Athlete Profiles

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our October 2022 Member of the Month, Jon Grim! He has been a member since June 2021 and has hit huge PRs, made incredible friends, and is an avid open-gym goer! Read on to learn more about Jon and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!
Jon lifting big weights!

Name: Jonathan Grim
Nickname: Jon
Age: 34
Hometown:
Canton, Ga

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
I remember seeing clips of the CrossFit Games when I was in college (2012ish). The events looked nuts, and the athletes looked super human to me (let’s be honest, they both still do). I didn’t know where you went to get that kind of training, and in any event I was pretty happy with my focus on powerlifting at the time, so I didn’t investigate it much.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown?
I’d hit a fitness and mental slump. I needed to shake up things and find some new challenges. When I thought about what kind of shape I wanted to be in, CrossFit seemed like it might be a good choice. I searched for local CrossFit gyms and chose CFM because it looked like an established gym with a good reputation.

Gymnastics work

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
I was super nervous and didn’t really know what to expect. Coming in, I thought I was in decent shape, but that foundations test left me light-headed and gassed. Still, I was hooked from day one. The challenge and atmosphere was too exciting.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)?

I’m a remote worker, so the gym is my chance to interact with others outside of a computer screen most days. That real life connection and the class experience has become really important to me, and has drastically helped improve my mental well being. We have great people at our gym, and I’m really thankful for everyone.

I’ve also got a renewed sense of confidence. Seeing that I’m capable of taking on hard physical challenges and getting life changing results has inspired me to try the same in other areas of my life. For instance, I’ve always had an interest in entrepreneurship and now I’m finally taking steps to make that a reality.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2022!?
One of the things I’m most proud of is the progress I’m making with the Olympic lifts. I started going to the barbell class over the summer to get extra help, and David has been a great coach. My form on both the clean and snatch feels so much better, and I have tons more confidence walking up to the bar.

For the rest of 2022, I want to work on getting ready for the next open. My goal is to do the RX versions this time, and one area I know I consistently struggle with is my endurance, so I’m planning on working on that. Me and the rower are about to become good friends.

Workin’ that crow!

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like? (screen shot and send it!)

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?

I’m a fan of EMOM and Tabata workouts. I like that regular cadence and the challenge of if you can match what you did last round, and I think the format is great when you need to create a workout while out travelling or just want to work on some skills. I’m also weirdly into wall walks and being upside down.

EMOM 5 Rounds
Minute 1: Wall Walks
Minute 2: Weighted lunges
Minute 3: Pull-ups
Minute 4: Row

What is your favorite dessert or “treat yourself” meal

Hot wings. J.R. Crickets 20 piece, hot, with extra blue cheese and fries. Tropicalia to drink.

Barbell cycling

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment (doesn’t have to be during a class, just any favorite moment at CFM)?
I loved our scaled competition: CFM Rise Up. I partnered with Jason and got to know him that day (he’s awesome and an inspiration!). I started super nervous, hit some PRs in the second workout, and then completely fell apart at the end of the last workout and Jason saved my ass. The atmosphere all day was great, and it was so much fun watching everyone. 10/10.

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of you look like outside of being a Crossfitter?

Travelling, eating, watching sports (mostly soccer), making software. I miss playing sports and want to play them more – if you play a sport and want an extra hit me up!

Advice for new CrossFitters

Keep coming back – just showing up is an achievement. Don’t worry about the score – you’re here to compete with yourself and that’s what matters. Good diet and good sleep are game changers.

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our September 2022 Member of the Month, Rachel Labgold! She has been a member since September 2021 and has hit huge PRs, made incredible friends, and is an avid open gym goer! Read on to learn more about Rachel and her CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!
Rachel doing strict pull-ups!

Name: Rachel Labgold
Age: 25
Hometown: Leesburg, VA

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
I first was exposed to Olympic Weightlifting and thought it was really cool. When I moved to Atlanta, I wanted to do something to meet new people. I looked for Olympic Weightlifting gyms but there weren’t that many options and CrossFit gyms kept coming up. I’d seen CrossFit on social media but wasn’t sure if I’d be good enough at it and it seemed pretty intimidating. I ended up watching some of the crossfitters on instagram and thought the women looked badass! I decided to put my fears aside and try to be like them!

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown?
I moved to Midtown a little over a year ago and really wanted to find a gym close by. I live by the park so my google search led me to CFM, and I’m so lucky it did!

Lifting big weights!

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
My first foundations was at 6am with Mike! I was very nervous and probably nervously talked at Mike for the entire hour. Before CrossFit, I couldn’t squat below parallel and I was nervous that the coach would ignore my mobility issues. However, from the start, Mike made mobility a priority for me and I left that day feeling really excited to come back. By the end of foundations, I was squatting with the bar!

