February Athlete Spotlight- Lori Finestine

Congratulations to our February Athlete Spotlight of the Month – Lori Finestine!

How did you first get involved with Crossfit? Take us back to your first WOD – how did that feel? What did you think?
My boyfriend Eugene started Crossfit Annapolis and loved it. He talked so highly about the people, workouts and gaining strength. He tried to get me to join but I put it off for a while since I wasn’t sure if was the right move for me.  Finally after 6 months of seeing Eugene come home covered in chalk I decided I needed to figure out exactly what was going on at that gym!!  Kristen and I signed up for foundations class together with no promises of actually enrolling! I went in to the class with an open mind and was extremely surprised at how much I enjoyed the foundation classes led by Erin. We both signed up afterward.

I do not remember my first workout but I am sure it was difficult! Before attending my first workout I do remember thinking that I would never be strong enough to add weight to the barbells like the other girls. I remember being nervous that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone else and I would look like a failure. It’s amazing how quickly those thoughts changed since all the coaches were extremely helpful and all of the members were exceptionally friendly and motivating. It didn’t take long to feel comfortable with all of the people, workouts and environment.

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting at CFA?

I have always exercised and felt that I ate pretty healthy but starting Crossfit made me realize I can push myself much harder and eat healthier. I am noticing myself getting stronger and paying better attention to what I put in my body. I also feel confident making Eugene wear a shirt that says “My girl is stronger than me.”! haha

What is your favorite Crossfit moment?
My three favorite Crossfit moments:
1) Learning rope climbs.  As a kid no one ever knew how to climb a rope including me. Some of the great coaches made it easy to learn and even enjoyable. I get excited when rope climbs are involved in a workout and it gives me an excuse to wear my fun knee-high socks!
2) Meeting new friends. I have met some great people at Crossfit that I never would have met otherwise.
3) The prowler. It’s hard to say the Prowler is a favorite Crossfit moment but I have to say it kicks my butt every time and makes me feel like I really accomplish something after.

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?
I love having a new workout to do each day, hanging out with some amazing friends and feeling stronger. Before Crossfit I did the same workout routine day in and day out. I never realized how boring that was until I started Crossfit. I actually enjoy going to the gym to see friends, have healthy competition and learn something new.  The competition aspect is something that I have grown to enjoy and feel I need.  On my own I have the tendency to not motivate myself and give it my all but working in the Crossfit environment makes me push harder.  The coaches have also been great and very helpful with every workout.

What goals are you working on?
1) Become more fluent with kipping T2B and consistently do 10 in a row
2) Consistently get 5 handstand pushups in a row
3) Master triple-unders!
4) Improve my form and add more weight to my lifts

What the coaches are saying:
Lori is always cracking jokes staying upbeat. Rest assured if there are double-unders, she'll be there and she'll be killing it. It doesn't take her long at all to pick up the movements. -Coach Josh

Lori is always enthusiastic and tries her best. She makes sure to cheer on her fellow classmates and continues to work hard towards her goals. I remember before she could do kipping pull-ups she would practice them after every class and always ask for advice on how to improve. -Coach Shannon

New challenges never seems to slow Lori down.  With her being awesome at double-unders, I challenged her to try a triple under and low and behold she knocked it out. Watch out Buddy Lee!  Seeing her hard work and her encouragement for others is truly an asset to our gym and our amazing community here.  Awesome work and congrats, Lori! -Coach Luis

We absolutely love Lori! She moves well, is a great athlete, encourager, and so much fun to be around. Her hula hooping skills and her juggling act should absolutely not be missed out on. Especially when she is wearing a holiday sweater. :) Keep up the great work, Lori. You make CFA so much fun! -Coach EK

January Spotlight Athlete- Raul Cruz

Congratulations to RAUL CRUZ for being our January Spotlight Athlete!

Read all about him! :)

CFA Athlete Member Spotlight

How did you first get involved with Crossfit? Take us back to your first WOD – how did that feel? What did you think?

