Friday Firsts: Meet Alex

Friday Firsts Blog Post: Meet our newest athletes!

1. When you thought CrossFit, what came to your mind (before you joined)? Weird pull-ups, paleo, cult. 

2. How many people know you're doing this CrossFit thing? (First rule: always talk about CF). Just the usual friends, family and co-workers. Anyone I care to talk to on a regular basis knows health and fitness have always been an interest so I'm not too worried about scaring anyone away at this point.

3.Favorite workout so far: Obviously the one rep bench max. But really, there was one we did that involved wall ball shots, power cleans, and deadlifts and I was at least familiar with those movements. I think it was the first timed workout where avoiding death wasn't my only goal so that was a real meaningful moment for me.

4.. When do you typically WOD? 5:30PM

5. Tell us one thing we don't know about you from your high school days. Not sure I have a great answer here other than the typical "I thought Aeropostale shirts and cargo shorts were solid fashion choices" train of thought. 

6. Best thing you've learned about this experience: I've always been more of a loner and I always thought the emphasis on camaraderie within CrossFit was kinda bullshit, but it's honestly been the biggest difference in workout intensity between now and what I was doing before I joined.


Member Monday: Meet Taylor!


1.How long have you been crossfitting? I completed Foundations at the beginning of June, so I have been crossfitting for just over two months!

2.What is your favorite movement in CrossFit. I LOVE BURPEES!

3.What was your biggest fear coming into MO2DT? Can I just say everything? I didn’t know anyone and I had never used a barbell before. Knowing that I would be lifting weights was well out of my comfort zone and quite daunting to be completely honest.

4.What CrossFit accomplishment are you most proud of? I am still quite new to CrossFit, but in general I’m very proud of my progress! Even getting correct forms down makes me feel like all of the hard work is paying off. (HUGE shout-out to the coaches who literally have to repeat themselves and show me how to do certain movements over, and over again- you are the real MVPs.)

5.What's your 9-5? Right now, I am studying for an exam. I also work PRN (as needed) at ChildServe in the Transitional Care Unit. I am a CNA and I take care of children with special healthcare needs. It is very humbling and I LOVE my job.

6. Other than CrossFit, what else do you like to do in your free time? With the free time that I don’t have haha… I definitely enjoy spending time in coffee shops, reading, rollerblading and really doing anything outside.

7. What keeps you coming back everyday? EVERYTHING! Especially all of the people. The coaches are amazing and I also love coming back to see everyone. It’s truly inspiring to witness how hard everyone is working around me. Every day I feel like I am becoming a stronger person, not only physically, but mentally as well.

8.If you could cherrypick a WOD, what would you choose? Am I allowed to cherry-pick a handful? I thoroughly enjoy partner WODs because I like to think that I’m not working out for just myself, but for my partner as well, and I think the dynamic of that is amazing. I also really liked "Grace" (30 Clean and Jerks for time). Another WOD that I really enjoyed consisted of  3 rounds of running 800m, 20 sandbag get ups, and 20 sandbag squats.

9. One thing your WOD friends don't know about you? That I snowboard? I don’t think I’ve mentioned that to anyone. It’s crazy how much I’ve gotten to know everyone these past few months.

10.What's your favorite meal? Not really a meal, but I do love banana pancakes (with peanut butter of course)!

Year 2.


Year 2. Where to start? When I began reflecting on the past year, I can not believe it's only been a year, so much has happened, so much has changed, so much growth, laughter, friendships, and strength and a little heartbreak and pain. I come back to 2 words as I think of the past 365 days: Year 2 was all about commitment & heart.

To the MO2DT Athletes:


"When confronted with a challenge the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape" -Andy Andrews. 

Each one of you are committed. Committed to being better humans. Committed to living healthier lives and striving to be above average. Committed to demanding more of yourself inside and outside the box. Committed to supporting each other. Committed to excellence for yourself and your family. 


If you're reading this, you know what I mean. I'm not sure how we got this lucky to find some of the most caring, compassionate, supportive people in the Des Moines area, but we got very lucky. You all are kind to and supportive of each other, in daily workouts and above and beyond that. Helping cope with heartbreak & life changes, supporting each other in nutrition challenges and CrossFit yearly goals. Cheering each other on in other fitness and sports endeavors, planning evenings out together, dog sitting for each other, scheduling play dates with each others children. You go out of your way to help others, you take a few moments to check in on someone who you haven't seen in the box for a few days, you reach out to me and the coaches, wanting to know how you can help with whatever project or event we have coming up (and this whole summer it's been THE MOVE). 