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)?
All of the above? Seriously, so much has changed since I started CrossFit a year ago. I’ve done things I never thought I’d be able to do and have gained so much confidence in myself. I’ve worked on getting rid of the word “can’t” because I’ve already proven to myself that I can do way more than I ever thought. I try to remember what Coach Hailey told me once when I told her the bar felt heavy. She said “Yeah it is heavy, and you can lift heavy shit!” That mindset has changed so much for me. All of my achievements have been exciting but none of them even compare to the friends and family I’ve gained from joining CFM! I moved to Atlanta on a whim and was terrified of living in a new city. Joining this community has made ATL feel like home and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. 

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2022!?
My most recent accomplishment was getting a strict pull-up for the first time in my life. I felt like I’ve been chasing that forever but I wouldn’t have gotten that without pull-up program! I have to say though, being able to do a full depth squat is one of my biggest accomplishments, if not the biggest. This was a big struggle for me at the start of CrossFit, and I still have a long way to go, but it’s been very rewarding to improve my mobility. I have seen it cross over into almost everything we do. For the rest of 2022, I want to keep improving my mobility and keep improving on my pull-ups, toes to bar and hopefully chest to bar!

Pure joy

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like? (screen shot and send it!)

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I love dumbbell movements, rowing and double unders. I also love partner wods because it gives me a chance to meet new people. I’d probably make something like a partner wod, rounds for time with devils press, cal row and dubs. 

What is your favorite dessert or “treat yourself” meal

Grabbing a costco hot dog and then going to Crumbl for some cookies

6:00 AM besties!

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment (doesn’t have to be during a class, just any favorite moment at CFM)?
This is hard because there are so many great moments. I think I’d have to go with the Open. I didn’t grow up playing sports so to be in an atmosphere where you’re working alongside people and people are cheering for you is really cool. I think specifically though, the last open workout was really special to me. I didn’t have kipping pull-ups yet so I was trying to figure out any way I could get my chin over the bar. I ended up doing kipping chin-ups. Every single one I did, the people around me cheered for me. I don’t think I could’ve kept going if it weren’t for all of them! It was one of those moments where I felt ridiculous but my friends were genuinely excited. It really just showed me how great this community is.

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of you look like outside of being a Crossfitter?
I love being creative! I’m a graphic designer but even outside of work I like to create things. Recently I’ve been learning Blender which is 3d modeling software. If you’re ever on my team at the gym, just know I will be making us shirts!

I also like playing my flute and piccolo! I was in the college marching band at West Virginia University for 4 years. I can’t really do marching band anymore but I still like to play sometimes.

Advice for new CrossFitters
My biggest piece of advice is to just show up. If there’s an event, show up even if you don’t know anyone or think you can’t do it. Chances are there’s someone that feels the same way or someone that’s felt that way before. I’ve learned that everyone genuinely wants you to be there and wants to cheer you on. Other than that my advice is stick to pull-up program even when you get discouraged and take rest days even when you really don’t want to 🙂

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our August 2022 Member of the Month, Michael Pettinati! He has been a member since November 2021 and has made some major gains and PR’s, made from dope friends, and has become a staple lunch crew member! Read on to learn more about Michael and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!
Lifting weights and crushing workouts.

Name: Michael Pettinati
Age: 31
Hometown: Wenham, Ma

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
I had friends who would workout at CrossFit when I was in college and grad school. They always spoke very highly of the training. I’d have them accompany me to the school gyms to critique my deadlift and squat form. That’s probably the first time I had significant exposure to what CrossFit was about.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown?
Fitness was an important part of my life for many years leading up to the pandemic. When my gym closed, I had a hard time finding something that worked for me. Coming out of the pandemic, I wanted to find a gym where it was easy to hold myself accountable and see progress. I tried CFM because it was conveniently located to me, and I loved the class style and workouts.

Michael finishing up a 400m run.

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
I took Foundations with Pat. The first day consisted in part of the baseline workout: rowing, body weight squats, sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups. It was a motivator. My pacing was terrible. It was equally motivating to see the improvement I had when I retested a few weeks later.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)?
I definitely enjoy the community at CFM. I look forward to seeing everyone at noon classes during the week. It’s good to see the athletes I workout with regularly grow over time and share frustrations and successes with them. The competitions, workouts and parties that have brought the community at large together were blasts. I also appreciate how dedicated the coaches are to individuals making meaningful gains. I get check-ins regarding my progress on individual movements all the time, and I’ve gotten really good advice from all the coaches on movements I struggle with.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2022!?
I think I’ve seen some huge improvement in box jumps and pull-ups since starting at CFM. I lacked confidence on any box above 12” when starting and now I’ve landed a 24” box. I was lucky to get one or two single strict pull-ups unbroken when starting, and I’m close to ten on good days now. My ability to do box jumps and pull-ups at higher volumes has definitely improved. My goals for the rest of the year and beyond is to focus on form for lifts from the ground (cleans, deadlifts, etc.) and to focus on single leg movements. As part of that, I’m really focused on getting better hamstring mobility/flexibility and balance.

