Client Stories

Julia's Success Story

At Ampersand we are about changing lives. Julia is committed to herself and has a new outlook on life! We meet everyone where they are and assist them in smashing their goals, just like Julia!

Meet our next Intern, Erica!

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Hello there! My name is Erica. I am the oldest of five kids and a Northern Nevada native. Upon graduation from Boise State University with my BBA in Marketing, I moved across country to explore the beautiful state of North Carolina while working as a digital marketing specialist and obtaining my TEFL certification. After spending a year backpacking through Latin America while working as an English teacher, I am back in the USA pursuing my passion for health and wellness. 

I grew up a competitive swimmer, but love to try anything and everything active. I have competed in numerous events, including Ironman 70.3 Boulder and multiple marathons. I found CrossFit in 2015 and fell in love. It is unlike anything I have ever done and challenges me in new ways everyday, both physically and mentally.  I tried my first CrossFit competition the same year I started and ended up winning New Kids in the Box. I was hooked!

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From teaching swim lessons to fitness classes at university, I love sharing my passion with others. It only made sense to become a CF coach. I am a forever student, ready to learn from those willing to teach, and ready to teach those who are willing to learn. 

Meet our next Intern, Janine!

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Hi, I'm Janine and I've lived in the Carson Valley since 2006. My passions are my family, hiking, backpacking, and helping people find meaning and health on all levels. I have formal training as a yoga instructor and taught for several years in the Lake Tahoe area.

The discovery of CrossFit Ampersand came along for me in August 2017. I feel very fortunate to have our Box be my first exposure to CrossFit. I enjoy sharing the benefits of CrossFit and am committed to furthering my training in this field. I love that just about everyone can benefit from CrossFit... from the grandparent to elite athletes and everyone in between. Increased strength, power, speed, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy benefits everyone of us!

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Our training in the gym makes our lives better outside of the gym. My favorite thing is when I do something outside the gym that I wasn't previously able to do prior to joining CrossFit Ampersand. I look forward to hearing about what that is for YOU!

Meet James! Intern Extraordinaire!

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I am a Texan transplant at the age of five, so I claim the Carson Valley as my home. I've tried to leave multiple times but always come back. Nevada is just so free and open! Tahoe and the mountains really help keep life in perspective. Getting to see the stars every night and I love being able to hike, climb, camp, snowboard, hit the beach or fish at anytime I want.

I also love taking photos of nature, moss and little ecosystems. Drawing has been a passion of mine since I was a child.

I've always been competitive, but my fitness journey began with sports. I played football from age 12 till I was 19 and ran track all through high school and have trained in numerous other sports just for the fun. I was never the most talented, so i had to train harder to actually play or get noticed. My coaches gave me a good base of understanding of my body and fitness.

I had been coaching throughout my playing career and continued coaching football after it ended. I still lived the training aspect more so I started training kids on the side getting them ready for the season and helping at camps. Between my own training and coaching youth, I decided to try personal training. There was a lot within the industry I just didn't agree with at the time and didn't quite fit the mainstream fitness mold.

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Around then I was trying to join the military and started developing my own programming to fit the skills of the job I was going for. What I developed worked, but then I found CrossFit. Compete in and coaching CrossFit was my new passion. It had everything I wanted. Torturous workouts, full body movements, heavy lifts, could coach anyone and everyone, no mirrors or squat racks being used for flexing sessions, growing in knowledge was encouraged, and it was FUN!

What really hooked me was the community! In sports, supporting the community was essential. As an athlete you are to uphold the best in people and represent the best of the community outside yourself and the team. Without it, you have no team. You have no athletes. Your coaches are useless. The mainstream industry was way more individualistic. I missed that while trying to find where my life was headed and doing it in my own was terrifying at the time. In CrossFit everyone is an athlete and capable of the same great things and each of us is there to support their journey as well as pursue our own.

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At Crossfit Ampersand after 8 years in the sport and 3 boxes. A gym that has everything that got me into CrossFit is my home. The community support in this gym helped motivate me and helped me rediscover my passion for fitness. Helped put myself out there in ways I hadn't before. I look forward to returning the favor, helping people move and live full lives, building this community further and of course having some fun!





Meet Daunelle!

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I was (almost) born and raised in South Lake Tahoe in the early 1970's. I played "sports" with the kids down the street in the vacant lot, climbing rocks and trees, for hours! The only organized sports available to girls back then were swim team, ski team, and tennis. We couldn't afford the ski team, so I swam for almost ten years for the city of South Lake Tahoe, and for my high school, South Tahoe High. I also spent my four years of high school on the nordic ski team, where you "don't become king of the mountain by riding a chair lift." In college, I tried out for and made the lightweight varsity boat for the crew team. I was the "Stroke"...the first rower in the boat of eight that set the tempo for the rest of the team. I LOVED rowing! I would have continued with rowing had I not had the opportunity to study in Grenoble, France my junior year in college.  In France, I tried to stay fit, in between bites of baguette and yummy cheese! However, I did coach a local swim team while I lived in Grenoble. 

After college, I moved back to Tahoe and started teaching English at South Tahoe High School and French at Lake Tahoe Community College. I coached the high school's nordic ski team for a few years, but then left the high school and taught only at the junior college.  We raised two active daughters in South Lake Tahoe. Between skiing, soccer, swimming, horseback riding, and hiking, we were never bored. However, my husband must have thought otherwise because in 2009, he and his two friends opened South Tahoe CrossFit. 

