Thanks for the Drop In

CFI : March 26, 2013 7:06 pm : Success Stories

Feb 2013

I dropped in with you guys Wednesday night last week for the 20 min. AMRAP and wanted to say thanks!  You guys have an awesome facility and your members were cool and welcoming.  I think Jess? (Jessica?) was the trainer and I like how she ran the class – enough warm up to be legit and relevant to the movements in the WOD, without so much dumb stuff that it gets annoying.  I’ve visited a handful of boxes while on the road and yours is definitely one of the best…clean, spacious and obviously very well run.  Tell your folks to visits us at Crossfit Charlottesville when they are down this way.



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CFI Athlete: Mark Cypher Is a 46lb Loser!

CFI : August 21, 2012 7:50 am : Impavidus Blog, Success Stories, wlc_sept12

Meet CFI Athlete Mark — has lost 46# since he started with CFI last October!!

Exercise & Proper Nutrition he learned by participating in the Whole Life Challenge = transformation!

46lbs lighter Aug 2012

46lbs lighter Aug 2012


Mark January 2010

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Success Story: CFI Athlete Tiffany C.

CFI : July 24, 2012 4:01 pm : Impavidus Blog, Success Stories, Whole Life Challenge


Fearless athletes, I have something to tell you…

I really, really, really {heart} you all. A whole stinkin’ lot! I’d like to send a virtual shout out to each and every one of you. Thank you for the daily dose of good ‘ol motivation and inspiration. Lord knows I need it ;)

My fitness journey is nowhere near unique (or even complete), in fact there are hundreds more out there just like it. But let me tell you, I am one hundred kinds of excited that I was asked to share it with you.

Tiffany Before

I have always been overweight. For as long as I can remember I was the big-boned best friend, the girl with the “great personality.”  I never really thought about fitness or nutrition. I could practically smell “Mickey D’s” and gain weight, so why the hell not eat it?  I blamed my Dad’s German genetics. To me, dieting meant eating nothing but lettuce until I felt faint and exercise meant putting on spandex and watching “Buns of Steel” from the couch.

I was never really interested in sports. A little gymnastics here, a little softball there, but I wasn’t very good at either of them. When things got hard I gave up and moved on. By the time I was in high school, I was too afraid to try out for anything. I was scared that I wasn’t cool enough and I had no desire to publicly squeeze my sizeable rear into anything spandex anyway.

During college, life was all about Natty Lite, jungle juice, drunken bingeing, and hung-over eating; rinse, wash, repeat. Happy hours were a social necessity. And we all know this girl love, love, loves to socialize!

After graduation my weight was at an all time high. I remember sitting at a wings restaurant thinking . . .really!?! It was time to get my shit together.

Shortly after that incident, I joined Weight Watchers and watched myself lose 50 pounds. Whoo hoo!!  Unfortunately, when I stopped Weight Watchers I watched myself gain those 50 pounds back plus 10!  Then I joined a gym, trained for a half marathon, and lost 40 pounds.  During the planning of my wedding, 10 pounds decided to reunite with me.  OMG!! Clearly, my shit was not yet together.

Luckily, I was developing a love of exercise-induced endorphins that would rival Anastasia’s obsession with Mr. Grey. (50 Shades of Grey reference for all you ladies out there!) I began doing doubles at the gym several days a week and lost a few pounds initially. But I got comfortable. I knew exactly how hard to push myself without stepping outside of my comfort zone. I became complacent and eventually plopped my behind on a spin bike that initiated the longest weight-loss plateau in the history of the universe.

One day, Mr. Spouse came home talking about this thing called CrossFit. His cousin was a coach inCalifornia and insisted that it would be a game changer. I reminded him that CrossFitters were straight up crazy!

