June Athlete of the Month- Meredith H.

Name:    Meredith Holland        Age: 34   From:  Santa Cruz, CA (Where CrossFit started!)

How long have you been with CrossFit Torrent and what made you decide to start?

I signed up as soon as I could, which was back in April or May of 2018.  My first WOD was I think the first class that was offered. I think Michelle Polson even convinced me to come to the 5am class that day.  I started at Torrent because I wanted a gym with awesome coaching and I wanted to follow Callie to Torrent as well.

What do you do when you’re not at CFT?

I do a variety of things mostly related to work and school.  I’m trying to finish up my PhD at Western in Psychology. I currently work with special needs children as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  I’ve also taught at Western and KVCC and hope to get a full-time faculty job in the near future.

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When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

I think I first heard about CrossFit from a work friend back in 2009, long before it was really a thing.  It sounded really fun, but I was dealing with a chronic pain issue and I didn’t think that I could handle a workout.  Fast forward to 2015 and I tried CF at a few different boxes, but really fell in love with a local box in Santa Cruz (CrossFit UP) and was hooked.  I loved the people, the encouragement of the community, and toughness of the workouts. I was a rower in high school and I really loved how CrossFit reminded me of being on a team and working towards a common goal.  Now at Torrent, I love my gym family and look forward to each and every workout. I love to see my friends succeed and improve.

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

I don’t really remember my first WOD, but I do remember my fundamentals workout.  I did fundamentals at a box in Turlock, CA and it was just me and the coach. I think it was an 8min AMRAP and it maybe had air squats and rowing in it.  What I remember is how I felt like I was dying immediately and the next day I could hardly walk. I think the first WOD I actually did was in 100F weather and I kept thinking, “why am I doing this?”

54798694_1209493935879790_2785093022222647296_nWhat is your favorite or least favorite WOD/movement?

I basically refuse to do a handstand.  It scares the crap out of me. I HATE wall walks too because it is basically a handstand.  I love a lot of the movements we do, but my favorite barbell movement is probably the power clean.

What is the one thing you have done at CFT that you never thought you would do?

I literally never thought I would ever run again. I’ve been dealing with chronic knee pain since I was 16 and chronic whole body pain since I was 23.  So for me even doing CrossFit is a major goal I never thought I would accomplish. I remember telling Callie that running was never going to happen. I’m so glad she figured out what I was doing wrong and got me running.  I will forever be indebted to her for that.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

Seeing everyone else suffering, hearing people cheer me on, and trying to beat Michelle Polson or any of the other ladies that I feel like I can ‘chase’.  I often lose though, but it helps keep me going.

unnamed.jpgWhat’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

The people.  I tell my friends all the time that if I didn’t do CrossFit I would never workout.  But because of our awesome community, I will get up at 4:15am and come workout. I will run outside when it is snowing.  I will push myself to do things I don’t want to do. I keep coming back for the people and our awesome coaches.

What are your short term and long term goals?

Long-term is just to keep coming every day and keep improving.  Short-term is I really want to hit the RX button a bit more often.  I’d also like to get a body-weight back squat and a strict pull-up. That would be cool.

How have you seen yourself change- mentally and physically since joining Torrent? What impact has CFT had on you in and out of the gym?

Physically I dropped 10 pounds rather fast after joining CFT.  I also have improved SO MUCH on all my lifts thanks to the focus on moving well.  I love that the coaches care more about how well we move as opposed to how much we move.  That had made a world of difference for me.

Mentally I think the biggest impact that CFT has had on me is that I don’t hate living in Michigan as much.  Having a great gym community has really made me like my Michigan life a lot more. Moving here from California was initially really, really tough.

Do you have any advice for people just getting started at CFT?

Listen to the coaches.  Don’t argue with them, just say yes and thank you.  Come every day. Eat real food. And always smile during a workout.

1-2Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal: Pie

Favorite Musician/Band: Don’t really have one

Favorite Sports Team: Do CrossFit people count?