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Initially, I thought CrossFit was a joke. How could anyone get a workout in a four minute Tabata or a 12 minute AMRAP? Well, the joke was on me. After a few workouts, I was hooked. It is the variation and functionality of the exercises that kept my attention, but the  community that is created between members was and still is the reason why I CrossFit. In 2010 I got my Level 1 cert., and then in 2012, I got my Level 2 and a Mobility certificate from CrossFit. I loved coaching, managing, and organizing events for and at our gym. We held several competitions and fundraisers for our region and community. A few years ago, I even won the Masters level at a regional competition! However, in 2017, we decided to sell our partnership to one of our awesome trainers because we had moved down to the valley and we couldn't give as much time to the gym as we used to. 

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I discovered CFAmpersand when my daughter started the Douglas Girls Lacrosse Club in 2017. She had asked me to coach the team, and we desperately needed some dry-land training. I approached Jeff and Harmony with our need and they graciously allowed us to use the facility for the two years I coached my daughter's team. From box jumps to burpees, those high school girls strangely looked forward to our time in the gym! While I no longer coach lacrosse, I have continued to stay active. Last fall I completed my first Spartan race, the Beast, at Squaw Valley. That race made me realize that I needed to increase my fitness, so I joined CFA. It was difficult getting to the gym this winter, but when Jeff and Harmony asked if I was interested in coaching again, things started to get back into focus for me. After I emphatically said, "Yes!" I realized that I had let my certificates expire last October...So, I will be taking my coaching certs again this month! 

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Thanks to Jeff and Harmony, and all the CFA members I've met these past few months. CrossFit Ampersand is a fantastic community of supportive members . You are the reason why we keep coming back day after day, difficult workout after difficult workout. 

Prioritizing Self with Tanya

Hey everyone! We got the chance to ask Tanya some questions about her experience with CrossFit. We met her when Harmony and I went to the emergent care and she was our nurse. After our visit a few weeks later, Tanya walked in the door workout gear in hand ready to rock. She came from a history of CrossFit before she moved here and has been a part of the Ampersand family ever since!

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Before finding us, what was your struggle?

My biggest struggle was putting away the excuses and getting up off the couch even when I was too tired or sore to move.  I was a shift worker for many years like many health care professionals and I found it hard to balance and find motivation when all I wanted to do was sleep.

What were your biggest frustrations?

Feeling like I spent all my time and energy taking care of everyone (my family and patients) and had no time and energy to take care of myself. I felt like a hypocrite and as a result I kept having to buy bigger and bigger clothes which is always disheartening.

How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life?

I felt that I was not leading by example. I was educating my family and patients about the importance of exercise and healthy eating but I was failing to live the life I was promoting.  I worried constantly about our family history of diabetes, obesity and heart disease affecting not only me but my children.

What did you feel like before you made your transformation?

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I had low self esteem when looking in the mirror, I cried more times than not in a dressing room trying to find clothes that fit, I refused to wear a swimsuit in public, and I just felt like a failure.

How did our program help you?

CrossFit Ampersand is so open and welcoming that I didn’t feel awkward or that everyone was staring at me. All the members are very supportive and encouraging. I also had the benefit of starting the program with my daughter and through our support of each other and the support from the whole crew at Ampersand, I started to look better and feel better with every class.

How is life different for you now?

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Life is still a struggle everyday, but I have the positivity of my health and wellness to keep me going. I don’t feel like a hypocrite any more when I talk to my patients about the longstanding benefits of exercise and clean eating. I feel stronger than I have in years, and I’m able to complete any workout that I attempt despite my many chronic health conditions like asthma or the multiple surgeries on my hands and hip. I recommend CrossFit Ampersand to anyone who will listen regardless of their age, size, health conditions or athletic abilities because the Ampersand crew is a dedicated, knowledgeable and caring team that can help anyone achieve their wellness goals!


Let us hear your goals and show you how we can help you reach them! 

Getting Motivated with Misti!

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Misti is another example of when you stick to your goals and stay consistent, great things happen. She is very humble and coachable and is joy to have in the gym. We asked her to share her story and we hope you are as encouraged as we were! Enjoy!

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Before finding CrossFit Ampersand I had been without a gym for about a year. I had left my previous gym of 7 years, where I spent most of my time running races and doing sprint triathlons. I had totally burnt myself out and decided that I needed a break. I would work out at home on my own one or two days a week and take my dog out for a run here and there. I told myself that this was sufficient and that I didn’t need a gym, but I soon became lazy, frustrated and depressed. I love working out and doing things that make me feel healthy and strong, but I felt like I was never going to find anything else that motivated me and got me excited about my health and fitness again.

This totally affected my life because I stopped being motivated about how I was eating. I wasn’t doing anything much to challenge my body and it was depressing. For me, the biggest benefits of working out and eating good, besides the obvious of being strong and healthy, is the positive mental state that it keeps me in. I feel sane and happy when I’m pushing and challenging myself.

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Then I found Crossfit Ampersand and they changed everything! I was familiar with some of the CrossFit workouts but I had never been to a gym like this. I was so impressed with the way that you make proper form and function the most important part of the workouts. I’ve learned that actually knowing how to do the movements properly and the importance of training your body the right way makes you so much stronger!  I was so impressed with how everyone cares so much about each other and cares about motivating you and seeing you improve and grow. I have been at this gym for almost a year now and I love it! I love the coaches and the people here so much. I know that this will be my home for a really long time.

Life is different now because I have something to look forward to and get excited about again. I’ve found a new challenge that I love even more than the things I had been doing before. I feel so much stronger and feel like I’m gaining strength in areas I never thought I could. I’m doing things that I never thought I would be able to and I am excited to see more changes in my strength and ability!


