Max Woman Wednesday: Coach Kristen


How did you get started with MO2DT/CF in general?  

Well, when I moved here 4 years ago, I dropped in to Primal.  I was offered the position to coach within 3 months. I did about a year and a half of Crossfit in Wilmington, prior to moving to Des Moines.  I’ve been coaching ever since, so over 4 years.

How has CF impacted your life?  

It keeps me on track because it gives me structure.  Prior to Crossfit, and prior to moving to Des Moines, I didn’t necessarily have that.  I also absolutely love the community. I’ve met a lot of really good people through CF-I met Jamaal (my boyfriend) here.  CF has also given me confidence!

What is your favorite part about coaching?  

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.  I also just love a positive atmosphere. We are all motivating and encouraging here, and that’s something that doesn’t happen everywhere.

Who pushes/challenges you the most?

Myself, actually.  I am here to better myself, and I’ve been doing this for 5 years, so I know my weaknesses better than anyone.  But I really enjoy working out in the mornings with the ladies. It is so fun to watch Michelle, Meghan, Leah, and Danielle to name a few.  Leah and I are competitive against each other, but we have opposite strengths so certain WODs seem to be “Leah” workouts and some are more “my” workouts.  Then we sometimes see those WODs that have a mix of our strengths incorporated, and that is fun because we get to compete a little bit more during those, too. In general, the girls in the morning push me to be better. 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about trying MO2DT?

Don’t take it so seriously.  CF can be intimidating and people often come in scared.  Just remember to always have fun with it. No one else completing the WOD is watching you.  Just enjoy it-we are all here to get better!!

What has been your most memorable moment from CF?

I have two!  The Bolles Strong Event is one.   The other is the charity WOD my niece and I did together at the downtown location 2 years ago.  A lot of people came to that. Seeing community come together for things like that is just really amazing.   

Member Monday: Justin Becvar

Get to learn a bit more about Justin!


How long have you been crossfitting?  I joined back in February of this year, so 7 months.  

What is your favorite movement that we do in CrossFit? I’d say power cleans.  I’m starting to get the hang of those more.  

What was your biggest fear coming into CrossFit MO2DT?The fear that I might injure myself again.  Back in middle school, I had surgery on my shoulder, due to an injury I got wrestling, so I just didn’t want to risk facing something like that again.  I hate sitting out. If I had known I could do all these movements without getting hurt though, I’d have started earlier!  

How did you get referred to MO2DT?   I was actually Googling CrossFit gyms and Max Oxygen was one that came up.  It just sounded cool and I mean, I went from gym to gym before (Planet Fitness and Lifetime to name a few) and didn’t ever feel welcomed.  When I was at those gyms, I also just did whatever and I didn’t actually know what I was doing. I did Private Foundations with Jess. She was always willing to work around my schedule.  

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of? Being able to back squat over 300#.  I did 305# the other day! I’ve never done that.  I actually did that weight twice and tried to get a third rep...which I failed on that attempt.  Leah saw that and made me rest for 6 min-ha, she gave me a 6 minute penalty and told me to try again.  

What's your 9-5 (job)?  So, I’m a server at Jethro’s Bacon Bacon, in West Des Moines. I consider it a full-time job, because I put in about 30-40 hours a week.  I’m also a student at Iowa State. I’m studying marketing. I plan on graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in May of 2019.  

Other than CrossFit, what else do you like to do in your free time? Not a whole lot-oh, I go running!..or I lay around watching T.V-ha.  I’m not signed up for any running races coming up, but I’ve done around 10 half marathons.  

What keeps you coming back each day?  Friendly faces, knowing I can keep getting better each day I go, and being able to challenge myself.  Last time we did wall walks, I could only do an angle, and this last week, I was able to get all the way up there about 5-10 times.          

If you could cherrypick a WOD what would you choose? Something with burpee pull-ups, and I’m not great at pull ups, but I’m getting the hang of kipping!  So those and then go into a run and kettlebell swings those would be the 3 things I would go with.

One thing your WOD friends don't know about you?  I’m a runner.  I like to run! Working out relieves stress even though you’re putting stress on your body.  Also, ever since starting CrossFit, I admire Mat Fraser! I’ve been watching some of the documentaries he’s featured in.  It’s amazing to see his progress and how far he has come since he started.

I wait tables and am trying to finish school.  I do have a 2 year degree from DMACC in Business Administration.  I want to work towards a real estate license, but that will be on hold for a bit.  