Favorite Tv Show/ Movie:  Parks and Rec & 30 Rock

Favorite CrossFit Athlete: The Canadians! Vellner and Fikowski

Coach’s comment:

There is a lot we could say about Meredith but we decided to focus on her willingness to learn and get better. She is truly a student of the sport! She knows her abilities well and stays in her lane. She knows that doing the movements correctly, trying to beat herself, and be better than she was yesterday is what will make her a better overall athlete.  She has a positive mentality and even when she doesn’t think she can do something she listens to her coach’s advice and surprises herself! She is supportive of fellow athletes and is the first person to encourage someone who is struggling.  She shares her “smarticle particles” with us as Morgan says. Really, she helps us improve as coaches by sending athlete psychology our way.  Oh, and also she is always smiling, even on the assault bike, OHS or anything else challenging. 😀 Congratulations Meredith! We appreciate you!

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Meet Sarah, our new WMU intern!

Name: Sarah Anderson

Intern

Where you are from and about you: I am a Michigan native, born and raised in Grand Rapids. I moved to Kalamazoo in 2015 to attend Western Michigan University. Fun fact about myself; I have a twin sister. Growing up I loved playing soccer, climbing trees, and snowboarding. I began running cross country and track in middle school and found my passion for running. After running all four years in high school, I am thankful I have had the opportunity to continue my running career at the collegiate level as a student-athlete at WMU.

How you started at CrossFit Torrent and what made you transition into coaching. I first heard about CrossFit Torrent through my boyfriend Brandon. He started as an intern when the gym first opened, and now he is one of the coaches. I dropped into a few ‘free friend Thursday’ classes with him and I really enjoyed it! When the time came to start looking for an internship, I knew working at Torrent would be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to learn. As I wrap up my Exercise Science degree at WMU, I wanted an internship where I could learn how to coach athletes, run a gym, and help incorporate fitness into people’s daily lives.IMG_4247

My favorite part of being a coach is…

I enjoy meeting new people and building relationships. This will be my first time coaching CrossFit! I have coached cross country teams and running programs, so I am excited to learn with everybody.

Favorite WOD: Round Trip

Favorite Movement: Squat Cleans

Go-to Healthy snack: Clementines

Cheat day favorite: Pizza

If I am not at CFT you can find me: Going to class at WMU, or traveling all over the country to race.

7 Fun Facts about Sarah

  • I have a twin sister
  • Was born on Friday the 13th
  • I am learning how to play the guitar
  • I hold the Western Michigan school record in the mile
  • I have been to Switzerland
  • I love going to concerts
  • I have 2 fake teeth

FullSizeRenderCoaching Credentials

  • CPR/AED Certified
  • Bachelor of Science: Exercise Science
  • Pursuing a Masters degree in Sports Management
  • Good Form Running certified

Athletic Background

  • 10 years of running experience
  • 4 years of strength & conditioning experience

Experience

  • TUFF camp counselor – running camp for high school cross country athletes
  • WMU track and field camp- hosted running camp for middle/high school athletes
  • Volunteer at YMCA

 

Cody W. May Athlete of the Month!

Name: Cody Wainer            Age:     26            From: Portage,  MI

How long have you been with CrossFit Torrent and what made you decide to start?

I have been with Crossfit Torrent for about 4 ½ Months (started on Dec 13th, 2018). Felipe had invited Dave Buick and I to a “bring a friend” Thursday, and I just loved it. Honestly, the big things that won me over are the awesome community, functional fitness component, high intensity in a short period of time, strategy, competition, and the technical movements incorporated in WODs, to say the least. I had been exercising at Bronson Athletic Club for the past few years and grew tired of doing the same thing every day, throwing on the headphones and never really talking to anyone, and never achieving the results I strived for. After my first day at Crossfit Torrent; I came back the next morning and started my membership as well as quit my membership to Bronson Athletic Club.

