MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- APRIL 2017

NAME: Ryan Steinkamp
AGE: 36
HOMETOWN: Springfield

OCCUPATION: Precision Agriculture student at LLCC, part-time at Lowe’s
MEMBER SINCE: Jan 2017
 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST DAY AT RSCF:

I was anxious at first.  As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a super-excited Catlin, who went over some of the basics of the gym.  His enthusiasm and love for the gym were very encouraging, and I felt a calming reassurance that I had potentially found a new home.  I instantly liked the Speal pull up bars and, to my amazement, I really liked the chalk. I still can’t believe I was impressed with chalk!  We went through a great workout that felt both challenging and rewarding. Now it’s all about turning this house into a home!  I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone.  To sum it up I'll borrow the words of Buddy from Elf – “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

 WHAT ARE A FEW OF THE BENEFITS YOU HAVE SEEN SINCE JOINING OUR BOX?

 Where do I begin?  My shoulder strength has definitely improved.  Coaches Rachel and Chris have greatly helped with my weight lifting form, especially on clean and jerks, hang snatches, squat snatches and overhead squats.  My weightlifting numbers have been matching old PR’s and some have exceeded them.  My “Benchmark Girl WOD” times have improved dramatically.  I feel like I’m advancing in all areas and that I’m in a better place both mentally and physically. 

 WHAT ARE SOME INDIVIDUAL GOALS YOU HAVE SET IN PLACE FOR YOURSELF?

 Since going back to school, I wasn’t sure how much time I would be able to devote to the gym.  I decided to go back to basics.  My hope was that, by focusing more on form and technique, I could gain back some of the lifting losses I had during a frustrating previous year.  I’m very excited to say that my #gainz have dramatically exceeded my expectations.  There is still plenty to work on, but everything I’ve achieved in my short time here has reinvigorated my excitement for Crossfit.

 FAVORITE MOMENT SO FAR AT RSCF?

 There are so many to choose from, but my favorite was on April 28 when we did a hang snatch max and then did Grace.  I went to the 8:00 am class and maxed out at 155 lbs on the snatch.  Then I improved my Grace time from about a year ago from 4:50 to 3:42!  After getting some solid advice from Coach Chris, I decided to come back for the 5:30 pm class to see if I could do better on the hang snatch.  Coach Flynn told me to listen to my body and be careful, but I was pumped and determined.  With better form I was able to improve my old PR from 155 lbs to 175 lbs.

I also decided to give Grace another try after getting some advice from Coach Flynn via  Coach Zack. Zack had estimated that an athlete lost about 52 seconds by doing only single reps during Grace.  For this second attempt, I strung the first seven clean and jerks together unbroken and finished with a time of 3:06.  I usually internalize my excitement, but I may have leaked out a bunch of fist pumps that day!

 WORDS OF ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR BOX AND AMAZING COMMUNITY?

 I like to think of the “trust fall” game for this answer; the one where you cross your arms and nervously fall backward into a group of people that you’re not sure will catch you.  At first you’re tense and sweating bullets, but with each WOD you meet more people, share a few fist bumps, so that next fall is a lot less nerve wracking.  Just keep coming in and stay humble.  You’ll be grateful that you allowed this community to catch you.

 TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

 Random fact: I’m officially in the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame as a member of Springfield High School’s soccer team that won the state championship in 1997.  Although I was an average player among athlete giants, it was an experience I’ll never forget.  It taught me a lot about staying active and healthy.  Thanks Coach Eck. 

 FAVORITE WOD?

 I don't have any that I need to restrain myself from but it would most likely be Grace.  I like the shoulder to overhead stuff.

 LEAST FAVORITE WOD?

 Fran. 9 out of 10 times I'm doing terrible at thrusters and she smacks me around with those. 


MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- FEB 2017

Name- Kirtus French
Age- 34
Hometown- Springfield, IL
Occupation- IT Director
Member Since- Jan 2016

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? I had been working out at the gym at work since moving back to Illinois and was looking to get back into crossfit. I hadn't heard much about the gym or the owners at the time, but they are a great group of people all bringing a different aspect into making a great box.  I came to a free foundations class right after new years and found a great facility.  Sonny pulled me aside a few minutes into the class and I started up with the 6am class the next day and never looked back.

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box?  My lifting form is 100000000 times better than when I came to Rail Splitter.  This has lead to many months of new PR's across the board and it doesn't seem to be slowing down yet.  Looking forward to what's yet to come.  Also, getting to meet a bunch of like-minded, driven people from the area that I wouldn't have met otherwise is awesome!