We had seen some running in a local 5K. As I struggled to finish the race, I watched them do sit-ups, squats, and hella strange jumping push-ups, and they still finished before me. Apparently running 3.2 miles wasn’t challenging enough for them!?!  WTF?!! The hubinator went to an intro session without me and quickly began drinking the kool-aid. He was all “WOD this” and “AMRAP that”. I couldn’t figure out whose perfect snatch he kept talking about!!

It was clear that I had to figure out this CrossFit thing for myself. I decided to join Mr. Spouse during one of the Saturday community workouts and ya’ll…I ‘bout freaked the heck out.

We got to the box early and watched as CFI’s most elite athletes participated in the Crossfit Open. There was A. LOT. of grunting and everyone kept throwing their weights to the floor. I told Mr. Spouse that there was “no way in hell” I was going to join. CrossFit was NOT for me. I convinced myself that the weights I lifted in Body Sculpt were enough. HAHA! The only reason that I didn’t run out the door after watching the Open was pride. I wanted to impress my well-intentioned hubby. So I put on my big girl panties and gave it my all.

The workout was grueling. Among other things, they made us run and do push-ups. Outside. In-the-Rain! W.T.F?  Surprisingly, I didn’t melt. After Mr. Spouse fork-lifted me off of the ground, I secretly felt a little badass. Maybe CrossFit was for me. Maybe some day, I would grunt and throw weights to the ground too! Though I wasn’t ready to admit it then, I think that was my first sip of the kool-aid and I decided to join.

After a week and a half at CFI, my husband and I joined the Whole Life Challenge. I’m not sure I believed the coaches when they talked about the positive impact that this competition would have on our health. Initially we were motivated by the prizes. We already ate fairly clean so the transition to Paleo wasn’t that difficult. I craved sugar and had a carb flu like headache for a few days, no big deal. We started cooking a ton more, exploring Paleo blogs, and had a blast experimenting with new foods. As it turns out the physical, mental, and emotional takeaways from this challenge were much more rewarding than the prizes.

Throughout the WLC my energy was boundless. I no longer needed my second cup of coffee in order to stave off my mid afternoon crash. Detoxing my body of simple carbs and sugar helped me to wake up easier, workout, enjoy my job and feel stinkin’ awesome! I also noticed my body ridding itself of bloat and inflammation.

The few muscles I had became easier to see. I was going to the box 5 days a week and by the end of the challenge I think I spotted an ab!! The scale and I had our differences but by the time the challenge was over I had lost 23 pounds and reached the lowest weight of my adult life.

I also learned that listening to my body is essential. I have been trying to focus on how certain foods make me feel and not how they make me look so that I can maintain my motivation. Feelings are instantaneous and thus my good choices can be immediately gratified.

Tiffany After!!

To say that I have a love hate relationship with the scale is an understatement. I’m a perfectionist in the worst way and have a bad habit of using the numbers on a scale to and immediately assessment my progress.

A huge Thank You to Coach Steph for helping me realize that there are so many reasons the numbers may not be moving (although they eventually will). Measurements and pictures speak volumes people!

Just like our cousin the coach told us, CrossFit was a game changer.

Suddenly I was held responsible for my actions. My previous gym lacked any sort of accountability. If I wanted to take it easy I could cover up my spin bike gauges with a towel and pretend to ramp up the resistance. I had no way to monitor my progress and thus didn’t think twice about slacking off.  Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale and the numbers weren’t moving!

CrossFit keeps me honest. The perfectionist in me loves that my progress is vastly measurable, but I am grateful that the pressure has been taken off of the scale. I now have the freedom to evaluate my progress in many different ways; how many, how long, how fast, how heavy. I also love how CrossFit celebrates accomplishments. At CFI the last person to finish gets as much recognition, if not more, than the first.

Here’s the bottom line. We need to do scary things because we are stronger than we think we are! The Whole Life Challenge and CrossFit are exactly that, challenging. If I told you that my heart doesn’t race before each WOD, I’d be lying. Though I absolutely LOVE IT!!

