Category Archives: General

General Info and Announcements

Member Stories – Stacy Anderson

My first exposure to CrossFit was hearing my college roommate, brother, and then boyfriend talk about it. They would tell me about how constantly varied it was, how many people they met, so on and so forth… you’ve probably heard it all before.

“You’d love it!” No. Nope. These were three athletic, six pack-ed, dudes. Can’t trust ‘em. People have always mistaken me for athletic, but really I was just skinny and could (maybe, barely) run a mile most of my life. Definitely couldn’t do a pull-up, couldn’t do a push-up. Didn’t know what a double under even was. Needless to say, I never joined them. This all started in 2010.

Fast-forward five years. I wanted to get in shape and would occasionally go to the gym, asking my friends to help me figure out what to do (and often getting very questionable advice).

I tried my hand at distance running. I kept hearing the kool-aid drinking CrossFitters wax poetic about it. But you’re reading this on a CrossFit site – you know where this is going!

The turning point was when I was in a brewery (typical) and some friends of friends who showed up had just come straight from a CrossFit Foundations class. They looked like normal people, and the girl had this smile on her face when she talked about it.

“It’s hard but everyone is so nice and I’m really liking it so far!” This girl! I could trust this girl. She was so happy and mentioned how clearly everything was explained and that everything was scalable. And, just like that, I figured I would at least give Foundations a try.

Here we are, 300 (!!!) classes later. I can do pull-ups. I can do push-ups. I can do a rope climb, which I never even did in elementary school gym class. All the coaches know who I am and (don’t tell my former self, she’ll never believe you.)

I’m actually excited to go to the 6:30am class. It’s nice to start the day working hard with a crew of people who don’t look at their phones once, having someone else do the programming, and especially having coaches there to keep you safe and push you a little when they know you can do better. We all just show up, put in the work, and cheer each other on at the end.

And I know how cheesy this sounds, but CrossFit has made me more confident in myself even outside the gym – if I can do this, everything else is easy.

Member Stories – Lauren Sichterman

Dear “Normal Gym,”

We’re over. It’s not me, it’s you.

Let’s start at the beginning. I graduated college in May 2015, and that’s when I promised to spend more time with you. I was in decent shape; I went from a brief stint as a Division 1 swimmer to walking 8-10 miles per day for school and work. However, I found it hard to fit you into my new lifestyle. Sure, call me lazy.

I’ll admit it: I never made you a priority. You were boring. I’d always worked with a coach or relied on functional fitness; I had no idea how to program a workout that would appropriately challenge me. Our workouts consisted of a few half-assed minutes on a cardio machine and a gander around the weight room. I guess you just couldn’t satisfy me.

After almost year of avoiding you altogether, a ten-year-old asked if I would be her jogging partner in a 5K and I had to decline because I honestly didn’t think I could keep up with her. I’d never been more embarrassed!

In a moment of desperation, I signed up for CrossFit Recursive’s May 2016 New You Challenge.  I had never tried CrossFit before, but they advertised attentive coaches, nutrition advice, and workouts that would push my limits. You should know: I’ve been seeing them ever since.

I’m sorry if this is a lot to take in.

“Normal gym,” after just a few months of CrossFit, I overcame my fear by running 5K in a WOD. I was encouraged by an enthusiastic coach and cheered on by a group of athletes who focused only on my accomplishment, not on my struggle to get there. Finally, I was a member of a team again. You never gave me that kind of support.

Throughout the next year, I learned Olympic lifts, mastered the rope climb, and competed in the CrossFit Open. In May 2017, I ran my first half marathon. I’m sure you didn’t see that coming!

With Recursive, I never lose motivation and I’m never bored. Each workout is different and there’s always a new skill to learn or perfect.  Recursive’s coaches are so knowledgeable and patient. My fellow athletes always have me laughing, even through the toughest workouts. I may go into Recursive sleepy or grumpy, but I never leave in a bad mood. I can’t imagine a better way to get fit.

