minden gym

How to Be a Beginner

Butterflies bounced around my stomach and I nervously spun my ring around my finger. I kept my eyes down so no one would talk to me. I whispered questions to Jeff about what to expect, what to do, where to put my bag and when to take off my shoes. I felt very uncomfortable and unsure. I’d wanted to try jujitsu for some time, but finally decided I was ready to try into my first class.

Last week, I tried Jujitsu for the first time. And for the first time in a while, I got a bold reminder of what it feels like to be a beginner — to be completely new. To swallow my fear, anxiety, and nervous thoughts and walk through a door to try something completely different and outside my comfort zone.

I’m sure I had similar feelings the first time I tried CrossFit (which feels like a lifetime ago now), but as I entered the jujitsu studio I kept reminding myself that everyone I was about to meet started as a beginner at some point in their life. That just like new members that enter CrossFit Ampersand for their first On-Ramp class, my nervous feelings were normal but weren’t a reason to turn around and run.

Being a beginner is uncomfortable.

Trying something new is uncomfortable. Especially when you’re in a group with other people that aren’t beginners or aren’t as new of a beginner as you.

My experience was a whole bunch of uncomfortable moments, including:

  • Wearing the only loaner Gi (uniform) that they had in my size, that just happened to be BRIGHT PINK (while everyone else was wearing white, blue, or black).

  • Feeling like I’m putting another student out when they were paired with me to practice some drills and they literally had to teach me the entire time.

  • Apologizing over and over when I did a move wrong and had to restart and try it again.

  • Laughing nervously every time I’d forget the next step of what I was supposed to be trying.

  • Feeling the eyes of the entire class on me when I was introduced as the new member (as if being the only one wearing a bright pink uniform didn’t help me stand out already!).

  • Smashing my body into the bodies of a few complete strangers. Hi, I’m Harmony, let me hug you with my legs. Oh and here’s some of my sweat.

  • Being asked by one of the instructors if I had learned to “horsey,” if I remembered what position was “guard,” or if I had drilled “blahbidy-blah (insert-other-technical-jujitsu-term-that-I-can’t-remember-here)” and staring back with a blank face

  • Hearing "Just do what feels natural” while being folded up like a stepped on spider as my opponent stretches one arm and one leg in opposite directions and simultaneously traps my neck in their arm and continues to press my entire body into the floor… *nervous laugh* nothing feels natural to escape, except that wriggling motion I tried which clearly made my position even worse. LOL.

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BUT… I LOVED IT.

Once I decided to take it one minute at a time and allowed myself to be a beginner, it was awesome.

Everyone was encouraging and helpful. They didn’t care that I didn’t know what things were called or that I didn’t magically pick everything up after being shown once — because they weren’t expecting me to. They helped me over and over. And I accepted the help, thanked them for the help, and asked for help when I needed it.

I was still uncomfortable because it was new. But it was a really fun experience. And the fun new experience outweighed the nervous uncomfortableness.

Stepping back into CF& as a coach made me reflect on my beginner jujitsu experience and reminded me of a few things:

  1. We should try new things, and regularly. Our life is made up of our experiences. Every time we try something new it expands the boundary of those experiences and makes life more interesting, more relatable, and you become more adaptable to future challenges/experiences. So try a new sport, a new hairstyle, accept the invitation to that class your friend asked you to try, or book an appointment for some activity you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared. If you have been curious about CrossFit and wanted to try it, do it.

  2. Allow yourself to be a beginner and be okay with being uncomfortable. You can be uncomfortable and still learn and have fun. Every time you repeat the process you move away from beginner towards novice then eventually expert.

  3. Remember that everyone who is an expert was once a beginner and at one point, started where you are.  When you join in on a group class, no-one is judging you for being a beginner. You aren’t expected to master anything in a day. Give it time. Accept and ask for help from those who are further along from you.

  4. Bring a friend. All new experiences are a little less daunting when you have someone you trust by your side experiencing it with you.