I can honestly say I have never been a part of something so community driven and it takes my breath away when I think about how blessed I am to be a part of your lives and the coaching staff would agree with me. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives, to give us an hour of your day and to choose Max Oxygen Downtown to being a part of your wellness-health-social hour and beyond. #moderndaysocialclub


To the coaching staff: Brett, Bryan, Dan, Dilon, Jamaal, Kristen, Leah, Nick, & Reid:

I think most people look at a part-time job as something that they put little effort into, get a bit of extra cash from and float through each week pretty easily. This is not you. Your position is not easy, it is not the few times your name is on the schedule each week. It is not with little effort to be a trainer at MO2DT. It starts on Sunday when the workouts are released, it is before and after class, checking in with athletes, writing thank yous, fist bumping, texting, encouraging athletes. It is attending our competitions and social events. It is early morning coaching developments, improving the group & time management, perfecting your coach's eye, and continually learning and sharing knowledge bombs.

The bar is set high and I'm sure you've figured out by now, not one of you will reach it, no one will get to a point in their coaching career that he/she can stop learning, stop caring, stop striving for excellence. Excellence is not perfection. Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.   

Thank you for not settling to be mediocre. Thank you for bringing big fun into classes each day. Thank you for giving a shit. Thank you for putting your time, blood, and heart into this box. Thank you for allowing me to lead you on this sometimes crazy, ever relentless pursuit of excellence. 

Bring on year 3. 

“I can tell you what it is that makes you successful in a [CrossFit affiliate], “It’s the blind and relentless constant pursuit of excellence." Greg Glassman


It's Apparel Order Time!

It's here, more apparel!

We've done a throwback to our first MO2DT shirt in celebration of our anniversary and we have a vintage inspired Jaguar shirt (because Jaguar and Buffalo inspired workouts). And finally, a bro tank. 

There will be an email sent out Monday with this info but we just couldn't wait any longer to show you it. Pricing will be listed in the email. I'd suggest just getting one of each color, why decide? T-shirts are Next Level Triblend (except for the Jaguar shirt), Muscle tanks, Bro tank, and Racerback tanks are Bella Canvas Triblend. 

Lastly, the Jaguar t-shirt is gray with multi colored flecks on it (almost like pilling) and is Unisex sizing. 


Max Woman: Meet Alyson

1. How long have you been crossfitting?   I started CrossFit in 2013 when we were at the location across from the sculpture park. I had to take about 13 months off for a hip injury and surgery and have been back at it since January of this year. 

2. What is your favorite movement that we do in CrossFit?  My favorite movement is a toss-up between cleans and deadlifts. 

3. What was your biggest fear coming into CrossFit ? My biggest fear back when I started in 2013 was that I would be the only female and wouldn’t be able to keep up.  My biggest fear since re-starting this year was re-injuring myself and not being able to hit the times and weight totals I did prior to injury and surgery.  (Except that Alyson has improved by leaps and bounds since returning in January).

4. What CF accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of being able to do rope climbs and pull-ups.  In all of the years I have done CrossFit I had never even attempted these until this year. 

5. What's your 9-5 (job)?    I am a State Revolving Fund Program Specialist.  I work for a State agency that gives low interest loans to Cities, Municipalities, and communities for water quality infrastructure projects such as wastewater treatment, sewer rehab, wells, etc…  I review their applications and once they have received our loan I ensure that they are following all State and Federal regulations (i.e. EPA guidelines, prevailing wages are being paid, debt/service ratio is being met). I also review and approve their requests and invoices for payments requests. 

6. Other than CrossFit, what else do you like to do in your free time? In my free time I can’t get enough of my family, especially my daughter Skylar.  I enjoy running, planning and hosting gatherings, biking, tailgating at ISU games, helping my sister on her vineyard/horse stables, sitting around a “camp fire”, and listening to music of all kinds.

7. What keeps you coming back each day?  Max Oxygen is the only place that I can let it all out (the good, the bad and the in-between).  I love that it constantly challenges me physically and mentally.  It reminds me daily that I can do anything I put my mind to and am willing to put in the work for.  

Also, and even more importantly, I love and respect the people (athletes and coaches).  Sometimes sweating it out with them, seeing their faces and talking to them is what gets me through a day.  I have made some of my best friends at this here.  I know that no matter what life throws at me they will be there to help me through it and help me celebrate the journey when it is done – in and out of the gym.  That is EVERYTHING! The people here hold a very special place in my heart and MO2 is "home" because of them.  

