Member Interview:  Nate

1. How long have you been crossfitting?  

About 5 years.  I started at MaxT3 when it was downtown.  Shawn Thacker got me started.

2. What is your favorite movement that we do in CrossFit?

Probably clean and jerk or push press.  Really any heavy lifts-deadlift. I’ve gotta stay in front of Julie on those.  

3. What was your biggest fear coming into CrossFit MO2DT?

Not being able to keep up-I still can’t do that, I’ve just gotten over it!  Not being able to perform some of the technical lifts was also a fear.

4. What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?

Probably just consistency and staying with it for this long.  I don’t have a specific goal in mind in regards to a certain movement or lift.  I’m 41 years old-for me, just remaining consistent by attending class 3-4 days a week is something I try to do.  I am proud of maintaining that most weeks.

5. What's your 9-5 (job)?  

I’m a pastor and have been since 2010.  My church is New Life Lutheran Church in Norwalk.  

6. Other than CrossFit, what else do you like to do in your free time?

Kids and family stuff-all that is great.  Both my kids are swimmers so we are busy with that and basketball.  We spend time walking our dogs and we like to travel. This past summer, my family took a trip out to Oregan and that was very fun.

7. What keeps you coming back each day?  

Community.  That absolutely creates accountability.  The relationships with others also keeps me coming back.   

8. If you could cherrypick a WOD what would you choose?

Anything partner.  Those are great. I love the motivation you get from those.  

9. One thing your WOD friends don't know about you?  

I’m from Wisconsin!  

10.  Who pushes you the most?  

Jess does all the time.  She’s great, she’s always so positive and pushes you hard.  I joke about it, but Julie, too. I don’t want to get out lifted by her!  Certainly other athletes and the coaches push me, as well.

11.  Favorite Meal?

Burgers on the grill-with blue cheese.  It’s fantastic.


Friday Firsts: Get to Know Morgan R.

Member Monday:  Morgan Ruter


How long have you been crossfitting?   About 2 months.

What was your biggest fear coming into CrossFit MO2DT? I thought i would be pressured to do more weight than i should, which is not the case!  
What is your favorite movement that we do in CrossFit? Probably squats.  

How did you get referred to MO2DT?   I’ve actually been thinking about doing CrossFit for a couple of years.  I go for convenience, so I looked up the closest CrossFit locations to where I live.  This was one of them. I tried this one first with the intention of trying another to see which one I liked best.  I like it here, so I’ve decided not to even try another location.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of? Super happy I did a pull-up today!  First time unassisted. I’ve don’t think I’ve ever done a pull-up.    

What's your 9-5 (job)?  I’m a Critcal Care Float Nurse for Unity Point, so I go to all 3 of our hospital locations to help patients.  I’m also a full-time student pursing my Masters of Science of Nursing.

Other than CrossFit, what else do you like to do in your free time? My boyfriend and  I like to travel, so when I have free time we do that.  I also like to bike and go to breweries. Other than that, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends.  

One thing your WOD friends don't know about you?  I grew up on a farm.  I played basketball at Iowa Central Community College and we got 4th in the nation that year!  

Okay, what’s your favorite meal? I’m like a really big meat and potatoes girl, so anything beef.  Oh, and I love cheesecake-I have weekly doses of it. I actually went to a Mexican restaurant last week...and got cheesecake there.    

What or who has challenged you to be better?  All the really strong women members here.  Seeing them pushing through workouts motivates me to try and keep up with them.  That is motivating, definitely. Coach Bryan is my favorite, too, because he is hilarious.   

When do you usually WOD?4:30 PM is my usual time, but because of my work schedule, I sometimes do noon class.  

What do you like most about Max Oxygen?I enjoy that it is an awesome culture in general.  Everyone is always in a good mood it seems like. It’s awesome to see members do little things to encourage each other, like tonight for example, a few girls went and ran an additional 200 meters once they were done with the WOD so that one of the athletes didn’t have to finish solo and she had some additional support during that last round.  Overall, I’ve felt really welcomed here.

Say “hello” to Morgan R. when you see her in class and tell her “congrats” on getting her first pull-up (ever!) this week!

#soontobesandy it happened from the eyes of an Affiliate Manager

Jordyn and Coach Brett are getting married Saturday!

Many of you have been with us from their beginning but maybe you didn't know how their story began, here's a recap (from the eyes of an affiliate manager):


January 2016: Free Trial

I get an email from a female who wants to try out class with her friend then I get a text from one of our former members saying that she recommended that 2 of her co-workers try CrossFit and gave them 2 boxes to try out. This makes me smile.