I had a few friends that had started Crossfit before I had in MD and back home in Miami and that’s all they could seem to talk about. After hearing about how great Crossfit is for months, I decided to check it out myself. My intro session was with Shannon. At that point, I was going to the gym and practicing judo, which I’ve been doing for about 15 years. I thought I was in pretty decent shape. I can’t remember what that intro WOD was but, the things I do remember about my intro session are Shannon continuing to say “let’s do one more set” after the initial two I was supposed to do, shortness of breath and thinking there wasn’t enough oxygen in Annapolis to keep me from keeling over, and leg cramps. It was at the point that I realized that I really wasn’t working as hard as I should be and that I had a long way to go to achieve my goals. I was hooked. Thank you Shannon! After PT, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Fran for my first WOD, and we all know how that story ends.

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting at CFA?

I feel like I’m the best shape of my life right now, more so than when I was competing in my teens and early 20’s. While I’m still not where I want to be, I’ve seen so much growth during my time at CFA that it continues to motivate me to do better. The most significant change has been my nutrition. After completing the Whole Life Challenge, I have become more cognizant of how food impacts every facet of life, from performance during WODs, to mood and sleep. It was definitely an eye opener and since WLC, I have mostly maintained a paleo diet, with some fun here and there, but all in balance.

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

Doing my first rope climb and first handstand, two things I have never been able to do before Crossfit. Looking back it was never a matter of strength or ability, but a matter of overcoming that mental block that prevented me from doing them. Also, I recently did my first 30 inch box jump. Standing at a towering 5’5” that’s a little less than half of me! Can’t wait to add a plate or two on top of that!

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

What I enjoy most about CFA is getting to work out and share time with an amazing group of people. It is awesome to be part of a community where both coaches and athletes support, motivate, and inspire each other to be better.

What goals are you working on?

About 6 years ago I stopped competing and thought those days were behind me. After going and watching the 2012 Hopper, I started to feel that competitive itch come back. While I still have a long way to go, my goal for 2013 is to be at a level where I can start competing at Crossfit events. In terms of technique, my Olympic lifts need some serious attention and I am determined to get that muscle up. I will also be working on not performing mini jump squats while doing wall balls, or as Coach Lu has officially dubbed this technique, “wall balls for the vertically challenged.”

What the coaches are saying:

“Raul has been hard working and determined since the moment he walked in the door. He always has a smile on his face no matter how challenging the workout. Raul also takes any opportunity to take part is all CFA events both in and out of the Box. He is a perfect example of CFA spirit.”  (Shannon)

“Raul is an absolutely fantastic person and wonderful athlete. He is positive, fun and such a hard worker. CFA is blessed to have him. It's hard not to light up when you are around him. He sets realitic goals and is diligent at working hard to achieve them. CFA wouldn't be the same without him. Keep up the great work, Raul!” (EK)

“Raul is committed to achieving his goals and challenges himself on a daily basis – whether it is by going faster, adding more weight on his lifts, or by tackling a more difficult movement. In addition to consistently pushing himself, he also encourages and pushes anyone around him to help them reach their potential. He has been a welcomed addition to the CFA community.” (Bryant)

“As the WODs get tougher, he's usually smiling bigger and/or laughing harder. HAHA”  (Josh)

December Athlete Spotlight- Emmy Harbo

Congratulations to Emmy Harbo for being our December Spotlight Athlete! Read all about her! :)
How did you first get involved with CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?
My Navy SEAL friend was a fanatic about using crossfit.com to guide his workouts. So, I started using the website too and realized that I had no idea how to do the movements…if the WOD said “press” I’d do a bench press and if the WOD referenced “thruster”, I’d just skip that one!
Bored with running and lifting, I was in search of a new fitness experience. I went to Reggies (that little house with body builder cutouts on the siding near Best Buy/Home Depot on Defense Hwy)…Reggie (a former body builder) was a tough dude and rejected my member request saying “Reggies isn’t just for everyone that walks through this door.”
Figuring no one wanted me, I started my own gym called Reggies in my attic…complete with a pull up bar, a weight bench, dumbells, a yoga block, and a stationary bike. After a month of steady use, my partner Maureen closed Reggies after a negative yoga session experience, sighting sanitary issues related to cat hair.  

