December Athlete Spotlight 

Everyone - and we mean EVERYONE - knows this lovely lady because of her engaging personality, her cheerfulness, her camaraderie, her leadership, her wardrobe and her bad-ass attitude and spunk! She has always - and we mean ALWAYS - been there for the UnCharted Community (she was our very first Pioneer member) and we know she always will be. She is the heart and soul, spirit and strength of UnCharted and we're so proud she closes out 2018 as our Athlete Spotlight!



Thank you, UnCharted CrossFit Coaches, for naming me as December’s Spotlight Athlete. It is truly an honor. Five years ago, I took my first elements class and I was hooked. Bonus … the class was taught by Coach Lynette. I played sports in high school and a season in college but like most of us, it all stopped once I started adulting. I would start and stop an exercise routine over and over, from Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Away the Pounds” to Half Marathons to Spinning. I even paid hundreds of dollars for a Personal Trainer. Although I had some success nothing kept my interest, so I would stop and pack the pounds right back on.

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In 2013 I was dating a guy who was training for a Tough Mudder and of course my first question was, “What is a Tough Mudder?” After seeing a video, my second question was, “How do you train for something like that?” He said, “I CrossFit” (the only thing of worth I got from that loser.) Back to the internet I went, and it was like the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine beamed down on me - I found the world of CrossFit.

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   Five years later, I’m two Tough Mudders in and CrossFit Is Life. I’m down 4 dress sizes and healthier than I have ever been. I have gained so much more than those pounds I lost. I have come to love my 47 year-old body, thick thighs and all. I love all the amazing things it can do from handstands against the wall to thrusters to body weight back squats and deadlifts. I went from coverups on the beach to bikinis while paddle boarding. I now have irreplaceable knowledge about food and how it effects my mind and body.

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CrossFit has given me so much, but the best part of this journey is the second family I have gained! It’s all of YOU who truly keep me coming back. Life got a little rocky and somedays the only thing I was able to accomplish was feeding Jameson and getting to CrossFit. We share sweat, blood and tears …. sometimes literally. You are my CrossFit Family and unlike family by blood, we choose each other. I love you guys and all the love I give is a direct reflection of the love you give me.  

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To Sam: Thank you for the awesome words in your Spotlight Athlete letter, but it's time for you to recognize your worth to the UCCF Family. You make CrossFit FUN! You are encouraging and bring life to every class. Know that you are a strong part of why UnCharted CrossFit is special. 

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You'll see this athlete in the lifting area, then the CrossFit area, then the lifting area again and then probably on a bike.
Perhaps you work out with him on Sundays at Open Gym.
You'll see him judging at one of our competitions and changing plates at our recent Fall Lifting Meet.
He does it all, always with an enthusiasm
that is so darn contagious! 



I grew up overweight and was never athletically inclined. I briefly tried football in high school but couldn't make it work. Then, when I moved on to college, I didn't even have P.E. classes for basic exercise, and I made no effort to exercise on my own. By my second semester of college in April 2005, I weighed nearly 250 pounds. 
Seeing that number on the scale was enough to push me to start thinking about fitness. I cut everything I was eating by about a third and started running - at first for only 6 minutes at a time. Gradually, I worked up to running 25 minutes straight, 5 times per week. By December, I weighed 187 pounds. 


I decided I loved running and I ran for years to try to stay in shape. But I didn't weight train - it was all running and dieting. It was great that I lost weight, but I also lost a lot of muscle in the process. Eventually this became apparent on the scale when I reached a low of about 170 pounds (I am 6'3"). 
When I turned 30, I signed up at Gold's Gym and worked with a personal trainer who specialized in power lifting, doing this 2-3 times per week. It was expensive but I needed the one-on-one attention. I wasn't comfortable with barbell work at all, and it immediately became evident that my biggest weakness by far was squatting. Even air squats were a major challenge, and it took several weeks before I could squat an empty bar. My other lifts were weak, but closer to "normal" - and though I had never deadlifted before, the movement seemed to be naturally suited to me. I started eating to bulk up, backed off cardio and lifted hard for a year and a half. I gained 30 pounds in body weight and maxed at a 250 bench, 270 squat (low bar) and 425 deadlift in October 2017. For the first time in my life I felt strong. 