Jordyn and Alisha come into 5am class,and  it was really cold even for a January morning. Brett is working out in that class. He used to be a regular 5amer, if you can believe that. One of these ladies gets close to puking.... Brett shares this with me and my heart sinks to my gut. Ugh, we never want that to happen to anyone, especially a newbie. I follow up with them and invite them to come back again, to get a better idea of what a class looks like and if they want to join, what next steps look like. One of them comes back (Jordyn) then I don't hear from them again and our next Foundations class comes and goes filled with newbies but none of them are Jordyn or Alisha.


In the meantime, I find out that one of them is on vacation and they want to begin Foundations when she returns. We set this up for an early morning time. It's just the two of them and me. Brett later comes up to me and asks about the blonde one, because "she's cute". I tell him what I've learned about her so far (she's young, was in school as an education major, loves dogs). Brett asked me to put in a good word and that he'd be around to help with anything.

As we continue into the next few days of Foundations, the girls and I ended up moving from the gym floor to the locker room together since we all had to get ready for work, this gave me an opportune time to get to talk to Jordyn more in depth than I would when I coach. In this, I began talking about the coaches she'd see in her morning classes, specifically Brett,and how long he has been a coach and how much knowledge he had, how he was actually one of my first coaches and how helpful our coaches are regardless if they are an athlete in the class or coaching that class (which all of this is true).


February 2016: The Open 

Shortly after their Foundations graduation, it was the start of the CrossFit Open. We somehow convinced Jordyn and Alisha to join us for 16.1 and how much FUN we have each Saturday morning during the Open season (really, we have the best time).  Jordyn even officially signed up for the Open just a few weeks after beginning CrossFit. This makes me even happier, each year I make it my own goal to get as many members to officially register as possible. 

16.1 was a fun one- Overhead Walking Lunge, Burpees, and Chest to Bar Pull-Ups. Jordyn had never even lunged with a barbell at this point and Brett was eager to be her judge and also coach her through it- with a Busch Light in his hand. #typicaljudgebrett Well, Jordyn also had a love for Busch Light. #buschlatte So now here we are, for the next 5 Saturdays, Coach Brett as Jordyn's judge. This is how it all started....


August 2016: The Great CrossFit Family Vacation

If you don't know, David, one of the box co-owners, lives in Colorado and we had been planning a trip to drop-in to his first box in Frisco and head to CrossFit Roots, and go outdoor adventuring for months (a trip with CrossFit coaches who plan their vacation around CrossFit, shocking),this trip was planned event before Jordyn was a member of the box. Originally, this trip was made up of: Nick and I, Jamaal, Kristen, Brett and Dan. Dan bailed on us early on in the summer so there was an open seat in the Fam Van.  Brett invited Jordyn along and she officially became a member of the crew. Now, I'm friends with everyone at our box, some people I get closer with and I may even get crazy and go hang out with you outside of the gym (except I'll always be home and in bed early). During this trip, this is where I became "outside the box friends" with Jordyn. I remember saying to Nick, "I like her for Brett, she's low key, low drama, loves Sophie (Brett's special dog) and likes to go to bed early too". BTW, David was not even in the state of CO when we were there. #altitudesickness #eggfarts #noonedied #crossfitfamilyvacation #stayhydrated


April 2017: CrossFit L2 Seminar Weekend

 I convinced Leah and Brett to join Nick and I in #thepursuitofexcellence and register for the L2 Seminar in Omaha. It'd be great, I thought; David requested to work that seminar too and we'd be able to get half the coaching team to #levelup and bring so much info back to the box to continue to develop at coaches. David was also not at this seminar, he was on a trip for CrossFit Training Media, #whereintheworldisdavid #typical.

Day 1 was great, we all ended up being split up into different small groups for our course and as we were discussing the day's events during dinner, I had to share a secret with them. I keep a lot of stuff to myself, the coaches don't need to know the struggles or stressors of the details of managing a box, they need to put 100% on to make their class the best hour of their athletes each day. 

And maybe it was because I had a glass of wine or that it was weighing on my shoulders and if I shared it with them, we could figure it out together. I told Leah and Brett (obviously, Nick already knew) that we had just a month to find a new home for our box or we were done. We were being kicked out of our space. NO home, No Max Oxygen CrossFit Downtown. 

Brett also said, "well, I have to share some news too" and he brought up a photo of an engagement ring on his phone. Jordyn's Engagement Ring. He also said that he wanted to propose at the box, where they first met so that means he has a month to figure out how this is going down. He asked for Nick and I's help. #iloveplanningthings #nickwasallaboutthephotos #lifegoals

Brett chose May 27 as The Day.

May 2017: The Proposal

The Saturday before Memorial Day. "This would be perfect!", my affiliate manager inner voice was saying, "The gym would be clean and shiny, ready for our final big event on Memorial "Murph" Monday, it'd be free of people on a Saturday evening, and we could set it up to video and photograph the proposal." 