With Reggies 1 and 2 behind me, I decided to give CFA a try and met with Brooks in June 2011 for an intro session (at normal Brooks time – 6am).  Even the intro session hurt so I knew I’d found my home! I started foundations with Erin a week later and the rest is history!      

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since
starting CF?
Let’s see, all of my shirts are too small for my shoulders, I can use the calluses on my hands as sandpaper, and I am ALWAYS sore.   

Since I began Crossfit, my performance has improved in all sports. My running race times got faster, I can throw the frisbee farther, swim longer, and do all activities without fear of injury. Crossfit has opened my eyes to healthy eating and although I’m not strict paleo, I’ve cut out a lot of crap from my diet. I find that the harder I workout, the better I eat, and the more energy I have. It just makes sense… why would I kill myself on WODs, just to eat like crap and negate everything I just worked so hard to achieve?

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?
The people! CFA has created such an awesome community and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. I love the teamwork atmosphere among the athletes and the healthy competition that pushes me to work harder. The coaches are second to none! I’ve been to other boxes and sometimes the coaches just start the clock and point to the board. The coaches at CFA are truly invested in each athlete and every workout. They reinforce proper technique every time and whether the movement is a thruster or a burpee, the CFA coaches make sure everyone has good form.
I was at a wedding and someone said Crossfit is a cult and told this “joke”:  “How do you know if someone does Crossfit?  -That’s all they talk about!”
Okay so maybe that’s true but I say to him that there could be worse cults!
What is your favorite CrossFit moment?
I have a few.
(1) My first muscle up! It happened the day before Thanksgiving while Maureen and I were visiting Geaux CrossFit in Baton Rouge. I’ve been working on muscle ups for about 2 months and all of a sudden, it happened. It is easy to get frustrated when trying one movement for so long, but I learned that it is a progression…your muscles have to get strong enough to do the movement AND you have to have the technique.
(2) I really liked the CrossFit Open because it was so challenging and I was able to compare myself to all of the athletes across the country. I also loved the energy and camaraderie in the gym during the Open. Even though it was a competition, we were all suffering together and the judges were so encouraging! 

(3) The time we had a very safe bonfire on the side of CFA after a Friday night workout– someone posted a picture of the bonfire on facebook and within seconds an unnamed coach saw the picture, stormed outside and yelled at us. We all scattered like roaches.  Hee hee.


What goals are you working on?

(1)   An ongoing goal is to Rx each workout no matter what

(2)   Olympic lifts: I want to improve my form and speed   

(3)   50 unbroken double unders


What the coaches are saying:

Emmy is simply AWESOME! She is constantly working hard and trying to get better on her goals. Whether it is muscle up practice, pistols, strict pull-ups etc Emmy is always striving to improve.  Her kind and friendly demeanor welcomes new members and reminds us coaches why we love our job. -Shannon

She has definitely motivated many members of the gym. She is tirelessly dedicated to become better, and on many occasions, has moved more weight, and completed it faster, then many men! Her constant, positive outlook never shakes, she's an awesome chick! -Josh

Emmy has shown great dedication towards her goals at Crossfit Annapolis. She is determined, works hard,  is super strong AND fast. It has been incredible watching her grow athletically since she has first started. She is one that I hope a lot of woman at CFA look up to and are motivated by. That aside, she is also funny, kind, and we love when she brings her sweet four-legged boy, Sully, with her to workout (we have declared him an honorary member at CFA). Keep it up Emmy! :) -EK

November Athlete Spotlight- Kurt Allen

Congrat to Kurt Allen for being November's Spotlight Athlete!

How did you first get involved with CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD-
how did that feel? What did you think?

I got involved with CrossFit about 3 years ago at the original
CrossFitBWI….I had a good friend come back from his training with
the Secret Service and he looked like he was in the best shape
of his life….when I asked what type of workouts they did, he said
mostly ‘CrossFit’…so after doing a little research I found CrossFitBWI and
decided that I was going to CrossFit workouts too..