At this point, my squats had plateaued and I wanted to bring some cardio back into my workouts. My brother-in-law had been urging me to try CrossFit for about two years. I was reluctant - I had heard about some of the exercises and thought they were far beyond what I would ever be able to realistically do. And some of the moves sounded downright crazy. But I finally decided to give it a go anyway. After doing an on-ramp program with Josh Kinder, I signed up at UnCharted. 
To be totally honest, I figured I would try it for a month or two and probably go back to what I was doing before. But after feeling the intensity of my first few WODs and experiencing the community, I realized this was exactly what I needed. The workouts were revealing weaknesses I didn't know I had, and the people pushed me far harder than I was willing to push myself on my own. My mindset changed, and I started practicing exercises I couldn't yet do, like double-unders and kipping pull-ups. Once I realized I was making progress, I was sold. 
For me, CrossFit has been about finding balance after years of being too focused on cardio or lifting alone. It's challenged me to come out of my shell and push my boundaries. It's meant that I'm part of a community that pushes and supports each other. 


But the best part by far is when 5:30 weightlifting people yell across the room to troll the CrossFit class and tell them “you're not going fast enough.” Trolling is the best. 
Thank you for choosing me as the Athlete Spotlight for November!




      I am definitely surprised and grateful to be named this month’s Spotlight Athlete. This section is always one of my favorite parts of the newsletter because it highlights what I enjoy most about Uncharted, and that is getting to see the progress of my fellow gym mates and their accomplishments. 


I never did any sports or worked out in high school because I never had any time between work and all of my classes. Thanks to a fast metabolism, this pattern carried over and lasted through most of college as well. Near the end of college, I started working out with a friend at a Planet Fitness where we lifted weights without any real plan, but it was nice because we held each other accountable. 


        After college I ended up getting a desk job and moving a few cities over so I stopped going to the gym because I had no one to go with and push me. Now that I was at a desk all the time and my metabolism was slowing down I started to gain weight. I had looked into CrossFit multiple times but I always made an excuse that I didn’t have the time or the money to go.


     In 2016 my wife and I moved to St. Charles because I relocated for work. We were away from all our friends and family and I still wasn’t doing anything exercise-wise. Finally, in March 2017, I signed up for the Elements class at Uncharted. That first class was a real wake up call for how out of shape I was. I remember it was the Baseline workout; 500 m row, 40 air squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push ups and 10 pull ups. I don’t think I made it halfway through the sit ups before I walked out of the building trying not to puke. I decided to sign up for the rest of elements because I wanted to get into shape but I stayed because of the awesome community. I liked the positive energy of everyone and how they cheered me on when I was in last and wanted to quit - and I do my best to pass that attitude on when other new people joined. My favorite part of being at Uncharted and doing CrossFit is pushing myself farther than I thought I could go and watching others do the same.


        I am really thankful for the friends and people I have met over the past year and a half and I look forward to continuing working out with all of you. 

New Program at UnCharted CrossFit

New Program at UnCharted CrossFit

Good Morning!

We are starting some new and exiting classes here at UnCharted CrossFit. Coaches Lynette and Patti have both earned their CF Kids certification as well as their CF Masters certification. With the knowledge they have gained from these certifications, we want to help our younger and older generations alike to live healthier lives through fitness. These coaches as well as our entire team at UnCharted are passionate about improving health for every person of every age.

UnCharted will be starting two new programs in a couple weeks, Masters and Kids.

Here is a little bit about each of the programs.