CrossFit has given me the no-brainer healthy lifestyle that I needed.  All I have to do is show up and follow directions to notice BIG results. I have so much more confidence to do whatever activities life tosses in my direction.

Best of all, Recursive has given me a community. I spend every morning with my friends. I’m proud to be a member of a notoriously welcoming group of coaches and athletes. We all have different fitness backgrounds and goals, but we all crush the workouts respective to that. Together.

What we had was never sustainable. What I have with Recursive is real, and our journey is just beginning. I’m feeling better than ever.

Goodbye and good riddance,


Member Stories – Rachel Strauch-Nelson

 A couple of years ago, I decided to make some changes in my life. I wasn’t happy with my health or how I felt about myself and realized it was time to do something about it. I started working out more, eating right, and finally, after some persuading from friends, decided to try CrossFit.

My friends (including Todd Kinsman) were pretty convincing, but they also just wouldn’t stop talking about it, so I figured it was time to get in on the conversation.

When I started at Recursive, I brought a lot of nervousness with me, not much confidence, and a very fixed view of myself. I don’t have an athletic background and thought that being an athlete or just being fit was not necessarily part of who I am.

I had also barely ever touched a barbell or done any of the movements we do in class. My first class included handstand push ups and pistols, and somehow, the coaches and community convinced me to come back.

What I’ve learned from being at Recursive is that I’m capable of a lot more of than I thought. It feels great to know how much I’ve grown from that first day and how much more I can grow in the future. Cultivating that growth mindset has helped me at the gym, and also in many other parts of my life.

Plus, it’s ton of fun to come to the gym. I used to be afraid of working out with other people, but now I look forward to coming in and seeing everyone here. Even though I’m usually one of the quieter people in class, the community is a huge part of why I keep coming back.

Especially at Recursive, everyone is accepting of others, inclusive, and ready to support you wherever you’re at. I always leave feeling proud of what I’ve accomplished and uplifted by the community.

I think I held off on writing this because it can sound a little cheesy, but it turns out it’s all true. After being part of this community, I am stronger, have more confidence and know that I’m always capable of more.

And now, just like my friends who convinced me to try it, I am one of those people who won’t stop talking about how great our gym is.

Member Stories – Natalie Huschka

Officer Training School (OTS) or as most people know it as, is boot camp.  When I went to OTS I had 12 years under my belt in the Air Force. I had already been through enlisted boot camp so I had a general idea of what to expect.

I am no spring-chicken, so I worked hard to prepare for the physical fitness portion, doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), before leaving for eight weeks. I enjoyed this type of workout, it offered variety and it improved my overall fitness. It wouldn’t be until I left for another 10 weeks, one year after OTS that I finally tried CrossFit.

I was in Biloxi, MS and found a box that just happened to be having an “On-Ramp” program.  I thought if I liked this CrossFit stuff, it would work out perfect that I would do the beginner course for one month and spend the second month to really get “ripped” before I came back to WI.

Before my first session, I spent an hour talking to the gym owner on the phone about where I was currently physically, what were my goals, etc.  I was impressed to say the least, no “big box gym” had ever worried whether I would be the right fit for the gym.

I was hooked instantly! I couldn’t believe that after leaving the first night, I knew four of the eight people there, I had never been to a “gym” like that.  And then when I came back, I kept meeting more people, and despite being out of my comfort zone with the weights, terminology, etc. someone always made me feel comfortable or paired up with me on partner WODs.  Oh yeah, and HIIT had nothing on these WODs and METCONs!

When I left for WI, I was sad to leave. I had no idea I would make such good friends and CrossFit could affect me so much more than just physically. I was also sad to leave because I hadn’t reached my goal of getting “ripped” in two months!

I was really shooting for a Jessica Biel circa Blade timeframe (don’t know it, Google it). So I had to find a box ASAP to continue progressing toward my goal!  My husband and I did some research, toured a box but when we walked into CFR and met Coach Patrick, we knew our search was done.

I have been at CFR since October and I love it.  I joined CrossFit to get “ripped”.  I’m still not at my goal but in just under a year of CrossFit I have noticed a huge difference physically (I just need to be more patient and realize I am not an actress hired to film a movie about vampires!)

