Sleep & Your Body: The Importance of a Good Nights Rest

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Diet and sleep: a healthy helping of the right stuff

You workout regularly, eat nutritionally dense foods, portion out your meals and have even dialed in your supplement intake, yet, without the proper amount of sleep your body has a difficult time losing weight, regulating mood, memory and even recovery.

The amount of recommended sleep for the average adult is 8-10 hours a night. Most individuals are unable to obtain this many hours of sleep a night and typically get around 5-6 hours. The main culprit for lack of rest is either stress, work, TV, computers, screen time (phone, iPad, etc), late consumption of caffeine, and lack of exposure to natural light. All of these factors interrupt our body’s natural clock (our circadian rhythm) which causes us to feel awake at odd hours of the night and exhausted in the middle of the day.

Sleep & Body Composition:

But, what does poor sleep quality do to your body composition, eating habits, and performance goals? Studies suggest that people who sleep fewer than 6 hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as people who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. When you don’t sleep, Ghrelin hormone levels (appetite stimulating) go up & Leptin hormone levels (appetite suppressing) go down. You won’t feel satisfied after your meals & you’ll want to keep on eating. Additionally, self-control drops, sensitivity to food reward increases, and our desire for energy-dense foods to increase energy levels goes way up. Lack of sleep can only lead us farther away from our weight loss goals.

Sleep & Performance:

If you are an athlete with a focus on performance, sleep is even more important for you. Sleep recharges your central nervous system (CNS) and replenishes your energy stores. Your muscle contractions, recovery time, and response to pain are all tied into your CNS. The better you sleep tonight, the better you’re going to perform in your workout tomorrow. If you’re sleep deprived, you’ll be slower, weaker, and less coordinated. Your Testosterone and Growth Hormone levels will drop, slowing down the amount of muscle you gain over time. Basically, the less you sleep, the less likely you are to recover which not only increases your chance of injury but also decreases our chance to maximize our gains in the gym!

So why should we care about sleep if we aren’t hyper focused on nutrition and performance?

Well, sleep deprivation also has nasty side effects:
Fatigue & lack of motivation.
Moodiness, irritability, depression.
Decreased sex drive.
Issues with memory, learning, decision-making, problem solving.
Increased risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Weakened immune system.
Impaired motor skills.
Impaired tolerance to carbohydrates.
Gut issues.
Increased inflammation.

So what can we do to make sure we’re getting enough sleep?
Limit caffeine & alcohol intake during the day, all which interfere with sleep.
Eat your last meal 2hrs before bed.
Dim the lights in your house/light candles when the sun sets.
Complete a “brain dump,” & write down thoughts that may keep you up.
No electronics (cell phone, internet, TV, etc) 30 mins - 1 hour before bed. (Consider using blue blockers).
Stretch, meditate, or read. Avoid anything that’s TOO emotionally provoking.

Set your AC between 60-68F.
Sleep in total darkness (black out curtains or an eye mask).

Transformation Tuesday: Dave Santivasci

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Read about how member Dave Santivasci recently lost 20lbs, 7inches and 6.3% body fat by starting Amplify! Not only has Dave experienced physical changes on the outside, he has also lowered his resting heart rate and blood pressure by adjusting his diet and CrossFiting! Read more about his journey!

What made you decide to start Amplify? How has it changed your perception of your eating habits, the food you eat as well as the accountability of it all?  

My main goal when starting Amplify was to lose body fat. I have been in the healthcare field most of my life and know what happens when you’re overweight, have a family history of diabetes and heart disease, so my goal was really about getting myself to a healthier place. I started Amplify in March, and that was the second goal I had set for myself when I started at CFDV last September.  

When I started CrossFit, I promised myself that if I could consistently make it 2-3 days a week for a few months, I would work on nutrition next. My older brother, Mike, has been doing CrossFit for 8 years and also changed the way he eats, and I saw the positive results he had. He has been a good role model and introduced me to some of these eating concepts so I was convinced that if I could do this, I would see a change in my health.  

However, while I was convinced intellectually that there was a better way to eat, I did not have the conviction to take action. I had heard about Amplify when I started at CFDV. I looked at the info on the website and then spoke to Jacki after a class about it, so I knew that when I made the commitment to focus on nutrition, I was going to work with Jacki and do Amplify.  

Jacki shared what I had heard, which is that your body composition is 90% what you do in the kitchen and 10% what you do in the gym. I have found that to be true. I did lose weight just from starting CrossFit from September to March but the noticeable changes to body composition happened after doing Amplify.  So, once I showed myself that I was making CF regularly, I ran out of excuses to not start working on my nutrition and signed up for Amplify.