What do you do when you’re not at CFT?

unnamed-2On a normal weekday, I go to my full-time job with Consumers Energy. I am a Circuit Engineer that mainly does Power Flow studies and Protective Device Analysis for our low voltage electric distribution system (the poles and wires you see outside your house). I am also a 1st Lieutenant in the Army National Guard and serve as a Platoon Leader for a Signal Unit out of Kalamazoo, MI (B Co 156 ESB). In my free time, I love to spend time with my family. I also love to grow and develop myself. I love to learn. I get so motivated when I see results. Fun fact about me, I used to be about 80 lbs heavier than I currently am now, and have made many fitness/life changes since then. With that being said, I am very empathetic towards individuals who are overweight and go through the struggle of losing weight. I know the grind and how hard it can be, and nothing motivates me more than seeing someone who is overweight and working hard to better themselves and change their life. One of my favorite quotes that I live by is by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, he says “Be Humble, Be Hungry, And Always be the Hardest Worker in the Room.

 

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

I realized it was right for me after my first WOD. I decided to jump in with both feet. I learned that there is more to fitness than how “strong” you are and how much you can lift. I absolutely love the technical movements (clean, snatch, double under, gymnastics, etc.) and I also really enjoy the aspect of functional fitness and relating these movements to things people do in everyday life, like picking up a bag of mulch or carrying buckets, etc.

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

56958807_10219300078595776_9023621521758748672_nI just checked Wodify, and my first WOD with CFT was on Dec. 13th, 2018

“Round Trip”

6 Rounds, On the 3:00:

20/14 Calorie Row

40 Double Unders

5-5-4-4-3-3 Hang Squat Cleans

I honestly don’t remember doing much of the workout, but what I do remember is that I was terrible at performing all the movements (as they were all foreign to me at the time) but I had a very strong desire to get move more efficiently and get better.

What is your favorite or least favorite WOD/movement?

unnamedMy favorite WOD movements currently are muscle ups, chest to bar, snatch, toes to bar, pull-ups (kipping/butterfly) because I currently can’t do most of them/perform them well, and I see that as a challenge to strive to learn these movements and get better at them.

What is the one thing you have done at CFT that you never thought you would do?

I never thought I would learn as many gymnastic movements as I am currently learning to do.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

Some things that give me a pump are seeing others work hard and push themselves to their limits. I also really enjoy faster tempo music (Sorry, I enjoy typical country or slower tempo songs, just not while working out). The biggest thing that drives me is knowing where I am and how I can push that limit to get better. It is a love/hate relationship when I am in that dark place while grinding, it’s a battle to stay there and keep pushing yourself, but later on, in the day I get hungry and crave getting back to and exceeding that point.

What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

Amazing community, functional fitness component, high intensity in a short period of time, strategy, competition, and the technical movements incorporated in WODs,

What are your short term and long term goals?

My current goal is to get 1 bar muscle up by Murph (which I have been spending pretty much every day working on post-WOD) and some long term goal is to move more efficiently overall in the gymnastic component, improve my snatch, and just become a more well-rounded athlete.

How have you seen yourself change- mentally and physically since joining Torrent? What impact has CFT had on you in and out of the gym?

Yes, I have seen myself change. One of the biggest things that I am slowly learning is the strategy/pacing component. As most of you know I am usually a “0 or 100” person, and sometimes I can go too hard in the beginning and my overall performance suffers. I think mentally I have become more determined to get better at the many aspects of Crossfit that I enjoy. I definitely have grown stronger and am still becoming more comfortable in various movements that were very foreign to me at the beginning of this journey.unnamed-1

Do you have any advice for people just getting started at CFT?

 

  1. Leave your pride at home.
  2. Be a friend/teacher and help someone out if you see they are not doing it right.
  3. Encourage and motivate others
  4. Be open to trying new things, be teachable and have a willingness to learn.
  5. Don’t be satisfied and settle where you are at, you can always get better.
  6. Be humble/Stay hungry.
  7. Always be the hardest worker in the room.
  8. Have fun and enjoy each step of your fitness journey

 

 

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal:

Anything ooy gooy cheezy mozzy goodness. Stuffed crust pizza, fresh pillowy cheesy garlicky breadsticks, homemade lasagna. But I can’t leave out the staples every man enjoys which is mountains of bacon (or anything incorporated with it), smoked meat, baked beans, brisket, haha too many cheat meals to list. I also have a sweet tooth and enjoy so Sour Patch Kids, Sour Skittles, and don’t get me started with Swedish fish (I banned myself from buying the 5lb bag from Amazon Prime….).

