January Athlete of the Month

My name is Greg Owens.  I am 53 years old.

I am originally from West Monroe, LA, but moved to Cincy from Houston in 1996 to continue training.

I am a Female Pelvic Surgeon.

My favorite movie is "The Lives of Others".  This film won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.

My favorite music is Country

My favorite book is " With the Old Breed:  At Peleliu and Okinawa" by E. B.  Sledge.

My favorite food is for comfort is black eyed peas and cornbread

My Favorite quote is by C.S. Lewis:  "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims maybe the most oppressive.  It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busy bodies.  The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Fitness background was intramural sports in college and Med school.

I am training to strengthen my core to protect against  further injury.  I had back surgery in 2013 then re injured in 2015.

I started around 2011 at the BEAT with my wife as a way to try to stay somewhat in shape.

I have changed both physically and mentally since working out at Cross Fit Cornerstone. I'm in better shape with a stronger core and fewer back issues.  Mentally I am more relaxed as I improve physically and as my kids Winston and Maddie progress in  Cross Fit.

My least favorite movement is Burpees and my favorite movement is overhead squat.

Oddly enough I actually enjoyed "The 12 days of Christmas"

The change in my life from being a part of Cross Fit Cornerstone that was unexpected is I am more relaxed overall.

My goals for next year is to perfect the snatch and try to beat my daughter and wife at Cross Fit.

My favorite moment was telling Seneca he needed to do something about the birds in the gym that were chirping while I was doing single arm ring rows.   After my continued complaints, Seneca investigated and pointed out  the rack the ring was tethered to lacked a cross member and squeaked where it was attached to the floor.

My advice for those just starting is to take it slow but be persistent and consistent and you will succeed.

Little known fact is that I went to high school and hunted with John Godwin of Duck Dynasty.

October Athlete of the Month

Name: John Greci

How old are you?

67, but I don’t think of myself as being that old.  I guess it is more a state of mind but I do find my mind playing tricks on me especially at the end of a WOD!

Where are you from? 

I was born in Rome, NY but by the age of thirteen I had moved across the country two times.  From Rome we moved to Bremerton, Washington, then to Chula Vista, CA up the coast the Long Beach, CA then across country to Newport, R.I.  From there to Falls Church, VA and then back to Long Beach, CA where I spent the next 40 years.  So I guess that I would call California my home particularly sense I have two daughters, and three grandchildren that reside there.

Occupation?

Material Supply Analyst

Favorite movie: 

Shawshank Redemption


Favorite music or artist: 

I listen mostly to Christian music but I get a kick out of the music that played at Crossfit while working out.  Particularly the music from the Sixties and Seventies when I was growing up.  I don’t recall “working out” to those songs back then but they seem to work for the WODs.  I am surprised, however, that I have yet to hear Street Fighting Man by the Stones being played, it seems like that would be a good workout song.


Favorite or current book: 

I have been a reader all of my life but find that I don’t read as much as I use to, or at least not from books.  Ever since Karla got me a Kindle, its been a mixture of videos and reading but I do find that reading a book before bed makes it easier to fall asleep.  That being said my favorite reading is a series of novels by Patrick O’Brian’s  Aubrey/Maturin Novel Series and/or John Grisham

Favorite food: 

Anything Karla cooks but in particular her Tacos.  I have always been a big fan of bread, toast in the morning, a sandwich at lunch (love JimmyJohn’s – the Vito with Hot Peppers) and a nice piece of sourdough with dinner but since joining Crossfit we have been on a mission to lose weight and bread was one of the first things to go.  But I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would, our biggest concession is for Karla to make her own croutons that go on our salad.  Early on in our Crossfit journey we purposed to eat Paleo and as a result I have lost 20 pounds in the past year.  I was a little concerned of the possible side effect of wanting to hit my spouse over the head with a club and drag her to my mancave but thankfully that has never manifested itself.  

Favorite quote: 

“Judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.” Will Rogers

What is your fitness background? 

Intermittent through the years.  I played baseball as a youth and through the years have joined gyms to workout but my most consistent activity for the past 55 years has been golf.  In the past couple of years, Karla has taken up the game and our goal is to play and enjoy it for as long as we can.  Before we joined Crossfit we had been working out at an Anytime Fitness up until I had a short stint in the hospital for dehydration.  I found going to the gym to be less rewarding because you were typically on your own.  Usually I would put together my own workouts that consisted of ten exercises that I would do for a minute each with 3 rounds.  That kept me moving and insured that I got the most that I could in a 30 minute workout, but it was always frustrating when you went to the next exercise on the list and someone else was using that machine.

