July Spotlight Athlete of the Month- Scott Obici

A big congrats to Scott Obici for being our July Spotlight Athlete of the Month. We are so proud of you, Scott!

Go Scott!

Go Scott!

1.  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 introduced to Crossfit by fellow CFA member Curt Clifton. He badgered me for close to three months before I finally gave in and scheduled an introductory class with Shannon. The first-class intrigued me enough to sign up for foundations with Shannon. My first true WOD was during my first foundations class I remember it being ring pull-ups, air squats and a 200 m run. By the second run I couldn’t breathe and literally thought I was going to pass out.  With Shannon’s incredibly positive reinforcement was able to finish the workout and knew I was hooked from that moment on. Thank you Shannon!

Thanks for recruiting and bringing him in, Curt. Cute picture, boys. :)

Thanks for recruiting and bringing him in, Curt. Cute picture, boys. :)

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

Crossfit has changed everything , physically I am much stronger and leaner and am doing things that I never thought I could do. I’m in the best overall shape in my life and at my age that saying something!

3. What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

My favorite cross that moment was just after one of the games workouts. I watched Coach Bryant do a couple of muscle ups and thought I’d give it a try. Much to my surprise I did one and then another it was a great feeling to finally do something I never thought I could do.

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

What I like most about CFA is a great sense of community that we  have. I love working out every day with my 6 AM family. Brooks, Dan and Ryan push us but also make it a lot of fun.  I can’t thank all the coaches and my 6 am crew enough you guys have changed my life !

5. What goals are you working on?

My goals:
Master the elusive double under, could take years but am trying. I want to improve my technique with all Olympic lifts especially snatches. I’m also making a conscious effort to RX as many WOD’ s as I can.

Double-undering like a champ!

Double-undering like a champ!

What the CFA coaches are saying:

Watching Scott get his first muscle-up after a games WOD was pretty awesome. He’s giving some young guys a run for their money! (-Josh)

Scott as been full of enthusiasm and energy from the second he walked in the door for his intro. He never turns down a challenge and is always willing to try new things. It has been awesome seeing him grow into such an amazing CrossFit athlete. (-Shannon)

I’m impressed by Scott’s commitment to self improvement through openness to coaching and dedication to technical execution. In his presence I know humor, camaraderie and perseverance. Cheers Scott! (-Brooks)

Scott is a beast. He brings awesome energy and a kick ass work ethic to better himself and others every day. He has transformed himself and I’m inspired everyday I get to work with him. his wife has commented how she loves running her hands down his buff chest. Enough said. #40+ muscle up club! (-Dan Dups)

I can’t say enough wonderful and positive things about Scott. He is fun, kind, encouraging, and works so hard. He truly loves and embraces all that Crossfit Annapolis is- everything that makes this place amazing is defined by the kind of athlete and person he is. I have loved watching him grow and conquer new movements. I can’t wait to see what else he takes on. I hope you are so proud of your accomplishments, Scott. We sure are proud of you! (-Erin)


June Spotlight Athlete- Amanda Hopkins

Read all about Crossfit Annapolis’ JUNE Spotlight Athlete- Amanda Hopkins! Thank you for making CFA so special, Amanda! :)


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

I learned about CF a couple of years ago from my sister who was hooked and assured me I too would love it. She visited CFA during a weekend trip to Annapolis  to see me while I was pregnant and told me I should join. I was reluctant to start something new with my big belly so instead I continued with body pump and spinning and endless hours on the elliptical. I felt that if I repeated the same workout routine one more time I might scream. Working out started to feel like a chore plus everyone warned me that once my son was born I would struggle to find time to visit the gym at all. I knew I needed a change and figured what better time to make a fresh start than after the arrival of a new baby? Six weeks after my son was born the doctor gave me the all clear to begin working out again and suggested I start with yoga and/or long walks. Instead I joined CrossFit :-)

I don’t fully remember that first workout in Foundations; but I can recall that the coach drew a “sandwich” on the whiteboard and the “bread” was running the T. I think I may have almost passed out on that last sprint, I saw spots and felt like vomiting. My first WOD with the regular group was even worse and very intimidating; but everyone was really welcoming and helpful . I was so impressed by the weights the women were lifting and they could do pull-ups! My brain has blocked out the worst of those initial workouts but they were brutal…and awesome. I thought: Yes I want to keep doing this, I want to get better and feel stronger and faster.

