Tag Archives: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight – Paulla Santos

First CrossFit workout?
I can’t really remember my first CrossFit workout…However, I vaguely remember doing a bar movement while feeling super awkward and uncoordinated

How did you find CrossFit Recursive?
I moved to Madison a little over a year ago and I wanted to find a new gym. I searched on Google Maps and CrossFit Recursive was the closest result near me. I had always wanted to try CrossFit so I suppose it was just meant to be.

What has been the most fun so far?
Thus far, I have to say participating in the 2017 Festivus partner competition in Janesville, WI with a bunch of rad people from our gym was super fun. We had a solid group and it was awesome to see all of us improve from the first day of competition training to rockin’ it on the day of the event. There’s nothing like cheering on people you care about!

Something we might not know about you?
Before I entered elementary school, I caught a lizard while wearing my dad’s tube socks on my hands as gloves. I placed it in a box and showed my dad. He left me alone to play with it and I ended up accidentally pulling off its tail. I was unaware it was a defense mechanism to escape from predators. In search of a quick solution, I duck taped the tail back onto the lizard and went into another room to hide. Long story short, my father found the lizard, gave me a nature lesson, undid the duck tape, and returned our poor little friend to the woods. In conclusion, at a young age, I knew what “scaling down” meant.

PhD history student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison

Favorite CrossFit Movement?
Without a doubt: Deadlifts.

Least Favorite CrossFit movement?
Wall balls. Ew.

Your ideal WOD?
Perhaps an AMRAP complex with low rep heavy barbell movements and maybe a dash of burpees for a little spice.

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment so far?
I have to say…Getting my very first pull-up was super exciting!

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit?
I really enjoy watching cartoons, operas, and learning about pirates. I am also a sucker for museums, archives, and art galleries. I could literally get lost in them for hours.

Member Spotlight – Jennifer Madden

First CrossFit work out? My first CrossFit workout was during the six week challenge.  It was “as many rounds as possible” in 12 minutes of 5 burpees, 10 air squats and 15 sit-ups.  Burpees?!? I am surprised I came back after day one!

How did you find CrossFit Recursive? My sister had been doing CrossFit and encouraged me to give it a go.  I did a Google search and discovered Recursive was about one mile from where I live and was starting a six week beginners program.  The timing was perfect!

What has been the most fun so far? The community – hands down! I have met some pretty amazing people at Recursive – many I now call friends.

Something we might not know about you? I am a musician.  I play the flute. I majored in music and received my Bachelors in Music Therapy.

Occupation? I work for the corporate office of a national building products company.  I am kind of a ‘jack of all trades’.  These days my main responsibilities include setting up and managing new departments.  I am currently setting up a new sales department. (So much for using my music degree.)

Favorite CrossFit Movement? Dumbbell snatch

Least Favorite CrossFit movement?  It is a toss up between box step-ups/jumps and running.

Your ideal WOD? A chipper that has no running or box jumps!

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment so far? There isn’t one accomplishment that I am proud of.  It’s all the little accomplishments that have added up to positively influence my overall health and increase my fitness.

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit? Volunteering, playing music, art, enjoying the great city of Madison

Member Spotlight – Sean Miran

First CrossFit work out?
My first Crossfit workout Was at CrossFit Paradox in Downers Grove, Illinois in June of 2013. It was 3 rounds for time of 50 Wall Balls at 20/14 and 15 burpee-pullups. I definitely hit the time cap.

My first workout at CFR was supposed to be:
Front Squats
Push Press
Ground to Overhead

But I Split my head open on the stabilizing bar on the rig while doing a gymnastics kip on one of the bars. I spent the rest of that first class holding a paper towel to my head to try to stop the bleeding.

The first WOD I completed at CFR was
6 Rounds
10 Burpee Broad Jump (70% of your 1RM from earlier today)
30 Double Unders

That one, I definitely scaled the double unders with twice as many singles.

How did you find CrossFit Recursive?
We did CrossFit when we were living in Chicagoland. When we moved back to Madison, we wanted to get back into it so Marnie started googling places. When we read that Recursive had a dedicated kids space, we knew that Recursive was the first place we had to try.

What has been the most fun so far?
The big group events- I loved the competition for Joe and Rina, and I loved doing The Open. The atmosphere at Recursive with so many people there was so inspiring, and definitely reinforced for me how great our community is at Recursive.