Let us tell your story! Talk to a coach and see how we can help you reach your goals!

Desert Racing and CrossFit with Greg

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We like to call Greg the "Silent Assassin" because he has such a humble attitude when he walks in the door, but his competitive spirit takes over at 3, 2, 1, GO!

His work ethic and determination towards his goals have proven in his increased work capacity and his speed on the course when he is on his bike. It is exciting as coaches to hear that CrossFit is doing its job when you hear reports of improved times, or personal bests outside of the gym. 

Greg is another reminder that CrossFit is for everyone! So we asked him a few questions about his CrossFit journey. 

What are your passions?
My passion in life is Desert Racing. Ever since I started to ride that little word "racing" popped up and seemed to take over my mind and soul.

Why did you start, and how did you find CrossFit?
I found CrossFit online just surfing the web. I chose CrossFit because I needed to change my
routine and challenge my body. Which all of the coaches are happy to challenge what you are
capable of doing.

What was your first impression?
My first impression of the gym was clean and very open. Everyone really cared that you came
to classes and did your best on good and bad days.

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What are your goals?
One of my goals that ties into racing is I want to become a Expert Racer. Another goal I have is to lose weight and possibly have skin removal surgery. So far I have lost over 100lbs from before and after I started CrossFit.

What has CrossFit done for you?
CrossFit has showed me I can push myself harder and in multiple different ways. The recovery time from my achilles injury went so much smoother than I expected with the help of training at Ampersand. Also I really like the atmosphere of working out with a group of people.

What’s one accomplishment you’re proud of during your time at CrossFit Ampersand?
I am proud of myself for being able to do kipping pull ups, handstand pushups, and having the
ability to use my whole body to do more complex movements.

Would you recommend CrossFit Ampersand to others?
Heck yes, I've told so many people about the benefits from CrossFit and that they should come
join the team.

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What advice would you give someone who is interested in CrossFit?
My advice to others would be no matter how hard something may seem you only have to beat yourself not others. Giving a 100% with everything from the amount of weight or speed. Give your 100% and the coaches and everyone around you will do the same for you so you can excel and achieve your goals.


Want to learn more about what Ampersand can do for you and your goals? Book a No Sweat Intro and talk to a coach today!

Crushing your 40's with Becca!

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Becca is such a treat to have in the gym. We wanted to share her experience with you because she is one of those people that motivates and inspires those around her. The saying is true that, "A rising tide raises all boats." We are excited to share her story with you and hope you get inspired too! Enjoy!

What are your passions?

I am passionate about disease prevention through food and exercise. I went to culinary school many years ago and I still love to cook. I could talk about food all day. I hope to pass on my love of exercise and nutrition to my kids.

Why did you start and how did you find CrossFit?

I started hearing about CrossFit here and there years ago. I wanted to try it but I felt like it just wouldn’t work with my crazy schedule. I watched all of the Fittest on Earth movies and I wanted so badly to learn all of those crazy lifts and be super strong like the “Dottirs”. I went to support a friend at New Kids in the Box and that was it. I wasn’t going to put it off any longer. I immediately started my search for a box.

What was your first impression?

It was love at first workout. I’ve been a runner and weightlifter for over 20 years and this was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Burpees, wall balls, AND running? Together? It was awesome. I was never able to push myself that hard when I was working out by myself in my garage. I felt so calm and relaxed and exhausted after that first workout and the weight of my day just melted away. I also love having a coach right there to help with my form or to show me something new. They have been amazing.

What are your goals?

I want to be as strong as possible for as long as I live. I am a nurse so I see what neglecting your health and mobility can do to a person later in life. I’m not taking my health for granted. It’s a process and an investment.

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What has CrossFit done for you?

CrossFit has made working out fun again. I look forward to getting to the gym everyday. It is never a struggle. I get home from work, change into my gym wear, and head out the door. I can take out the stress of the day on the weights and just wear myself out.

What is one accomplishment you’re proud of during your time at CrossFit Ampersand?

Just one?? Well, I’m most proud of my consistency. I’ve been able to go 4-5 days each week for the past year which has led to increases in strength I never thought possible at 40 years of age.

 

Would you recommend CrossFit Ampersand to others?

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Absolutely, and I do all the time! Everyone, coaches and members, have been so welcoming, encouraging, and supportive to the max. I am an introvert who hates group fitness classes and I LOVE CrossFit Ampersand! For years I have longed for a fit fam and I have finally found one. They have pulled me out of my shell.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in CrossFit?

Just get started! You don’t have to already be in shape or even know what the heck you are doing. Just show up, stay positive, and be coachable. Everything can be adapted to your ability so do not be intimidated.

Anything else you would like to add?

CrossFit Ampersand is the cleanest gym I’ve ever seen. For reals.


We would love the opportunity to create your story and share your journey with Ampersand.

Schedule a Free NO Sweat Intro to talk to a coach today!

Conquering Adversity with Andrea

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So let me begin by saying what a joy it is to have met and grown close with Andrea and her family. Her story combined with her driven nature is nothing less than inspiring to me as a coach and to our community. I am really excited for everyone to get to know Andrea a little more and be inspired as well by seeing just how strong and powerful women are and can be. We have all heard of the saying 'cancer survivor', but from where I stand as a coach and a friend, Andrea is a conquerer... and cancer had no chance. So without further adieu, here is her story! Enjoy!

