Athlete of the Month

Nicole Officer

February 2020

Before joining CFRL what was your biggest struggle? What were your biggest frustrations?

When I turned 40, my cardiologist became concerned about my cholesterol levels from recent blood work. The results showed that I have an abnormal gene that does not differentiate between good and bad cholesterol. Add a family history of heart problems and a heart murmur on top of that and I was completely freaked out. Medicine was the automated response, but she also said eating a plant-based diet partnered with HIIT exercise would help avoid medication. I didn’t want to take any medications unless necessary, so I kicked up my exercise routine and changed my diet. The numbers didn’t change, my weight fluctuated, and I wasn’t seeing the expected results for the work I was putting in at the gym. I felt helpless and defeated.

How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before joining CFRL?

To say that I was frustrated was an understatement. I went to the gym daily, weekly spin classes, kick boxing and never saw any significant results on my body or with my blood work. Sure, I felt good, but I needed better results and fast.

What was it about CFRL that made you join?

I have to thank my husband for turning me onto CrossFit! He joined a CF gym in Central Valley, NY and after his 6-week onboarding program, he looked amazing! He would come home after class super excited about the workout, talk about today’s WOD and/or AMRAMP, one rep max’s, DU’s, snatch complexes etc. I had no idea what he was talking about and felt a little left out of this exciting part of his life. His enthusiasm for Cross Fit was contagious, so I figured I better check out this “CrossFit” and see if it would be something that I might also enjoy, help me with my cholesterol problem and have something else in common with my husband. That’s when I decided to pull into the parking lot of CFRL and I am so glad I did!

What made you stay with us? What do you enjoy the most about CFRL?

Honestly, this is the friendliest gym I have ever been to! EVERYONE IS SO NICE, which I initially found a little weird because I wasn’t used to working out in such a welcoming and encouraging environment. Big box gyms are just that- pay your monthly fee because that’s all that matters, we don’t care what you do or if you ever show up. At CFRL, the coaches and members want you to show up and reach your goals and are willing to help you any way they can.

The 6AM class is the best part of my day! I feel like our group is special because we get up extra early every day to focus on ourselves before the madness of the day starts. It isn’t always easy, trust me. I also think having Charly as our coach also helps because not only is he an amazing coach, but he is also a very authentic, sincere and caring person.

How did our program help you? How is Life different for you now?

I turned 50 last year and had a fitness midlife crisis. It might sound weird, but I needed to prove to myself that the number I dreaded wasn’t going to define me. I was approached by a great motivator of mine, Tina Roth, to run a 5K with her and a few other ladies from CFRL. I never had any interest in running, especially a 5K, but Tina convinced me that I could do it and it would be fun, so I figured why not. Soon a CFR Ladies team was formed, and we ran the Women’s 5K at Rockland Lake together and it was such an amazing experience for me! So, then I decided to do a Spartan Race, and with the encouragement of other CFRL team members, I successfully completed it and had a great time! Now I run 2-3 times a week, take the Tuesday night endurance class and make my fitness journey a priority in my life.

Were there any specific goals that you reached that you are particularly proud of? How did it make you feel?

Since I have been a member of CFRL, I see my cardiologist once a year now! She is thrilled that I can manage my health without having to go on medication, which was the main goal. I am also proud of my overall fitness progression since I started at CFRL. I used to be intimidated by the more experienced members and worry about not being able to do something correctly or having the slowest time or lightest weight etc. I am stronger and more confident to handle whatever WOD is programmed and not care if am the last one to finish. Me doing what’s best for me.

What would you tell someone interested in joining CFRL?

I would tell them not to be intimidated by the unknown. CFRL can help you achieve your goals, but the hardest part is starting. It doesn't matter what age, shape, or size you are, CFRL has a program for you.

Is there anything personal you would like to add?