The memory of my first WOD at CrossFitBWI was much different than
my first WOD at CFA…the first couple of workouts at CrossfitBWI it was
everything I could do to get through the hour and not pass out … I didn’t
know if I was that out of shape or Ryan just didn’t like me! ha….either
way I wasn’t sure if I knew what I had signed up for… I did my best to get
better each WOD, but eventually after a few months I would come up with
excuses to workout and stopped going altogether shortly thereafter….
about a year ago I decided to take on a second Tour of Crossfit and Ryan
was the first person I saw at CFA…..he explained the Foundations program
and I signed up to start that week…I’m not sure that there’s anything to
prepare you for the initial WOD when you haven’t been working out, but
after the CFA Foundations class I knew that I was prepared to take on what
WOD was on the schedule that day…..

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since
starting CF?

I’m not sure I’ve seen a dramatic change in my body physically, but
physically I know that I am stronger and more importantly mentally
prepared to compete against myself with the daily WOD’s…being able
to perform the WOD’s at the Rx’d level is another way to know that I am
getting stronger, because that wasn’t the case when I first started back at

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

My favorite CrossFit moment has to be after the 100th time of trying
to do a double-under(and failing) I decided that I would no longer be
performing double-unders(not that I could do one anyway), instead I would
be committed to perfecting the single!..and nobody was gonna change my
mind… but to the credit of the CFA Coaches they continued to teach and

encourage me to keep trying and that one day I would get them……….well
after a few months, and a lot of practice, I did!.. now I look forward to
double-unders as a part of the WOD’s… you can really do amazing things
at CrossFit if you put in the work and allow yourself to embrace the help
that all the Coaches at CFA offer…..

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

The thing I enjoy about CFA is two-fold….first getting to know and seeing
fellow athletes improve from one WOD to the next is really cool…especially
because you know how hard you have to work to get better from one WOD
to the next…secondly, the family environment at CFA makes it very hard to
not succeed…every coach I’ve ever had at CFA has been very positive and
willing to help me get to the next level.
Secondly…the more often you come the more you get to know other
athletes at CFA, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve ran into outside of
CFA and my friends will ask me how I know that person and I say..’We
workout together at CrossFit”…..to me it sounds a lot better than..”I think
they go to 24hr?’…..

What goals are you working on?

Personally I’d like to work on a performing a muscle-up in the next
3 months as well as getting a CrossFit Total number of 1000lbs or
somewhere close…..but I’d also like to become a resource for other CFA
athletes because I don’t think you can enjoy the journey of Crossfit if you
don’t take advantage of all the resources that are afforded to each athlete
at CFA and pass them along…..

What the coaches are saying:

“Awesome sense of humor, he’s always ready to help someone out with a movement or make em laugh. He’s always looking quite svelte since he first started, this whole CrossFit must be working out for him!” Coach Josh

“Kurt is dedicated to his workouts and his fish oil. We have seen such amazing improvements from him since he started in foundations at CFA. He is also a great example by keeping up with his WOD journal. Go Kurt! :) He is super friendly and has the greatest sense of humor. That makes him a fun guy to be around and it makes CFA fun, too.” Coach EK

“Kurt has made progress by leaps and bounds! He is always pushing himself while encouraging other athletes to get that one more rep done.  He's friendly nature, great smile, customary “clinics”  always help make class fun energetic and overall good time. ” Coach Shannon

Way to go Kurt! Keep up the great work!!

September Athlete Spotlight

September's Athlete Spotlight

Jennifer Bornemann



   Meet Jennifer Bornemann. Those of you who already know her probably already have a smile on your face after just reading her name.

   Jennifer is what CrossFitting is all about. She works hard, always strives to get better, and is the first one to lend support to fellow athletes. That support is evident in everything she does. She is not shy to say, “Hey I think what you are doing is awesome and I am happy to be a part of it”. It is clear that she isn’t just “working out” when she comes to CFA. She is giving all her positive energy and encouragement to her CFA family and really challenging herself physically. She is a focused individual who truly believes that you can accomplish anything if you work hard at it. She proved that by being the winner of the Paleo Challenge this year!