CrossFit Kids

The whole essence of CrossFit is play, so this is a natural fit for kids. CrossFit Kids is meant to be BIG fun for all ages. Broad - inclusive - general fun. Fun means we provide an active alternative to sedentary pursuits, which means less childhood obesity and all-around better health for our children. Further, the needs of second graders and high-school varsity wrestlers differ by degree and not kind. This program is scaleable for any age or experience level and accounts for the different maturity levels one can find in a class full of kids.

Through games, warm ups and WODs, we will teach movement, balance, coordination, strength, agility, speed - all the things kids use daily. We will pair fitness with fun - essential in promoting a lifetime of fitness. (And then they can say they “CrossFit” just like their parents do!)

This is a 6 week course that will go through the basics. We will build from there as participation allows.


DATES: October 9-November 13th

6 Weeks of classes with an optional make up day on Tuesday, Nov. 20th

  • You can also use this to get in a 7th week!

  • Added fee will apply for extra day ($10 & $14)


CrossFit “Explorers”

AGES: 4 - 7

CLASS TIME: Tuesday @ 5-5:30 pm

PRICE: $60

CrossFit “Pioneers”

AGES: 8-13

CLASS TIME: Tuesday  @ 5:30-6:15 pm

PRICE: $ 85

PLEASE NOTE: we will need a minimum of 5 kids per class.

“CrossFit Kids is not simply a scaled down version of CrossFit, it is entirely and absolutely CrossFit geared towards kids and their specific developmental needs.” --  Jeff & Mikki Martin - Founders, CrossFit Kids


This is a training program designed to restore / improve mobility first and applies strength and conditioning programming to improve health and fitness.

  • Are you tired of feeling old and tired?

  • Do you have low energy?

  • Are your aches and pains forcing you to spend time on the sidelines?

  • Do you feel lost and bored in your gym?

  • Do you feel like CrossFit is not for you because everything you know about CrossFit seems too advanced, difficult and intimidating?

  • Most importantly, do you want to feel better and get the spring back in your step, but don’t know how?

Our approach to Masters Programming is Movement and Mobility first. We will teach you how to help resolve pain, overcome injuries, minimize the side effects of aging, restore your general physical capacity, re-learn movements and ultimately, regain control of your body. The great thing about CrossFit is that anyone can participate! You don’t need to be in shape to begin, our program will get you into shape! Our program is designed for persons 60 years of age and older.

With this 6 week program, your overall fitness will improve and you’ll see it translate to your daily life through increased stamina, balance, strength, endurance, coordination and agility. Your children and grandchildren won’t be able to keep up with you!

Bring your spouse, friends and family to try our program and we will help you to feel stronger, faster, and happier than you are right now.


DATES: October 9-November 13th

*6 Weeks of class (12 classes total)  with an optional make up day on Tuesday, November 20th

CLASS TIMES:  Tuesday/Thursday  @ 7:15 - 8:00 am

Ages: 60 - 75 years young 

Price: $165

** If you bring a buddy (2 or more people) the price goes down to $150 / per person

"UnCharted Masters - a group of athletes who refuse to give up their health and fitness to age."

DEADLINE to register is Thursday, October 4th

 Contact Lynette at for more information on these programs and to get signed up today!

September Athlete Spotlight


September Athlete Spotlight


First off I would like to say I am flattered, honored and utterly surprised to be named Spotlight Athlete of the month! 

        My CrossFit journey began in 2014, and by began, I mean I met Robbie (Tarro, one of our UCCF members) and Lynette at a bar, and they immediately started talking to me about CrossFit and tried to convince me to join. I was very unsure about joining because I honestly had no idea what CrossFit even meant. After dating Robbie for a while, he made me "fat" to guarantee that I wouldn't leave him for somebody else, so that's when I decided I needed to get some fitness in my life (in case he and I didn't work out in our dating). So I finally gave in and decided to give Uncharted a chance somewhere in the fall of 2015. 