8. If you could cherrypick a WOD what would you choose?  I like the “Girls,” Grace, Cindy and Fran

9. One thing your WOD friends don't know about you?  “I feel the need - the need for speed!” (Maverick, Top Gun)  I like to go fast – in cars, on motorcycles, boats, etc… I have a deep desire to drive (not ride in – I need to be in control) a race car.  But I need to learn how to drive a stick shift first.  

10. Favorite "Cheat" Meal? I love pizza but I have not touched the stuff for over 6 months.  Now I just settle for a grilled steak, potato and asparagus.











It's time to turn the page

We close a chapter. We will hold our final classes at 500 Locust tomorrow. 

Personally, I've evolved as a person and a coach at this place. I am not the same person that stepped into 500 Locust July 2014. And I hope as you reflect, you realize you are not the same person that walked through these doors either. I remember the day I coached my very first class as a L1 trainer. I was terrified, even with David there ready to step in to save me and give me feedback after class. I remember coaching my very first Foundations class. I didn't sleep the entire night before, I got up extra early and reviewed everything I needed to teach on Day 1. While terrifying, I found that it was incredibly exciting to be the person to introduce CrossFit to others and share my love for CrossFit. I've coached over 1500 hours at this box which means I've had the opportunity to coach each and everyone of you. 

More importantly, I hope that you not only fell in love with CrossFit and found that it's made you more fit and that it's become a healthy obsession, I hope that you have been embraced by the community. I hope that you have found friendships and relationships and support within these walls of our community. Every CrossFit box says they have "the best community" and community can be defined differently for each box. But when you have not 1 or 2 drop-ins but 99% of the drop-ins take a moment out of their day to either email me, leave a review on Google or our Facebook page, or take me aside and thank me and you, as a community, for being such great hosts to them, for pulling them in and having this feel like home for their 1 class or their week-long stay- that is what signifies community at another level. 

For each of you to welcome our new Foundations grads each month, to stop and introduce yourself to them, to help them navigate their first classes,  that is community. 

For you to welcome new-to-the-area members, to grab their number and meet up with them for biking or drinks after class, that is community.

For you to pull together to help out members who need it, without the prompt of me or other coaches, that is community. 

To pull together in a matter of hours when Scott and Jess' families needed our support, that is community.

To take time out of your weekends to volunteer for our charity competitions, to judge for The Open, and now to help us move over the weekend, that is community.

500 Locust has been the home to so many memories as Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown, new jobs, new coaches, graduations, PRs, marriages, pregnancy announcements, even a proposal. We've also shared divorces, moves, a cancer diagnosis, and loss and grief. And whether it be a celebration or a tragedy, it's always done together. No one walks alone once you've stepped into the doors of this community. 

It's time to the page, not close the book.

Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown is not the building we are in or the address we hold, it is a group of coaches and individuals who come together as a whole to create this community and that's the easiest item to pack and move. 

As we pack up the equipment and weights and dismantle the rig, and coach our last classes, it's going to be a little sad. It should be. It's a place that has held memories for so many and it feels like we are leaving our first home, the one where we became a family. And on the opposite side of that, we have so much to be excited for. New memories to be made, new events to be had, a fresh space filled with potential. By moving just a bit south of Downtown (and having a parking lot) we have the potential to reach 1000s of individuals to be welcomed as a part of our community. We have the opportunity to impact these peoples' lives just as you have been impacted & that's where the next chapter starts. 




Food for Squat: Beef, Pepper and Sweet Potato Skillet

You know what’s the worst? When you have a fridge FULL of great veggies and meats, but you don’t have the time to actually make anything out of it… At least for me, this happens ALL THE TIME and it’s so silly! My job is to LITERALLY prep foods for people so that their weeks are easier, but I tend to fail to provide this service for myself. So silly.

With my work schedule, Monday through Thursday, I theoretically get done working at 6 (that’s when we close) but we are usually there until 6:30 if not 7:00. By the time I drive home and THEN start to think of something to eat for dinner, it is WAY WAY WAY past my creative cooking time frame. Q’doba calls my name because it’s fast and easy and CAN BE decently healthy

But the big problem: I still have those veggies and meats waiting in my fridge. Ugh.