Heavy deadlifts

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like? (screen shot and send it!)

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I really enjoy Cindy a lot and consequently I really enjoyed doing Murph on Memorial Day.

If I could design a workout, it would probably be an AMRAP. I like the challenge of pacing myself appropriately for these workouts. I learn a lot about where I am with different movements and how different movements are taxing me during these types of workouts. The movements would probably be: row, pull-ups, and thrusters. The first two because they’re some of my favorite. The third is a challenge.

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?

It’s hack but pizza. I’ll add steak because my portion control is zero with it.

Working on phase 3 of the pull up program!

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment (doesn’t have to be during a class, just any favorite moment at CFM)?
I really enjoyed Friday Night Lights during the Open. It was very cool to get everyone together and to cheer on people competing. It was definitely a motivator to see how hard work and dedication can pay off and to work on fitness areas that you may struggle with.

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of you look like outside of being a stud Crossfitter?
I spend a lot of time next door next to CFM doing improv. I’ve done standup too. I like trying to figure out different types of audiences. It’s fun to take topics and ideas that interest me or are just randomly thrown out and figuring out ways to make people laugh by finding a novel angle on them.

I like trying new sports too. I’m playing in a flag football league now.

Advice for new CrossFitters
I would say pick a few days a week to show up to class and show up no matter what the workout is. It’s good and rewarding to do a workout you “like”, but it’s even more rewarding to get through a workout you’re dreading when you read it. Further, I would say on your own time, whether it be open gym or an apartment complex gym, try some of the movements you struggle with. Taking the time to do skill work has been really big for me. A couple of successful reps on my own has expedited me bringing movements into class workouts, which in turn has helped build volume.

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our September Member of the Month, Raymond Tran! He has been a member for over a year and has made some major gains and PR’s, some awesome friends, a joy to have in class, a founding member of the CFM Striking course and has written an awesome article about CFM in the Atlanta Lawyer magazine! Read on to learn more about Raymond and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Game Face. Ready to WOD

Name: Raymond Tran
Nickname: “Ray”
Age: 29
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

How long have you been at CFM and what got you started?
12 months.

I used to have abs. Then law school happened (physical activity level dropped, bad eating habits creeped in). I am disciplined, but dropped my health from my priority list. By the time I took the bar exam, I had a lot more jiggle and a lot less energy than I used to, and resolved to prioritize my health and fitness. Immediately after the bar exam (I binge watched all 7 seasons of Game of Thrones in 4 days — but then immediately after that), I emailed CFM to get started.

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
Full of “Why am I doing this to myself?”

Mike was leading me through foundations. I remember how enthusiastic he was when I applied his correction to a pushup and heard his “this is how this will change your life” explanation. If I was going to do this (CrossFit) to myself, I wanted to do it under the guidance of people who really cared about what they did and got excited about this type of progress.

Mike also suggested that I take at least 1 yoga class a week. I nodded politely, but in my mind thought: “I’m flexible enough…I did not sign up for no ‘ohm’ or ‘breath of fire’…”. I then accidentally stumbled into my first CFM Yoga class with Monica because I wanted to stretch after the Saturday class but had no polite way of saying “I’m just here to stretch”.

Best accidental stumble at CFM ever. Monica leads a quality, no-nonsense yoga class that has become a part of my weekly workout. I’ve also enjoyed it when the other yoga instructors subbed the Saturday recovery class. I would encourage anyone who is adverse to the “ohm” and “breath of fire” stuff to try out the CFM yoga classes — even if you can’t commit to them regularly, it will contribute to your movement/mobility/warmup toolbox.

Get YOKED

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
CrossFit – in January I set a goal to pull my chest up to the bar (without a box) for workouts within three months. It took about 7 months…but now I no longer need to set up a BBAP station (provided I can scale to a kipping or half-rep). I also aimed to add a “4th day” at CFM – which was officially “accomplished” when CFM started the Knuckle-Up Club.

Not CrossFit – Professionally, I’m wrapping up my first full year of practice as an attorney (my hours are RX+++). Personally, I’m actually eating better and less stressed than I was as a law student, and am on track to save enough to purchase my first house.

What is one or two of your most frequently used GIFs?