Something we might not know about you?
I was a nationally certified gymnastics Judge, and I coached gymnastics for 20 years-until the end of 2013.

Family Medicine Physician at Meriter’s West Washington Clinic in Madison.

Favorite CrossFit Movement?
Muscle-ups; really anything gymnastic that makes me look like I’m a better CrossFitter than I really am.

Least Favorite CrossFit movement?
Double Unders. No contest. I don’t like them, they don’t like me.

Your ideal WOD?
Something short, a gymnastics movement coupled with a barbell movement.

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment so far?
Finishing 17.5 as prescribed under the time cap.

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit?
Technology, nutrition, science fiction/fantasy, gymnastics, Michigan State University sports.

Member Stories – Samantha Taylor

Hi friends!  I’m a busy working mom of two littles, Vivian (3) and Crosby (2).  I work for UW Organ and Tissue Donation and do a lot of in-state travel for my job.  In fact, it’s a lot of spur-of-the-moment travel for my job as I work mostly on-call.  Finding a workout routine that works for my personal and professional life was challenging.

How in the world did I end up in CrossFit…?  I’m glad you asked.   I’ve always been an active, even athletic, person but never very strong.  I stayed fairly fit through college and graduate school with activities like Pilates, spin, running, and beer-drinking (I hear it has many health benefits).

After grad school I even trained for and completed a marathon in 2010 but in doing so, I did some damage to my knee and running became painful and less enjoyable.  Fast forward a few years and I’m expecting my first baby, due in September of 2013.  What a joy!

Ten short months after little Vivian was born, I found out I was expecting my second child.  What a shock! My body was no longer my own and my time was prioritized away from the gym.

As the spring of 2016 approached I had a two year old and a one year old at home. I was finally no longer an incubator nor a food truck for any tiny humans and I was aching to get back into an exercise routine.  I needed it both physically and mentally.

I knew my days of wandering around the weights, getting on the treadmill, and just seeing “how I feel” that day were over.  It was time to get to work.  Extra time was not something I had with two toddlers at home along with a demanding professional schedule and I knew I needed three things out of a new work-out routine: I needed something challenging, I needed something structured, and I needed something time-efficient.

I wasn’t looking to lose weight; I wanted to get stronger.  I wanted lifting my kids into the cart at Costco to be a piece of cake, rather than a comedy act some might actually pay money to see.  (My kids tend to run on the big side….)

Enter CrossFit Recursive.  I saw an ad for the six-week New You program and, honestly, at first I was hesitant.  I recall years ago the CrossFit Games being on TV in my living room when my fitness-freak brother-in-law was living with us and I remember thinking “stupid CrossFit”.

What I was really feeling was, “stupid brother in law – when are you going to get your own place?!”.  I put my past judgments aside and jumped in.  I figured a six-week introduction class with all women could quite possibly be the least intimidating environment for a person jumping back in to the workout scene.  When I met with the coach to discuss goals and I learned her name was Vivian.  If that wasn’t a sign of good things to come, what would be?

I completed the six week program and was in love.  Now I needed to figure out how I was going to swing this financially.  Two kids in daycare… woof.  My mind was made up when I was talking with my mom about how much I loved CrossFit.  I talked to her about how I was likely not going to continue, even though I was loving how it made me feel, and she said, “Don’t you dare.  This is the only thing you do for yourself.”  Sold.

I became a girl on a mission and I found a way. Now I get to see all of your lovely faces 13 times a month, pushing me to do one more burpee, challenging me to put just a little more weight on that barbell, encouraging me to get to the top of that rope – which I did for the FIRST time in my life about a month ago!!

My next goal is to get my long skinny arms and torso to pull my chin above that bar for a legit pull up. Because of the amazing coaches and supportive class-mates, I know I’ll get there eventually!

It’s nice to hear people say, “you look great” but what’s truly better is to feel great. Thank you all for making this beanpole frame feel like she can move mountains (or at least throw a little weight around).  

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 Spotlight – Kathryn Swartz

My first CrossFit workout? It was a 7 min AMRAP of 7 burpees and 7 air squats.  I remember starting this workout and thinking this isn’t so bad…then after 2 minutes I was hurting something awful. I knew I was about to get my butt kicked by something that seemed so easy at the start.

How did you find CrossFit Recursive? I was a member at a different affiliate, but wanted something closer to home and to work, and saw Recursive was opening. I joined right away, and was the ninth person to join the gym. I still have my member #9 t-shirt.