"CrossFit wasn’t something even on my radar. I grew up being active and always was up for taking a class or two at the gym. Then at the age of 20 I was diagnosed with stage 3 muscular cancer. Boom, all that was more norm, going to the gym every day, college, an active lifestyle was out the window for a while. Fast forward to almost a year ago. I was trying to find something to challenge me again. Get me active and get me out of the house. I work from home 10+ hours a day and needed not only to get out but to interact with people. Not really interested in much there was to offer in my area, a girl I knew through a friend has suggested I try CrossFit. Um, yea... NO. One, I have no idea what that really was, and two, what I do know of it I could NEVER do. That is not for me. I can’t do that because of my limitations from having cancer…. Blah blah blah, you know, all the excuses we like to tell ourselves to keep us from doing scary things. Well, one day, when I guess I was just crazy enough to try, I posted a question on our community blog and everyone was giving me the same answer: CrossFit Ampersand.

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A few clicks, some research, and reading a few clients stories I set up a meeting. I am not a weight lifting kind of gal. Throw me in a cardio class I am ready! But showing up for CrossFit I thought, what am I doing, can I even do this?! All the weights and medicine balls and chalk!? Why do we need chalk?! But the other thing driving me was, behind all the lifting and sweat and learning, was the challenge. I needed a challenge. I had become distracted from life with work and kids, and all the adult things that make us responsible. I needed something that was mine and was going to challenge me. That was what I set out for and that was what I got.

Some of the toughest times in the beginning and still today, are recognizing that I can’t always do what everyone else is doing. Not because I wasn’t or am not strong enough, yet, but because of something from my past. Cancer. That was a part of my life, my story, I tucked away, I conquered, and moved passed. But here I was, in the gym, trying to lift something my hand didn’t have the strength to hold. But then with the help of the amazing support, community and coaches at CrossFit Ampersand I saw that there is a way to get through every lift, every jump, every challenge. The coaches encouraged me to do what I could and taught me how to modify movements so that I could build strength and keep going. That is one thing I was most amazed about. The coaches never made me feel like I was inadequate or “broken”. They just said “ok, then do this instead” and that was that.

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One of my proudest moments to date was conquering box jumps. Yep! I can jump on a box and do it over an over again. When I first started CrossFit I would jump on stacks on weights. Then over time I just worked my way to feeling more confident and trusting my body and I did it! It’s not just the physical aspect of growth you find in CrossFit, it’s the mental. I have gained so much more trust in my body and what it is capable of. Confidence, yes that too, but knowing that months before I couldn’t do something and to work and see myself lifting more weight, improving in many different aspect and also having all the awesome coaches and other members at Crossfit Ampersand cheering you on. Helping you see you really can do more than you think you are capable of, you can’t help but try harder and be better.

At the end of the day I look forward to every workout. I want to see my friends, who have become more like family, because that’s how it is at CrossFit Ampersand, a family. I want to be with my tribe, pushing myself to see how far I can go. Is CrossFit tough, yes! I would be lying if I said it was easy. But pushing yourself and being with people who want to see you reach your goals and support you makes every sore muscle worth it. If you have ever questioned trying CrossFit I would say do it. We all have things that can create excuses not to try, but honestly, do it, please try. You may just find your not as broken as you once thought you were. You may become stronger, happier, more focused, less anxious, or more determined then you have been in a long time. What have you got to lose? I am so thankful one crazy day posting something on a community page lead me to a much healthier and better place. One sore workout at a time…GAME ON!"

"Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild." -Nikita Gill

Ready to begin your journey? Book a No Sweat Intro and come see what we are all about! 

Renay's Athlete Story: Taking a chance

When I sat down with Renay for her 'No Sweat Intro' several months ago, I remember thinking, this one is driven! I asked her what made her choose us and she replied with, "I read the client stories on your website and want to have a story like that one day" Well, she definitely has an amazing story to share with us! Her drive and love for her community is so infectious and it is apparent that the confidence and the passion that she brings to the gym, she also applies to her everyday life. 

My favorite aspect about being a part of the Ampersand family is that I get to meet and grow closer with new people everyday. Sometimes, I think I spend more time learning from the people that I coach than they do learning from me. I am grateful to know Renay and am thankful for what I have learned about myself from her and others like her in the gym. 

So, without further adieu, here is my short-ish interview with Renay. Enjoy! - Coach Jeff

What are your passions?

My biggest passions are my job, fitness (specifically CrossFit) and spending time with son Nick, who is almost 16 and my dogs Kona, Beenz and Asker. I work at a juvenile detention center and am still happy with my job even after five years. I was in trouble as a teenager/young adult so ever since then it had always been my passion to work with at-risk youth. Because of my job fitness is very important to me as my job can be physical at times. My health is important as well as I want to live a long life so I can see my son grow and his accomplishments he achieves through life. One day, many years from now, I would like to and hope to have grandchildren. I enjoy many outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, shooting and even yard work.

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Why did you start, and how did you find CrossFit?

I was extremely hesitant to try CrossFit at first as it has always been hard for me to step out of my comfort zone to try new things. I had been going to a regular gym for almost a year before I joined CrossFit and off and on throughout my adult life. I got to a point where I was spending about two hours every day at the gym and felt like I had hit a plateau. A friend of mine who had been doing CrossFit for several years had mentioned several times that I should try CrossFit. One day I had decided it was time to finally try it so I had started to research different CrossFit boxes in the area. CrossFit Ampersand was not the closest box to me but as I was doing my research something about them really impressed me as well as another client's story and I decided to contact them for a "no sweat intro". Joining CrossFit Ampersand has been one of the best decisions I have ever made not only because of the awesome workouts but I have met some pretty outstanding people. 

What was your first impression?

