Meet Coach Nathaniel

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Our guy Nathaniel is next up in our series of coach interviews. He recently completed our instructor training program and will soon be leading classes for YOU! Nathaniel is exactly the kind of humble, hardworking, positive person we look for when expanding our coaching team. As with all our staff, we love him and know you are going to be a fan as well. Below is an interview we put together so you can get to know him a little better. Welcome aboard, Nathaniel!

You come from a pretty athletic background. Would you mind filling us in on what that consisted of?
Absolutely. When I was 5, I started with tee-ball and eventually worked my way into Little League…. Just kidding, I won’t bore you with that. I played tennis in high school and started coaching that when I was 16. I kept playing (and coaching) in college on the club team (NOT D1, I’m not that good). I also played every intramural sport that Iowa offered including basketball, football, volleyball, billiards, darts, soccer, etc. The list goes on. You name it, I played it. I guess I didn’t wrestle or swim… But yeah, it was a lot of sports. Now, I play in tennis, basketball, and soccer leagues.

What does your current workout routine look like (both here and outside the gym)?
As it stands, I try to get to TwinTown 5x a week for workouts and sometimes yoga. I also play tennis about once a week and then basketball once or twice a week. Nia asks me to run everyday. Someday I’ll say yes.

You have one minute to build a workout that YOU would love. What’s it gonna be?
Oh man, I’ve already spent more than a minute thinking about this… This is a sketch, but something like this:

10min AMRAP
5 power cleans
10 burpees
5 MUs
10 box jumps

What are some non-gym hobbies that you’re passionate about?
I love to cook and explore new restaurants. Nia and I have always said that if all else fails, we’ll open a coffee/breakfast joint. I also enjoy going to events around the cities like concerts and Wolves/Twins/Gopher (when they play Iowa) games. Minneapolis is a great city worthy of exploration every weekend.

I also forgot beer: there are breweries galore in NE where we live and it’s great.

What does a perfect weekend look like to you?
Friday: Post-work dinner at Brasa and drinks at any brewery
Saturday: Partner WOD, brunch at French Meadow, Hawks game of any type, cook something delicious for dinner, hang with friends
Sunday: WOD, do some meal prep, relax, then have someone explain all of my reading to me without actually having to read it

GIVE US YOUR FAVORITE YOUTUBE CLIP!
The Jimmy Fallon/JGL/Stephen Merchant Lip Sync Battle is no longer on YouTube… So I leave you with this. #GOAT

What are you looking to personally improve on in your CrossFit skills in the next year?
Given that my ankles are stickier than a second grader’s hands after eating cotton candy (I used to teach second grade), I hope to continue improving mobility there and in my hips. I think that will also help with the overhead stuff I want to improve like snatching and OH squats. Also, I want to learn how to hate rowing and wall balls less.

Does you and Nia both coaching officially qualify you two as a power couple?
You say that as if it wasn’t official before…

Anything else you’d like to tell the people?
Can’t wait to get started with the incredible TwinTown community!

Meet Coach Nia

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Nia has been working her butt off in our instructor training program and is now ready to start coaching classes! We know her pretty well, but we want you to know what she’s all about as well! Here are a few questions we put together for Nia to answer that will help you get to know her a bit before you have her as a coach in class.

The leaderboard tells us that you were an athletic person well before making your way to TwinTown. Where you big into sports growing up?
I LIVED for sports growing up! I was a competitive figure skater for 14 years, played soccer, ran track/cross country in high school and college, and tried many others along the way. Anything that didn’t involve hand-eye coordination, I was signed up for!

You’re one hell of a runner! What would you recommend to someone who’s looking to step their running game up?
First off, thank you!! I would tell them to try out a running group! There are tons of groups around the Twin Cities and it’s great to have extra motivation of running with people and having runs/workouts planned. A lot of the running groups mix it up with slow/long and short/fast so you can find your niche within both friends and running style! Some even have a few brews waiting for you at the end if that’s the final push to get you out the door! :)

If you could choose to have one distinct impact as a coach, what would you choose?
**See YouTube video** GET. EXCITED.