What changes have you seen in your overall health and fitness level since starting CrossFit?
In addition to feeling stronger (i.e., carrying more grocery bags across greater distances), I feel more energetic (contrary to what I would expect after a workout). I am also making small changes to my daily habits that are paying off: since I mostly do AM classes, I have to have enough sleep; I need to eat right to have the energy to complete a workout and to recover; I say no to junk calories that I just spent a tough morning burning. I’m hoping to put greater focus on building better eating habits (especially since I wasn’t able to participate in the nutrition challenge). I’ve “lost” some flexibility, but the increase in control from a stronger core has increased my range of motion.

I’ll just casually get into a full front split. NBD.

What kind of changes have you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected (ie. new friends, “family”, the community, more self confidence, etc)?
I did not expect to actually like CrossFit. I signed up because it was an efficient way to fit exercise with a demanding schedule. But actually enjoying it really crept up on me. It is now a physical manifestation of how I frame the rest of my day (e.g., “If you can finish these box jumps, you can close that deal.”). I’m also thrilled that we started a striking class (the Knuckle Up Club), which I enter into my calendar as “Cheap Therapy”.

Adding to the fun factor: I have a habit of imagining what people’s lives are like outside of my interaction with them. I do a lot of imagining of what our members’ storyline would be if CFM was its own reality show…especially the people I kind of never spoken to or formally met, but just “always see at the gym” because my only insight into their life is the WOD and QOD. This is totally TMI, but now you know what I’m thinking whenever I’m blankly staring you or giggling to myself.

Initially, I thought CFM would be a great place to get away from other lawyers (it’s not). The AM crew can form its own law firm…and one of my regular Saturday CFM workout buddies recently joined my firm. So Ryan Newbrough, if you’re reading this…work is no reason to stop working out. And to Cary Burke – we have a fantastic paternity leave policy should you ever look to lateral.

Favorite WOD
I really liked the Antman-Spiderman WOD. And that one WOD that one Sunday where we built a “wall” out of the boxes to jump over.

Damon also did a “panic” drill (not sure what it was actually called — but it’s the one that he says might cause an anxiety attack) that was a fun calorie burner.

What is 1 or 2 of your best or favorite memories at CFM?
The reaction of the 6 AM class to my response to the QOD (by Travis) asking about a “near death experience” (you had to be there). And in this same vein, almost all of Kara Noone’s “Noone” answers to QOD.

Jumping through tires like a ninja.

You can go to any concert of any artist (dead or alive) which one would you go to?
Musical: So I don’t like attending music performances where the crowd sings along with the artist (I paid to hear the artist sing) — but also am that guy who sings along as if I was the artist (even if I don’t know the song…I just start making up lyrics and noise)…which is a long way of saying I don’t usually have a good time at concerts.

Non-musical: I wish I had a chance to watch Joan Rivers perform live.

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests? What does a day in the life of Raymond look like outside of being a stud crossfitter?
My life revolves mostly around my work and my dog (a 4 year old Shiba Inu), so if I’m not in the office (or at the gym), I’m probably at the park or some dog friendly trail I found on google.

I also do this thing where I like trying out foods for the purpose of sharing it with others. I’ll go out of my way to try “whipped honey with espresso beans” to see if i like it, and if I do, I have to share it with people. If I “discover” a restaurant, I don’t want you to just go check it out — I want to take you there, order my favorite things, and share them with you. This makes me a fun friend.

I also plan trip-itineraries for people/companies on the side. Prior to transitioning to a legal career, I worked in consulting overseas and worked on projects that took me to some interesting places. If you ever need to know someone who knows someone in places like Anse Source d’Argent, Port Mathurin, Port Louis, or Coloane — I’m your guy.

Ray practicing his knee strike in the CFM Knuckle Up Club

Advice for new CrossFitters
Show up. What gets me to the gym is the knowledge that I was going to start my day achieving something most people aren’t able to do. Every second finish a WOD earlier, each time I lift a little bit heavier, and each time I have to face a movement I want to avoid (lately…running), I leave the gym knowing that I showed up on behalf of myself, to make myself a little bit better. The fact that every other member in class with me is also there with a similar goal keeps me accountable and motivated.

CFM “Brunch Hustle” WOD with some tall box jump overs. Ray always gets his hustle in before brunch!

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our July Member of the Month, Adam Harding! He has been a member for almost 5 years and has risen up from just being the class clown to a highly respected athlete. From participating in Rise Up, The Open, Kessel Run & Anniversary Party, the CFM Nutrition Challenge, filming at the gym, all the photos and videos, and happy birthday songs for others, we are proud to have Adam as our member of the month for July. He really has become a positive person to be around and the most supportive of others! Read on to learn more about Adam and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Adam Harding doing box jumps during 31Heroes!