My first impression of CrossFit was, how am I ever going to be able to do the things everyone else was doing. After I met with Jeff for the "no sweat intro" I felt a little better about my decision but was still super nervous. The one thing I really liked about CrossFit Ampersand was having to go through the on-ramp program. The one-on-one sessions where awesome as it taught me some proper form and I was able to get a taste of CrossFit without having to make a fool of myself in front of other people. From the very get go I had felt very welcomed by all the athletes and coaches I had crossed paths with. Needless to say, I can say my first impression of trying CrossFit and CrossFit Ampersand itself was and still is amazing!!

What are your goals?

My goals are to continue to build muscle, get toned and be a better me physically and mentally. In 2014 I had my L4-S1 vertebrae's fused after a car accident so it has also been my goal to strengthen my core to try and prevent any future injuries or surgeries to my back. My son is very proud to have a fit mom, so it is my goal to stay that way. 

What has CrossFit done for you?

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CrossFit has shown me how competitive I really am but more importantly it has shown me that I can do things I never thought I'd be able to do, like overhead squats, hand stand holds and rope climbs. It has given me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and made me realize I can achieve things that I once thought were impossible. It has helped me overcome fears such as jumping onto a box without gouging my shins and going into a handstand against a wall knowing the wall will always be there to catch me. CrossFit has shown me that every day I become a better me!! It has also shown me that it is possible for every muscle to be sore all the time even after seven months of CrossFit due to the varying workouts. Someone once told me, "Soreness is weakness leaving the body."

What’s one accomplishment you’re proud of during your time at CrossFit Ampersand?

One accomplishment I am extremely proud of since I joined CrossFit was participating and completing a CrossFit competition. This past July, about four months after I started CrossFit, I competed in The New Kids in the Box competition put on by Carson City CrossFit. That competition was my first competition I had ever been a part of and it was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. Throughout the day I had completed five workouts and they were no joke. My teammates and CrossFit family were there to cheer me on, show me support and push me even when I thought I couldn't do more. It was tough but I was extremely proud of myself for getting through it and I ended up placing fourth in my division. 

Would you recommend CrossFit Ampersand to others?

I would absolutely recommend CrossFit Ampersand to others for many reasons. The most important reason is the coaching. Jeff, Harmony, JC and Marshall have a wealth full of knowledge about CrossFit and proper technique. They do a great job at sharing their knowledge and teaching movements with patience. It is evident that the goals of the athletes are important to them. CrossFit Ampersand and the equipment is kept very clean which is important when you are a germaphobe and you have to lie on the floor to catch your breath after an intense workout. Another reason I would recommend CrossFit Ampersand is because of the athletes. As I mentioned before, everyone is so welcoming and makes you feel as though you are a part of the CrossFit family. CrossFit Ampersand is a family and everyone helps each other out in one way or another. I would recommend CrossFit Ampersand simply because it is the BEST! 

What advice would you give someone who is interested in CrossFit?

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The advice I would give to someone interested in CrossFit is give it time, it'll be worth it. There may be a time when you question why you do CrossFit because of the intensity of it but keep coming back. Make CrossFit your addiction! It takes time to build strength, stamina and see results but eventually it happens and it is an amazing feeling. Some workouts are tough but as a coach (JC) once told me, "just keep moving" and you'll eventually get through it. The end result, whether it's the feeling you have after an intense workout or eventually reaching your goals, is so worth going through some crazy workouts. Actually, I think all the workouts are crazy but they give you such satisfaction at the end of them. 

Anything else you would like add?

I would like to add that I am thankful I gave CrossFit a chance. It has truly been an amazing experience and is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life or for as long as I possibly can. The fee it costs to be a part of CrossFit has been so worth it because of the coaching and the push I get from the coaches and the other athletes. If I were to workout at home or on my own at a regular gym, I would never push myself as hard as I do at CrossFit Ampersand. I hope to one day be able to inspire many others as I have been inspired by so many. 


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Rob's Athlete Story

Rob has been a staple in the gym, so much so that when he is not there you can tell there is something different. He brings such an energy and you can tell that the gym is his outlet for life. We have really enjoyed seeing him grow over the last several months and it has become infectious to the people around him. He is a perfect example of what our community represents and strives for. He is humble, happy, and always hungry to be the best he can be, while making sure that others around him are lifted up with him.

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We did a short interview with him so you all could get a glimpse at what we see everyday in the box, enjoy! 

What are your passions?  

My kids and family our my most immediate.  I have a 19 year old daughter, Stephanie.  Two son's Jason and Evan,  ages 16 and 13. Stephanie is starting college and both boys are into Basketball and Scouting.  What time is left over is spent with my wife of 22 years, her name is Becky.  My hobbies are hunting, fishing and all the outdoor stuff that comes with it.  Next June we are going to the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico to hike some 100 mile in 8 day's, it helps to be in shape for that one.  

Why did you join Ampersand?

I started CrossFit because my friend Doug was going to the gym and he started to to look good every time I saw him.  I wanted to start feeling better about myself and I also knew that being in shape would help deal with the stresses of life. When I was younger I worked out with a gentleman named Coach Park's who had a workout that was like CrossFit to some way, so it seemed like a good fit.

What have you noticed different about yourself since starting CrossFit?

CrossFit has given me more energy and looking at life in a more positive light, not to mention I can fit into my jean's better.  My big goal in life is to work hard to hopefully retire younger that older, and travel with my wife and experience our kids life.  But, if that is not in the cards, it would be fun to take small weekend vacations.  We live in such a great area with so much to do all year round. I want to experience as much stuff as life can open up to me.  That's why it is important to stay in shape.  CrossFit Shape. In the short term, it would be nice to do "over the bar burpee's", without stopping and rolled over in the corner of the gym.

