Family Friday! Featuring: Matt & Brie McGillian

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Read about Matt and Brie McGillian enjoy a friendly brother-sister rivalry in the gym, who got who into CrossFit and what crime Matt would commit if he were to end up in jail on today’s feature of Family Friday!

Q: (Matt): Who started CrossFit first, you or Brie? Are you guys competitive with each other when it comes to CrossFit? Are you competitive with each other in other areas outside of CrossFit? 

A: I actually started CrossFit first- with the help of Matt Melvin 2 years ago. I think Brie started about a year later. I would say 100% of the time I will try and make it as competitive as possible between us (I don’t know how she feels about that). It may only be a simple, “you can do more weight than that” or  “you better beat my time” or “goodluck...” as I roll my eyes and shake my head but, she knows it is a competition...and she usually wins. We don’t really play too many sports anymore and our schedules are so different, so CrossFit is our new “one-on-one.” 

Q: (Brie): Would you/ do you ever try and partner with Matt for partner workouts? Would you say that you are competitive towards each other?

A: Yes, we’ve been partners before. He’ll always push me to do heavier weight even if that means he has to do more reps. I think I’m more competitive against him because he always beats me but, it makes me work that much harder.

Q: (Matt): Do you and Brie workout together much or try to sometimes? What is it like having a sibling at DelVal

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A: Every time there is a workout that we can do together we try and complete it together. Unless Morgan or Mare(my wife) are there, then I’m like, “Hey Tommy, do you need a partner?” Ha. But I think we learn from each other. Brie isn’t afraid to say to me, “bend your legs more” or “stay on your heels” and vise versa. It is great having her at the gym. It gives us time to catch up and talk and not just through text messages. Plus, trying to beat your siblings in anything is fun in general. 

Q: (Brie): What is it like having a sibling at DelVal?  Who would you say is more into the sport between the two of you?

A: I love it. If it weren’t for Matt I wouldn’t have ever tried CrossFit. He’s definitely more into it. Most weeks he’ll make it to the gym everyday and I know if I miss a good workout, I’ll be expecting a text from him.

Q: (Matt): Do you try and help Brie with anything CrossFit related? Who would you say is more into the sport between the two of you?

A: I try and help her whenever I can. She has asked in the past about certain movements like Double Unders and Deadlifting to name a couple. She is good enough now that I am the one asking the questions. If you asked me this question a few months back I would have said I was. But, this past Sunday she competed in the In-House competition (Hustle) and did great. I am sure there will be more competitions to come for her.  

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Q: (Brie): If there was one workout that you would smoke Matt in (or even just a movement) what would that be?

A: I can’t think of a specific workout but, I’d smoke him in any movement that includes squatting (LOL)!

Q: (Matt): Who is older you or Brie, what is the age gap between you? What is the funniest memory you have that involves Brie?

A: I’m older by four years and a day. My birthday is January 27th 1990 and Brie’s is January 28th 1994. I could go on with funny memories of Brie but, the best is when she tries to claim one of the two beds down the shore when theres already our parents, Mare and I, Brie’s two friends, Brie and her boyfriend. “The air mattress is in the closet.”Ha!

Q: (Brie): What is the funniest memory that involves Matt? If you got a call that Matt was in jail, what would be the first crime that comes to mind

A: One of the funniest memories with Matt was at Firefly (a music festival) when he decided to bring his guitar with him. He carried it around everywhere and could care less that he only knew the beginning of one song (which, he played over and over again). The first thing I’d think of if I got a call that Matt was in jail would be that he got locked up for speeding. He laughs at me every time we drive together because I’m always telling him how to drive.








#TuesdayTalk: Alcohol & Your Body

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Guys, it’s almost beach season (6 days until Memorial Day - but who’s counting?!). For some of us summer means bikinis, sun-tans, the beach, BBQ’s, summer partys and a lot of summer alcoholic drink options! I know you’re wondering: How am I supposed to stay on track with my macros if I’m drinking? How can I drink but also stick to my weight loss goals? What are my best options for drinking and still performing well in the gym? We’re not here to tell you what to do.. But, if you want to make an informed decision about alcohol, then KEEP ON READING!


Alcohol affects everyone differently in terms of absorption, quantity and how quickly it starts to impair you. Once you start to consume alcohol it is absorbed directly into your blood stream through the lining of your stomach. And once alcohol is in the blood stream it is transported to all organs of your body. In most cases it can take about 90 seconds, with effects felt within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking.