Sport or activity you are training for, if any: 

Golf and keeping up with the grandchildren.  Whenever we visit the grandkids I always get them involved in Crossfit exercises.  We practice jumping rope (I never learned this when I was a kid) and doing WODs.  I recently started doing the Romwods before my regular Wod and when I challenge the grandkids with certain stretches I am amazed at their flexibility.

How long have you been doing CrossFit? How did you end up at Cornerstone? 

Liz Greci

Liz Greci

Karla and I just celebrated are one year anniversary with Crossfit at Cornerstone.  We credit our daughter, Elizabeth with getting us involved as she has been doing it for the past few years.  One of my favorite pictures is of her doing a one-armed handstand (see attached); she is a real beast.  Whenever we get out to California we always try to work out with her at her box in Huntington Beach (watching the waves crash on the shore as we are working out, NOT).  It’s in a strip mall like most of the Crossfit gyms so it doesn’t look much different than our home box.



How have you seen yourself change (mentally, physically,etc) since being a part of CFC? 

Increased stamina, weight loss and greater strength.  I am not as intimidated by most of the workouts as I was at first but I do find myself realizing that when I look at the WOD I somethings think that “I got this”, only to find that it got me.  But I don’t let the WOD keep me away, I try to be consistent with 3 workouts each week, Mon-Wed-Friday, I am a regular at the 4:30 WOD on those days.  I know that even if the WOD appears difficult, my coach will get me through it with instruction and scaling.  As I mentioned before, one of my goals is to lose more weight and to that end, Karla spent a session with Jen on developing a new eating program for us to attain our goals.  I am happy that my clothes fit better and that I feel better but I am disappointed that I haven’t seen an appreciable increase in my driving distance (golf).  I do have a goal of getting to 150 lbs (Karla thinks that that is too thin) but I don’t like to think of weight as just a number.  I like to think of myself right now as “165 pounds of quivering passion.”

What is your least favorite Movement? 

Snatch and/or Overhead Squat – I still don’t have the mobility in my shoulders to get into a good position and control the weight but I am working at it. 

What is your most favorite Movement? 

Strict Pull-up (I couldn’t do one a year ago.)  I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when we had pull ups as part of the Wod. In the past I had to settle for jumping pull ups but this time I did a strict pull up.  In fact, we had a Metcon where we did 6 rounds that included 6 pull ups and I pulled it off.  Of course, I brag about doing the strict pull up because I don’t have the coordination yet to do a kipping pull-up but one of these days……

Is there any particular workout that you can remember is your favorite? 

The Open Workout 16.5 – 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of: Thrusters, Burpees.  I chose this one because of all the open workouts this year it was the one that I was able to finish since it was for time and it didn’t have a cap on it.

 

What changes in your life have you experienced from Cornerstone that were totally unexpected? 

That working out can be fun. But this has more to do with the Crossfit philosophy then just the exercises themselves.  I appreciate the encouragement and friendship of the Cornerstone family.  Karla and I really feel at home and I enjoy interacting with my fellow WODers, they are all so encouraging.  I am also happy that this is something that Karla and I can do together; it has the added value of providing entertainment for everyone as we interact with each other.

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? 

Learn how to do Double Unders (I couldn’t even jump rope before so I am happy that now I can do Single Unders but I am still frustrated with the double) and Strict Handstand Pushups or Kipping HSPU.

 

Please share with us any favorite Cornerstone moments. 

Participating in the Open Workouts; everyone was encouraging and supportive.  I have never been made to feel lesser because of the level that I am able to compete at.  It was also great to cheer on my fellow crossfitters; I had the pleasure of scoring for Alex in one of the workouts; he mentioned beforehand that he couldn’t do a bar muscle up and then went out and rocked the place with 15, I think. It was amazing to watch and be a part of.

 

Any advice for people just getting started? 

Fitness is a marathon not a sprint; so don’t get discouraged or try to do too much too fast.  Listen to your coaches and rely on them when you are having a difficult time with a movement.  It might be that you’re just not ready but they can scale it in such a way that before long you have increased your proficiency. I also watch and talk to the other Crossfitters who work out when I am there; they can offer get advice and encouragement. 

What is something that others may not know about me? 

Well, thanks to Seneca, everyone probably knows that Karla and I were once on a game show (we won $4800) – Play the Percentages – it was on in the 80’s for a couple of years, you can google us on You Tube (play the percentages, Greci).  It is kind of funny seeing us then and now.

July Athlete of the Month

Name: Frank Alexander

How old are you? 33

Where are you from? Batavia, OH

Occupation? System Configuration Analyst for American Modern Insurance Group. I also have a side business doing computer repair and building custom computers

Favorite movie: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Favorite music or artist: Nine Inch Nails or Nirvana depending on the day

Favorite or current book: Scar Night by Alan Campbell is my favorite book, but it is the first book in a trilogy, called the Deepgate Codex, and the overall story of the series is the best I’ve ever read.