  5. Take small steps. At CrossFit Ampersand we start with a No Sweat Intro, which is a one-on-one chat with a coach where we discuss your goals, tour the gym and talk about how we can help you reach your goals. Then for most people they start with a few one on one personal training sessions (On-Ramp) before starting group classes. We teach them the movements they’ll encounter in class and ensure they can move safely. This helps buffer those beginner feelings and make joining in a little less daunting.

  6. Take action. I wish I had tried Jujitsu a year ago. I think back now to all those times thinking about telling Jeff I wanted to go in. All the times he asked me to try it and I shrugged it off (even though inside I wanted to go). If I had said yes — if I had ignored the anxious fear — I would have been doing it for a year now and be out of the early beginner stage already. But I’ve started and now I’m already on my 4th class!

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Interested in trying CrossFit?

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 our Intern Eli!

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Hi I’m Elisha! But most people call me Eli. I was born in Lake Tahoe, but I’ve lived in Nevada my whole life. During my High School career, I played Football for 2 years and I wrestled for part of my Senior year. I took 2 years of a Weight Training class that implemented the CrossFit methodology.

I am currently studying Kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Reno to become a physical therapist or athletic trainer. I always like working out with other people and I am always ready to make a new friend! I’m a born again man who loves Jesus and I’m always seeking truth and knowledge through the Bible. My favorite hobby is photoshop and I like to draw cartoons from time to time.

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CrossFit is my passion. I started CrossFit sometime during the summer of 2017. I used to be a bodybuilder who loved lifting weights, but I was lacking in so many other areas of my fitness. Then, one day, my weight training teacher showed our class a video called, “The Test of Fitness” (I highly recommend watching it). After watching the video, I was immediately hooked on CrossFit. I completed my CrossFit Level 1 Course on January 27, 2019.

I wanted to get into coaching because I love helping other people. I’ve found a new interest in helping athletes to improve their fitness and their lives for the future. I am constantly learning new things and always ready to help!

Say Hello to Isaiah!

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Hello! My name is Isaiah. I have grown up in Gardnerville and have loved it! I am a Nevada boy and it is hard for me to think of calling anywhere else home. I have a big family and many friends some of which are as close as family.

I have been doing Crossfit since May of 2018 and have loved it. I have worked out for many years, but it wasn’t until last year (2018) that I decided to try Crossfit. I have been having fun with it ever since!

I got my Crossfit Level 1 within a few months of starting Crossfit, because I knew that I wanted to coach someday.

It is refreshing to watch people at the gym crush their goals and push themselves to be better at life. I look forward to seeing more of that as Crossfit Ampersand grows and flourishes.

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. 

2019 CrossFit Open and Ampersand's 2nd Annual Intramural!

The Open is coming… AND WE ARE EXCITED!

First things first, if you don’t know about the CrossFit Open, please read HERE.

This year we are excited to make participating in the Open even more fun! 

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Don’t let it intimidate you. It doesn’t matter where you place and YOU DEFINITELY WILL NOT BE LAST! There are countless thousands of people every year who don’t finish all 5 workouts and we want to help you avoid that. Also, there is a SCALED division so don’t worry if you are unsure about your ability level. All are welcome and highly encouraged to participate.

HOW IT WORKS

We typically do the Open every year, with a Friday Night Lights WOD. But this year will be different. We will follow along and do all the same workouts on the exact same timeline BUT we choose two captains to run teams in our gym. This years Captains will be chosen by us!

These captains are huge parts of our Ampersand community, they work hard, have great attitudes and are sure to help us keep it FUN! Because, that is our aim. Fun. No crazy cutthroat attitudes. No nasty trash talking (well maybe a little.. ;). Just throwing down on some good ol’ fashioned CrossFit style workouts with the rest of Ampersand while we all compete against each other in an internal, CrossFit Ampersand-only competition.

POINTS

Don’t worry, you won’t “drag a team down”. Everyone can contribute points. All you have to do is show up AND there will be surprise opportunities to gain points for your team that don’t require you to do any working out! Here’s the scoring system:

+1 Point – Attendance: every member of a team that completes an Open workout at CrossFit Ampersand AND records their score in SugarWOD each week earns one point. Maximum one point per athlete per workout. This goes for Rx, Scaled and Modified competitors!