The effects of alcohol depends on a few things. It can vary depending on:

  • Sex: (women have a higher Blood Alcohol Content or ‘BAC’ after drinking the same amount of alcohol than men, due to differences in metabolism and absorption)

  • The presence or absence of food in the stomach (food dilutes the alcohol and dramatically slows its absorption into the bloodstream)

  • The concentration of alcohol in the beverage (4% light beer vs 8% IPA)

  • How quickly alcohol is consumed

  • Your body type (heavier and more muscular people have more fat and muscle to absorb the alcohol)

Once alcohol is in your system your body makes metabolizing it a priority. That means that it will stop metabolizing anything else in order to take care of the alcohol. This happens because unlike protein, carbohydrates, and fat, there is nowhere for alcohol to be stored in our body! This is supposed to happen quickly, so the delay of nutrient absorption from any other food/ drinks can often be overlooked by our bodies.

Alcohol with performance and recovery:

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Outside of the obvious issues that consuming alcohol does to performance - the hangover, dehydration, headache, etc - what’s happening inside the body after a night of drinking? After all, the effects of alcohol do not simply wear off when signs of intoxication are gone!
Alcohol can negatively affect sleep, recovery, and the production of hormones associated with muscular growth. Alcohol has also been shown to limit the inflammatory response (which we want to rebuild muscle) via an increase in the production of anti-inflammatory molecules. All of these issues mean that despite all our hard work in the gym, we are no longer reaching our max potential.

What to do if you want to drink! 

There are a few ways you can follow ‘protocol’ to ensure there are a few less consequences from having a good time: 

  • Drink a lot of water! Alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water can slow down your consumption and help keep you hydrated.

  • Try an electrolyte drink the day after drinking. Pedialyte is always a go to and is found anywhere. The electrolytes in these products will ensure proper hydration before consuming alcohol.

  • Make sure you eat a meal with protein, carbs and fats before you drink. The food will allow your body to soak up some of the alcohol and make you less likely to impulsively make poor food choices. Let’s be real: no one wants a salad when they are drinking!

  • Try alcohol with less sugar. Sugary drinks tend to cause stronger hangovers than those with less sugar. Try something like a potato vodka with seltzer or tequila on the rocks. If you’re a wine drinker, try picking something organic and without sulfites. Google the ‘NorCal Margarita’ for a tasty spin on the classic cocktail - without the sugar and calories.

CrossFit is a lifestyle and so is the nutritional choices you make everyday. If you want to drink on the beach, at a BBQ, or where ever you may be, that’s OK. We just want you to understand the impact that drinking has on the body and how you can maximize a good time as well as staying on track with your goals. Making smart decisions with alcohol will push you further towards your fitness goals!

CFDV Summertime Bingo

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Announcing.... CFDV SUMMERTIME BINGO! Keep your motivation, attendance and community connection high with our SummerTime Bingo. Completed sheets get a free t-shirt (delivered at the end of the summer).

The rules:

  1. Complete one line across, up-and-down, or diagonally.

  2. Complete ten total squares.

  3. Document any cumulative squares (meters rowed, pullups, etc) on your own. Attendance will be tracked with Wodify exclusively.

The fun starts on Monday, May 27th (Murph!!) and ends on Monday, September 2nd (Labor Day). Have questions? Ask on the FaceBook Members Board so everyone can see the answer.

Enjoy!

#FitCoupleFriday: Jacki Ford & Craig Twesten

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Read about how coach Jacki Ford and long-time nooner Craig Twesten keep each other accountable, competitive and motivated inside the gym doors and at home!


Q: (Jacki): Tell us how you met! Did you two meet at a box, or meet before you started CrossFit?

A: Craig and I became friends when I took pictures of him and Bill Greco dressed as women for losing a bet after the Open one year. True story. They were both in skirts and tight shirts and they even took a prom photo, corsage and all! He’s been stalking me ever since. Also a true story.


Q: (Craig): What is it like to workout with Jacki or have Jacki around the gym with you? Do you guys ever ‘trash talk’ one another before/ after workouts?

A: Having Jacki as a partner in a workout is basically S&M (Rihanna style). It hurts so good. She makes me work way harder than my body allows but I know I’ll be better for it. “Can you slow down” comes out of my mouth more than once when we’re doing a WOD together.