Name: Adam Harding
Nickname: Adam
Age: 25. Damnit 33.
Hometown: Boston

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
A box opened up a few doors down from where I was living in Boston’s North End neighborhood. I joined because I was tired of walking 10 minutes to my previous gym. I figured it would be less work. What a mistake.
But what *really* sold me was the fact that there weren’t locker rooms in CrossFit. Those have always
bothered me. Group showers? Seriously? And we all know that old, overly proud guy who’s standing like Captain Morgan on those wooden benches just…waiting. I can’t.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
The first thing I did when I moved to Atlanta was search for a CrossFit box. Fortunately, CFM was right down the street from my apartment. I walked in and saw Mike and some other guy, both shirtless, going hard at a WOD. [yeah I did]. You get the idea. I said to myself, self, someday you’ll be shirtless, too, and inspire strangers to join. That still has yet to happen.

“Beruit” (beer pong) at the 7th Anniversary Party

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
Oh man, jogging the memory wheel here…I remember it was with a female coach who didn’t last much longer. I can only assume her decision to leave shortly after I joined was not a coincidence. I’m sorry, lady whose name I forget. Rachel? Was it Rachel? I don’t know, I just watched Batman Begins, so who can say, really.

He’s coming for you Josh Bridges.

What kind of changes have you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
I would say the amount of true friendships I’ve made isn’t something I expected. I’ve never been shy in social settings (shocking, right?), but I didn’t think I’d grow so close to some of these people. It has become as much of a social outlet for me as it is a place to get a workout in, which I’m sure the coaches are just thrilled about.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
Work-related accomplishments? I won 4 EMMYs a few weeks ago.
Workout-related accomplishments? I started the 6 week healthy eating challenge — and really tried hard. Results aside, I finally put in effort to take better control of my diet, which is something I’ve been wrestling with for years. And I’m married to an Italian woman who loves bread and pasta … AND I LIVE ABOVE A BAGEL SHOP (obvi)… DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO AVOID CARBS???

Congrats on your amazing results from our HSN nutrition challenge.

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like?
Without checking, I assume eggplants, water drops and fists. Let’s check. I’m not one of those tough guys that’s too cool for emojis. No shame in my emoji game.

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I like the Question of the Day. If any class skips this (and you know who you are), it’s a dud. So maybe an hour of QOTD?
As for actual workouts, I like deadlifts, cleans, tire flips. I hate running and being upside down.

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?
Never met a hot wing I don’t like. Or candy. Oooo fries. Wait, I have a spoon with a carving that reads “Adam’s Nutella spoon.” Literally all the foods. All of it.

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
So many. Hot Ben joining. Learning about David and Ryan. That time you guys were closed and I didn’t feel bad about not working out. BRI HAVING A BABY. Gosh, I love Emmie. Literally every time Emmie is there, that’s my favorite CFM moment.

His favorite little person, Emmie Bemmie!

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
My hobbies include daydreaming about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, collecting vintage toys, and stocking up my DVR with episodes of the Property Brothers for Saturday afternoon marathons.
Talents: I’m a second degree black belt in karate. I used to teach it and compete nationally. I can also row 100 meters perfectly, as I nearly set the world record earlier this year during that one WOD.
Interests: My wife is interesting. My dog. Oh and I just discovered this guy who plays Mario Bros. on YouTube for a living, and no joke, I sit and watch him for hours on end. I find it oddly relaxing. I’m thinking about venturing into ASMR next.

Advice for new CrossFitters
Avoid the noon class. That’s mine. And if you want a good workout in, it’s best to avoid.

First Place never felt so good, and it’s never too early for Christmas celebrations.

jeannette-carmen
CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our June Member of the Month, Carmen! She has been a member since 2018, has made some major gains and PR’s, some awesome friends, a joy to have in class, and has been an active person in the CFM community! Read on to learn more about Carmen and her CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Carmen cleaning house during CFM Rise Up

Name: Carmen Lundell
Nickname: friends call me Carmen, family calls me Carmie or Marmie
Age: 28
Hometown: Wayzata, Minnesota

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
I lived a few blocks from a gym in New York and friends told me that my gymnastics background would make me a good CrossFit athlete. I was hooked after the first class likely because there were handstands.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
I moved to Atlanta last summer, and one of my first action items was finding a nearby Crossfit gym. CFM is within walking distance of my apartment and the intimate facility reminded me of my box in New York.

Carmen and Jeannette during Graveyard Games 2018

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
My first drop in was a Harry Potter WOD. When I told Peter (my boyfriend) about riding PVC pipes like broomsticks, he was incredibly skeptical exclaiming “What does riding a PVC pipe exercise?!” Not to mention, Mike caught the entire workout on camera *face in palm*. Obviously, I came back and have continued to be impressed by the programming.

