908 Athletics – Westfield
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Strength training and fitness have been a part of my life since my teenage years. In my early fitness years I focused heavily on isolated, bodybuilding exercises. As my knowledge base grew, I began to incorporate more compound, functional weight training movements into my routine. It was what my training had been missing for so long. In 2007, I found CrossFit and shortly thereafter began training at CrossFit Hoboken. Not only did I find an amazing gym, but I also found a community of hard-working and supportive people that helped keep me accountable to my fitness goals. I was in love, and I knew that I wanted CrossFit to be a part of the rest of my life. In 2008, I became Level 1 certified, and began to shadow as a trainer at CrossFit Hoboken. After four years of not being satisfied at my job in finance, I decided to quit and follow my passion of CrossFit. In October of 2009, I opened CrossFit 908, now known as 908 Athletics. Since opening CrossFit 908, I helped open CrossFit Jersey City in 2012 and more recently became a Certified CrossFit Coach (Level 3). Our motto at CrossFit 908 is “Community, Accountability, Hard Work.” Being healthy is not the easiest thing to do, but with the right support, right trainers, and right attitude, the sky’s the limit for your fitness. We are just as heavily invested in our training and coaching as we are in our bonds with our community. What I originally thought would be just a “gym,” has turned into a family and a place I like to call home. In June 2012 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was not something I accepted easily, and it is still a daily struggle to get past the nagging reminders of finger sticks and the insulin pump that sits on my hip that looks a bit like a 1990’s beeper. I never wanted to accept that I had a limitation, nor did I want a new excuse as to why I could not reach my fitness goals. While T1D certainly has its limitations, CrossFit has helped me to become mentally strong. It is easy to get down when blood sugar lows and highs can ruin not only your training, but also your day. However, through the strength I derive from physically challenging myself in CrossFit, as well as the love and support my wife and my community give me, I am able to continue to pursue athletic endeavors. From 2011 through 2014, I competed at the CrossFit North East Regionals. In 2014, I began competing in a new co-ed team sport called GRID. I played for the DC Brawlers as their captain, and we were the champions of the inaugural season. CrossFit is a wonderful facet in the amazing world of fitness. It has helped me to achieve so many things from both a personal and business perspective. What’s more is that I have seen hundreds of people make significant positive changes in their lives because of the CrossFit methodology. My hope is to open more CrossFit gyms that help build strong bodies and strong minds.
Throughout high school, my sport was running – cross country, winter, and spring track. I had a love-hate relationship with competing, so I decided not to continue with track in college but continued to run to stay in shape. A few years after college, I was sidelined with an ankle injury that wouldn’t allow me to run much further than five miles at a time. After getting ankle surgery and still experiencing the same issues, I figured I would give CrossFit a try. My then boyfriend, now husband Tim, had been taking classes at a local CrossFit gym, and he was completely hooked. I, on the other hand, was tentative – I had many of the initial thoughts that women have when it comes to CrossFit. I already had an athletic build… Was I going to get big and bulky if I lifted weights? However, after we got engaged and Tim opened 908, I knew there was no denying that I was going to be doing CrossFit for the rest of my life. All those silly thoughts I had about CrossFit and lifting weights went out the window. Instead of just focusing on how my body looked, I was empowered by what my body could do and how strong I felt. To say that I fell in love would be an understatement. Two and a half years after 908 opened, my role transitioned from supportive wife to working in the business full time. I continue to be inspired by members who transform not only their bodies but their mindsets through fitness and nutrition. What I originally thought would be just a gym is now an amazing and supportive community that I am proud to call my family.
My passion for health and fitness started when I ventured off to college. I wanted to make sure when I left home I could still live a healthy and fit lifestyle. After years of researching running and lifting, my passion fell short. I became bored of doing the same thing. I was introduced to CrossFit in 2011, which has forever changed my life. I have used the CrossFit methodology since 2011, and I constantly strive to become a better athlete and person in and out of the gym. The discipline I have learned through CrossFit has not only made me the strongest and fittest I have ever been, but it has also helped me to become the most confident I have ever been. My passion for health and fitness, and my desire to share with others what CrossFit has done for me, drove me to obtain my Level 1 certification. Since being certified I have coached at several local gyms, but eventually landed back where I started, at 908. The joy I get from helping others achieve their health and fitness goals drives.
