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Entries in jennifer (51)

The Story of Jennifer in America

In August 2015, Jennifer Banet earned an Athlete of the Week honor. I was mad, actually, because I like to do a small write-up on the athlete in question, and I could not figure out how to put Jennifer Banet into words. She was there, kind of; not quite strong, not quite fast, sort of awkward, but somehow really good. In fact, arguably the best trending athlete in the entire gym at the time. In retrospect she was like the 2009 Kid Cudi of the Champions Club. I remember sitting by the pole under the loft on that Saturday having the toughest time trying to write the post, so I just compared her to a drinking fountain.

Now she is the Athlete of the Summer 2018 and I get to write an entire article about her. Not sure how this will turn out.


Summer 2013 was an all-timer. While it is famous for the injection of the best college athletes we’ve ever seen (Shannon, DeJour, Josh, Cam, Buzz, Faust, AJ), it was also the arrival of a name that now lives in Champions Club lore: Banet. Elizabeth and Erika were superstars of the 10 am rookie session, and Jacqueline did Fundamentals so she could be with her former G.A. classmates (Ricky, Jason, Katie Bromm, etc.) at 1:30. There were many posts the following year that highlighted pull-ups, muscle-ups, perfect technique, play time, and Beast Modes from the sister trio. They were in the middle of the generation we called The Freaks – not necessarily in the athletic sense, but the obsessive way the entire group bought into the Champions Club philosophy.

Then leading up to Summer 2014, we heard that there was, in fact, a fourth Banet in existence, confined to her room, saving Christmas, birthday, and chore money, doing crunches and Insanity workouts, and carving tallies on the walls with her fingernails to count down the days until her parents allowed her to join. And on Saturday, May 25, a few days after her 8th grade graduation, Jennifer Banet came in for her first workout. Here’s how the following Summers went:

  • 2014 – Great Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2015 – Best Summer for Jen, best overall Summer the Champions Club has seen
  • 2016 – Bad Summer for Jen, below average Summer for the Champions Club
  • 2017 – Worst Summer for Jen, average Summer for the Champions Club

For both Jennifer, and the Champions Club as a whole, the glory Summer of 2015 is something that would always serve as the compare-to link for every workout and every season. Missing a pr is never fun.

The trend continued downward for Jennifer until February 2018, when she expressed to me that she had “figured some things out” in her life and decided that she wanted to make her fitness a higher priority. This was not something new, as Shannon and I both made regular attempts to get her back to where we thought her potential was. But we gave it another try and slowly but surely she got her way back into shape. Soon we found that “slowly but surely” that translates to 2 weeks in Jennifer time. And by May, she set Champions Club high school girls records in Murph, Michael, and Helen, and earned MVP honors on her track team. It helps to have the Banet gene, I suppose.

After Jennifer’s performances in the late-spring, I had an eye out for her as a potential Athlete of the Summer. Is this playing favorites? Definitely. But being under a microscope leaves little room for error. Needless to say, Jen got the “preferential Chris treatment” envied by absolutely nobody in the gym; it has little to do with increased weight or rounds, but heavily leans on testing for weakness, which is not quite the way I operate on a daily basis. As a whole, I pamper everyone in the gym by scaling; recommends a prescription for the day – designed to exceed the capacity of Matt Fraser over time – and we adjust so Reggie and Woorden can do it. This is both necessary and the best way to improve fitness over the long haul. This is not, however, the best way to test fitness. Throw them to the wolves and see how they fare.

So Jennifer got tested more this Summer than I remember doing with anyone, and I can say with certainty that she responded every single time. Every. Single. Time. Her worst workout was Fight Gone Bad, where she pr’d and nearly hit 300 reps. And as for body language, mental toughness, and tolerance: drinking fountains don't show emotion, they just do their job. When it comes to pure performance, this is the best Summer I think any Champions Club athlete's ever had. During that power clean/toes to bar couplet, I remember trying to enjoy the fact that after 4 years of waiting for Jennifer to reach her potential, I was suddenly watching it.


In the Champions Club Checklist, I mentioned patience as the first bullet point.