Amplify has really changed how I think about what I’m eating. I have been doing it for 3 months and it has dramatically changed how, when, and what I eat. I like Amplify because it is a very practical approach and lays out exactly what you need to do and provides plenty of menu and food choices. That said, it was not easy early on because I was changing a lot of habits.

I had logged food in the past and that helped me realize how many calories I was eating, but it didn’t help educate me on better choices. Amplify helped me understand what choices I could make that were better for me. It also showed me how to space out my meals, including snacks in the morning and afternoon. Jacki provided real-life solutions and challenged me to change my habits. 

One example is that I traditionally eat out for lunch and really didn't like to bring lunch to work. I also travel to a client at least once a week. So I had a real issue with packing snacks and meals when I started. Jacki challenged me that it was possible to do this, "You know Dave, they do make insulated bags to carry your food and I do it every day..."

I didn't want to hear that at the beginning but also knew the only way I was going to make this work was to try something new.  Well, I now pack snacks every day- including when I am traveling. I also still eat lunch out a few days a week but I make better choices and always pack good snacks to supplement my lunch.

What I learned is that it’s really not that big of a deal to pack my meals.  The days I have left in a hurry or forgot my bags were more painful because I was trying to figure out what healthy options I could find on the road, which is not as easy.  When I meal/snack prep, I don't have that issue.

You were doing CrossFit for a little while before focusing on your nutrition. Did you decide to change your nutrition to improve your CrossFit performances? Do you think it has helped your performance in the gym? 

The first big step for me was starting CrossFit and proving to myself that I could stick with it.  I had many gym memberships over the years but never stuck with a consistent work out structure. From my first meeting with Rob and then OnRamp with Cat, I really liked the CFDV classes, coaches and found the community is awesome. Everybody has been very supportive and nice to the very inexperienced newbie!

I started Amplify really focused on losing body fat and any improvements in performance would be an added benefit. I am still mostly at the state in my CF journey that surviving the workout is a win more so than my score.

That said, the loss in weight has improved my time in the Broomile some and it is helping with pushups and pullups, which is my next area of focus.

What has been your favorite part of Amplify? How many pounds (or inches) have you lost since starting? How do you think your daily job impacted your nutrition before Amplify and now after? 

My favorite part of Amplify is the results it has had for me. I think any change in habits is hard, so I won't say this has not been difficult because it has been. I have tried to stick to the program but also work in certain food choices that I don't want to give up entirely. I still have a cheesesteak once a week (#donttelljacki) but I don't have a soda or fries. On days I do that, I do plan what else I am going to eat to try and keep myself on the plan.  I have been very happy with the results:

  • Lost over 20 pounds since I started Amplify!

  • Lost 7 inches and 6.3% bodyfat

  • Increased my energy level

Also, between doing CrossFit and Amplify, I have lowered my resting heart rate significantly and lowered my blood pressure.

The daily job is a challenge as I tended to eat in the car on my way to work and eat out every day at lunch.  Whether I could really change those habits was my biggest fear starting Amplify, but Jacki did teach this old dog a new trick and I have no issues with work and meals out. I just have learned to make better informed decisions.

I am also lucky to have a fantastic wife who has been supportive of this and who has helped with meal planning. We changed our dinners in many cases for the whole family. Our kids are good with some of the meals and not so much with others, but we have been doing it for 3 months now, so it seems more like the norm now than different.

What are some take-aways that you learned by doing Amplify?  Do you plan on still following the meal plans? Do you have any other goals in mind for the future? (CrossFit or nutritionally)

I went into Amplify with the goal that this was not a 3-month event, it needed to be a permanent change and that is still my outlook. Everybody is different and on a different place on their journey but there is no question in my mind, that if you stick to this program, you will see results from Amplify.

My take-aways are:

  • Stick to the plan provided for at least the first month so you see the results which helped move me from being convinced this might work to having the conviction to keep with it because it does work.

  • Make decisions on foods later on that you think you need to keep in your life to make this a permanent change but stay in the calories and macro goals for the day.

  • If you have a bad meal, just get back on track with the next meal and move on.

  • Amplify has a support network so ask for help from Jacki or another person if your struggling with something. 

I plan on sticking with Amplify and logging my food going forward to keep me accountable. My CF goals going forward is to work on upper body strength. I would like to be able to do more push-ups and non-assisted pull-ups.

All Y'All - A Mixed Gender Partner Competition

All Y'All is a mixed-gender partner competition at CrossFit Delaware Valley on Sunday, July 21st.

The entry fee is $120 per team which INCLUDES an event t-shirt, tank-top or raglan 3/4 length. We are limiting this event to sixty teams.

