fat_downesNew_DownesOctober 2013 (187#) – Foundations Grad                                October 2014 (163#) – post challenge
muscle_up_downesJohn D 

My fitness has been suspect since I finished high school. Way back then, I played lacrosse, and after a particularly bad concussion, switched to volleyball. I felt fit, I felt strong enough, I felt fine. My diet…hmmm…it was a see-food diet…I see food, I eat food. Not a lot of thought there. I could eat a whole large (New Jersey) pizza in one sitting, I could drink soda, juice, beer, whatever I wanted, and never really gain weight. Graduating college I was 5’9″ and around 140 lbs.

After getting married and moving to Massachusetts, I switched to a desk job, and coupled with a year of living (and eating) with my in-laws, I went from 140# to 175#…IN ONE YEAR! That 175# bounced between a window of 175 and 189 over the next 16 years. I played in an old man softball league in the spring, and I helped coach my son’s sports teams…that was the extent of my exercise. I liked playing sports, but hated exercise. The gym was the most boring place I could imagine. I didn’t really care about weight or appearance, until about 2 years ago when I found myself needing to wear compression shirts under my golf shirts so my “belly button dimple” wouldn’t show through. At the same time, I decided to try the Pan Mass Challenge…bought a bike and signed up for the 192 mile route from Sturbridge to Provincetown. I’ll never forget my first training ride…I went 8 miles…all flat, probably around 10mph, and when I got home I needed to rest before I could walk upstairs. I built up my training, and did +/- 1,400 total miles that year…but I never lost any weight. That spring, I saw a team photo from my son’s little league championship where it looked like I had something hanging over my waistband…it was my gut! That was the first time is was embarrassed in a photo, but still not enough to take action.

Around this same time, one of my work colleagues became active in CrossFit (he’d always be looking for a “box” when we were traveling. I had no interest in going with him, but I remembered how excited he was (and how annoying I thought he was about it). Eventually he became a co-owner of a box up in Portland, Maine. Then, my local friends started talking about CrossFit…I still didn’t want to do it, but at least I was somewhat interested. I was still doing the Pan Mass Challenge, completed my second in August 2013, and in September 2013, I decided I would try CrossFit.

When I started, I weighed 187# and couldn’t do a strict pull-up. I could do a couple of very questionable push-ups. For the first few months, I was using red+blue bands for my pull-ups, and was still gassed every time I worked out. I went to CrossFit two to three times a week, whether at home or at another CrossFit while I was traveling. I started eating a little better…cut back on the two beers (or glasses of wine) in front of the TV every night…maybe dropped it to two or three nights a week. Cut out the nachos at lunch, tried to think about snacking less, and trying to choose better types of foods when I had the choice. I lost weight pretty quickly. Between the end of October 2013 and the end of February 2014 (4 months) I went down to 170#. I could do regular pull-ups, I could do toes to bar, and I could do some of the lifting…although never Rx.

Then came the 2014 Open. Somehow in class, John convinced me to do it. I looked at it as a $25 donation to CrossFit but was very skeptical about my ability to do it. After a slight tool+ladder related mishap while building out the new rigs (my only CrossFit injury to date), I had to take a couple of weeks off, right as the Open was starting, but I made it back in time. I did it…slowly, and at times didn’t get many reps. But what I accomplished amazed me. I was able to post a score in every workout. The sense of community at CFS during the open was awesome. We all knew who would post the best scores, and there was definitely a friendly competition there, but there was just as much concern, camaraderie, and competition among those of us who were not worrying about where we were going to finish, as long as we surpassed our own expectations going in. I know I did…I got double-unders right before 14.1…and when 14.3 came up, I got one deadlift at 275, right as time expired. My previous 1RM was 245#.

After the open, I was hooked even more, and the coaches were all super supportive in bringing me from where I was to where I wanted to be. Stringing together kipping pull-ups was one month’s goal…then it was chest to bar, and then bar muscle ups. When I got my first bar muscle up in June, I’m not sure who was more excited, me or Bucky!

Through the time I’ve been at CFS, my kids have both done the CF kids class, and now my wife Ilana is fully immersed and drinking the natural ingredient paleo CF koolaid! Working out has become a family activity for us, one that we’ve never really shared with each other before.

To culminate with the one year anniversary of my time at CFS, I decided to take the 30 day paleo challenge. I didn’t do it to try and win, but rather to prove to myself that I could do it, and to see if it really did make a difference in the way I felt during the day, how my body looked and felt, and how I slept at night. Starting the Paleo Challenge on October 1st, I weighed in at 166.5#, with a 33 15/16 measurement around my belly and a 39 1/8 chest. I did the pre-test single round of Christine using 166# in 3:28. I finished the challenge 30 clean days later, down to 163#…waist down 7/16″ and chest up 5/8″. Post-test round of Christine was 3:03 using 166#. I honestly didn’t notice much difference in how I felt or slept, although the increased thought I put into what I ate was enlightening, as was the ability to keep clean in the last several days of the challenge, even with work travel and family events…willpower is an amazing thing!

CrossFit Synergistics has been an awesome place to make friends, get fit, and have fun. Thank you to all of the owners, coaches, and athletes who’ve been a part of helping me get into what is probably the best shape of my life. I’m looking forward to this next year of challenges!


Foundations Pic Sara Crossfit Sara
Foundations ————— May 2014

I always thought of myself as being strong and athletic.  Having been a runner, swimmer, biker, hiker, and skier for many years, the thought that I could ever be “out of shape” never crossed my mind.  I could also eat whatever I wanted because I was so active and had always had a fast metabolism for someone in her 20’s.  Fast forward to my 30’s…my idea of being active became chasing my now 2-year old and 4-year old sons.  Funny thing was, I was perfectly content just hanging out with my husband, taking care of my babies, and justified that I could continue to eat whatever I wanted because I was nursing.  That was…until my doctor told me that my BMI was in the “overweight” range for my height and stature, and my cholesterol was borderline high.   Never in my life had I been even close to being considered “overweight” nor having high cholesterol.  I thought I was doing well as I had only gained 30 lbs. with each pregnancy; however, I only lost 15 lbs. after having each baby.  After having had 2 babies, I was up 30 lbs. from where I had started.  I remember wearing my maternity clothes even after each baby was born, because I couldn’t fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes.  This became especially demoralizing when my youngest turned 1 and I could no longer use the excuse of “I just had a baby” for being overweight.  It was time to make a change.