I was a wrestler for 8 years.  I grew up in a military family.  I always have the mentality of competing, even if I know I won’t beat someone, I always try.  There’s been days where I don’t want to show up, but I do, just to push myself. Coach Brett has said “If you see the workout and think it is going to be hard, you have to show up, even for those.”  I have found this to hold true in order to be successful.

Okay, what’s your favorite meal?

Pizza and tacos.  Tacos, preferably from any Mexican food truck or Fuzzy’s.  

What or who has challenged you to be better?  

I love how Jess coaches because she watches you and makes sure you are going at a high intensity.  Zak Sheeder has helped me with form and he will tell me how to fix something quick, even if he is in class effortlessly throwing weight around.  All the coaches help, though.

Coach Leah helped me get up on the wall and be able to climb up a rope.  I never knew the technique for climbing a rope before starting here. The famous “J-Hook” is something I learned.    

Jon Hicks also helped me out with back squats-he pushes me to try heavier weight at times.  

Nick (Nielsen) and I partner up from time to time and push each other.  Everyone is encouraging though! Everyone pushes each other to the end and that is another reason I come back-it’s like a family!

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.

may 2016.JPG

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.


Community and Culture, Year 3.

3 years. Our anniversary week puts me in a space of reflection and gratitude. In some capacity or another, I've heard most of you give your "why". You can articulate why you show up, why this is important and necessary part of your day and it blows me away how we, as coaches, can impact you with just the hour you are under our leadership. I can't. I can't put into words why this space and the people and coaches are so special and meaningful to me, I can only tell you I get a deep feeling in my gut. I believe all of this comes back to two things, some would say they are the same but I view them as separate but connected: Community and Culture.


Community: You are the community. You are the ones who welcome new athletes, drop-ins, kids, and dogs into the box. Your smiling faces and care for one another is what makes this space special. Not the location, equipment, or programming. There's a certain type of person attracted to CrossFit. Those that know it won't be easy, and enjoy hard work, that don't expect to have results within 6 weeks, those that have a type A personality and choose to not settle for less, those that pursue greatness, invest in themselves, and are supportive. And those types of people you'll find in any affiliate, not just ours. But not every box is a community and I'm sure you've experienced this first hand when you've dropped into other boxes. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "It was a nice box but it makes you appreciate what you have at home." from you. Each of you care, genuinely care about others around you and know that if you connect with each other, you're more likely to show up when you'd rather sleep in or hit up happy hour or work through lunch.

Culture: The culture is the religion of the box. It's not something you can see but if it's there, you can feel it. And it starts with the Coaching Staff. I did not ask to be a leader, I had never  seen myself as one, and I had always said it "just happened". But the more I learn about leadership, the more see it as something that was always a part of me and it was exposed in CrossFit through coaching. I recently listened to a podcast with Bill Anthes, CrossFit Morristown owner, L1 Seminar Staff and former military he describes leadership as this:

"Leadership is a choice that people make. It's how he or she carries him/herself, it's his/her intentions, it's his/her performance." Furthermore, Anthes says that Leaders priorities are to: 1) Accomplish the Mission 2) Take care of your people. And then there are those who go to the next level... 3) Improve the organization he/she is a part of and not only do the job but leave this place better than he/she found it.

 The coaches did not seek out their L1 or L2 to become leaders but it's certainly a required part of their job. Looking at the above priorities of a leader (or Coach):

1) Accomplish the Mission: Get people fit through functional movements while having fun or "inspire, entertain, and educate," if you want to use the L1 expectations of a trainer.

2) Take care of your people: Your coaches know a lot about you and not just about your squat form. They know about your family, your health, your career, stressors and celebrations. They may know you better than your co-workers do. And they can identify when you're not feeling it or if you need a bit of extra encouragement. They'll also check in with you or call you out if you haven't been showing up to class. They foster the community. 

3) Improve the organization he/she is a part of and leave it better than he/she found it: If you could all look back from 3 years ago (and there's nearly 15 of you that can) who we (as an organization) were then is nothing to who we are now. This is through lots of learning, discussion, practice, being open to feedback from one another, and never settling to be complacent in how they coach. And as a result, you'll find that you are more fit now than you were, your movement has improved, you're mentally stronger, you've accomplished goals you never dream you'd set and I'm sure your confidence in and out of the box has drastically improved. That is due to the coaches ensuring that the programming is executed as it was intended to be and communicating this through visual, verbal and tactical cues all while making it fun and welcoming. It is our coaches who support new athletes in class, and take this to the next level and ensure that yes, CrossFit is for ANYONE. They show this by spending the time explaining the workout intent, scaling the workout for each person based on how he or she is moving in the warm up and what he or she is feeling like that day and continuing to check in with athletes during the workout, not just cheerleading or clock managing and demonstration of movements. CrossFit is for anyone regardless of ability, currently fitness level, age, gender, or physical limitations.