What would say to someone looking into CrossFit, who may be on the fence? 

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 I would recommend Crossfit to everyone, especially those getting back in shape,  after some years off. Just show up, the program will motivate ya!

Interested in learning more about our gym? Book a free 'No Sweat Intro' to learn more about what we can do for you!


Interested in learning more about our gym?

Book a free 'No Sweat Intro' to learn more about what we can do for you!

Brian "Brain" Banbury: New Intern on the Block

We are excited to announce that Brian Banbury, Banbuddy, Brain... Is our newest intern at Ampersand! Brian demonstrates the type of coach that we look for at our gym. One who is coachable, humble, hungry and leads by example. His passion for progress and love for sharing in others successes is apparent in his presence in the gym. We look forward to his growth as a leader! Read more about Brian below, from the man himself! 

Greetings and salutations everyone!

I’d like to think that more or less most of you have met me: but! In the event you haven’t, I wanted to introduce myself as the new intern on the block.

Name: Brian “Brain” Banbury

About me: I was bounced around as a kid a bit, but it all started in Omaha, Nebraska. I have, over the years, found myself living in Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, California, Japan, and now Nevada. I am a prior Marine and currently work in the IT industry, with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of commuting time. I’ve been a pretty active kid my whole life, playing football and wrestling through high school and being in the military shortly after a failed stint in college.

So why CrossFit? That answer is simple – it’s all of you that give me purpose in walking through the gym doors every day. The community of CrossFit is an infectious and resilient … I don’t know, esoteric energy driven by collective positivity and a genuine interest in the well-being of your WOD-mates. I’ve been distributive-ly a part of the CrossFit community for just shy of two years now, and I keep finding myself navigating back towards the 3, 2, 1 go!

When it comes to fitness, my passion lies mostly with the Olympic lifts and seeing my back-squat numbers do things I thought they couldn’t. I live to break PRs and to push the boundaries of what I once thought was impossible. I also love bacon, cookies and dogs. Not necessarily in that order.

I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone at a more personal level, so I can help you all smash your goals and set new ones you’ve never even considered.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

~Abraham Lincoln

 

-Brain

Kiersten's Athlete Story: Passions and Progress

Kiersten has been with us for only about 10 months! But having her around has made it seem like it's been a lot longer. Her and her family have a way of connecting with people in a special way, and immediately make you feel like you have known them forever. Her journey in the gym has been so fun to watch and we are excited to share her story with you all. Enjoy!

What are your passions?

My biggest passion is my little girl and my family. I am forever grateful that I am the one that gets to stay home and raise her, teach her and show her all the good in life. On the flip side, she teaches me and helps me grow as a woman, mother and friend. Watching her grow over this last year has been my biggest blessing. 

Another passion of mine is my body - seeing what it has done (carry a baby for 9 months) and what it is capable of doing. I'm constantly trying to find ways to improve my physical and mental health and I find a lot of joy and reward in doing so. I'm also motivated by showing an example to those around me what hard work, dedication and discipline can produce in all areas of life. I want to live a long and full life with those that I love, and the best way to do that is to take care of myself.

Why did you start and how did I find CrossFit?

Oh, Mr. Dustin Funk. He is the reason for my addiction. Dusty, my brother-in-law, started talking to us about CrossFit in the last trimester of my pregnancy. And (I'm sure you can understand why) I just kinda blew it off. Two months after Stevie was born, he brought it up again and I decided to try it for a couple of different reasons.

1) The guy couldn't stop talking about CrossFit!

2) Travis, my husband, pretty much told me that we should just give it a shot so I was just along for the ride.

3) I needed an outlet and something with consistency and adult interaction. Being at home with a newborn all day was taking a toll on my physical AND mental health.

I thought that maybe CrossFit would teach me a few things, introduce me to some new people and reignite a fire that had been dormant for awhile.

What has CrossFit done for you?

I 100% underestimated the impact CrossFit would have on my life. I swear I could write a whole novel about it if you let me. I was very embarrassed with my physical health, I didn't even want to show up. But now after toughing it out physically and mentally, I have lost 40lbs and competed in my first competition. Both things I never thought I would do.

I'm in the best shape I have ever been in and I know that the possibilities are endless and it will only continue to improve. 

Also, I think I do a pretty good job showing my confidence outward, but internal confidence has always been a struggle for me. I have always been competitive but even more competitive with myself. Always searching for perfection and I would beat myself up if I thought I fell short. I have learned that I'm not perfect but more importantly I have learned to be OK with it.

CrossFit has taught me that as long as I have put in my best effort (in any area of life) that's what really matters. 

My relationships... I have made some bad a$$ friends! Seriously, the best people I have met have been through CrossFit. From all different walks of life, people that I probably wouldn't have interacted with in the past are some that I'm closest to now. More importantly though, my family relationships. I now have a common ground with my step sons and my brother-in-law. CrossFit has made my relationship stronger with them in 10 months than it could have over the course of years. I could write a whole chapter about my kids and what it has done for us outside of the gym.

I also have extended family reaching out to me about getting into CrossFit. Family that haven't ran a mile since high school because they see all the results from my work. That is the most rewarding thing.

