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Hailey Penzak

CFF8: Athlete Spotlight

Name: Hailey Penzak

Occupation: Police Officer &Clinical Psychology Master’s student

Class you attend: Noon class

How long have you been CrossFitting: 1.5 yrs.

How is your free time spent: Most of my time outside of work and CrossFit is spent napping, going to school andhanging out with my husband and ourthree crazy dogs. When I can, I also love to travel and scuba dive!

What made you drink the CrossFit “Kool-Aid”? My husband had been doing CrossFit for a couple months and would come home and tell me all about it. At first, I was content with P90x and Insanity DVD’s, but it became monotonous and I didn’t feel like working out anymore. The first time I came to CrossFit, I felt so out of my comfort zone that I didn’t come back for another couple months. I finallymade the decision to try it again and now I am hooked!

Athletic background: I played tennis in high school and I rowed in college at Michigan State.

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? CrossFit has changed my life because now I make it a priority to live healthier and to work out frequently. I feel like I have more endurance and I push myself harder to obtain my goals, and when I do, I set new ones! It has definitely made me a more confident person and I’ve made some amazing new friends!

Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you: I lived in Russia for two months when I was finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree.

Favorite cheat food: Reese’s peanut butter cups…actually,anything with chocolate and peanut butter!

Goals for next year: Muscle ups have been a top priority! But I also would like to do handstand pushups without a mat and increase weight on my lifts, especially on the dreaded snatch.

Work-outs & Lifts

Favorite WODs – Diane, Elizabeth & anything w/ DUs

Favorite lift – Deadlifts & Power Cleans

Least Favorite WODs – Karen & Fran

Least Favorite Lift – Snatch

From the coaches:

Hailey is one of the more determined female athletes at Fate.Juggling a career as a police office, school and a family (dogs count!) she still manages to make it to the gym on a consistent basis. She is always pushing to improve her overall fitness level as well as individual workouts; she even tackled a majority of the open WODs this year twice! It’s this motivation that leads to Hailey’s success; once she set her mind to something, she is full speed. Currently I believe her motivation is focused on trying to accomplish a muscle up before her husband Shawn. That’s great! Keep up the hard work and stayed determined, you’ll continue to see the results.

Ramita Barringer

Nicknames: Rimi

Occupation: Tax Accountant

Class you attend: Part of the 6am crew

How long have you been CrossFitting: I started 2 years ago when CFF8 changed over from the old Intermix Fit Club.

How is your free time spent: Most of my time outside of work and CrossFit is spent shuttling my kids to activities and being involved with their school. PTA meetings, class parties, music lessons, soccer practice… I actually love every minute of it! I like to spend time with my husband, travel (or plan trips), shop, and engage in long texting conversations with some of my fellow CrossFitters. I also like to plan parties and theme days for the 6 am class.

Athletic background: I have zero athletic background and have never played an organized sport. One day I walked into Lifetime (where I had been a member for years and barely went) and signed up to work with the trainer who happened to be sitting at the desk that day. It was very expensive and too hard logistically because of my kids. I joined a boot camp at 6 am so I didn’t have to get a sitter for my kids, and realized that working out at 6 am made the rest of my day go so much more smoothly. Contrary to popular belief, I am NOT a morning person.

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? I don’t even know where to begin. A few years ago I couldn’t run a mile, couldn’t do a pushup, and doing squats with 10 LB dumbbells was hard for me. In October, I did the Heroes on Hines and Detroit Free Press half marathons and can now squat way more than 20 LBs! My pushups aren’t “perfect” but they’re getting there. My clothes fit better, I feel better, and most importantly I feel like I’m setting a good example for my kids.

Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you: I was born in England and didn’t become a US citizen until I was 13. I’ve traveled to every continent except Africa and Antarctica.

Name at least one embarrassing guilty pleasure: I love everything Real Housewives and Kardashian.

Goals for next year: I have the WORST mobility. I need to set aside time every day to work on mobility outside of the gym, which will help me in all aspects of my life including CrossFit.

