Tag Archives: The Happy Gym

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 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 – 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!

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!