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     Just when I started to really get into it, life threw Robbie and I a little surprise - I became pregnant! I was so sick during my pregnancy that I decided it would be best to take a break from the gym. After Basil was born, I was having some postpartum and anxiety issues, and  it was hard for me to get motivated and get back to the gym. Robbie was still going and one day he came back from the gym and told me he had started my membership again AND that I was signed up for that following Monday. It was one of the best decisions he has made for me because I needed that push. From then on I've been pushing myself in my workouts and showing up as much as possible. CrossFit has helped me overcome my postpartum and my anxiety. 

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        In the last five months, I've concentrated on cleaning up my nutrition and having a consistent workout schedule to be the best version of myself for Robbie and my wedding on November 7th of this year.  
        I've come to value what CrossFit is as a community. Sure - who doesn't like watching the CrossFit elite compete on TV, but to watch everyday people overcome obstacles and push each other continually is what is the biggest motivator and most inspiring to me. The community that UnCharted has created reminds me why I show up and keep putting in the hard work one day at a time. Moving forward, I'm excited to see how I grow with my workouts and what goals I will be able to accomplish!

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       I would like to add a special "thank you" to all the coaches, my workout buddies and Kathleen and Talaena for watching my kiddos. Without all of this support, I wouldn't be where I'm at today.  


August Athlete Spotlight - Sam Swofford


August Athlete Spotlight - Sam Swofford


If you're not up well before the crack of dawn or don't ever get to Saturday workouts, you still have probably met this CrossFit "OG" (Old Guy in CrossFit). He's at all our competitions judging and cheering on athletes from our gym as well as other gyms. We're here to tell you his dedication to CF and our gym is stellar and we're so glad he's one of our own!
Please put your hands together for


I am absolutely an attention whore. So being told there would be a SPOTLIGHT on me was extremely exciting.

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The Beginning:
     I began “dabbling” in CrossFit in January of 2012 (6 years ago!!??). I and a few of the regular “boot-campers” at my office got together and paid to have a CrossFit instructor come to our gym and put us through workouts. The workouts were different from the boot camps, but it wasn’t real CrossFit. We didn’t have rowers, had only 1 oly bar, no wall balls, and our heaviest kettlebell was 30 pounds. I learned some of the lingo and most of the acronyms and did a whole bunch of burpees. I joined a CrossFit gym in April of 2012. I can remember my first class vividly. The skill was double-unders and we had to see how many we could do in 60 seconds (I got 47).  And the WOD was 5 rounds of 3 handstand push-ups, 6 CTB pull-ups, and 9 OHS at 115 lbs. I don’t remember my time, but I know I did strict press instead of the HSPUs, I did kipping pull-ups that were nowhere near chest-to-bar, and my OHS was at 75# and my form was awful. But I was hooked.  I loved the fact that there was a coach encouraging me to go at a lower weight because I had never done OHS before. I loved that the coach was providing instruction and correcting form throughout the WOD. I loved that I was not only in competition with myself, but with a bunch of names on a whiteboard. It was AWESOME!

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The Middle:
5 AM became my preferred workout time. People think I’m crazy to set the alarm for four o’clock in the morning to work out. But it has always worked for me. Lynette and I knew each other from our previous gym, and I became a member of Uncharted CrossFit 2 months after it opened. I love the CrossFit methodology and I love my early morning crew. Getting up early to crack inappropriate jokes with friends and compete with both the guys and the girls is completely worth it to me. We have cultivated a strong little morning crew family where we have fun with each other and we hold each other accountable for fitness. We even allow the lazy people who sleep in until 6 AM class to be a part of it.

