Read about how long-standing member Jabari and his wife Krista got involved in CrossFit, how exercise plays a big roll in their 12 years of marriage and why Jabari locked lips with a pig (and how Krista felt about it!) in SwollMateSaturday!
Q(Jabari): Why did you want Krista to join CrossFit? How did you persuade her to come and try it out at DelVal?
A: I love having a shared interest and passion with Krista. I have always been impressed by her athleticism and muscles :-) I love seeing her competitive spirit in action. Since we first met almost 20 years ago, working out has always been a priority in our relationship. We selected our honeymoon resort based on their fitness facility. With regard to persuading Krista to do anything, it does not work. She works in research and is the ultimate skeptic. However, it did help that I had some great friendships develop at CFDV. She saw firsthand the kind of community we have at CFDV and understood why it meant so much to me. Krista has always been good about letting me be me and doing her own thing. I’m just happy that she decided to hop into the mix. It only magnifies our connection.
Q(Krista): Who started CrossFit first? How did Jabari finally get you to give CrossFit a shot?
A: Jabari started CrossFit at DelVal about 9 years ago and I just started last August. It wasn’t really a matter of Jabari convincing me to try CrossFit. He knows me well enough to know that trying to persuade me wasn’t going to work. I needed to make the decision on my own. Over the years of watching Jabari do CrossFit and meeting a lot of the other gym members in social situations I had a feeling that I would really enjoy it. However, for years I felt like with my job, our two kids, and working around Jabari’s work and gym schedule I just didn’t know how I’d be able to make it to class consistently. I had been working out at home (or running outside) for about 9 years (since our first child was born) and while it was convenient and efficient I was getting bored. I wanted a challenge and wanted to add more strength training to my workouts. I think Jabari was shocked when I told him out of the blue last summer that I wanted to try CrossFit. His response was, “You aren’t going to TRY it. You are going to DO it!”. He knew that once I started I would fall in love with CrossFit, and he was right!
Q(Jabari): Do you and Krista partner together for workouts a lot? Do you guys come at the same class times or different class times?
A: Partner together… Um… Nope :-) We give each other space. If there are no other options and we are forced to, then I’m fine with it. Seriously, we use that time to focus on our own individual fitness journey. I can’t lie, I do take a peek at my lady during bootcamp. Seeing her fitness in action makes me happy, happy, happy. As far as class times, we are polar opposites. I’m an early riser for the 5:15am class and she rocks out the 7pm slot. We do come together on the weekends though.
Q(Krista): How did you and Jabari meet? How long have you guys been together? (pre-married years + married years)
A: Jabari and I met in a bar in State College. I graduated from Penn State the previous spring and was up there for a football weekend and visiting friends. He was also there for the football game with friends and visiting his sister. I asked him to dance, which is ironic because I’m a pretty terrible dancer and he is probably the best dancer I know. The rest is history…. I guess my terrible dancing didn’t scare him off. We were together for almost seven years before we got married and we have now been married for 12 (and a half- he will want credit for the half) years.
Q(Jabari): What is one of your favorite things about having Krista in the gym with you? Do you think having someone there keeps you motivated and accountable?
A: My favorite thing about having Krista in the gym is sharing a passion/hobby again. I’m still awestruck by her presence. She is the best athlete in our house. Another great benefit with having this shared interest is coming to CFDV as a family. Our active lifestyle as parents serve as models for our children. When we all come to CFDV together it’s like here comes team Whitehead.
Q(Krista):What is one of your favorite things about having Jabari in the gym with you? Do you think having someone there keeps you motivated and accountable?
A: What I like most about having Jabari in the gym with me is that it means there is someone there who sweats more than I do. Seriously though, it is great to be able to share and celebrate each other's accomplishments as well as to commiserate after a really tough workout. He has a lot of experience so he gives me a lot of advice and encouragement. It definitely helps keep me motivated and accountable to have him there as well. Knowing that he was awake at 4:30 a.m. and completed the WOD before I even get out of bed most mornings motivates me to get myself to the gym after work and try to beat his score/time. Just kidding- I don’t beat him at anything, except running.