It is my, and now ultimately, our mission over the next 2 years to continue to diversify our community. [As coaches], "we are in a position to inspire others to see that they have the ability and power to change their destiny" ( I want kids as young as 3 and masters over 80 years old and adaptive athletes to say "I CrossFit at Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown" because I believe that CrossFit can help people improve their entire lives, not just their health and fitness capacity, and we have the culture and community to truthfully back this statement up. "CrossFit makes people better" -Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder.

Thank you for a 3 years. For the opportunity to learn, grow, laugh, and sweat with you.     

                                                 Coach Jess                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


You've Prepared for the Dam Race

Diane, Amy L, Mike M, Brad, Tim P, Justin, Andy, Erika (yes, the one that lives in Arkansas) and Coach Dilon:


Even if you haven't formally trained for Dam to Dam, like the before-I-Was-A-CrossFitter would have when training for a 12.4 mile race, you are more than ready for this. You CrossFit.

Now I won't say your feet will not hurt because I can almost guarantee that they will. You haven't spent hours and miles on your feet pounding the pavement. But you have been training. You've been lifting weights overhead, doing repeat 200-400 and 600 meters, practicing your pistol squats and KB swings, and improving your Olympic weightlifting technique, even sandbag getups have helped you prepare for this race. You've been doing functional fitness that can be applied to every day tasks and transfers over to nearly any other sport you want to do on a whim. 

Why? You've spent time in aerobic training which is high power output(think "Fran" or Wednesday's SDLHP, Run, Push Press, Run workout) and high intensity. It builds muscle, whereas aerobic (distance running) BURNS muscle. Think of a sprinter's body (defined muscles) verses a marathoner's body (skin and bones, very little muscle) looks like. 

Greg Glassman wrote about this in "Metabolic Conditioning" in the CrossFit Journal Article..."Ultimately the CrossFit position on metabolic conditioning, or “cardio”, is summed in two points: • Anaerobic training can match endurance training for aerobic benefit. • Metabolic training with varying and mixed exercise modalities avoids specificity of adaptation allowing for additional first wave – cardiovascular/ respiratory adaptations, and increased functional strength.

The clincher is that CrossFit athletes have demonstrated improved endurance performance without endurance training, and even more amazingly, in clinical trials CrossFit’s high intensity regimen has produced improvements in endurance measures that rivaled those achieved through programs comprised largely of endurance efforts."

While you will not win the race, you haven't specialized in endurance running,  you are competent enough to hold a steady place, finish in the top 30% and quite possibly even PR your time at this distance! 

Here is my challenge for you: When you hit the last mile, pick up your pace, gradually getting faster and end in a sprint. You will thrive in the final kick, this is where your CrossFit trained body can out-kick endurance runners, it's what you're used to. So sprint it out!

Trust your training.  We'll see you at the finish line! #mo2dtdamtodam


Member Monday: Meet Mak

How were you referred to MO2DT/what motivated you to join?  I actually just researched it. I was intrigued by CrossFit but never knew exactlywhat it was.  I read lots of misconceptions, which I now know are just that.  I’ve always been athletic, but I just wanted to do something different, take on a new challenge.  I looked for reviews online and read nothing but good things about MO2DT. 

 What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? As basic as it is, squat form.  I’m proud of the fact that I have good form in that movement now.

What do you spend the majority of your time doing when you aren’t at Crossfit? I’m a student at Drake.  I work full-time at United Way of Central Iowa, where I am a Project Manager.  I also am completing my Masters Degree at Drake.  I’m involved in several volunteer-based coalitions through the City of Des Moines.  I sit on several boards.  I also enjoy bike riding and going out, too.  I’m pretty social and enjoy going out and having fun.  I am going to Croatia this summer, so I’m looking forward to that.  As cliché as it sounds, I’m also looking forward to getting better here!  