Favorite Musician/Band:

Don’t really have a “favorite”.unnamed

Favorite Sports Team:

Honestly not really a follower of sports, I cheer for the winning team, but I get pumped when the underdog comes back and wins.

Favorite Tv Show/ Movie:  

Currently enjoying Game of Thrones and all Marvel movies.

Favorite CrossFit Athlete:

Mat Fraser, like most people, he is a big name and one of the first professional CrossFit athletes that I knew of, but after watching documentaries and learning his story and how hungry he is to better himself and how driven he is, there are a lot of parallels that resonate with me.

Coach’s comment:

I don’t think anyone is surprised by this. Cody was all in on day one and has been in the running for ATOM for a long time. He is always positive, always gives 300% and supports and encourages all his fellow athletes.  When we were talking about selecting Cody as athlete of the month every coach said: “I don’t know, he just loves being in the pain cave.” Cody came into CrossFit with a lot of strength and decent conditioning but lacked a lot of technical skills that separated him from being okay to good. We just recently did a benchmark workout from when he first started and he improved by 9 minutes…that is a testament to the work he puts into getting better every day! If there is something Cody doesn’t do as well as he thinks he should he will spend an hour after every class working on skills to get him to the movement! He listens to the coaches and takes in every cue, strategy, or target stimulus given to him to improve. He is also the first person to cheer someone on if he sees they are struggling or really pushing hard to finish up their metcon. Cody is also known for being able to chat with anyone about anything, making them feel comfortable, ripping his hands opening his water bottle and he is the gym chalk monster. Keep working hard Cody & Congratulations!!!

Ryan Binkowski April Athlete of the Month

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Name: Ryan Binkowski            Age: 22           From: Eaton Rapids MI

How long have you been with CrossFit Torrent and what made you decide to start?

3 Months, Decided to join to get back into shape, my new years resolution.

 

What do you do when you’re not at CFT?

Usually busy with school, watching tv or Netflix or hanging with friends/family.

 

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

I figured it out about the third-fourth week.

 

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

Why??  I am not going to be able to walk!

 

What is your favorite or least favorite WOD/movement?

Favorite movement is handstand push-ups and least favorite is Overhead squats (They suck)!

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What is the one thing you have done at CFT that you never thought you would do?

One thing is probably Handstand push up since it looks very difficult.

 

What motivates you during a tough workout?

Depending on the workout it’s either trying to keep up with other members who I believe I can keep up with.  If the work out is something like Overhead squats just getting done is enough motivation.

 

What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

My favorite thing is the community! Being a person who can have a difficult time fitting in or socializing sometimes,  it is really nice having a friendly and supportive community when working out.

 

What are your short term and long term goals?

Short Term goals is to be able to get one muscle up and long term goal is to be able to Overhead squat 100 lbs.

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How have you seen yourself change- mentally and physically since joining Torrent? What impact has CFT had on you in and out of the gym?

The changes I have seen physically is that I am getting stronger and able to lift heavier weights both in and out of the gym.  I have also seen in a change when it comes to being slightly more confident and also just having a more overall healthy feeling in day to day life.

Do you have any advice for people just getting started at CFT?

Only advice I have is that it’s going to be hard but at the same time it’s fun being able to complete goals and being apart of this community.  Just don’t get discouraged from trying something new.

 

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal:   Pizza

Favorite Musician/Band:  The Chainsmokers

Favorite Sports Team: Don’t really have one, Can’t watch sports

Favorite Tv Show/ Movie:    Park and Recreations/ Avenger Infinity War

Favorite CrossFit Athlete:  Don’t really have one, Can’t watch sports

 

Coach’s comment: Ryan is a model of consistency for us all and gives 110% everyday. He has a great sense of humor that picks up the rest of the class and doesn’t shy away from a challenge.

Ryan is always the hardest worker in the room. Humble and driven for sure, he’s the only person I have seen push himself so hard in a workout that his muscles were visibly shaking.

