Congrats to this month’s Athlete’s of the Month : Jason VanderKlok and Melanie Zahn!!
This month I decided to go a different direction with the article. This time I asked the athletes to tell me about their journey through CrossFit, leaving that open to their interpretation and allowing them to share whatever they wanted. Jason and Melanie have allowed us a little window into their lives before CrossFit and what has happened since finding it. As you read their stories you are able to tell why they were selected as this month’s winners.
Jason has been apart of Flight for awhile and really has grown as a member and an athlete. Jason is also involved in the military and it’s awesome that he sees CrossFit as a way to prepare for that lifestyle. We can’t thank you enough for your service! He also is a part of Team Hanson, with girlfriend Hanna. They compete and really enjoy time together training at the gym.
Let’s see…. I found CrossFit like 3 1/2 years ago basically from seeing it on social media and I knew a few people who did it… I did a little at CrossFit AZO back home during a summer and then didn’t know where to go when I came back to school. I actually asked Hanna about it, this was before I really even knew her and she told me about Flight. I contacted John, Baseline was done and the rest is history, I’ve been at Flight off and on ever since! I’ve had some injuries and setbacks along the way but I’d say it’s kept me in pretty good shape these past few years.
I really like the science of it all and learning about the programming aspect.
As far as the military I’ve had a few pretty physically intense training “vacations” that CrossFit has definitely helped me be physically ready for.
In the military you are rucking long distances with weight on your back and carrying weapons, or me being in field artillery we are frequently moving 100lb, 155mm rounds.
All of the unique stuff we do like atlas stones, farmers carries, tire flips, weight vests etc helps prepare you for the functional fitness we have to do to do our job.
Melanie is a phenomenal athlete. She always has a smile on her face and has encouraging words for anyone that needs to hear them. I have a personal connection to Melanie as last year she took a chance and we decided to go to Granite Games, a first for anyone. Melanie had many doubts about the degree of competition (it was nothing we knew she couldn’t handle 😉 ). She was amazing and continues to be a teammate that everyone benefits from. As a mom of 3 she is setting the perfect example of strength and grace.
I had heard about CrossFit being offered in my home town and although it seemed a bit intimidating, it definitely sparked my interest. I had spent time in many different types of fitness throughout the years and was struggling with low motivation to do any of it anymore. Going to the gym each day was beginning to feel like a chore. Then one day I saw a business card for Flight at the Car Wash and was thrilled to see Holland had CrossFit. I held onto the card for a while.
Occasionally, I drove by and tried to get a glimpse of what it looked like but it was winter and I could never get a good look inside that big garage.
Then I saw a groupon for Flight and so I asked Joanne (also a member now) to try it with me. I was so excited when she said yes, nervously, we both signed up. CrossFit has not only changed me physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I have been so surprised to learn that I can do things that I never thought I would do.
I remember vividly some of my first WODs when I’d start planning an escape midWOD sure there was no way I could do one more burpee or wall ball & then Raelynn or John would show up with their encouraging words and somehow I’d muster up enough strength to finish the WOD!
That scenerio happened many times, I just kept finishing WODS (very scaled WODS) and I was ecstatic. I remember thinking…. “what else can I do that I didn’t know I was capable of?” That thought is where CrossFit began to carry over into other areas of life. I realized I can push harder and work through things even when they are really tough and seem impossible. I can no longer say “I Can’t” quite as easily as I’ve realized that I really don’t know what I can do if I haven’t tried, tried again, and practiced over and over again. I am thankful, like many others have said, for the community of people who continually challenge me and provide support and encouragement. This has been a huge part of any gains I have made in CrossFit. I still have so much to learn but look forward to continued growth in the years to come.