In June 2013, I asked my friend Julie W. how she got into such good shape after having had her 2 kids, who were each a year older than mine.  She told me about Crossfit Synergistics (CFS) and the impact it had on her own health and encouraged me to check it out and give it a try.  So I walked into Crossfit Synergistics with my oldest son in my arms and was approached by Glenn who showed me around and told me about the program.    I was immediately impressed by the coaches, the people who were working out there, and how much the owners truly cared about making each person as healthy as they could be.  It turned out that the new Foundations class for that week was starting in an hour so I promptly signed up, took my son home, then returned to CFS.  Here is a picture from that week…

After having completed Foundations, I began scaling WODs and was absolutely smoked by the end of them.  I couldn’t believe how out of shape my body had gotten.   I kept telling myself that it took 18 months (2×9 month pregnancies) for my body to get that way so it wasn’t going to go back to its pre-pregnancy size overnight.  It took about 3 months of Crossfit 3x per week for me to realize that I also had to start watching what I put in my mouth (for the first time ever) in order to see real results.  I consulted Glenn about this as he had more knowledge about nutrition and its impact on one’s health than any person I had ever met.  Changing 5 years of bad habits was hard, but with the encouragement from my family and friends at CFS, I’m 30 lbs. lighter, my cholesterol levels are normal, and I’m a whole lot healthier.  I’ve also ditched any pants with an elastic waistband, have more energy to chase my kids around, am no longer considered “overweight”, and the list goes on and on.  I can even complete some WODs at the RX weights and also completed my first Crossfit Competition  this past week.

I’m also wearing smaller sizes in clothes than I was at the same weight with just running/swimming/biking/hiking/skiing as my exercise routine.  In addition to being healthier and happier, I’ve made so many friends at CFS.  The sense of community, encouragement, and spirit is unmatched compared to any other gym I’ve seen.  My husband Jim was so impressed by my own progress and the encouragement at CFS that he joined this past month and loves it!  I can’t thank the owners, the coaches (especially Joe A. who encouraged me at every 7:30 pm WOD), and the other athletes (especially Julie W. for encouraging me to try Crossfit) for giving my husband the best wife, and my sons the best mother she can be.

Sarah C


Before CrossFit I always thought I was in shape.  I was a big guy who used my height as the justification for being big.  I played division I rugby in college and I thought I was at the peak of my physical condition weighing 225lbs.  Once I decided to stop playing rugby to focus on my career and family I quickly gained weight and stop all forms of exercising. It all hit home for me during a yearly physical.  My cholesterol was at an all time high and I weighed 270lbs with a 40″ waist and XXL was a normal size in my closet. After seeing those results I began to go to the local gym and got back into working out “my way”.  I lost 40lbs in about 8 months however I still wasn’t in shape. I was the “skinny fat guy” at 230lbs.  I had chronic pain in my hip and was diagnosed with arthritis in my hip at age 33.  I thought arthritis was for people over 60.  I watched my wife join a local CrossFit box and told her she was crazy and that I was doing my own “vitti-fit” at my local gym.  I was the college athlete who didn’t need or believe in a group fitness atmosphere.  I knew how to lift and I didn’t need to do legs or focus on any functional movements to keep the weight off.  Running, Back/Bi’s, Chest/tri’s 3 times a week was enough…..until my wife and a college buddy in CA finally got me to try CrossFit.
I’ve been a CFS for almost 1 year.  Since joining I’ve dropped another 20lbs and 3% body fat. I have zero pain in my hip and I’m in the best physical condition of my life.  I can do things that I’ve never done in a local gym. I ran my first 5K two months ago however prior to running that 5K I also completed 50 strict pull ups & 100 push ups.  That is why CrossFit works, it’s constantly varied functional movements that push you to places you never imagined your body could go.  It also exploits your weaknesses.  I now embrace the “suck” and look forward to working on goats to be a better athlete.
My family & I have embraced the CrossFit lifestyle which includes eating Paleo or Clean.  A clean diet affects your energy levels, internal inflammation and directly effects your workouts. I now weigh 208 lbs with a 34″ waist and I have zero pain in my hip.  The community at CFS has helped me along the way from the coaches to the other athletes.  We show up everyday to be better, push each other & compete in the daily WOD.  The community at CFS allows me to push myself to the next level and improve my overall level of fitness everyday.
Dave V


Before 225lbs


Current 170lbs


I just want to share a snap shot of my CrossFit journey with you, how CFS changed my life for the better, and how it all started.

If you’ve ever interacted with me, you will know right away that I am not from around here. I was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 2004. Like anyone who is coming from a different part of the world, I have had my share of major stressful adjustments to the new culture, lifestyle, and the language. I did not know it at that time but I made myself “adjust” by eating and I mean eating A LOT to feel less homesick. Fast forward to few years and I reached my heaviest weight of 225 lbs from eating, waistline 38, which might not be a lot of weight, but for a height of 5’7” and according to my body mass index and doctor, I was fat and unhealthy.

