How long have you been at CF100?That’s a good question. I don’t know? Two years? It’s been awhile.What were you doing before this?Before this I was running and playing basketball, but mostly running. Running and running.My whole journey is that I played soccer, 8-10 years ago. I ruptured my Achilles. It was a full rupture and I had it surgically repaired. Part of my rehab was running and before that I hated running. I couldn’t stand it. So as part of my rehab — six to eight months — running stuck with me. I started to run more, sign up for some races. I started to really enjoy it. Made a full recovery, and then two months into playing more soccer I fractured my arm and I thought, “What am I doing?”Soccer was pretty much all I did. I got to a point where had enough playing soccer and I didn’t want to get injured because I was training for races and the last thing you want to do is turn an ankle and then miss a race.So then for 5-7 years all I did was run. And then I came here.Has the strength training helped or hindered you in your running?I think it’s made me slower. I have more upper body weight. Endurance wise, I have more endurance. I don’t run to run fast, I do it because it’s kind of my church. Tune out, stay in the moment. That’s what I try to do here too, I just try to find the zone, get into it, and keep going for the hour.What’s your favorite kind of CrossFit workout?I just love the variety. I love that it’s different every day. There are things that are more challenging than others but, honestly, I like it all.What do you do for work?I work for Landmark Credit Union. I run their Project Management Office. It’s a growing company. My former boss pulled me over. It’s a lot of IT work, big project delivery. I’m ready to move and ready to rock when I get here.Tell me a little about your kids:My oldest, Finn (15), plays volleyball and my youngest, Rowan (11), plays soccer.Tell me about the cabin that you and your partner, Terri, own:It’s in western Wisconsin, outside of Viroqua, which is the driftless region. So it’s just a beautiful, hilly area with a lot of reserves. We do a lot of hiking, running. There are a lot of organic farms, Amish people. So we try to take it all in. It’s a very simple lifestyle but it’s all grounded. The cabin is really simple. Not a lot to take care of, just nice to get away.A friend suggested we visit the area and we just fell in love with it. We found land and figured out a way to do it. We feel pretty fortunate.You are pretty well known for your jokes in the 6PM class. Why are you so good at Dad Jokes?See that’s the thing, they weren’t always called “dad jokes,” they were just called really good jokes!Hmm, okay. Have you always been quick with jokes?Yeah, I think it’s a family thing. My dad, my brother, we’re all kind of goofy. I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse. One of the first books I bought Finn was a joke book. That’s one of the first books I learned how to read. That’s how I’m trying to pass on the craft.What keeps you coming back to CF100?It’s great here. I love the diversity. I love that there are lifters, swimmers, gymnasts, tennis players, runners. People that maybe haven’t done much before. There is every corner to get inspiration from.That’s what I love about CrossFit. It’s hard to be good at everything but there’s something in it for everybody. It’s cool to see people build and grow. That’s actually really important to me, especially as we get a little older. Feeling like you’re doing something you can improve on. If I was just playing soccer my whole life, it would be a steady decline. Same with running, but to change it up every 5-10 years, to have a new challenge, something new to learn and build on. That’s CrossFit.It’s not competitive for me, I don’t want to compete with people. I’m competitive, but it’s a different kind of competitive — in your head. And that’s where I like to keep CrossFit. It’s very mental and doing well is doing well on form and better than you did last month, it’s not doing better than the person next to you. They’re pushing you and inspiring you but I’m not doing it to one up somebody.I do it because it’s fun. It’s that simple.
How long have you been at CF100?
Two and a half years
What were you doing for fitness before this?
I’d started a new job in July and came to the gym in February. I’d been commuting to Madison for work for 7-8 years before that so I had zero fitness because I was also in graduate school. Zero time.
What brought you to the gym?
I was doing stuff on my own, but (fellow CF100 member and friend) Despina and I had seen an ad and joined together.
When you first started, was there a moment or feeling you had about CrossFit?
I think it took a couple months. At first it was really hard and I sometimes tell people on their first day that I remember thinking the warmups were the workouts! I remember one time you said, “And for the workout …” and I thought, “What the #%#@ did we just do?!” So, it did take awhile and I remember thinking that I didn’t want to go. But I knew I’d never get better if I didn’t keep going.