Favorite food: Sesame Chicken from Johnny Chan’s

Favorite quote:  “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer on the creation of the atomic bomb.

What is your fitness background? Before starting CrossFit, I hadn’t really worked out since high school.  My wife and I did take up cycling in 2013, and regularly do 15 to 30 mile rides, but that is the only real exorcise I did before CrossFit.

Sport or activity you are training for, if any: Really just to be a healthy father.  My wife and I are currently working toward adopting our first child and when we made the decision to finally start our family, I realized that I couldn’t be the father I wanted to be as unhealthy as I was.  I want to be able to play with my child the way my dad did with me, and at 400lbs, I couldn’t do that.  My goal, by the time we are parents, I want to be healthy enough to be an involved father.  I want to be able to play with my kids, teach them how to throw a ball, play basketball, etc.  All the things I remember my dad doing.

 Also, I’d really like to be able to shop for clothes not in the big and tall sections of stores, the selections there just suck!

How long have you been doing CrossFit? How did you end up at Cornerstone? I started doing CrossFit when I joined Cornerstone in August 2015.  My wife found CFC online and suggested CrossFit as a workout that I might actually enjoy.  The box is only about 5 minutes from our house, so I thought I would give it a try and I’m so glad I did!

How have you seen yourself change (mentally, physically, etc.) since being a part of CFC?
Mentally, I’ve found that I’m able to push myself harder and further than I ever thought I could.  This has helped in my cycling because I know realize that my limits are so much further than I thought.  Physically, I’ve lost 35lbs since I started CrossFit.  This should be so much more, but like an idiot, I didn’t change my diet until about 3 months ago, so I really didn’t start losing weight until then.  Now that I’ve got my diet under control, I’m starting to see major changes in the size of my stomach and the definitions of my muscles, especially in my legs.

 What is your least favorite CrossFit move? What is your most favorite CrossFit move? 
My least favorite is running.  As big as I am, it kills my knees to run for any distance.  Most favorite is either back squats or deadlifts.  In the last year I’ve found that there are very few things I enjoy more (CrossFit or not) than lifting a lot of weight.  There is something incredibly exciting about being able to lift more weight than I ever thought I’d be able to.

 Is there any particular WOD that you can remember is your favorite? This is the first year I have paid any attention to the CrossFit Open, and each week I would look at the workouts, watch videos of people doing them, and wish I could join in, but most of the workouts were far too advanced for where I was/am in my development. But when I saw 16.5 posted, I got excited, thrusters and burpees are something I can do!  That week, when I came in for class I asked Brandon if instead of the slated workout, could I do 16.5, and after questioning my sanity, he agreed, and Lyndsey was kind enough to score me (and her encouragement kept me moving).  I’ll never forget that feeling, it took me a bit over 45 minutes to complete, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted, but completing that workout is one of the best memories I have, period.  The support from the people who were in the box that night, and the feeling of accomplishing something that just months before I would have thought was impossible, that feeling was AMAZING!

What are some of your goals that you have for yourself in the next year? I have a few goals for CrossFit, I want to take my back squat over 300lbs, I want to learn to do double unders, and just get better all around.  Physically, in the next year I hope to see a dramatic change in my weight.  I’ve already dropped from 415 pounds to 380 in just the last 3 months, so I hope to keep that momentum going.  I don’t have a goal weight in mind, I just want to keep getting stronger and more fit, and I’m focused on continuing to see the number on the scale drop.  When it gets to where it starts with a “2” I’ll decide on a goal weight.

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t be embarrassed.  That was, and sometimes continues to be, my biggest mental obstacle.  One of the things I love most about CFC is everyone’s acceptance and encouragement.  I am very fat (there is no polite way to say it), and before joining CFC, I was embarrassed to go to the gym, I always thought people would look at me weird or make fun of me, but CFC has broken that fear for me.  Everyone has been so awesome, so supportive, and so accepting, even though I’m not (by a long shot) what you’re average gym-goer looks like.  So don’t let embarrassment or fear of what others will think of you hold you back.  We (overweight individuals) think that because we are not what the typical gym-goer looks like, people are going to look at us like we don’t belong, but I’ve seen nothing but the opposite of that at CFC.  Don’t be afraid; don’t be embarrassed, the people at CFC are awesome, and they want nothing more than to see you succeed.

What is something that others may not know about me?  I’m a huge Disney World geek!  I’ve been to Disney 15 times, my wife and I try to go every other year, and I have a YouTube playlist of the music from all the different parks there that I listen to regularly.  It is the only place I ever want to go when we plan vacations, and nothing makes me happier than the first time I see the castle when I walk into the Magic Kingdom.  I cannot wait to have a child and get to experience Disney World with them, that’s one of the parts of parenthood I am looking forward to most.