Getting after that Quidditch WOD

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
Great programming and incredibly inclusive community! The workouts are intentional, and it’s making a difference in my fitness. I also love how supportive the staff is both in ramping up new coaches and training athletes of all abilities.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
I recently PR’ed my snatch by 2 lbs and convinced Peter to move to Atlanta! In 2019, I hope to continue feeling stronger. Barbell has helped me improve not only my lifting, but overall fitness and strength.

Carmen completing a 400m run during 31 Heroes 2018

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like?

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I love Fran, but to make it even better I’d scrap the barbell and swap pull ups for bar muscle ups. My dream workout would include rope climbs, pistols, bar muscle ups, toes to bar, box jumps for height or box jump overs, handstand walks…can you tell I did competitive gymnastics for 11 years?

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?
JR Crickets lemon pepper wet wings and Jeni’s ice cream have been favorites of mine since moving to Atlanta.

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
Friday night lights! I was only able to join for 19.5, so I’m looking forward to the next open. Best part was throwing glow sticks in the gym until…2am?

Box Jump Overs during CFM Rise Up

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
Some may attest that I am a talented karaoke performer (not singer).
I’m always eager to try new sports, preferably without balls. Most recently, I’m working on golfing and surfing. I’m also a skier and proficient at water sports from growing up on a lake.
I’m an avid traveler and love to read a book by a local author before a trip.

Advice for new CrossFitters
You’re stronger than you think you are. It took me an amazingly long time to get skills that now are my best ones! Be patient, listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to push yourself!

Killin’ those thrusters during 31 Heroes

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our May Member of the Month, Anne-Marie! She has been a member since 2014, has made some major gains including growing a tiny human, some awesome friends, a joy to have in class, and has been an active person in the CFM community! Read on to learn more about Anne-Marie and her CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Anne-Marie being the most perfect, like always

Name: Anne-Marie Burke
Nickname: Anne, AM, Annie
Age: 33
Hometown: Marietta, GA

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
My earliest exposure was an article I read in my mid 20’s about CrossFit and Rhabdo. Safe to say I wasn’t chomping at the bit when Cary Burke asked me to join him when we first started dating.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
In 2014, Cary and I had a what we fondly refer to as “our winter of content.” We put Nutella on Milano cookies and drank craft beers every night. On March 30th he proposed, on April 1st he said “it’s time to work out now”, on April 2nd he signed me up at CFM.

Anne-Marie and husband Cary during Cinco de Sweato

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
To be honest, it’s a blur. I recall it was a full class in the old location and there was no such thing as foundations yet. I stood frozen in the front of the class holding a training barbell as I tried to wrap my head around a squat clean. “So you want me to pick up this metal bar very quickly and “squat” down to the ground with it…and not fall? Okay….halp!” My training as a runner wanted to show off and run all the way home. But I didn’t and I remember beaming as we drove home because I might have done 1 air squat properly.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
Oh my goodness, so many! Working out is now a calming and centering force in my life rather than a chore for weight control. I cannot believe I wake up at 5:30 to work out at 6 am but it’s the highlight of my day. Doesn’t hurt that the morning crew is 🔥. It’s a marvelous feeling having the hardest part of my day over by 7 am. In terms of CFM overall, the most surprising benefit is that I’m constantly around people who inspire, support, and challenge me.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
Well we’re having a baby in October! So I’d like to:
1) Maintain my overall wellness to be the best mom I can be to this little one. Staying consistent at CFM is a big part of that.
2) Avoid an Episiotomy
3) Get my first muscle up (ha, jk)

Sarah and Anne Marie from 2014 Bring A Friend Day!

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like?

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I love Murph. It combines my favorite movements: running, pull-ups, and push ups. I think if we added some ab work, it would be a perfect work out.

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?
Just one?!? I think my go-to is a buffalo chicken sandwich with tots and ranch. I generally can’t resist chocolate cake and ice cream these days either…

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
Besides every CFM Holiday party…

1) I Rx’d a partner WOD with Sarah McColley about 9 months to a year after starting and remember feeling like “whoa I just did something I never thought I was capable of.”
2) This last year, I PR’d my power snatch at Graveyard Games with my partner, Elana, in the last 30 seconds of the event. I’ll never forget everyone cheering as I hit it after failing a couple of times.

Anne-Marie and Elana at Graveyard Games 2018

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
You can generally find me reading a book, talking with people on how to connect their finances with their values, or blogging for some publications in my graduate school program.

Advice for new CrossFitters
1) Seek out help from the coaches. They’re all technically sound. Every time I’ve asked for help I’ve kicked myself for not doing it sooner.