All Y'All will be split into three divisions – RX, Scaled and Hybrid. The RX division is appropriate for athletes with over one year of CrossFit experience who are used to completing 50% of their local gym's workouts ‘as RX’d’. The Scaled division is appropriate for newer athletes that are used to scaling their workouts. The Hybrid division is for partnerships that contain one RX athlete and one Scaled athlete.

The competition will feature three workouts, and each team will do all three. The first two workouts will be published shortly (look in the event newsfeed).



Family Friday: Mike Kane & Dan Emmerson

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Mike and Dan are two hilarious dudes inside the gym and out, read more about their relationship, how Mike officiated Dan’s wedding, why Dan wears a shirt with Mike’s face on it and how they love to do holiday WODs together!

Q(Mike): Who started CrossFit first, you or Dan? Are you guys competitive with each other in regards to workouts?

A: I started CrossFit first, and like everything in life, Dan came around later. I had been coming to CFDV for about nine months and Dan was running his mouth about CrossFit the entire time. One day we went over his house for a barbeque and his friends were all commenting that I lost weight (this was a long time ago). The next day Dan signed up for the trial.

We do try to push each other, one time Dan entered the wrong weight into Wodify and I went in determined to beat it and PR’d. An hour later he fixed his score. We do a lot of Open WODs together and we have no problem telling the other to get back on the bar in colorful language.

*Dan Edit: Yes, he started before me. But the iPhone 3 came before the iphoneX, which one is everyone liking more now?

Q (Dan): Do you and Mike every do partner WODs together? Who do you think is better at CrossFit, you or Mike?

A: We do partner WODs a decent amount, if we are at the gym together then we workout together. We make it a point to do holiday ones together (like Murph), it is always a good time. We do this thing where we talk about something going on in the family half way through the WOD in order to catch our breath but we don’t have to come out and say to each other that we are winded and on the way to passing out.  

I know you have to ask these questions in a political way, but let’s be real, there is no “think”. It’s a simple fact that I am just clearly better at all-things than Mike, except shirt popping, he beats me there.

Q(Mike): What are some of your favorite parts about having Dan join CrossFit Delaware Valley?

A: Reminding everyone who Dan Emmerson is. “You know, the hungover guy that comes in late to 9:30? Yeah that’s actually my cousin. No he’s cool.” It has been fun to watch Dan transform into a total CrossFit bro though, after swearing that he would never buy a pair of CrossFit shoes when he started. Now he’s streaming Open announcements while sporting No Bulls.

Q (Dan): What is it like to have a family member in the gym? Do you think it’s helpful to have family at the gym when first starting CrossFit?

A: It is great to have family in the gym for sure. When I first started, I had a lot of questions that I would not have asked someone else. Having Mike there from the beginning was great because I felt comfortable from the start; I knew that I could text him and ask him what I was getting myself into for that day. His response is usually “Dude, you’re going to die”.

Q(Mike): How do you feel about Dan having a shirt created with your face on it?  Any plans for retaliation?

A: I thought it was a good idea with poor execution. The font choice was weak and he could have had a wittier comment. And oh yes, there will be retaliation and it will be devastating.

*Dan Edit: I ordered it in under 6 minutes after finding the bottom of a case of Corona. I’d say it is amazing considering the facts!

Q (Dan): What was the story behind the shirt that you had created with Mike’s face?

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A: Mike gets a bit frustrated that I get in more gym pictures than he does, I remind him that I cannot help that my form is simply better than his, thus more photogenic. However, being the caring family member that I am I wanted Mike to be in more photos. (Let’s be honest, if I can get next to him in a photo it simply makes me look that much more handsome, Ha!) So one night I may have had a few cocktails and thought his face on a shirt would be a nice gesture. I Googled a shirt company, lo and behold I found one that would make my shirt and have it to me in 4 days – sold! My wife thinks it is so mean and hates when I wear it, to me that is a sign that it is perfect (she is on team Mike, by the way). Phil G stopped me when I wore it and asked if it was a team shirt, unfortunately it is not, but Phil may be on to something here.

Q(Mike): Tell us about your roll in Dan’s wedding. What did you do?

A: I actually officiated Dan’s wedding to his much better half Meghan in Bermuda. I also did my sister’s wedding. I have no idea if either of those couples are actually married by law but that’s their problem!

*Dan edit: The entire time we were in Bermuda for the wedding and on my bachelor party we toasted to “Father Mike” or “Reverend Mike”!

Q (Dan): Tell us a little bit about where you grew up before you came to Delco?

