Success Stories

Melissa Oncheck

What I am to be, I am now becoming.

That’s my favorite quote from the wall at my CrossFit box. I started CrossFit almost 2 months ago. After years of joking about working on my ‘before’ picture as an excuse not to exercise, I am now actively working toward the ‘after’ picture I want- and I’m not going to settle for less.

See that smile on my face? That’s born of the confidence I am growing that says I’m on a good path and I’m never going back. Never.

The coaches and fellow Crossfitters give me encouragement, but I’m doing the work and it’s working! Me- the one who thought she was too clumsy, too old, too set in my sedentary habits… that’s ME over there deadlifting 200 lbs when I used to weigh in over that. That’s ME right there getting one more rep in for the simple satisfaction of knowing I didn’t hold back.

I’m stronger than I realized. I can push myself harder than I thought I could. It costs me something to change, and the workouts are challenging, but the payoff is priceless. I haven’t reached all of my fitness goals yet, but I know that I will In time.

I won’t quit. Not on any given workout and not on becoming the healthy woman I always hoped to be. I’m not scared to dream anymore.

That is success to me. More to follow. Just watch.

– Melissa


Heather Puff

My CrossFit Success Story

I joined CrossFit Fort Wayne in May of 2012, about 6 months after my second child was born. I have never been athletic or particularly good at physical tasks, but I had heard good things about CrossFit from some friends and I really wanted to improve my health. I had also had some complications with my last pregnancy. In the last few weeks, my blood pressure began to rise. At 40 weeks 3 days, it skyrocketed, and with the presence of other preeclampsia symptoms, my midwife ordered an induction. My family had been planning for an intervention-free birth at a free standing birthing center, and the preeclampsia diagnoses and subsequent induction in a hospital were very disappointing experiences.

About 6 months after I joined CrossFit Fort Wayne, I found out that I was pregnant again, with my third child. With my midwife’s blessing, I decided to continue CrossFit throughout the pregnancy. The coaches at CrossFit Fort Wayne were wonderful, and helped me to figure out scaled or alternative movements as my abilities changed. I was able to continue WODS until 16 days before the baby was born – and in fact, was still doing pull ups and lifts at my last WOD.

Naturally, I was concerned about my blood pressure and the possibility of developing preeclampsia in another pregnancy. I also learned that my family history of high blood pressure is particularly bad. While my blood pressure did go up some in the last trimester (which can be normal for the end of pregnancy), it never turned into PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension), never required treatment, and I never developed preeclampsia. Because of this, I was able to plan for an intervention-free birthing center birth, just like we had wanted with our last baby. This time around, baby had other plans and decided he couldn’t wait for the birthing center. He was born before we could make it there, but he came in his own time and without requiring any interventions at all. It was an exciting and wonderful birth experience.

I would also like to speak to the empowerment that I gained from continuing CrossFit through pregnancy. It was amazing to me to see all the things I was still able to do while I was pregnant. While the US culture tends to treat pregnancy as a sickness, or at the very least, a weakness, I was never treated as anything other than a healthy, able-bodied woman at CrossFit Fort Wayne. While the coaches there were more than ready to help me with workout modifications, they also trusted me to know my body and what I was or was not capable of, and didn’t restrict me when I didn’t need restrictions. Going into the third trimester of a pregnancy feeling strong and able, and having learned to trust my body was so critical for those moments of doubt and fear every pregnant woman has about an impending birth.

I truly believe that without CrossFit, I would likely have required another induction due to preeclampsia, or at the very least, medications to treat PIH. I credit the regular, consistent CrossFit workouts with helping me to retain my health and have a healthy pregnancy and birth.


Tiffany Holmes

I just wanted to let you know that last night I flipped a 200lb tire 50+ times all the way around a building. There is no way I could have done this without you guys and CrossFit. I know I get frustrated with myself sometimes (especially with running and my asthma) but I really am improving, and I see it every day. I feel stronger in my yoga and have made some big strides with arm balance poses recently, which means my upper body strength is really improving.

Anyway, all of this is just to say THANK YOU for pushing me. I can’t wait to see what else I am capable of doing in the months to come.

-Tiffany

Alan Falls


Tiffany Holmes

I just wanted to let you know that last night I flipped a 200lb tire 50+ times all the way around a building. There is no way I could have done this without you guys and CrossFit. I know I get frustrated with myself sometimes (especially with running and my asthma) but I really am improving, and I see it every day. I feel stronger in my yoga and have made some big strides with arm balance poses recently, which means my upper body strength is really improving.

Anyway, all of this is just to say THANK YOU for pushing me. I can’t wait to see what else I am capable of doing in the months to come.

-Tiffany


Angie Patterson

My husband joined CrossFit over a year ago. He would come home talking (nonstop) about his workouts – what they had done and how hard they were. He is notorious for becoming obsessed, almost psycho, with workouts – does sprint triathlons, Urbanathlons, P90X fanatic (has gone to Tony Horton camps). (FYI – He is now a CrossFit trainer!) I told him I would NEVER be able to do CrossFit – No Way.