Jamie H. March Athlete of the Month

Name: Jamie Healy           Age: 29                                  From: Rochester, NY

How long have you been with CrossFit Torrent and what made you decide to start?

I started when we opened! Michelle P. is my boss, and she spent six months convincing me before I finally bit the bullet and showed up.

What do you do when you’re not at CFT?

I like to go out and explore the area – I’ve only been in Michigan for about a year. I like to go to concerts, hang out with friends, read, cook, binge watch true crime series, and play with my four cats 🙂

jamie

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

This is the first time I’ve felt excited about going to the gym. I used to get SO bored that I struggled to stay motivated. I think I really knew when I actually showed up to a 5AM class because I wanted to do the workout.

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

OUCH

Jamie 3

What is your favorite or least favorite WOD/movement?

I think everyone knows by now – I love squats and I hate running.

What is the one thing you have done at CFT that you never thought you would do?

Competitions – I signed up for the Open (last minute of course) and I’m registered for the Rookie Rumble with my favorite Nordquist, Sarah.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

Half knowing that it will be over soon and half knowing that Morgan will give me a hard time if I quit 🙂

What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

I love the variation – it’s never the same from day to day and that helps keep me engaged and excited to try new things.

Jamie 2

What are your short term and long term goals?

I’d really just like to get through a squat clean workout without hurting my wrists.

How have you seen yourself change- mentally and physically since joining Torrent? What impact has CFT had on you in and out of the gym?

I never thought I would be the kind of person to commit to 5-6 workouts a week. I’ve definitely found that I have more energy during the day and I definitely feel less bad when I eat pizza.

Do you have any advice for people just getting started at CFT?

Don’t give up, don’t be afraid to ask for help or scale down a workout, and come to the 5:30pm class because we’re obviously the most fun 🙂

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal: Wings & beers.

Favorite Musician/Band: Does that early 2000’s pop-punk pandora station count?

Favorite Sports Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Favorite Tv Show/ Movie:  The X-Files

Favorite CrossFit Athlete: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE THAT INSPIRE & MOTIVATE ME EVERY SINGLE DAY ❤

Coach’s comment: Jamie is the life of the party in any class she attends. She has made health a priority and is one of our most consistent members. She is definitely the most improved athlete when it comes to mental toughness, she is now able to push herself even when she wants to quit (& is able to talk about how tired she is mid wod;)) Jamie is known for haggling for running distance, not hating baby Oliver, trying to convince Brandon cats are cool, and bringing boxes of fun to gym social events. Enjoy your month, Jamie!

Cheat Days, How They Work

Why is it we look forward to our cheat meals so much? It is perfectly acceptable to sit down and enjoy a delicious treat every now and then. A cheat meal allows us to feed our cravings while still remaining on track the majority of the time. But why is it that we think about that one meal two, three, and maybe even four days in advance? Do you truly dislike the way you are eating 80% of the time? If that is the case, it may be time to reevaluate the way you are eating entirely.

Eat-Right1.jpg

In order to be successful with any goal, you must set yourself up for success as much as you can. With that in mind, you should not be eating a diet that makes you despise eating and cooking most of your week, you should be able to eat well while eating foods that are appealing to you. Eating real food that is good for you can be done in a way that allows you to be flexible while never being disappointed the next time you go to open the fridge. Your diet plan should include foods that make you enjoy cooking because they taste delicious and are also full of the necessary nutrients your body needs that your cheat meals lack.

It is important we strive to fuel our bodies with good food and have a healthy relationship with our cheat meals. We do not want to think of it as a crutch that is the only thing we cling to each week to keep us sane. Having the proper set of guidelines around your cheat meal can make things easier to stick to. Looking to eat well a majority of the time, something like every four out of five days with clean eating and taking that fifth day to have one cheat MEAL. Do not confuse the cheat meal with a cheat day, the rules for a cheat meal are as follows.

