like? Has it changed since starting CrossFit?
I primarily stick to meats and vegetables. My weekdays are very consistent: eggs in some form for breakfast, snack of nuts/seeds around 10:00, lunch of a meat and vegetables (ex: chicken with roasted broccoli and cauliflower), hard boiled egg snack around 2:30, a prework snack of carrots and hummus for 5:30 class, and finally a dinner of some meat and vegetable. Sometimes when we meal prep on Sunday and actually have time, we cook more exciting meals like Chili, Paleo Nick's deep-dish breakfast pizza, Coach Jacki's parmesan chicken nuggets, honey sesame chicken, chicken tortilla soup, slow cooked buffalo chicken with homemade ranch, pulled-pork, etc, etc. Well I guess we eat a lot of chicken... The first few months I started CrossFit, my wife Casey did Jacki's Amplify challenge. This opened our eyes to just how many foods have sugar. We already had a pretty decent diet but never realized just how difficult it is to fully cut out sugar. It is in EVERYTHING!!
There's news that there will be a baby Kenas running around soon. Tell us about how you're feeling about becoming a new gym dad?
Oh I am very excited to become a new gym dad! I am happy to join the other lucky dad members and thrilled to bring the newborn around. Thankfully, I am the luckiest future dad in the world and blessed to have my beautiful wife by my side. Casey and I looking forward to the future and the challenges in and out of the box!
When you're not at the gym, what would be your favorite thing(s) to do?
While my diet may sound lame to some, I really enjoy cooking. I take a lot of satisfaction out of putting together a meal, especially for others. I was lucky to host my first Thanksgiving this year and it went extremely well. Other than that, I really enjoy spending time with friends and family which can be difficult these days with grad school and the upcoming child.
Tell us something that we might not know about you?
While I am very into CrossFit, sports, hanging out with friends, I do have a nerdy side. Among other things, I am an avid Game of Thrones fan and have read the books (A Song of Ice and Fire) several times. I also enjoy the occasional video game when time permits. Lately, I have been enjoying quite a bit of Fortnite victories!
A regular member for 4+ years, Tom Melvin has seen his share of ups and downs with his training. Recently, Tom began a new journey, mixing our group classes with personal sessions, directed by Coach Tom Flaherty. The results have been nothing short of amazing! Here’s Tom’s story:
Tell us about your fitness journey.
Before CrossFit DelVal, the only fitness activities I did were pickup basketball and the occasional hamster wheel session [treadmill]. I got bored of doing that and after searching, found CrossFit. The program was really different and I liked that the workouts changed everyday. The hardest part was getting the courage just to walk in the door! Once I took the first step it took me about a week to get used to the format and after that, I was hooked.
The bodyweight and gymnastic exercises came easy and natural to me. The weight training, however, was like learning a foreign language. I had never trained with weights before, let alone done deadlifts, cleans and snatches. From about 2014 onwards I committed hard and became a ‘regular’ in class, attending 4-5 days a week. I started to feel myself getting pretty good with the weights and seeing good results with the group classes.
In the past, I had experienced lower back pain that started to creep up on me again. I lost some time getting to the gym and the consistency that I had established was gone. When I wanted to get back into it, I contacted Tom Flaherty, who had recently converted from being a fellow athlete to a group coach and personal trainer at DelVal. He was a familiar face and friend and this felt like the right way to restart.
What were your goals during your sessions with Tom Flaherty?
My goals were to improve my weight training and to gain size and strength. This was unfamiliar territory and something that I didn’t really know if I could do.
What have you accomplished working with Tom?
When I started with Tom, I weighted 148 pounds. I now weight 183 (~35lb gain) and I feel like most of the gain has been muscle. I’m also a LOT stronger, and I can move weights that I never thought I’d be able to.
When we started together, Tom would create workouts and I wouldn't be able to finish them! Other times, I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing one (or more) components of the workout. Now I can basically perform whatever he writes down that day. I have no choice: I'm doing it and I’m finishing it!
My back issues are completely resolved. Not being in pain is obviously a good thing but I really love not having to fear certain movements. I feel like I have no limitations.
My favorite change has been the mental aspects of my training. I now have complete confidence lifting weights! I used to avoid classes that would include heavy lifting (squatting, deadlifting, etc). With Tom’s help, I really feel like I know what I’m doing and the comfort is there.
Tom really puts our friendship first. He makes me feel confident and comfortable lifting, which I never did before. As much as I want to throw a dumbbell at him sometimes, he still makes it worth coming back because I see the results!