I’m super competitive but she couldn’t care less about scores. “Our” trash talk is me stating I’m going to beat her score in a metcon and then me NOT beating her score. That being said I’m a far superior putt-putter. In fact I’ll beat anyone at the gym at putt-putt. I’m talking to you Justin Marriott.

Q: (Jacki): What is it like to workout with your second half, Craig? Do you workout together frequently? If so, do you guys get super competitive?

A: Haha “second half” couldn’t be more of the truth...I’m definitely the number one! Fact! We used to workout more frequently together, but now our schedules don’t really allow us to. We definitely are competitive with each other, but more for fun. We try to do partner workouts on Sundays just to workout together. I definitely miss him chasing me because it pushed me to work harder.


Q: (Craig): #DontTellJacki is the hashtag of our gym, does she help you stay on track with your nutrition? Do you guys meal prep things together?

A: She absolutely helps me stay on track. She doesn’t make unhealthy meals so there’s never the option to eat poorly. That being said when I want to eat a pizza or two and wash them down with a liter of ice cream that woman isn’t stopping me. “Go eat your salad you friggin’ hippie” I say to her and then I unlock my jaw and swallow Phillies Dollar Dogs by the dozens. FYI turns out Dollar Dog Night does not mean you can by a puppy for a $1.

Q: (Jacki): You guys recently took a trip to California- was working out something you guys incorporated into the trip? What was the best part of the trip?

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A: Health and fitness are a very important part of our lives, so vacation doesn’t mean we abandon our lifestyle. We agreed to drop in to CrossFit only three of the days, simply because we knew we’d be walking most places (we walked 25 mins to and from the CrossFit classes we took in San Francisco) and one of the days we took a 12+ mile bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. We also made healthy food choices for our meals, with only a few ‘cheats’. My favorite part of the trip was spending much needed time away. We both work hard and don’t get many days off, so it was nice to just relax and enjoy our time away together.

Q: (Craig): What is your favorite workout to do together?

A: Any workout where we sweat it up and she takes off her shirt. That Jacki Ford is one piece of ace. I know from experience, dude, if you know what I mean? No, you don't. Well, not me personally, but a guy I know ... him and her got it on! Whoooooo-eeeeee! No, they didn't.

No, no, no they didn't. But you could imagine what it'd be like if they did, right? Huh? Huh?

Everybody on? Good. Great! Grand! Wonderful!

Q: (Jacki): Is fitness a big part of your relationship? In what ways?

A: It is, simply because we both love it. Both of us have changed our lives through CrossFit. And fitness doesn’t end with CrossFit. We try and walk anywhere we can, go to the driving range (he’s way better than I am), play mini golf (I’ve beaten him a few times and he HATES this fact), trail walks, outdoor games...any chance Craig thinks he can beat me at something, he suggests it. He doesn’t always come out on the winning side though, and he does not take that well. We recently finished a 5 month game of Gin Rummy. Yes, it took that long because we decided to go to 5000. I WON!

Q: (Craig): Who would win these three workouts between the two of you and why: Fran, DT, and Murph.

A: I can beat Jacki in eating ice cream, parallel parking, carrying more grocery bags, being good looking, shaving our legs, dancing, cooking minute rice(I can cook it in 57 seconds) vacuuming, bicep curls and ass modeling. Does that answer the question?

(Jacki) I’m chiming in on this...all of the things he listed above are ALL things I do better than him. So nice of him to expose his weaknesses. I will give him Murph, but I’ll give him a run for his money on Fran. As for DT, not even a competition.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Amplify Spotlight Kevin Kuzmick

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Read about how Kevin Kuzmick got set up on Amplify, how its changed his relationship with food as well as how he stays on track with his progress despite the business of everyday life!

What was the deciding factor in your decision to participate in the Amplify! Nutrition program?

I was struggling with a lot of hip pain which left me unable to run or play hockey.  This coincided with the holidays, and I put on a decent amount of weight.  I was pretty miserable.  It felt like I needed to do something or my weight was going to spiral out of control.  Knowing I couldn’t work out too hard, I figured focusing on my eating/drinking habits was my best bet.  But if I was going to do something, I wanted help from someone to give me confidence that it was going to work. 

What were some of the habits you changed? How did changing those habits affect your daily lifestyle?

