Why do you do what you do for MO2DT? #3years


It's Intern Morgan's last blog post as she finishes her final papers for her Master's program. Below is some information she has gathered about our affiliate and some thoughts from your coaches. Enjoy. We'll see you all tonight! Happy Anniversary!

Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown:  3rd Anniversary

What better time to thank coaches and members, including those who continue to contribute to the ongoing success of MO2DT.  Take a look at some of the things that make us special.

Age range of members: 3 1/2 -62 years old

Longest standing members to date:


The OGs (the ones that started in March 2013 or within that year downtown):

Lindsey and Zach Schippers

Coach Jamaal Allan

Coach Brett Sandy

Coach Dan Saar

Zak Sheeder

Alyson Fleming

Danielle Heztel

Paul Marquardt

Nick Nielsen

Coches Nick and Jess Pilling

Erica Stone

Amy and Shawn Thacker

Chris Wahl

Cindy Norman

Coach Kristen Atkinson comes in close, she's been through all the transitions.

Members Matt Klein and Nate Liedke are also up there in years.

...Coach Dilon Flanders has worked out at all the gyms in Des Moines since the beginning of time, so maybe he counts to.

Number of athletes that competed in the 2018 Open: 51 officially registered (68 total members completed the workouts)

Number of drop-ins at most recent “Bring A Friend Week” in June: 17

Upcoming Events:

July 20  5:30 PM: 3rd Anniversary WOD 7:00 PM:  Angry Goldfish

July 21  3rd Anniversary Golf Outing

Sept 3 Labor Day WOD

Sept 7(ish) Bryan's Deployment Send Off WOD and Party

Mid Oct Brett and Jordyn's Wedding WOD (10/20 wedding)

Oct 31 Halloween Costume WOD

Nov 17 Girls Gone Rx Iowa

Dec 15 Annual Ugly Sweater Holi-WOD and Holiday Party


Coaches share the most meaningful/rewarding and/or favorite part of being a coach at Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown:  

Jess Pilling:  For me, the hour(s) I am coaching is (are) the best part of my day. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, it allows me to connect with the athletes, some days I get to do this with nearly every single athlete and it is a zen-like feeling when I get into my coaching zone, my brain doesn't think about anything else, not the to-do list, home, family or Boston things. I am laser focused on movement and fixing form, teaching skills, encouraging and celebrate athlete's abilities and sprinkling a bit of fun and laughter in there too. The hard work and effort I see each day in the athletes and coaches pushes me to continue to improve and learn more as a trainer and grow as a person. 

I think every other trainer would agree, they give up a bit of their free time to coach classes because it's one of the best parts of their day too.

Nick Pilling: The most rewarding thing for me is a simple thank you from members when I'm able to help them take a positive step forward in their life. Maybe it’s helping them with a movement they’ve been struggling with, maybe it’s helping them modify a workout, maybe it’s being their safety net and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone, or maybe it’s helping them just have the best hour of their day. It’s when they say "thank you" as they leave the gym with that look on their face that says you helped take them to a place they weren’t planning on going 60 minutes ago.


Kristen Atkinson: Seeing people succeed.  Even the adjustment of like, one little movement.  That can make a huge difference and is fun to see. Even little things make me smile.  Like tonight for example (a few months ago), at the 6:30 PM class, several people improved their form. Aliz and Ashley both improved in a lift.  I also just love a positive atmosphere. We are all motivating and encouraging here, and that’s something that doesn’t happen everywhere.


Brett Sandy: The most rewarding part for me, is to watch our athletes progress over time. I’ve been doing this a while now and have had the opportunity to watch a lot of people come in as newbies and flourish into veteran crossfitters. There is definitely a proud Dad moment watching them get their first pull-up, double under, or new PR.  

CrossFit, and Max Oxygen especially, has dramatically changed my life from who I was when I started almost 7 years ago. I can honestly say That owe a majority of who I am now to crossfit. My drive, my work ethic, my health, and friendships have derived through crossfit. So in short, I owe crossfit and Max Oxygen my loyalty for all its given to me.


Leah Vos: I love working at Max Oxygen.  I find the expectation of excellence to be extremely motivating, whether it be as a coach or as a member.  Safety and form are put before speed strength and aesthetics, which makes this a lasting and effective way of exercise.  We as coaches are expected to be relentless and to pursue excellence, and we are always encouraged and given opportunity to continue learning.  I love the community and the opportunity it provides me to meet people from all different walks of life.

Dilon Flanders: For me the most rewarding part of coaching is watching people do things that never thought they would be able to do. Watching people work hard and accomplish incredible things.


Reid Chandler:  As the newest addition to the coaching staff at Max Oxygen, it’s easy for me to fall into the pit of self-doubt. “Do I know enough?”  “Do these people even care what I think about their squat form?” 

The most rewarding thing in my 1.25 years coaching here has been our athletes pulling me out of that nasty pit. Hearing people say things like “Thanks for the tip, Reid. That really helped!” and “Yes! Reid’s coaching our class!” has brought me such a joy. It’s reassuring to know our athletes want me to lead their class. We share a joke here and there, we get into the nitty gritty of how they can improve a certain lift or movement, we suffer through the WOD together (okay...THEY suffer, but I remain by their side the whole time, cheering them on). When the class is over, I’ve done my small part in improving their day, and little do they know that they’ve done the same for me.


Jamaal Allan:

Bryan Lloyd: The biggest reward for me as a Coach is the moment when an athlete “gets it”. The sudden realization of how a movement or skill is supposed to feel and function with their body and what it’s real-world application would be. This can be achieved with a simple cue or a lengthy explanation and demonstration, but either way when they “get it” they never forget and that is my most favorite part of coaching.

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Dan Saar:   My favorite part of coaching is finding that cue for someone that is struggling with a movement that gets them over the hump and makes the movement click for them.  I feel a sense of accomplishment, but more importantly, I'm really proud of the athlete for sticking with it and trusting me and the other coaches to help them improve.


This has been my home away from home for about five years now, and the people are amazing.  I also know that everyone, including coaches, athletes, and friends of the gym also go above and beyond for the box without question, so it's easy to do the same.

We've also got some significant behind the scenes people to help us run smoothly. Thank you to Lindsey and Zach have essential parts to this community as well.  They put in hours each  week keeping the box tidy. As well as when Jess hosts events or wants photos taken  They organize and clean equipment and deep clean the floors so the space stays tidy.  Please give them a “thank you” next time you see them in class!

Thank you to Jordyn Eckert who maintains the barbell and rig cleanliness. Believe it or not, those bars don't spin on their own. 

Zak Sheeder maintains the website and updates all things computer related and creates apparel designs. Why do you continue to go above and beyond for Max Oxygen?

Zak- Over the past 6 years CrossFit (Primal, Downtown, MO2) has really been my second home. Names may have changed, people have come and gone, but the family has stayed the same. I made a commitment the day I signed up, and that was to give my all every time I'm down there and do my best at whatever was asked of me. When I see all of these other people doing the same it gives me a sense of pride in what we are doing as a community. So, I feel like if i didn't go above and beyond for the gym, that I would be letting my family down (cause i consider them to be more than just coaches and other members) and no one wants to do that. It strange because it's not my full time job, but I wake up thinking about CrossFit, and go to bed thinking about CrossFit. Maybe that's an unhealthy obsession, but at least it’s an obsession that keeps me healthy

Jordyn: The most meaningful part of being part of the crew is knowing I help make it possible for athletes to have a fun and rewarding time in the gym. Making sure our most utilized equipment is clean and cared for so we can spend more time slanging and banging some weights around and less time worrying about cleaning equipment after we use it.