Any advice for those looking to start training?
Just walk in and give it a shot! It looks hard and intimidating, but once you try it it’s easy to follow along. The hardest part for me was just walking into the building. Now I’m hooked.
If you’re considering personal training, my advice would be to clearly understand your goals and really stick to them. Consistency is huge. I thought about quitting after the first week and just kept showing up, day after day. It works if you’re willing to work at it and keep coming.
Working with Tom, we were able to figure out my weaknesses. Now those weaknesses are my strengths! That has really made training fun. I always leave feeling like I’ve accomplished something.
Here are our schedule adjustments for Thanksgiving week:
NO 0630 BBC
NO 0630 BBC
Thursday 11.23 (Thanksgiving)
0630, 0800 & 0930 - CrossFit Classes
0630 - 1030 - Open Gym (Dungeon only)
Friday 11.24 (Black Friday)
0630, 0800, 0930, 1200, 1600 - CrossFit Classes
0630 - 1300, 1600-1700 - Open Gym (Dungeon only)
If you’re dropping in from another facility, we’d love to see you! Please complete our electronic waiver before arriving (link here). We’re located BEHIND the Satellite Three building at the end of Abbott Drive.
Single Drop In - $20
Three-Day Pass - $35
Full Week Pass - $50
You can add a shirt to any drop in package for $10 (regular tees or tanks only).
How did you start CrossFit? How many years have you been a member at Delaware Valley?
I actually found out about CrossFit and CrossFit Delaware Valley through my good friend Mary, who was already a member. I went to the box, which was on Groce St. in Glenolden at the time, thinking I’d get a quick tour or something. Next thing I knew, Rob had me rowing, doing KB swings and (I think) burpees! I’ll celebrate my 10th anniversary at CrossFit DelVal next month.
What’s your favorite thing about seeing the box grow? What is a favorite memory at DelVal (If you can pin point just one).
The growth at the box has been incredible and I think it goes hand in hand with the evolution of CrossFit in general. DelVal has quality coaching and that helps to build the community. Sometimes, I do miss the pre-LuLuLemon, old school whiteboard scores and Chucks as your lifting shoes days. I have a ton of great memories from CrossFit DelVal. From a workout perspective, completing the Hero WOD ‘Clovis’ with Dawn is one. From the fun part, there were spirit weeks, proms, competitions…too many to count.
You’ve had to scale some workouts due to various health issues. What keeps you coming back despite some of the issues you’ve experienced? What advice would you provide to athletes who want to CrossFit while injured?
I’ve had a few surgeries over the years – hip replacement, rotator cuff repair and a knee scope. I credit CrossFit for keeping me healthy enough to recover well from those. I’ve learned to listen to my body more and the coaches’ work with me to find scaling options. I would tell other athletes to listen to their bodies – there’s no shame in scaling. For me, as long as I’m moving and getting a good workout in, that’s quality gym time. I keep coming back because I wouldn’t know where else to go after work!
How has CrossFit DelVal impacted your life inside the gym and outside of the gym?
CrossFit DelVal is an integral part of my life. As many before have said, it’s like a second home. People talk about the community aspect of CrossFit and it’s true. I’ve made lifelong friends through my years at DelVal and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
What other hobbies do you have outside of CrossFit?
I don’t have any specific hobbies per se but enjoy spending time with friends, watching sports, the beach and, of course - Jimmy Buffett!
What is one fun thing about you that we may not know yet?
Hmmm…I can’t give away all my secrets
What was the deciding factor in your decision to participate in the Amplify! 28-day Nutrition Challenge?
The deciding factor would be my inability to lose weight. I couldn’t drop pounds like when I was younger.
What were some of the habits you changed during the challenge?
Everything changed with my eating habit! It turns out I knew nothing about nutrition. Small meals every 3 hours makes it easy.
How did changing those habits affect your performance in the gym during the challenge?
Performance in the gym through habit change is a just a bonus. The bigger picture is quality of life.
What is the biggest take-away from working on your nutrition for those 28 days?
Biggest take away - knowledge and a desire to learn more about nutrition.
You are now doing ongoing nutrition counseling with a customized meal plan to help you reach your goals. What are some of those goals?
My first priority is weight loss. After that it will be management and strength gain. I'm looking forward to bulking (don't think that is right word?). Considering how effective it has been losing, I’m excited about gains.