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Welcome to the Champions Club Summer 2019

See schedule here. Dancing, anyone?

Entries in halloween (17)

Behind the Champion: Ally Kauzlarich

Ally Kauzlarich came to us as part of our Rookie class halfway through Summer 2018 and worked her way into a top-10 attendance finish by the end of August. Judging by social media posts you guys show me and her own comments, it appears she drank a full dose of the CrossFit Kool-Aid and is completely bought in to the Champions Club culture.

Ally is also one of the most quiet people in the gym, so I figured we could feature her on this as we get prepared to have her as a regular for another Summer.



When did you start stuttering? How has it affected your daily life?

My family says I started stuttering at the age of 4. However, I can't remember the specific moment where I can go back to when I was little. Being a person who stutters has dramatically affected my daily life in so many ways. Let me paint a couples pictures for you. Every morning imagine waking up to go out to meet one of your parents or friends, and as soon as they ask you a question or say good morning your stutter welcomes itself first with a reply of "g-g- good morning." From getting bullied for all my middle school years, from not talking for 1 year to anyone in 5th grade (and yes, even my family) and the only way communication was safe for me was writing on pieces of papers, to ignoring every type of speaking situation because I hated myself and what I had - I had to hide it the BEST way I could because if people saw the real me, would they like me? Would they accept me? Or would I end up once again to be the biggest laugh of the night? I describe my stutter sort of like when you have a kid and let's face it - it's an ugly baby. You go to a family function or out at the grocery store and you encounter someone who looks at your ugly baby and their reaction goes something like "ahh... it's... ugh...cute!" with that tone of voice you know they think it's hideous. I could go on and on, but I will end it with this. My stutter has been the monster in my life, it has torn me down, it's made believe that I will never be good at anything every time I open my mouth, it's showed me failure from a young age, BUT it's been my biggest teacher.


How do you balance wanting to talk to someone vs. not wanting to stutter? Do you prefer people from the gym ask you "how's it going?"  when they see you? Or would you rather them just smile and waive?

For me I think I’ve always used an avoidance tactic as my comfort. Or, I tend to talk with very short words. But I’m slowly learning that it is all filled with the emotions of fear and my inner critic, that like to assume a lot of things about myself and my stutter during the conversation. It’s not a good place to rest anymore. If someone asks me at the gym “how’s it going” I will talk with them. It might seem at first I’m scared or nervous, but I’m not. I like communication, it’s just really dang hard.


If you were a teacher and had a student with a stuttering problem, would you exempt them from certain things or would you just let them go on as normal and figure it out as they go?

If I was a teacher who had a student who was a person who stutters - not a stuttering problem I don’t like that saying - I would after class, depending on what age and what grade, I would ask them what they needed. What accommodations could I give them. But also, I would want to know that I would treat them like everyone else. Whatever they needed and what we could agree on I would make happen.


How did you meet Katie Shakes and how did the conversation come up about coming into the gym?

I met Shakes through her mom. I've known her mom for years because we go to the same parish. But I didn't meet Katie until we went to Nashville together last summer. I remember the day we arrived there and Shirley told me that Katie was going to the gym to workout. "She does Crossfit," she said, and Katie followed with "have you heard of it before?" I heard a little bit about it but I couldn't tell you anything about it. I just knew very muscular people did it and it was "too hard" and for "the people who want to win medals." I told her about how I played volleyball for 8 years and softball for 2. I made fitness really a part of my life when I got out of high school cause years ago I struggled with an eating disorder and I never wanted to go back to that person I was. I was trying to find a balance for me and food and finding a workout style that FIT me. Everything I would do through fitness groups to regular conditioning for sports we never pushed for conditioning. Conditioning wasn't "the main key" in anything. I wasn't really seeing results. It was like a 3-day thing and I was NEVER taught form / what I was doing wrong. I remember the first day I walked into the gym I expected to see all these buff men with huge muscles and women who had the perfect abs and intimidated me / were who I wanted to be at some point in my life. And I saw moms, kids, teens, people my age, and I thought I walked into the wrong place. Not going to lie, Chris, you intimidated me at first because I felt like I sucked and I was not worthy of coming in. Seeing all these other people who were better than me, I felt like I was going to me that girl once again who was never going to be good enough. I learned SO much in that first day of how much my body has done things totally wrong and I never knew how much Crossfit would change my life.


