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Behind the Champion with Erica

See the interview here.


Entries in fundamentals (196)

Where Are They Now: Heather

Don't you hate then you remember someone you haven't seen or talked to in awhile, and you think you should reach out to see how they're doing and all that, but you keep putting it off for various reasons (might be awkward, slipped your mind, the infamous "busy" word).

Then that very person texts you out of nowhere. And you're like, "GAHHH I SHOULD'VE TEXTED YOU FIRST!"

A few months ago while walking up to the gym I was thinking of how to make my Fundamentals sessions more efficient, which led me to think about how I used to do it in the "old days." So I started to go through the first few people that went through Fundamentals and, of course, Heather was one of them. This was when I realized I haven't checked up on her in a long time.

Heather started here on October 20, 2012 and worked out at the Champions Club up until early 2015, when she moved to Los Angeles to give her acting/comedy career a boost. She has stopped back here a few times in between, and last week she randomly texted me to see how we were all doing. So I asked her if we could do an update for the site, and she agreed. Here we are:

Day 4 of Fundamentals, 2012

Anything big or significant happen in your life since we saw you last?

When last we saw each other, I was working as a temp at Warner Bros. and on Dec 4th 2017, I was brought on as an employee under a project contract for a year. This is awesome because now I get “the benefits” and can go to the dentist without using a Groupon! I am oficially a “Business Systems Analyst,” which is neat, because I didn’t know those words even went together.  

Nov. 2017 I launched a comedy tour with my friend Sam Rager called The Fat Bottomed Girls Comedy Tour. We will be back in 2018 for The Fat Bottomed Girls Comedy Tour 2! This time with MORE BUNS!

I produce The Laugh Riot Dolls comedy shows in Detroit and LA. The Laugh Riot Dolls, featuring Boy Toys, will be performing at Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids, MI on March 16, 2018.

I will be back at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, MI Sept 13th - 15th 2018.


Is there anything different about your values or goals since we saw you last?

I had to wrap my head around being new to L.A. and being new to comedy IN L.A. Honestly, I wanted L.A. to be like Michigan, and it is not. So, I had to surrender to my current position. I pay to do comedy more than I get paid. I volunteer, I take out the garbage at comedy clubs to earn stage time. (Well, I did this once, and once should be enough). My values haven’t changed, I just had to get used to paying my dues...again. People are nice here, every time I go out I meet someone great and good things happen. My biggest obstacle is myself. I get in my own way by not going out.

My values are still to surrender and show up and do the next right thing. I just have to force myself to practice it more here because “here” sometimes feels like walking on Jupiter.


Have you been able to keep up with your nutrition?

Yup! No processed sugar, no flour and no booze! It will 6 years April 2018! I struggle with veggie chips, nut butters and fruit. But, I did do The Whole-30 for 90 days and KILLED IT! With meditation and Lagree Fitness Pilates I felt better than ever the 3 months before Christmas 2017. Then... you know how Christmas do.

I am getting back to it! Gotta get ready for all the California adventure to be had!  I have never been more active. Skiing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, hiking, biking etc.  Pushing past fear. That is constant. With work, comedy, nutrition and fitness.

Which is better: Cheez-Its or Goldfish?

Flour and sugar in both I think, so that is a hard pass.


Anything else you learned or want to add. Fun or educational

Uncontrolled fires are scary. Rain in L.A. is scary. Mud slides are also scary. Running the light at The Comedy Store is scary. Like I said, fear is a constant. But 110 degrees isn’t as hot as it sounds. Working for the number one studio in the world has awesome perks (like affordable dental). I like hard work, I don’t mind taking out the garbage. I love the ocean and the mountains.  AND, I love that Michigan is home. I miss you and I love you! And yea, I am talking to you.


Ps. I am also working with Simeon Thomas on parody songs for the comedy group The Little Dollies! Sim returns! He wrote “Mr. Barman” and we can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next!

New Kids on the Block: Andrew and Charlie

This is the first of what I hope is a long string of Champions Club members to come from my private basketball coaching. Andrew Baumert's mother contacted me over the Summer about setting up private basketball lessons, but they never came to fruition. However I reached back out to her in October and luckily their schedule finally cleared up. So we did a few good one-on-one sessions but Andrew didn't make his 7th grade school team. Fortunately, both him and his mom aren't pouting and whining, but rather taking the opportunity to work harder.

Andrew signed up for Fundamentals last week and even brought his brother, Charlie, in with him. Charlie is a freshman at Romeo High School and plays lacrosse. They are both two days into Fundamentals.