2) If you’re afraid you’ll look stupid doing a movement, that’s probably what you need to work on the most. We did a pistol workout last week and I fell on 95% of them (and I was only going to a 12″ target). But those 5% I did properly were informative and, even, thrilling.

Girl always got a smile on her face!

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our April Member of the Month, Billy! Billy has been a member for almost a year, has made some major gains, some awesome friends, a joy to have in class, and has been an active person in the CFM community! Read on to learn more about Billy and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Billy throwing sandbags during 31 Heroes

Name: Billy Simons
Nickname: N/A
Age: 35
Hometown: Ludlow, MA

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
My wife (girlfriend at the time) got me a month membership to a CrossFit box near us in NYC. I had no interest and asked her if we could get a refund.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
We moved to Atlanta last year and CFM was the closest box to our apartment. I dropped in at a few other gyms but I liked the grit (and proximity) at CFM.

Crazy Eyes and Overhead Squats

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
I don’t remember a lot of the details but I remember Mike not laughing at any of my jokes. And it was much sweatier than the air conditioned place I had been going to before.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
I had never really thought of myself as an athlete before CF. While that is fun in and of itself, I also like that I feel like I’m getting in better shape all the time and that my goal is fitness and performance rather than aesthetics. I’m pretty sure I was just doing curls, benchpress and jumprope for the 10 years prior to finding Crossfit.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
A1) I don’t know if it’s an accomplishment, but we’re pregnant with our first baby! A2) After 10 years in commercial real estate, I left to start my own creative business. A3) I wrote, recorded and released a new album of original music in 2018. A4) I’ve gotten very comfortable bragging 😉 B1) Learn how to balance being a dad with running my own business and dealing with my CF addiction. B2) Write another album or publish another children’s book B3) Start building my home garage gym.

Graveyard Games 2018 with the Wife!

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like?

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I like anything with DUs, HSPUs and pullups. When I left CFNY, a group of us did a farewell WOD that I made up that was fun and awful:

6 Rounds:
9 burpees
9 hang cleans
9 pullups
9 pushups
9 thrusters
w/ 20 lb. vest

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?
Dominos medium pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and extra cheese.

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
Valentine’s Day with Coach Travis.

The Bromance

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
I like to create things – I draw and paint. I play guitar and banjo and a little piano. I write songs and kids books.

Advice for new CrossFitters
Take days off!

Thrusters during 31 Heroes

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our January Member of the Month, Brandon Kuni! Brandon has been a member for over a year, has seen dem gains, made some awesome friends, and has been an active in the CFM community! Read on to learn more about Brandon and his CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Brandon and Alex racing to the finish.

Name: Brandon Kuni
Nickname: BK
Age: 29 (30 this year woo woo)
Hometown: ATL BABY!

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
I moved in with my brother in Vinings a couple years back, and every day I would drive by CrossFit 285 and see them doing stuff outside sometimes, I was intrigued.. My brother and I decided to sign up, the rest is history!

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
After moving to Midtown and taking a break from CrossFit for a while, I decided CrossFit would be a good way for me to get back into a routine with working out, as well as meeting new people since I was new to the midtown area. The location put it over the top for me, I can walk to the box from my condo and it is right in between work as well.

Just slinging some weight during Rise Up

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
Honestly, from the little I remember, I was impressed by the coaching and the focus on the athletes. It was a bit different as I was used to large hanger style boxs with loads of space, but I didn’t mind the space knowing classes were capped and it gave a more of an intimate vibe in the box. I wasn’t completely new to CrossFit so I had an idea of what I was walking into, but I was probably the little quiet dude that didn’t say much for the first few weeks. I didn’t do the foundations classes as I thought it was unnecessary having done CrossFit before, but I kinda regret that decision as I would’ve loved some 1-on-1 coaching from Pietsch/Mike.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
Definitely new friends that share common goals and have a competitive, want to win mentality! I used to think I was in decent shape, but it amazes me how much progress I have accomplished since starting CrossFit. Perhaps the biggest learning experiences that I didn’t expect was getting much more knowledgeable on nutrition and starting to enjoy yoga/stretching and the importance of it! I’ve learned so much about what to eat and when to eat, how to take care of my body, mix that together with some sweaty tough workouts and I feel I’ve had a significant improvement in my quality of life: energy, confidence, performance at work, strength, etc.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
I’ve crushed my dieting so far this year. Limiting drinking to 1x/week, limiting cheat meals, and really trying to follow a balanced macro nutrient ratio (with help from diet templates from RP which have been SUPER helpful). I’ve also been more committed to Yoga, going at least 1x/week which I plan to continue all year. I’ve started to log my workouts, which is a starting point for me to set more specific goals in relation to max lifts.. (Shout out to Mo for the log!!). Big goal for me this year is to get overall body fat % down and be a lean machine, but maintaining overall weight by putting on muscle.