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? For 2017, I am working on getting to a 335 squat, 250 clean, 200 DU's, sub 20 5k, and working on consistently stringing muscle ups.  One day I'll be able to complete King Kong.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? First muscle up

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? If you're on the fence, definitely give it a try.  Rail Splitter has a great community filled with people willing to help you in every aspect of your goals.  The coaches always have an open ear whenever you have questions and the members will be there to support you through your growing pains.  Every workout can be scaled to the athlete so you will be sure to progress and become stronger.  

Tell us something we dont know about you?  I love all things food.  Whenever I plan a vacation, I'm the guy that plans for where to eat more so than what sites to go see.  Also, I was a collegiate golfer and can help you win any golf scramble :)

Favorite WOD? Linda or Diane - let's do them both!

Least Favorite WOD? DT or anything that wants me to put 75%+ bw overhead repeatedly

MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- JAN 2017

Name: Don Williams
Age: 58
Occupation:  retired Junior High reading teacher & High School head boys track coach & assistant football coach at Williamsville
Member since: June, 2016

First day at RSCF:  It was June and hot.  I had just retired from teaching and coaching.  I was in the foundation class.  I was excited and nervous.  My wife, Fran, had given me an idea of what we might do.   

Benefits:  I came to RSCF 12 months after a total hip replacement of my right hip joint and 11 months after having diverticulitis.  I had lost weight (almost 20 pounds) and muscle strength.  I've been told by my surgeon that I needed to give up distance running (something I'd done since I was 13 & truly enjoyed).   Crossfit has enabled me to put back almost 10 pounds, increase my strength and flexibility, and given me the kind of enjoyment I had with running.  I'm doing things now that I haven't done since my teens and 20's (rope climbing, hand stand, etc.) 

Individual goals:  There are a lot:  I hope to one day be able to do handstand push-ups, do consecutive toes to bar, do bar muscle ups, use the men's barbell for overhead squats with weight, continue to improve my strength and endurance.

 

Favorite moment at RSCF:  I look forward to coming to the gym.  Favorite moments would be when I get PR's in weightlifting, rope climbing both with legs and legless, doing a handstand (still need a lot of work here), doing a toes to bar, getting better at kipping pull-ups, doing an overhead squat with something heavier than a PVC pipe.

 

Words of advice for someone interested in joining:  Give Crossfit a try!  We have great coaches, owners, and supportive and friendly athletes/members who will help you along your journey towards a healthy lifestyle. Workouts can be scaled to meet your individual abilities. 

 

Something about me:  I'm a Rolling Stones fan!  Our son is named after Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. 

Favorite WOD?  Is there such a thing?  WOD's usually kick my ass.  However, "No Pain, No Gain!"
Least favorite WOD:  WOD's that include burpees and/or thrusters.

Male Athlete of the Month- november 

Name- Don Hunt
Age- 62
Hometown- Chicago
Occupation- Sort-a-kind-a-retired
Member Since- August 2016

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? I had two first days, 1.) just walked in and was looking around, there wasn't a lot of people in the box at that time.  I was a little nervous but the people that were there were friendly enough.  I met Rachel and I talked to her about my sedentary life, being diagnosed with a baker's cyst on my left knee in Dec. and how I needed to lose weight and get into shape.  Rachel listened and said, "Well let's get started"!  I hadn't really thought about doing it that quickly but I said yes and Rachel told me about fundamentals beginning in two weeks and she wanted to get me ready for that class.  The next time I came into Rail Splitter Box was to actually begin learning how to perform functions.  I began with rowing, did 250m, thought I was going to die.  I remember recently doing a 5k row and thinking of how I began stressing over 250m, funny how time affects perception.  I made it to fundamentals and did that whole two week intro still not sure I could do this Crossfit thing but Rachel said that I've paid for the month so give it a month.  Oh yes, I remember that I had called to another box prior to coming in andthe rate I was quoted just to begin their fundamentals was somewhere in the $300+ range.  That would have been a deal breaker for me and that's why I didn't call Rail Splitter, I just walked in.  Rachel wasn't concerned about money she was genuinely concerned about me. Then I found that the monthly rate was affordable. Once fundamental was done and I showed up for my first real WOD, I didn't know what to expect but the people in the class were nice, they helped me to stay in tune with what was going on and how there were done.  It made me feel more comfortable on my next workout day.  I've had my butt kicked by many workouts here, but have never had a bad day.  I am stronger, I've got more stamina, more flexibility, and I'm almost 60 pounds lighter than when I began.  I'm so looking forward to what tomorrow holds for the new me!