Brett was wanting a celebration of sorts afterwards to share the news. How could we get people together without telling them the reason?

I created a private event hosted by Nick and I to share some "really big news" and invited everyone from the box. If I make an event, people will make an effort to show up, because that's what we do. CrossFitters support each other. Well, this private event got people talking and assuming that Nick and I were:

 moving away (apparently choosing a convertible with dogs waving as the event photo hints that there's a move, I just picked it because it was cute).

 buying the gym

 adopting a baby


adopting a puppy

Even Jordyn was so into watching my every move, trying to figure it out and texting me all these assumptions, certain that we were getting Boston a fur-sister.

On the flip-side, it was actually really fitting that the gym was looking for a new home because I was really stressed, tired and measuring out my wine and my face showed it all.

Brett told us he was taking Jordyn to Baru 66- a place that Jordyn had been wanting to go to for months. He then planned to stop at the gym to use the restroom, on the way to a bar downtown and then were planning to head to Nick and I's secret announcement....apparently this is something that nearly everyone who had 24-hour access did on the weekends during their shenanigans Downtown- and it wasn't uncommon for Brett to do this either.

Brett comes in, then texts Jordyn to come in to the gym. Music playing, photographer Nick ready, ring sparkling on the table, the details were on point. 

****side story on how we got the ring to the gym.

Brett texted us when they had left for dinner and Nick and I were to go to his home, get the ring and a bottle of champagne that has been waiting for this event, the door would be unlocked. Reid was living in Brett's basement and I assumed he wasn't home. Well, he was. Reid heard the dogs barking and came up stairs as I was walking to the door, Reid greeted me in his underwear. We've never spoken about it to this day but now everyone knows. 

The proposal was beautiful, it was on my life goal list to be a part of a proposal, so thank you, Brett for helping me cross that off. 


After some photos by Nick. Now it was time to celebrate and head to Nick and Jess' Surprise Event. 


We were running late and those that were gathering there waiting for us, were getting eager to find out what the big surprise was, we had some FB live streaming and honestly, I was surprised the amount of people that came out to celebrate our news and if they couldn't be there were anxiously texting me about it. Afterwards, I was also told that I wasted my one chance and if/when we do have an actual surprise, people won't show. #winsomelosesome #worthit

October 20, 2018 Wedding Day #soontobesandy


Jordyn and Brett have probably had one of the challenging years in terms of feeling settled and grounded. Brett sold their home in West Des Moines, they moved to Norwalk and then to Hartford, back to Norwalk and back to Hartford. Brett's boys graduated and went off to college. Jordyn changed jobs and continues to go to college, she's almost finished with her degree! Brett accepted a position as Assistant Principal in Knoxville. They purchased land and are building a home in Hartford and they are planning this wedding.


I can almost guarantee you won't find a more fit Wedding Party. So many CrossFitters, including the Pastor and photographer (she's a great CrossFit competition shooter too). And if you're not into CrossFit and are attending this wedding, I apologize, people will be talking CrossFit, will be doing pistol squats, handstands, squats and flexing and eating, a lot. We don't mean to be annoying or intimidating (we're actually some of the most welcoming people you'll meet and we'll probably invite you to our gym) it's a part of who we are, getting to the box for our WOD is much a part of our routine as is having coffee for you. It's our social hour, workout hour, therapy hour, all rolled into one.

If you'd like to see what CrossFit is all about, how it can change your life,help you find your significant other and best friends, please sign up for a trial class by emailing Jess. (had to plug this).


Also, we celebrate big events with a workout, you're all invited to #soontobesandy Wedding WOD on Saturday, October 27 9am. It'll be a partner workout. 


Now, Brett and Jordyn- could we figure out how get this party bus to the box for some photos Saturday? I've got some really great ideas for photos that would look perfect on social media and would get the attention of for a repost. #affiliatemanagergoals #getreposedbycrossfit #getthedavecastrotolikeit #getnicolecarrolltolikeit


Now, Brett and Jordyn- could we figure out how get this party bus to the box for some photos Saturday? I've got some really great ideas for photos that would look perfect on social media and would get the attention of for a repost. #affiliatemanagergoals #getreposedbycrossfit #getthedavecastrotolikeit #getnicolecarrolltolikeit


Congrats, we love you and no matter how far away you move, you're a part of our CrossFit family for life, but really, get yourselves to the box. Now, there's no excuses.


Sit Down with The Coach: Kory

Meet Coach Kory

coach kory.jpg

How'd you find CrossFit?