After a couple years of sporadically working out and getting nowhere, I started looking for something that would help keep me in some sort of decent shape. One night while hanging out with some friends, I related how hard it was to maintain any kind of workout routine and how challenging it was to motivate myself to do any exercise on a regular basis. My friend mentioned a workout program he read about online called CrossFit. Having no experience or understanding of CrossFit’s methodology, I checked the website the next day and decided to try the posted workout. That workout was “Angie” – 100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 squats, and 100 sit ups. It took me something around an hour and a half, but at the end I immediately realized the potency of the CrossFit program. It was a brutal introduction, but at the same time it got me excited to learn and try more. Shortly after, I started doing CrossFit workouts in my basement. In the beginning, I had to do a lot of reading and watch a lot of videos to learn new movements so I could perform them in the workouts. Not only was I learning different movements, but I also started to understand CrossFit’s concepts of constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity all while scaling appropriately and maintaining virtuosity of movement. Seeing the changes I was making and the passion I had for CrossFit, some of my friends became interested in CrossFit and started coming over to workout together. It got to the point where I would have 3-8 friends coming over every night to workout. They looked to me for help with movements, modifications, and scaling so I thought it only right that I get training to better help myself and my friends. This led to me obtaining my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification in July 2011. I felt that I still had a lot to learn and that I needed more experience in training, so I started looking for a place that would help me grow. By chance, I found myself at 908 Athletics. Tim Carroll was gracious enough to take me under his wing and help me develop as a trainer. Within a few months, I had the opportunity to coach classes and instantly loved it. Over time I was offered the opportunity to coach full-time. It was hard to leave teaching, but coaching people was very similar and this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. I did miss working with children but discovered that there was also a CrossFit Kids program. Knowing that I could combine my passion of working with kids and CrossFit training quickly led me to getting my CrossFit Kids certification in June 2012. Tim challenges us as trainers to constantly improve ourselves not only in our own fitness, but in knowledge to help others as well. Since coaching at 908, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many different seminars to help me grow as a trainer. In order to further improve my coaching I received my CrossFit Level 2 trainer certification in November 2014. I now coach CF Kids and adult classes each week and love seeing people improve and become healthier. The community at 908 Athletics is one like no other I have ever been a part of. It really does feel like one big family! Getting to work with all the amazing people we have truly motivates me to constantly improve as a CrossFitter and as a Trainer.
To say that I have always had an interest in elite fitness and good nutrition would be a blatant lie. At age 16 I was a 5’11”, 285 pound, fried food and ice cream eating monster with absolutely no motivation to work out and absolutely no idea how I could fix my situation. Like most people when they decide they no longer want to be fat I went on a “diet” and joined the YMCA. My “diet”, which totaled about 1000 calories per day, consisted of a piece of dry toast in the morning, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk for lunch, and a can of tuna for dinner. My exercise regime went something along the lines of running on the treadmill for two hours (or until I burned at least 1500 calories), then I would do the typical weight lifting exercises that I saw everyone else at the gym doing for another two hours. Suffice it to say I was losing weight rapidly, but in no way, shape, or form was I in good health. Time went on and I got down to a weight that made me feel a bit better about myself, but I didn’t look or feel the way I wanted. I began to research and self-test different types of fitness and nutrition found on the Internet and in muscle and fitness magazines but quickly became frustrated. Nothing was giving me the results I was looking for. I first heard about CrossFit in late 2010 from a friend of mine who I worked with. He had started doing it just a few months earlier and was completely addicted. I was reluctant to try it at first because I figured any form of working out that could get someone that excited had to involve hypnotism or drugs. It wasn’t until early in 2011 on our annual week long vacation to Hawaii that he finally convinced me to just try a