A: I was born in Bermuda and lived there before coming to Delco. My mom is from Delco, went to Bermuda on spring break and met my dad (who is a smoooooth talking Bermudian) and pretty much did not come back. My parents moved back to Delco years later and live here now. One side of my family is here in Delco (Mike’s side) and the other is all still in Bermuda. Bermuda is like Delco, it is a small country and most people know each other. For our wedding we had a full Bermuda wedding and brought 70 Delco people to Bermuda, the stories are endless (70 delco people on a flight to Bermuda, issues began on the plane, ha!) and probably to explicit for this forum. But, I will say that Mike and his wife found themselves in a Bermudian Emergency Room at one point and I have a feeling Mike is a wanted man in Bermuda for skipping out on that ER bill.

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Q(Mike): What do you think Dan would be most known for if he ever became famous? Do you think that Dan or you would survive a zombie apocalypse?

A: He’ll probably go viral/famous for crashing his car into a pole while filming his kids singing DJ Khalid in an attempt to be famous by getting a shout-out from DJ Khalid. As for the zombie apocalypse… Dan will be a very useful guy to have around because I’m sure he has a MacGuyver-like ability to turn normal everyday household items into alcohol. Once the zombies get ahold of Amazon Prime though, I don’t think he’ll have much left to live for.

*Dan Edit: This is actually correct.

Q (Dan): What is the funniest thing Mike has done- inside the gym or out? What are something that people might not know about Mike?

A: Mike’s ability to buy old useless crap, throw some duct tape on it, and call it a treasure is 1. Hilarious when he comes home with the junk and 2. Somewhat of a super power (he recently bought a 1987 JetSki, I can swim faster than that turd). If you post something on Facebook Marketplace for sale from the 80s era, 10-1 shot Mike will buy and over pay for it.

In all seriousness, we go at each other pretty hard, but Mike has a huge heart. He is the type of guy that will give you the shirt off his back (esp at the gym, he loves being shirtless). You may not know this, but about 9 years ago he started a food drive to give to local families that did not have enough food to get by. He has grown his food drive every year and now delivers literally TONS of food and toiletries to families in need… it really is very impressive. His food drive inspired me to start a toy drive for local children’s hospitals and that has also grown very large now. Mike started a movement, his need to give back 9 years ago has now directly impacted tens of thousands of families at this point. Just don’t tell him I said any of this mushy sh*t though, ok?

Weight Loss Wednesday: Kelly Slattery-Pennington

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Read about how Kelly Slattery-Pennington joined Amplify, lost 9lbs, and even learned some tricks and tips along the way all while managing 3 young kids!

Q: Whats the most important thing you learned from doing Amplify? How has that translated into your daily life?

A: The most important thing I learned was how to be more mindful of my food choices and plan better. Having a plan makes my daily choices easier and healthier. I am paying more attention to the balance of carbs, fat and protein, something I also never thought about before. Although I knew I was a carboholic before Amplify!

Q: What was the most challenging part of doing Amplify? What are some tricks you learned that have helped you meal prep, maintain or stay on track?

A: Well the first three days were the hardest, I was so hungry! I realized I hadn’t really felt hunger in awhile because I previously would eat throughout the day, and I never paid attention to how many calories I was eating. I learned that while the unhealthy choices (hello pizza!) were giving me immediate gratification, afterwards I would feel some guilt that I didn’t choose something more healthy. I learned that fueling my body with better options made me feel better in general (less bloated, less tired) which is why I wanted to do the Amplify program to begin with.

Q: How much weight did you lose? Did you implement some of the things you learned from Amplify into your family life or family meals?

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A: I lost 9lbs, which is crazy. I figured I would lose a few pounds but didn’t think it would be that much. I haven’t weighed this much since before I had three kids. It was more about how I felt though, than the number of pounds I lost. I had more energy and just felt happier in general. I liked the idea of my kids seeing me eat more variety and healthy options too, 2/3 of them are picky eaters so I’m hoping it will help them over time as well.

Q: How does having a career and children impact your ability to stay on track with your weight loss? Does having children make it more challenging not to snack or be around some unhealthy food?

A: Amplify definitely helped me plan better for work. I work part-time, but one of the days I work 13 hours and I am on my feet all day. I would skip lunch, have no energy by the evening, and order and eat almost a whole pizza around 9pm. Then I would feel like crap the next day- this happened every week. Now I am making time to sit down for ten minutes to eat lunch at the right time, and make sure I bring plenty of healthy snacks. It is really hard with young kids and having so many snacks in the house! Yesterday my oldest brought a box of donut holes outside for the neighbors, then handed me the half-eaten box to hold for her. So I’m following my 2 year old around down the street trying my hardest to not have three handfuls of Pop-ems! The old me would’ve finished the box for sure. But the new me didn’t even have one! I am so glad I did the Amplify program. My husband Chris got me a gift certificate for Amplify for me as a Christmas present, which he wasn’t sure how I would feel about that. But he knew I was looking to find a way to stop eating like a 5 year old and feel better, and I am really thankful for the experience. Next year though maybe I’ll take some Ugg boots or new jewelry ;).