Q(Jabari): Do you and Krista meal prep together? How important is focusing on your nutrition for you guys?
A: No, we do not meal prep together. Krista is an outstanding cook though. She has a ridiculously busy schedule. She somehow manages to make meals for us during the week. We use Blue Apron. I attempt to meal prep but not consistently. It is definitely an area to grow in. Even without meal prep, my mindset towards nutrition has changed significantly over the last almost two years and it continues to evolve. Krista actually has a degree in Nutrition Science.
Q(Krista): Tell us the story about Jabari kissing a pig. How do you feel about Jabari kissing a pig in front of a bunch of little kids?
A: A few years ago Jabari challenged the students at his school to read a certain number of books as part of a school-wide reading challenge. Their incentive was that if they reached their collective goal he would kiss a pig. The students exceeded the goal and he upheld his end of the bargain by locking lips (sort of) with a pretty good sized pig on stage in front of the whole school and news cameras. I thought it was great. I love the way Jabari connects with the kids and doesn’t take himself too seriously in this kind of situation.
Q(Jabari): What is something about Krista that many people might not know about her just by looking at her? If you got a call in the middle of the night saying she was arrested- what would she be arrested for?
A: While appearing to be so kind and sweet, she is highly efficient in demonstrating the flip side. Truck drivers may be proud of her :-) Oh yeah.. she is a pretty good trash talker. As far as being arrested for anything, it would never happen. Krista is a rule follower to the utmost.
Q(Krista): How do you feel about Phil and Jabari’s bro-mance? How serious is this bro-mance?
A: Phil is a great guy and I know Jabari has a lot of respect for him and I think he motivates Jabari to work hard so he likes having Phil around. They have partnered together for a few competitions, and actually have one coming up in November. They used to partner together for workouts a lot when they both did 5:15 am classes. Phil has since left the Early Birds crew so now they only get to partner during bootcamp sometimes on Sundays. When Jabari says that he and I partner together “if there are no other options” he mostly means “if Phil isn’t there”. I guess as long as I get to be Jabari’s swolemate the rest of the week I can handle Phil being his swolemate on Sundays.
Read about Night Crawler, Sarah Baker and her journey at CrossFit DelVal, her goals and her favorite memory so far!
Q: Why did you join CrossFit Delaware Valley?
A: There were a few factors that brought me to CFDV. After years of working at a sedentary desk job and a family history of diabetes, I knew I needed to make a serious lifestyle change to improve my current health and hopefully avoid issues down the road. I wanted an environment that would support a transition to a healthier version of myself in the long-term. I have a strong yoga background, but I didn't feel like returning to yoga alone would yield the results I was looking for. I began talking to some friends about their experience with CrossFit and after learning a little more about what CrossFit was, I scheduled a consult at CFDV. Rob was fantastic about talking through my concerns (mainly that it had been a long time since I had worked out consistently and that I never touched a barbell before). When I learned about how the CrossFit program can be scaled to meet virtually any fitness level, I felt like I was ready to take the next step and sign up!
Q:What's been your biggest accomplishment?
A: Committing to showing up to class regularly and putting the work in even when I know it's going to be a really challenging set of movements for me. A lot of the time when I think that I won't be able to complete that many reps/rounds in the WOD before class starts, I end up surprising myself at how much I actually was able to accomplish in the given class time.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am not strong when it comes to the cardio components, so I'm working on gaining more stamina. I'm also working on being patient with myself and letting my skills grow and my body transform at a natural pace. But I get most excited when I get the opportunity to work on weight lifting, I had no idea how much fun lifting was before starting CrossFit!
Q: What's your favorite CrossFit Delaware Valley memory?
A: When I found my max back squat! I had an idea of what I thought I might be able to do. I was completely blown away when I did twice as much, the feeling was unbelievable.
Q:What motivates you to continue training at CrossFit Delaware Valley?
A: The people! ALL of the coaches I've worked with have been wonderfully supportive in getting me up to speed with the new movements. They're a wealth of knowledge so I learn a lot each time I show up, they help push me to new limits and work to keep me moving in a healthy and safe way during the workouts. Plus, all the members at the gym have all been so welcoming, a lot of folks went out their way to introduce themselves in the first few weeks I started taking classes and everyone is SO encouraging during and after the workouts. I never experienced that in a gym before!