workout. He made up something simple that we could do at the condo we were staying in; I think it was a tabata consisting of burpees (everyone’s favorite movement), pull ups, and air squats. After finishing the workout I felt like I could conquer the world! If only I could pull myself out of the pool of sweat on the floor that I was slowly drowning in. Who knew something so simple could be so intense and addicting?! Needless to say I was hooked. We did probably 4 more CrossFit workouts just in that week and it seemed like each one was harder than the next but they were all different. Upon my return home I started to research CrossFit gyms in my area that I could start going to. I have been a resident of Berkeley Heights for many years, so it was a no-brainer to check out 908 Athletics and see what they were all about. After sending Tim a quick email, my girlfriend and I threw on some workout clothes and went over for a Monday night free class. My first experience at 908 completely sold me on the whole CrossFit phenomena. Tim walked up to us as soon as we walked in the door and shook our hands. Amazingly he knew both of our names and our information from memory, which was pretty darn impressive. I looked around in awe, never had I been to a gym where so many people were working together towards one goal in intense, grunting harmony. Everyone was pushing each other towards an objective and getting after it. Not to mention there was not one person in the gym with a pair of headphones on! This was a whole new world for us, and all the members instantly made us feel right at home. After a few months of working out at 908 I began to eat paleo/primal and started to really see the results I had been searching for. The hunger didn’t end there; however, I was eager to learn all I could about CrossFit. I finally decided in September 2011 that I wanted to take a trainer course so I could test to get my CrossFit level 1 certificate. I approached Tim and asked if he would let me shadow at the gym if I passed my test. Tim agreed and in October of 2011 I received my level 1 certificate, and I worked towards becoming a trainer at 908 for several months until Tim believed I was ready. CrossFit has and will continue to motivate me to learn all I can about fitness and proper nutrition. The fitness community is full of individuals trying to make a quick buck by claiming to have the answers to quick and easy results from sub par fitness strategies and unnatural diet remedies. I’m here to tell you that the key to reaching a goal and feeling accomplished is found only through hard work and dedication, and that is what CrossFit is all about. I truly believe that the CrossFit community has, and will continue to stand for something real, and anyone who is willing to dig deep inside themselves will receive ten-fold the efforts that they put forth.
My athletic background has always been in martial arts. Before CrossFit I had been training in Taekwondo and kickboxing for 20 years. I was highly competitive and was traveling internationally for competitions. In 2012 I decided to try my first CrossFit class to help improve my martial arts skills. I wanted to be stronger, faster and more explosive during my fights. Not only did my martial arts skills improve in those areas, but I found a new sport that I loved. Before I knew it, I was more focused on CrossFit than martial arts. Although martial arts will always be my first love, CrossFit stole my heart. As far as coaching goes, I had been coaching kids and adults for years in martial arts so when my CrossFit coach asked me to start coaching at our gym I was pretty excited for the opportunity. I have since taken my coaching experience to 908 Athletics and couldn’t be more excited to be part of the family here. It’s extremely rewarding to see the progress that can be made through CrossFit and I love being able to make fitness fun for both kids and adults!
Back in 2011, I wasn’t in the healthiest of places. I was overweight and smoked. I chose to make a change to get into a better place. I quit smoking, changed my diet and started working out. After a few months I could feel that what I was doing was becoming stale. My mother had started doing CrossFit and challenged me to give it a shot. From day one it made me rethink both exercise and diet. It saved my life. I have been doing CrossFit since 2011, and it has made life in and out of the gym overall better. Not just from a health standpoint but from a mental standpoint as well. Confidence is something that takes great effort to develop. CrossFit has shown me that muscles are pretty and strength is attractive. Over the past several years of doing this methodology, it has helped reshape the person I see in the mirror. This is what has made me want to help others see their true potential and drove me to get my L1, L2, and my USAW coaching certification. I have coached at several affiliates prior to ending at 908. The passion I have for helping others is what makes me want to develop into being a better coach everyday.