New Member Spotlight: Lexi Goerlach

Read about new member Lexi and how she’s enjoying her new CrossFit journey, her road to losing 100+lbs and what class you can catch her at!

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Q: What brought you to CrossFit Delaware Valley? Have you tried CrossFit before joining the gym? What class times can people find you at?

A: What brought me to CrossFit was my drive challenge myself an push myself to new physical levels. I wanted a challenge and knew CrossFit would be a perfect way for myself to do that. I never tried CrossFit before but I always heard about it or have seen videos of CrossFit athletes working out and that lead me to wanting to try it myself. I’m usually at the 9:30 am classes but with my work schedule I will most likely be attending the 6:30 am!

Q: You recently loss a great deal of weight before starting CrossFit, tell us a little bit about that? What sparked your weight loss?

A: I think what sparked my weight loss was finally being able to accept the fact that the only way I can change my body is by putting in the work. You can’t be lazy, you can’t give up, if you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to get there. I was tired of feeling the way I felt about myself, tired of making excuses and so I decided to do something about it.

Q: How much weight have you lost to date? What are some things you do to keep yourself accountable and on track?

A: I never actually weighed myself. The first time during my weight loss process that I did weigh myself, was at my On-Ramp with Rob. If I had to guess, I would say I lost about 100 pounds over the last year. To keep myself accountable I meal prep and use MyFitnessPal (most days). I also started an Instagram account to help myself and others stay motivated!  

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Q: What do you think of CrossFit so far after completing your first full month here at DelVal? What are some tips you would give to people on the fence about starting?

A: I am absolutely in love. I love the challenge and I love the atmosphere. I love that everyday is something knew, whether it’s a different skill or working on different movements, having that mix always keeps it fun. Most importantly I love the people and the trainers. Everyone is super encouraging, supportive and always willing to help. My tip would be to just go for it. Workouts can always be scaled or adjusted in a way for things to work for you but also so you can get a good workout in. If you want to challenge yourself and better yourself, this is one of the most amazing things you can do. Put yourself out there and don’t let anything stop you.

Q: What do you think is the most challenging part of your weight loss journey? What are some things you would want other to know who are also trying to lose weight?

A: I think the most challenging part is just your mindset. If your mind is in the way it can be a huge mental block. I want others to know that it takes time, no one can change over night but every day you put in the effort is a step forward!

Q: What is your favorite CrossFit movement so far if you have one? Do you have a favorite workout so far? What’s the hardest WOD you’ve done since joining?

A: My favorite movement I would say are front squats-I just really enjoy doing them. My least favorite is definitely when toes-to-bar show up on the whiteboard. My favorite was definitely the Hustle event we had, I got super included even though I was still very new. The hardest WOD I’ve done so far has to be Murph, the whole next day I felt like I lost a year off my life, Ha!

Q: Tell us a little a bit about yourself outside of CrossFit and weight loss? What is one thing people would not know or expect to know just by looking at you?

A: Outside of CrossFit and my weightloss journey I work at Brick & Brew in Media as well as the YMCA. I love spending all my free time with my friends, my family and my dog. I am also a pescatarian!

Athletes of the Month: Michelle Scullin & Katie Deaner

This month's Athlete(s) of the Month features two inseparable Early Bird ladies. Michelle and Katie are frequently spotted together WODing, lifting, laughing and joking together. Read about how they became such close friends, how they keep each other accountable and how they coincidentally have the same favorite CrossFit workout!

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Q (Katie): Tell us about your dynamic duo. Did you guys meet at DelVal or were you friends before CrossFit?

A: Michelle and I met at CFDV when I started. She had been there for a bit when I started and was kind enough to let me lift with her when I could only bench the bar, not much has changed in that regard. There was a really great group of early bird 5:30 AM ladies when I first started, Maggie, Laura (come back to AM), Erin (come back to PA), and Liz. They were all so encouraging and fun to be around, even first thing in the morning! I think our friendship grew organically after that. We found out we are both Gemini’s, we love to complain, we love red wine, and we’re both always sarcastic and laughing. Instant mix for friendship!