Being more physically fit isn’t the only thing I got from CrossFit.  Sometimes the military causes members to become segregated by the nature of our profession/lifestyle.  I was eager to be around “civilians” again, get to know the community, people and stories within it.  Little did I know I could find that by doing CrossFit and being at CFR.

I return every morning because I love the physical and mental challenge CrossFit gives me.  I return every morning because I’m wondering how everyone’s weekend went, those of you buying homes for the first time, I want to hear the excitement in your voice, I want to know how seeing the grandbaby was, your weekend visiting parents.

I return every morning because I want each of you to hold me accountable, to push me for one more rep or maybe a little bit more weight than I thought possible, so that I can slay vampires someday soon!

Nutrition Power Hour

You know that Nutrition is the base of the fitness and wellness pyramid – now learn how to put healthy eating habits into practice!

Join Coach Valerie for a 60 minute Nutrition Overview. Learn the basics of Nutrition and Healthy Eating – the how and why of eating for your goals.

You’ll also receive:
Nutrition 101 Handbook
1 Week Meal Plan (written by our Registered Dietitian)
Food Log Journal

This is a great way to get some basic knowledge, try out a meal plan for a week, and see some results!

Cost is just $20 and the first 10 people will receive a complimentary 3 Compartment Food Container – click the date and time below to register now!

Saturday, June 3rd at 10:15am
Monday, June 5th at 6:30pm

Member Stories – Dana Wagner

Basketball has always been a part of my life.  I was lucky enough to be able
to keep playing after high school.  After I graduated college and my basketball career came to an end I felt kind of lost.

All my life I had always been part of a team and suddenly I didn’t have a team and my life lacked structure.  I dabbled in other activities trying to find structure and challenge myself.  But, I always felt like something was missing.  I
really missed being part of a team.

After a few years of searching I found CrossFit Recursive and their six week challenge.  CrossFit had intrigued me for some time but I always intimidated to try and start it on my own.

When I found this six week challenge and saw it was for a small group for beginners I decided to give it a try.  When it came time for the first class I was nervous, but, quickly learned there was no need to be.

I immediately felt welcomed by the group and all the coaches.  And, I’ve continued to feel that way ever since even when I transitioned from the small group class to the regular class.

As I continued to attend CrossFit classes I learned that there would be the opportunity for our class to compete in the CrossFit Open.  I decided to signed up for it and decided to give it a try.

My goal was just to try and finish these workouts.  I looked at the first and decided not to scale it, and, to my surprise I RX’d the entire workout.  After that, I decided to try and RX the other workouts; and, with the support of the coaches and other participants I was able to RX the other workouts too.

CrossFit and competing in the Open has made me realize how much I’m truly capable of.  I love the community of CrossFit Recursive; it has truly filled the void that I was missing for all those years.

Member Stories – Elly Raulin

Well hello there, my name is Elly and I love CrossFit.  My tale is like most others you have read.  I wanted to better myself and get more in shape but hadn’t been able to do so on my own.

I was always active in high school and college, participating in Track and Cross Country.  I loved the team atmosphere and social side of working out.

After college, I stayed active but was finding it harder to stay motivated – especially when it came to strength training.  My workouts started to plateau or decline.  I had tried lifting before and thought it was not for me.  So I ran and ran, and, when that got boring, I ran up hill.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t really seeing or feeling the results I wanted.  Something was missing.  Then at the end of 2015 I found CrossFit, specifically the wonderful world of CrossFit Recursive.

I had heard of CrossFit before but never thought it was for me or something I would grow to love.  I was a runner!  I did cross country and track; I don’t lift and do gymnastics… Not just I don’t but I can’t. Right?

have never been so happy to be wrong.  The first day I walked into CrossFit Recursive Coach Vivian greeted me with so much excitement and spunk that it was almost a physical sensation.  She had a lot of coffee that day. We talked and, by the end, I thought I was already a part of the gym the way Viv joked around and chatted with me like she already knew me.

