Brian Levesque | Cascade CrossFit photo credit: Armaggeddon Games

Brian Levesque | Cascade CrossFit (photo courtesy of the Armageddon Games)

 

September’s Member of the Month!!! Brian Levesque! Here’s another member that it is no question why we have selected him to be member of the month. Brian is obviously a stud and when he started, he certainly was pretty fit. He is one of those people who is just a natural athlete, but has also put in a ton of hard work to get to where he is at. You give him a couple cues…he gets a muscle up. Another couple cues…he is double-undering. Although that can be super annoying to the rest of us where it takes us forever to learn a skill, it’s certainly inspiring that he accomplishes what he puts his mind to so quickly.

Brian has built some crazy strength as well and it was awesome to watch him compete in his first CrossFit competition, the Armageddon Games (photo above) with his partner, Tanner. They finished 11th, I believe, out of 30 super competitive teams, which is freaking awesome. And, of course, Brian is about as nice a guy as they get. He always is listening and always accepting of constructive criticism, which is really unique. We are so grateful to have both him and his wife, Julie, as members at Cascade, as well as their daughter Faith! Check out his story below!

Well I first want to say a big thank you to everyone on the coaching staff and I feel honored to be the September member of the month. I truly believe that Cascade has the best coaches I’ve ever worked with. Their knowledge of how to do lifts properly and the encouragement through a workout is what has kept me wanting to push harder and be better every time I walk in.

I’ll start off why I started crossfit. I was in the military for 8 years and when I got out, I missed that feeling of accomplishing a challenging run or exercising together as a group and pushing each other harder past a limit we thought possible. I was going to the gym and doing hot yoga but I was getting tired of the same routines and needed a challenge. I started looking online at boot camps and came across a groupon for a crossfit place in N. Seattle for just a couple weeks. I didn’t really get that welcoming feeling and wasn’t receiving enough instruction so I started to do some research to look for a new box. I remember my first day walking into Cascade around lunchtime and seeing Martindale building a bobsled out of the box jumps with a few of the other coaches playing around. I wasn’t sure what to expect but after doing my first WOD I knew that I had found my new home.

I had started right around when the open workouts began in 2014 and after watching everyone come out and give it their all during Friday Night Lights, it made me want to strive to be the best I can be and maybe even reach competition level one day. I was determined to continuously work on my weaknesses and about a year and a half later, I feel ready to do my first competition and it’s all thanks to Tanner for encouraging me to do it with him. I have reached goals that I never thought were possible and have never felt better. I know I haven’t mastered every skill and technique and might not ever, but this is why I love crossfit. There’s always room for improvement.

It really is like a second family and I feel like a kid at a playground every time I workout. Everyone is so friendly and I don’t have to worry about finding child care so my wife and I can work out together. We are all happy to be a part of the Cascade community (including Faith). My wife and I currently live in Seattle and started to look for a new box but nothing could compare to Cascade so we decided to stick out the long drive until we move back to the east side. You all make it worth the drive!

Silke Grainger | Cascade CrossFit
Silke Grainger | Cascade CrossFit

Silke Grainger | Cascade CrossFit

If you have seen Silke at the gym or seen her times, it probably comes as no surprise that we have selected Silke as our August Member of the Month. Silke has been with us ever since she moved from Florida three years ago. We knew she’d fit right in, when the day she came to check us out, we told her we were going to float the river and she was immediately down. Admittedly, we were super pumped as we were needing some strong girls for our Cascade Team, and we couldn’t have been more excited to see Silke walk through our doors! 😉

Over the last three years, Silke has always been on our Cascade team that has competed at Regionals and has gotten so close to making it to the CrossFit Games. In fact, Silke’s team back in Florida went to the Games the year before she came to our gym. She has got to be one of the most competitive people I have met in my life. It’s been so awesome, and inspiring, to watch Silke and her determination the last three years. To me, it humbles me and shows me the difference in mindset between me (who likes to think I can hang in competition) to someone who actually competes and crushes it.

Silke is due with her first baby, August 19th, and pregnancy has just continued to show her drive and passion for fitness. At 39 weeks pregnant, she is still RX’ing and beating most of the heavy hitters in the gym. Working out at her level while pregnant certainly is not for everyone, but for Silke and her level of athleticism, it’s pretty amazing to see what she accomplishes. I know there is a lot of skepticism that goes along with CrossFit and pregnancy. I certainly had my fair share of critics while I worked out pregnant. I want to assert that from Day 1 of her pregnancy, she has had that baby as her top priority. And has been under total supervision of her doctor. I’m proud and inspired by her to see how she continues to workout and modify how she needs to, to get the best workout possible.