CrossFit Ampersand has also given me the opportunity to intern and spread the wealth!! I think it's important to always give back to the community! I am fortunate enough that I found the coolest way to do so! Being able to help others in the gym has helped me fill that void. I was struggling trying to find a way to give back and just feel like I was making a difference in people's lives. Now, I receive emails, texts and even have conversations with people thanking me for my help. I love that I inspire and motivate people!! I will admit, you ran that mile on your own sister, but I'm so glad that I helped push you and inspire you.

What are your goals?

My goals are pretty simple. Like I said before, I'm constantly searching for ways to improve physically and mentally. My biggest goal right now is to stop saying things like "I can't " because deep down I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I want to continue to be that example to my daughter, husband, sons, and CrossFit community and give back even more.

If I have accomplished and seen results like these in 10 months, I can't even imagine what the next 10 will produce. 

I would really like to buy my big black Dodge back again someday too. But we will see how that one goes... :)

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Naomi's Athlete Story: Finding your inner strength!

This month we’re interviewing Naomi. She and her family are newer members with us and have been such a joy to have in the gym. Naomi has shown some amazing improvements, not only in her fitness, but with her mental fortitude. We asked the coaches and our interns who they thought we should interview for this month, and it was unanimous. Naomi has stood out tremendously and represents what we are all about at Ampersand. She truly has a warrior's heart and determination to break down barriers standing in her way to becoming who she wants to be as a strong woman.

Q: What brought you in to CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Well first, I had been wanting to come back to CrossFit after a 9 year absence because I did really enjoy it when I was doing it, I had let life really get in the way. Second, I have always struggled with self-confidence and anxiety but for this past year or so it had gotten really bad to the point where if I didn't have to be anywhere I was more comfortable to just stay home and sit around. My family kept telling me if I started to do some kind I physical activity it could really help me mentally, and they were right! I had just procrastinated for too long. 

Q: What was your first impression of CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Everyone was really nice and encouraging, it is a comfortable environment to workout in, and I didn't feel like I was being judged as to my ability. The workouts weren't just what was written on the board or nothing. The coaches really helped me to scale the workouts to my current abilities and reassured me that I would progress if I was consistent.

Q: Why did you or what made you stay at CF Ampersand?

A: Coach Marshall said one day that even if you show up and it wasn't your best day, you are doing 90% more that the people sitting at home on the couch. I try to remind myself of that on the days I feel like just quitting or I'm tired and don't feel like going. Also, seeing everyone else show up and do their best whether it was a good day or a bad day for them and then cheering everyone else on really helped me to just show up and do my best. And I started see results in the way my clothes fit, I was sleeping better, I was overall happier. 

Q: What's one accomplishment you're proud of during your time at CF Ampersand?

A: The hold complex workout we did recently. I feel like it was one of the first workouts where I didn't let overthinking it hold me back, I just blocked out the discomfort and the voice in my head telling me to just drop the bar. I was able to hold it for the whole ten minutes!! It was also one of the first workouts where I just had to drop to the ground afterwards and take a minute. It made me feel REALLY happy and like I had accomplished something big. I’m really proud of myself for that workout!

Q: What will you do next? 

A: Well I've had some trouble getting under my lifts and I would really like to work on that so I can do them more efficiently. And long term I really want to be able to do the rope climb and sign up for a fun run. 

Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting CrossFit? 

A: I would tell them to ignore the voice in your head telling you you're not good enough and that you are going to fail, and ignore the sick feeling you get on your way to the gym because I guarantee you that when you leave after the workout, you will feel better than when you walked in. Also everyone is there to cheer you on, and help you push yourself to do the things you thought you wouldn't be able to, and you will see the results. It's not going to be easy or instantaneous but with consistency and help you'll be able to reach your goal at CrossFit Ampersand! 😊


Find your inner strength. CLICK BELOW TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP!

Seanna's Athlete Story: Gaining Confidence and Losing 14 Inches

This month we’re interviewing Seanna. She’s been with us for a little over a year, has lost over 14 inches around her waist and hips, has a stronger and more positive mental attitude, and is a strong woman!! She started in our Bella Bootcamp program and then moved into normal CrossFit classes. 

Q: What originally brought you in to CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Pressure from friends. I was a huge nay-sayer and excuse maker, I had 2 friends that told me they really thought I should just do the bootcamp to try it. So I did after about 3 or 4 months.

Q: What was your first impression?

A: The boot camp was so informative! I remember being walked through everything and even though I was about dead after a 200m run I felt like I accomplished something after going the first time!

Q: After the bootcamp, why did you stay at CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Because I knew I could. It might sound strange, but coming in after a regular class to do the bootcamp is very intimidating. I did the bootcamp twice, then felt ready to attend regular CrossFit. It's more varied and it makes you work, but I wanted to accomplish more. I knew you would help me.

Q: What's one accomplishment you're proud of during your time at CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Realizing my strength and accepting my limitations. I have a history of thinking positive for everyone around me and NEVER for myself. I have learned to stand a little taller knowing that I am healthier now than I was a year ago, and I love myself for it.

Q: What will you do next? 

A: May 25th I have a physical fitness test for a Corrections Officer position with the state. This is a HUGE deal for me since I tried about 10 years ago and couldn't pass the physical portion of the interview. I feel very confident about it. Also, I want to figure out double-unders and toes to bar. My body just needs to figure out the movements! Lol

Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting bootcamp or CrossFit?

A: I think I would just let them know how negative my attitude was when I started and how in one month I had not only turned my attitude around, but my outlook. The most powerful thing you've ever said to me (or written to everyone, but I took it to heart) is "Your health isn't an expense, it's an investment." I have never thought about the money I've put into this journey since. I'm worth it, and so is anyone else that wants to be better than they were.

Q: Anything else you want to share or say?

