One thing is crystal clear after my first couple of visits to the CrossFit gym. Crossfit breeds some incredible athletes. The Open competition highlights the fittest. Last week’s 18.2 workout called for tremendous stamina. This week’s 18.3 elements combine a similar level of stamina. But, add elements of pure strength.
CrossFit Tuebor West Athletes
After two weeks of The Open, some of CrossFit Tuebor West’s athletes are positioned well in their specific group’s competitive rankings.
Meranda Wiggins placed 34th in the State of Michigan women’s division for her power clean in 18.2a. Meranda lifted a total weight of 200 lbs.
Chelsea Holcombe sits 50th among all women in the State with her combined scores from the first two workouts.
Jamie Lasco ranks 13th among Michigan women age 35-39 for all workouts combined.
Dr. Mitch Babcock is 19th among men of all ages in Michigan after the first two weeks of Open competition.
Mike Manley at the age of 52, ranks 4th among men over the age of 50 in Michigan. His scores place him 15th in the Central East Region of the country.
We thought it might be interesting for our readers to find a bit more about some of these athletes and a couple of individuals who stood out during our visits.
The Athletes Themselves Talk About CrossFit
Mike is a criminal defense attorney in Flint. He lives in Fenton Township. Mike has always been involved in athletics to some degree. While a student at Aquinas College Mike played baseball and hockey at the collegiate level. As a parent, he coached his son’s baseball team. It was after a baseball practice at batting cages next to CrossFit Tuebor West that Mike first encountered CrossFit.
“I was walking to my car after practice with my son. We passed the gym and I heard loud music, people cheering, and weights banging. So I stuck my head in and recognized some people I knew. They said why don’t you come join us. It looked like fun so I tried it. After the first time, I threw up and could barely walk to my car. It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. Yet it was also one of the most exhilarating.
I have been doing it for the last four years. I am bigger, stronger, faster, and in better shape than I have ever been in my life. And I am 52 years of age.
A Family Activity
Mike’s son Matthew also works out at CrossFit Tuebor West. He participated in the 18.3 workout Friday evening. According to Mike, Matthew is 5’11” and 175 lbs. of pure muscle. The pride is evident when Mike talks about his son. One of the noticeable features of Tuebor West is the young people accompanying their parents to the gym. It is a family experience.
Matthew’s workout stood out as one of the most accomplished of the evening. Unfortunately, Matthew is ineligible to participate in The Open this year. He is only 13 years old.
After observing his dad participating in CrossFit, Matthew bugged him to give it a try. Matthew said, “It looked like fun.” He also admits he was a little overweight and thought the activity would help him get into shape. Now three years into it, Matthew is also addicted to the sport. He credits CrossFit Fenton with making him feel better about himself. He likes to see how much he improves as he commits to the workouts.
Matthew credits his coaches with pushing him to achieve. He likes the camaraderie of the gym and being accepted as part of the group. We asked Matthew about his grades in school. He says, “They’re good.” Dad confirms that “He’s a great kid.” Matthew reports he has a girlfriend. Apparently that getting in shape bit has a side benefit!
Next year Matthew will be old enough to compete in The Open. Lookout world!
Evan is one of the coaches at CrossFit Tuebor West. He is certified as an L1 CrossFit trainer. A four year veteran of CrossFit, Evan has been a coach for just over a year. He describes the job as being a “Trainer, coach, and counselor.” His focus is to make sure people train safely, effectively, and to work with them one-on-one. Helping each individual to reach their goals. “We train daily to improve ourselves. That’s what CrossFit is all about.”
Evan credits CrossFit Tuebor West with being one of the Top 3 CrossFit facilities in Michigan. “The gym is top notch, all new equipment. Ownership is committed to the membership and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.”
As Evan and I wrapped up our conversation I was asked the same question four other people posed to me that evening. “Are you going to join us?” My response, “Nope, too old for that.”
Joyce is a Tobacco Treatment Specialist at University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor. She helps people who are trying to break a habit that is detrimental to their health. Even though Joyce is small in stature it was not hard to imagine she could put you in a headlock and hold you there until you promised not to smoke again. Something else about Joyce. She is 65 years old.
What motivates Joyce to do CrossFit Workouts. “I just love it, the people here are like a family. Jamie and Matt are wonderful. I tried the gym under the old owners and did not care for it. But, the atmosphere now is so positive. They encourage you to do your best. I do the workouts, just with less weight. I would definitely recommend CrossFit to other seniors. It is important to keep active, regardless of your age.”
Miranda is a convert to the world of Crossfit thanks to her boss. Working in the Law Office of Mike Manley, he suggested she give the gym a try. Like so many others she did, and now she’s hooked. Two years into the lifestyle, she loves it. “It’s the community, everyone is so supportive. I especially like the weights more so than the cardio. But, I work on both.”
Asked what it feels like after a workout is complete Miranda responded. “Like you want to die. Then you recover and do it again the next day. I can’t say it gets easier because you always push yourself harder.” Each week of The Open Miranda has done the workout twice. “You just try and improve to better yourself.” This is a young lady with a great head on her shoulders. Shoulders and a finely tuned physique that shows the effects of her dedication to the sport.
Coach and Owner, Jamie Lasco is an integral part of the gym. Her easy-going personality, encouraging spirit, and constant motion drive keep everyone pumped up and excited to be there. Women and men workout side-by-side in an atmosphere that is comfortable for everyone. We asked Jamie how she got started in Crossfit? “I had some friends who were into it and they asked me to come check it out. Always up for a new challenge, I said yes. After trying CrossFit I was hooked and never looked back. I drank the Kool-Aid.
Jamie had been working out at the gym for a little over two years when the former owners approached her about buying the gym. Since taking over approximately a year ago membership has increased from 40 to 157 currently. According to Jamie, it’s the friendly community. “Nobody is more important than the next person. Everyone is treated like family.”
Crossfit is like a cult, but in a good way. Drinking the Kool-Aid is an apt description of being absorbed into the community. It seems everyone comes for a particular reason but they stay because of the family-friendly associations. You do get converted, I was offered the invitation repeatedly.
If you are going to get hooked on something, why not make it an activity that helps you improve yourself. Getting healthy and fit is something most of us could benefit from. There are still two weeks left in The Open competition. If this seems like a lifestyle you could get into, check it out Friday the 16th or 23rd. Doors open at 4:30 pm and Open workouts run continually for approximately two hours. The gym’s address is 14261 Torrey Rd Suite B
You can even take a sip of the Kool-Aid. CrossFit Tuebor West offers a free one-week tryout. Workout, collapse, revive, and do it all again; Exhilarating! Just ask the athletes themselves.