   Her ability to lead by example and put her heart 100% into whatever she does makes her a coach’s dream. Let’s hear what some of her coaches had to say.

From Coach Josh:

As soon as Jenn stepped through the door, she has always been an inspiration to many; she constantly overcomes fears, improves, asks questions, smiles, jokes, gives thanks, and remains humble throughout. Being a part of some of her accomplishments is truly awesome. She makes it not only about her when she goes around and gives thanks to others for the support. One of the coolest things I’ve seen at CFA was when it took her a full hour to do a box jump. It was a huge, mental hurdle for her. At the end of class, she finally psyched herself up enough, repeatedly came up to the edge of the box, and finally swung up onto it flawlessly. While a small feat to many, it was obvious it was huge for her. Through choked-up thanks, she went around and thanked everyone for their support in what she had just accomplished. A true sportsman and athlete!

Coach Erin added:

I have to agree with everything Josh has said. Jen walked through the doors of CFA motivated and ready to work hard. Every time she makes an improvement and reaches a new milestone, she is absolutely floored and it's hard not to jump up and down for her. She is always introducing herself to the new athletes and making new members feel welcomed and comfortable. Her encouragement and high-fives through out CFA are so well known at this point. She is a really special person, a terrific athlete and truly defines what CFA is all about. GO Jen! :)


Here is more about Jen in her own words:

How did you first get involved with CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?

   I have been friends with Erin (Ferner) for many years so I had wanted to support her while also trying a new workout that I had heard would be very challenging. From my very first Foundations class, it has been a phenomenal experience! I was lucky to have started with an amazing and supportive group of fellow newbies – Kristen, Kyle and Higy – and led by Erin.

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting CF?

    I have seen and felt tremendous changes to my mind, body and spirit throughout my past year at CFA.  I have PR'd in every triathlon I raced this year. I have lost weight, my blood pressure is now in the normal range and I feel stronger than I ever have in my life – and I am a lifelong athlete who is turning 40 this year!

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

   I would say the two most powerful moments for me would be when I completed the whole30 nutrition challenge and the day I was able to do my first box jump. That said, I tend to be inspired each and every class.

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

   Hands down – the CFA community. I absolutely love these guys. From the owners to the coaches to the fellow athletes to all of the CrossFit kids, it is a tremendously supportive environment here at CFA.

What goals are you working on?

   Of course, I would like to continue improving my strength and fitness while also losing weight. I've got to get back on those box jumps and need to get those double-unders and handstand push-ups mastered at some point! Finally, I hope to be able to serve as a resource to all who think they can't do it or are not capable of change. You can do absolutely anything if you commit yourself, put in the hard work and surround yourself with a strong supporting cast, like the one we are lucky enough to have here at CrossFit Annapolis.


Thanks for being an amazing part of the CFA family. We’ll be cheering you on when you get those double unders and hand stand push ups!! GO JEN!!! 


August Athlete Spotlight

August's Athlete Spotlight is Phil Gerdes! 






         Our August Athlete Spotlight is Phil Gerdes! Phil is one of our newer members. He started CrossFit in the spring and has been soaring since stepping foot in the box. He came in like a tornado eager to get stronger, better and faster. I remember seeing him in his first few classes. He would watch people climb the ropes and do pull ups and you could see the fire in his eyes. He was ready to get there too. Sure enough he has been setting goals and crushing them ever since. According to Coach Erin, Phil is “super motivated, hard working and always gives 200%. He will tell you how much CrossFit has positively impacted his life, which is so incredible to hear. His positive attitude echoes throughout our box. He has set goals, reached them and then set bigger ones”. Coach Ryan M. couldn’t agree more. He added that Phil “is one of the most dedicated athletes we have at CFA and its been 
awesome watching him crush goal after goal!” So, let’s get to know more about Phil in his own words.

How did you first get involved with CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?