“To be patient, you are constantly thinking and operating in the present. Although it seems looking ahead is the key to patience, doing so will often skew your present thinking – which can cause you to doubt yourself and act impatiently. [...] Someone who is patient understands that there are good snapshots and there are bad snapshots and trusts in the process to get through both of them.”

Guess who I listed as my "good" example. 2015 Jennifer was a rising star who showed flashes of what she was capable of. She was protected by light weights and modifications that helped ensure success, and the end result showed an athlete who looked ready to take the next step. But for a million reasons the payoff did not happen the next year. So we regrouped, came back rejuvenated, and… another year of disappointment.

As far as math has taught me, two points on a graph can make a line, and this line was trending down. It really takes something to be able to look at that trend line, accept it, and calmly work to make it go in a different direction. This is exactly what Jennifer did this Summer. One small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision, followed by one small decision led to where she ended up on August 31 - a state of being commonly known as “legit." Of course, Jen hasn’t been in the gym a single day since then, and that’s okay. She started her freshman year at college, is living on campus, and is adjusting to a new style of life. It's part of the progression.

In football there is a definite end point: I want to be better than you by the end of the 4th quarter. In the Champions Club, there is no endpoint. We are playing an infinite game – a huge trend line (wait, wouldn't that be a ray line, or something?) comprised of an unfathomable amount of micro trend lines. Jennifer is going to have a worse Summer than 2017. Jennifer is also going to have a better Summer than 2018. Both are unavoidable. I think she knows that, and that’s why she’s so Jennifer about everything.

But this is now, and Summer 2018 saw Jennifer transform into a machine. The cool thing, though, is no matter how many Beast Modes she’ll put up or records she’ll break, the youthful, fun, cool core will always be there.

Athlete of the Summer Feature Series + Sneak Peek

There is one last drip of fantastic nostalgia from a great time long ago (or 3 weeks, on this case). Starting in 2015, I wrote a little mini-editorial on the Athlete of the Summer. They usually turn out pretty well, and I try to give little hints as to how the athlete in question can represent the gym as a whole. Here's the previous year's ones:

2010: Cool as the Unthawed

2011: The Blue Devil Beat

2012: Our Guide to the Great Valley

2013: A Wild Katie Bromm Appeared

2014: Some Days Even My Lucky Rocketship Underpants Don't Help

2015: I Am the CrossFit Oasis, I Got a Cup of Your Time I Won't Waste It

2016: We Love to Hate the Shakes We Love

2017: DIV: Destination in View

The Story of Jennifer in America comes out tomorrow at 5 pm.

Champions Club Summer 2018 Dream Team + Athlete of the Summer

While not quite as difficult as 2015, this Summer was a two-person race similar to 2014's between Jason and Lauren. Jennifer Banet vs. Erica Krueger: workout domination vs. Most Improved Player. Since early July, it seemed it would come down to these two, and neither budged. Jennifer slipped in attendance towards the end, and I was hoping she would make it to at least 70%. Meanwhile, Erica ran into a little dry spell during the workouts in late-July. Still both kids put up very impressive bodies of work this Summer, and made this decision difficult for me.

The Athlete of the Summer 2018 goes to Jennifer Banet.

For Jennifer, it really came down to performance, and she set the tone with the first two workouts of the Summer. From that point on I really kept a harsh eye on her for every session. And I have to say this is the first time I can remember where there were truly no off-days. Not a single one. We all know Jennifer's track background and how well she performs in the running/light weight workouts, but this Summer she really got challenged with heavier weights - whether it was the heavy dumbbells on Erin, 65-lbs. on the snatch/double under couplet, 45-lb.plate on the Overhead lunge workout, 125 lbs. on the deadlift/burpee classic, or 95-lb. sdhp's on the late-July sprint WOD. Her impressive performances on these "weakness" workouts, coupled with her usual dominance in workouts like Gunny earner her this award.

Congratulations Jennifer! Be on the lookout for her Feature Editorial coming soon.


Jennifer Banet was the headliner for what proved to be one of the top 3 Summers the Champions Club has ever seen (2015 and 2013 were probably 1 and 2 respectively). We saw lots of new people, the return of some old people, and most importantly, we saw the attendance back on track.