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

I am absolutely stronger since I joined almost 1 year ago and I realize that a good workout is essential to my mental well-being. I handle work stress and sleep deprivation much better when I’ve had my CFA fix for the day! I’m also surprisingly more flexible, thanks to all of the mobility work. Most importantly I have a newfound respect for my body which prevents me from being overly critical and worrying about how it should look post baby.
 What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

My favorite CF moments are all the times I’ve surprised myself or seen others surprise themselves with new accomplishments. I was so excited and proud the first time I did a strict pull-up without a band or the first time I did 5 whole double-unders in a row. Watching fellow cross-fitters get that elusive first muscle up has also been a highlight. It is inspiring to see the progress and realize that I still have a long way to go!

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

CF provides a forum for continual improvement. There is always something to strive for: faster times, heavier weight, improved form.  The WODs are never easy but I’m always rewarded with just enough progress to keep me motivated to reach just a bit further the next time.

There are days when my little dude has boycotted sleep all night and I struggle to tie my shoe laces to just show up at CFA. I tell myself all I have to do is survive the WOD, no need to work too hard today. Somehow just showing up is enough because the energy upon walking into the gym is contagious and gives me the inspiration to push harder than I ever plan.

 What goals are you working on?

5 Strict pull-ups in a row, 15 unbroken kipping pull-ups(no band), 10 unbroken double unders and striving to complete each workout at rx weight.


What the coaches are saying:

Amanda has worked so hard since she first stepped foot into CFA. It has been amazing to watch her grow stronger and more confident with her movements since she began foundations. She is positive, encouraging and motivated. You really can’t ask for more from an athlete. Keep up the great work, Amanda! We are so proud of you! -Coach EK

Amanda has grown tremendously as a CrossFit athlete. Always smiling when she walks in the door, if she’s not throwing around a lotta weight, she can usually be found cutting up with other friends in the box. Her form is spot on during movements and she always strives to maintain it. Awesome job Amanda, truly deserved! -Coach Josh

Amanda’s progress has been extraordinary! Whenever she walks in the door with her upbeat attitude and smile, you know its going to be a great class! Amanda is always willing to try new movements and give everything her all. She is an awesome athlete and valued member of the CFA community. Congrats Amanda, great job! -Coach Shannon

No Yoga Sunday, June 2nd!

There will be NO CFA Yoga this Sunday, June 2,  as our awesome CFA Yoga instructor, Meg, and CFA member, Brian, head to South Carolina to apply for their marriage license. These two will be tying the knot next month! Meg will be back next Sunday for some more yoga fun with everyone. In the mean time enjoy her downward dog picture from their road trip south. :)


Nutrition from a Nuthouse – Sweet Treat Tuesday


I would like to wish everyone HAPPY SWEET TREAT TUESDAY! :)

For the longest time I tried to hide “sweets” from my two year old. We don’t keep to many sweets around our house so it was easy for awhile. To him, the sweetest of treats were strawberries, pears, rasperries and blueberries. Oh, how delicious and yummy they were. THEN while my back was turned, someone gave him a cookie. ‘Cookie’ became his new favorite word. Nothing was as good as a cookie. I have since gone on to teach him that sweet treats are okay to have every now and then. He knows that to many will give us a tummy ache and are not happy for our teeth.