At the beginning, I would come to the gym with my head down thinking this was like any other workout spot – you come in, lace up, work out, and go home.  At other gyms I went to, you were there to work out, not hang out.  Again I was wrong.

Everyone greeted me and wanted to get to know the new member of their community.  That right there is what told me this was going to be different and that I was never going to leave.

The community, friendship, and support of Recursive is what I love.  Sure the workouts are great, and I am hands down in the best shape of my life, but what has me coming back time after time is the people.

I will be moving soon to a new house (in Waunakee) and my friend asked if I was going to find a new CrossFit gym…. “Why would I” was my reply.  I never even thought about it.

There might be a gym closer but it is not MY gym.  I have been a part of the Recursive family for just over a year now and couldn’t imagine a better place to work out.  I’m staying in shape, achieving new goals, watching others improve and succeed and all while meeting new people and making friendships.

Like many people, I have struggled for a long time with body image issues and self-confidence.  The CrossFit workouts and sense of community have been a huge help in working to overcome those problems.

Some of those demons may never go away, but I will continue to fight them into silence and submission with my successes at CrossFit.  For every handstand pushup and PR, they get a little quieter.  The feeling of setting the next goal and having the coaches and my fellow members cheering me on is exhilarating.

I am thankful every day to the community and support this gym has created with its members.  It has helped me to try new things and push myself harder in my workouts.  I love showing up for class and always leave happier and stronger.  It is another home. So thanks for reading and I will see you at the box!

Grateful for the Recursive Community – Written by Coach Valerie

About two weeks ago, I texted Nikole about my experience dropping in at a gym, and she said “Hey, why don’t you write about it?” Fast-forward two weeks and I still haven’t, and I know exactly why.

This post will be far more emotional and personal than I typically share, which makes me uncomfortable: like most of CrossFit.

It’s impossible to dive into this post without disclosing some things about myself. As an adult, I have moved a lot. The last almost six years in Wisconsin is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere as an adult.

The first move was so hard and finding friends as an adult, without school, is a skill.  I’m an extrovert in the truest sense of the word and I crave human company, so I’m pretty good at being friendly. I try very hard to extend this friendliness to the new people in a crowd. I immediately introduce myself and likely invite that person to do something.

You may have noticed at the gym, I almost always pair myself with the drop-ins or new members. It’s really important to me that people feel welcomed in any situation. In fact, I probably go over the top. It’s not unusual for me to meet someone and invite them to brunch the next weekend or to join my running group, or to JUST SPEND MORE TIME WITH ME. Okay, the point has been made.

I carry this trait with me when I drop in at other gyms. I travel a fair amount for work and it’s not unusual for me to pop into a gym wherever I am. Most of the time, my friendly nature gets a lukewarm reaction from regular members. I get it. I’m dropping in, they will likely never see me again, and it might not be a good use of time. Most of the time, I’m nonplussed by the whole thing.

Two weeks ago, I dropped in at a gym in my hometown of Chicago. I was home for a week because my mom is currently undergoing treatment for cancer and I was helping take care of her. To be fair, my mom doesn’t need much caring for; she’s a trooper.

On my first day in town, I went to the gym at 9:00am and explained my situation and that I would like to drop in a couple of times that week. The staff were friendly and the rate for the week was reasonable, so it seemed like a go. The time is important: it was 9:00 am. My mom’s treatment began at 7:15, and it’s Chicago, which meant a 5:30 wake up call to battle traffic to get to the hospital on time. I tend to be an early riser, and at 9:00am, my facilities are still fully in-tact and I’m at functioning on all cylinders. I left the gym really looking forward to a workout in the evening.

Fast-forward. After I left the gym, I drove to Racine to complete an evaluation on an offender in the jail there. I tried to work my actual job as much as possible during this week at home.

By the time I rolled into the gym for the 5:30pm class, I was no longer at my best. I was tired and hungry, hangry if you will. More importantly, as I’ve discovered over these weeks of treatment, by the end of the day, my emotions are at the surface. Despite a really good prognosis, cancer is f-ing scary and I’m terrified every single day. It’s hard to be at my best when my emotions feel more intense.