But in all seriousness, if I had to choose one distinct impact, I would love for people to walk away from my class each time feeling like they had fun and found something positive within the hour, despite any frustration with progress!

Do you have any specific goals you’r working towards right now in the gym?
Oh man, I feel like I set a new goal every time I’m in there! My biggest goal right now is to be able to do all the push-ups and pull ups in Murph. That would be pretty cool!

What are you into when you’re not at the gym?
When I’m not at the gym, I love checking out new restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries/distilleries, watching Harry Potter, teaching 7th graders math, meeting up with running buddies, taking photographs, watching the Packers and Hawkeyes, and cooking with Nathaniel.

Favorite YouTube clip? We demand a good one!
Trust me. You need to watch it all- it only gets better and better!

If you could travel anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW, where would you go?
I would pack a backpack and head to Peru to check out Machu Picchu, hike the Inca Trail and make my way down to Patagonia for some solid camping and outdoors time!

What other fun facts would you like people to know about you?
One really important fun fact: I LOVE dogs.

Thanks, Nia! We’re pumped to have you on board as the latest edition to our coaching team!

Meet Coach Molly

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The next in our recent series of coach introduction interviews, is Molly. If you’ve ever (seriously, ever) had a class with her, you probably already know why we think she’s a perfect addition to our roster. If you haven’t yet had that pleasure, reading our interview with her will quickly clarify.

Molly has an infectiously positive attitude and is the type of person, coach, and athlete who leads from the front. Read on and see why we know you’re going to like her as much as we do.

What got you started at TwinTown? Have you done anything like CrossFit before?
I got started at TwinTown because I was sick of holding onto a gym membership that I never used. I would go to the gym, dink around for an hour while barely breaking a sweat, then not go back for weeks. It was pointless. It took me a while to give CrossFit a try because I was scared that I couldn’t do it or that I wouldn’t have the time to commit to it. But when I couldn’t walk or lift my arms above my shoulders for a full week after my first foundations class, I knew I had found the place for me!! I’ve been addicted ever since.

I had never done anything like CrossFit before (unless you count gymnastics when I was young), but I’ve always had an intense personality and a love of competing, even if it’s just with myself. I wish I had started CrossFit earlier!

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of since starting?
Besides becoming a coach? That’s probably my biggest accomplishment so far and I’m super excited to be a part of the incredible Twin Town coaching team!

Workout-wise, I vividly remember the last Open workout of 2016: 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of Thrusters and Bar-facing Burpees…UFF-DAH. I get anxious before any workout, but I was MEGA anxious for this one since thrusters completely crush me. But it was the first really tough workout that I legitimately dominated. It took me to a whole new level that I didn’t know I had in me! Even though my time wasn’t the best, I was super proud and knew I had given it my all!

If you were programming for yourself, what would your favorite hour-long class look like?
Overhead squatzzzzz all day! Then some long, grinder workout of box jumps, pull ups, and light weight snatches.

What would it NOT look like?
Any combination of wall balls and rowing…icky.

We’ve watched you improve your pull-ups remarkably since getting started here. What advice would you pass along to someone looking to get their first one?
Aw man, I used to HATE pull-ups. I was so weak that it was just frustrating when pull-ups were written on the whiteboard. But pull-ups are badass and I refused to let them be the only reason I wasn’t doing a workout Rx, so I worked on strict pull-ups religiously. Building up enough strength so that I wasn’t solely relying on the kip was really important for me. Then I went to a magical kipping clinic and **poof** kipping pull-ups were born! I’ve been obsessed with them ever since.

But in all seriousness, it takes a lot of patience to work on your kip piece-by-piece instead of jumping right into kipping pull-ups or toes-to-bar. I broke down the kipping pull-up into steps and would build them up in sequence every time I practiced instead of hopping on the bar and hoping to get a pull-up the first try.

I know we’ve got a lot of women at the gym right now that are so close to kipping pull-ups, so let’s make it happen!!

Everyone else has got this one so you are too… What’s your favorite YouTube clip?

What are some of your non-gym passions?
I love talking about, studying, and designing architecture and I’m super lucky to have it as my day job! I also enjoy working on our new house, snowboarding, going to concerts, and traveling. Oh, and snuggling with our kitties Parkour and Butters! ME-OW!