31 Heroes

What does your frequently used emoji tab look like?

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
My favorite workout is probably Murph. Something about a long, super tough wod knowing in the back of my mind that someone sacrificed their life for our country really motivates me and pushes me through (plus it’s always on Memorial Day Weekend which is SUMMER and it’s around my birthday.. Always a great time!). If I could make up my own – any long chipper that includes some double unders, toes to bar, maybe some rope climbs, some goblet squats.. Yeah something like that.

What is your favorite cheat food/meal?
Easy. Wings and buffalo chicken pizza. Say no mo.

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
I’ve had a lot! First time competing at the in-house competition was awesome! I also really enjoyed the 31 Heros wod! Or even the bad axe throwing night.. Shit, I even had a blast cheering on CFM at the Graveyard Games Night edition.. All good times!

Let me tell ya ’bout my best friend

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
Crazy about the Atlanta Falcons, RISE UP (born and raised ATLien)! I’m a media consultant (digital & traditional marketing) by day, I genuinely love my job as it satisfies my entrepreneurial spirit inside and I am passionate about sales and marketing. I spend my free time flying my drone and trying to create some dope content, or riding my bicycle. Sprinkle in some travel, every millennial says that though! That’s me in a nut shell.

Advice for new CrossFitters
Just. Get. Started. Throw everything you’ve ever heard about CrossFit (good and bad), out the window UNTIL you try it. Every box is unique due to the style of coaching/management and the sense of community the members bring to the box. Just start somewhere, log your workouts and progress, show up prepared to bust your ass for an hour, and meet some new friends while you are there. The only “good” in life comes from outside your comfort zone, jump in and don’t look back.

BK be strong

CrossFit Midtown is very excited to announce our January Member of the Month, Hailey Plemons! Hailey has been a member for a little over 1 year, has seen dem gains, made some awesome friends, and competed at Graveyard Games 2018! Read on to learn more about Hailey and her CrossFit journey. Thank you for being such an outstanding member of the CFM community!

Completing 31 Heroes with a smile on her face!

Name: Hailey Plemons
Nickname: My friends and family call me Hails
Age: 24
Hometown: Columbus, Georgia

How did you get exposed to CrossFit?
After years of soccer, I knew I performed best in a team environment, so I was looking for a gym that offered group classes. I reached out to a family friend that was nine years deep in Crossfit and she recommended I give it a shot.

What brought you to CrossFit Midtown:
The same family friend looked at the programming in the gyms around Atlanta and she really liked what CFM offered.

Memorial Day Murph 2018

What was your very first day at CrossFit Midtown like?
I remember getting through the warm-up and Mike saying, “Okay so for the workout we will do..” and panicking internally because I was pretty tired from the warm up. I liked CFM pretty instantly.

What kind of changes have you you experienced since starting CrossFit that were completely unexpected?
One of my favorite changes has been my perspective. Before I joined CFM, I would have to spend most of my day convincing myself to workout or run. Now I wake up and one of the first things I do is check the blog to see what I get to do that day. Another unexpected plus has been all the incredible people I’ve met along the way.

Tell us some of your recent accomplishments. What goals do you have for 2019!?
I’ve started to venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to choosing weights for the workouts. AKA Pietsch sees what weight I choose and tells me to try again. But I appreciate that he believes in me (after the workout is over) 🙂
My goals for 2019 are to master DU, TTB, and kipping pull ups

We think Hailey would win…

5 Rope Climbs 15 Burpees over Erg 25 Cal Row For Time.
Who wins? You or your sister ;)?

I read this to her and she said, “Don’t lie to them Hails, it’s definitely me.” In which case, we can settle this at the gym.

What is your favorite workout and if you could make up your own workout what would it be?
I enjoy anything with the barbell. Overhead squats are my favorite, so Nancy.
If I had to make one up it would probably have some overhead squats, rope climbs, and burpees. I don’t like burpees at all but they make you suffer a little and it feels good after.

Favorite CrossFit Midtown moment
There was a class where Carey Bald approached me and said, “You’re stronger than you think you are. You’re going to partner with me today and we’re going to see what you’re made of.” She probably doesn’t realize how much this meant to me, but it was pretty huge for my confidence. Carey has since moved to Miami, but her voice is always haunting me telling me to go heavier.

Hailey and Carey…girl you sweaty

Hobbies, Talents and or Interests Outside of CrossFit:
Traveling, playing soccer, hiking, hanging out with friends and my dog.

Advice for new CrossFitters
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be terrified walking in the first few times. Just keep going back until you love it. The rewards outweigh all the costs.

Jumping into 2019 like, whoa