I arrived early, like any good Recursive athlete would, having been taught by Dirk and Nikole the importance of good etiquette when dropping in. There were a lot of things that felt wrong at that point.

First, I couldn’t figure out the programming online, which evidently dovetailed into some of the warmup, that I just totally missed. Second, several people commented on the size of the class, noting the classes never run that large.

We began to WOD and no one asked me my name or how I stumbled into the gym. It was kind of like I wasn’t even there.  To be completely fair, my heightened emotions also prevented me from introducing myself to other people.

When it came time to grab barbells, there were no women’s barbells available. And not one person offered to give me theirs or help me find one. I’m not much of a princess, but I was stunned. The coach provided me with a men’s barbell, but he had no idea my skill level to know if I could handle a warmup with that weight (I know it’s only 10 pounds, but still).

Later, he presented me with a short women’s barbell; good thing we weren’t snatching. In my head, I had a very Dorothy moment. There’s no place like home. I missed our community, knowing that such a thing would never happen at Recursive. Perhaps, had I been in a more centered place, I wouldn’t have been bothered by this seemingly minor occurrence, but I was.

Overall, the workout was fine, and I went back for a second day. The gym is a mile from my parents’ house and I’ve been back home twice since dropping in, and felt no inclination to return to the gym.

This experience was a reminder that I’m grateful for our little space in the world and that on any given day, we’re all carrying our burdens to the gym. It’s helpful to lighten the load with a friendly face. And please, introduce yourself to our drop-ins and make them feel at home. Their journey to Recursive could have been a rocky one.

Member Stories – Todd Kinsman

Hi. My name is Todd and I do CrossFit. Honestly, I still find it hard to believe that I do CrossFit.

I didn’t even know what CrossFit was when I came to the gym. Three years ago I set out to find a fitness program that would help me get in shape in time for my wedding (2 months away at the time… in 2014) and I stumbled upon CrossFit.

Because I’ve always been an ‘indoor kid’ I didn’t realize that CrossFit was also a sport that had an increasingly bigger following—I just wanted to have my pizza and eat it too. I came because I was told by a friend that there was a gym downtown offering a free class and that I should check it out if I wanted to get into shape. So that’s what I did.

I signed up for the free class (member number 6, whoot whoot!) and met Nikole and Dirk for the first time. (That’s a photo from the day we all met!) They were kind people who were passionate about fitness in a way that wasn’t intimidating. I felt welcomed to the community and immediately signed up for more classes. About 6 months later I realized I joined a sport but it was too late to back out, I was hooked.

It’s been over 3 years since I signed up and I’m so happy I did. Recursive has been a constant in my life that has not only given me a place to achieve my fitness goals, but also a sense a community and belonging during busy times, sleepy mornings, and exhausted evenings.

Watching others work hard to learn a new movement or reach a new PR has kept me motivated to set similar goals for myself. In the first year I tended to scale most of the workouts but as time passed the awesome coaches have worked with me and showed me techniques to build the strength and flexibility needed to be successful in the WOD movements.

Thanks to CrossFit and the Recursive family, I’m in the best shape of my life. I even enjoy working out and finding new fitness challenges. Last year my goal was to learn how to do a ring muscle up, and I actually did it.

I’m still not great at ring muscle ups but it was a wonderful reminder that the daily work, however tedious, can really pay off. There are so many lessons in the gym that I have applied to my daily life, helping me succeed and generally be a better human and because of that I’m grateful for Recursive and it’s many amazing members.

Member Stories – Jennifer Madden

I am over 40, overweight, have a knee injury – and I CrossFit.  Nine months ago, I was looking for an exercise program that would support my weight loss efforts.  I knew about CrossFit.  My sister was addicted.  I endured hours of conversations revolving around the WOD, her latest PR, her new Olympic lifters, etc.