What does an ideal weekend look like for you?
Staying in my pajamas till noon while drinking coffee and snuggling with the cats. Then, checking some house projects off the endless list. Wait a minute, this is an “ideal” weekend, so let me rephrase that: Me staying in my pajamas + coffee + cats, while my wonderful husband Sam checks some house projects of the list ;) Then, we’d head to the gym to work on lifting, go for a walk around one of the lakes, order Thai food in and have some friends over to watch football or an animated kid’s movie. I think I could watch Despicable Me every day, no shame.

Get to Know Cat

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Adding to our continually-growing list of amazing coaches at the gym, we are pumped to have another quick interview with the next new face in our staff. You probably know Cat already, but in case you haven’t met, here are some questions that’ll help you figure out what makes her tick…

How long have you been doing CrossFit for and what got you into it?
I have been doing CrossFit for almost 5 years now!! I have been a competitive athlete my whole life (minus maybe like ages 1-4. I was really into working on my coordination during those times). During my late 20′s I started doing a lot of races, which included 10k, half marathons, marathons, and triathlons. During the off season AKA below zero weather, I was constantly trying to find different forms of fitness to keep my mind and body active. A good friend of mine from college told me about CrossFit and to try a drop-in class at her gym. I absolutely fell in love with the sport from day one! The coach that taught class my first day seriously looked exactly like Chuck Norris. I still brag to this day that Chuck Norris taught me CrossFit.

If you could instantly see significant progress on three movements, what would you choose to improve?
Ring Muscle Ups, they haunt me in my sleep sometimes. Snatches, because my limbs are like that of a giraffe. And cardio movements, like biking and running. I want to be quicker! Like a prancing deer!

What’s the one workout element that you wish you would never have to do again?
V-ups. I am the worst at them! It’s like my legs and arms can’t figure it out! One of the two always seems to arrive late to the party at the top of the v-up.

What aspect of coaching is most appealing to you?
I love being able to help people advance in their fitness goals. Whether it’s to crush the workout of the day, push to get a new pr, or accomplish a movement that they have been working on, it seriously makes me so excited!!!! It also inspires me to push myself a little harder.

You had a pretty serious shoulder injury last year that would have put most people on the sidelines for some time. What did you do to push through that time to get to where you are now?
Injuries suck. It has that capability to set you back physically and mentally. For me, I did not allow myself to think I wasn’t able to be in the gym just because I was limited in my movements. I created ways to be able to exercise so I could still be moving, as well as exercise with my friends at the same time. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t have my times of absolute frustration. But with amazing support from a community like TwinTown, my family, friends and my partner in crime, Matt, I have been able to stay positive and patient during this recovery. So, keep moving, be patient with the process, and always remember that people are here to support you!

What was your favorite CD (yes, CD) in middle school?
TLC’s crazy sexy cool

Favorite YouTube clip, GO…
I could sing this song for days:

There is rumor circling the gym that you hate puppies. Is this true?!
Let’s be honest, I am most likely to be the one to steal your dog and then act like its my dog, and then when you question me, I will act like you are crazy person for even questioning me!! I seriously hug every dog I meet. You can’t take me anywhere.

We’ve been considering investing in some elliptical bikes for the gym. Would you be willing to try one out in a workout sometime?
I didn’t even know an elliptical bike was a thing. Heck ya I would!!! But only if we could find a rower that rows down the street, as well. I would like both movements.

We are beyond fortunate to have the amazing coaches that we do at TwinTown. Each addition that we make gives us even more ability to make our members better. We hope you like the additions to our roster as much as we do!

Meet Coach Josh

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We have a few new coaches joining the staff in the coming weeks! We’re excited about it and we know why we like them, but we want to make sure that you know why they’re awesome, too. Josh is the next up, so there’s a short interview with him so you can get to know what he’s all about.

You’re now living Minneapolis. Have you always lived in this area?
Yes, born and raised in St Paul, MN – I haven’t ventured too far from home.