Denial made me think that being heavy does not mean I am going to get sick. I went to see my doctor and he informed me that everything was “borderline”, my BP was borderline high, my sugar was borderline high, and my cholesterol was also borderline high. In addition to this doctor’s visit, I watched a video of one of my son’s birthday parties, I saw and I was shocked at how I looked and I could not believe that it was myself on the video. I remember thinking “they say TV adds 20 lbs, I can’t be THAT big.” I talked with my wife and shared my sentiment and she said: “Well, if you don’t want to be diabetic, hypertensive, obese with high cholesterol, then do something about it!” Like a good husband, I listened to my wife. I enrolled at Gold’s gym and met Darin St George. Darin became my trainer at the gym and he introduced me to CrossFit. Darin eventually urged me to join CFS stating “If you are going to try CrossFit, you should see John and Glenn at CFS because they are really good guys over there.” Later I found, Darin’s statement is an understatement. John and Glenn are not only “good guys” but they’re great people who tirelessly have given me tips and advice on how to get better as an athlete.

From the time I stepped in the box, I loved it! I met CC for foundations and he has always given me the reassurance I needed to push myself to improve on my form, increase the weight safely and efficiently, and to try harder for the next WOD. I would struggle at a movement and CC would say with a smile “yeah bud! you’ll clean 45lbs next time!!!.” CC gave me specific and measurable goals and he would deliver it in the most non-judgmental, non-threatening, just push-yourself next time attitude.

Then I had a routine at the 6:30 am class. I look forward to every WOD. I checked the CFS site for the following day WODs. I would strategize the WODs and check the blog several times a day. I look forward every day to any competition by fellow athletes. The people I have met at CFS are some of the coolest guys I know and all of whom I consider like brothers to me: Big Bri, Greg, Ilya, Andre, Joe A, Alex, and Joey B. Little by little, the unwanted weight came off. Then I learned how to eat healthy.

I joined Whole30 and learned a ton about nutrition. I felt that with proper eating, I am stronger and faster, and in return lose the fat quicker. Then I start competing at local boxes and found that it is something I tremendously enjoy. I sometimes win and sometimes lose, but I am always happy I get to give my “all” and it makes me want to do better next time. It has been a year now since I joined CFS. I am no longer borderline fat and unhealthy. My blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol are all normalized. I am at 170lbs, waistline 32, I am happy with how I look, my doctor is happy with my progress, and I consider myself well informed on nutrition.

I was initially hesitant to sign up at CrossFit because of the cost, but CrossFit did not only proved to be worth my time, money and effort but it exceeded my expectations. I have gained so much from CFS such as healthy eating habits, discipline to work at things I suck at, push myself to the best I can be, reaching my maximum physical ability without getting injured and I also have gained fellow athletes and friends. Having said all this, I am now “well-adjusted” and with that, I am extremely grateful.

Jervin E



KB and Rob


Rob – 

Think of the pickiest eater you’ve ever known. Got someone? Well, I bet they had more epicurean range than I do. Less than one year ago, the only major food groups for me were cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken fingers, and ice cream. Growing up, my mother would make two meals; one for the family, one for me. Despite my terrible eating habits, however, I was a pretty skinny kid.  Even until my early-to-mid twenties I weighed about 150-160 lbs.  What I ate didn’t seem to affect me physically, so I continued to eat whatever I felt like.

After a few years of marriage, my wife, who was trying to be healthier herself, tried to get me on board with healthy eating, but I didn’t want anything to do with it. Time passed and I needed bigger pants, larger shirts.  I just associated it with being older, not being bigger due to my choices.  Even up to a year ago, I didn’t see why I should change.  I liked eating whatever I wanted.

I’ve been a runner since I was 20, always with the goal to qualify to run the Boston Marathon.  The Marathon has been special to me since I was a patient in the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Patient Partner Program.  In 2002, in what I thought was the best shape of my life, I took the first step towards that goal and ran the BAA Half-Marathon.  My finish time was 2:08:51.  If I wanted to run the full marathon, I’d either have to become significantly faster, or join Dana-Farber’s team as a charity runner.  I tried over the years to drop my half time.  In 2003 I toed the line again. Finish time: 2:12:33.  I kept trying after that, but never could seem to make a dent.  In 2010 I decided it was time to give up trying to qualify, and raise money for the people that saved my life.  My first Boston finish time would be 5:08:02; approx. two hours past the qualifying time.  I figured I just didn’t have the genetics to run it faster.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

In late 2012, my wife joined CrossFit Synergistics and she was hooked almost immediately.  A few months went by and I decided that I needed to do more than just running, so I joined as well.  After being there for a month or so I told her that I wanted to be like the other guys there.  I saw what they could do and I wanted that.  I then realized that to be like them, things needed to change.  Food needed to change.

There I was, terrified, sitting in a restaurant, and waiting for a salad to show up.  Something I had NEVER ordered before.  (Since you’re reading this, you know that it didn’t kill me.)  Having survived my first salad, I knew that Paleo was the answer.  My wife and I went home and promptly “paleoized” the house.  If it wasn’t paleo, out it went.  Changing my diet (pretty drastically) felt like the hardest thing I had ever done; harder than overcoming cancer.

As the weight started to drop, I started running faster.  The BAA Half was coming up again and it was time to see what I could do.  I figured being 11 years older, and 15-20 lbs heavier than I was that first time that even one second PR would be good.  Instead, I crossed the line at 1:45:53; a 23-minute difference. I’m in the best shape of my life, and that Boston Qualifier? Again I am in pursuit.

I’m not the best CrossFitter, just like I’m not an elite runner. But seeing the determination in the box, learning hard lessons from the coaches and the other athletes, and seeing how everyone there is determined to make themselves better, I can say, without a doubt, the people of CrossFit Synergistics have changed my life. They have made me want to be better.  I will continue to fuel my body with what God intended, and I will continue to search for the limits of what it can do.

rob sox


Marathon K

KB –

I had a professor in college who used to say that he would never refer to the attacks on the twin towers on September 11th as “9/11” because two little numbers would never encapsulate every awful thing that happened that day. In the same way, I can’t just say to you “I have been fat my whole life.” That sentence has more *ahem* weight than just those seven words.