The biggest change was having some kind of eating plan that I was confident would work.  And some of the changes were pretty simple.  The first one I started with was drinking my coffee black (used to do 3 tsp of sugar plus cream).  Once you start logging your meals it becomes pretty clear what things you can cut out.  I’m actually back to liking black coffee and don’t even think about cream and sugar.  Another is not cutting carbs out of meals entirely but instead deciding to eating the right ones. I think both of these changes have allowed me to avoid those afternoon energy crashes. But the biggest one for me is actually measuring (or paying attention to) what goes into the meals we make and divvying them up into individual containers (even before the first meal) with appropriately sized portions.  I didn’t necessarily eat horribly but my portions were really out of control (apparently).  And I’m not walking around hungry now – it’s enough food.  And I no longer have those post meal hours of feeling completely stuffed. Last but not least, I try to be more mindful of the beers – IPA’s at 250 calories a pop can add up. 

What is the biggest take-away from working on your nutrition?

I sit at a desk most of the day.  I get some exercise, but I needed to be honest with myself that I wasn’t going to start working out 10+ hours a week to cancel out the bad eating and drinking habits.  Fixing my eating and drinking habits is the most important and effective way to manage my weight.  Have a plan (even if it’s just loose guidelines some days).  If I eat good food throughout the day then I can avoid getting to the point where I’m starving and the GrubHub app starts to look really sexy.

What is your total weight loss to date?

I’m down about 27 lbs.

You have been continuing to work on your nutrition on your own. How has that been going? Do you find you are still following your meal plan most of the time? 

It’s been going pretty well.  I don’t follow the meal plans exactly anymore, but I do reference them for general guidance (and frequently visit the recipes from the site).  It’s mostly about keeping good food in the house, measuring appropriately, and staying on plan.  When I have a bad day or two, I become really mindful not to compound it.  After a bad day, I will typically start logging my food again on myfitnesspal to get me back on track.  

How has living a healthier lifestyle affected your life? What are you nutritional goals for this coming year? 

Not sure I can pinpoint anything specific but I just feel better – physically and emotionally.  I think the biggest goal for me long term is to continue to get back on track and not compound the bad days.  Because my bad days will happen (and occasionally I want them to) – but my goal is to keep them to an exception.

Family Friday: Megan & Jeff Granata

Read about how Megan got her father Jeff in the doors of DelVal and how he’s been adapting to CrossFit while trying keep up with his daughter!

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Q: (Megan): You encouraged your dad to join CrossFit DelVal after you had become a member, why so?

A: I encouraged my dad to join CrossFit because fitness and staying in shape is something I have always been passionate about. He always joked about how he use to be fit back in the day- “before kids”- so it was time for him to put his money where his mouth is!

Q: (Jeff): How was it having Megan in the gym when you first started CrossFit? Did having her there make your transition into CrossFit easier?

A: Having Megan in the gym with me was the only way I was going to go to CrossFit or to any gym. She was very instrumental in getting me to come back to a gym to improve my health and attitude. She even paid the first three months for me, to really insure I would go. Having her there to help me learn these new movements has been priceless to me.

Q: (Megan): Why was it important for you to get your dad in the gym? Was it hard to get him to first start?

A: One of my favorite things about CrossFit is the community, nobody cares about how heavy you can lift or if you scale workouts. What’s important is showing up and bettering yourself. I told my dad he should come to the gym with me for a long time and one day I finally was able to bribe him. Not only is it good for your physical health while aging, it’s great for mental health as well!

Q: (Jeff): Did Megan help you with any specific movements when you first started? Do you guys partner together for workouts frequently?

A: Megan as well as everyone at  CrossFit DelVal has helped me in many ways to learn the movements. I am still learning at my age today how to do many of these movements. The best one is getting back up after doing a burpee. I would like to partner with Megan more but she has her friends that like being with her at the noon class. So I have to pick my times wisely and share my workouts with others.

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Q: (Megan): What’s your favorite part about having your dad at CrossFIt DelVal? If you and Jeff had to go toe-to-toe in a workout, who would come out on top?

A: My favorite part about having my dad at the gym is seeing how happy he has become. Everyone was so welcoming to him from day one and it motivates him to come back each day. If we had to go toe-to-toe in a workout we would be trash talking each other the whole time but, I would have to let him win since he’s my dad......

Q: (Jeff): What’s your favorite thing about having Megan at DelVal? If you and Megan had to go toe-to-toe in a workout, who would come out on top?