FriendshipFridays! Read about how Katie and Jamie met at CrossFit DelVal, how they’ve become so close and how they even workout together on days they can’t make the 5:15 am class!
Q(Katie): Why did you start CrossFit? What made you decide to join DelVal? How do you like it so far?
A: I am getting married in November and I wanted to look and feel my best for the wedding. I heard about DelVal through my sister. She works with Jacki. She suggested reaching out to Jacki for personal training. Since joining CrossFit DelVal, I’m surprised to say I do enjoy it. I’m not a big fan during the class because it’s rough, but, it’s what I was looking for. I have tried several different classes and gyms before to lose weight, and when I leave DelVal, I know it was worth it. You feel every workout, I can tell which muscles we used, and although it’s not easy, It’s nice to leave everyday feeling the changes in my body and health.
Q(Jamie): When you first joined CrossFit were you nervous? Did you think you would enjoy it as much as you have so far?
A: Yes extremely nervous. My sister actually signed me up online and made me go. It was not by choice but by her forcing me! She told me she would go with me for two weeks. I guess she knew that after that I would love it! I didn’t think that I would stick with it, especially since the only class that works for me was the 5:15am. Usually by now I’m over any program or make excuses not to go but, I love that every workout is different! It gets me out of bed at 4:30am which is amazing!
Q:(Katie): How did you and Jamie become friends? Did you do a lot of partner workouts together?
A: Jamie and I met within a few weeks of me joining DelVal. It’s a little intimidating joining a gym that has its regulars and feeling like the new one who can’t keep up, even though everyone in the gym was friendly and welcoming. Jamie introduces herself and told me she was also a new member. So immediately we exchanged numbers and discussed our schedules so we could go together. It’s nice having a partner who is on a beginner level as well. I feel it really helped motivate me to stick with it.
Q:(Jamie): Were you and Katie friends before CrossFit or did you meet in the gym? Does Katie keep you accountable when coming? How has having Katie start around the same time impacted your CrossFit experience?
A: No I did not know Katie. Actually, the last day that my sister went to class with me, Katie was there too. I overheard Jacki say she was new so I went over and introduced myself. I feel we both keep each other accountable but she definitely would back out more than me so I do push her to go, HA! I always say that the workouts don’t look that bad and then she is usually cursing me before the end of the class. I have to say that having her humor in the mornings has made CrossFit all the more worth waking up for!
Q:(Katie): Were you and Jamie friends before CrossFit or did you meet in the gym? Does having Riley in the gym keep you accountable?
A: I have to say having Jamie as a gym buddy definitely helps keep me motivated and accountable. In the beginning, we’d pick days we were going to go. There were quite a few times I was too tired or just being lazy, but I told Jamie I would be there so I could not back out. Even now, months in, there are days I’m just not up to it. I’ll text Jamie at 4:30 in the morning and she tells me to get my a** out of bed or suck it up, LOL. Also, on days we aren’t able to attend due to work schedules or babysitters, we will meet up and run/ jog so at least we are still being active- I know I would not do that alone.
Q:(Jamie): Do you and Katie partner up for workouts or strength work a lot? Do you both come to 5:15am to workout together?
A: Yes when we are together we always partner up because we roughly lift the same weight although she's probably doing about 10lbs more than me now! We always go to the 5:15 am class and talk about attempting Sunday Bootcamp but have not made it there yet! On the days during the week that we are not at CrossFit we meet up at 5:15am to go walking/jogging.
Q:(Katie):Jamie started a little before you, was she helpful in learning new things or did you guys learn from one another? How has meeting her shaped your CrossFit experience so far?
A: We both were always confused with the lingo of the different workouts. Even now, we struggle to remember the names of different techniques. But there are times when she will show me if I am doing something incorrectly and vice versa. For the most part we are learning together with the help of other members and the trainers. I’m really glad I met Jamie. We both have similar reasons for joining and are both looking just to feel healthy overall. With every week, we are seeing improvements with things we couldn’t do in the beginning. A lot of members say how hard it was in the beginning for them too but it’s nice to go through it with someone at the same time. Even when we are scaling some workouts, we help push each other to do a little more than what we initially try.