What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? Wow, where do I begin?  I feel better about myself; I've lost a ton of weight, I can get up and down from a seated position a lot easier, I can bend over to pick things up from the floor without gasping for breath when I stand back up; my wife and friends comment on how different I look; I'm getting stronger and I can see it.  I've met a lot of people that I think I'll be life long friends with.  I eat better, I sleep better, I move better.  I can go on and on but above all, I'm beginning to feel like the me, that I like!


What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? The top of the list is to get stronger/healthier, and to lose weight.  I see myself at 250 lbs., then I'll set a new weight goal from thereI'd like to be able to dead lift my body weight, do a handstand push up, and 5 unbroken muscle ups, just to name a few goals.


Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? You ask me this after an amazing banquet where I was presented with two awards, that was first class!  But day to day, my favorite time at RSCF is when the coach hollers, "TIME"!  After that, I enjoy talking with the other athletes as we cool down and prepare to leave.


Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? I would say Don't overthink it!  Crossfit is for young and old and can be scaled/modified to meet everyone's abilities.  I've heard it said over and over again, "Leave your ego at the door"  that is so true, look at this as your journey and the only thing that you will be watching, which is the same as everyone else, is the clock!  This is one of the most amazingly supportive communities that you will find.  You'll be supported on so many levels.  The coaches are professional and caring, they know what they are talking about.  If I can do Crossfit, anyone can!


Tell us something we dont know about you: Prior to Dec. 9th, I've not worn a suit in 13 years, I've always enjoyed wearing suits, thanks Crossfit!  I sing in a gospel worship band and one of my favorite movies of all times is the Little Rascals (1994).


Favorite WOD? The one I just finished!

Least Favorite WOD? The one I'm doing now!

mALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- oCTOBER

ame- Jerald Janssen (I go by Jerry)

Age-33

Hometown-Springfield, IL

Occupation- I have worked at Memorial Medical Center as a Sr. Emergency Medical Specialist for 7 years.  For the last 2.5 years I have also worked at Logan County Correctional Center (Maximum Security Women's prison) as a Licensed Practical Nurse. I am currently in school and will finish as a RN in December of '17.

Member Since- Day one, Proud member of the Founding Few!

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? I came to the first open gym.  It was awesome! The gym wasn't finished yet, but the atmosphere was amazing. Zack, Sonny and Catlin were great, everyone was friendly and encouraging!

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? I feel like my self confidence has sky rocketed! I have lost a little weight, but my strength and overall conditioning has improved greatly.  At Festivus Games last October, there was one WOD I didn't finish. Just the other day I was able to get it done within the 10 minute time cap.

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? I have been working with Zack in addition to regular classes, and I have already smashed some endurance goals we had in place. Next up I am doing the November Weight Lifting Class and the RSCF Nutrition challenge.  I would like to be able to get my first unassisted pull up by the first of the year, and be comfortable taking my shirt off in public by my birthday in May. #belikeflynn

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? Every day is something new and great!

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? 
At one point in time, I have belonged to almost every gym in Springfield, including some that are no longer in business.  The problem I have always had is that I couldn't find anything that truly worked for me or held my attention. I hated the atmospheres and elitism that I found at most other places.  

As far as words of advice... Don't just be interested, Be committed! If you come in and half-ass a workout, or cherry pick what wods you do you are only hurting yourself! Come in bust your ass, and stay on the grind the results will come! Trust the process!  The coaches know what they are doing! 

Tell us something we dont know about you? When my parents were going to name me, my mom wanted to name me either Herkimur Fenwick or Ezekiel Dudley because she thought it would be cool to have a son with the nick-name Herk or Zeke.  Dad was the voice of reason.

Favorite WOD? Can't say that I have a favorite. 

Least Favorite WOD? Not so much a least favorite WOD, but least favorite movements would be burpees and lunges.


Male athlete of the month- september

Name: Mitch Murphy
Age: 26
Hometown: Springfield, Il
Occupation: Paramedic at Medics First
Member: April 2016

Tell us about your first day at RSCF?
I don't recall the exact WOD, but I definitely biffed it on a box jump and still have the scar to show for it.

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box?
I became part of a community of great people, fittest I have ever been, and my wife thinks I look pretty good!

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself?
I want to get DUs, 200 lb. snatch, and 400+ DL to name a few. 

Favorite moment: The last rep of any WOD[😉] .

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community?
Don't knock it before you've tried it, everything is scalable, and come drink the koolaid-- it's pretty good!