A: Well, to me -and don't tell her this- I get to spend time with my daughter doing something she loves to do. It makes me so happy seeing how much she enjoys working out and getting better at everything she sets out to do in her life! I enjoy the quality time with my children! Well I know she would probably win but, I would give her one hell of a run for her money! Watch out for Big Daddy!!

Athlete of the Month- Jeff Varallo

This month’s featured athlete is Jeff Varallo! Jeff is an Early Bird member through and through who has two young children, a career as well as aspirations to eventually finish a 24 hour obstacle course race! Read more about how Jeff balances his day-to-day with his fitness goals!

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Q: What or who brought you to CrossFit DelVal? How long have you been a member of the gym?

A: I joined CrossFit DelVal back in June of 2017. At the time, I had been going to another CrossFit gym for a few months and was really starting to love CrossFit, but needed to find a gym closer to my house that better fit my schedule. I visited 3 different CF gyms in the area but none really felt like a great fit. I decided to meet with Rob and give DelVal a chance and immediately fell in love. Rob and all the coaches/members of the morning crew were so welcoming, there was such a great atmosphere in the gym, and it really was a no-brainer to join CFDV.

Q: What are some of your long term goals? What are some of your short term goals?

A: My goals really depend on the time of year. I spend the spring/summer focusing on cardio and metcons and then the fall/winter I shift my focus more on building strength and gaining weight. Right now my short-term goals are to beat my previous times from last year in Murph and the Spartan Super at Blue Mountain in July. Long-term I would love to be able to deadlift 400, squat 300 and do some crazy endurance events like the World’s Toughest Mudder (24 hour obstacle course race).  

Q: You’ve been tracking your macros and been fine tuning your nutrition, how do you stay on track for the long term? What are some foods you rely on most?

A: It’s definitely tough staying on track long-term. 2 things that work well for me are tracking everything I eat, because you can see exactly how your macros stack up. I also just completely cross certain foods off the list, so I don’t eat any sort of candy or dessert, no matter what. This was pretty tough at first, but after a few weeks it just becomes second nature to say no to cake, cookies, etc. I eat a ton of meat, vegetables, fruit, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, homemade protein bars and WAY TOO MUCH Kashi cereal (pretty sure it’s impossible to only eat 1 bowl of Kashi).

Q: What class time do you attend the most, are there any regular member you work out with at that time? A: I am at the gym at 5 am every day and proud to be an Early Bird! I usually go back and forth between lifting in the dungeon and doing the 5:15am CrossFit class. Everyone in the morning crew is amazing, whether I’m powerlifting with Chris, Tom and Will or doing class with Greg, Carl, Jabari, Ryan, Jenn, Alicia, Maggie and everyone else. It’s such a great atmosphere and everyone is always so supportive. The gym truly is my escape from the world and my second home so I’m so grateful to be able to work out with such awesome people! I also attend the noon class most Thursdays when I work from home to get in some extra training.

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Q: Tell us a little about yourself, what is your life like outside the gym? Where do you work, do you have kids/pets/spouse/partner? What is your favorite hobby outside the gym?

A: Life is very hectic outside the gym. I work as an Underwriter at a specialty insurance company in Bala Cynwyd. My wife (Domonique) works at CHOP and we have 2 amazing kids (Kaylee is 6 and Colton is 1). There is never a dull moment in our crazy family and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. My favorite hobbies are hanging out with friends/family, anything outdoors, going on walks to the park with the kids, playing hockey and watching sports!

Q: What is your favorite lift, movement, or wod? Least favorite?

A: Favorite lift would have to be the squat – it’s the movement I struggle with the most, so being able to hit a heavy squat with perfect form is the best feeling in the world for me. Favorite movement is anything extremely painful (burpees, thrusters, assault bike, etc.). Favorite WOD is Andy. Andy is a hero WOD we did a few months ago involving 50 thrusters at #115, 100 box jumps, 150 deadlifts and a 1.5 mile run, all with a 20lb vest – it was one of the most grueling/painful workout I had ever done, but it’s my favorite because it truly pushed me way outside my comfort zone and forced me to dig deep to finish those last 25 thrusters. Least favorite movement would be Sumo Deadlift High Pulls no doubt, they kill me every time!

Q: If you were to perform in a circus, what would you do?

A: No clue. I’m deathly afraid of heights so that definitely narrows it down. Maybe hanging out with the elephants and tigers?