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Gym Superheroes: Jess Schulz & Ryan DeBonis

Posted on by Alycia

Our goal at CrossFit Aspire is to help you find your inner superhero. For some of you, this comes pretty easily and quickly. For others, it’s a months or years-long process that requires a lot of self-reflection, failure & recovery, practice, and a slow build up of confidence.

There are some of you at the gym who have been putting forth extra effort to let your inner superhero come out, and this segment is for YOU. Every 3 months or so, we will recognize a male and female “Gym Superhero” who has been setting a good example through their practice, their help with new members, or their attitude or progress in general.

The Gym Superhero will be recognized with a blog post and a high five from as many members as possible. We MIGHT even have some sweet red capes for them to don for a special picture. Who knows…  ;)

The first Gym Superheroes are

Jess Schulz and Ryan DeBonis!

These two have been quietly and steadily making some AMAZING progress in the gym. Here are their stories:

RYAN DeBONIS

First, an homage to Ryan, from his 5:30am management crew:


“Ryan is the Dark Horse. One day he was the quiet guy in the back learning how to do snatches, then all of a sudden he’s the quiet guy in the back who’s using the 30-pound wallball and the 30-inch box and has Jason Keesal’s eye on him during the MetCons.  Coaches love Ryan because he asks questions, listens, and soaks it in. The rest of us at 05:30 love him because he says please and thank you and brings in muffins (Paleo) his grandmother makes. It’s impressive how much stronger and faster he gets every time he comes to class, and the gold stars show no signs of stopping!  He works hard, stays humble, and brings his A-game every day! No, seriously. Every single day. All of us at 05:30 are very proud of Ryan and are happy to call him one of our own.”

ABOUT RYAN…

BEGAN CROSSFIT: 6/2013     AGE:33      PROFESSION: Grocery Merchandising

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND: Played baseball until I was 17 and just started running long distance about a year ago and have completed 2 half marathons since November.

WHY I STARTED DOING CROSSFIT: Because of the variety and the change it has day to day.  As well as working out and training with others and learning from them as much as I can.

FAVORITE MOVEMENT: Squats either back or front.  But especially back squats

FAVORITE WORKOUT (or type of workout): One that has box jumps and or wall balls in it but also has something for overhead lifting.
2014 GOALS (in the gym): I really don’t have set goals in mind.  But I like to see where I’ve been and previous weights or times and just keep improving on them.  As well as learning something new all the time

UPCOMING COMPETITIONS/RACES: Broad Street Run 10 miles and Spring Lake 5 miles

FAVORITE WORKOUT SONG (or type of music): Anything Kanye West, Wale and, Jay-Z.

WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR GUILTY PLEASURES?: I’m addicted to sneakers, all different types for different things.  I have roughly 30 pairs and the collection keeps growing.

MY FAVORITE DAY IN THE GYM WAS: Few weeks ago went head to head with Jason Keesal with heavy Clean and Jerks and Wall Balls and was surprised I was able to keep up with him.

JESS SCHULZ

First, a note from Alycia:


“I LOVE JESS SCHULZ. There, I said it. It feels good to get that out. Jess is the ultimate representation of a certain group of people within the community. A group that most coaches (at least most coaches at Aspire) LOVE to have in their class. Those with the most to gain from CrossFit. The self-proclaimed “weak and sooo out of shape”. The ones who can’t complete an entire CrossFit class….at first. And then, somewhere along the way – it might be after a PR, or after some time off the gym, or after a whisper from a fellow member – things start to turn around for them. They gradually ease off the modifications, find the energy to complete the metcon without stopping, start eating better and eventually see improvements their strength. This is Jess to a tee, and in case you haven’t noticed, that girl is ON FIRE right now. Her quest to do precisely 1.2 billion burpees before Festivus and her ever-increasing strength numbers are a perfect example of how results match the amount of work and focus are put in.
If you haven’t taken the time to notice, (and as her picture clearly shows), Jess has undergone, and continues to undergo  an impressive physical transformation. Every day she gets closer to seeing a body that reflects her hard work. HOWEVER, it’s her psychological transformation that has impressed me the most. Her most noticeable weakness in CrossFit was once lack of self-esteem and positivity surrounding her work in the gym. Now, she is a light that shines brightly and serves as a reminder for new and seasoned members alike. She always has the biggest smile (and the most frightengly aggressive hugs) in the room. Her self-motivation has inspired others to work harder and take bigger steps toward achieving their goals. So, the next time you are in the gym, about to go home instead of working on your skill work, ask yourself, “What Would Jess Do?”. 

ABOUT JESS…

BEGAN CROSSFIT (month/year): Well I technically signed up in Aug 2012 but I didn’t really commit to it wholeheartedly until June 2013 (meaning I probably came like twice a month between Aug 2012-May 2013).

AGE: 24.     PROFESSION: PhD student.

ATHLETIC BACKGROUND: Ha none really. Played softball as a kid. Did field hockey for two years in high school and threw shot/disc for one year.

WHY I STARTED DOING CROSSFIT: Liz Earle asked me to go for the Groupon and when I almost died during the warm up and Justin had to pull me aside so I didn’t throw up, I realized okay I should probably be doing this.

FAVORITE MOVEMENT: Only one!?! Deadlifts, power cleans, push jerk, back squat…can you tell there’s a no cardio piece to this?

FAVORITE WORKOUT (or type of workout): Uh..I sadly like Cindy. Grace. Rowing? Kb swings. A grinder. Like 20 mins. Some type of ground to overhead? Throw burpees in there too. I hate them but they’ll make me better. AMRAP? I think I have ADD.
2014 GOALS (in the gym): To RX Grace. To not be last in a metcon. To actually run during a metcon that includes running. To actually have a band-assisted pull up. To not die during burpees. 200# back squat. 300# deadlift.

UPCOMING COMPETITIONS/RACES: Festivus April 19th. Hopefully training with Melissa for a 5k soon.

FAVORITE WORKOUT SONG (or type of music): It’s weird. I fluctuate between Justin’s headbanging rock to Bonnie up in da club. But Monster by Kanye West etc.

WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR GUILTY PLEASURES: Uhhh…actually spending time with friends and not feeling guilty about it because I should be working on my research? Is that sad. Yes, that’s sad. Or spending an entire day in NYC without any plans, just doing whatever. Or lining up like 7 concerts to go to in the span of two months.

MY FAVORITE DAY IN THE GYM WAS:

Festivus in Oct 2013. That last workout with the deadlifts and the run. I still have it go through my mind at times when I’m dying during a metcon. To hear that many people cheering me on felt so cool. Like…okay you’re obviously not the best but fuck you’re just out here trying to get better. And to not be lame, but every day in the gym is my favorite. I’ve never met a more diverse, awesome group of people who are so encouraging and helpful. Thanks for cultivating that wonderful environment. You guys keep me going.

 

 

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