Q:(Jamie): Do you think it's important to find someone in the gym who can keep you accountable as well as be your workout buddy? Do you think CrossFit does a good job of bringing others together and facilitating those friendships?
A: I think it’s important for some people to find a workout buddy to make them accountable but not for everyone. When I was in my 20s, I loved going to the gym solo so having a workout buddy would have been more of a nuisance. But now that I am older with kids and less time on my hands, having a workout buddy to make me accountable definitely helps me get to the gym in the mornings especially when all I want to do is sleep for that extra hour! The coaches are great at facilitating friendships too! Jacki is always helping Katie and I to show us how we can help each other when we are doing a hard movement. She also yells at us when we are talking too much and not working! Justin and Kyle are also both awesome at helping us and showing us how to scale movements together! And we miss Cat in the mornings, she was a great motivator for both of us. She also yelled at us for talking too! Seems like we get away with more with the guys! Ha-ha But over all the coaches are awesome and we appreciate all the help and support from the morning crew!
Q:(Katie): Between you or Jamie- which one of you would be more likely to do something crazy like jump out of a plane or go bungee jumping?
A: Honestly, I think we would both be too chicken to do anything like that, ha! We have very similar personalities.
Q:(Jamie): If Katie was an animal- what animal would she be and why?
A: I would say she would be Chester Cheetah because she’s cool, she’s faster than me at the WODs and more importantly because she wears BLACK SUNGLASSES!
Tricia Craven is coming up on her 8th year of doing CrossFit and 8th year of being a member here at DelVal! Throughout the years she’s demonstrated hard work & dedication while always having a smile on her face. Read about her journey so far, how she keeps herself moving in the gym and what superpower she would choose to have!
Q: How long have you been doing CrossFit? What made you want to start CrossFit in the first place? How long have you been a DelVal member?
A: September will mark 8 years of doing CrossFit- all at DelVal! I got into it because I needed a rigorous workout program enforced by someone else- and the accountability of other people doing it too. I swam competitively through college, and I missed that so-hard-you-want-to-quit feeling of a workout. I simply won’t do much of a workout on my own, especially at the level provided by the class.
Q: There have been many workouts between you and when you first started here at DelVal, what would be your favorite one to date? What is your favorite movements to see programmed?
A: My favorite workout used to be Cindy… and once I surpassed my goal for that workout, it changed. I don’t have a “favorite” anymore, but my favorite movements are definitely power cleans, pull ups, and double-unders.
Q: You’ve recently been nursing a back injury but still come to class, how has CrossFit allowed you to modify workouts to fit how you’re feeling that day? What are some things you do to ensure you’re still able to show up and workout (any stretching/mobility, ect)?
A: My injury was 100% because I didn’t listen to my body that day. Generally speaking though, I’m pretty good at figuring out when I need to modify something. I love that you can do that with CrossFit. You can either modify range of motion, weight, or swap the movement altogether. There aren’t many sports where that’s an option. So, ever since that awful day in May when I didn’t listen, I’ve been stretching a LOT. Not necessarily sitting down for a 20 minute session, but 2-3 minutes throughout the day adds up- while cooking, playing on the floor with my kids, scrolling through my phone, brushing my teeth…
Q: You started incorporating running into your training as well, how have you balanced the two? Are you training for any upcoming races or obstacle races?
A: I started running with purpose about a year ago, when Kristy Tomicki casually mentioned I should try a half marathon. I followed a training program for that, and drastically cut my CrossFit days to swap for running. Now, it’s back to more CrossFit and I run when I’m short on time. I’m running the Philly 10k this month with Debbie, Kristy, and Vicky! Right, ladies?!
Q: If you had to describe your experience at DelVal to a total stranger off the street, how would you describe it? (Other then, picking things up and putting them back down)!
