May Athletes of the Month: Fat Boyz Rising

I’m sure you’ve seen them…..they actually jog to the gym.  They are sweating before the warm-up begins.  And then they jog home.  Or bike…or whatever it takes  to achieve their goals.  Who are they?  And why are the working so hard?

Meet the self-proclaimed  “Fat Boyz of Rising”….Tom Riga, David Brewster, Nate Clements, Eric Gibbs, Ben Carson, and most recently, Damione Lewis.  Rising members for several months, these athletes became friends while sweating it out during their daily workouts and ultimately decided they wanted to form a group to provide support and accountability for each other with regard to reaching their individual weight loss goals.

Brewster attacking some OHS

Brewster attacking some OHS

According to Brewster, “I was coming [to Rising]  4-5 days a week and finally got past the point of ‘surviving’ the workouts, but I still weighed more than I wanted to.” “I justified my bad diet by the fact that I was working out 5 days a week.  It was a mindset I developed as a college swimmer and I carried it through to my adult life.”

Enter Coach David Borrelli, who helped create a six week challenge and set some measurable and attainable goals for the group with regard to exercise intensity and a healthy diet.  They set a goal to each lose 2 pounds a week, with weigh-ins every Monday.  They agreed to a physical challenge type penalty for the group if anyone fell short of the goal.  For example, one week, the entire group, including Borrelli, had to complete a 400 yard farmers’ carry with kettle bells after the workout because several members of the group did not meet the 2 pound requirement.

In addition to the penalties, rewards, such as a cash prize and a few rounds of golf for the ultimate winner were thrown into the mix.  But what started out as a six-week commitment to improving their health and supporting each other has now been extended through the summer so that the weight loss, and perhaps more importantly, the camaraderie can continue.

When asked if the group was open to new members, Tom Riga exclaimed, “of course…anyone who is interested is welcome!”  And what’s not to like?  Hard work, support for each other, friendship, clean eating, accountability, and feeling comfortable in your own skin…..sounds pretty darn good to me.  Congratulations to all the present members of the club, as well as any future members, for taking control of their health and working hard to achieve their fitness goals!

Riga catching some air while Dave gets in his ear

Riga catching some air while Dave gets in his ear

April Athlete of the Month: Bruce Marko

Congratulations to Rising’s April Athlete of the Month, Bruce Marko!  A year ago, on April 26, 2013,  Bruce underwent surgical repair of a massive rotator cuff tear. Doctors termed it “massive”  because 3 out of the 4 muscles were torn.  For the remainder of the spring and summer of 2013, Bruce was diligent about his rehab, about improving his mobility, and ultimately, as the shoulder healed, about working on his weaknesses….undoubtedly with the dream of making it to the Games to compete on the world stage in the back of his mind, fueling his progress.

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March Athlete of the Month: Diego Gonzalez


Prior to Open WOD 14.3, Diego Gonzalez had never dead-lifted 225 lbs once.  When the nasty deadlift/box jump combination was released, he knew it would be tough for him but he was determined to get 225 off the floor….well, he did….30 times….and then went on to  PR again by 50 pounds at the 275 bar…..it was an impressive performance and just one of the many things that we all love about Diego!

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Rising Up to Support our Surrounding Communities

Rising CrossFit Nation:  We are a month and a half  in and things are going great…classes are filling up, people seem to be enjoying the experience, etc….and I am ecstatic about that….but I don’t want to lose sight of one of the primary goals of opening this gym in the first place….which was to create a strong internal community to then go out into the greater community and serve it.  I asked a small group of coaches and members to get together and find some good community projects for us to lend our muscle to.  The first one we will be supporting as a group is Operation Christmas Child.  Please read the information below and consider donating some of your time for this worthy cause.

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Testimonial: Obviously, Michelle is an amazing athlete, but that just scratches the surface of who she is… an amazing PERSON, friend and coach. I’m looking forward to training at Rising Crossfit Ballantyne, given she will be setting the standard for training, the environment at the box, and everything associated with its operation. Michelle genuinely wants people to get better at whatever they do, and her dedication to that goal is evident in the way she interacts with the people she trains. You can tell this is truly her passion and, based on past experience, everyone that’s fortunate enough to be a part of Rising Crossfit Ballantyne will benefit immensely. – John Scerri

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