I first got involved with CrossFit by talking with a few guys that I play flag football with.  I was telling them that I was looking for something to get me back in the gym, but something that was CRAZY and would keep me hooked.  I had done, P90X and Insanity but I was miserable during them both.  I didn't want that again!

First WOD… WOW!  I'll say this, I honestly, without question, thought the warm up was the WORKOUT!  LOL.  I couldn't believe how serious it was, and that was only foundations.  It really humbled me, and showed me just how out of shape I had become.  I remember getting home and having to have my wife feed me because I was so out of it.  Sounds nuts, but it WHIPPED MY BUTT!

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting CF?

As for changes in my body and life.  It's been wonderful.  I feel that I am in the best shape of my life right now.  I am still not where I'd ultimately like to be, but I've seen so much growth.  Even though I feel like I look better than ever, it's more than that for me, it's how I feel.  I am stronger, I am faster, I am doing things at home with better form, I am more focused.  I just love how I feel!

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

I have several.  More than I can mention.  CrossFit for me has been full of so much growth.  For example, I couldn't do 1 pull up and I had never climbed a rope in my life.  Just the other day, I PR'ed at weighted pull ups 57lbs., and I am climbing ropes with only my hands, no legs!  It's just incredible!  I'd have to say though, the best moment I've experienced so far is when I did 20 kipping pull ups unbroken!  It was amazing!  I had been working so hard to get it and when I did, I actually could have done more.  I was so excited though, I just jumped off the bar!

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

What I enjoy most is without question, the family atmosphere.  From the first day I walked in the box, people at CrossFit Annapolis treated me like we were friends for years!  It was such an inviting experience.  Everyday I look forward to being in class and look forward to seeing everyone.  Knowing that everyone will be rooting for each other, and the motivation that will be at the box is very inspiring.

What goals are you working on?

Right now my goals are to do well in the Festivus Games on August 4th, to get double unders on demand, without having to work up to momentum.  Physically, I am very focused on working my core and burning body fat, over all toning.

Overall, I'm very excited.  It may seem ambitious at this point, but I am excited to compete in the next open.  I'm excited to be a part of CrossFit years from now!


Your enthusiasm and dedication is inspiring, Phil. Thanks for being such a wonderful member of the CFA Family. Good luck at the Festivus Games. We will all be cheering for you! Kill it!

Athlete Spotlight for July!

Amber Hunt is our Athlete Spotlight this month!



Happy July everyone!  I hope you are enjoying this steamy summer. Sorry that the Athlete Spotlight is a little late this month. That storm really knocked me for a loop! However, sitting happily in my air conditioning, I am excited to share with you this month’s Athlete Spotlight. And the athlete is…..AMBER HUNT!! Amber is a strong, quiet presence in our gym. Those of us in the 9:30 class have the pleasure of working out with her lately since she is on summer break from teaching elementary school . And what a treat that is. She works hard on her form and it shows. Coach Jack was overheard saying, “Man she is getting strong” as he watched her overhead squat in a WOD. She is an inspiration to us all. Coach Ellen said, “It was pretty cool to watch Amber do that 120 pull up WOD almost entirely rx'ed. She pushes me as an athlete, which I always appreciate.” I think we can all agree with that! So, without further delay, let’s learn more about Amber.

How did you first get involved with CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?

I first got involved with CrossFitthrough my boyfriend's sister, Glory Dawson.  She used to train and coach at CrossFit BWI, and had been trying to get me to join for over a year. At the time, I was a member and employee at a Globo-Gym, worked out in a way that some may have considered excessive, and was frustrated with the fact that I was constantly plateau-ing regardless of the different workout programs and classes I would try.  But to be honest, I was scared and a bit skeptical of CrossFit; I didn't understand how such a short workout could possibly be more effective than my 3+ hours of working out a day and I was nervous about the group atmosphere at CrossFit- I preferred to workout alone without other people watching.  Glory moved out to San Diego, and when visiting her last summer, I got to watch some people participate in different CrossFit WODs (Glory's backyard was a CrossFit box- it was so neat!).  One afternoon I asked if I could join the workout, and she conceded.  I don't remember the exact workout, but I know it involved double-unders, kettlebell swings, and sprinting.  To be honest, I felt very frustrated during the workout because I couldn't string together more than 5 DU's at a time.  Watching other athletes move through the workout so quickly killed me because I'm a pretty competitive person and I thought I was in good shape, but they were destroying me!  Just a few minutes into the workout, I remember being out of breath, sweating profusely, and thinking I wouldn't be able to finish the WOD. Everyone in the class was so great though, and kept cheering me on and encouraging me until I was finished.  And that was all it took to get me hooked; a wake up call to the fact that I could be working out much more efficiently and to the fact that I wasn't in nearly as great of shape as I thought.  When I got back to Maryland, I immediately began practicing double unders, and as soon as I moved out to Annapolis, I signed up for 1-on-1 with Dale.