Work-outs & Lifts

Favorite WODs – Helen & Elizabeth

Favorite lift – Cleans

Least Favorite WODs – I don’t really have one

Least Favorite Lift –Overhead Squats & Kettlebell Snatch

From the coaches:

Rimi has been with CFF8 since its inception and has grown so much as an athlete over the past two years. Her gains in running alone are phenomenal let alone her progress with weights and Olympic lifts. Rimi really embodies the everyday CrossFitters; she juggles the responsibilities of raising a family, managing a career and still finds time to make it to CFF8 every day with a positive attitude; don’t know how you do it! She is definitely an important member of the 6am class and I know for sure those early morning workouts aren’t the same without her. As coaches, it’s great to see someone who doesn’t consider themselves an athlete or have an athletic background have so much success with CrossFit. Keep with the dedication, Rimi!

Bryan McDermott

Class you attend: 9:30am or noon and occasionally open gym

How long have you been CrossFitting: A little over 6 months

How is your free time spent: I like to spend most of my free time with my girlfriend, resting or being sucked into my Xbox with games and Netflix.

Athletic background: Funny thing is I don’t really have an athletic background. I was on bowling leagues as a kid and dabbled a bit in baseball in elementary school, but nothing ever stuck with me. About 3 years ago, I was at 340lbs and decided it was time for a change. I taught myself everything I could about being at the gym and lost 160lbs; but I wanted more out of it. So, as of now, CrossFit is my athletic background.

Why did you start CrossFit: I actually became interested in CrossFit about a year ago when I stumbled upon it online. When I saw the CrossFit Fate sign driving by one day, I immediately looked it up. Since that day, I’ve been hooked!

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? CrossFit has given me a lot more power both mentally and physically. Every day I go in, no matter if I am fatigued or not, I still feel that I am walking away stronger, healthier and fitter than I was when I went in. It’s a continuing learning experience for me and I intend to keep expanding my knowledge..

Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you: I have an entire notebook full of jokes I have written in case I ever get the guts to try out standup comedy. I’ve loved standup since I was 9 years old and I prefer seeing a standup show over any music concert.

Name at least one embarrassing guilty pleasure: I have a weakness for gummy worms. If they are within arm’s reach, they’re mine. I also have a habit of singing songs randomly. It even goes as far as singing to random people at stop lights. It’s really entertaining to watching people’s reactions.

Goals for next year: I intend to have my certification in Personal Training so I can help people achieve their goals. I want to be able to help push the people who want change but can’t do it themselves. I want to make people happy with themselves.

Work-outs & Lifts

Favorite WODs – Ones favoring cardio over strength

Favorite lift – Clean & Jerk (245#)

Least Favorite WODs – Anything with Double Unders!!

Least Favorite Lift – Deadlifts & Bench Press

From the coaches:

There is absolutely no questioning Bryan’s work ethic. Aside from his huge accomplishments before even joining CFF8, Bryan has been transformed into a CrossFit athlete. In just 6 month, Bryan has worked diligently to try and master all the functional movements of CrossFit, and while there are still some he’s chasing, you better believe he will be proficient at them in no time! For someone who claims no athletic background, Bryan’s body awareness, cardio and strength are outstanding. Picking up on the Olympic lifts quick, Bryan is starting to achieve numbers that some of our more experienced athletes are achieving. One of Bryan’s more defining qualities is his desire to help others achieve their goals. He always brings a positive and motivated attitude to the class. Keep pushing towards your goals, Bryan.

Nicole Lang

Nickname(s): Nikki

Occupation: Student @ Madonna University

Class you attend: 9:30 am

Athletic background: Pom-pon & Track

How long have you been CrossFitting? 7 months

How did you find out about CrossFit? After months of intimidation and being nagged, Nolan finally made me join (Thanks Nolan!)

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? CrossFit has changed every aspect of my life. I have learned the amazing things my body can do and the strength my body is capable of acquiring. CrossFit has given me a reason to wake up in the morning and also an amazing group of friends. The best decision I have ever made was joining CFF8.

What are your goals for the next year? I really want to compete in CrossFit!!

Recent accomplishments: I just got accepted to nursing school (woo!)

Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you? I have a small obsession with Michael Buble.