Here’s one strategy that works well for me and doesn’t require a lot of planning ahead. I like to make “skillets” which essentially means cooking everything together in one big pan. One big step to make that easier: have your veggies cut up and ready so they are ready to just throw in the pan! If your onions and peppers are all diced up, you don’t have to necessarily have a meal in mind ahead of time. When you get home from work, heat up a pan with some oil and throw in whatever of those diced veggies sound good that night. Easy peasy. Here’s a recipe of one of my favorite combos:

Beef, Pepper and Sweet Potato Skillet

  • 1.5 lbs. Ground beef
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¾ Red onion, diced
  • 1 Red pepper, diced
  • 1 Green pepper, diced
  • 2 large Sweet potato, diced
  • 4 c. Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary, finely chopped
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a splash of oil.

  2. Add the diced onion and peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes.

  3. Add the beef and garlic, season and cook through.

  4. Add the sweet potatoes and season. Cover and cook 6 minutes.

  5. Add the broccoli and rosemary and season. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes.


Hero WOD: "Weston Lee"

We've spoken a lot about the upcoming "Murph" Hero WOD for Memorial Day.  Here's one that hits close to home for one of our members, Hugh and for several community members who attend Anchor Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning. Tomorrow we will be running a special Hero WOD during classes, "Weston Lee". CrossFit honors fallen heroes, whether they come from the navy, military, even teachers, that unselfishly gave their lives for others and/or for our freedom.  While CrossFit HQ has not yet officially deemed  this as a Hero WOD, there are close to 30 boxes that will be doing this workout tomorrow and we hope that his family and CFHQ knows the great impact Lt. Weston Lee had in his short life.

Tomorrow's workout will not be easy, no Hero WOD is. Keep Weston and his family in your thoughts while you tough it out through the workout.  Here's a few words  Hugh wrote about Weston:

"Weston and I met in 2012 while in ROTC at NGCSU. He was one of best guys I've ever had the privilege to know- an amazing person. He wouldn't hesitate to take the shirt off his back for someone in need. The epitome of an athlete, he was always killing it in the gym or on the drill field. An inspiring leader, he was the kind of person who pushed others to strive for their limits and beyond. I, and so many of Weston's friends, had built up this idea of invincibility around one of the closest representations of a real-life Captain America...someone who we never thought would come home lying under an American flag.
Weston died on April 29th during a security patrol on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq. The one thing that gives me solace in Weston's death is knowing he died doing what he loved. He had a passion for this country and being the best leader for his soldiers....leading from the front. That is how he lived his life and that is how he gave his life. This workout is a great representation of Weston because it's going to push you to your limits.... something he lived out daily."

"If you don’t work hard towards becoming what you want to be today, you won’t be it tomorrow." - Weston Lee

“Weston Lee” (time capped at 35 min)



800m Burden Carry (up to 70# for me, up to 53# for women) 

29 Burpee Pull-Ups

4 Rope Climbs

29 Ring Dips

4 Rope Climbs

29 Burpee Box Overs (30/24)

800 Burden Carry

*any object: sandbags, plates, KB, D Balls, Dummbells, it should be awkward and uncomfortable


Food for Squat: Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Potato Noodles

I have a confession to make. Ground turkey kind of grosses me out. Well, I take that back. It’s not like I’d GAG on it. I’ll eat it. And it’s okay. But it’s definitely not my favorite. And ground turkey (in my opinion) is not the same as beef in a burger. There. I said it.

That being said… Somehow when you put ground turkey (and ESPECIALLY when you add ground turkey sausage) into a meatball with these other ingredients (listed below) something magical happens and I actually REALLY REALLY like it!

It’s like the other flavors of the parmesan and the Italian seasonings can be tasted a little better with the turkey rather than ground beef. Or something…. But it’s magical, I tell ya. It makes me, Laura Saar, actually LIKE ground turkey!

Try this recipe and see what you think! Oh, and if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can always just use a peeler to peel noodles out of the sweet potato. It takes a little longer, but the result is also so yummy!

Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Potato Noodles

  • 1 lb. Ground turkey
  • ½ lb. Ground turkey sausage
  • 2 Sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. Almond flour
  • Seasonings: 1 tsp. each: salt, Italian seasonings, ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 jar Marinara
  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Place meatballs on a greased pan and bake 15-20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the marinara in a small pan over low heat.

  4. Heat a large skillet over medium and add a splash of oil. Add the sweet potato noodles and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 5-6 minutes or until noodles are cooked through.