What has been the most fun so far?  I absolutely love the community and friendships at Recursive.  It has been so welcoming and inspiring to be surrounded by so many wonder people and athletes.

Something we might not know about you? I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal for 2 years…back when I thought it would be a good idea to live without electricity, running water, or a proper toilet for 2 years.

Occupation? Physician

Favorite CrossFit Movement? Deadlifts, or anything else that requires a barbell!

Least Favorite CrossFit movement? Running.  That may be the worst part about Recursive is that since we are on the bike path we inevitably have running in WODs all the time.

Your ideal WOD?  Bear complex or some other barbell heavy WOD.

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment so far? Just keeping at it, trying to show up when I can with busy schedule and kids.

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit?  I like spending time with my two kiddos, gardening, and yoga.

Member Spotlight – Isiah Harris

My first CrossFit workout? Would have to be EMOM I think I did 5 pull-ups 20 push-ups and 20 air squats. I literally almost passed out. I think this is the hardest workout that I had ever done up until that point because the workout was for one hour straight and this was outside of the gym.

How did I find CrossFit Recursive? Well I was looking through an old goals book I had, and on the first page it said start CrossFit training, so that was a goal that I had never done or accomplished. I typed in CrossFit on my phone in Google and CrossFit Recursive was the first one that I found. I read up on it seemed like a pretty fun and  open community so I came in for foundations and I never left. I love the gym!

What has been the most fun so far? I would have to say doing my first competition and being supported by so many members of the gym. Plus me and my partner ranked 13th In The nation in Burpee box jumps!

Something we might not know about you? Well I grow up in foster homes and group homes. Growing up I got into a lot for trouble and I was not always the person I am today. But I’m glad that I went through a lot of those things. It’s helped me a lot and it made me a better person.

Occupation? I’m a used car salesman right now I’m in the process of opening my own dealership. I got my tax ID and my LLC – oh my company name is called MADz Auto. It’s just so hard finding a physical location that matches my needs and the criteria to pass zoning.

Favorite CrossFit movement? That would have to be the Power Clean.

Least favorite CrossFit movement? Double unders definitely! They are just so hard!

Your ideal WOD? Well I like sprints so I would have to say 10 power cleans with like 190lbs, 10 wall balls and a 200m row. A couple rounds of that with the time cap.

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment yet? That would have to be when I clean and jerked 185 or 195 pounds. I was so excited that I almost did my own bodyweight!

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit? I love to play Ultimate frisbee in the summer. I love to snowboard in the winter time. I love to hang out with friends and just have a good time, chill, kick it, be lazy. And I love working on cars and riding motorcycles – especially riding motorcycles.

January Member Spotlight – Brinda Bair!

First CrossFit workout?
January 18, 2016
4 rounds
10 Front Rack Lunges
12 Bent Over Rows

How did you find CrossFit Recursive?
Google search for a CrossFit gym near me.  Nikole wrote this great article in August 2016 that said most people don’t wake up one morning and say “Yes, CrossFit is for me. It’s the thing I want to do.” But that’s basically what happened with me. I just woke up one morning and had this feeling like I would like CrossFit so I google searched and signed up.

What has been the most fun so far?
The #RinaStrong In-house CrossFit Competition! I really enjoyed spending the morning working out (and more importantly eating) with everyone, and partner workouts are the best. Memorial Day Murph was a very close second!!

Something we might not know about you?
My family is from a small country named Nepal, and my grandfather was the country’s first Prime Minister. I also have a cousin who is a huge Bollywood movie star.

Part-time Lawyer (Staff Attorney at Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin) and Part-time Fitness Instructor (Les Mills BodyFlow, BodyStep, and BodyPump)

Favorite CrossFit Movement?
I love all the moves equally. I sometimes practice at home for no reason.

Least Favorite CrossFit movement?
Ring Rows are the worst. I need to train to do pull-ups.

Your ideal WOD?
Anything long–I really like all the Hero WODs. Ideally, we’d do a Hero WOD every day!

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment so far?
I’m extremely cautious and conservative with weightlifting and Coach Bree (who by happenstance was my partner on two different one rep max days this year) finally gave me the courage to find my *real* one rep max for back squat and split jerk. It was easily 30-40 pounds more than what I would have done if left to my own devices.

Things that interest you outside of CrossFit?
Dancing, yoga, going out to eat, getting dressed up to go out to eat, binge watching TV, shopping, etc.