Q(Michelle): How did you and Katie become so close? Does having Katie in gym make you more accountable for showing up consistently as you do

A:  When Katie started at DelVal, I had a feeling after her first few sarcastic and self deprecating comments that we were going to be friends. Then when she never complained having to basically do a half squat each time she approached the barbell when sharing the rack with my short self, I knew she was selfless and we would be close friends. The more we worked out together, the more fun we had laughing at ourselves and discovering the similarities in our personalities and our fitness abilities at the gym. Once we started getting together outside the gym, the swolemance (google it, I did not make up that word) really began. Whether it is hanging out with our DelVal ladies for happy hour (lunch, dinner or any other excuse to get together), shopping for athleisureware, dancing our butts off with our husbands at a wedding, hanging with our kids, or having a girls’ therapy session on the phone, I alway feel happier after spending time with Katie. And yes, having Katie as my workout partner definitely keeps me more accountable for showing up. If I am feeling less than motivated when thinking of waking up at 4:30 the next morning, a little reminder from Katie that she is planning on going and I will feel better. Even if I just show up and move, that’s all it usually takes to get me there in the morning. We like working out together and sometimes even have a plan for skills or movements that we want to work on.      

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Q(Katie): Do you and Michelle always workout together? Do you partner up for workouts when you can?

A: I’ll be honest here. Yes!  If I show up to the gym and Michelle isn’t there, the very first thing anyone I run into says is “where’s Michelle?”....and I usually know where she is, ha! We partner up whenever there is a partner workout, unless she decides to be funny and partners me with Maggie so I literally almost collapse (love you Mag, but your fitness level is insane)! Michelle started training with Justin and was having so much success that I crashed her sessions. After that, we made it official and now Justin gets the absolute joy of dealing with us at both BBC on Tuesdays and every Saturday morning for personal training.  

Q(Michelle): Who is more likely to push the other in a workout, you or Katie? Are either of you competitive with one another?

A: I think that Katie and I are both equally likely to push each other in a workout. We like cheering each other on, and we seem to know when the other needs that little extra mental push or a cue to make an adjustment on some movement. I would definitely say that we are not competitive with each other. I am so happy when Katie crushes a workout and is able to get me extra chalk or a drink of water to help me finish my workout. Katie is also always happy for me when I reach a goal or improve on a movement. To be honest, I think that we both love working out at DelVal and are trying to just keep improving so we can maybe catch up to Maggie on a running or burpee WOD when she is a full 9 plus months pregnant.  #gymgoals

Q(Katie): What is your favorite part of DelVal? What’s your favorite CrossFit workout?

A: My favorite thing about DelVal is the people. Everyone is super supportive and with that support I’ve made fitness a part of my regular life. I’ve made really amazing friends and have a core group of ladies that this NJ chick needed. I guess I can say I’m from PA since I’ve lived here for 11 years, but once a Jersey girl, always a Jersey girl. Also, have to shout out Justin and our training sessions for being very challenging, but also encouraging! Our training has helped me become more confident with a barbell. I know he looks forward to our quality time each week! My favorite workout is definitely Annie. It’s almost the only CrossFit workout I can RX and do with consistency!

Q(Michelle): What is your favorite part of DelVal? What’s your favorite CrossFit workout?

A: I hope I don’t sound like a copycat since Katie was more organized and answered her questions first, but my favorite part of DelVal is also the people. I remember being so intimidated walking in for my first class and watching people lift heavy weights and perform these skills that I never imagined I would even try.  With the coaches training and encouragement of other members of the gym, I feel like I have come so far and I really enjoy starting my day with the Early Bird crew. There are some crazy talented and athletic people in that group that inspire me to keep working at it. I also love working out with different members that I don’t normally see during the week at boot camp on Sunday. I have made some really great friends at DelVal. My favorite workout is also Annie (really, it is!). It is like my gym pick-me-up. If I ever get in a little slump, I try to do Annie. If I improve on my time, it can give me the little boost I need to refocus and see that my fitness is improving. I also can’t forget to mention how much I enjoy BBC and my training with Justin. I used to be extremely intimidated with barbell movements but Justin has helped me learn to love Oly lifting. Thanks for your patience, Justin.

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Q(Katie): What is one thing that most people wouldn’t assume looking at Michelle? What is the funniest thing she’s done in the gym?

A:  Looking at Michelle? You wouldn’t know that she rocks Doc Martens like a badass or that she’s a successful partner at a law firm. She gets terrible hangovers which I find ENDLESSLY annoying. I think just looking at someone you don’t really get the full picture. I’ll take some space here to brag about my friend. She’s honestly one of the most caring, thoughtful, funny people that I’ve ever met. She’s so genuine that it’s disarming to most people, so everyone loves her. She’s an amazing wife and mom. She also gives the best advice...saving me from myself on a weekly basis. I don’t know if I have one specific moment that was the funniest, but my favorite thing Michelle does at the gym is talk/laugh/curse/eye roll mid lift. It makes me laugh and I’m always shocked that she can do that and still complete the lift!