Then, I met Sophia and Andrew. They promised me that the moves could be modified and I would be fine. I trusted them. I decided to join and told them that I had 8 weeks before my sand volleyball season started, so I was all-in for 8 weeks. That was 8 months ago.

I was previously at Spiece. Workouts entailed 45-60 min. on a machine (treadmill, elliptical, etc.), weight machines or going through the motions in a class. The classes were enjoyable, but not many results. Your results were typically measured only on your scales and I was 10-15 lbs from where I wanted to be.

Meet CrossFit.

Do you remember the playground as a child? Jump ropes, monkey bars, hopscotch, leap frog, running around pylons? Well, add Olympic weightlifting and you have CrossFit. CrossFit is: Intimidating, Frustrating, Fun, Humbling, Exciting, Encouraging, Challenging, Rewarding, Failure, Success, Ridiculously Hard, and Totally Addicting – it can truly be a Love-Hate relationship – you know, Constantly Varied!

CrossFit has so many movements that you will never be bored. You will find movements you enjoy, some you may do well; others you hate or are extremely difficult for you. And, you do them all (no more picking just the machines you like). We all have different strengths and weaknesses. You will always be striving to get better. If you find yourself on the ground at the end of a workout, you probably did it right.

Why CrossFit Fort Wayne (CFFW)?

Sophia, Andrew and a Great Community! They train, encourage and kick your tail. You will find friendly competition (if you want) and always someone to encourage you. You will love the camaraderie.

When I came to the CrossFit Box, I was active. I played volleyball, golf, swam, etc.… However, I had ACL/meniscus knee surgery 13 years ago and never regained the flexibility I had prior to surgery. I also have arthritis in both knees. For box jumps, I could only step-up and step-down on the boxes – jumping inflicted significant pain. I couldn’t even jump into a tire. I now use 20” boxes for workouts and my max box jump is 39”! (My vertical has improved when spiking a volleyball, too J – after all, a girl has her priorities.) That being said, I have left the CrossFit Box more than once in tears (meet Murph and Helen). That frustration is when you pick yourself up and come back even stronger. I don’t know if I will ever be able to do ring dips or rope climbs. I still suck at double-unders, pull-ups and squats, but I’m improving. However, I can clean & jerk 105 lbs and my max deadlift is now 225 lbs! And, yes, the workout this morning ended with all of us lying on the ground. These are REAL, measurable results! (And, yes, the scale will move, too.)

I encourage you, even challenge you to come, join our playground. It’s worth it.

I am 47 years old. I am an active athlete. And, thanks to Kurt, Sophia and Andrew, I am proud to be a CrossFitter.


Sherri VanZuidam

I had always thought of myself as being fairly “in shape” but always loathed the workouts to get me there. I’d go in spurts – working out religiously for weeks, and then getting bored and tired with my routine, and I’d stop working out for weeks (or months!) on end. And I tried it all….running, signing up for races (so that hopefully I’d feel obligated to workout!), the YMCA, P90X – every one of them ultimately never worked because I just didn’t enjoy what I was doing. And who wants to feel obligated to work out?

It wasn’t until I found CrossFit Fort Wayne that I realized how fun working out could be. I don’t need anyone to “push” me to go – the desire is just there. I’m pushing myself to do things I know I wouldn’t be doing otherwise, like clean and jerk 95 pounds, climb an 18 foot rope, or flip huge truck tires. While I always used to use running as my main way of staying “in shape,” now I only run during WODs and have found my mile times getting lower than they ever were when I was doing nothing but running.

I no longer feel “obligated” to work out, but instead am totally motivated and look forward to it every day. I love doing the benchmark WODs and seeing my improvements over time. I love going to the gym and seeing my progress…..what was once a jumping pullup turned into a pullup with bands and now I can do them unassisted. So then I make new goals for myself. It never gets old! I don’t think I’ll ever work out doing anything other than CrossFit.


Jen Gardner

I showed up at Crossfit Fort Wayne last winter along with my best friend Martha. We had been Y workout buddies for over 4 years and we were just sick and tired of the same old routine….Monday step class, Tuesday spin class, Wednesday run…,blah blah blah. We were burned out. We joined Crossfit after that first workout with Sophia and we haven’t looked back since! It has been such a complete game changer for me athletically. I have learned that my body is capable of so much more than I was doing at the Y. I can do things I never would have thought I could do, like climb a rope up to the ceiling, or hold a handstand for 90 seconds!

Everyday the workout is different and you get to show up and see how you will perform against each other, the clock, and against your mind that is constantly questioning whether you can complete the challenging workouts! It has been 8 months since I started Crossfit and I can honestly say that I am not EVER bored. I wake up every morning and look up the WOD on my ipad, (first thing I do), so that I know exactly what I am in for at the gym later in the day!