I have been made to feel like less than a person my whole life. I have been treated as someone without feelings my whole life, someone who deserves every cruel joke and pointed finger. For almost every day of my 31 years I have been trapped in a prison of my own making; a deep well with smooth sides and no way out. I would constantly try to crawl out, and when I thought I had the teensiest of footholds, I would get pushed back down. And every time I fell, I had to face the fact that the hands pushing me down were my own.

Maybe that sounds melodramatic but maybe you have never been overweight. Starting in elementary school and stretching all the way to college, I was The Fat Kid. When I was in third and fourth grade, I didn’t understand why I was being picked on. Then, one day, I saw it. I realized I was The Fat Kid. I remember that moment clear as day. But much like a kicked puppy that still follows its owner, the kids made fun of me, yet I still tried to be their friend. I didn’t grow the armor and build the walls until middle school. By the time I got to high school, I fended off the mean kids with humor and tried to cut them off at the pass by making the fat jokes at myself. That won me a few allies. Gwyneth Paltrow said it best in Shallow Hal; I was “the girl with a lot of friends who were boys, and noboyfriends.” With the exception of my sweet husband, I was overlooked, ignored, and pushed aside, unless, of course, I was being made fun of. And all the while, I sought comfort, friendship, and relief from food.

I started CrossFit only one year ago, on November 1, 2012, as a veteran distance runner. Frustrated by my lack of weight loss despite the miles I was putting in on the road, I needed to try something new. I was terrified that day and the courage to come at all only stems from the kind of nerve a person who runs the Boston Marathon at 250 pounds can have.

Every day since, I am less afraid. Every day is still hard but it should be! If it wasn’t, I’d have no more use for it! But now the fear is (mostly) gone and its buddies Loneliness and Shame have been replaced by actual friends; people who care about me, encourage me, and brag, and love on me, and I on them

It is said that the greatest thing a man can do is give his life for a friend. John and Glenn have given me an even greater gift than that. They gave me my own life. It’s true, I do all the work, but without their support, guidance, and encouragement, I could not have made it to where I am now. And seriously, it is hard work to encourage someone like me, let’s be honest. I remember one day, asking John if he had ever seen someone “like me” get thin, because that’s why I was there. He said he had seen people do amazing things and there was no reason I couldn’t have what I wanted. He always believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

I still have a little ways to go, but I know I’ll get there, and more importantly, now I have a map. I have tools to get there, I have everything I need. Now it’s just a matter of time. I am accountable to every member of CFS. They are all behind me every time I toss a med ball or pull a row and I never want to disappoint them. They believe in me, which means I am worth believing in. Without these people, I might have never found that out, and that has made all the difference.


Numbers: In 2010 my last taken measurements were 40/43/51. Today they are 35/37/43. Before I started at CFS I was pushing the limits of my size 20 pants. Today I am on my way to a size 10.

After K R

Kristina & Bob B


This past year has been a very difficult time in my life. I was involved in a car accident, had emergency surgery in February, which involved spending 10 days in the hospital, and experienced an abrupt end to my 25 year marriage.  Back in September of 2011, when the downward spiral began, my weight was at the highest of my life, over 200 lbs on a 5’4″ body. I was hypertensive, had hypothyroidism and type II diabetes, heading for medication therapy for all of those.  I had been going to a cheap ‘self-serve’ gym, but lacked any motivation, and instruction from staff was non-existent.

My nephew, Andrew, had been coming to CFS for about 10 months, and I had witnessed an extraordinarily positive change not only in his fitness level, but his attitude toward life.  He encouraged me to attend a free class.  I was immediately hooked.

I was extremely skeptical about starting such an intense workout at my age and weight.  I was so afraid of being ‘judged’ and ridiculed because of my size and limited abilities.  My very first official WOD after Foundations included several rounds of 200 M sandbag runs!! I remember struggling to keep my feet moving, my chest heaving with every breath, and casually joking (sort of) that “I am too old for this”.  Needless to say, CFS has proven me wrong!!

UPDATE: These last 3 months have seen a dramatic change in me, both physically and emotionally. I’ve been able to avoid medication for diabetes, and am working with my doctor to reduce my blood pressure meds. I shudder to think in what condition I would be now had I not started CrossFit when I did.  The feeling of accomplishment when I complete a WOD, or PR, is indescribable.  What thrills me the most (yes, I said thrills) is the sincere excitement and pride I see on the faces of the incredible coaches and my fellow athletes when one of us exceeds our previous time or weight.  I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere of true friendship and community, especially in a gym!  CFS has helped me regain my long-lost self esteem, and I’ve met people here who truly care about one another’s progress and aren’t afraid to show it. I love the feeling of collapsing on the floor after a WOD, watching everyone fist pound and high five each other.

The coaching staff at CFS is amazing. I thrive on the challenges they set for me, yet they also have the instinct to know when I’ve reached my limit.  Each and every WOD is a learning experience.  I’m still scaling many things at this point, but no one makes me feel less important because of it.

I plan to continue being a CrossFit Athlete (yes, I consider myself an athlete) for as long as my body is able. Based on the improvements I’ve experienced these past few months: a 30+ lb. weight loss, progression through multiple scale levels, several increases in PR’s and my soaring self confidence– I won’t be stopping for a long, long time.