A: It’s a total body therapy session- physical, psychological, social, emotional. You get a great workout that non-Crossfitters can’t comprehend (“You actually do 100 pullups in a workout?!”) and a social hour with people who are fantastic. And then you plan to do it again tomorrow!
Q: Do you think it’s important to have your young girls see you working out? Do they ever workout with you? Go on runs with you?
A: I’m trying to teach them healthy habits. My 6yo just asked “Do you go to the gym to lose weight or gain weight?” I told her I just go to feel good, get fit and get strong. They like to do their own “workouts” after the 9:30 class and we also frequently go to my husband’s races. I think it’s great that they see us both working hard to improve ourselves.
Q: What are some things that you enjoy doing outside of CrossFit? What’s a fun facts people might not know about you? If you could have any super power, what would it be?
A: Super power first: I would totally choose teleporting. How awesome would that be to just arrive where you want to be?! This choice may also have something to do with the multiple road trips we’ve taken with small children in the last month.
Other things I like to do… Crafting. Oddly, I like doing yard work, although you may not be able to tell from the state of my lawn. I like being outside. I like doing things with my girls that they will be able to look back on and remember.
Umm… I sang in an a cappella group for a semester in college. I’ve been skydiving and have a VHS tape to prove it. :)
Read about how Eric has lost 15lbs, a few inches, and how his weight loss has not only impacted his CrossFit ability but also provided him the foundation to make smart choices when in the kitchen!
Q: What pushed you to do Amplify!? What were some of your goals when you first started? What are some of your goals now after completing it?
A: One of the benefits of CrossFit is the workout programming you receive. I wanted the same for my nutrition plan. No more eating without a purpose. Now that I have a basic understanding of how and what to eat, I need to work on being more consistent and add more variety to my meals and snacks.
Q: What do you think was the most challenging part of really dialing in your nutrition? Was your adjustment to logging food hard? What were some things you thought were easy adjustments that the program offered?
A: Watching my carb intake. Bread is so good! I’ve done well with limiting bread (I’m down to 1 bagel, not 3, on bagel Fridays at work)! Next up, limiting my beer intake. Logging food hasn’t been that difficult as it is all done on your phone. However, weighing food to make sure I am logging everything accurately has been the more challenging part. One big easy adjustment was changing my grocery list and the food in my kitchen. With the weekly meal plan and grocery list provided by Amplify!, it was a no brainer.
Q: How much weight (or inches, or both) have you lost since completing Amplify!? How has adjusting your nutrition been for your CrossFit performances? Have you noticed a difference in metcons/ or strength?
A: I’ve lost 15lbs and more than a few inches. I’ve noticed a difference in a few bodyweight movements. We’ve done HSPUs in a few workouts recently and I was able to do more reps and in bigger sets than in the past. I also did 2 ring muscle ups a week ago (I had only ever done 1 before back in the 2018 Open).
Q: Do you think Amplify! Has given you a different perspective on food? Do you think it’s provided you with some good tips and tricks to stay on track outside of Amplify!?
A: Amplify! has made me think, on a daily basis, about the types of food and the portions I eat. It has definitely provided a great framework I can use to tackle my nutrition on my own.
Q: Did your kids participate in any of the meals that you prepped? Is it challenging balancing kids and Amplify!? Is it important to you to show your kids the importance of healthy eating? Or are you still battling the good ol’ fight against chicken and mac-N-cheese diet?
A: My kids have been subjected to a few of my dinners and it has generally been received well. They thankfully actually enjoy many types of vegetables. It is absolutely important that they are exposed to healthy eating and getting an understanding about food. It plays such large and important role in life, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Q: Does your job impact your ability to stay on track? Do you prep all your food for work the week prior?
A: My job is a pretty consistent routine being in the office all day. The job has no impact on food prepping, just me. In those times I don’t bring a prepared meal, I do have the ability to get out of the office and options to make good choices.
Q:What is one or two things you’d suggest to someone who wants to focus on nutrition and/or who’s afraid to start Amplify!?
A: I am a novice in the kitchen and had always been a bit intimidated when reading recipes. However, there were so many options provided by Amplify! I could easily tackle. I am now looking forward to expanding my repertoire.