When we do indulge in sweets at our house, I try to make them myself so I know exactly what we goes in the ingredients and into our bodies. I find it important to avoid the unfavorable ingredients often hidden in pre-made, processed sweets. Some of my experiments are a tasty success and some are a flat, unfavorable work in progress. Succeed and fail….the beautiful lessons of life. :)



I played around with ingredients for Sweet Treat Tuesday while I had the kitchen and house to myself.

Good GOLLY! The house to MYSELF! No short, mini-fun sized humans yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” I put on music (that did not consist of the alphabet, Raffi, or grown up men with accents wearing bright colors and singing about wiggling). I threw the ball for Brody and chased him around the yard. I gleefully jumped on the trampoline that I didn’t have to share with anyone. :) I admit, I got distracted. Then I went back inside to bake for Sweet Treat Tuesday.

As I was saying…..THESE sweet treats that I made were considered a success. I had people taste them and after, the following quotes were recorded:

“HOLY DELICIOUS (all caps).”

“Erin- these cookies changed my life.”


“Can I have the recipe?”

“Erin- why didn’t you save any cookies for me? I didn’t get one. You never save me anything. You just tell me about it later. Not cool.”

“Dear Erin, Thank you for the cookie. After I ate it, I received a raise at work. Incredible.”

Okay, maybe the last one wasn’t really said….but the feedback I got certainly was positive. :) Anyway- give them a try, play around with the recipe and please note that if you have or think you have a NUT ALLERGY, these cookies are NOT for you! Nope.


Cookies from a Nuthouse

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ~1.5 cup chopped up pecans (I used a mini food processor which I recommend so they turn into a more buttery consistancy)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup-1 cup coconut oil , melted (I didn’t measure exactly so somewhere around there)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Dark chocolate (amount up to you, I used an entire 100% dark chocolate bar chopped up which made them look sweet but I also added a little over 1 cup of 60% dark chocolate chips to actually make them sweet.)

Put on some good music. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Work on some of your favorite dance moves. Measure and mix wet ingredients together. In another bowl measure dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Or if you are like me and wish to wash 1 bowl versus 3 bowls, just mix all the ingredients together right away. I know there is a reason to do it in steps…but I will be honest, nothing strange happened when I combined all the ingredients at once.

Taste the cookie dough. So good. Now do 10 burpees for tasting. Shame on you. :)

On a cookie sheet (spray with olive oil or rub with coconut oil so they don’t stick), scoop the cookie dough evenly on the cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cookies are browning and appear done. Every oven is different so pay attention. Let them cool, then share (or don’t) and ENJOY!


Fun facts:

  • 100% dark chocolate will look chocolatey, sweet and delicious. It’s not. Try between 60% (very sweet) and 85% (a bit less sweet) for a balance of sweetness.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol). Antioxidants help break up free radicals (yuckiness floating around) in our body. High five!
  • Dark Chocolate stimulates endorphin production (chemicals in the brain that make us feel happy). High five again!

~EK Ferner, RD, LDN

Besides being an athlete, crossfit coach, and a mom of crazy boys- I am a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist (RD, LDN). I passionately promote living a happy, healthy and positive lifestyle through nutrition, exercise and humor. :)


Nutrition from a Nuthouse – Kaleious

Combining cooking and chaos!

Combining chaos and cooking!

Nutrition- We strive to be healthy. We strive to make decisions that will benefit our bodies and our lives. It takes planning. Discipline. Learning. Support. Nutrition is one of the most important factors that affects long term health. Eat fresh, real, whole foods and less sugary, processed foods. Know the food you eat. Know where your food comes from and how it will affect your body…your life.

From A…

Nuthouse- I’ll give it to you straight. My house is crazy. I had to write this one sentence at a time because during this blog post I pulled my two and half year old down from climbing on top of the fridge exclaiming, “WATCH WHAT I CAN DO!!!” (umm…..no, thanks). My eight month old continued to faceplant into the floor because he can’t figure out how to effectively bear crawl (cue screaming baby and drool). Then Brody Monster the Great Dane put his paw through the screen….again. But it’s fine because my two year old explained to me that it was an accident. This is how Brody politely knocks when he wants to go out- ignoring the little bell we trained him to gently nudge with his enormous nose (our failed attempt at damage control from huge paws). It is in chaos that I cook to lovingly ensure that my nuthouse family receives quality nutrition.