I wanted to pass along some news that I’m pretty excited about- my doctor and I recently decided to discontinue my blood pressure medication!!! Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes all run in my family. I started taking blood pressure meds about 15 years ago.  I was able to cut the dosage in half about 6 months ago and at my recent physical, my doctor and I decided to totally stop the meds.     My pressure readings since then have remained excellent. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes-having three or more abnormal A1C readings.  I have been able to reduce those readings to below what is recommended for diabetics and to almost a level that can be termed normal for a ‘non-diabetic’.  From labs taken about 6 months ago: my cholesterol total had dropped 15 points, LDL dropped 8 points and HDL gone up 10 points. My triglycerides had been cut almost in half to 76. I’m looking forward to seeing more improvements with the results of my latest round of labs.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know I am beating the odds of my inherited health problems. Both my parents died too young of preventable health issues.  I don’t plan to follow that path.
I started at CFS in June 2012.  Since then, I have made many other ‘measurable improvements’.  The reduction of meds being only one.  Since last year, I have lost 50+/- lbs (I’m human, it fluctuates a lb or two here and there), lost a total of 23″, gone down 3 pants sizes and am close to the fourth.  I’ve changed my diet to where I’m eating ‘paleo clean’ about 90% of the time. It’s become a lifestyle that I can live with. I WOD 4-5 times per week and really look forward to my time at the box. I’m making slow and steady changes in the scales I use, and can see improvement in most moves. I still have a long way to go to be able to RX often, but I will get there!!! Box jumps still scare the hell out of me, but I’m trying.  I’ve completed three ‘obstacle course events’ during the past year: Diva Dash (5k), Ruckus (5k) and recently actually finished my first Tough Mudder (12mi). I’ve already signed up for Spartan Race in August and am considering Rugged Mania in September. I can honestly say a year ago I never would have imagined participating in anything even remotely like those events.
The most important improvement has been the way I feel.  Despite a number of difficulties and stressful personal roadblocks in my life, thanks to CFS and the amazingly positive people there, I am happier and healthier both physically and mentally than I have been in a very long time.  It’s been said by many others, and it’s so very true- the community of Crossfit is it’s strength. The people of CFS are it’s biggest asset, from the owners to the staff to each and every individual member.  Without these wonderful people, it’s just an empty box.  Thank you to everyone at CFS!!
Cindy H


Charlie taking 2nd place at the Garage Games

Weight before: 195                                 Weight after: 175

My fitness routine in my twenties had been running 10-15 miles a week.   This regiment kept my weight at 170lbs until I reached my 30′s when my weight slowly started increasing despite the 10-15 miles/week.

So, what did I do?  I ran more, and more, and more.   Unfortunately, as my mileage increased so did my weight.   This pattern continued for 5 years until January 2012 when I was running 60+ miles per week at 200lbs with a 38″ waste.   Not majorly overweight, but at 5’8″ heavier than you would expect for someone running 65 miles a week. And I didn’t feel great about it.   In an attempt to break this 5 year pattern, I started my Crossfit Foundations Class at CFS as a 35th birthday gift to myself.

And Crossfit sure did break the pattern: not only did I start loosing weight, but I found that I really love doing CrossFit.

Each CrossFitter has their own reasons why they love it.  For some it’s fitting in pants long since retired, or it’s the random daily workout, or its the thrill of learning something new, or maybe its simply the pro-bacon paleo stance.   It’s all of this for me.  Yes, I am the fittest in my life  after 9 months of  CrossFit than I ever was with running alone.

But, the real special sauce of Crossfit Synergistics (CFS) is the competitiveness combined with the community.  I consider it to be more of a sport than an exercise routine.  To me, CrossFit is more akin to a pickup basketball game than to P90X.   CFS workouts remind me of my high school and college athletic practices.    We compete hard against ourselves and each other.  The support and encouragement of fellow CrossFitters and coaches during our competitive workouts creates a welcoming TEAM environment despite the competition.   We give it our all during the workout and cheer each other on at the same time.   I know it sounds cheesy, but its actually FUN getting fit.  It’s amazing to see people from so many different backgrounds and ability levels coming together in this team environment.

Charlie S



After giving birth to my daughter in March 2009, I vowed to not become a mother who blamed pregnancy and motherhood as a reason to hang onto the extra pounds I gained throughout my pregnancy (I gained 55 total pounds with my first pregnancy).  I had always been a yo-yo exerciser.  I would exercise, get into what I thought was good shape, drop weight, feel good and then stop because the goals I had were attained.  Maintenance for me meant waiting to feel unfit and have snug pants to get back to the gym.  I was always too busy and yo-yo exercised as to not let things get too out of control. I had been in the Army National Guard for 15 years at the time and had perfected figuring out what I needed to do exactly to pass my semi-annual weigh-in and pass with an above average score for my annual Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) which consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit ups and a 2 mile run.  My best APFT score was during my deployment to Afghanistan, where the only thing to do on down time was to make it to the tent-gym and work out.  I was (what I thought) in the best shape of my life.

Upon my return from overseas, I became pregnant and spent 9 months eating what I wanted, when I wanted because THAT is what pregnant women do, right?  I justified my eating by going to the gym 3 times a week and walking on the treadmill or doing low impact elliptical workouts.  55 pounds later (I’m only 5’3” tall), a traumatic c-section that left me on the couch for 6 weeks and the rainiest maternity leave ever, I went back to work with 30 extra pounds on my body.  It was demoralizing to not fit into anything in my wardrobe and to feel so un-fit.  With my next APFT and weigh-in on the horizon, I somehow managed to get back beneath my authorized weight limit and barely passed my APFT within 9 months of giving birth (nothing short of a miracle really).  Though I passed my tests, I was not exactly my pre-pregnancy size.  I attributed my new size to my post-birth “Mom” body.

Only 12 months after getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight, it was time for baby #2.  I was determined not to gain 55 pounds, remembering how difficult it was to lose the weight afterwards with my daughter.  Well, excuses, excuses, but being pregnant in the summer led to ice cream daily and all the steak and yummy summer food I could handle.  I did meet my goal of not gaining 55 pounds, but still gained 50 pounds (and I was pregnant a week less the second time around).  My son was born on September 1st, just in time for fall and the dreaded winter months where I would typically gain weight, not lose it.