What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting CF?

Since I started CrossFit, I've noticed that I have become so much stronger than I used to be.  I began eating a mostly Paleo diet in January (inspired by the Whole 30 challenge), and that has also done wonders for my overall health.  I feel great!  I have always had anxiety and struggled to sleep at night, but now I sleep like a baby and feel incredibly energized throughout the day.  What I am most thankful for, though, is the fact that I no longer obsess about the physical appearance aspect of working out.  Coming into the box and working out with no mirrors, no judgments, and a positive, supporting community of athletes has enabled me to appreciate all of the incredible things that my body can do for me and allowed me to completely ignore calories, clothing sizes, and weight. 

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

My favorite CrossFit moment is when I got a muscle-up.  It was the greatest day I've had at CFA because I played around on the rings for months before my body figured out how to complete the move.  My second favorite moment was when I was introduced to the Prowler during my first “real” CFA WOD. I barely made it home before I puked.  I remember thinking, “Wow, this is the real deal!”

What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?

The thing that I enjoy most about CFA is, hands-down, the community of athletes with which I work out.  They are all such incredible, hard-working, and positive individuals, and I have felt welcomed and accepted here since I first arrived in September. It's rather ironic because I was so hesitant to join since I would have to work out with other people, but I love the team-spirited climate in the box.  I love that I have found like-minded individuals who enjoy pain and suffering for the sake of fitness just as much as I do!

What goals are you working on?

Right now, I am working on stringing muscle-ups and doing handstand push-ups RX'ed in a workout.  I'm also trying to get stronger, especially in my lower-body.  I want to be able to squat and dead lift more weight, so I am trying to continue to improve my form so that I can stay injury free and continue to reach PR's! 

What a great story, Amber! We are so happy to have you as part of the CFA family. You are such a wonderful example for all those children you teach, as well as all of us at CFA. We can’t wait to witness those muscles ups! Get it!!!! 

June Athlete Spotlight

Adam Dodson is the Athlete Spotlight for June!!!



Happy June everyone! What better way to ring in the first month of summer than by celebrating one of our athletes at CFA.  This month’s athlete spotlight shines on Adam Dodson. Adam belongs to the 6am crew, but has been spotted rolling into the 9:30 class on his bike in recent weeks. 

Adam has been with CFA since the very beginning. In fact, he was the first one to sign up for the very first foundations class! Adam embodies what being a CrossFitter is all about. He is a strong presence in the gym, he works hard, focuses on form and is always there to help his fellow athletes. A perfect example of Adam’s character can be seen from our recent Memorial Day Murph workout. He did the workout earlier in the day with a friend Patrick (another CFA superstar) who could not make it to CFA. However, he still came to the 10am Murph workout simply to support his fellow athletes and be part of the community. It doesn’t get better than that!

That support extends to his daily workouts too. You can always count on Adam for a heartfelt, “Nice work!” or “Keep it up!”, as he goes by. He is always willing to help others overcome their challenges and as Coach Erin F. says, Adam is “a super hard worker and a great encourager.” Coach Brooks couldn’t agree more. He shared that Adam “is always encouraging and I see him helping other folks often. I also dig that he is so focused on getting form right.”  It is truly a pleasure to have him as part of the CFA family and now we have the opportunity to learn a little more about him in his own words:

1.     When did you begin CF?

I've been doing this regularly since CrossFit Annapolis opened. I was introduced to Crossfit through my friend and colleague J.J. Every so often during our lunchtime workouts he would put together a CF WOD and I just loved it. J.J. was involved in the beginning of CF Annapolis so as soon as I heard it was happening I signed up and haven't stopped since.