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+1 Point – Top 3: every male AND female member who places among the Top 3 at CrossFit Ampersand for each workout (Rx & Scaled as written only - not modified) gets an extra point for their team.

Spirit of the Open: Earn points for participating in themes, volunteering to judge others, helping keep things organized, etc, etc, etc.

REGISTRATION

THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO DO TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INTRAMURAL OPEN IS TO REGISTER FOR THE CROSSFIT GAMES OPEN! DON’T WORRY IF YOU ARE NEW OR UNSURE ABOUT YOUR ABILITY LEVEL. THERE IS A SCALED DIVISION!

Registration for the Open can be done at games.crossfit.com starting January 11th, 2019 and please make sure to choose CrossFit Ampersand as your Affiliate.

DRAFT

We will be doing a live video on February 2nd to have our Draft. All athletes who are registered for the CrossFit Games Open before that date will be automatically put into the Draft pool and will be randomly selected onto a team. We will release all the details of the Draft ASAP so you can find out what team you are on. After the Draft, the Captains have freedom to recruit the remainder of the gym and they’ll be asking YOU!

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Coaches will be split up and placed onto different Intramural teams to keep it fair and even. Captains choose athlete names in random order out of a hat. Team Captains will rotate draws, and then notify the athletes of their team that they have been drafted!

THATS WHERE YOU COME IN! If you are not signed up for The Open by the time of the Draft then you’ll be courted by one of our Team Captains to join their team – probably more than one. Pick the funnest team!

Our Open workouts will take place at every group class time on Friday, building to Friday Night Lights which will begin at 4:30 p.m. There will be a heat sign-up on a whiteboard which will be available first come first serve. Please show up as early as possible to sign up for a heat, help judge, take pictures and cheer everyone on! Bring friends or family to spectate and contribute to the cheering crowd!

FIVE WEEKS - FEB. 22-MARCH 22

Friday, February 22 @ 4:30 p.m.  – 19.1

Friday, March 1 @ 4:30 p.m. – 19.2

Friday, March 8 @ 4:30 p.m. – 19.3

Friday, March 15 @ 4:30 p.m. – 19.4

Friday, March 22 @ 4:30 p.m.  – 19.5

👇🏼Peep the sweet slideshow 👇🏼

Athletes will be allowed to make up workouts or re-test Saturdays at 10am, or by arranging an appointment with a Coach. If you plan to makeup on Saturday, please let us know ahead of time and find another member of the gym to judge for you ahead of time!

OUR FOCUS IS ON FUN. WE WANT PARTICIPATION BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOU FITTER, AND IT WILL GET YOU HIGH-FIVES AND YOU’LL BE HAPPY AND LOVE LIFE MORE AND GLOW AND STUFF.

New Year New You – One Small Step at a Time

2019 Is a FRESH CHAPTER!

The possibilities are endless for what you can achieve and what can happen with the start of a new year. As a coach, it’s hard for us to not jump in with all of the resolution talk going around. So often we hear people saying they want to eat healthier or get more exercise. Those are great goals, but without specifics for what they want to achieve, it will lead to disappointment and quitting by the middle or end of January. 

Only about 9% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.  Those 9% of people drill in to their goals and celebrate the baby steps that got them there.

Instead of a New Years resolution, why not make a January resolution? Something smaller and more manageable that will give you the satisfaction of accomplishment. Maybe this will be the month when you check-in to the gym 3x each week instead of 1 or 2. Maybe this will be the month that you commit to the nutrition challenge and learn about healthy eating for 28 days that will help you learn your body and to support healthy eating choices for the rest of the year.  

For some of you, even committing to something a month long sounds daunting or impossible. What if you tried for one day? Or one week? Try increasing your water intake by substituting water or tea instead of soda or other sugary or fake sugary drinks like Diet Coke and Sugar free Redbull.  This is a great small first-step where you will see changes in your body in a short time. 

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Follow this formula when choosing your goal:

All goals should be SMART!

Goal: I will check in to the gym for the 5:30pm class 3 times each week for the month of January.