During my pregnancy, a friend (my workout buddy) had been telling me about her husband’s new passion in CrossFit.  I had never heard of it but learned that a ‘box’ had opened in Ashland, close to where I live.  I committed to checking it out as soon as physically able.  I did the trial class with Matt and was pretty smoked. I wasn’t even able to do a ‘regular’ push up at the time, which was embarrassing for me after so many years in the service.  I signed up for Foundations when my son was 12 weeks old and decided it was time to try something new.  The Foundations class was a great pace for me, learning moves and not worrying about weights (quite yet) but just form.  Little did I know that my ass was about to get kicked in only a few short weeks.

I started Wodding 2x per week and immediately realized that my brain and body were not on the same page.  My body was not doing the things I felt it should.  I had always been stronger, faster and leaner than I was at that time. It was the single most frustrating thing in my life to mentally believe I was a ‘fit’ person and to have a body that wasn’t cooperating with this mental image. This alone drove me to work hard, cope with scaling because it was the appropriate thing to do, and work my ass off until I could eventually become someone to RX a couple WODs a week and be a person another new Mom might talk to about starting CrossFit.  I also learned that the “Mom” body was a bunch of bull.  Though my weight is not too far off from my previous adult ‘low’ of 132, the clothes I wore at that weight hang off my body.  My size 8’s and 10’s are a thing of the past and I am replacing the clothes in my closet with 4’s, 6’s, smalls and extra smalls.  I never thought I’d be that size, ever!  I don’t think I was that size even as a teenager.

Now, 10 months later, I continue to push myself harder every month, setting specific goals to continue moving me towards faster times in METCON WODs, heavier weights in weight training and better technique in things like pull ups, toes-to-bar and double-unders.  I WOD 3-5 times a week and strictly schedule my calendar to make sure I fit in my workouts each month.  I never liked going to work out in the morning and now I am excited to get up and go to CFS on mornings that I am scheduled to do so.  I love the community, motivation and support from my CrossFit peers and friends I have made.   I love being inspired by some phenomenal athletes and I love that I have been able to inspire a few others out there. Most importantly, I love how I feel about my stronger body and the example I am setting for my children.

Julie W


In November of 2011 I broke my leg, playing hockey, so I was searching for a way to jump-start my recovery.  My Crossfit experience began the following March and it has transformed me.

There have been so many benefits:

  • Since the end of competitive sports I have not been able to retain motivation for exercise. Now I can’t wait to go to Crossfit. I wish I could attend more.
  • My cholesterol has dropped 18 points, (eliminating the need for medication).
  • I’ve become part of a family of individuals who share common goals and care deeply about each other’s success.
  • My mental health has improved dramatically: Personal boundaries have been crushed. Self-confidence has grown. Stress levels are at an all-time low. I have focus and feel calm.
  • I have no dietary limitations, yet I choose to eat healthier and drink significantly less.  Because of this I feel amazing.
  • My work life has benefitted dramatically due to an uptick in productivity.
  • I’ve shed my body fat and replaced it with muscle.
  • Every time I repeat a workout, I have been measurably better than the time before.
  • The movements (handstands, kipping pull-ups, sledge hammers, tire flips, Etc.) are so much more fun than any standard gym exercises,
  • I know the names of at least 75% of the members and have made many friends. That doesn’t happen at a standard gym.

How do these benefits manifest themselves? The secret sauce is the atmosphere created by the coaches and athletes.  This competitive environment has a buzz about it when everyone’s adrenaline starts pumping.  The countdown starts, “Athletes ready, 3-2-1, GO!” and it’s on.  No one is done until the last athlete finishes.  Grunts, groans, screams and loud music are followed by cheers, bells and congratulations. It’s a rush. My personal challenges have been flexibility and strength.  Each and every coach has taken an interest to get me to a place where I can complete all of the movements today and at significantly more load than just a short eight months ago.  To destroy a previous personal record is incredibly satisfying and motivational. I’ve come a long way and look forward to continual improvement for many years at Crossfit Synergistics.  Thank you for a better me.

Steven C


Crossfit – A Family Affair: It started out so simple: a quick email to CFS to see if they did strength training for teenagers. On a quiet April morning, we met at “the box” which was still being painted and not yet opened for business. Looking back now, oh how naive we were…

The brief 15-minute meeting with Glenn extended to over 60 minutes of our teens’, Elizabeth & Nicholas, fitness being tested on squats, ring dips, and pull ups. We heard about core, intensity, WODs, GPP, nutrition, and the importance of sleep. The kids were sold… and I was completely intimidated. As a working mother of three, much of my recent exercise consisted of climbing in & out of the car to drive them somewhere. Sweating in a box with elite athletes and a skeleton on the wall was not in my comfort zone.

The kids loved it. Pretty soon, our 10-year old, Julia, signed up for kid’s crossfit too. But it wasn’t enough. Our son, Nick, was relentless in his quest for my husband, Nabil, and I to share the experience and to get fit. Somehow he talked us into the Introduction class and managed to keep a straight face while lifting me out of the car afterwards.

This first year at Crossfit has made a tremendous impact on our family. Dinner conversation revolves around that day’s WOD. We share a new language (snatches, cleans, wall balls, paleo), new friends (Fran, Murph, Angie), and celebrate when someone PRs. Crossfit helped Elizabeth, now playing D1 field hockey at UPenn, start off on the right foot: the only freshman to pass Penn field hockey’s required run test and the trainer’s choice to demo all the lifts because of her form. Nick passed his Crossfit Trainer Certification at 17. In addition to practicing handstands everywhere we go, Julia ran a 6:38 mile, missing the Middle School girl’s record by just 7 seconds with no running-specific training. Finally, together Nabil and I are down 50 pounds and 5 pants sizes.  (It is the first time I have fit into size 8 in 20 years!) Nabil has gone from the green band to doing 13 strict pullups, and I’ve graduated from walking the 200m to running a sub-10 minute mile. Along with the measurable success Crossfit brings, there is a special camaraderie at the box that encourages and celebrates working hard.