Screaming contest!?

Screaming contest!?


Meet Brody Monster.

Meet Brody Monster.


Me- Besides being an athlete, crossfit coach, and a mom of crazy boys- I am a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist (RD, LDN). I passionately promote living a happy, healthy and positive lifestyle through nutrition, exercise and humor. :)

Erin the RD, LDN.

Erin the RD, LDN.


I’ve got to talk to you about kale. It is an absolute powerhouse of a vegetable. Kale is overflowing with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Need more potassium or iron in your diet? Vote kale! The antioxidants in kale have been linked to reducing cancer risks. The fiber content may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. Just know when you are eating it, you are biting into crunchy, green happy-health goodness.



Kale has become a staple in my house. I have so many suggestions on how to fully enjoy it- kale chips, smoothies, salads- I can overwhelm you. While making our veggies for the week I, of course, included kale. Here’s what we did! You should do it, too!

  • 4 large bunches of kale (a lot turns into a little)
  • 1 package of pancetta
  • 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used a tomato, parmesan, garlic flavor infused olive oil for fun)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash and tear kale leaves off the stem, set aside. In a large pot on the stove heat up olive oil  and throw in the pancetta to brown over medium heat. Pour the kale into the pot, stirring so that the leaves are mixing with the olive oil and pancetta. Once all the kale is added, let it cook down, stirring as needed.

A lot of kale becoming a little kale when cooked.

A lot of kale becoming a little kale when cooked.

The fun thing about this recipe was using a flavored olive oil (Tomato, Parmesan, Garlic) for a different taste instead of just plain extra virgin olive oil. Check out Ah Love Oils and Vinegars if you are ever in Shirlington, Virginia (my parent’s store).

Powerhouse nutrition!

Powerhouse nutrition!

Make a lot, store in a big container, and have it available to you for the week so you are planned and prepared for meals or a quick snack. If you don’t like this recipe- make a crunchy kale salad! Be creative! :)

More to come by Nutrition From A Nuthouse.

Nutrition From A Nuthouse – White Sweet Potatoes

I know we all live busy lives. Planning and preparing is KEY in succeeding to eat clean (less, sugar, processed foods and more whole, fresh, REAL foods). Do not set yourself up to be in a position where you are famished and ready to throw junk into your body because you didn’t have something quickly available to you. 


This week I experimented with white sweet potatoes. It was just a fun change from the normal orange sweet potatoes we usually eat in my house. The white sweet potato has a bit less beta carotene (Vitamin A) then the orange but is still full of iron, potassium, copper and manganese. It’s got some fiber and is one of those ideal ways to get some carbohydrates through starchy vegetables.

We used a rosemay flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a creative kick from my parent's store: Ah Love Oils and Vinegars.

For our white sweet potatoes, we used a rosemary flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a creative kick.

Here is what I did:

  • 4 big white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed and into a big bowl
  • Drizzled ~3 Tbs of extra-virgin olive oil (we used rosemary infused flavored olive oil) over the cubed white sweet potatoes
  • Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and thyme
  • Mix everything around in the bowl (to ensure each bit is flavorful!) and pour onto a non-stick cookie sheet (or jelly pan). We sprayed some olive oil on the pans to ensure they wouldn’t stick (pans can be so funny).
*HINT- Do not pile on the cubed sweet potatoes. Use two pans if needed so that they are evenly spread out.
  • Cook at 425 degrees in oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly brown and crispy. This time will vary so keep checking on them. Toss around to even out the browning.