Specific -  I will check in to CFA 3x each week in January

Measurable – I should have 15 check-ins during the 5 weeks in January

Attainable – I can come Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the 5:30pm class

Realistic – I am already going to the gym 2x each week, so I’m only adding 1 more day each week. 

Time-sensitive – Month of January


 Here are five ways to keep any goal you set:

1.     Share it with those around you who will be supportive. Simply saying it aloud or posting it online gives you accountability.

2.     Leave yourself words of encouragement regarding this goal in places you will see it often. If your goal is around healthy food choices, try a post-it note on your fridge.  This step solves two problems, it encourages you through your day and it helps you stay focused on your goal.

3.     Only set one small goal around one behavior at a time. Don’t start eating healthy, spending more quality time with your family, sleeping nine hours each night, removing toxins from your home, and going back to school all at the same time. Instead bite off only what is manageable. You can always slowly add more goals as your behaviors transform!

4.     Don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up. Only a very small percentage of the human population can accomplish a goal the first time they try. For the rest of us it takes a couple slip-ups before we propel forward and achieve our goals.

5.     Ask for help. It is brave and admirable to make changes in your health routines. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The coaches at CrossFit Ampersand are here for you as well as people in your classes. You can also take coaching and accountability up another step by talking to our Health Coach Elizabeth, to really drill into your intrinsic motivations, character strengths and help you achieve even more than you could do alone.

Book a Goal Setting Session with one of OUR Coaches and let us help you set your SMART Goals!

But.

But.

But but but…

Doesn’t the word ‘but’ just bring up a level of anxiety in you even without even knowing what it’s referring to? Such a tiny insignificant word can keep us from becoming who we deserve to be.

Life Transitions can cause us to stop forward progress, we refrain from doing anything new or even worse send us further down the black hole. It can make us not do what needs to be done to better ourselves because of the anxiety and inner turmoil that is created by the word but.

Click here for some motivation from real people just like you! They can do it so can you!

Click here for some motivation from real people just like you! They can do it so can you!

But I’m not in shape enough to start working out. But I can’t figure out my nutrition.

But I’ve never been successful before.

But I work. But I have kids. But we are moving. But I am injured. But I just got pregnant.  But I just had a baby.

But but but...  

As fitness professional we have encountered at least one of those buts, if not all. We have suffered through those buts, it has been scary, it was hard and there were lots of tears. Eventually we conquered those buts and have moved forward. We know that life is hard, that it has seasons, it gets in the way. If you want to live your life in spite of those buts we will help you navigate your buts.

Let’s make those buts mean something new, maybe with a healthy new butt to carry you through the year!


Let 2019 be the year of new but(t)s by signing up for our Nutrition Challenge!



Mindfulness: Why is it Important to Your Overall Health?

Mindfulness mind·ful·ness    /ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/    noun    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.    "their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"    A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique

Mindfulness mind·ful·ness

/ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/

noun

the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

"their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"

A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique

What Is Mindfulness?

Taking into consideration the definition; how can mindfulness be applied to our daily lives; or even better, how can it change our daily thought process? As a coach I hear it all the time, “I can't do that.” or “it’s too hard.” Being mindful and in tune with our thoughts and our physical abilities will help us push through barriers and challenges. Instead, I urge people to ask themselves, “Do I trust my coach? And do I trust myself?” If the answer is yes, then we will proceed with the task that was asked.

Surrendering ourselves to the unknown in this way can be scary. Allowing ourselves to not question the ‘what if’, to not be stalled by fear and to fully open ourselves to the new possibilities that are offered will exponentially improve our outlook and allow us so many opportunities that might have otherwise been missed. By trusting our own body, by listening to what it is telling you will take you too many new places.

How Does Mindfulness Fit into Health and Fitness?

Being mindful asks us to look internally, to be aware of how my body is feeling. How is it reacting to something new? As coaches we ask our clients all the time “how does that feel?” We aren't looking for a generic answer. No, we want to really know how that felt. Was it challenging, but doable? Did it cause a twinge of pain in that old injury? Did performing that movement for the first time successfully, instantly bring you joy? We want to know the real answer to help our clients start becoming in tune with their own body.