I’ve learned that we have to put ourselves in difficult situations in order to build confidence and strength. Each time we fight through pain, fear, and exhaustion to overcome something that was once thought impossible we build up a reserve from which to pull in times where life doesn’t go as planned.

Harness your fear and let it motivate you. You are stronger than you think, but unless you try, you’ll never know what you can accomplish.

And with that,  I challenge you, like it says on my Lululemon shopping bag, DO ONE THING A DAY THAT SCARES YOU.



Success Story: CFI Athlete Danton E.

CFI : June 29, 2012 8:40 am : Impavidus Blog, Success Stories

For those about to rock…

There I was, in the doctors office, again.  I’ve been plagued with border line high blood pressure since my second year in the Navy.  And now the Doc was telling me that I needed to start taking cholesterol meds. Of course we had the usual conversation about diet and exercise… I needed to do them and my idea of trying gave me flash backs to my Navy PT test.  That was about a year ago. I was turning thirty and I decided to push my workout boxcar racer down a gently slope.  First up, the famous P90X program.

Fast forward, I had marginal gains on the program. At 5’11, I went from being almost 250 to right around 245. I had started P90x in late April and had worked my way through it til September.  Were they kidding? 90 days?  I listed the workouts and checked them off as I worked through.

Then came the empty space, the time between the last P90x workout and the next workout endeavor.  After a couple attempts to start P90x up again, my girlfriend told me about Crossfit. She showed me the video links of the athletes that seem to talk in code. Against my better judgement, I showed up for an intro WOD.  This was November, with the holiday season approaching I wouldn’t come back to the BOX until February.

It was after consistently going three times a week for about three months when I started thinking about dialing in my nutrition. I realized that doing a hand-stand push-up would be a heck of a lot easier if I weighed less. Coach Conan suggested that I sign up for the Whole Life Challenge that was beginning at the box. It was an 8 week nutrition, workout, mobility, and accountability challenge — and I found myself sitting in the BOX on Saturday morning looking at a list of food, and lifestyle rules. I would have rather been at home watching 80′s Saturday morning cartoons, but I was putting in faith in the next three months that something was going to change.

It’s been a month since the challenge ended. I’ve had a physical with my Doctor.  Blood Pressure checked, and blood work drawn.

Last June 2011, my total Cholesterol was 207mg/dl (normal range 100-199) Flagged as High.  My triglyceride level was 310mg/dl (range 0-149) High. My HDL (The good Cholesterol was 31 it needed to be greater than 39).  Earlier this month the Doc checked my Blood Pressure, it was back to a healthy range, NO MEDS!

And as I waited impatiently (thanks Doc for raising that blood pressure while I waited!) I got the lab results… total Cholesterol 162, well within the 100-199 range. Triglycerides at 119 also in range (0-149). And my HDL44mg well over 39.

It’s possible.  It’s possible to take control of your life and kick the meds!  It’s possible to take control and feel better about who you are.  It’s possible!  Throwing out the food pyramid, doing some research on Paleolithic Diets, a great support network (girlfriend, friends, family), and great coaches I was able to make significant head way.

Oh, I was around 250 last year pre-June…. This June I was floating around 210, most of that weight came off in the last three and half months, through the Whole Life Challenge.


My name is Danton Ensor – I Crossfit.

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CFI Athlete Brian M: My First Year at Crossfit Impavidus

CFI : June 19, 2012 8:07 am : Impavidus Blog, Success Stories

One year at Crossfit Impavidus has changed my life.

One day in June 2011 I was walking out of work and I had to go down 3 steps out of the building  to the side walk. I fell down the steps. I could not believe that I had lost my coordination and balance. I knew I was overweight and out of shape but I did not know it was that bad. So I played it off as best I could and popped back up and hoped no one saw me. I was at least 250lbs when I fell down those steps. I was always active growing up and playing sports. Heck I was 6’4”, 150lbs in high school. How the heck did I fall down? I had let myself go, in a big way.  My clothes were tight and going up in size. I was drinking 2-3 cokes a day and eating whatever and whenever I wanted — candy, chips, and other junk food. Plus having two kids I would eat  to help “cleanup” after dinner. Whatever they did not finish, I did. I also lacked energy. I was not motivated to do anything when I got home from work except watch TV and sleep.