Here's the complete Summer 2018 Dream Team (attendance percentage in parenthesis):

  1. Ashley Fry (100)
  2. Cecilia Steinwascher (93)
  3. Katie Shakes (86)
  4. Danielle Worden (84)
  5. Josie Junkin (82)
  6. Nick Bewick (73)
  7. Erica Gibbons (70)
  8. Lindsey (68)
  9. Mrs. Bennis (68)
  10. Jennifer (67), Mrs. Colussi (67), Ally Kauzlarich (67)

Ashley Fry. For the first time since Katie Bromm's legendary 2013 Summer, we had a perfect attendee in the books. We officially counted 73 days of possible attendance, and Ashley Fry was at every single one. The only day she was absent for was a random Saturday on June 16 where nothing of any importance happened whatsoever, and we did not count that weekend or Monday anyway. Fryday came into the Summer on a 3+ month hiatus, and it took her a minute to get her fitness and strength back where it was, but she closed out really well and is looking to have a great fall.

Record signup. We finished with 94 freaking people signed up for the Summer. Our previous record was somewhere in the 70's. During the winter my goal was to have a 100-person Summer about 2 or 3 years from now. Hopefully this Summer is a sign that I may have been too conservative with my wish. This, of couse, made attendance-keeping very difficult, as many of the new kids came on as the Summer was already in progress. Thankfully, Jacob came through and helped me get the numbers on record. I'm fairly certain that the numbers aren't off my more than a percent for anyone, if at all.

Rookies. Going into the Summer I basically had to make the choice between our current people and prospecive new people. I chose the new people and while it definitely hurt people like Reggie, Mr. Auggie, and Shannon, it helped bring on our most populated Rookie session of all time. We had 24 rookies split between the 10 am and 5:30 pm sessions. Coach T brought in a fair amount, Shakes and Jacob each brought in one, and the rest seemed to straggle in from recommendations from you kind folks. It was awesome, and it looks like we're going to have a pretty good carryover.

Parents. The thing that spearheaded our Summer 2015 was the influx of awesome parents; the Andersons, Mr. Auggie, Mr. WA, and Mrs. Kroll all joined that May and it set us up for a great Summer. This time around we had two very crucial families join: the Benni and Colussis.

I'm telling you all right now, we are really lucky to have these two families with us. They buy in to everything we do, they spread the word, and, most importantly, they show up a lot! Their presence made it easy for other new parents like Barry, Angie, and Schornack to blend it, and also brought some life to our ancient elders like Mrs. Carey, Mr. Wonsil, Reggie, and crew.

The kids are the picture and the parents are the frame. When we have a strong parents crew, seasons go from good to great really fluidly.

Is this a liability? Probably. One of the most important things the Benni brought to the gym was their son, Josh. Not to the babies sessions, but to the regular ones. See there are two of them, and one Josh, and if they wanted to work out then Josh needed to come to or else their house would be a wreck when the returned. I never saw a problem with it, and soon Mallory Colussi joined in, as well as Kayla Pauly. But the most entertaining crew, by far, was the Nevarez family! Every day the five(!) of them would walk up to the gym and Mrs. Nevarez would do her thing while Natalie, JT, El, and Johnny J would run (or crawl) around the gym. It definitely added a lot of life to everything and I even opened the invitation to the rest of the crew.

Summary. Like I said before, this was really a great one. We introduced the SpongeBob workout, had Coach T help out 3 days per week, housed the entire Junkin family, produced high attendance numbers, and had a good variety of people at each session. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. There will be two editorials coming out soon: the first being a new installment in the Building a Champion series that will talk in detail about what was going on behind the scenes during the Summer and where we are going from here, then Jennifer Banet's Athlete of the Summer feature (which I haven't started yet) will talk about... well... Jennifer. And some other symbolic stuff. But before that - or maybe after, who knows? - I'll post the final attendance numbers and the results of the Summer 2018 Draft. So plenty to look out for in the coming weeks.

Thank you guys again for a great Summer! See you guys next year (or tomorrow, or whenever).

Beast Mode: 9 am Fight Gone Bad

Welp everyone, it doesn't get much worse than this. Fight Gone Bad is the hardest workout I have ever come across in my 12 years of CrossFit, and you guys put up really good numbers.

