Crossfit Blog

February Athletes of the Month

in Athlete Of The Month by Coach John D'Ags

February is couples month at CFNH and we're thrilled to recognize Art & Amanda Brennan as our February Athletes of the Month and proud parents to-be!!

1.      How did you each get started at CFNH?

Amanda: I actually used to make fun of Art all the time about doing Crossfit.  He started going to Shoreline long before me, and he would come home all the time and talk about his work outs NON-STOP.  He ended up stopping Crossfit at Shoreline after he switched jobs because he was no longer in Branford.  After a couple month hiatus, he was really looking to get back into it, so I decided to try it out with him when he signed up at CFNH.  I quickly figured out why he was so into this Crossfit thing.  After my on-ramp with Coach Amanda in July of 2012, I was hooked.  I haven’t left since!

Art:  Having the foresight and wisdom that I do, I started at Shoreline in Branford.  When I changed jobs from working in Branford I needed to get my fix.  I have been going to the gym since I was 14yo but found my workouts always lacked something.  After joining xfit I felt that the workouts made me feel ‘farmer strong’, using a lot of real life movements…. I love that.

2.  How have your approach and perspectives on your workouts and motivations changed since starting CrossFit?  New year, new you: what are some of your respective goals for 2017?

Amanda: I have to admit before Crossfit, when it came to working out, I needed a serious push to get myself moving.  I like structure, I like going in with a goal that I have to meet.  That really is my biggest motivator.  Once I started Crossfit workouts, I realized that they were perfect for me.  I’m always in my head pushing myself, especially with an AMRAP or timed work out.  At the beginning of the workout, I always tell myself how many rounds I want to get and I try to exceed that, even if it’s by only one rep.  As far as goals for 2017, I set a goal to continue working out at least 3x a week throughout my pregnancy and so far, I have kept up with that goal! It’s starting to get a little more difficult (with this baby belly in the way) but I’m really trying hard to keep myself moving.  Once I have the baby, it’s my goal to get back to the gym as soon as I’m able and continue to be active both at CFNH and doing other physical activities.  A little side goal would be to PR my Back Squat by the end of 2017. Finally, an obvious and probably the most important goal of mine is to be the best mom I can be.

Art: Goals?...how about survive, I am having a kid this year damn it!  I can’t help but think of a blog post Amanda Z posted awhile back titled ‘Live to Train Another Day’.  If you can find it, it’s definitely worth a read.  Basically I would rather be the badass 70yo bombing down a mountain on a snowboard then a 31yo jack diesel dude.  

3.  What are some of your recent accomplishments of which you're most proud?

Amanda: Honestly, I am super proud of myself for being able to come to CFNH and work out while pregnant.  There are certainly days where I have been so tired I couldn’t imagine going to do a rigorous work out, but once I’m there and start moving, I feel great and I never regret it.  Plus, all of the coaches have been so awesome with modifying work outs as I need them.  Thanks guys! J

Art: I haven't quite accomplished it yet, but I am proud that I am going to be a dad. I am most excited to show my kid the things in life that I've grown to love. 

4.  Do you follow any specific daily or weekly diet regimen to fuel your Athletes of the Month-level CrossFit performance?  What does your dream cheat meal/day look like?

Amanda: So here’s the thing.  I am the one who cooks and does the grocery shopping in the house, so Art follows whatever regiment I’m on at any given moment, haha. 

Art: Truth

Amanda:  Right now, I am not on a specific regiment, however I am always conscious of what we consume.  I buy mostly organic and I cook wholesome balanced meals for us both.  We’ve tried the paleo diet in the past and have found that it’s just not for us….We don’t eat fast food, so I think that counts for something, right?

Art: Yeah, she keeps me from being a 400lb fat man.  That and I only binge drink on the weekends.  Kidding (Kind of).

Amanda: My “cheat meal” happens every Tuesday….TACO TUESDAY is a weekly staple in our house.  Hands down, Mexican food of any kind is my weakness. Notice Art did not mention a “cheat” for himself.  He will deny it to the bitter end, but he has a wicked sweet tooth, specifically for peanut M&Ms.

5. Design 2 WODs each:  1 that is your bread & butter, filled with your movement strengths; 1 that is all goats (movement weaknesses you feel you need to improve).

Amanda: Back squats are my JAM.  I love them.  They really pump me up and I have a pretty heavy 1RM for a small woman.  Running is my weakness…I’m slow and I pretty much just don’t like doing it.
Bread & Butter WOD - 3 Rounds of: 5 Heavy Back Squats at 75-85% of 1RM, 10 Abmat Sit-Ups, 15 Balls Slams, Rest 1 Minute
Improvement WOD - 5 rounds for time: 200 Meter run, 10 Thursters (woof)

Art:  I am not going to say that I like Murph, I just respect Murph.  I like the low impact long endurance workouts.  It mimics what I like to do for fun i.e. hiking, trail running, kayaking, etc.  I will leave the WOD making to the coaches.  Weakness:  Big weight bar movements zap the hell out of my energy and I need a few seconds to get my heartrate back to a comfortable zone.  And if there is 1 movement I can strike of the Xfit agenda its snatches. 

6. How do you spend your time when you're away from CFNH?

Art:  When I am not slaving away at work my weekends are filled with hiking, surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, camping, trail running, live music, drinking good beer/wine, working out, and incorporating my dog into all of those activities.  Now that I say all those activities out loud I hope I can still find time to do half of them after I have a kid.  

Amanda: Yeah, so, Art is insane with the amount of activities that he’s into, so I basically try to keep up with him and sleep when he’s not looking.

We also LOVE to travel. Out most recent trip was to Iceland, back in May 2016.



7. What is one fact people may not know about each of you?

Amanda:  I’m a Social worker and I work primarily in research.  I provide care to patients who have just gone through major cardiac surgery (i.e. heart transplant, bypass) and provide support to them and their families.  I also love to create stained glass projects.  I have a little studio set up at our house.

Art: I work for the 9th largest construction management company in the country (Whiting-Turner) as a Project Manager. We specialize in fast, large, complicated buildings that most companies would dare not to touch.  We're currently managing a 180k sq ft building project for UCONN in Hartford with a 22 month time period.

8.  Do you have any motivational thoughts or suggestions to folks just getting started at CFNH?

Amanda: Just do you! Go at your own pace and do what’s best for you.  If you feel accomplished at the end of your workout, that’s all that matters.

Art: Yes.  Come to the 5:30am class, we will entertain you, keep you motivated and Jerry is bound to make you laugh.  A quick shout out to my bothers and sisters including but not limited to Joe, Jerry, Vinny, Dave, Becky, Meredith, Tanya, Elon, Russel, Sam, Julianna, Bob and the rest of the motley crew

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