Who were the first people you felt comfortable with at the gym besides Shakes?

To be honest Mrs. Bennis & Mama V.


What was your most memorable thing from Summer 2018?

Oh goodness, probably going to Nashville


When I use "Summer" with an upper-case 'S', I'm always talking about the Champions Club. So what's your most memorable Champions Club Summer moment from last year.?

Ohhhh whoops! I would say being able to push my body and mind in a whole new way. To push it in a whole new fitness level that I didn’t think I would ever reach. Seeing progress and finding a community that I get to now call home is everything. There’s really no ONE moment, just the experience I will forever be grateful.

What schools did you go to growing up?

I attended Hazel Park High School, HP Junior High School, and Ford Elementary. Now I'm at "good ole" Eastern Michigan University.


Why did you pick Eastern Michigan coming out of high school? Were you homesick during your first year?

I remember going to what felt like 1,000,000 campuses, and nothing felt “homey” and had a catholic community. And I remember I went to EMU’s campus and something about the smallness felt safe and a second home. And HAHA, uhm I probably still would if went. Then the Catholic Church right off campus had a FOCUS Catholic group. So I knew BAM THIS IS IT.


What is something you could talk about forever with someone? Like a secret obsession or something?

My love for Carrie Underwood - big surprise.


Did you pick up on her from American Idol? Or was it a different way?

 Oh you betcha:7 years old and sitting on the floor when the finale was on and I told my mom “I hope she wins, I like her, she’s so good.”


Rank the top 5 Carrie Underwood songs of all time. Rank the worst 3 country songs of all time.


Best: dang I don’t want to be like the classic CU fan who picks all the songs everyone knows. So I’m throwing in some new ones

1. Lessons Learned

2. Before He Cheats

3. Mexico / Choctaw County Affair


5. Cry Pretty



1. Anything Florida Georgia Line

2. And anything Jason Andean

- I’m a huge part of the “play more female artist on the country radio” group because radio stations are stupid and don’t know that it’s not just men who play country music -

Worst CU songs:

Okay okay ready I’ll give you 3

1. Like I’ll Never Love You Again

2 Heartbeat

3. You Won’t Find This

Can you share an embarrassing moment from your childhood that you can look back and laugh at now?

Oh gosh. I showed up to a birthday with my Halloween costume on because I thought it was a Halloween themed birthday party. Let's just say that ended with no candy in my basket or no friends after that.


What costume did you wear? And how old were you when this happened?

Also —- I was 9 and I was a FREAKING PUMPKIN. LEGIT. A PUMPKIN.

Is there anything specific you want to accomplish before you go back to school?

I think I just want to accomplish becoming the best version of myself - which I know sounds cliche - but it has always been a goal of mine. And try to beat the mind battle of “i’ll never be...”


Have you always been a strong religious person, or is that something you've developed recently?

I actually haven’t always been a strong religious person. Even though I grew up in a Catholic family. But, that’s such a long story It would take a book to explain why I am a strong religious person at this point in my life.


Ten years from now I will be...

30 and hopefully still breathing.


Ten plastic surgeries from now Carrie Underwood will be...

I think you're thinking of the wrong person. Don't tempt me!

Pics of the Week: Halloween 2018

All three Pics of the Week come from Wednesday's Halloween festivities.

First we have Woorden being a goof with the eyeballs Mrs. Carey brought in:

Next, we have Mr. Bennis dressed and ready to attempt a max height box jump:

And lastly we have the babies crew of Zeena, Conamora, Josh, and Alex (Josh's friend):

Quote of the Week vol. 266

Me: "Hey Nick, as this new house thing is going down, let me know if you need to come in at an odd hour or something."