Favorite WOD: Diane

Least favorite WOD: Anything with DUs
 


MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- JULY

Name- Zach Boyle

Age- 25

Hometown- Springfield, IL

Occupation- Paramedic

Member Since- Sept 2015

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? 

 I came out, out of curiosity to check out the box, the 4:30 class was getting ready to start and coach Catlin asked me if I wanted to join in, I was extremely intimidated but decided to go for it. Everyone was so welcoming! The wod was a combination of double unders, pull ups and handstand push-ups. I had never done HSPU before, but Zack gave me a quick crash course in the warmup and I got it! The wod was brutal, I was exhausted, my hands ripped and I WAS HOOKED! Loved it, the atmosphere, the wod, the coaching, the members, I went in immediately and signed my contract.

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? I've seen increases in strength, size, endurance, speed and confidence, oh yeah, and a whole bunch of new friends!
 

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself?

 I'd like to start competing more frequently and work my way up to Rx completions!
 

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF?

 Finishing 16.5 with the amazing crew of 3:30'ers, knowing we all made it through the open, my FIRST open!
 

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community?

 Come in! Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, trust the coaches and trust the programming! 
 

Tell us something we dont know about you?

 Before getting into EMS, I went to school just outside of Nashville, at MTSU, for music.
 

Favorite WOD?  Nate! I'd love to try it strict
 

Least Favorite WOD? Very close call between Fran and 16.5.. Thrusters, woof!


MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- May


Age- 23
Hometown- Rochester, IL
Occupation- Starting as an RN at St. John's pediatric unit
Member Since- October

Tell us about your first day at RSCF?- I felt very welcomed at RSCF. I've done crossfit before and showed up not knowing what to expect. Everyone was extremely welcoming and encouraging.

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? The coaches are awesome. They are always willing to help out and answer any questions I have. If I want to do more workouts they always have some advice on what to do.

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? I want to get a 300lbs clean, 400lbs back squat, 200lbs snatch, and get a muscle up before the end of the year.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? I would have to say that it was getting to participate in Murph. This was my first year doing it. It was just amazing to see everyone come together for one cause. 

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? I would tell anyone interested to just go for it. There is always a way to scale the workout and there's a whole team of coaches and members behind anyone interested there to support them.

Tell us something we don't know about you? I want to travel the world, and go to as many places as I can. 

Favorite WOD? Any workout with lifting in
Least Favorite WOD? Workouts with a lot of running
 

MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- APRIL

Name- Josh Badman

Age- 34

Hometown- Morrisonville, IL.....Currently live in Chatham, 'Merica

Occupation- Firefighter

Member Since- Jan. 2016

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? It was pretty intimidating! I did not do an intro class, I believe it was "Bring a Friend" day and Thompson finally talked me into coming and it just happened to be one of the hardest workouts that I can recall, even to this day....it was one of those Serrano Specials that chew you up and spit you out....21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of hell! I don't remember the exact movements but it was bad...Literally thought I was going to die on the floor. Still not sure how I didn't puke. I also remember several comments like "Damn...you picked the wrong day to start."

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? Where does one even start? Besides losing weight, being healthier, eating better....The thing that sticks out the most is the number of new friends you gain almost immediately. It reminds me of being on a sports team again. The TEAM aspect of it...I think that's another reason why it's so addicting for people...it's that you can have an instant bond with people because you are sweating, suffering, screaming, clawing your way through something so physically demanding and doing it together! Lastly, I feel like I've gained an awesome personal trainer....can't say enough about what Zack has done for me the last few months! He is always there to answer my dumb questions, demonstrate movements, etc. Thanks Zack!

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? To be able to do Overhead Squats, Ring Muscle Ups, HSPU's.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? Overall...I think I'd have to say the parties we had every Thursday night during The Open, Food and Beer!

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? Don't be intimidated, take the leap! You won't be disappointed. No matter size, shape or strength level...you will love it! JOIN THE CULT!

Tell us something we don't know about you? Until I joined I was one of the biggest Crossfit Haters ever! I gave Thompson and every other "Crossfitter" I knew as much crap as I could! I thought it was the dumbest thing ever!

Favorite WOD? I don't think I'd consider any of them my favorite. They all hurt!

Least Favorite WOD? Anything involving burpees.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- MARCH

Name- Edward ("Ted") Frank Petrella, Jr.

Age- 26

Hometown- Yorkville, IL

Occupation- Bartender / Teacher / Janitor / Liver Gymnast

Member Since- March 2015

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? It involved a lot of push brooms, scoop shovels, piles of debris, and of course sweaty, shirtless dudes. So really not much has changed! But seriously, that first proper workout after so many weeks of grueling build-out work (even having done less than most involved!) was one of the most inspiring things I've ever experienced. I could feel the electricity of what was to come in the air. I knew great things would be happening in this building. 