Growing up, I always had a love for competition, athletics, and exercise. In 2007 I graduated from Sacred Heart University, where I played D1 Tennis and majored in Business Administration. After graduating and spending a short time in a suit and tie, I quickly realized that corporate America was not a path for me. It became apparent to me that my love for competition and exercise was my path to happiness. In 2008, I became certified as a Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Throughout my early training years I heard very little about CrossFit and was skeptical about whatever I did hear. It wasn’t until I flipped on ESPN in 2011 and saw the CrossFit Games that I quickly switched skepticism to amazement. I spent that night watching all I could on ESPN and YouTube. The next day I put together my first “CrossFit” workout, and I haven’t stopped since. In 2012 I received my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification. Although I now had my Level 1, I still felt there was much more I could learn and offer. Hearing great things about 908 Athletics and knowing Tim Carroll’s name from regional statistics, a mutual friend was able to help me get in touch with him. Tim graciously invited me to workout with him and the 908 crew, which was an awesome experience as well as eye opening to the level of athletes CrossFit develops and 908 has. After I spent what felt like a lifetime to catch my breath, Tim offered me the opportunity to shadow classes. Following a couple of months of shadowing, Tim gave me a chance to start team coaching classes until I was ready to take on coaching my own classes. CrossFit’s idea of “constantly varied” is something I have always tried to live by. Besides being involved in CrossFit I am also a Certified Tennis Instructor, Volunteer FireFighter, Amateur Muay Thai Fighter/Mixed Martial Artist, and Marathon Runner.
I found CrossFit in 2010 when I lived in NYC and immediately fell in love with it. I started CrossFit on the Upper East Side and had the privilege of being coached by some of CrossFit’s OGs from the crossfit.com days. Having coaches who came from where CrossFit originated laid the foundation of my coaching style and fueled my desire to make sure I left folks walking out feeling like they had “the best hour of their day”. After several months, I pursued my L-1 which then led me to leave my full-time job to coach and manage my gym. Over the last decade, I’ve managed several CrossFit gyms, became a CrossFit Level 2 trainer, and owned and operated an affiliate, Bear Mountain CrossFit, for 6 years. As life ebbs and flows, my newly growing family moved to NJ during COVID and I left affiliate ownership but continued to coach when I could. There is no better feeling than being able to stand in front of a room of awesome folks, who are working hard, getting their sweat on and most importantly having fun with it. 908 has always been a gym I’ve admired and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful community of members, coaches and leadership who really live by the mantra ‘get fit. have fun.
I have always been active but never found something that drew me completely in like CrossFit has. Truth is, I stalked CrossFit for a few years before I gave it a try, but once I did, I was hooked! I loved how challenging the workouts were but even more, I loved the 908 Community. I really fell in love with CrossFit – how every workout was different and challenging, how it constantly tested you and pushed you. As horrible as the workout might have felt, it left you wanting to come back for more. The other thing that struck me with CrossFit, is that it is so much more than just a workout, it’s a community. A community of people from different walks of life, different skill sets and abilities but all coming together to be challenged, to be better! Becoming a CrossFit and Nutrition Coach was the first time in my life I truly pursued something I really loved. Helping people develop skills they never thought they could, accomplish things that they never imagined, and helping them achieve better health through fitness and nutrition is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
Since I was young, being active has been a huge part of my life. Growing up, I played every sport I could until it was time to focus exclusively on soccer. After four years of playing Division 1 soccer in college, it was difficult for me to maintain the level of training I was used to without having hours of time to spend on the field or in the gym. When I did workout, I would often find myself wasting my time getting a superficial workout that ultimately did nothing for me. A buddy of mine from high school was the head coach at a CrossFit gym and convinced me to give it a shot. I was immediately hooked. Working out with a like-minded group of people, regardless of ability, reminded me what it was like training with my teammates all those years. Fast forward seven years, and I got my Level 1 Certification while training at CrossFit Hoboken. Not only did I have a great time coaching and helping members improve, but coaching afforded me the ability to get to know the members on a more personal level. There are three aspects of CrossFit that I think set it apart from other methods: First, it is scalable for all levels and abilities. The second is that no matter how good you may get at something, there is always room to improve: technique can always get better, rest between movements can be reduced, the list goes on. The last aspect I have realized and grown to love most is that CrossFit tends to encourage a tremendous community. I relate to this so much with my background in team sports and this is what brings me back day after day.
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