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How Does it Affect the Long Term?

Working towards our goals mindfully isn’t going to make it happen over night, but it will help us get there quicker and more successfully. Being mindful, knowing when it's time to take a break and let your body heal from will allow your body to progress forward steadily and safely without pushing through an injury or on a day that a workout just isn't going to happen.

Yes, goals vary, many have the goal to lose weight, to be healthier long term, to run a marathon, to play with the grandkids, but what all these different goals have in common, is the conscious decision to be mindfully present with their bodies and needs and choose what is necessary to make the changes to meet these goals. When asked what was it that triggered the change, it was always a mental change. Mentally they wanted it. Mentally they needed it. They chose to be mindful with themselves, allow the change mentally and what is being asked of their bodies and of their psyche to ensure long term success.

If you are ready to set some goals of your own, book a goal setting session with a coach!

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! 

Welcoming Bree to the team!

We are excited to announce that Bree is joining the Ampersand team soon! If you haven't had a chance to meet her in class, she has taken the time to tell us a little about herself today! She brings experience and passion to helping people reach their potential and will be a great addition to the coaching team. For a brief time she will be interning with the coaches and getting the lay of the land! So, feel free to reach out to her and welcome her to the fam!

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Hello all, my name is Bree! I am getting ready to intern and coach with you all so I just wanted to introduce myself for those who have not yet met me! I just recently moved back to Nevada with my fiance, Ian and our baby girl, Elowyn, from Saint Louis Missouri. I grew up in Minden so I am very excited to be back in the area, especially with the new edition to our family.  Saint Louis was a fun adventure where Ian and I were able to explore a part of the country we might not have otherwise seen. Ian was a professional motocross rider so we spent a lot of time going to races all over the country.

Once race season settled down I began looking for a job and started trying to meet people.  Making friends when you’re older is a bit harder than I expected. Luckily one of my best friends who is presently living in Oklahoma came to visit us in Saint Louis and forced me to go to a CrossFit gym with her.  I love being outdoors, hiking, camping, cycling and I grew up playing competitive soccer so I always thought I was in pretty good shape until I took a CrossFit class! My friend kept checking in with me until she convinced me to get a membership.  Finally I gave in and got one. I was pleasantly surprised by the close knit community that CrossFit provided and I quickly settled in at the box, and made some wonderful friends who I am still in constant contact with!

I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and always saw myself working as a social worker or going back to school to become a registered nurse.  When I moved to Saint Louis I was unable to get a job which was very discouraging; I couldn’t see myself doing anything but working in the mental health field. The more time I spent at CrossFit the more I realized that the coaches were literally changing the members life’s, much like what I wanted to do with my career. I knew that I could fulfill my life’s calling by helping people reach their fitness goals just as much as I could sitting in an office counseling them.  Sometimes the only medicine you need is a good workout!

The box I was attending coincidentally was looking to hire a new coach and was hosting a Level 1 certification course the following month.  I took the plunge and got my certification and started working with them. Having a job where you are helping change people's lives, is the most amazing feeling. God works in mysterious ways, moving Ian and I to Saint Louis and not allowing me to find a job right away was the greatest blessing.  

Once I got my level 1 certification I wanted to train as personal trainer and coach CrossFit so I could be as well rounded as possible and learn the stark differences of the two.  While I loved working with my clients at Club fitness, I did not enjoy working in a large global style gym. I started working exclusively at CrossFit, coaching classes and I quickly began building a personal training client base at the box.  Working with my clients and the members, watching them meet their goals and become not only more fit but more confident in themselves was so rewarding. One of the proudest moments of my coaching career thus far, was when one of my diabetic clients came back to me after a checkup telling me not only had he lost 40 pounds but his A1C score had dropped considerably and his doctor was changing his diabetic medication.  I was so proud of him and in that moment I knew for sure I was doing what I was called to do!