I am so humbled by this great honor of AOTM; it is difficult to put into words. I never thought of myself as an athlete, but more of someone who exercised because I was supposed to. Low self-esteem from lack of results, anxiety about aging, intimidated at the gym and loosing motivation to continue was a daily struggle for me. Now, I feel guilty when I can’t make it to class; I read fitness books to learn new mobilization exercises; I follow CrossFit athletes on Instagram to learn techniques for better form; my husband and I work on difficult lifts together. Who am I???? I have no idea how this happened, but I want to thank every person at CFRL because you have helped and inspired me more than you know! A special shout out to the 6 AM class for letting me have my special spot by the door so I can keep cool all year long!

Jonathan Beekman

January 2020

Before joining CFRL what was your biggest struggle? What were your biggest frustrations? How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before joining CFRL?

Before CrossFit it was so easy to get stuck in the same routine at the gym. I felt like I was never making progress. I also had a lot of soreness in my upper back and my shoulders felt rolled forward.

What was it about CFRL that made you join?

I think CFRL is the only CrossFit gym I’ve ever been to/seen that’s open 7 days a week. I came in for the trial class and met Charly and David and signed up right then.

What made you stay with us? What do you enjoy the most about CFRL?

I love this gym. Whether it’s the morning, afternoon or weekend I always feel at home. All the coaches are great, endurance class is a good mix up. And the thing I love the most is I can bring my daughter to hangout in the pack n play.

How did our program help you? How is Life different for you now?

My daughter is 10 months old now but I still find a way to get to the gym most times and bring her with me if I need to. The gym has been great in accommodating us and I really appreciate it.

Were there any specific goals that you reached that you are particularly proud of? How did it make you feel?

I did not set out for any specific goals when I started but I know I am in much better shape than when I started. I’ve also lost some weight. My body feels balanced and I’m very happy with how I look and feel.

What would you tell someone interested in joining CFRL?

The hardest part is just showing up to the gym that first time. Meeting a new group of people gives me anxiety but that went away after 5 minutes of coming through the door. Also CrossFit like any activity takes time to improve and when I first started I could not do any of the movements properly and felt awkward but after a few classes it started making sense.

Is there anything personal you would like to add?

I enjoy ice cream

Christina Barnard

December 2019

Before joining CFRL what was your biggest struggle? What were your biggest frustrations?

My biggest struggle has been balancing my time. I work full time as a teacher and am a mother of four. Carving out time for myself (without feeling guilty) has been an issue. I actually suffered with asthma when I was a teenager and that kept me from participating in sports. I started exercising by walking a few times a week when I was 17. Over the years working out became a huge part of my life. It’s helped me feel better both physically and emotionally. Before I had my children, I would walk miles to stay in shape. Some days I’d walk for 6-9 miles. But I had to stop those marathon walks once I had my first child. I had to find other ways to stay in shape that didn’t take up such a huge chunk of time each day.

Confidence has always been a personal issue for me as well. I was a very timid and shy child. Working out makes me feel better about myself and I believe that helps me in all aspects of my life.

How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before joining CFRL?

When I was younger I struggled with the typical low self-image issues all too familiar to many women. I was always trying to exercise to lose weight whether I needed to or not. As I got older I started to try new things. After having my second child, I decided to try Pilates. After my third child, I started doing kettle bell DVDs at home. After my fourth, I decided to try spinning. Then something happened that was truly life changing. What started as numbness in my left leg led to frequent falls and limping. It was very hard to walk. I did my best to continue exercising by using an elliptical trainer. After a few months, an MRI revealed a tumor on my spinal cord. My neurosurgeon recommended surgery as soon as possible for fear that it would cause permanent damage or even paralysis. After an eight hour surgery most of the tumor was removed and I was able to slowly return to my active lifestyle. It was an eye opening experience and one that left me grateful for the the ability to walk. Then came Crossfit! About 7 years ago a friend convinced John to try it out. I thought he was nuts and told him he was joining a cult. Three months later I joined him. I started doing it a couple of times a week in addition to spinning. However, it became difficult to follow a schedule and find someplace close enough to home while working and keeping up with my children. I needed to find a better way. Around that time, CFRL opened its doors and my husband joined. He raved about the facility and, most importantly, the coaches! It also helped that it’s literally 3 minutes from our house. I took a class and started to come regularly. Now I’m an addict. I hate taking days off and missing out on all the fun wods!

What was it about CFRL that made you join?