As a side note, crossfit is contagious. When my brother came for an Easter visit, we talked him into the Introduction class as well. He and his wife, now members of a Crossfit in Florida, are also down a combined 55 lbs in the last year. Our story shows that anyone can do Crossfit. So, no excuses; it’s time to get moving!

Annemarie H


September 2012 to September 2013.

Conference 2012ON the run.9.13

59, boxy, and buxom is tired, borderline high cholesterol, and borderline high blood pressure. She decides to take action.  A few weeks after this picture was taken, I began the search to reacquaint myself to a fitness routine.  I found Crossfit Synergistics because my son Michael and his wife Meghan were already members here.  My daughter, Denise also was participating in a cross fit community in Connecticut.  I saw the results they had and heard their enthusiasm. What really drew me to trying it out was when I heard them talk about the diversity in membership. Both genders were well represented. There was a wide range of ages, capabilities, and performances.  This was all the encouragement I needed to explore further.  After all, if I didn’t like it there were many options out there.
And so, 59 becomes an athlete!  Yes, for the first time ever I was being called an athlete. Ha, ha, ha.  Off and on, all my adult life I have exercised.  Early on, I did some running.  I did aerobics, step up programs, nautilus, a little tennis, barbell free weights, yoga, and even had a personal trainer for several years.  In all those years, no one ever called me an athlete.  Until now.
I became an athlete when I walked through the doors of CFS in mid-October of 2012.  I entered nervous and with trepidations.  Would I fit in?  Would the coaches accept my presence? Would the other athletes accept my presence? Would I be considered too old?  Would I be able to participate without totally embarrassing myself, or my son?
One of my first successes was the 20” box jump.  It felt so good being able to master that very early on. However, pudgy 59 had weak ankles.  As a result, for months, I had to withdraw from all impact activities.  No box jumps, only step ups, no running, no power lifts, no jump roping.  So, one of my first successes actually became a goat!
And so: oops, there went the first head game.  Nancy vs Nancy.   It was tough to accept this set back. With the help of coaches, willing to modify WODS, so that I could get a good work out in spite of limitations, my mental attitude improved.  Gradually, over the months, I have been able to work most of these activities back into my work outs.  Still, overzealous workouts of high volume that include the above movements, will leave my left ankle in particular, talking to me, “Warning. Warning. Slow down. You push too much.”
There have been many head game hurdles to face.  I don’t like some of my limitations.  I know.  Neither does anyone else.  But really, when 20, 30, and sometimes 40 newbies come in and pass me by in a couple of weeks I’m tempted to really play the head case game.  I’m learning to let those moments be short lived.  They are not productive much beyond a little wallow.  When to push, when to pace is the game I often play.  Practice at making that decision is paying off at better calls.
So, after many months, with 59 gone, 60 is stronger than 59.  60 has normal cholesterol and normal blood pressure.  60 is 35+ a few more pounds lighter than 59 and yielding much thanks to two whole 30 initiatives and the steady maintaining of mostly Paleo clean.
60 can even run. Yes, a little slower than most but 59 found that a challenge.  It is something I let go of in my early forties.  I actually participated in a 5.2 mile race this summer with a decent time of one hour.   I wave good bye to the limitations of 59 and younger. 60 is steadily improving form, is growing stronger, and gathering speed, endurance and agility.  But, 60 still gets impatient when my body is often slower in making these gains than I would like it to be.  Still, I am more confident in what I can do.  I try to accept where I am while anticipating with relish where I am going.   I don’t need to do a hoochie koochie dance and announce every little success as if I was the four year old showing off to Mommy and Daddy.
One year from my first week of cross fit classes at CFS I am about to participate in my third competition, fourth if you include the Opens.  Although. Competing was never really on my mind when I began cross fit I have enjoyed the experiences immensely.  What a thrill and eye opener these experiences have been.  I get to measure my performance to the performances of others and again, measure my performance to my own expectations.  I am not a BIG DAWG performer. Yet, no one here has ever made me feel that way.
As I move into year two my goals will evolve.  I know want to master moves that I still haven’t got down yet. I want to be stronger, faster and have more endurance.  Mostly, I want to show that being older doesn’t mean giving up on fitness.
Thank you so much, Glenn, John, and all the other coaches and athletes for you sharing your knowledge, your inspiring motivation, and overall support.  I couldn’t have done any of this without you.You know the answers. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to all the people here who have contributed to my feeling welcome.  The owners, coaches, fellow athletes have been so knowledgeable, supportive, and encouraging. As a result, I took to Crossfit like a fish to water.  I love it.  It is fun.  It is hard work too.  But, I love it. I love the people. I love the program that is like an IEP.  (Individualize Education Plan).  I love goal setting.  I love learning about my own limits, physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual.  I appreciate the support and feedback I get from the BIG DAWGS and little pups.
Nancy P


Before CrossFit Synergistics – Weight 200 Pounds, 37 Inch Waist

On CrossFit Synergistics – Weight 168 Pounds, 32 Inch Waist

My whole life I had played sports on a pretty regular basis, and tried to go the local gym at least a few times a week. I played hockey a few times a week, and would also try to squeeze in some cardio whenever possible. About 7 years ago, I started a new job where I worked 3pm-11pm. I had no idea that at this point my life would change for the worse. My whole schedule changed and I found myself not going to the gym as much, not being able to play hockey as much anymore, and eating later at night. It all concluded in May of this year, when I finally realized that I needed to make some major changed in my life style. I started going to a local chain gym, and found it extremely hard to motivate myself to simply walk in the door. After a month of getting no results, I realized that I needed to try something different.