Then, right around six months, we did the Lurong Challenge, and that was transformative for me. I was loving it. I’d started to lose some weight, my body was changing, but when I started really paying attention to my nutrition and telling myself I would not cheat during the six weeks of the challenge, I lost ten pounds. It didn’t happen at first but toward the end and it really clicked. I saw differences in my workouts, in my skin — everything started to feel like it went into place. I also liked challenging myself. What is my goal? What can I really do?
Are you a competitive person?
I remember one time when you approached me and said, “Oh, you’re really competitive!” And I didn’t really think I was because I don’t compete with other people, necessarily. I compete with myself. But I use people as gauges — if they are stronger than me, faster than me, they are my goal. What do I have to do to catch up? I’d always considered competitiveness as wanting to beat someone, but I really want to beat myself and get better.
What is your motivation?
I always tell people when they start to take pictures. I wish I would have! (CrossFit) has been transformative for me.
When I started, I was 49 and my mom had just died the year before. My dad died at 65. My parents were not well people. That’s part of it. I need to take care of my health or end up having a compromised life. I don’t want the poor quality of life I saw my mom have.
What do you do for work?
I work in the Cancer Center at the Medical College. I am a grants administrator for work for breast and lung cancer disparities in the state. It’s a unique role where I get to work with community organizations, basic science researchers, post-doctoral fellows and community members. It’s a really varied and fun job. It’s very cerebral and also very relational.
I started selling Cabi (a clothing line sold by independent consultants) a couple years ago after taking break from it during graduate school. It’s really fun. I like helping people and that’s a big part of it. The clothes are fantastic but it’s more about helping people feel good about themselves. The selling part is one thing but making people feel good about how they look is transformative. You see people change and it’s powerful.
For fun i come here! I spend time with Doug, my honey bunny. We have two cats, Jill and Nala.
Do you have any fitness/health goals for the coming year?
Saturday I’m running a half marathon! That’s a bucket list thing for me. I’d also really like to get a handstand push up.
Favorite movement and/or type of workout?
My two favorite movements … I looooove back squats. And bench press. The old standards!
Favorite place to travel:
I have a place on Sanibel Island. It’s been in my family since I was in high school. It’s my favorite and the only place I feel Iike I can completely relax. I also love to travel internationally.
Something interesting people might not know about you:
I asked Doug and he told me, “You are enthusiastic about everything!” He’s never been near me when thrusters or devil’s press are part of the WOD!
When Tom walks into my 8:30am class, I know a few things to be true: There was maple syrup involved with his pre-workout breakfast. He’ll have some current news for me about whatever is happening in the Olympic weightlifting world. He’ll have kind and empowering words to say about his friends’ efforts in class that day. If it’s a squat day, he’s going to go big or go home. It’s hard not to smile when Tom comes into class, because he’ll be greeting everyone with a big grin of his own. Really, he’s been a dynamic presence since his first visit to CF100. While most of us have done battle and lost to a plyo box at some point, wearing the scars on our shins proudly, Tom faced a nasty box on his very first class. But Tom wasn’t scared off. He came right back and joined our CrossFit family. He even brought his own padded box to share with his classmates! Through the years, Tom continues to persevere. Through injuries and set backs, he only concerns himself with recovery, progress and continuing to make strength gains. Tom made a pact with himself early on that he wouldn’t go the typical gym rat route of benching heavy and skipping leg days. He promised himself he’d work hard on his squats and it has paid off. Tom has had his share of injuries. He’s dealt with a torn labrum. In high school, and twice in college he tore his meniscus. But despite doctor’s warnings that his knee was going to wear out, he has continued to build strength through squatting, strength work and moving cautiously. Now, he can barely remember which knee was the bad one! Tom works hard to pay attention to how he’s moving and how to get stronger. When he started in group fitness, he remembers throwing his back out often. Now, he takes the time to stretch, recover and only experiences muscles soreness, but not anything that stops him from working out. Tom played every sport growing up, including Division 1 hockey in college. Later on in life, he fell away from team sports and his fitness. Before moving to WI, an ex-Navy Seal friend of his got him moving again. He discovered paddle boarding and loved it. He was happy to find he could do some running and was getting a lot of aerobic exercise, but not any weight training. His move to Wisconsin was not conducive to the year-round paddle boarding he loved in FL. When he and his family came here in 2015, he found the (now defunct) Monkey Bar Gym and fell in love with group fitness for the