Who has played a key role in helping you develop a new skill or has pushed or challenged you during a WOD?  Well, Jess was a big part of me feeling confident about CrossFit.  I did the foundations course with her.  She was critical in building a solid foundation for me, but 5:30 is my favorite time to come and that has helped, too!  There always seems to be similar faces and I enjoy that.  One key person that has actually helped me develop a skill is Coach Brett.  He was randomly walking by while I was in class working on my squat snatch form.  He noticed I was struggling when he was passing by and he took the time to work with me on it.  Within a minute of him just demonstrating the technique and talking me through it, I had it.  I remember that was how I got my squat snatch form down.

What movement are you most looking forward to improving on?

Kipping pullups.  I’m trying to get better at those for sure.  And overhead squats.  Although I’m not doing too much outside of classes to work on them by myself, the scapula pull ups we do in class has helped.  I also like to watch the prep videos on Sugarwod.  I’m big on researching, so I watch those because I can see the movements before class starts.  




Post-Open Thoughts from Julie


How long have you been a member of MO2DT and what motivated you to join?  

I’ve been with MO2DT for almost 2 years. At the time, I worked with Jordyn and she had joined.  She kept telling me how much I would love it.  I wanted to try it, but I kept putting it off and putting it off.  One day, I finally just decided to try it.  I completed foundations and then started coming to noon class. I absolutely loved it and basically never looked back.  I have started sporadically coming to 5:00 A.M. too lately, because of my schedule, but I usually go to noon.  I’m a nooner!

What was your favorite part about the 2018 Open?  

I think I was more relaxed this year but I had more confidence in my ability this year.  Even though I did it scaled, I did it!  I’m now more aware of what I am capable of-and what my body is capable of.  I had more of a game plan this year after the workouts were announced each Thursday night.  My endurance was much better this year, too.  

I think my favorite part was getting done with a workout and thinking “there’s no way I could have done this last year”.  It was also just great to see everyone on Friday nights.  I liked that we did it on Fridays and had a different theme each week.  The intramural aspect of it was a nice too.   The Open was really organized this year and I had a blast doing the workout at noon, then coming back after work at night to watch everyone from different classes complete the workouts.    

Who has played a key role in helping you develop a new skill or has pushed you to try something new?  

Coach Leah and Coach Brett have really helped me with my front squat form.  They had me move the bar back up off my shoulders so my elbows could be up and range of motion would be better.  Into my throat, basically.  They happened to be working out at the same time I was that day, and helped me work through it.  

Coach Jess and Coach Nick have also helped me with keeping my back straight and upright and have worked with me on my shoulders/midline not collapsing.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been Crossfitting-you may still need to adjust your form on something, and coaches are there to let you know when that happens-so that you can get better.  I’ve been able to squat a lot heavier since I’ve fixed my form.  

What is your life outside the box like?

I’m an Executive Assistance for a family owned company that makes fats and oils for animal feed for poultry, swine, broilers, and layers.  I also am on the marketing team there, I oversee our administration team, and I do project management.  I’m almost done with my Project Management certification, too.  

I spend a lot of time with my daughter, Marilyn and all her activities.  

I really like to cook-I enjoy meal prepping.  I love spending time with family.  We like to go to Flix Brewhouse to see movies.  I do enjoy reading.  In the summer we are lake people-we love to go to the beach!  We are outside if it is nice out, so I am looking forward to that. 

Reflections on the Open

As we head into the final Open workout for the year, here's my thoughts:

It's been a party every week! From 5am to our final heat at Friday Night Lights. You brought energy, you brought fun, you bought into the best 5 weeks of the year (only second to our Holi-Wod and Holiday events in December). It's not to say you didn't work hard, you've pushed limits, earned those PRs, crushed goals, gracefully received a few no reps as those judgement eyes were on you, gave out thousands of fist bumps, both virtually and IRL, and you laughed and smiled and met a few new friends you haven't had a chance to workout with before due to your regular class schedule.


The After Party has been equally as fun. From Fuzzy's tacos to Confluence brews & Chipotle to Margaritaville to decorating the entire box as if we were in a float contest for a the St. Patty's Day parade, you did well very crew.