Name at least one embarrassing guilty pleasure: Cleaning & organizing. I’m a bit of a neat freak.

What is your favorite cheat food? Ice-cream

Work-outs & Lifts

Favorite Type of WODs – Chippers

Least Favorite Type of WODs – Max Effort WODs

Favorite lift – Snatch (120#)

Least Favorite Lift – Clean & Jerk (160#)


From the coaches:

Nicole’s story with CrossFit is inspiring as it really encompasses what we are all about and what you can achieve. Not only has Nicole gained confidence in herself as an athlete by discovering things she didn’t know she was capable of, but she has also established a relationship with many of the members and plays a big role in our “CF community”. It’s been amazing to see just how much Nicole has grown as an athlete over the past 7 months; from banded pull-ups to bar muscle ups! Nicole works hard for everything she has accomplished inside and outside of the box and because of that, PR-ing has become a weekly occurrence for Nicole and I see no signs of her slowing down. I strongly encourage you to take the leap and do a competition. I have no doubts you’ll be successful and I bet you will surprise yourself with the outcome! We are all glad Nolan kept nagging you and congratulation on nursing school!

Mike Padula

Occupation: Student / Accountant

Class you attend? 6am, Open gym, 530pm, 630pm

How long have you been CrossFitting? 10 months

Hobbies outside of CF? I like to spend time with my family and close friends. I love golf, hunting & fishing.

Athletic background: 10 years of karate beginning at the age of 5, football since the fourth grade including one year of Division II @ Northwood as well as high school baseball, track & shot put.

Why did you start CrossFit? I’ve tried body building, power lifting and long distance running, but nothing gave me that ultimate pleasure I was searching for in fitness. I wanted to be constantly challenged and I have always loved lifting weights above all sports. Also, I knew that CrossFit would provide variation in work outs which would subdue the chances of me becoming hurt.

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? CrossFit is the sport that I have been searching for my whole life; however, not knowing it existed. CrossFit has allowed me to recover from my football injury by learning proper form and technique. CrossFit has become a drug to me, and I love every second of it. After losing the ability to compete in football, I am now able to continue to fulfill the competitive edge instilled in me. CrossFit has made me a healthier individual in all aspects of my life; I am more limber and cognizant of nourishing and recovering my body; I am in the best shape of my life hands down. I am now a better-rounded athlete.

Tell us something most people wouldn’t know about you? I am the definition of a ‘type a personality.’ Everything in my room, my office, my car has a “place,” with no exceptions. I am meticulous to detail and every single day has an unwritten (or written in some cases) to-do list and plan of events.

Any embarrassing guilty pleasures? Buying CrossFit clothing!

Work-outs & Lifts

Favorite WODs – I can’t choose one, I love variation!

Favorite lift – Snatch (205# – Recent PR!)

Least Favorite WODs – Anything with Strict HSPU

Least Favorite Lift – Overhead Squat

From the coaches:

Usually hanging around with the 6am crew, you can find Mike’s name written atop the whiteboard for the day and you can bet that it sets the tone for the rest of the classes. As one of the many competitive athletes at CFF8, Mike always provides a push to anyone working out in the same class with him. Whether it’s in the morning after only being up for an hour, or at the end of the day, Mike shows up with 100% effort and makes his time count. His recent PRs on both the snatch (two weeks in a row!) and clean & jerk attest to what hard work can do. While Mike’s gains in strength, skill and endurance are awesome and something to take pride in, I believe the best thing is that Mike has found something that’s allowed him to once again fulfill his competitive drive safely. Keep up the hard work, Mike and those PRs will continue to happen!

JaVaugn Jones

Occupation: Owner ‘Closest Place to Home’ (Assisted Living)

Class you attend: Night classes 6:30pm / CrossFitting for 1 year

How did you find out about CrossFit: I was a person who lived in Powerhouse gyms when almost 2 years ago, a friend of mine called me from California and told me about CrossFit. I remember saying “What the hell is that?” After a few Google searches and some videos from previous CrossFit Games, I said, “Oh, I can do that!” It was definitely not as easy as it looked on TV! However, the camaraderie, the competitive spirit, and the great coaches and members of CrossFit Fate made it more and more attainable and fun. The craving for more grew with each WOD I attended.