We are also thankful for, yet another, awesome person to be part of Cascade. Silke, as well as her husband Simon, are such kind and good-hearted people. We are grateful for the friendship that has come out of them being a part of Cascade!

Love you Silke and can’t wait to see the massive guns your baby will have when he comes out! 😉

Here is Silke’s write up (Silke focused on her CrossFit and pregnancy journey):

Crossfit and pregnancy is a highly debated subject from all my research. Speaking for my story, there have been a ton of benefits that have also been backed up by my doctor for continuing this training throughout my entire pregnancy.  

Having started Crossfit in 2008 and never having not competed in it somehow since then (Sectionals, Open, Regionals, Games) until this year being pregnant, my story might differ a little from many others. I dreaded becoming pregnant because being fit is such an important thing in my life and let me tell you, Google can definitely be your enemy when you try to figure out how to handle this type of change.  Morning sickness was not on the menu, thankfully, and I believe it had a lot to do with the training.

The industry is moving away from the 140bpm limit recommendation for pregnant women, but it all depends on prior fitness levels. I thought I had to walk as a workout for 10 months and went into depression the first trimester because of it … thanks Google. Of course at that stage you are also waiting to make sure there is no miscarriage risk and for the 20 week ultrasound results to prove you have a healthy developing baby. I switched from my old competition training style to the class workouts and the results have been awesome. I have no more back, shoulder or knee issues and have actually become stronger in many things from adding in a lot of strict movements. My cardio conditioning has remained the same, exceptions of course are pull-ups , ring dips and any upper body bodyweight related movements, which are rougher and slower with this almost 30 pound baby weight vest on every day.

I make little contraptions with plates and mats to create a hole in the ground for my belly so I can still do burpees or pushups and obviously, I had to start laying off the abs in the last couple months. Thanks to all of this training now at 39 weeks pregnant, I have achieved my own personal little goals of not being the pregnant lady who has to support her back when standing, waddling, needing help tying her shoes, having issues with gestational diabetes or any other things many pregnant women unfortunately have to deal with… not yet at least (hopefully I didn’t just jinx myself for the last few weeks). Not to forget the positive attitude all of this created in me, helping me stay focused in my professional life as well.  My weight has fluctuated between 20 and 30 pounds (mostly relating to sodium intake) and other than when I was sitting all-day or flying, I have had no swollen joints of any kind.  The weeks where I did not have time to train I could see my weight skyrocket and negativity creep in slowly. Now at 39 weeks pregnant and 26 pound weight gain, the baby showing in the 93 percentile in size and measuring much larger than average… I hope all of this strength will benefit me when giving birth.
I would not recommend everything I did to all pregnant women out there and am fortunate to not have dealt with a high-risk pregnancy, but I would definitely encourage scaled versions of it. Staying fit equals staying happy and having had support through our Cascade community and seeing the other pregnant women in our gym has kept me going. I hope I can do the same for others to come.

 

Preston Hogan | Cascade CrossFit

Preston Hogan | Cascade CrossFit

I really apologize for this coming out basically the middle of July, but June was a bit of a crazy month for us! Regardless, we are so proud of Preston and have picked him for our June Member of the Month!!

Preston has been at Cascade for nearly a year and a half and it has been so awesome to see how far he has come since he started. Preston has worked hard from day one…consistently pushing himself and working before or after the workout on what he wanted to improve on. The proof is in his consistency and hard work and goes to show what you can accomplish!

Preston is, of course, such a nice guy and has been an awesome addition to Cascade…another reason that makes our community such an amazing community! We love seeing what people can achieve with some hard work, and Preston, you are so deserving of the spotlight for all your hard work!

Here is more from Preston! Love it!