I needed to do something and fast. Some one told me to check out this place called Crossfit. I had heard this person talk about the free workout on Saturdays and how they liked it so much. Something about tractor tires in parking lots and tossing medicine balls on walls if I recall.  I couldn’t do the free Saturday  workouts because of work, so I set up an appointment during the week for an introduction to Crossfit.

During the intro, coach Mark showed me around and explained the routine for the classes which are about an hour long. You come in and the board will tell you what’s going on for the day – a warm-up, skill, WOD (workout of the day), and athlete times. Then it was time to try to complete the intro workout to see if this place was really for me. I remember Mark joking “you won’t die, you have pass out first before you die”.

My intro workout was a 400m run followed by 40 air squats, 30 situps, 20 push ups, and 10 pull ups. Coach Mark kept encouraging me to keep going. All I thought was “I’m going to die, stop yelling at me” and “Do they do this to everyone?” I did not make it to the pull up part. Mark saw that I was dead and said I was done. I thought I was going to puke. I then got up off the floor and told Mark thanks and headed home. It was a humbling experience.

After I got home I started thinking about trying another gym. Should I go to Golds or Lifetime and try the one of those free trials?  I decided against it because I did not want to waste anymore time to get in shape by trying out these places I knew I was not going to like anyways. The next day I joined Crossfit Impavidus. The class schedule worked with my work schedule and I liked that it was only an hour out of your day. You work you ass off  knowing it will be over in an hour.  I started the 3 day a week program . 5A WOD, done by  6A. Off to work. Workout for the day: DONE!

My first 5A class included four other athletes with Coach Nick.  Because it was 5A,  I was not even really awake to understand what was  in store for me for next hour: I think the part of warm up was – hold a plank while your partner does 5 burpees, 5 rounds. What the heck was a burpee? My poor partner had to hold that plank while I figured it out! I can’t even remember what that first WOD was…

The first week was hard, good but hard. Changing your lifestyle is always hard, but I kept showing up at  5A every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It became a habit – like I needed to be there. Not because I was scared of the workouts, but because I didn’t want to leave any of my fellow athletes to have to do a WOD one on one with the coach. We became a team and didn’t want to let each other down.

Every week I started feeling better and better. I started to eat healthier and was not eating as much at mealtime. I found myself not going to the vending maching at work as much as I had been. I started to bring my lunch to work –  salads, fruit, vegatables, and other healthy things.

What is great about Crossfit Impavidus is the family atmosphere at the box. A bond forms between the athletes during class because you are completing the WOD side by side. No one cares if you are doing a scaled version or an Rx version of the WOD. The point is you are doing the WOD and pushing each other to the finish, and when you do finish you talk about the good and the suck

The social part of the this box is special. Everything from being on facebook to going out on a bar crawl is a blast. The CFI ladies go out for ladies night. The guys have yet to get their act together to go and do something but we will. These athletes are all great people and tremendous friends.

This box and its athletes are a big part of my life. They are supportive, kind, funny, and good hearted people. I would like to thank Co-owners Conan Bruce and Jerry Haran for opening this box in Ashburn. To the coaches, both former and current, thank you, thank you, thank you. Without you, who would push, teach, and motivate us? You are the best.

With year one in the books, I have lost at least 55 pounds and 7-8 inches of off my waist line. The photo below was from July 4, 2011 (left)  and the other was taken May 3, 2012 (right). My focus this next year is to work on better techinque in the weightlifting movements and to complete more WOD’s Rx. No excuses. WOD ON.

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