What are some gym-specific movements you’d like to get better at in the next year?
The Olympic lifts will always be my favorite thing to work on to try to continue to improve. That said, I need to work more on the movements I don’t like so much – to that end, I am determined to master handstand walks and build my deadlift strength.

You have more of an endurance background than a lot of people. Tell us a little about what you’ve done over the years and what the switch to CrossFit has been like.
As a result of me being awful at standard ball sports and my mom not allowing me to say no to being on a team at school, I grew up a swimmer and runner. That transitioned into an interest in triathlon and distance running through college and the subsequent years thereafter. After a few marathons, many triathlons and one full Ironman, I needed a change of pace. I found CrossFit through friends and fell in love with the challenge and social bond it offered. From trying to do Fight Gone Bad at LA Fitness (rower upstairs and someone stealing my barbell downstairs) to a pieced together home garage gym to TwinTown – the journey has been a blast so far and I’m excited for what’s next!

Everyone begins coaching for different reasons. What made you want to take on the challenge?
It is inspiring to see the gym and members continue to grow and develop. Before I became a regular at the gym, the thing that kept me coming back to TwinTown was the quality and attention placed on the coaching – I could not be more excited or humbled to have the opportunity to help play a part of that role going forward.

We’re going to need to know your favorite YouTube clip…

If there was only one local restaurant that you could eat at for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Burch – hands down best wood fired pizza that I’ve found anywhere (and I’ve tried a lot) – oh, and the Small Treats, so good!

What are 5 events/things/activities that would make for an ideal weekend for you?
Coffee, fitness, nap, dinner at a new restaurant, cocktails

Latest show/series you’ve binge watched? (No judgment, we promise!)
Narcos

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LACROIX FLAVOR?
This is hard as my love for LaCroix runs deep but I’d have to say Pamplemousse

Josh will be coaching our Sunday classes for the time being. Come by for class or Open Gym and get to know him! Welcome to the team, Josh!

Meet Coach Matt

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We’ve got a number of new coaches slowly making their way onto our roster. The first to begin taking on classes is Matt. In order to help you get to know these new(ish) faces, we put together some grueling questions for them to answer. We are extremely excited about the upcoming additions to our already solid staff, and we hope you enjoy having them as your coach as much as we do!

Lets start with some basic stuff. Where are you from, and where do you live now?
I grew up in Roseville, MN and now I live in Uptown. I love Minneapolis!

What was your CrossFit/workout experience prior to starting at TwinTown?
I was always a weight lifter, with a little running and sprinting here and there. I discovered CrossFit through a small blurb in Men’s Health in 2007 and, with no idea what it was, started trying it out at a community gym. I spent the next 5 years following the main page workouts at Globo Gyms (I got a lot of weird looking running back and forth from barbells to treadmills and pull-up bars) and out of my garage. I finally decided to join TwinTown two years ago and wish I would have done it sooner.

What does an ideal week of workouts look like for you?
I like to workout 6-7 days a week, with a couple of those being lighter days based more around mobility, body weight movements or endurance, and usually some long, beefy workouts on the weekends.

What takes up the majority of your free time throughout the week?
I love trying new restaurants. My girlfriend, Cat, and I are always looking to find great food and cocktails. Minneapolis is awesome for that. Other than that, I am usually hanging out at the gym, or searching for flights to go exploring somewhere.

If you were stuck with only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Pizza. Do I need to pick 2 more?

What’s your all-time favorite Youtube clip?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz0IT4Uk2xQ

If you could drop everything and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Zimbabwe. Ever since I read about a gnarly white water rafting trip there a few years ago, it’s been on my list.

You’ve only been at it for a short time, but what has been your favorite coaching moment thus far?
My favorite coaching moment actually just happened. We were working on heavy jerks, which was a fairly unfamiliar movement to a lot of athletes in my classes that day. Walking around, I found that different cues and coaching tips registered with different people and there was a distinct moment with each of them where they went from not getting it, to getting it. It was amazing.

What do you hope to do at TwinTown down the road?
I get real excited about new programs and events, like the Running Skill Series or the race we just put on, Push. I’m hoping to continue finding creative ways to bring new ideas and events to TwinTown.