Suggestions to have weekly veggies:

  • Pick a day where you can cook a large amount of vegetables for the week to have them on hand for meals or when you are hungry. Store them in a nice sized container in the fridge that will be easy to grab and dish out of to heat some up.
  • Play around with spices, olive oils, and new vegetables. My parent’s own a specialty olive oil and vinegar store in northern Virginia (Ah Love Oils and Vinegars) so we often experiment with infused favors and richness of the different olive oils they offer.
  • Visit your local farmers markets! They are often a fun way to try new things (hence the white sweet potatoes) and the farmers there tend to have great suggestions for cooking.

-Erin K Ferner, RD, LDN :)

RJ DaPrato- May’s Spotlight Athlete!

A big CONGRATS to RJ DaPrato for being the May Spotlight Athlete of the Month. We are so proud of you! :)

RJ DaPrato

RJ DaPrato

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

Complete coercion. My wife, Meredith, had been a member at CFA for about two months and in her own words had “drank the Cool-Aid”. She called me one day and asked if I wanted to do Foundations on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/ Thursday because she had already signed me up and there was nothing I could do about it. I begrudgingly said Monday/Wednesday and have thanked her every day since that first class. It took one session of Foundations before I too was hooked. I had tried CrossFit once in college, never really gave it a fair shake, and didn’t think it was going to be a good fit for me.

My first WOD outside of Foundations was a Friday Fran. I remember thinking that I was in over my head when I looked at it. 95 pound thrusters were going to have to be scaled down and I didn’t think I’d be able to do all the pull-ups even with the thick green band. Erin was very patient and quickly found a good starting weight for me (I think it was 65 pounds!). It was exhausting, but I made it through. It was probably the first day I got that feeling of accomplishment after completing a WOD I didn’t think I had any business attempting. I was truly impressed with the people in the class, though, because even though they all smoked me (most as RX’d), they were all genuinely pleased to meet me as a new member and congratulate me on finishing my first WOD. It was a great feeling of camaraderie and belonging I never had before at a gym.

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

I’ve gained a lot of strength I didn’t have before. These days I feel I have a ton more energy throughout the day. I’ve dropped weight from 228 to 217. I used to struggle with shoulder pain whenever I did any heavy weight or high repetition work; however, for the past five months, I’ve been completely pain free. I attribute this to the flexibility and strength I’ve gained from CrossFit.

What is your favorite CrossFit moment?

Any day I walk out of CFA completely exhausted and I feel like I’ve given the WOD my all, it’s a great moment. The open was a great experience. I loved the competitive and team feelings shared by the CFA athletes. Personally, the day I successfully clean and jerked 205 pounds and the day I finally got a real pistol were awesome. If you had asked me a few months ago if I’d ever be able to do either of those things, I’d have to say probably not. The feeling of setting a goal in CrossFit, working towards it and achieving it is tremendous.

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

By far, the environment. Every day you walk into CFA, you get the feeling of support and competition. Everyone is challenging each other to give it their all and the coaches are always watching and improving your form, technique and efficiency. No matter how big the class is, I’ve always felt like I’m getting personal training. Not to mention my personal support system (Meredith!), keeps me very honest by constantly reminding me that she can go pound for pound with me on the deadlift!!

What goals are you working on?

I’m trying to get my timing better for double unders, linking my butterfly pull-ups more efficiently, and the allusive muscle up. I’d trying to add weight to all my
lifts. More than anything, I’ve been trying to keep myself to the RX weights and movements for the WODs.

What the coaches are saying:

It has been pretty amazing to watch RJ transform since he has been at CFA. He is a true example of you get what you put in. His strength has really developed and he constantly strives to improve on the technicality of each lift. It was awesome to watch him throughout the open- especially on the first snatch workout. Keep it up, RJ! We love you here at CFA! :) – Coach Erin

RJ has made some awesome gains. Notable for me, was when he was ripping through his clean and jerks doing his open WOD. Even when he tired, he kept his form intact and pushed through. Just a small example of what he does daily in the box. -Coach Josh

For the past year, RJ has showed up and approached each workout at 100% without complaint. He diligently listens to feedback, takes it and applies it to his workout; and, it shows in the improvements that he’s made in all of his movements. Keep on doing what you’re doing and you’ll be destroying your former PR’s left and right. -Coach Bryant

RJ is always pushing himself every time I see him in the gym. He’s constantly working on his form and getting stronger. The intensity and drive that he puts into every workout SWOtivates me! -Coach Lu

CONGRATS RJ! Thank you for working so hard and making CFA such a wonderful place!

