Athlete Of The Month


It’s “Athlete of the Month” for April 2013 and this athlete is like no other. The person who is receiving this Award is one who has been through the struggles of going from being  a fit and active mother of 2 kids to becoming inactive, gaining weight, and becoming out of shape. I remember the first time I met this person there was something about her that as a trainer I was connected to. We started talking about her situation and what she was looking for in a fitness program. She told me about her past of being involved in fitness, her injury, and the years of being a stay at home mother with little exercise due to her injury. That first day she came in the facility to get information she was very excited about learning what CrossFit was about. Like any person who has not been in the gym for over 10 years, she was very skeptical if CrossFit was for her, but it was my job and my passion to make it work for her. She did her introduction class and signed up that day, but this was just the beginning. With all of the issues that had been presented to her over the years there was still motivation and fight in her to get back to the best shape she could be in.   Over the next couple of months, she faced the ups and downs. Like majority of the people who get back in the gym for the first time since being off for a while, she didn’t know if she could do it. I remember at times in the middle of workouts she would quit and say ” its too hard for me Brad” or “I CAN’T do this Brad”. Well if you have ever stepped foot in CrossFit Denham Springs you know that if the word “I CAN’T” is said at anytime during a workout there is a penalty of burpees not only for the person who says it, but also the other people in the class. I also felt that it was my job to push her to her limits and go beyond what she thought she could do. This did not always go very well from trainer to client and vice versa, but I knew that if I quit pushing her then it would be my fault if she did not reach her goals. There is not a day that goes by Monday-Friday that she doesn’t walk in ready to workout.Over the past year, this lady has been an inspiration not only to me, but to the entire CFDS athletes. She has made some amazing accomplishments in just over a year, but this is just the beginning for her with CrossFit and her journey through FITNESS. Thank you so much for your hard-work, determination, motivation, and you always being you.   CrossFit Denham Springs presents the April 2013 “Athlete of the Month” to a great friend and awesome member in the CrossFit community to………… Michelle Sibley
Here is the Athlete of the Month Interview with Michelle.

Congratulations Michelle on being selected as April’s Athlete of the Month. How are feeling right now after hearing you have been selected as the Athlete of the Month?

**I feel very honored to be selected Athlete of the Month.  From the beginning, one of my main goals was to make Brad proud of me. I wanted to show him that I was willing to give it my all.  A year later, I can say that I am proud of me too.  Does that sound arrogant?  Truly, I do not feel arrogance.  Instead I just feel happy that I made the changes necessary.  When I reflect back to where I was before Crossfit, I can’t help but be happy with my progress.  Today, I know that I can do what I set my mind to accomplish.  No longer do I feel defeat, I feel strong.

Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

**I have been married to Terry Sibley for 27 years.  We have two grown daughters, Kayla and Karmyn.  As they were growing up, Terry and I watched our daughter’s dance recitals, Taekwondo, and competitive travel softball.  I was completely fulfilled being mom and number one fan to both girls.  We were perpetually busy keeping up with all of their activities.  When they both started college, I realized that I felt the Empty Nester’s syndrome.  They no longer needed a mother hen.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I really needed to find something that I enjoyed.  I am so happy that Crossfit is part of my daily routine.  It is what I do just for me and I love it!

How long have you been working out at CrossFit Denham Springs?

**It has been a year and a couple months since I joined in January 2012.

What was your reason for joining CrossFit Denham Springs?

**I joined Crossfit because I needed to lose lots of weight!  My health and quality of life was suffering.  On the day I joined, I was on my way home from seeing a dietitian.  Seeing the dietitian was part of my insurance pre-certification for weight loss surgery.    I had decided that I needed a radical change because my life depended on it.  As I said, I stopped to talk to Brad on my home from my appointment.  After talking to him, I decided to give Crossfit a chance.  I joined right then, no trial workouts necessary.  I knew that surgery was not going to be my easy fix!  I was determined to put in the work and fix myself!  

What is your fitness background?

**I have always been athletic.  In 1997, I had a trainer who was a competitive bodybuilder and within a couple years, he had whipped me into the best shape of my life.  He talked me into training to compete in a Fitness Competition.   While training, I fell and tore my ACL which required surgery.  Right after my injury, my gym closed and trainer moved away.  I truly grieved the loss of a lifestyle that I so enjoyed.  Plus, I was scared to re-injure my knee.  What followed was a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain and depression. 

What is your favorite part of CrossFit?

**I have a lot of favorites!  I look forward to seeing my friends everyday.  We have so much fun and enjoy great camaraderie.  I appreciate their words of encouragement.  Everyone has a special place in my heart.  But, my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE is my trainer, my buddy and my hero, Brad!  OK, the truth is that we act like Mr. & Mrs. Bicker-some on a daily basis.  He picks on me relentlessly and I throw it right back.  But, I have to admit…Brad is my hero!  Because I know him, my life is better.  In the beginning, I had to lean on Brad’s strength, courage and belief in me when I had none.  From day one, he never let me give up on myself.  I used to think he hated me because he made me do the hard work.  I thought I had given all I had, but he always asked for more.  I used to cry and ask him, “Why are you so mean?”  lol!  I can laugh now because I have gotten to the other side.  I appreciate his toughness.  If he had not been tough, I would still be miserably fat and lazy.  My laziness was no match for Brad!!!  I felt like he was breaking me down, but, he was actually building me up.  When I was so scared that my knee would get hurt, he would tell me to trust him.  Because I trusted him, I can honestly say that my knee injury has become a non-issue.  Thank you Brad for being my trainer, my confidant, and very trusted friend. 

Has CFDS changed your life? And if it has, please explain.

**I have a social outlet where I meet a group of positive people every day.  They make my day so much sweeter!  

What results have you seen since joining CrossFit?