I got pregnant in April of last year, being a coach and an athlete, and pregnant was very interesting and fun.  I had to learn how to modify workouts for myself which required a lot of research which stemmed a passion in pre and postnatal fitness. A goal for my future is to become certified in a program specifically for pregnant and postpartum athletes and create my own program to bring to our community here in Minden. Even as a CrossFit coach I was sometimes intimidated by working out. I hear from a lot of women that they would like to continue working out during and after their pregnancies but just don’t know what to do. I would like to help guide these women and teach them correct form and have a safe space for them to be comfortable working out in!

I look forward to meeting all the athletes of CF& and becoming part of the team!

-Bree

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. 


Want to be our next success story? Book a No Sweat Intro today!

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

7 Ways Powering Down Can Benefit You

How many of us are constantly bombarded with dings, rings, and notifications? How many of us, before we go to the bathroom, HAVE to find our phone? How many of us have looked at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at least 5 times already today? I am guilty some of the above…

In today’s world of constant contact and immediate information through our phones, we have lost something. I find that social media doesn’t only distract us from reality, but it warps our perceptions of it and misrepresents it.

So why am I bringing this up?

When we spend so much time on our phones, we start to shape our expectation of reality based on what people project online. Just scroll through your list and look at the people you follow and ask yourself, why do you follow them? I am willing to bet that they constantly are projecting the BEST versions of themselves. Think of the last time someone posted a picture on Instagram that wasn’t in the best light or in the best humble brag they could muster. The humble brag is my biggest pet peeve… You know, the one person that is like, “Ugh, my purple Lamborghini gets terrible gas mileage.” Tell you a negative to still show you, HEY I have a purple Lamborghini. Or what about when someone posts a selfie that says... “Making the best of what I got…” and they receive multiple responses saying how strong, dedicated, and beautiful they are. They only posted that selfie to have others tell them they are worthwhile. Social media has become an outlet for self-gratification, as well as a false image of what life really is. But real life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It has challenges and hard days mixed in with the good and amazing moments.

Did you know that according to Pew Research Center:

  • 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device. (source)
  • 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. (source)
  • Studies indicate some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes. (source)
  • 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television. (source)
  • Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls. (source)
  • Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days (144 hours, 54 minutes’) worth of time per month. (source)
  • Some researchers have begun labeling “cell phone checking” as the new yawn because of its contagious nature. (source)

Yikes!

So how can powering down help us and why should we be more PRESENT?

These points borrowed from: “http://www.becomingminimalist.com/unplug-please/

1. Powering-down helps remove unhealthy feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness. Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives. Certainly, not every interaction with Facebook is a negative one. But typically, our own experience validates their research. From family happiness to body image to vacation destinations to the silly number of birthday greetings on a Facebook wall, the opportunity for envy presents itself often on social media. Powering-down for a period of time provides opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude for the lives we have been given.

2. Powering-down combats the fear of missing out. Scientifically speaking, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has been recognized as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the advance of technology. The premise is simple. Our social media streams are ever-filled with everything happening all around us. Nowadays, we even see the plates of food our friends are enjoying. And within this constant stream of notification, our fear of being left out continues to grow. Turning off social media and finding contentment in our present space is a welcome skill.

This lady knows how to enjoy the moment and be present!

This lady knows how to enjoy the moment and be present!

3. Solitude is harder to find in an always-connected world. Solitude grounds us to the world around us. It provides the stillness and quiet required to evaluate our lives and reflect on the message in our hearts. In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.

4. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. Our world may be changing. But the true nature of life is not. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic. And the love is real. But if we are too busy staring down at our screen, we’re gonna miss all of it.

5. Powering-down promotes creation over consumption. Essentially, most of our time is spent in one of two categories: consuming or creating. Certainly, technology can contribute to creating. For example, this article was written (created) on a computer. But most of the time we spend in front of technology is spent consuming (playing video games, browsing the Internet, watching movies, listening to music). But our world doesn’t need more consuming. It needs more creating. It needs your passion, your solution, and your unique contribution. Power-down. And begin contributing to a better world because of it.

6. Addiction can only be understood when the object is taken away. Through a recent technological fast, I learned something about myself. I learned I am far more addicted to technology than I would have guessed. But that is the nature of addiction, isn’t it? We can never fully realize our level of addiction until the item is taken away. And the only way to truly discover technology’s controlling influence on your life is to turn it off, walk away, and sense how strong the pull is to turn it back on.