So far, it would appear that their general movement strength is the glaring weak spot, while their coordination is not - as is apparent with their technique on push-ups, hollow rocks, and kb swing timing, and with how well jump ropes improved during their workout on Day 2. They also seem like fun kids to coach, and with really supportive parents (not the I'll Do Everything For You parents but the You'll Be Fine Kiddo parents) I think we could have a good combo to add to our group assuming they can make the drive work. But for now, I'll check back in after Day 7.

New Graduate: Mrs. Demonaco

This morning Mrs. Demonaco finished her 7th and final Fundamentals session. Since it was cold and icy, we opted for Fran instead of Helen, and she used 12-lb. dumbbells and ring rows, and her time was 6:09.

Over the course of our sessions, Mrs. Demonaco showed really good coordination and body control, which were highlighted the most with Pose running and Unweighting. The upper-body strength and conditioning definitely what need the most work, but her coordination coupled with her surprisingly good mobility should prove to accelerate her improvement rate. With her daughter, Emma, in our regular group and son, Adam, in the Babies session, I'm sure we can expect them to keep their mother up on her attendance. The Champions Club has always been known as a family atmosphere, and with Mrs. Demonaco now in the mix we are just reinforcing that.

Welcome to the Champions Club Mrs. Demonaco!

New Kid on the Block: Mrs. Demonaco

Our newest Fundamentals member is Pam Demonaco, the mother of recent Fundamentals graduate Emma Demonaco and new rope climber, Adam. Mrs. Demonaco talked to me on Wednesday about her interest in joining, and we promptly set up our first Fundamentals session for last Friday.

So far we are three days in and nothing but good reviews. She is not horribly inflexible, she has the coordination of a former athlete (volleyball and softball were her sports of choice), and, most importantly, she is doing a great job of putting her nursing background to the side once a session starts and comitting to being a student and learning new techniques. I will say, though, she was definitely shocked after Day 1 by how sore her arms were, so much so, in fact, that she tried to cancel Day 2. Thankfully she made it work and had a great session (double unders are coming soon...).

Like I said, so far, so good. So I'll check back in with you guys after Day 7.

From the Vault: Tim on the Rings

I think it is reasonable to say that gymnasts are, pound for pound, the strongest athletes in the world. Naturally, there are many gymnastics elements embedded in the CrossFit program. Actually owning a pair of rings was not common in the early CrossFit days, but thanks to Rogue and other suppliers they are readily available and affordable for anyone. And thank God for that because things change once athletes get on the rings. Back in 2015 I wrote a post about that after watching Tim go through Fundamentals.

Connection on Pushing Things

The article sums it up pretty well, and the only thing I would add would be that even doing a static hold in a plank position would be very beneficial for shoulder strength and stability. Push-ups and the like are a bonus. So yes, the rings can be awkward and difficult, but just remember that my main job is to expose you to things you are not good at. Doing something as simple as taking away a stable point of contact (the ground) goes a long way to challenge any movement.

New Graduate: Nick Bewick

Yesterday morning Nick Bewick finished his final day of Fundamentals with a great effort on Helen: 9:45 with a 200m run, 12k kettlebells, and ring rows.

Nick has been by far one of the most entertaining athletes to go through Fundamentals in recent memory. From his Star Wars shirts, to his sarcastic remarks, to his offerings of pounds of roasted coffee and raspberry cream pie, I have enjoyed every minute he's been in. I did his New Kid post pretty late in the process, but it became even more apparent yesterday that his skill and coordination were up to par based on how well he picked up on Unweighting with the Olympic lifts. On the other hand, his upper back is as stiff as a board, so that doesn't help with anything involving the shoulders. And with consistent attendance we should see a pretty quick increase in his strength and conditioning. Look for Nick at the 4:30 session coming right from across the street.

Congratulations Nick!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: Tom Trastevere with a healthy amount of WSU coach Mike Leach

New Graduate: Izzy

Izzy Barone finished her 7th and final Fundamentals session yesterday with Helen; a perfect pre-Thanksgiving workout. Since she is a runner, we did full 400m runs, along with 12k swings and ring rows. She finished with an impressive 8:25.

If it seems like I just did Izzy's New Kid post, it's because I just did; since she's signed up she only missed two days. Like all the runners we've had come through here, Izzy need major improvement on her midline strength. The good news is her upper body and lower body strength are not too far off what most girls come in with. Of course, her strong suite is her endurance, and this will help in our workouts. And skill-wise she was able to pick up on running, Olympic lifts, and even got her first-ever rope climb on Day 4!

Be on the lookout for Izzy at one of the evening sessions with the rest of her Cross Country teammates. And congratulations on finishing Fundamentals!

Ghosts of Champions Club past: a polite Amy Potter