To our 8 athlete 2018 judges: Tim, Andrew, Joe Austen, Meghan, Jordyn, Alyson, Travis, Ami. You got a peek into the "other side". You took the challenge to not only perform the weekly workouts but to understand the movement standards, step up to the uncomfortable area of giving out no reps and you counted 1000s upon 1000s of jumps in 18.3. You had to balance the nerves as an athlete performing the workout to then stepping into the role of judge, which for many, is more stressful than completing the workout. A few of you have come in during morning classes to help judge, giving up the comfort of your cozy bed. A few of you have come in during lunch class to help keep the heats running smoothly so everyone could be judged and get back to work, or you've completed the workout and then immediately stepped into judgment zone for us and then returned to work. And during FNL, it's never a "who will judge next?" You're always more than ready with a clipboard and score sheet. It's given me a chance to be a coach during the Open for a few heats, it's given me a chance to step back, look at this amazing community that has been built and smile with tears in my eyes and be proud of you all. It's given Nick the chance to use his fitness to get the best shots of all the athletes, because let's be honest, we all love to see ourselves working out and maybe those photos will help explain the "what is CrossFit, again?" to our families. 


To our coaches: Brett, Bryan, Dan, Dilon, Jamaal, Kristen, Leah, Nick, and Reid. When I asked you to step it up, to bring the best 5 Fridays for our community, to look outside of your workout and schedule and give it to them. You did. You've led our first intramural Open to being something that has even exceeded my vision for it (which you know is hard to do). You've gone from judge, to athlete, to coach, depending on the heat. You've come in on Sundays or early Monday mornings to help judge make-ups or redos, you've stayed later on Monday nights and have always held the standard on what constitutes a good rep. It starts from the top down and when you give your Friday nights to the Box, it gets noticed and it makes the Box a second home, where athletes don't want to leave, and they bring their families to...which also makes for a really late Margaritaville night :).


To our photographer, Nick. You have the hardest job of them all. The easy part is the actual shooting of the workout, it's the hours and hours you spend editing and deleting those "won't get past the #jjp standards of good form and bad angle" You've given up a few vacation days to shoot photos during lunch class and on top of that, you get to deal with me and the late nights setting up, you take command on the constructing walls, hanging TVs, moving things around so the photos look good. You put up with my early mornings of judging and my texts of "to-bring-to-the-gym that I have forgotten at home or need from the store". #nickpilling is the MVP.


To Morgan, the intern. Quiet but mighty. Morgan, you've stayed late Thursday nights to set up, have been at the box before 5am on Fridays, head to work all day and return to FNL, ready to go. How you manage to do the workout, I don't know, because every time I look over or go to check in, your at the front desk, working on team points, assisting others with getting questions answered, and you are our head of music manager, and you show up BIG TIME for your intramural team. You've also been interviewing a few our athletes on their experiences and it's been exciting for me to see what interview pops in my inbox each week. To say this Open has been more manageable, especially adding in more event organization and scores with the Intramural Open, is an understatement. Thank you, Morgan.


To our community: Usually during Week 5 of the Open, I'm more than ready for it, I'm tired and over the Monday score validation, chasing you all down to get it submitted, I'm ready for the regular routine again. Not this year. I can't believe it's Week 5 already, it's gone so fast and it's been so much fun. Little sleep, lotta coffee, but much more fun. My goal for this final week is that we pack the Box with everything Max Oxygen, black and orange all the way, and I want to see our logo all over you. I want to see big smiles, fist bumps, cheers (both in voice and in clinging cans) and whatever Dave Castro has planned for us, bring the energy because you're going to PR. We'll carry over the End of Open fun to Angry Goldfish, where I'm told we will easily take it over this small, neighborhood bar that has amazing burgers.


Thank you for an amazing Open, it's been one where we'll look back upon and be remembered as several things:  "the first one at Bell Ave", "Friday Night Lights", "the biggest Open yet", "the one where the shift happened". As I reflected on our 2017 Year in Review, I wrote that I was thrilled with the potential 2018 holds, I could feel it in my gut that it was going to be great. And it's met my expectations so far and we're not even half way into the year. So hold on, the energy doesn't stop as the last rep is counted for the 2018 Open.

Next up, the Jesus WOD, Operation Strength, ladies wine night, Bros and Beers, Viewings of "Ogar: Will of Steel" and "The Redeemed and Dominant: Fittest on Earth" oh, and an end of construction date!


Matt's thoughts on The Open & Max Oxygen


How were you referred to MO2DT/what motivated you to join?  

Matt:  So, I’ve been doing Crossfit with MO2DT for about 4 years.  I started off with Primal because I found a Groupon for a 90-day triaI.  I got hooked and stayed with MO2DT.

What would you say has been your biggest/most memorable accomplishment..