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? Well first and foremost are the people other than co-workers that I have to annoy, to whom I can refer as "friends" to unknowing third parties. I have Rail-Splitter to thank for that. I can also say without hyperbole that I have seen improvements in both technique and raw numbers for every single lift and every single movement that we do in the sport of fitness. If one comes to RailSplitter and does what one is told (by coaches and more seasoned members), improvement beyond one's wildest conceptions of possibility is not only attainable but inevitable. 

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? Recently had to update these because I'd reached so many! >300 lb backsquat; >400 lb deadlift; >150 lb snatch; >225 lb Clean & Jerk; >10 unbroken strict pullups; >10 unbroken dips; >3 unbroken chest to bar pullups; Bar muscle ups; Ring muscle ups; consistent sustained pistols; handstand walks. To just name a few.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? Total cop-out of an answer, but still truthful: it is the sum of all moments at RailSplitter. The progression of all moments at RailSplitter. Being there from the beginning and watching the community and the athletes and the business grow and blossom into something strange and beautiful. Every moment I've watched someone succeed at the gym, which is multiple times per day, every single day. And of course, every moment with the irreplaceable friends I've made here.

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? Hard work and humility are your two greatest allies. I like to joke around about being better at this or that or in some workout, but at the end of the day, you determine your success with your honest, REAL effort, your acknowledgement of spaces for improvement, and the appreciation of how far you've come. (Holy comma splices!)

Tell us something we dont know about you? There were 12 title awards in my senior class high school yearbook; I earned 3 of them. "Most Likely to Do Anything," "Best Actor," and "Class Clown." Frankly, I'm quite worried I've already peaked.

Favorite WOD? Hang power cleans and burpees/rowing.

Least Favorite WOD? Thrusters, pull-ups, handstand push ups. Also, heavy man-weight on the barbell.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH- FEBRUARY

Name – Gabe Kesterson

Age – 26

Hometown – Ashland, IL

Occupation – Software Engineer 

Member Since – August 2015

Tell us about your first day at RSCF? – My first day at RSCF was eye opening. It was my first time ever participating in CrossFit, and I was amazed at everything that CrossFit contained. I enjoyed how much the first day challenged and pushed me to limit. It only made me want to come back for more!

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box? – From a physical standpoint, it has definitely been working with the coaches to be able to learn and work towards movements and weight levels I never thought I would be able to do. Also, I’ve really benefited from the Rail Splitter ‘family’ at the Box. When you think you are out of gas at the end of a WOD, and your fellow Rail Splitters are cheering you on until you finish, can make the difference between ‘just another score’ and new PR.

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself? – Participating in a competition (already signed up for Festivus Games in April), being able to consistently string together Double Unders, complete a Muscle Up both on the bar and on the rings by the end of the year.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? – Definitely each and every day when not one athlete leaves until they are done cheering on their fellow family member until the end of their WOD. The desire all the athletes have for EVERYONE ELSE at the gym to get better is INSANE!! Hands down the best thing to watch/be apart of at RSCF. 

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community? – Don’t think twice. You’ll be amazed at the stuff you didn’t know you were capable of. 

Tell us something we don’t know about you? – I am a major food junkie. I enjoy trying food from all regions of the US, as well as foods from other cultures and countries. 

Favorite WOD? – Fran

Least Favorite WOD? – Anything involving burpees!

 

Male Athlete of the Month- January

Name- Keith Williams 

Age- 37

Hometown- Chicago 

Occupation- Postal Inspector 

Member Since- August 2015

Tell us about your first day at RSCF?  It felt good getting back into CrossFit after a year and a half off, but I was super sore from all the air squats the next day.

What are a few benefits you have seen since joining our Box?  I've gotten stronger and overall I feel and move better.

What are some individual goals you have set in place for yourself?  My main goal is weight loss, and have lost 37 pounds since I started.

Favorite Moment so far at RSCF? Every moment another RSCF family member takes time to keep me going and motivated.

Words of advice for someone interested in joining our box and amazing community?  Take the leap, you will be surprised with yourself and love the results.

Tell us something we don't know about you?  I'm a former All-American Collegiate football player at the division III level and the only Offensive lineman to be inducted in the school's athletic hall of fame. 

Favorite WOD? Any of the Hero WOD's because of what they stand for.

Least Favorite WOD? Anyone of them that involves lots Burpees and Bearcrawls.