I learned about it in 2010 and I kind of followed it, but I didn’t get into it.  I ended up starting in 2014 on my own! I also got my Level 1 in 2014, just to learn more about CrossFit.  I was an intern at CrossFit Hardstyle, which was in Johnston, and that is where I met Coach Dilon.  We hosted a deadlift competition at Southridge Mall and that’s where him and I met. In the past, I had been a personal trainer at UNI for a while, and then I coached at Alter Locust in Sioux City.  

Favorite movement to teach? And to perform?

Olympic weightlifting.  I really like teaching those lifts-cleans, jerks, and snatches.  To perform-squat and bench. I like to squat, a lot!

Why did you choose to apply at MO2DT?

I had known about it for a while.  Back when it was downtown, it was only about a block away from where I was living.  I had heard about it and passed by it, but had never stopped in for a class. I dropped in a few times.  I reached out to Jess about coaching and it has worked out.

Favorite way to relax?

Naps.  I love naps and binging on Netflix.  

When do you coach classes? When do you prefer to WOD?

No set schedule right now for when I’m coaching.  I’m just filling in as needed, but I would guess it will end up being afternoon classes more regularly.  

I’m usually in the noon class or 6:30 PM class for WODs.  

Best health-focused tip that has helped you?

Be consistent.  With everything.  It’s not necessarily about being perfect, but consistent over a long period of time.  When it comes to training and nutrition-just having healthy habits.

For example, I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  I don’t always have meals prepped, but at least planned out.  I do have an Instapot, and I’ll do like rice and chicken and portion that out.  Sometimes I’ll do steak. That always makes a good and quick meal. Also-lots of eggs!

Biggest CrossFit accomplishment to date?

Becoming a coach!

What's your "real job"?

I currently work at Exile part-time, other than that, I’m here!  

Favorite benchmark WOD?

Grace, Fran, and CrossFit Total, which includes squat, deadlift, and overhead press.  

Favorite memory here so far?

Thursday I helped Coach Reid hit a lifetime PR in overhead squat, at 160# after he said he wasn’t sure he was going to get 135#.  

What makes you enjoy coaching at MO2DT?

It’s just a really good community.  Definitely that and the fact that the different classes have fun with each other.  Members really seem to get along. I’ve noticed that many members have their set class time they attend and are often are catching up before or after class.  Everyone seems to be genuine to each other, too. What’s awesome is that all the members are super friendly to each other, no one lets egos get in the way, and that’s not the case at all gyms.

I’ve been to other gyms where members are just super competitive, which doesn’t always work.  I think members here do a really good job of welcoming new athletes.

MO2DT is also really good about sticking to original content of what Crossfit is supposed to be.  We focus on a really good workout, high intensity, but also proper form in all movements. We really focus on going over the movements and technique BEFORE the workout, to stress the importance of good form and safety.  

Overall, all the members have been really nice.  Even when I dropped in a few times, members came up and introduced themselves to me.  I’m hoping to get to know more members in different class times, soon!

Friday Firsts: Meet Dan R.

Friday Firsts

Meet our newest athletes! You can follow Dan on Instagram @dandan_revolution

How long have you been at Max Oxygen? 1 month.

How did you get referred to Max Oxygen?Nick Nielsen.  We are family friends.  I told my brothers I wanted to do this and they had dropped in with Nick before.  I jumped in with both feet and just started! 

How many people know you're doing this CrossFit thing? (First rule: always talk about CF). Just friends and family I think!

Favorite thing about Max Oxygen so far: All of the different workouts.  I like the variety!  I don’t have a specific movement I enjoy most, but it’s cool meeting new friends.  I’ll let you know when/if I ever dread something! 

When do you typically WOD? Usually the 4:30 PM class.  

Tell us one thing we don't know about you from your high school days. I swam all throughout high school, I went to state for that.  I like CrossFit because it is like swimming in many ways.  Swimming is very much an individual sport, but there is also an important team aspect.  I’ve found this to be in true in CrossFit as well. 

Best thing you've learned about this experience: I’m a little more open to trying new things since starting.It is cool to try new things.  Workouts I didn’t think I could ever do, I am now completing.  I’m working on toes-to-bar.  I never thought I could do those, and now I’m really progressing.  

I enjoy the workouts a TON!  People are great, so I have no complaints!  

Who pushes you the most (during WODs)?The coaches push me the most.  I’ve had Coach Bryan and Coach Jess the most and they correct my form and changes I wouldn’t have noticed myself.  All of the coaches are great at that. 

How do you spend your free time?

Doing this (CrossFit)-ha!  I look cooking.  I’m a comic book nerd, so I look at Spiderman comics often and watch the movies!  

What is your 9-5 (job)?I’ m a Transformer at Pioneer (located in Johnston) for soybeans, so I make soybeans for production.  



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.

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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.


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