A: I do want to address the fact that I have hit some bumps in this road, just being human. I have taken time off, eaten bad, I smoked for a while after I started working out, and I've slipped and started being negative toward myself on a lot of occasions. The point is: this isn't an all or nothing type of thing, everyone is human. I am proud of myself for quitting smoking so I can run further and catch my breath a tiny bit faster. I am proud of myself for coming back. I am proud of myself for getting back on track whenever I get overwhelmed by life. I feel like a lot of people think it's all or nothing, but if you focus on every little victory and be your best cheerleader it's a lot easier to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. This wonderful community CrossFit Ampersand has created helps so much as well. If you forget to cheer yourself on, there always seems to be someone there to help.

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Ashley's Athlete Story: Accomplishing things she never thought possible

Coach Harmony: Hey Ashley! We are so proud of you getting your first pull-up and conquering box jumps during the CrossFit Open 2017 and wanted to ask you a few questions about your athlete story!

Ashley: Awe!! Those were SO huge for me!!

H:  So my first question is, what originally brought you in to CrossFit Ampersand?

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A: To be honest, I wanted to get back into CrossFit and get back into shape after a lot of ups, downs, and inconsistencies in the gym. My last coach pretty much checked out before he closed and most of the members went to the another CrossFit, but I've known Jeff since elementary school so I leaned towards Ampersand.
I had talked to him a few times before I got myself in gear but just wasn't ready yet. Then, I saw a video CrossFit Ampersand posted on social media that really pushed me. It showed the strength and support between everybody-members with much different physical abilities motivating and encouraging each other.

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H: What was your first impression of CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Everything looked clean and in its place-it wasn't hard to get the hang of everything right away. I only knew one or two people there, but literally everyone I met was welcoming. I never felt 'out of place.' You and Jeff have the passion for this, you encourage proper form and growth. There have been times when I didn't think I could add 10 lbs to my lift and you said 'yep you're strong you've got this' and sure enough I did! You've shown me what my body is really capable of.
Another thing that I love about Ampersand is the electronic systems. In the past we kept notes and workouts in a notebook. At Ampersand we have even more tools to accomplish our goals, continue to improve and motivate each other!

H: Aww! Okay next question: After your first few experiences, why did you choose to stay at CrossFit Ampersand?

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A: EVERYTHING! I can't even describe how incredible I felt after my first day!! I knew I would continue with CFA from my first day forward. I love the WOD's. They're challenging, but I feel like a new person when I'm finished. The adrenaline I guess? It's addicting - I need it - mentally and physically! I find myself mad if I miss a good WOD, haha! Although I have a long way to go, I am down 30lbs. I've seen how far I have come in the last few months with new accomplishments, things that I never thought I would be able to do-or never would have pushed myself to do, like weighted lunges in the open and conquering box jumps after 17.1!  CFA has a great moral. Again, everyone is so supportive, both coaches and members. There's no judgment...I never felt out of place-which is huge with such a variety of members. 

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H: So much love!!! Okay final question! What will you do next? Or what is your next goal?

A: I feel like I have so many! I need to work on my eating habits and I hope to drop another 30 lbs. I need to progress in pull ups. Be able to string together kipping and to do strict too.
I want to conquer toes to bar next, give handstand push-ups a shot since I've never actually tried those. And I'm climbing that rope next time I get the chance, haha, hopefully!!

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Regaining confidence with Nikki

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When I came to CrossFit, I had actually wanted to try it for a few years, but I kept chickening out. When Jeff and Harmony said that they were going to open a CrossFit gym, I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to try it out and to support my friends in the process.

My first workout I remember being so challenging that I was seeing stars! I couldn't walk for a week! However, I came back. I wouldn't say the CrossFit got easier, but I got better, every time I come into the box. I improved, and I could feel the difference!

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My confidence has improved as well. I used to be timid, which hindered me both in the box, and in my job as a ER nurse. Once I gained more confidence, my job performance and my interpersonal skills improved. Friends and coworkers noticed. My boss started putting me on the fast track to be in charge, and started placing me on roles of a clinical expert.

I love feeling strong and I love being able to do handstand push-ups! The first time I did one, was probably my favorite moment of all. 

 

Now I am working on being able to do a freestanding handstand, then hopefully a handstand walk!!!! I love CrossFit so much I decided to further myself by getting my CrossFit Level 1 certification, and eventually would love to coach.

I feel better and I love the way I look!


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Katie Dorsey

I first came to CrossFit 2 years ago because of a promotion they were running and I thought it would be nice to get out of the house. When I first walked in, I was super nervous. First, I hadn’t worked out in over two years and second because it seemed like everyone in there knew what they were doing and I had never touched weights in my life. 

Today, I still walk in nervous, but also excited! Nervous because I know the workout will be hard and excited because now I know I can make it through. My first (and probably favorite) accomplishment at CrossFit Ampersand would be the friends that I made. When I first started at Ampersand, I was a stay at home mom and I had recently moved to the area and I didn’t know anyone. I was miserable. But the support and encouragement I felt walking in to Ampersand for the first time was overwhelming. Another big accomplishment was that I lost 50 lbs in my first year. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. I was constantly tired and unmotivated to do anything and now I have more energy, feel better, and am able to keep up with my very active toddler!

Today, with support from the coaches and community at Ampersand, I am working on building better lifestyle habits. I'm currently doing the Whole Life Challenge with a group from the gym. We are halfway through and I am feeling great. 

I love that the coaches at Ampersand are always pushing us to be the best versions of ourselves and I cannot imagine life without this place!