There are so many things I love about CFRL! Charly is a phenomenal coach. He has the ability to instantly put you at ease. He knows me so well! I’m never afraid to ask him a question or ask his opinion on how I should handle the workout. He believes in me and gives me me the courage to try things I never thought I would. I love the variety of the wods and the fact that I can get a great workout in less than an hour a day. I also love that I don’t have to plan the workouts myself-I just have to show up and do my best.

What made you stay with us? What do you enjoy the most about CFRL?

In addition to the amazing coaches, I love the athletes I get to work with regularly. It is the most accepting and encouraging place! It’s my happy place. I love starting my days at 5 am. I can leave my house and get back before my children get out of bed. After working out I have a positive outlook and am ready to face my day. I feel accomplished and that’s a great feeling!

How did our program help you? How is Life different for you now?

Life is different. I am stronger and more confident than ever. I’m proud of myself. I’ve also been able to share my love of CrossFit with my children. I wish I had started this type of program when I was in my teens or twenties. All three of my boys have taken classes and one is currently working out regularly with a personal trainer here. He’s building himself up both physically and emotionally. Recently, after a grueling session, he said, “Mom, I know what you mean now. I got that feeling during the wod that made me want to keep going.” It’s helped him become a better athlete. I love that my kids get to see their almost 50 year old mom lifting heavy weights, running, rowing and biking. I’m hoping my daughter will see that being strong is much more important than being skinny.

Were there any specific goals that you reached that you are particularly proud of? How did it make you feel?

Since joining CFRL I’ve improved all of my lifts and broken many personal records. I love that Charly schedules time to work on particular skills in addition to the wods. Some of my goals in particular include consistently using an rx wall ball and dabbling with double unders -still a work in progress. I’ve also been able to do body weight pull-ups which is something I never thought I would do. Every time I reach a new goal or take a little step toward achieving that goal Charly is right there with support and encouragement.

What would you tell someone interested in joining CFRL?

I tell everyone to come to CFRL! Every single member has something to offer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned athlete or someone just looking to get started this is the place to be! You will feel better about yourself after day one!

Is there anything personal you would like to add?

I’m truly honored to be a part of this incredible group. It’s a huge part of my life! Thank YOU!

Diane Malyszka

November 2019

Before joining CFRL what was your biggest struggle? What were your biggest frustrations?

Before Cross Fit my biggest struggles was living the roller coaster of weight loss and fitness. I’ve always been goal oriented so reaching a goal was never an issue. It’s staying there and not gaining it back, or getting bored doing the same monotonous exercise. My social life was also very boring. Before Cross Fit I had no one to play with. None of my friends were physically capable of walking around the Lake or going on a hike or throwing an axe.

How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before joining CFRL?

When Kelly (my daughter) went off to college I became an “empty nester”. I was in great shape the summer of 2017. Kelly went off to college and I gained the freshman 20 lbs. My Husband and I enjoyed a very fun year eating out, Planet Fitness closed so I stopped exercising. My exercise consisted of going to the store for the 2 for $5.00 ice cream sale. I became weak, depressed, and overall sad. lost confidence.

The week before I started my journey, my kids were teasing me that they were going to get me the alert necklace “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! I really couldn’t get up off the floor or step up onto a chair without assistance. It made me feel really old.

What was it about CFRL that made you join?

My Cross Fit journey began when I saw Joelle in David’s Bagel wearing her Cross Fit shirt. I had heard about Cross Fit but was told that it was a cult and that I would get hurt. I asked Joelle, “Can I do Cross Fit? Is it for me? Am I too old? She smiled and said “Go see Charly”, and yes you can. So I called Charly. The timing was perfect. CFRL was offering the “6 week challenge” This plan was perfect for me. All I need is 6 weeks. I’ll lose the 20 lbs, get back in shape and I’ll get my money back. Wow! Free What could be better?

What made you stay with us? What do you enjoy most about CFRL?