I had heard of CrossFit before, but really had no idea of what I was getting into. I had heard from other people that CrossFit was simply for people who couldn’t or didn’t want to lift weights, or that it was all body weight exercises, and no strength training. People kept telling me the only way to get in shape was to go to the gym, lift weights, and do cardio. I heard CrossFit was for girls, and guys went to the gym and bench pressed!!

I remember being apprehensive and nervous walking in CrossFit Synergistics for the first time on June 18, 2012 to begin my foundations course. Before I left for CrossFit that day I hopped on the scale, and I weighed 200 pounds. It was kind of depressing seeing those numbers, and I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. I had no idea that walking through those doors would change my life so much. I was scared, out of shape, with no self-confidence that I would actually succeed in accomplishing my goals.

I met with Coach Chris to took my three foundations classes. His knowledge of CrossFit, and the Paleo diet was incredible. After the first foundations class I literally almost passed out on the floor of the box. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice, but I figured I would at least give it a try. I finished up my foundations classes, and was looking forward to my first real WOD. I completely changed my eating and shopping habits because I figured if I was going to do this I would give it 100%. I threw out every piece of junk food I had. I went to the supermarket, and shopped on the outside aisles just like Coach Chris had said. It was more expensive, but I was hoping it would be worth it in the long run.

My foundations class was only with one other newbie, so the day of my first WOD I was extremely nervous to be with people who actually knew what they were doing. Would they laugh at me because I was new and didn’t know how to do any of the moves? Would they laugh at how much weight I was lifting? Coach Emily was leading the class that day, and made sure I met everyone in the class. Although I realize now that even if she didn’t introduce me, that people would have done it anyways. It happened to be raining out that             day, and the WOD was “Blake.” It called for weighted walking lunges. I remember Coach Emily saying that we could do them inside if we wanted to, or do them in the rain. I decided to do them outside with Coach Glenn and a few others. As Coach Glenn said “We embraced the suck!” At that moment I knew I had found the perfect place to change my life and get back into shape.

The next few months were not easy at all. I was often sore, and always tired! The WOD’s kicked my butt in a different way every day. My shoulders, my arms, my legs, my abs, and every other part of my body got sore. The varying workouts always kept me motivated, and if I wasn’t the Coaches and other people doing the WOD were always there for encouragement.

I think that’s what makes CrossFit different than going to your local gym is the Community. It amazed me that people cared so much if I could finish my WOD. There is always someone encouraging you even if they are in the middle of doing power cleans. If you are struggling, someone will be pushing you. If you think you can’t do one more burpee, someone will be next to you telling you that you can. Everyone may have their individual goals, but at the same time it always feels like they are pushing you to reach yours as well.                                                                                                                          It is now 3 months later, and I feel and look like a new person. I look forward to heading to the box 3 times a week. I get mad when I look at the WOD for a day I am not going and it’s something I am weak at. I make progress every time I walk through the doors and I can see and feel it. I sleep better now, and my acid reflux I had is gone. I take my dog for longer walks, and feel better after. I had to buy new shorts because the old ones were falling off, but to me that is money well spent. I wish I had found CrossFit Synergistics sooner.

Joe Z



Glenn and John,
As 2013 has begun, I realized today that January marks my one year anniversary with CFS.  I was reflecting over the past year, and thought I’d share some insights with you.

I compare who I was before CFS to who I am now, and I am astounded at the changes I’ve made with the help of this community.  I had never played a sport before in my life – the closest I had come was the marching band in high school.  I always grew up as an academic.  I struggled through gym class and avoided any social sports or games at all costs.  I was self-conscious about being judged by others for my lack of athletic ability, and hyper aware that I was not very coordinated.  I hid behind books and stuck to what I was good at, because I was afraid to fail.  When I was 13, I started smoking…and smoked for 10 years before quitting.  I used this as a scapegoat as to why I was not physically active.  It was much easier to back out of a 5k because I smoked than to admit that I was afraid I couldn’t finish.
Before CFS, I had never run a mile.  I had never done a push up.  I had never done a pull up.  In my early adult life I had started to branch into physical activity, which consisted exclusively of the elliptical and sit-ups because I had no idea how to work out.  The machinery at the gym made no sense to me, and I was too proud to ask.  I tried and failed several times to take up running (which i hated), do yoga (which I was terrible at), and try videos (which I could never follow).
A few friends of ours turned us on to Crossfit, and Dre was ultimately the one who brought me in for the free class.  I was terrified.  Glenn, you were so patient, kind, and thorough that I began to have hope that maybe this was something I could actually do.  I remember Linda spent about an hour with Dre and me after the class, answering questions and getting to know us.  CC taught our foundations class at a pace that actually made sense to me, taking the time to explain not just what we were doing, but why we were doing it. I was hooked.
I’ve had some ups and downs in the past year, including a car accident that put me out for a month.  I look at how far I’ve come with this community.  I did my first pull up  last month.  I can now do 100 push ups in a WOD (though admittedly, they are not all very pretty).  Today, I got my first double under.  I ran my first 5k ever over Thanksgiving and came in at just under 26 minutes.  These are achievements that I never thought possible.  Though simple, these small athletic accomplishments are beginning to define me.  I am an athlete.  I can do this.  I will not give up.  I am strong.  For the first time in my life, I care more about how I feel than how I look.  Strong really is the new skinny.
Crossfit speaks for itself – it gets results.  I could get fit at any Crossfit gym in the country.  However, it is the community at CFS that has made me successful.  The coaches give you just the right balance of pushing you to your limits, but not pushing you over your limits.  I know that every single coach genuinely cares about me as an athlete, but also as a person.  They care about my goals and achievements. Beyond the coaches, I look to a community of fellow athletes.  The support that the athletes have for each other at CFS amazes me.  The mentality that we are all in this together, all supporting each other though triumphs and struggles, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.  There is never judgement, only encouragement.  With the help of coaches and athletes alike, this band geek has finally found herself in the athletic world.
Lindsey J