She encouraged me to check it out so I googled CrosFfit affiliates in Madison.  CrossFit Recursive (CFR) popped up as the closest affiliate.  As I poked around their website, I saw they had a New You: Six Week Challenge program that was geared towards beginners.  I signed up. It was a no brainer.

Of course, the day of the first session I was questioning the ‘no brainer’ part of my decision.  When I showed up to CFR, there was a group of women sitting in the waiting area nervously making small talk.  What I loved immediately about the group was that it was composed of women all ages and all sizes. We were all stepping outside our comfort zone.

Over the course of six weeks, we were introduced to the various CrossFit movements, a nutrition program and, most importantly, the lingo. I remember the first time we did sit-ups I couldn’t believe how bad my abs hurt – they hurt for days!  But each week I kept going back and I wasn’t alone.  Slowly but surely friendships developed. We supported and encouraged each other as we entered the unknown.  “She wants us to do what?!?”  By the time the six weeks were over, I had dropped 10 more pounds, developed muscles I didn’t know I had and made new friends.

The 6 week challenge was over.  Now what?  Do I dare consider attending the regular CrossFit classes?  There was a group of us who really wanted to continue CrossFit but were nervous about attending the “Big girl” classes.  They seemed so intimidating anytime we entered the main room during a WOD – barbells being dropped, music blasting, people were chalking their hands (why would we need chalk?), etc.

Our answer was to pick a class time we could all attend so we had each other to lean on during the class.  During our first class, everyone was so welcoming and encouraging.   The coaches were awesome.

I remember one day my CrossFit partner-in-crime and I were staring nervously at the bars we were expected to hang on to.  The coach came up to us – clearly aware we were ready to dart out of the building the first moment we could – and talked us through the WOD and gave us options to scale the movements.  Lo and behold, we actually were able to hang off the bar and lift our knees at the same time – who knew?

Every time I finished a workout, I amazed myself at what I could do.  I would get so nervous before a WOD but then I did it.  What a great feeling!  Even though I had to scale almost everything we did, I quickly learned that no matter your fitness level the WODs are still hard for everyone – scaled or not.

The other thing I learned is to get over myself.  It is my body and my workout.  I simply cannot compare myself to anyone else.

Now that I was hooked, my sister suggested I do a CF competition because it would be a “good fitness goal”.  I signed up for Festivus, a competition geared to the novice and intermediate CrossFitter.  As I signed up, I thought “What am I doing?”  Then I looked at the workouts and thought “I can’t even do some of the moves! Seriously!  What am I doing?”

Box step ups were my nemesis.  I couldn’t step up on a 20 inch box to save my life and now I was going to do a competition that had them in one of the workouts.  It was then I decided I needed to get a one-on-one training.

I started working with Coach Aaron in January.  The competition was in April.  Four months to get ready.  Initially, Aaron did a base line assessment and determined a week by week training plan that would build my strength and increase my mobility.

I still didn’t believe I would ever be able to do box steps ups but then I did them – and I did them after only a handful of sessions.  I couldn’t believe it!  The best part was the excitement from Coach Aaron.  He immediately said ‘We need to share this with everyone’.

At first, I was embarrassed to share it.  It was such a basic move for most people.  The support I received from CFR was overwhelming and speaks to what I love the most about CrossFit – the community! The community at Recursive is what keeps me motivated to continue to show up.

The week leading up to the competition, I kept thinking about the workouts and I would get nervous and question my sanity.  However, the day of the competition I was surprisingly calm.  I was there to celebrate my accomplishments from the past four months.  I was now able to physically do all the movements.

The energy of that day was amazing.  It was exciting to watch people all shapes, sizes and ages compete.  There were five of us from CFR participating in the competition.  I loved that we were there to support and encourage each other.  It made the day so rewarding to watch each of us give it our all.  Participating in Festivus turned out to be a really good decision – and I even PR’d my clean.  (Yes, I speak the CrossFit lingo now.)

I am amazed at what my body can do now that I wouldn’t have been able to consider doing this time last year.  CrossFit has been life changing for me.  I can’t wait to see what I will be able to do this time next year!