Q(Michelle): What is one thing that most people don’t know about Katie? If Katie called you and told you she was arrested, what would she be arrested for?

A: One thing that most people don’t know about Katie is that she is probably the person most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse. It is true! She is scrappy with incredible street smarts, so I am definitely hitching myself to her wagon if the time comes. But in all seriousness, Katie is really just one of the best humans out there! She is that person that everyone loves spending time with because she makes you feel so comfortable with her great sense of humor, her inherently caring nature and her inability to be fake. Besides being a fabulous dancer, a great listener, and a friend who is always willing to stay out for one more drink, she works a full time job in finance, she is a fabulous mom and wife, she is an incredible cook, she is dedicated to her fitness routine and she doesn’t pretend like it is easy to balance it all! Katie is a friend that you know will always have your back, and she gives me a reason to smile everytime is see her or talk with her. If Katie called me and told me she was arrested, it most likely would be for (1) public intoxication, (2) disorderly conduct, or (3) public twerking (google it). But no worries, I would definitely get Katie out of jail because I know enough from law school to call Greg Mallon to save the day (he looks a little like Clark Kent, right?).

Swolemate Saturday: Abbey and Carl Rosenfeld

Read about how Abbey and Carl have gone from highschool soulmates to gym swolemates as well as how they balance their love for CrossFit with their two daughters, demanding careers and travel!

Q: (Abbey): Who started CrossFit first? How did you guys get involved into CrossFit? Do you or Carl have any athletic background?

A: Carl started CrossFit (CF) first in 2016.  We were in Florida for the holidays and Carl was in a rut feeling like he needed to get back into shape. He needed a vigorous workout to kick his butt. His brother had just started CF and wouldn’t stop talking about it. Carl decided to give it a shot and fell in love with CFDV. For the next year until I joined all he would talk about is CF and how awesome it was. I was frankly sick of hearing about it. I was hesitant to go alone but he promised that everyone was so nice and welcoming. He was right!  It was an instant fit for me. I have never really been involved in group workout classes and I was certainly intimidated and overwhelmed. I then met some amazing people and things started to fall into place. I love the grueling WODS and pushing myself to the limit.I love the competition aspect of it too, and yes the whiteboard, which just pushes me even more. Now, CFDV is like our second home! As for an athletic background, we both played sports in high school but not competitively in college. We have always been very active and definitely incorporated cardio pieces (ie running, elliptical, etc) and lifting elements into our lifestyle.

Q: (Carl): We all know Abbey is competitive in CrossFit, is she just as competitive in everything else you guys do? Does this make you want to partner with her during WOD’s?

A: Yes; Abbey is competitive at everything she does and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think her competitive spirit is infectious and pushes her to succeed in her career as well as drives our daughters to always apply themselves fully in school, sports and life. Personally, I think her passion and drive is incredibly motivating. I love to partner with her. Whether casually at a Sunday Boot Camp or at a couples competition, there is not better partner for me than Abbey. I feel that she always makes me try harder and I have often PR’d workouts when we team up together. I mean, seriously, you have seen her...would you want to let her down in a competition?

Q: (Abbey): How important is nutrition to you in regards to your performance in the gym?  How do you balance your nutrition with a demanding career?

A: Nutrition is extremely important to me both in and out of the gym. I truly believe that what you put into your body is what you get out of it. I certainly feel much better in the gym when I eat clean. The reverse is also true – when I indulge I can definitely feel the negative effects. That said, it is a balance. You have to live life and enjoy, otherwise it’s not worth it. I have learned, I think -much with the help of the amazing Jacki Bunting Ford- how to do both. I will say that Amplify! has changed my life. Sounds cheesy I know but it is true. I food prep on Sundays and pack my lunch and snacks. I always have food with me wherever I go. If I have to travel for work, or I have meetings or court, then I bring snacks with me. I eat five times a day (roughly every two hours). I log what I eat. I am pretty consistent. But, I am only human, so when I do indulge, I try my best to get right back on track. I know, I’m a big geek when it comes to this stuff but, what can I say, I’m a rule follower and a bit of a perfectionist. Also, I am not doing this alone.  I am so fortunate to have Carl who provides me with the accountability that I need. We food prep together and pretty much eat the same things. He can indulge in moderation much better than me so I am a bit more strict with it. That said, it is certainly much easier, in every aspect, with Carl by my side.