No Yoga Today, Sunday, May 5th!


Reminder: CFA Yoga is canceled for today (Sunday, May 5) but will resume next week (Sunday, May 12). In the meantime, enjoy yoga tip #37 :)

Don’t forget that today is the Pose Method Running Seminar from 12:30-2:30pm! Cost is $20 for members and $35 for non-members. Registrations welcome at the door!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Skill Work
Muscle Up Transition
Barbell Clean work

5 sets
3 Tough Hang Power Clean
Sprint 100m
rest 4min

April Spotlight Athlete – Kristen Parker

A big congratulations to Kristen Parker for being the April Spotlight Athlete. Learn more about her CFA journey. Keep up the awesome work, KP! :)


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

When I moved to Annapolis I tested out a bunch of different gyms but ultimately chose CrossFit Annapolis because I wanted the group atmosphere.  I didn’t think a regular gym could provide the motivation or the challenge I needed and I wanted the social aspect of working out in a group.  I had heard of CrossFit before but wasn’t really sure what it was. My foundations class was awesome, not too big, not too small…just the right mix to get me addicted.

I don’t think I can remember my very first WOD but I was probably scared, it was most likely difficult and I probably came in last but was excited I finished.  That’s pretty much how my first year went with scared/intimidated being the most consistent aspect followed by relief when it was over.       

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

WOW, I have seen so many changes it’s hard to describe.  I’ve become more toned, I can lift more than I thought possible and my eating habits are much better.  It took a bit longer for me to change the way I ate but once I started eating real food and adding in fruits and vegetables regularly I noticed the most significant changes in my body and health.  As far as overall fitness I think it’s increased exponentially…the WODs aren’t as intimidating now because I know they won’t kill me and I’m figuring out how to push myself more.


What is your favorite CrossFit moment? 

Shoe Changes?  Just kidding…I think it’s when everything clicks for either me or someone else at the gym…when you finally “get” whatever you’ve been working on…when it all makes sense and you figure it out.  I have never been athletic so for me, gaining the confidence to do a specific lift or workout and know that I’m not completely failing is pretty exciting. 

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

I think I enjoy the community and the encouragement the most.  There’s something special about CFA that allows you to become a better person and transform into an athlete all at the same time.

What goals are you working on?

I want to learn to link my kipping pull-ups, do real double-unders, squat lower and work on my form for all of my lifts.


What the coaches are saying:

“Kristen is so much fun to have in class! I have been so amazed watching her transform into a great athlete. I remember coaching her in Foundations and she showed so much dedication from the beginning which has absolutely paid off. She is determined and puts in the ‘work’ to see the ‘result’. Her energy is contagious and CFA wouldn’t be the same without her. Thank you so much, KP, and keep working hard! :)”
- Coach EK


“From the onset of her time here at CFA, Kristen continually works to improve on her movements, especially her coveted pull ups. She’s always asking questions, and she’s always putting in the work, and I’ve seen her strength numbers go up and her metcon times go down. As with all of our athletes, she’s constantly smiling and cracking  jokes, moreover, she likes to bake – this is why she is never allowed to leave.”
- Coach Josh


“Kristen brings a vibe and energy to every class she comes to. With her pink get up (shirts, shoes, jump rope, everything) it’s easy to spot her in class. What also makes her easy to spot is her strength. She continues to set goals and accomplishes them. As Josh said, she bakes and bakes well so yeah, she’s stuck with us for a while. Great job, Kristen!!”
-Coach Lu