first time in his life. “I learned something … I used to work out alone when I was young, but you have to provide all the motivation and programming. And really the motivation factor when you go to a class, you don’t have to think about anything. It’s magical! You just have to get your big toe in the door and you’re gonna do the work. It’s incredible!” So Tom stayed motivated at Monkey Bar Gym for awhile, until one fateful day when a group of weightlifters/CrossFitters came into the class for a trial. They were looking to incorporate some of the boot camp/gymnastics/mobility work that was happening at Monkey Bar into their regimen, but Tom wanted in on what THEY were doing! Living only a mile down the road from 100, Tom said he’d run on the trail past the gym many times and saw the barbells flying. After his conversation with one of the weightlifters he encountered, he finally drove in and thought he had to get a barbell back in his hands. So it was a little luck that brought Tom to our community. And a little luck has struck Tom at other times in his life, as well. Tom grew up outside of Minneapolis, MN and was playing high school hockey when he was scouted by the Air Force Academy hockey program. He’d never even been in an airplane before he earned a scholarship to the Academy and played all four years, becoming captain of his team senior year. He shared that, when all the freshman class got sent out to different Air Force bases as a learning experience, he was fortunate enough to get sent to Alaska. He fell in love with the beautiful state (and with his wife, whom he would meet there as well), spent a great deal of his military career there. He didn’t think he’d ever leave, and still owns property there to visit whenever possible. Tom considers himself very fortunate to have lived the life he’s been able to, thanks to his 22-year career in the Air Force. When Tom and I talk about his goals at the gym, he said they have changed a bit since first coming here. He had the similar experience of many members who walk in and want to tackle all of the skills they see happening around them in class. But Tom says he worries less about that and more about doing what his body tells him to do. If he could give a new member advice, he’d tell them that you just don’t have to do everything to have a great workout. “You could probably learn it all if you have the time end effort, but you don’t have to. Marcela was telling me that the whole time but I wasn’t listening! You have to be honest with your coaches. They can’t help you or monitor you if they don’t know what injuries you’re wrestling with.” In fact, one of the things that keeps Tom coming to his daily 8:30am class is the strong connection he feels with Marcela, the coaches and members. “I went away for two weeks and I was on my way home and I got the, ‘Where are you, when are you coming back?’ message from Marcela. This place is incredible and there are a whole bunch of wonderful people here. What keeps me in here? You come in here for an hour and you feel great for the rest of the day. What else are you going to do that makes you feel like that?”
Ten years ago, Meg had just finished training for her first and last Chicago Marathon. She was looking for something different than the strenuous running regimen that led up to and helped her accomplish her marathon finish. “I needed a break from running! It was a fun experience. Lots of training, but too hard on my body,” she explained. So Meg signed on for early morning boot camp workouts at Klode Park with Marcela. Some friends were doing it and it seemed like the perfect change up to her routine. What she found in that group of morning diehards worked, and ten years later Meg is still making those crack-of-dawn workouts the no-excuses first step of her busy day. Meg’s custom residential architecture business, HB Designs, has been growing steadily since it “accidentally” started eighteen years ago after the birth of her son, Nick. Never thinking she’d own her own business, Meg did some drawings for a friend, then for her own family’s addition. Soon, word spread and her business quickly evolved. Today, Meg takes on projects ranging from small kitchen renovations to huge, million-dollar home additions. As her kids grew, so did HB Designs. The tight-knit Whitefish Bay community where Meg’s kids attended school made it easy to attract clients. “I would be in line at school and moms would ask me to come over!” Through word of mouth and reputation alone, Meg now takes on 20-30 projects each year, mostly in Whitefish Bay, Shorewood and Mequon. Currently, she’s building a house in Cedar Grove. With so many opportunities presented to her, Meg is careful to choose projects where she has a connection with with client. Not surprisingly, some of her friends at CrossFit 100 have become clients. After getting to know each other so well over the years, members know her style and what to expect. But Meg is not on the clock at the gym. She shared that people are so good about avoiding project talk during workouts. They know it’s her time and are very respectful of that. As Meg’s business flourishes, she’s navigating other life changes. Meg and her husband, Andy, just sent Nick off to UW-Madison for his freshman year. Their daughter, Grace, will start her junior year at Whitefish Bay High School and Meg is starting to see how she and Andy will have to fill their time differently without all the daily tasks of parenting and weekends filled with