Member of the month…wow I don’t even know what to say. I suppose I should thank Tenny, Kyle, and Nick first off for creating such an amazing community that I can legitimately call my second family. I’ve never felt so welcomed by a place outside of my own home. Well my CrossFit journey actually started my senior year of high school (07/08) at Woodinville fire station 31 in a firefighting tech prep program. We basically had to stick to the cardio and bodyweight workouts but it gave me a taste of what CrossFit was about, or at least I thought. Fast forward 2 years after a move to Chicago for technical college, I found myself back in the PNW with a new career as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic. Weighing in at roughly 130 lbs most of the parts I was installing on trucks had the upper hand. I would come home exhausted and knew I had to get into the gym. I tried the 24 thing, I bought a bowflex and I’m sure like everyone else, wasn’t able to stay motivated. I looked back into CrossFit and it was nothing like I remembered. CrossFit had exploded into a sport and it was intimidating. I read all kinds of crazy articles about people dropping dead in gyms and how it will ruin your life. I decided to give it a go anyway and checked out a few local boxes. The minute I stepped foot in Cascade I remember hearing everyone cheer for someone’s new PR. I instantly knew this was the place for me. Coming in with zero weightlifting experience I had a lot to learn and quickly realized that all of our coaches are top notch. Each one brings so much experience and expertise to the gym. What really stood out to me was the focus on form over weight and how “RX” doesn’t mean anything. After a year and a half at Cascade I can easily say I’m in the best shape of my life and it hasn’t killed me yet, although I’ve felt close a few times. I’ve shaved over 2 minutes off of my mile time, continue to improve my PRs and most importantly have made new friendships with some pretty awesome people. CrossFit has turned working out from a chore to something I look forward to everyday and get seriously upset when I can’t make it in.

In my “spare time” you’ll either find me in a yoga studio or deep in the forest backpacking. I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon about a year ago and feel amazing! (Thanks Tenny) CrossFit has not only made me physically fit but mentally strong. I am a completely different person than I was 16 months ago, more focused, determined, and confident than ever. I want to say thanks to all the coaches and fellow members for being so supportive and always pushing me to that next level. I’m not sure what the future has in store for me, but I have a hard time picturing it without Cascade CrossFit!

Lastly to anyone who is thinking about giving CrossFit a try or just getting started, just know the workouts never get easier, you just get stronger and it feels so good!
Ciao!

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Well…yes…pigs are flying somewhere because Michelle Anderson is our May Member of the Month! 🙂 No, that’s not very nice. Even though one of Michelle’s most toned muscles is her mouth and she doesn’t exactly win the “World’s Most Punctual to Class” Award, this lady is so deserving of Member of the Month.

It’s crazy that it has already been over three years at Cascade. I totally remember when Michelle first started because CrossFit was so foreign to her and I really didn’t know if she was going to stick with it. Over the last three years, Michelle has accomplished so much and her body has completely transformed. I mean…check out those arms in her pic! Get it girrrrrrl! From starting at very low and taking her time to slowly increase, Michelle is now impressively strong. One thing that has stuck out to me is that she is always challenging herself to do a little more. She might do 75# instead of 65# or a 24” box instead of a 20”. Even if it isn’t a recommendation to go advanced, she still does it. I also totally love her attitude towards lifting. She works hard and cares about proper form and is totally humble enough to not go more than she should do. But, I also think she is constantly surprising herself at what she actually CAN do!

Besides becoming such a stud, Michelle  is an amazing person. She can talk to anyone about anything with being so sincere and caring. It’s no wonder she has made such a slough of friends here, because she genuinely cares about people and treats them that way. We are so lucky to have people like that at this gym. Even as much as a hard time as we give her for talking all.the.time…she’s respectful, thoughtful, and incredibly hard working.

Michelle- you are totally inspiring and we are so blessed to have you as a part of the Cascade family!

Here’s Michelle’s story:

Hello!

Well, I can truly say that miracles do happen… I can’t believe I was chosen as Member of the Month!!  It has been a running joke for a couple of years amongst the 9am’ers that the only Member of the Month I will ever receive is the “Social” Member of the Month award.  Haha!  On a more serious note, I am truly honored to be recognized.  My Crossfit journey began a few years ago when I was in a fitness rut.  I had been a member at The Pine Lake Club for years doing the same old aerobic classes and not seeing the results I was looking at achieve.  I started researching other types of workouts and watched YouTube videos about Crossfit.  I was totally freaked out after watching the videos, and put Crossfit on hold for awhile.  Fast forward a few months… I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the kids when my neighbor Heather Harris walked up wearing a Cascade Crossfit tank top with perfectly cut arms.  I started talking to her about Crossfit, and more importantly, Cascade Crossfit.  She encouraged me to give it a try and raved about the gym and the amazing trainers.  I can safely say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I am so grateful for the people that I have met at the gym, the endless support and the dedication to fitness that I feel every time I step into the gym.  Cascade Crossfit is more than just a gym; it is a community of fun, happy, dedicated and goal oriented people.  Crossfit for me is really about setting attainable goals and working to achieve them.  It is the little victories along the way that keep us all coming back for more. I am thankful for being introduced to Paleo a few years back.  It has changed my life!  I had been struggling with food allergies and been mis-diagnosed for years.  I decided to heal my body through good nutrition and awesome advice from my friend Brooke Erickson, who is studying to be a Nutritionist.  If you haven’t taken the Paleo plunge, I totally encourage it.  You will see results and feel amazing.