Q: (Carl): Do you and Abbey keep one another accountable for coming to the gym? Do you two WOD together on days you can’t make it to DelVal (i.e traveling, up the mountains, ect)

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A: We love to push each other to work harder and strategize how to attack WODs. As I usually go in the morning I try to bring back tips for Abbey to work into her PM workout. Often we will discuss how to make our individual work schedules and kids activities so that we can both make it to class. We love how we are able to use CF as our together time. We always look for ways to work on skills together and stay active when we are away from CFDV as well. We actually converted our garage at our lake house into a CrossFit style gym, appropriately named CrossFit Hakuna Matata. We love to design partner WODs or practice Oly lifts together. Often our daughters and friends will join in for a Boot Camp style workout. Yes, our neighbors often slow their walk and get off their bikes to look strangely at us as we are running with weight vests or have a group of kids and adults workout in our driveway. CrossFit, for us, is a stress reliever, a healthy activity, and a great social outlet.

Q: (Abbey): You have two little daughters, how important is it for you to show the importance of exercise to them? Do they ever workout with you (CrossFit or not)? What do they think of the sport?

A: Our girls are the reason why we do what we do. We want to be healthy for them and there for them every step of the way.  We want to instill in them the importance of a healthy lifestyle – both with exercising and eating clean. Little girls are very impressionable and a healthy body image is so important. I, especially, as a woman, want to show them that being strong, physically, mentally, emotionally, is beautiful. I think that they get it – they constantly ask me to flex and feel my muscles. They have been annoyed at times with our constant logging and measuring our food; however, we have now learned to eyeball the measurements and log at other times. They are eating, for the most part, what we eat for dinner and they have tried, and very much like, a lot of Amplify! recipes. In fact, our older daughter, Maddie, decided, on her own, to give up all sugar for 6 weeks for her science project. She did amazing with it and has even discussed doing it again because she liked how she felt. Our girls come to CF a lot with us and have even done a few boot camp classes, which they love. When we are in the Poconos, we all do WODs together. They seem to really enjoy it. For us, it is amazing to have them there to cheer us on at competitions, or even in class. I certainly push harder when I know that they are watching. I never want them to see me give less than 100%.  And, when we are watching Maddie play in a soccer game, or Blake compete in gymnastics, we know that they are giving their all as well. We are so proud of our girls and who they are and what they will become.

Q: (Carl): There are many times you are out traveling for work or need to eat out for work, what are some steps you take to ensure you stay on track with your nutrition? Do you meal prep for yourself?

A: Honestly, it is hard. Although I have never really had a sweet tooth or cravings for fried/greasy food it is hard to stay away from social drinking. Mid-week is much easier as Abbey and I meal prep on Sundays and our weekday meals are rather standard. Business meals and weekends are much more difficult. One change I have made is to eliminate mid-week drinking and really try to limit the number of drinks at a social setting. On business travel or conferences I just stay away from the buffet line as best as I can. Also I have moved from bourbon/scotch to tequila (which has no sugar - sorry Jacki but it is sugar).

Q: (Abbey): Tell us a little bit about how you and Carl met. What’s it like to be married to a stud like Carl?

A: Carl and I met at a day camp. I was a counselor and he was a lifeguard. I was 17 years old and he was 16 years old. Yes, high school sweethearts. We dated through my senior year of high school and rekindled our flame after college. We actually just celebrated our 15 year anniversary a few days ago. Carl is truly my best friend. We have so much fun together. And, yes, he is an absolute stud, and has always been.  He is an amazing husband, father, businessman, and athlete. He is the calm to my storm. He is my rock. Yep, from sweethearts to swolemates.

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Q: (Carl): How long have you been chasing after Abbey? What are some things you two do together outside of the gym? If you had to describe her in three words- what would those words be?
A: I have been chasing Abbey for well over half my life. All joking aside, I can’t really remember times before Abbey was a part of my life. The good news is that I don’t think I ever stopped chasing her. That’s the best part. We love to stay active. We have never been sit on the couch or sleep in type people. We are always on the move and generally you can find us outside. She is my best friend and it is a blast just to be with her no matter what we are doing. However, I love our time at our lake house the best. Often it is quality family time with our daughters enjoying nature - sailing, kayaking, skiing, beaching etc. Three words...that is hard. I think there is really a few different sides of Abbey - all of which are amazing. There is the family Abbey, the fun Abbey, the gym Abbey, and the work Abbey. However, despite how different she is in each aspect of her life there are a few consistents. Abbey is always - sexy, fun, and strong.