sports. Andy, an ER physician, who Meg lovingly calls a “wonderful human,” has been able to take on so much of the family’s needs at home, like cooking and laundry, between his 10-12 work shifts each month. On the weekends, Meg and Andy have enjoyed watching their kids play sports as well as bike riding, together. Meg said she’ll truly miss weekends spent watching the kids play lacrosse and soccer, but also sees an opportunity to find the work/life balance she knows she needs. She’s excited about finding new ways to be active with Andy and having time to herself. But Meg isn’t changing the morning routine that has carried her through her busy days for so many years. She goes to CrossFit three days/week, yoga on Wednesdays, and Peloton or runs on the other days. It’s been a sustainable balance of lifting, moving and recovery to keep her going. Following knee surgery two years ago, Meg couldn’t lift heavy. She started CrossFit Lite at 5am, and now mixes Lite and CrossFit. She finds it’s the perfect variety of the heavy barbell work and lighter workouts that keep her moving. Her commitment to that hour each morning is directly tied to her work ethic and need to sweat. Meg expressed that she just needs to start the day with physical activity and a good sweat. “Hit it, quit it, say I did it!” is Meg’s mantra. Although Meg is a little more cautious since her surgery, she is still competitive with herself. She’s more thoughtful about doing things her body allows and strives for longevity over trying to sprint a 200m if it’s not the day for it. Fortunately, Meg credits the supportive community at 100 for making good choices in workouts. She loves that the group and coaches, while supportive, are not competitive to the point of being intimidating. “I feel lucky to be surrounded by really good people here.”
It’s conditioning day. Or leg day. Or combo day. It doesn’t really matter, because Roger will be there. Almost every day of the week, Roger will be waiting in the lobby of CrossFit 100, with a smile on his face and a friendly greeting for his coach and friends, ready for 5PM class to begin. He gets right to work but also spends time catching up with other members or greeting someone new to class. He’s just the kind of member you hope finds your gym and makes a home there. CrossFit 100 has been Roger’s home for about three and a half years. A Christmas party conversation with fellow member, Peter Wiegers, led him to check out the gym. Roger had run a few marathons and Tough Mudders, and was doing his own workouts at the WAC, but didn’t feel like he was making a lot of progress on his own. As soon as he joined 100, he knew it was a great fit. “I had tried a lot of things, and this is the longest I’ve stayed with something,” he said. “It really clicked.” Roger really likes the structure of the workouts — one hour of hard work and it’s done! During the day, he is busy with his family’s business, managing rental properties. With the energy Roger brings to each class, you might think he’s been conserving energy all day, sitting behind a desk. It’s quite the opposite. Roger is very active during the workday, dealing with tasks at his properties. “I still looks forward to coming. I get rejuvenated during the warm up. And even if I’m tired when I come in, I have renewed energy after the workout.” Roger especially loves the faster pace of conditioning workouts, but also enjoys improving his weightlifting skills and being coached through movements he didn’t do much on his own before CrossFit. And his willingness to learn and work hard is appreciated by the entire coaching staff. “Roger never, ever, ever comes to class with a bad attitude,” said Coach Mya. “Every time he walks in the door he’s got a cute little smile on his face, showing he’s not only ready to push himself in the work for the day, but also his peers. He just puts his head down, does his best and gets his work done, and it’s very inspiring and something I try to model myself after.” Coach Jens said he loves Roger’s positive attitude. “He always cheers on his friends in class. Roger never complains about a workout, he just works hard, no matter what it is.” While Roger’s marathon and Tough Mudder days are behind him, he continues to work on his overall fitness. “Really, my main goal is to stay healthy and fit. If I can keep doing this four, five, six times a week, I’ll be happy.” And Roger is certainly not going it alone. On most days, you’ll find some other Carltons on the class attendance list, too! Roger’s wife, Brenda, joined CrossFit 100 a few months after him, through the New You Challenge. She has continued on to be a regular CrossFit member and both Roger and Brenda participate in many of our gym social events, as well as the Intramural Open. They are both incredibly welcoming to all members and have been an integral part of strengthening our community. You can also find two of the Carltons’ three daughters, Laura and Elizabeth, in classes. It’s fun to see the family passing each other through the doors as they fit different classes into their daily schedules. “It’s great to be able to workout with the whole family. It’s a good bonding experience,” Roger said. “Something we can all do together.” The family also enjoys spending time at their lake cottage, together, kayaking, boating and staying active on the weekends. If you haven’t met Roger yet, be sure to introduce yourself, but chances are he’ll find you first, welcoming you to class or cheering you through your next workout.