Matt:  It’s funny but I’d actually have to say getting comfortable doing double unders.  I don’t know why, but they were so bad for me for so long. I really struggled with them.  I got dedicated to working on them after/before WODs and attended a Double Under workshop that coach Bryan lead, and that helped.  Getting my own rope also helped!

But yeah, double unders have bothered me, but movements like muscle ups and pull ups never have.  I was also really excited when I hit my first 200# clean and jerk for the first time—I felt good about that.  

What would you say is your biggest strength?

Matt:  That’s tough because I don’t feel like I have a big “strength”-I would say running is my weakness! But handstand pushups and ring dips are two areas I would say I do well.  



What do you do outside of Crossfit?  


Matt:  I work at Principal.  I go to a ton of Iowa State football and basketball games.  I follow Iowa State and try to make it to tournaments, like the Big 12 Tournament.  I enjoy biking-obviously! In the winter-snowboarding. I spend summers at the lake.  Oh, and I’m helping plan my wedding right now (even though my fiancé is doing the work on most of it).  We are getting married June 30th. I also enjoy hanging out with my dog. She takes up a lot of our time.  


Who has played a key role in helping you develop a new skill or pushing you during a workout?  


Matt:  Well, all the coaches are great.  I do remember specifically how I got my first muscle-up.  Coach Brett noticed I was struggling while I was working on them after class one day.  He broke the movement down piece by piece in a way that I could better understand what to do.  We went technique. After him taking the time to work with me one-on-one, I had it down within 20 minutes of him walking me through it.  He had me do so many progressions and we also worked on timing. I will always remember that’s how I got my first muscle-up.


Amy & Jordyn's take on the Open

How were you referred to MO2DT/what motivated you to join? 

Amy:  I had a membership with MaxT3, which shared a location with MO2DT. Eventually, MaxT3 members merged into MO2DT and that’s how it all started! I had done MaxT3 for a full year before CrossFit, which included a lot of the same movements, but with kettlebells, so it was an easy transition.   I’ve been doing Crossfit for about 6 years total. 

Jordyn:  At the time one of my co-workers was a crossfitter at another gym. I was running a lot to train for my first half and working out at a Snap fitness on my own. I was getting very bored doing things on my own and running out of ideas to keep my workouts varied. At the time I was considering trying it my friend was in the middle of wedding planning. She wanted to get in shape for her wedding so we joined together – accountability! I got hooked right away and the rest is history! (my future hubby might have been a huge motivator to keep me going in the beginning too)



What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

Amy:  Consistently coming.  Before, when I had a membership at Anytime Fitness, I either never went or didn’t know what to do when I got there. I had no accountability.  I love coming at 5 a.m because 1: it is the only time that works for me and my family and 2: it’s my only “me” time, I come for my own sanity!

When I was at Max T3, I did my first CrossFit competition and I was NOT a crossfitter. I’m also proud of getting in my first kipping pull-ups and toes-to-bar, but mostly, I’m proud of my consistency in attendance. (Not only has Amy gotten her first toes-to-bar in, she did 18.1 RX, which included 8 toes-to-bar each round!)   

Jordyn:  At the moment going at least 4-5 days a week is a success for me.

Doing pull ups was a huge accomplishment for me. It took me almost a year to get my first pull up. To me there’s something about pull ups it just feels awesome to be able to do them. Double unders was pretty cool too – that took me much longer to get!



What do you spend the majority of your time doing when you aren’t at Crossfit? 

Amy:  Kids!  Family.  Work.  I work at ITA group in West Des Moines, where I am a Project Manager.  I manage enterprise projects internally for the company and I’ve been there 12 years.  But yeah, being a mom keeps me busy-my husband Shawn (a noon “regular”) and I have three kids-a boy and two girls.

Jordyn:  Thinking about crossfit……

I have two pups and a pretty cool fiancé that I love spending time with, however, I work full-time and go to school full-time as well as planning a wedding and in the midst of purchasing a home. So when I’m not doing any of that – I’m doing crossfit. It’s my stress relief and personal time to make myself better so I cherish it!  


If you had to choose between doing 18.1 again and 18.2, which one would it be and why?

Amy:  Oh-18.1.  18. 2 was brutal!  I can’t believe I thought about re-doing it!  It was terrible!  I almost cried in round 8.  So mad that I missed my clean at the end.  I was so close to getting it within the time cap.   

Jordyn:  18.2 without a doubt. I like being able to use my hands and 18.1 destroyed them – so I’m totally fine never ever doing that again!