Lastly, I have to thank all my girls’ (and Pete) at the 9AM class for all their support and encouragement over the years.  I can honestly say that I have made life-long friends at Cascade Crossfit.  The friendships even trickle down to my son Brady and his friendship with Conor Mosley.  They met at the gym a few summers ago and have been best friends since Marshall allowed them to move his car… a bond that will never be broken.  Fitness is a personal journey; but I could not have done it without Cascade Crossfit.  Thank you Kyle, Tenny and Nick for taking a “chance” on opening the gym and pouring your heart and soul into the success of each member.  Your hard work even paid off for this “chatty” girl!  ☺

Jeff Holy | Cascade CrossFit
Jeff Holy | Cascade CrossFit

Jeff Holy | Cascade CrossFit

He may not like the spotlight very much, but your Mr. April Member of the Month is Jeff Holy! 😉

Jeff and his wife Aimee have been at Cascade for years, and it has been so awesome to have them as a part of the family. What has stood out with Jeff is that he really is such a kind person and so hard working. But, I think the thing that stands out the most about Jeff, and that we respect so much as coaches, is his dedication to form and technique. He is humble enough to know when he needs to scale weight or movement…which is rare! We have always commented on how Jeff is one of the people in the gym who has the best form, and he certainly has worked hard to get there. Really proud of him for that and hope that others see how awesome that is as well.

I also love seeing how Jeff and his wife always get after the Saturday partner workouts. It’s not too often that you see couples partnering up and getting after a workout together, and it’s awesome to watch them crush it together!

Make sure if you see Jeff, to congratulate him! We are so thankful to have him as a part of the gym and just another example of why we are so lucky to be surrounded by this group of people!

Check out his story!

 

Thank you Tenny, Kyle and Nick for considering me worthy of member of the month. There are so many great people at Cascade that this is truly an honor for me.

When I was 45 years old I found myself in a terrible physical and mental state. Like many, I was working far too many hours in a very stressful environment and my fitness had decreased to a pathetic level. To make things worse, middle aged metabolism had fully kicked in and I started packing on the fat – I looked and felt like total fluff. So, there I was with a beautiful wife and two wonderful boys of 3 and 9 and I was literally falling apart on them. Fast forward five years later and now I’m Mr. April….<Big Grin>. All joking aside, I literally woke up the morning after my 45th Christmas and pledged to make whatever changes were needed to help ensure that I would see my boys start families of their own one day.

A few months later I had successfully lost 20 pounds at the standard gym alone and I emphasize alone – boring!.  My wife Aimee, had been doing Crossfit at Cascade for a few months when she invited me to join her for a Saturday morning partner workout. I remember it being a hot summer day and that we had to do lots of box jumps, rope climbs and running. It was a really long and hard workout and I was amazed by how supportive and nice everyone was. I was also very impressed with how great the coach was. She was very supportive, highly competent at coaching the movements and very good at keeping newbees like me out of trouble. At the end of that grueling WOD we all staggered about congratulating one another for conquering that beast. I would no longer be working out alone – I was hooked!

Crossfit has been an amazing journey for me that has transformed exercise from a necessary chore to a hobby and sport that I can’t get enough of. There seems to be a never ending list of things to learn and try to master and the people are welcoming, down to earth and, just like me, they want to live the best lives they can for themselves and for their families. For anyone looking to start Crossfit, Cascade is one of the best affiliates you’ll find anywhere – my travels have taken me to many. And for the new members at Cascade, take your time and focus on becoming proficient with the movements and before you know it you’ll see your scores start to jump up the leader board. After all, Crossfit is a journey not a destination.

Cheers!

Photo Credit: TAustin Photography