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Looking Forward:
Uncharted is a great gym that has premier equipment, a strong community, and excellent coaches. I am proud to be a part of it. I will leave you with a few important things you should know:

  1. Dorothy Scroggins is the HEART and SOUL of the UCCF community, so act accordingly when the queen arrives.
  2. The 2 most memorable sounds at UCCF are the glee of someone PR’ing a lift or skill and “TEN SECONDS!!!!!!!!!!!” (Peterson style)
  3. We all have one major thing in common: we all pay money to do calisthenics in a warehouse.
  4. “You can’t out-fitness a bad diet.” – Lynette Kotraba
  5. We are all competitive and want to win, but in the end no one really cares what place you got. But, EVERYONE cares if you cheat. Don’t cheat.
  6. Stretch. CrossFit can be intense. It is very difficult to do CrossFit while injured. So take care of your body and listen to it. Avoiding injury will allow you to CrossFit for a long time. 
  7. Peeing while jumping rope or farting in the bottom of a squat are perfectly acceptable. 
  8. Focus on the tiny victories. If you want a pull-up, break the process down into smaller steps so you can achieve little bits of success on your way to the big success. It will build momentum.
  9. Always be friendly. If there is a new member or a drop-in, you should pride yourself on being the first person to introduce yourself to them. Tell an inappropriate joke within the first five minutes because they need to know what they signed up for.
  10. Always cheer. If you finish the workout before others, you have permission to roll on the floor and catch your breath for no more than 60 seconds. You have a cash out consisting of getting up off the floor, finding the nearest athlete still working and encouraging them to keep fighting. When the last athlete is done, then you can be done.

- Sam 

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The Back Lot Bout 2018 is Back!

The Back Lot Bout 2018 is Back!

The Back Lot Bout is back! UnCharted CrossFit will be hosting a four person co-ed team competition on August 18th.

Teams will be comprised of 2 women and 2 men featuring Rx and Scaled divisions. There will be 3 WOD's, an obstacle course and championship WOD for top 4 teams in both divisions.

Registration is $215 per team and includes a custom competition shirt. Grab your team, put it on the calendar and be ready to sign up as space is limited!

Registration is now open, link below to sign up!

July Athlete Spotlight - Marc Maxwell & Courtney Sansone


July Athlete Spotlight - Marc Maxwell & Courtney Sansone


Meet our first "Dynamic Duo" chosen by our coaches for the Athlete Spotlight. He had done CrossFit before. She was hesitant. But she is known to have said after their first introductory class with him and a friend: "What were we afraid of and why did we wait so long?" because she she saw what he saw: CrossFit is fun!

**Meet Courtney Sansone And Marc Maxwell**



   Oh wow! Where do I even begin? I will make this short, sweet, and to the point.

   I have always been a competitive person. I tried every sport when I was a little kid and played soccer all throughout college. Once I graduated college, I had no idea what I was going to do since I was so burnt out on soccer. One day I saw an Instagram post of this girl who was ripped [she was a body builder] and thought to myself, I want to look like her!!! That was the start of my fitness journey. I had no idea what bodybuilding all involved and figured it was just eating semi-healthy. Shortly after, I found a coach who was willing to train me for the hard journey of a bodybuilding figure competition. After completing my show, I thought for sure bodybuilding was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Boy was I wrong!!


   Towards the end of my second competition prep, I met the other half of our “Dream Team” - Marc Maxwell. At the beginning of our relationship, Marc kept trying to convince me that I should try CrossFit. I kept laughing at him and saying "no" because all I would watch on the internet were the CrossFit fail videos! Fast forward to a year later, I finally said I would try it out just so he would leave me alone. I remember going to work the next day and researching every box that was close to us. Then BOOM! I found the one for us. UnCharted just stood out to me more than any other box. Once we signed up for the Intro Elements class, it was all over from there - I was hooked. I didn’t want to admit it to Marc, because I hate telling him he’s right (which doesn’t happen often!). After being a member of UnCharted for only a few weeks, I started to realize why Marc wanted me to join CrossFit so badly - I truly didn’t know it was possible to meet so many amazing people in one place! And that I would add to my fitness journey in such a fun way. 