7. Life is still about flesh, blood, and eye contact. There are valuable resources online to help us grow and evolve. I have been enriched by the connections I have made and the friends I have met. But no matter how much I interact with others through the miracle of technology, there is something entirely unique and fantastic about meeting face-to-face. The experience of looking another person in the eye without the filter of a screen changes everything. Each time, I am reminded that life’s most fulfilling relationships are the ones in the world right in front of me. And spending too much time looking away from them does a great disadvantage to my soul and theirs.

So here is my challenge to you all, Ampersand members and non-Ampersand members… Power Down! I was listening to a podcast recently where Ben Bergeron, coach of the fittest man and woman on earth said, that to become better people we deserve to know our focal point, or our ‘true north.’ Sit down and think of what your personal mission in life is and what your personal why is. He says that only then do we have real perspective on who we are as people and only then can we see what true motivation looks like. The best way to accomplish this is by powering down all the digital external influences and distractions in our life so that we can truly connect with ourselves.

Here are some ways to power down:

  1. Spend time in silence, without your phone.
  2. Turn off the radio on the ride to work.
  3. Take a break from social media for 30 days.
  4. Limit your phone time to an hour a day.
  5. Take a friend to coffee and talk face to face, call instead of text
  6. Try the app called BreakFree that tracks your usage on your phone to see how much time you really are spending delving into other people’s lives and notifies you when you’ve been on too long.

Delve into your own life! You are worth it! Love you all!

 Coach Jeff

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!

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!!

Want to see what you can accomplish? CLICK BELOW TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN help you!

Allison Ashton

I started CrossFit in May, 2016. At the beginning of my journey I weighed over 220 pounds. I couldn't run 200 meters, I couldn't do push-ups, in fact I couldn't successfully do 95% of the workouts, and in all honesty I hated it. I hated the cardio, I hated that I had become so overweight, I hated that I HAD to be there, but most of all I hated knowing that the only results I would ever see had to come at the cost of sweat and tears. 

     Prior to starting CrossFit, I was losing mobility, not only because of my weight, but also due to my lack of living an active life style for so long. Family outings, hiking, walks to the park, anything requiring me to be active was always out the question, I had an excuse for everything... that was up until my weight, diet and crappy lifestyle had finally caught up to me. I was constantly feeling "sick", extremely fatigued, experiencing painful numbness in my hands and feet, fighting migraines daily, and was suffering from severe insomnia and depression. I had convinced myself that I was chronically ill and there was no way I could feel that horrible and not have a diagnosis to go along with it.

As anyone would do, I went to my doctor and discussed the problems I was having, he was clearly concerned. He requested I see some specialist and ordered a full blood panel.  Those appointments and blood tests revealed one thing... I was not dying, I was obese. My health was deteriorating because of my lifestyle. It was not because I was sick, or had carried and birthed five children, nor did I lack the time and finances for a gym membership. This was because I was lazy and unmotivated. Point blank. Right there every excuse I had become bullshit. This was my rock bottom. It was now or never.


That's why I joined CrossFit Ampersand. When signing up I was very intimidated, but I had no excuses left, I HAD to put in the work, I HAD to succeed. My first few weeks were nearly unbearable, I knew that I was strong, but I was slow and uncoordinated due to my size, and the intensity made me sick to my stomach, but I was trying! For the first time in years I was starting to come out of my shell. 

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     My love for CrossFit didn't come for another month or two. The game changer for me was finding the mental strength to push through the WOD's, finding different strategies to make my body move and withstand the intensity more efficiently. Things got 100 times easier from that point on, I began attending classes 5 days a week, I changed my diet and began shedding pounds and toning my body. The movements were becoming easier and I was lifting heavier weights. I rapidly became physically, mentally stronger than I had ever been in my life.

Today, nine months after starting CrossFit, I have lost over 50 pounds, 48 inches overall and a lot of mental baggage that came along with my weight gain.

 I no longer suffer from depression, I'm no longer pre-diabetic, and I certainly don't make excuses for myself anymore.

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