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.
Katie laughs when I ask her if she ever thought she’d still be working out with Marcela
after nine years.
“Nooooo, way! I thought it would be four or six weeks and done.”
When she signed on for a bootcamp with Marcela’s MPower Total Fitness nine years ago
last May, Katie thought one session was all she needed to get herself back in shape after
having her third child.
But nine years later, Katie is still going strong.
“It’s an addiction for me. It’s how I like to start my day.”
Bootcamp turned into CrossFit, which lead to running casually and then training for half
marathons. And while she’s not currently training for anything, she maintains a very
regular workout regimen at 100. That original desire to get back into shape after having
her third child became a life-long love of fitness.
“This is something I would never do on my own. Lifting weights … you have to get to
the gym for that.”
Hitting the gym is actually quite a lifestyle change for someone who was not athletic
growing up. Katie is also surprised and humbled by people who compliment her on her
athleticism. Many people come to CrossFit as a way to pick up where they left off with
high school or collegiate sports, but Katie truly started from scratch and has made a name
for herself in our 100 community as an athlete, indeed.
If you work out early, you’ll see her no-quit work ethic in action. Katie is diehard. She
rarely misses class and she always puts in 110% effort. Her favorite types of workouts are
conditioning days, “because they’re the hardest,” she reports. But she loves barbell work
incorporated with whatever we are doing, for the challenge.
When asked what about her personality draws her to this type of workout, Katie connects
her previously challenging work as a CPA to her ability to gut through CrossFit workouts
without ever giving up. She’s perfectly accustomed to the type of head down, eyes
forward work that CrossFit requires.
And while family life has recently changed her years-long routine of attending 5:45am
classes over to 8:30, Katie has made it work. She’s found her groove in the 8:30am class
where she is busy pushing the pace for her fellow classmates.
And it took a while, but after years of watching Katie wake up early for the gym every
morning, Katie’s husband, John, eventually joined 100, a few years ago. The couple
mostly divides and conquers, coming to different classes since they have three kids, Jake
(14), Ethan (12), and Ella (9), at home. All their kids are active in their own sports and
activities, but Katie recently realized her daughter, Ella, is keeping tabs on her mom.
“Ella asked, ‘Why do you have to workout every day?’” and Katie was able to express
that her fitness routine was something she loves to make her feel healthy and strong. And
so the thing she does just for her, every day, has become a wonderful teachable moment
for her growing daughter.
But Ella isn’t the only one with eyes on this strong, determined mom and athlete. When
you’ve been a veteran CrossFitter for as long as Katie, you are not only an example to
your own family, but to an entire community. Her advice to anyone getting started is to
realize that this is truly for everyone – just looking at our population, filled with all ages,
skill levels, fitness backgrounds, there’s a place for everyone.
And if you’re really in for a really great workout, just try to chase Katie.
When our members have a good workout routine going, they sometimes get thrown off track if work or family interfere with a favorite class time.
But if that member is a diehard, he finds a way to make it work, even if that means transitioning to the early morning hours.
Scott Kogler is that guy.
When he walked into CrossFit 100 four years ago, Scott was into endurance running and cycling, but he started to see a common problem among the athletes in his training groups. He noticed many of the people could ride for hours but got winded climbing up stairs. He saw that the posture and fitness of people that were putting in all that time and effort wasn’t where he wanted his own fitness to be.
He did some research and knew he wanted resistance training and functional fitness in his life. He started his search for a CrossFit affiliate, and that landed him down the street from his Whitefish Bay home, at CrossFit 100.
It was definitely the right fit. Not only did Scott appreciate the certain kind of “crazy” it takes for people (and CF100 members, specifically!) to get into and stay hooked on this type of fitness, he was very adept at it from the start.
Scott picked up the skills, lifts and love of the WOD — and his favorite, snatches, quickly.
Scott was enjoying evening classes at the start. While his job as a manufacturing engineer at Brady Corporation wasn’t a hinderance to making those classes, evening homework time with his teenage daughters, Gabi, 17 and Madi, 16, was often a priority over the gym.
So for several years, now, Scott has been a diligent member of the morning classes. There’s no excuse and nothing getting in the way for him so early in the day. He keeps pushing himself to RX any WOD that comes his way.
Coach Matt Corr is a big fan of Scott’s and had this to say about his athlete:
“While many people can be classified as self-starters, Scott is one of those rare birds, a self-finisher! What that means is not only does Scott start by putting in all the work to perform a skill or a lift, he’ll also critique himself to try and figure out what he can do better. Even more impressive is how he asks questions about the little things he wants to figure out and then puts those answers into practice to make himself better. He’s a pleasure to have in class and always has a great attitude, which is often hard to do at 5:45 in the morning!”
And as Scott forges ahead with both his fitness and CrossFit 100 Nutrition plan, he has some very specific goals on the horizon, including learning to do a hand stand in free space and eventually hand stand walk. While this comes naturally to his gymnast daughter, Madi, the skill eludes Scott, at least for now.
Having participated in several CrossFit Open seasons, Scott has noticed that only a couple skills stand in the way of his completing an entire season at the RX level. As soon as he gets those handstand walks and ring muscle ups, he’s ready to make a clean sweep over those five weeks!
And you might notice that CrossFit has become a family affair for the Kogler family. After his wife, Donna, started to see some positive changes in Scott’s body composition, fitness and overall health, she decided to check it out for herself. Donna attends classes regularly, now, and has also made outstanding progress in her skills and fitness in a short time. Madi and Gabi are busy with sports, school work and after school jobs, but try to make it in for classes whenever possible.
We see more great progress coming your way, Scott. Your diligent, hard-working attitude is an inspiration to all of your CF100 family.