 

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You are not to eat an excess of calories outside of what you normally eat in a meal. Just because you are not eating well does not mean you also get to eat more food that day. Second, your meal should be eaten at a table and starts from the moment you sit down and ends the moment you stand back up, that means no going back for seconds or adding on a dessert course to your meal. Lastly, do not buy your cheat meal food in large quantity otherwise you will feel obligated to not let it go to waste and thus will lead to excess calories being consumed.

 

Let’s learn to enjoy every step of this journey by finding foods that make us like cooking and eating every day but then also have the chance to go out with friends for the things that we get to enjoy every now and again. There is no substitute for real food that makes us healthy so instead make the most of the opportunity to discover new ways to eat well and build sustainable, good habits. Earn your cheat meal each week, because you deserve to indulge every now and then, not because you need it to survive your week. Follow all your cheat meal rules so that your meal does not overflow into a binge of poor eating.

 

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If you struggle to follow all these guidelines and lack the motivation to constantly go shopping, cook, and prepare all your food, at CrossFit Torrent we offer nutrition coaching where we give you strategies on how to set yourself up for success on a daily basis. Making the right decisions requires holding yourself accountable but with our help, we can keep you more accountable towards your goals and give you a plan that lets you enjoy eating every single day.

FOOD=FUEL

 

February Athlete of the Month- Nour S.

Name: Nour Sinno         Age: 30               From: Chicago

How long have you been with CrossFit Torrent and what made you decide to start?

I started at Crossfit Torrent in September 2018 and have loved it ever since. I decided to try Crossfit because I was bored of lifting dumbbells and running countless miles on treadmills. I was looking to switch things up and Crossfit has been a refreshing change.

What do you do when you’re not at CFT?

I am a resident physician completing my training in Emergency Medicine. During my free time, I enjoy traveling and hanging out with my family, friends and my dog Harley.

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

When I realized that working out was actually fun and not a chore.

What were your thoughts after your first WOD?

Damn, I’m out of shape.Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 7.55.01 AM

 

What is your favorite or least favorite WOD/movement?

Least favorite is the assault bike. Nothing but pain on that torture device.  

What is the one thing you have done at CFT that you never thought you would do?

Get up at 5AM to workout.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

Knowing that I am bettering myself mentally and physically. Reflecting on my progression and striving for new goals. Lastly, the class energy and coaches!

What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

The community! Everyone is so welcoming and inspiring. I also love that every class is an opportunity to improve yourself.

What are your short term and long term goals?

Short term goals: Improve my snatch technique. Successfully execute a muscle-up

Long term goals: Compete in local Crossfit competitions. Stay healthy and active!

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How have you seen yourself change- mentally and physically since joining Torrent? What impact has CFT had on you in and out of the gym?

Physically, I have become stronger and have shed some stubborn body fat. My cardio has improved quite a bit as well. Enduring some grueling WODs has made me more resilient. Since joining CFT, I am more confident in and out of the gym. I’m happier and more energetic. I am much more mindful of my overall health including proper recovery and clean eating. My sleep patterns are better (I sleep like a baby after a tough WOD).

Do you have any advice for people just getting started at CFT?

Keep chugging! The first few weeks are grueling and some of the movements (e.g. Olympic lifting, rope climbs) may be daunting for some beginners. Nonetheless, members at CFT are so supportive and the coaches are incredible, patient teachers.

Don’t avoid classes that involve movements you dislike or are not good at. Use every class as an opportunity to get better. It gets easier. Most importantly, have fun!

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal: Mountains of chocolate chip cookies and fudge brownies, +/- cheeseburger

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Favorite Musician/Band: I don’t have one artist/band. Hip-hop is my go to with a splash of country from time to time

Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Bears

Favorite Tv Show/ Movie: Game of Thrones

Favorite CrossFit Athlete: Alex Anderson and Sara Sigmundsdottir

Coach’s comment: Nour is one of the hardest working athletes at Torrent. He comes to the gym at night, works a 12-hour shift, and then comes back in the next day. He is someone who constantly wants to improve and it is not unusual to see Nour stay after class and practice countless double unders. He is extremely coachable and a great person to partner up with during a Saturday WOD! Enjoy your month Nour!