Athlete of the Month - Michele Yerger

Kyle, Mark and Michele Yerger

Congratulations on your one year CrossFit Anniversary! Tell us your joining story.

Honestly, if it weren’t for my son Kyle, and to a degree my husband Mark, I would have never joined CrossFit. Unbeknownst to me, Kyle registered me and even paid for my membership. He and my husband pushed hard to get me to give it a try. I was very resistant, and afraid, because of the arthritis I have in my lower back and neck. I just thought I couldn’t “do it.” I was fearful of getting hurt. Truly, I was very angry with Kyle and Mark for pushing me to go! I had never paid any attention to weights or weight lifting over my lifetime. I was fairly good with cardio (or so I thought before starting CrossFit), having done some running, hiking and biking over the years but I never really put the time into training with weights. However, ultimately, I joined and stayed because I wanted to improve my overall health and my physical strength. Also, I’m competitive by nature and I like the idea of challenging myself.  

As a cancer survivor, how has your perception of a healthy lifestyle changed?

As a cancer survivor my perception of everything has changed but particularly regarding my health (and its fragility). I need to control the factors that I can regarding my weight, exercise, nutrition, hydration, and good sleep for my best health and then let go of the rest. For me, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and caring for the body, mind, and spirit… as all three are equally important for overall well being.

What has been your proudest CrossFit moment so far in the gym?

Wow! There really are so many. I feel so proud and empowered after every class I complete, really! However, nailing the 20” box jump was pretty awesome!

What have been some of your favorite moments in the gym?

My favorite moments in the gym, by far, are always when the community comes together to cheer on another athlete who is struggling to complete their workout. The verbal support, applause, and genuine encouragement is just incredible to witness and to be a part of! Sending, and receiving, that communal love and support is special and has helped motivate me to complete an especially difficult WOD.

What would you say to other moms your age who are nervous about joining CrossFit? What are some tips that have helped you along the way?

I would say to other women, and Moms, of my age that you can do it! You really can do “it” because “it” is how you (with the assistance of the coaches) define the workout. “It”  is a workout scaled for you. It’s YOUR workout. You get to start at, and do, a workout that meets you where you are at your level. Also, the coaches are really wonderful and are committed to your success. Good coaches and great people! Biggest tip, GIVE IT TIME! I would say at least 3 months of 3-4 visits a week. CrossFit is hard. It’s a workout! You’ll be sore. You won’t want to go! Do it anyway! Hang in for that time and those visits and you’ll see the improvements. It will propel you forward. You will feel stronger, empowered, and healthier. Guaranteed!

You have many furry friends running around your house at times, please tell us about that!

Over many years, I was involved in rescue work. I worked with a rescue organization and I fostered 17 dogs, helping them find their forever homes. I worked with many breeds, all ages, and a lot of them sick with worms, mange, malnutrition, and dehydration. From there, neighbors, friends, and family have requested pet care support from me. Being fortunate to have worked remotely from home during most of my professional career, I have had the time and flexibility to provide that support for my own dog and the many other animals entrusted to my care.  

Tell us something we don’t know about you!

I jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet and I loved it!

You’re always coming into the gym smiling and always being positive, how do you maintain such a positive outlook on life?

I feel so grateful just to be here everyday. Life is so amazing and beautiful. Every event, big or small, I am lucky to be here to appreciate it, live it, and be a part of be present. That gratitude is such a gift! Gratitude is the key!

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Athlete of the Month - Steve Kenas

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!