One of the best and most rewarding gifts that Crossfit has given me is that my husband Troy, who has never been a “gym rat”, has joined and he loves coming too! Not only am I in better shape, but I have the peace of mind of knowing that Troy is working out and getting himself in better shape too. He looks forward to going to the gym just about as much as I do and we never used to workout together. He meets me on his lunch hour and instead of going to lunch…we sweat together in the gym at Crossfit! I tell everyone I know about how much I enjoy Crossfit Fort Wayne and I really appreciate Andrew and Sophia for starting their box up right around the corner from me. They are so down to earth and make you feel so comfortable no matter what your fitness level.


Mike Hurst

In college, I spent 3-4 hours each day either in the pool or in the weight room. My diet consisted of, well, anything I could get my hands on. Two years ago I graduated college and no longer had a schedule that several hours a day dedicated to fitness. I made whatever time I could to get to the gym and wait in line for the next available bench press or treadmill TV. Over that first year or so out of college, my fitneallowed for ss level went from Division 1 athlete to shoddy at best.

In 2010 on a road trip with some friends I was introduced to CrossFit for the first time. I was run through a very basic WOD with a couple of my best friends. When I finished neck and neck with one of my good friends, it hit me. Someone genius had just turned fitness into a sport, and that is completely and totally awesome. The rest of the trip, this was all I talked about, and within two days I’d made the decision. I needed to find a CrossFit gym in my area. When I realized that this didn’t exist at the time, I decided it was time to set myself up with a home gym. I began to modify workouts from the main site, and tried to get friends to compete with me. I soon found out that it’s very tough to hit workouts like this with the intensity you need to when you’re alone in a basement. Again, my fitness level began to waiver.

When I heard I’d be moving out to Fort Wayne, Indiana, the first thing I looked for was a CrossFit gym (before I looked at apartments). CrossFit Fort Wayne has become a second home for me for the 5 months. Being a member at CrossFit Fort Wayne has not only made me a much healthier, better rounded athlete, but a part of a community. I find myself checking the daily WOD while at work and planning how I’m going to do it. Members will even coordinate schedules with the other members who push them to their extremes. There is togetherness found in the atmosphere at this box that I haven’t seen when visiting other gyms.

When I came to CrossFit Fort Wayne, I was a specialist in swimming who was losing his drive and competitiveness. As a result of my time at CrossFit Fort Wayne, I can now pride myself on being able to do lots of things pretty darn well. On top of bettering my fitness level (and keeping it high), since I’ve been with CFFW, I convinced my older brother to try CrossFit (he’s now hooked), I received my level 1 certification, and am currently putting my younger brother through my own programming. I’ve found what I truly enjoy doing, and so much of that passion is derived from the energy and support I have found at Crossfit Fort Wayne. CFFW has given back the competitive atmosphere, the team unity that I’ve been missing since collegiate sports, and I want to sincerely thank Andrew, Sophia, and everyone who is there to push themselves each and every day at CFFW!


Martha Ellis

I just wanted to thank you guys for all that you do at Crossfit. I am not sure what possessed us, but Jen and I ran a 10K today in record time. She ran in 1 hour flat, and my time was 1 hour 2 minutes. I beat my last time on the same path by 16 minutes. It was so much easier this time around! I think that is due to Crossfit and being in better shape. Thanks for pushing us everyday!

– Martha


Steve Warnick

For several years I have been on a physical fitness and nutrition roller coaster ride. I have started different training regimens just to quit with in a couple weeks or never really get started in the first place. I couldn’t seem to find something that worked for me. I also tried the low fat diet concept multiple times and actually lost weight only to see the fat come back with a vengeance. For several years I was much focused on the idea of wanting to be physically fit but failing to achieve my desired results. That all ended a few months ago when I found Crossfit Fort Wayne. I can honestly say that I feel I have finally found the workout regimen that I need. Between the workouts, the camaraderie, the emphasis on a low carb diet, and in particular the coaching Andrew and Sophia provide, I have had to do some serious overhaul on my wardrobe in order to accommodate my shrinking waistline. However, the best part is how great I feel. There are plenty of days that I get frustrated at my times or points during a workout, but I am aware of the awesome gains I have made, and look forward to a year from now and the gains that I will make. At work, as a firefighter, I am able to more readily accomplish routine tasks as well as the more vigorous parts of the job. And even better, I know I will be teaching my Children to live healthy lifestyles. Thanks again Andrew and Sophia, you guys are great!

– Steve


Rachel Shupe

“Believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. No one said it would be easy; they just promised it would be worth it.” -Anonymous

I just want to express sincere gratitude for your support and encouragement. I’ve been a bit “off my game” for the last two weeks. Missing Friday didn’t help my mind-set because I beat myself up for missing.

But…today was awesome! Just getting back into a workout and knowing that you are there to coach me thru it…it all helps a lot. You both have been a wonderful addition to our lives. Bryce and I enjoy our time at CrossFit Fort Wayne and the positive results speak for themselves.

Thanks for believing in me…even when I falter. My new tattoo says “Anyone can give up. But to hold on when everyone would understand if you fell, that’s courage.” That is my goal…to always be courageous. CrossFit is helping me achieve and maintain a level of discipline that will serve me well — in all aspects of my life.

Thanks again…the work you guys do is so meaningful.

– Rachel