Our 9 am session featured two Banets, Cecilia, Div, Alyssa, and Olivia. Here's how they looked:

How does FGB rank on your list of toughest workouts?

Disney Doozy 2018 Recap

We had another good turnout for a theme workout this morning; 16 including me at the Disney Doozy! We made a few modifications on the fly with rep counting; Baloo's Bear Crawls were on the blue mat and counted for 4 each trip down (8 for down-and-back), Tinkerbells were synchronized and counted same as Hakuna Matata Tabata Squats. As expected, there were a few mix-ups on the station rotations, but nothing that couldn't be figured out. In the end it went pretty smooth, the team of Jennifer and Murley (MurleyMouse and IncrediBANET) won with a convincing score of 622.

We don't have a full photo gallery, but there are a few uploads in the July '18 Daily WODs gallery, and you can see the full workout results here.

Great job to everyone and that's for the turnout! This is probably my favorite Theme Workout. Also, big ups to Erica for driving an hour to the gym this morning just to come to the workout. Definitely earned some brownie points there, and adds to her resume' for an already very impressive Summer. Next week will be another theme workout. Check back soon for the announcement!

Traditional post-workout movie viewing. Lindsey convinced everyone on Tangled.

Senior Tribute 2018

by, Danielle Worden...

Jennifer Banet aka Jen

One of the most hard working athletes I know. She never gives up especially when it comes to breaking records. Off days you ask? Jen doesn't know what those are. Not only is she a top athlete but she enjoys what she does. Whenever I see her in the gym she never fails to have a smile on her face. She shines bright and inspires those around her. Overall she is an amazing person and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for her!! Good luck girl!

Jennifer's first day at the Champions Club - Summer 2014

Brendan Crawford

I honestly didn't know his first name until a month after meeting him; I only knew him as Crawford. Oh boy where do I start...besides calling everyone a "Jew" Crawford is a pretty good kid and actually quite intelligent, outside the gym. But in the gym he works hard until the work is done and from there on out it's all fun and games. He is definitely the goofball of the gym yet his dumb jokes never fail to put a smile on someone's face. The gym will be much quieter without him but overall his work ethic and personality will be missed. Good luck at Macomb and Lawrence Tech!

Crawford and his 11 am goobers from Summer 2016

...and Carter the Blob

Aaron Sexton

Aaron is one of the weirdest people ever. He can roast you and then be cool with you. A big part about what kept me trying to compete with the rest of the people in a workout is just to beat Aaron a brag to him(never beat him). He has this weird catchphrase that makes no sense whatsoever but is just so odd and catchy that Chris and I both say it. Holy potatoes Jim, its been awhile since you been in the gym.  (That rhymes, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it)

7th grade Aaron Sexton - Summer 2013

Dawson Bielski

I was hella impressed ever time I saw dawson play football and he'd be out on the field. Crossfit has worked wonders on him and from a perspective of a younger highschooler it was interesting to see someone built to be a jock be so chill and relaxed. I would always laugh when he pulled up with the purple Dodge Charger. That was so funny to me.

Super Gump in the flesh with his first double under. Summer 2016

Kenny Jensen

KENNYYYYY. By far one of the quietest people in the gym but that's ok. He works his ass off any work out I've seen him in. I remember the good ol' no on squad with Crawford, Kenny, and the little short kid(matt?mike? Something with an M). That was fun and I'm glad Kenny would be one of the few i tried to keep up with. He always gives his full and I'd like to see him back in the gym some day.

Kenny's death stare in his rookie class at Summer 2016

Beast Mode: Linda at 9 am

Yesterday we took on one one of the most notorious workouts in all of CrossFit: "Linda." The full workout requires 3 separate bars (which is also why the workout is known as the 3 Bars of Death) and is a lot of volume at heavy weights. Due to equipment and strength levels, we modified this workout heavily, doing heavy(ish) deadlifts, slow push-ups, and dumbbell cleans. Our 9 am session looked good yesterday. Check them out:

As usual, we were looking for the form on the round of 1 to look the same as it did at the start of the workout, and I think they all did a great job of that.