2.     What is your favorite movement?

My favorite movement is the muscle up. Simply because I never thought I'd actually pull one off. Every one I do now reminds me of that sense of accomplishment.

3.     What accomplishment in CF are you most proud of?

See question 2.

4.     What goals are you working on?

Strict pull ups. I can do a few already but I'd like to get 20 in a row.

5.     If you could say one thing about your experience at CFA, what would it be?


6.     What motivates you to keep going strong during the WOD’s?

It's the breakthroughs, mine and others, that keep me motivated. I haven't just accomplished the goals I set, I've broken through and surpassed them. That's what I find amazing about CF. I get to see myself and others acheive goals we never thought possible. We're then confident and strong enough to push further. When I think about it it's endless motivation and I can't wait for the next WOD.

Adam doing weighted pull ups as a cash out. Way to work towads your goal! 


Thanks for sharing that with us, Adam. You are a valued member of the CFA family and we are excited to see you reach your goals! 

CFA Athlete Spotlight

Everyone at CFA is working hard, nailing PR’s, making life-long friendships, cheering each other on, laughing, sweating and writhing in pain together. We are a family. But do the night owls of our evening classes know what our morning classes' early birds are up to? Or vice versa?

Well, with that in mind, we want to celebrate one of you each month with an Athlete Spotlight. This recognition will give us all the opportunity to share your achievements, inspiration and spirit with the entire CFA family.

So without further ado, our first CrossFit Annapolis Athlete of the Month is Garwood Whaley. Gar, as he is affectionately known, is a regular at the 9:30am classes and is an exceptionally positive presence at CFA. When the coaches were asked to nominate one of their athletes, Gar was the first person to come to mind.

Coach Ellen, says of the 5-times a week 69-year-old CrossFitting machine, “I can set my clock by his 9:10am appearance for the 9:30am class so he can spend 20 minutes warming up and working his weaknesses.  He is positive, encouraging to others and enjoys hard work.”  

Coach Jack had this to say,”I second Ellen’s nomination. I think it was two Friday’s ago, he set a PR
on his 2RM deadlift. He was excited but he was more excited for everyone
 else setting PRs that day. It was extremely motivating.”

We asked Gar a few questions to get to know a little more about him. Here he is in his own words.

When did you begin CF and why?

I started Crossfit in October 2010. My son had been doing Crossfit in Alexandria for several years and had lost lots of weight and had gotten into great shape. I was bored with the gym and needed something different. When I first looked into CF I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do the workouts but once I started I was hooked!

What is your favorite movement?

I have pretty good hip flexibility so anything that requires this I enjoy, like GHD work and squats. I also like aerobic-type workouts.

What accomplishment in CF are you most proud of?

Never giving up! So far there hasn’t been a WOD that I haven’t been able to complete. I love tying to keep up with the young folks I work out with.

What goals are you working on?

Double unders and kipping pull-ups. One of these days!!!   

If you could say one thing about your experience at CFA, what would it be?

An impossible question. How can you say just one thing about CFA!?  OK, I’ll try: Great coaching and camaraderie.

What motivates you to keep going strong during the WODs?

This is an easy one. Great coaches: Ryan T, Ryan M and Ellen. My favorite cheerleaders: Kerry, Susan, Jason and Ted. The terrific guys and gals I work out with-I never met anyone at CFA that I didn’t like and admire. And, the quest to always try to improve that I learned as a musician: excellence is a moving target; you never really get there. You just move to another level.

Thanks, Gar for being YOU! It is truly a pleasure to have you as part of the CFA family. We can’t wait to see you get those double unders and kipping pull ups. Tune in next month for another CFA Athlete Spotlight!