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   For starters, my back hurts from having to carry this team! (j/k) You can pretty much copy and paste what Courtney said above to my story, except the competing in bodybuilding part. I don’t think I could ever be that strict on diet and cardio. I’ve been lifting weights on and off for about 13 years. Most of that time was spent doing "Bro Sesh’s" at Golds, but I didn’t skip leg days! (Well, at least I didn’t skip them all the time).


    I first heard about CrossFit back in 2007 when I was stationed in Southern California. I could remember hearing my fellow Marines talking about this "CrossFit style" of training and it caught my interest. At the time, I worked nights in the Emergency Room on base and during the slow parts of the night, I would sit on the computer and read through the articles and forums on Though I never had the courage to go into a box and start training, it always stayed in the back of my mind as something I really wanted to try. I didn’t officially start CrossFit until 2015 and have been hooked ever since.


Courtney and I can’t even put into words how happy CrossFit has made us. We are all about working hard and pushing ourselves to become a better athlete/individual, but the community we have at Uncharted is the real win. It doesn’t matter what the person next to you is lifting or where they are at in the WOD, we all suffer and get through it together. With that being said, THANK YOU



JUNE Athlete Spotlight- Rosemary

JUNE Athlete Spotlight- Rosemary

This lady's dedication is just ... awesome. She attends lifting class, CrossFit class and even joined in our summer Cool runnings program. She has the drive to push herself past limits and progress each time she walks into the gym. She sets a positive example for her family to be healthier through fitness. You will see their whole clan -Casey, Gabreal and Talaena (our evening babysitter) - working out together here at UnCharted. We are proud to have her as part of our UCCF community!

    *  ROSEMARY MEZERA  *    


Hi Everyone!

A little bit about me ... I started my CrossFit journey four years ago. I was overweight, at a job I hated and extremely depressed. A friend of mine kept telling me to try CrossFit, so I got a CrossFit membership for my birthday and I haven’t looked back! I love CrossFit because I never get bored and the community is a huge perk! 

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The first month of CrossFit was really difficult... I dealt with anxiety every day, didn’t talk to anyone except the coach and just kept plugging away... One of the things I will never forget is my coach said “hey, all I ask is that you keep moving, I’ll get you to where you want to be.” So that is what I did. After the first month I realized that my “normal” aches and pains in my knees and back, were gone.


My confidence grew and I had the courage to quit my job. CrossFitt has taught me what everyone tries to tell you...”you’re stronger then what you think!” Not just with weights, but more importantly, with everyday mental struggles and whatever crap life throws at me. 

Once my nutrition got dialed in, my nutritionist said “Rosemary, it all has to come from your workouts now.”

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This was one of my reasons for coming to UnCharted. She told me I need to lift more frequently and heavy!! Two of the things Coach Lynette loves to give 😬. I love to compete and seeing others reach their goals! I’m extremely honored to not only been chosen as June’s athlete but throwing down with all of you on a daily basis! 



MAY 2018 Athlete Spotlight Jada Jordan

MAY 2018 Athlete Spotlight Jada Jordan


     This lady is very consistent in her workouts here at UnCharted. She's at the gym a good 6 out of 7 days per week, every time giving her max effort. She loves to hear "3-2-1-GOOOO" as that pushes her to get the optimum workout she can get. And Sunday's Open Gym finds her working on her weaknesses as well as sharpening her skills. She's community-driven: always cheering, encouraging and supporting everyone around her. We hope her work ethic rubs off on everyone! Meet:



     As with most of the other athletes that Lynette and Patti have focused on, I was truly shocked to be chosen.  There are so many awesome people at this gym, and I didn’t really think I would be focused on.  What do I mean by that?  There are stronger and more proficient folks that can do more and go faster than I can.  But as I think about it, isn’t the point that we are always striving to be better, right?

I find it really hard to talk about myself like others have said in their Spotlight articles, but here it goes….