As the 6 weeks progressed and I was reaching my goal I was thinking.. I don’t want my money back. I love it here. The phrase “ The Friendliest Gym In Rockland” is an understatement. The encouragement I received from everyone from the very first day was a new concept I was not familiar with. I was frustrated because I couldn’t even lift the 15 lb bar and everyone was adding lots of weight. I would hear. One day at a time. Keep coming back and you will get there. The attention the coaches gave me was also something I wasn’t use to. I love that we warm up together. I love that we all complain and curse the WOD’s, I love that I have to be on Face Book every Sunday at 8PM to see the weekly workouts and read the comments on them. I love how young I feel both mentally and physically.

How did our program help you? How is Life different for you now?

CFRL has given me 20 years and my self-confidence back. I am physically and mentally stronger than I can ever remember being.

CFRL also increased my social circle. Age is never a factor when CFRL get together and we get together outside of the gym a lot.

Were there any specific goals that you reached that you are particularly proud of? How did it make you feel?

There are so many goals that I achieved since joining. I now can put weight on the bar (LOL) Heck I did a Spartan race at 59 years old and I was able to complete many of the obstacles (with guidance and encouragement) and at least some part of every obstacle. With the encouragement of everyone, I most proud that I faced and conquered my fear of heights.
Where I couldn’t step up onto a chair, I can now do a 20” box jump, and if I can do a ton of burpees in a wod, I know I can fall down and still get back up.

What I’m most proud of is being accepted into this amazing community, wanting to go to the gym every day, knowing that I don’t have to RX the wod to get the benefit of it but knowing that getting the RX is my ultimate goal.

What would you tell someone interested in joining CFRL?

I would say ”You can do it!” CFRL is for everyone no matter what shape you’re in or how old you are. CFRL is more than a gym. It’s a support system. It’s everything you don’t get from your everyday life. Our gym will always support and encourage and never leave you behind both in and out of the gym. We truly are a family.

Is there anything personal you would like to add?

I want to thank CFRL for this honor of being selected Athlete of the month. I never would have believed I could be worthy of this honor. I want to thank Charly, Patrick, Brian, and Jon, and all the coaches and the coaches in training and members of this family for accepting me, encouraging me, never pointing out my masters status. For believing in me and pushing me to challenge myself more. For having faith in me when I didn’t believe I could. For noticing when I miss coming to the gym more than 2 days in a row. I can’t find the words to describe how truly honored I am for this recognition of “Athlete Of The Month” and how blessed I am that I found all of you. I am forever grateful for the friendships I have made. Thank you Joelle for being at David’s Bagels that day.

Dana Oliva

October 2019

Before joining CFRL what was your biggest struggle? What were your biggest frustrations?

Before joining my biggest struggle was being comfortable in my own skin. I was embarrassed to go to a regular gym and get sweating. My biggest frustration was not being able to fit into any of my clothes.

How did your struggle and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before joining CFRL?

These struggles affect my life because I never felt "good enough " to do anything. I was always tired and nervous that people were looking or talking about me. I use to leave the house in oversized clothes. Before I joined the gym I was very insecure.

What was it about CFRL that made you join?

I originally join the gym after a breakup and saw the 6 week challenge and decided that I needed to do something for me. I was also training for a triathlon.

What made you stay with us? What do you enjoy the most about CFRL?

I stayed at CFRL because it's more than a gym. It's a support system. I refer to it as my happy place. It my one hour a day for me. I genuinely love all the people and coaches at the gym. I love that each day is something new.

How did our program help you? How is Life different for you now?

CFRL has helped me grown not only in strength but inner peace. I feel like I am able to do anything. Life is very different for me now. It revolves around the gym and taking care of myself.

Were there any specific goals that you reached that you are particularly proud of? How did it make you feel?

I'm really proud that I have a 265 dead lift and was able to get my first double under. When I started I could barely jump rope and now I can do it no problem.

What would you tell someone interested in joining CFRL?

Just do it. Everyone in this gym will welcome you with open arms and support you.

Is there anything personal you would like to add?

I want to thank Charly, Brian and all the coaches and members of CFRL. This gym has become my safe haven. Throughout all my ups and downs this place has always been home and a stable foundation. I'm forever grateful for having all of you in my life. I'm finally able to say in genuinely happy, confident and comfortable in my own skin.