What does CrossFit mean to you or what keeps you coming back to CrossFit: Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments; CrossFit has been an amazing disciple in my health, in my eating habits and in my individual growth as an athlete and an all-around person.

Recent Accomplishments: T-1st place in CF Fate V CF Ignition throw-down (Men’s scaled)*Fist Pump*

Main goal for 2013: To be able compete in the open-level competition without getting my butt kicked!

Interesting Fact: I saw the Vatican, toured Rome and lived in a monastery for a month.

Favorite cheat food: Honey Chex-Mix…the WHOLE bag!!

Workouts & Weights

Favorite WOD: Grace 3:53 RX

Favorite lift: Deadlift – 455#

Least favorite WOD: Fran – 9:27 RX

Least favorite lift: Front Squats – 265#

From the coaches:

In my opinion, Jay took one of the toughest routes into CrossFit by showing up on Saturday afternoon’s and doing Hero WODS with a few of our more competitive athletes. One of Jay’s very first workouts at CFF8 was “The Seven”; HSPUs, thrusters, K2E, heavy deadlifts, burpees, KBS & Pull-ups. Since that day, Jay has made nothing but positive improvements and it’s very cool to be able to see him progress each day; he faces all new challenges head on. He can now easily squat below parallel, gained a tremendous amount of mobility in his shoulders, wrists and fingers, is no longer scared to kick up on that wall for some HSPU attempts and can throw around some serious weight! Jay brings a unique personality and intensity to the night classes and is never in a bad mood; unless he realizes that the 5K run posted the night before really wasn’t a joke! Jay is willing to put in the hours it takes to see results and his recent win in the throw-down is proof of that; congratulations, Jay. You earned that! I have no doubt that we will hear Jay’s name called in the open men’s division very soon. Keep coming with that positive attitude and laid back personality, Jay!

Erin Abrams

Occupation: Human Resources Manager

Class you attend: 6:00 a.m. – she’s a morning person

Hobbies outside CFF8: Spending time with her boys (6yrs. & 8 yrs.)

What made you drink the CrossFit “Kool-Aid”? Lisa Simmons. She would ask me every week to go with her on Saturday. She is relentless!

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? Before CrossFit, I ran a lot and did Pilates occasionally. My husband, Jason, was always telling me that I needed to lift weights, but I never listened because I didn’t want to get bulky. After I got a stress fracture in my femur, I had to cut back on running and was struggling to find something else that challenged me. Lisa Simmons kept asking me to go to boot camp with her and I finally caved. Since starting CrossFit I feel stronger & more well-rounded

Main goal(s) for 2013: Bandless ring dips, stringing together more pull ups and double-unders without a single in between. I would also like Matt and Tyler not to cringe when I lift anything over my head; I have issues getting my head through the window.

Recent Accomplishments: I started kipping pull ups and HPSUs recently, so that is exciting!!!

Workouts & Lifts

Favorite WOD: Nancy – there is running!

Favorite lift – cleans (power,squat,hang)

Least favorite WOD: Isabel – I can’t stand her

Least favorite lift: Snatching

Embarrassing guilty pleasure: I recently became addicted to the Harry Potter books. This is helping me recover from my addiction to the Twilight books.

Tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you: Jason and I met at Michigan State while working at Old Navy, and I am a notary!

From the coaches:

Erin is a prefect representation of what CrossFit is all about and I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re glad Lisa kept nagging you! Even though it’s 6am in the morning, Erin always shows up ready to put in the work required to reach her goals for the year. Her hard work showed during this year’s Memorial Day Murph workout when she, just having learned a kipping pull-up a few weeks prior, kipped all 100 pull-ups – that’s just awesome! It’s great to see such enthusiasm from Erin when it comes to the more strength orientated work-outs/lifts considering her background with running; I hope she’s learned now that CrossFit doesn’t make you bulky! Keep up the great work, Erin and take pride in all of the strides you’ve made over the past year. I can’t wait to see you accomplish all of your goals this year.