Nick: "Thanks but I should be good. I just schedule things around this. I'll make it work."

You are not busy.




"For the first Halloween of my life, I feel defeated, unappetized, and drained. Good night, sweet candy."

- me. Organic Roasted Seaweed

Remember, the Babies/Middle School kids Halloween Workout is tonight. Come in at 5:30 with your costumes and Trick-or-Treat for an hour before heading back to the gym for a workout. And please point Reggie's biceps in the direction of the house that gives out Organic Roasted Seaweed. We will see that it is taken care of in a swift manner.

Theme Workout Announcement: Halloween 2018

Now that the Summer is over, our theme workouts come up only on holidays. The first one of the school year is our Halloween workout. In the past, the high school and college kids have dressed up, Trick-or-Treated for an hour or so, and came back to hit the workout. Last year we brought it back with some of our Babies session on a short notice. This year I want to get ahead of the game a bit.

Our Halloween workout will be on Wednesday, October 31 from 5:30 till 7(ish) pm. Kids will Trick-or-Treat during our mobility session, then do a small workout afterwards. Like I said, last year was just the Babies who participated, but any of the middle school or high school kids (or College kids) can participate as well. In order to work out, you have to Trick or Treat.

Retro 2014 group.Hope to see you guys there!

Pic of the Week: Babies Halloween

Despite the unfortunate circumstance of the Organic Roasted Seaweed, the Babies Halloween workout went very well. There were only three kids in attandance because I pretty much gave them a 3-day heads up. But Josh, Conamora, and Zeena all came dressed to impress!

Organic Roasted Seaweed

Halloween was, is now, and will always be my favorite holiday. Disney's Halloween Treat was a nightly viewing, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was an after-event tradition, and the McDonald's Halloween cassette tapes would be in heavy rotation after school while I played football in the front room. And lord have mercy... the Starbursts would roll in! Then we started to do the Halloween workout with our CrossFit group in 2010 and it has been good ever since.

I would love to say The Babies' Halloween Theme Workout tonight was awesome. I would love to say that is was a success because they practiced deadlifts with kettblebells and looked good, or they actually knew that your elbows are supposed to be in when pushing a weight over your head. And I would love to say that they were able to uphold one of the oldest and most noble of traditions once a year: an incredible sugar buzz and surefire boost in the revenue of local dentist offices. Then I binge on the leftover candy at the gym and pretend that I won't be feeling the effects of it tomorrow. Tried and true this system; one that is not to be tampered with, ever.

But of course, it has to be. PC Principal has struck down with vengence. And now I will have to explain to next year's Babies and parents how, yeah it's fun and cool, but some horrible, horrible person is out there giving out this...

... to Conamora. If I was in the English mood, I would use this as some kind of metaphor to represent the end-of-summer hope for the fall gym attendance, only to be stuck around 20 people per day, or a lens to view the current hip hop scene that has stripped much of the musical instrumentation and in-depth lyrics for repackaged, bland mumbling. Or I could write another Dr. Suess poem. But I'm just mad, so I'm not.

For the first Halloween of my life, I feel defeated, unappetized, and drained.

Good night, sweet candy.

Halloween Update + New Graduate

Just to clear things up, there are normal session times for tonight.

4:30 pm

5:30 pm

6:30 pm

The workout is not themed or changed from our regular schedule, but feel free to dress up if you want to. The babies will be starting their trick-or-treating at 6 pm, then making it back to sort candy at 7, then start their workout at 7:30 pm.

Yesterday at the 5:30 session, Emma DeMonaco got her first double under during the warmup.

Emma finished her cross country season on a high note with a pr in last Friday's race. So now that the season in over look out for her and Avery (and NKOTB Maddison) to be regulars at the sessions. In fact, Emma is pretty close to getting her first pull-up. Stay tuned...