Congratulations to Michael Feigenbaum for being name the June Athlete of the Month. Michael consistently comes to the gym and pushes himself, he has come back from a knee injury and has not let it slow him down, and he is extremely supportive of all of our members. We appreciate having Michael at the gym. He really makes our gym a better place.
Please tell us about yourself. 57, married (Jackie @ 6:45 evening classes), three stepchildren, all boys, including twins. Two golden retrievers. Born in Pittsburgh, lived in Colorado since 1996 and New Castle since 2005. I love to read (and now mostly listen) to books, believe exercise is the best therapy, can recount my favorite 10 powder days, and am thankful to live in this amazing place.
When did you become a member at Defiance West? I remember it well, the first Saturday in August, 2016.
What made you join Defiance West and why do you do it now? My friend and neighbor Michelle James had been telling me about Defiance West for some time. We had worked out before in a class at the Lakota Rec Center, and she knew I would like the CrossFit concept generally, and Defiance West in particular. I put off giving it a try for too long, it only took once to get me hooked. Why do I do it now? I can’t think of any better way to spend four or if I’m fortunate five hours a week. I can exercise in any number of ways, but I’ve found there’s nothing like Defiance West. It’s not just the great workout, it’s the great people.
What were your thoughts after your first workout? Was it the hottest day of 2016? It must have been 90 degrees at 9:00 and we did outdoor sandbag cleans and team runs. I didn’t bring water. Cory got me one, but by then I wasn’t sure if I’d survive. It was brutal, and the only thing on my mind was coming back again. To this day, still the hardest workout!
What is your athletic background? I’m the youngest in my family, so as soon as my parents could put skis on me, I was skiing. I also started tennis when I was young (it was all the rage back then, Arthur Ash, Jimmy Conners, Billy Jean King). Through school I played football and ran (and triple jumped) in track. Only in the past year have I started new activities I really enjoy: skinning up the mountain on AT skis in the winter, and road and mountain bike riding the rest of the year. Not sure how I missed these fun things before!
What is your favorite movement or workout? The movement is maybe the simplest one, a deadlift. Just me and some hopefully heavy weight that keeps getting heavier. It’s an easy measurement of progress, and it can get my heart going. As for workouts, I tend to like the ones that are the “do 3 movements in four minutes, repeat 4 times” type – these can be super intense then you get the short rest before repeating.
What is your least favorite? I’d usually say the things I’m not good at, overhead squats, clean & jerks, rope climbing, but the truth is I often look forward to these because though they’re difficult, the progress is tangible and satisfying.
What has been your favorite or proudest moment since joining? Generally, doing the Open (which when Sal first said something about it to me, I was like, nope, not for me), and in particular, 18.4 which had the two rounds of jump roping, overhead squats, pull ups and snatches. Brandi was my judge that day, and I never thought I would finish in the 14 minutes allotted, but I made it with 11 seconds to spare only with the encouragement of those cheering (I remember Emily B for sure). Also, a special thanks to Camille, because she judged me in 18.1, which I did on a Monday afternoon just minutes before the deadline to enter the time; she stayed after class that day to help me out. And thanks to my other judges too, Tim, Hedi and Judy for cheering me on, and everyone else at Defiance West who participated during the Open, it really showcased what a great community Cory and Cierra have created.
How has Defiance West changed your life, lifestyle, and level of fitness? In so many ways, but here I’ll mention only one: nutrition. Like most adults I had a general idea of the importance of nutrition (I knew chocolate wasn’t really one of the four main food groups) and read and tried to put some ideas into practice over the years. But Cierra’s wellness challenges take all the theory out of it, and the results of following through with what are usually just good intentions are obvious. Whether the goal is weight loss, cleansing, general fitness, or feeling centered and balanced, making a commitment to yourself and realizing the benefits of good eating is really eye-opening. Thanks Cierra!
What are your fitness goals for this year? 2018 is about getting stronger. 2017 was about healing after my ACL and meniscus surgery, and just feeling fit again. My goal is to see the 2019 Open as an opportunity to measure my progress and hopefully be able to do the RX exercises, and feel just as good about my results then as I did in the past Open.
What is something most people don’t know about you? That I love my golden retrievers, Molly and Lucy? That I’m a Pittsburgh sports fan? No, everyone who knows me knows that. Rather than saying what you may not know about me, let me say something similar: Check in with family and friends, make it habit, and find out what you may not know about them. Assumptions can often be wrong.
What advice would you give to people looking to get started at our gym? Stop by and talk to Cory or Cierra, once you do, you’ll find that you’ll want to start. But don’t just appear for class, sign up on Zen Planner! It really helps the coaches prepare. Beyond that, fitness is for everyone, no matter what starting point you’re at, and it’s not just physical but mental. If you give Defiance West a chance, and see it through for a few months, the only question is when you’ll make the 500 Club (500 days at the gym).