     I was pretty much in a gym consistently until my early 20’s because of the sports that I was involved in.  I fell off because I was busy working, going to school and being a single mom.  And let’s be honest,  I could eat and drink whatever I wanted at that time and nothing about my body changed! Then when those pounds started coming on in my 30’s, (and not going away on their own), I decided that I needed to get back to it. 

     Like most, I HATED going to a gym and going on the treadmill for 30 min. then walking around the weight room trying to figure out what I should do for that day.  I found myself landing in a boxing gym and fell in love with it.  I even got into the ring to spar with a trainer a few times to see if I wanted to actually box another person (not just a heavy bag.)  I only had to get hit hard in the face once to realize that was not the path for me! 


     Fast forward to June, 2016, I had an accident where I severely broke my left wrist. I was actually told that I would likely never be able to regain full function again.  They also informed me that my bones were “very thin” and borderline Osteoparitic! I was only 42!.  I was depressed because the only thing that kept me sane was my workouts. My crazy-self went ahead and worked out with a cast on and hit the bag with one arm!  (Yes I am THAT person)

     So why change since I loved boxing so much? Simple, I needed to get stronger!  The cardio was great, but I was building no muscle and not making my body (bones) stronger.  And shortly thereafter a pretty awesome person introduced me to CrossFit.  I thought I could be a rockstar when I first started because I did work out and all…..Then two weeks in, I did 16.1 and that’s where stuff got real! I immediately thought I made a poor life choice at that moment.  But afterward, I was bitten with the desire to just.get.better.



     I can honestly say that I have fallen more in love with CrossFit since then and have no desire to go back to my old boxing gym. (AND I never thought I would say that.) The people at UnCharted are a major reason why I love CrossFit as well.  They make me want to come every day and they push me even when I am not necessarily on my "A" game.  I am excited to push myself more and achieve more goals that I have set for myself!



If You Can Breath, You Can Brace!

If you can’t breathe, you can’t brace. Many times we think about taking a deep breath in and bracing our core to prepare to hit a big lift. Do we actually know what we are bracing? Am I just holding my breath? Knowing how to properly breathe is the first step in bracing properly.

To properly breathe you must be able to use your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a large parachute-like muscle underneath your lungs that assists you to draw air in and help expel air out. It is our primary respiratory muscle. As your diaphragm contracts it draws air into your body and as it relaxes it pushes air out. On the left is the diaphragm contracting and on the right is the diaphragm relaxing and air being expelled.


There are many ways to find out how to breathe into your diaphragm. The easiest way is to lay down on the floor and place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Take 5 deep breaths focusing on your breath and ensuring that your hand on your belly moves first. As your inhale your belly button should move away from your spine and as you exhale it should move toward your spine. This should be done while taking your breaths in and out of your nose. If you feel it is hard for you to breathe into your belly, work on this drill throughout the day. Another way to find your diaphragm is to sit in a lotus position and place your hands underneath your ribs. When you take a breath, your hands should be the first to move. Think of breathing into your hands or an imaginary belt wrapped around you.

Now that you know how to breathe into your diaphragm you can properly brace your core. My favorite cue for this is to act like you are going to be punched in the gut. You must first breathe into your diaphragm in order to brace your core. Think of your core like a pop can- you can stack a substantial amount of weight on an empty pop can if stacked right, however there is a much higher risk for the can to be crushed with any minor dent in the can. Now think of a pop can full of fluid that you just shook up- there is a large amount of pressure inside the can and that can hold more weight with less chance of being dented. The empty can would be your spine without you taking a breath in, where you can still hold weight if stacked properly but have a higher risk for injury like being “dented.” Now if your take a breath in and create intra abdominal pressure like when you “shake up the can”, you can hold more weight with less risk of injury. This technique is called the “Valsalva Maneuver” and should be used for maximal squat attempts. While performing more repetitions it is important to breathe in-between reps, but to ensure you are breathing through your diaphragm and maintaining core stability.

- Coach Ryan