**So far, I have lost about 45 pounds.  I want to lose more.  I know that I will meet my weight loss goal eventually.  My body is much stronger.  I do not get fatigued like I used to.  When I first started working out, I would go home, shower and face plant into my pillow for a big ole 2 hour nap.  I was whooped!  Now, I have much more stamina during my workout and energy throughout the day.   As a bonus, I enjoy shopping for clothes again.  I remember the day that I brought about five items into the dressing room and they all fit.  It felt so good!  Hooray for small victories!  

What are your future training goals?

**My goal is to continue training and get stronger and leaner.  For me, running was extremely tough.  When Brad told me I had to run down the road, I wanted to run away!  The last thing I wanted to do was bounce my behind down Hwy 16!  Now, I am not self conscious at all.  I wish to be faster and have more stamina. Maybe one day, I will actually enjoy running.  I feel that happening slowly.

What is your favorite workout? Why?

**Favorite workout?  I really don’t have a particular favorite.  All tough.  All good.  All leave me laid out and panting in the end!  

What is your favorite movement in CrossFit?

**I think that my lower body is pretty strong.  I would probably say all forms of squats are my favorite. 

What is your least favorite movement in CrossFit?

**My least favorite used to be the dreaded burpees, but they are OK now.  Pull-ups are still very difficult.  One day, I will be lighter and stronger.  Then, I might be able to do real pull-ups without a band.

Do you have any other special or successful CrossFit Denham Springs memories/moments?

**I have enjoyed our Crossfit Dinners and Christmas Party.  We are a crazy cool bunch of people.  Lots of laughs and good times! 

What advice would you give to a newbie or someone just joining CrossFit?

**Show up.  Work hard.  Stick with it.  Never give up.  Give it your all.  You will be proud of yourself.

February 2013 Athlete of the Month 
The athlete of the month for this month is just like the majority of people when they first start off doing CrossFit. He was brought in for an intro by a personal friend of mine who had contacted me because he wanted to get his cousin involved in CrossFit. So we setup a day and time for my friend Wayne and his cousin to come in on a Friday evening for his first ever CrossFit experience. The WOD for this particular day was hang power cleans, abmat situps, and hand release pushups and I suggested that he do a total different WOD being his first day, but he insisted that he wanted to challenge himself. Needless to say I think he made it through 2 rounds and he through in the towel for about 10 minutes and then finished the WOD. I knew from that day he was going to be a client of CrossFit Denham Springs that was going to give every WOD 110% no matter what was written on the whiteboard. Since doing his first WOD a few months ago, David has been working to become more fit and in better shape than ever before. David comes at least 4-5 times a week and usually stays an extra 30-45 minutes to work on things he thinks are his weaknesses. David is a member that represents what CrossFit is all about and he is now doing things that he once thought were so hard on a daily basis.
CrossFit Denham Springs wants to thank David Helminiak for his hard work and determination and also congratulate him on being the Athlete of the Month for February 2013.Congratulations David on being selected as the February Athlete of the Month. How do you feel about being selected for this award?
It feels amazing. It Makes me feel accomplished. Not only because of the work I put in but that other people have noticed the effort I have put into learning the techniques and pushing myself.

How long have you been attending classes at CrossFit Denham Springs? How would you describe the class setting for someone not familiar with CrossFit?
I just made three months at the end of January. For as the class setting I could only describe it as a team. Where you always have someone backing you up and pushing you harder.

You described the class as a team, do you think working in the group setting is better than working out alone? Why?
Absolutely, it is better working in a group. Sure working out alone may work for some people but it is so much easier to stay motivated and push yourself to the limit when the person next to you is still pushing out reps and you can’t physically go anymore.

Since doing CrossFit the last 3 months, do you feel you have become more active outside of CrossFit? Are there things you can do now that you once thought were too hard to do?
I just finished a 20 mile hike with a 40 lbs pack in very hilly terrain. Three months ago there would have been no way I would have been able to complete the trip. So I would think I am a lot more active now than I have been in the last few years.

What do you say is your favorite WOD you have completed and why?
Cindy is my favorite WOD right now because it was the first WOD I was able to Rx. It was the first time I was able to do pull-ups without bands.

What is your least favorite WOD and why?
Any WOD that I feel at the end of it I could have tried harder to get more reps or a better time.

Favorite movement?
My favorite movement would have to be clean and jerk. Nothing better than sound of weights hitting ground after they have been lifted over your head.

Least favorite movement?
Slam balls would be my least favorite movement because it wears me out more than any other movement we do.

CrossFit is big on eating better and being healthier. One of the diets followed by CrossFitters around the world is the Paleo Diet, do you follow the Paleo Diet 100% or is it more of a Monday-Friday diet followed by a weekend of eating whatever?
I wish I was able to follow the Paleo diet 100% but I have a true weakness for burritos. I would say I follow about 80% Paleo and 20 % whatever I want. On the other hand I have almost completely cut cokes out of my diet and hardly eat any salt.

What is your weight lose since joining CFDS? Since losing this weight do you feel you have gotten stronger or weaker with your weight lose?
Honestly I have not lost any weight since I have joined crossfit but I have lost a ton of fat especially from my mid section. I have always heard that muscle weights more than fat so hopefully I am just converting all those pounds I was carrying around to muscle. There is no doubt that I have gotten stronger. I have consistently gotten PR’s over the last few weeks.

Explain the experience you have had at CrossFit since you started.
The experience I have had at CrossFit since I have started has been exceptional on every level. I love the everyday competitiveness of the program and the results that I am seeing because of that competitiveness.
If you could describe what CrossFit is to someone who has never heard of it or tried it, how would you describe it in a way that would encourage them to try it?
I would say that it is a fitness program that promotes hard work and competitiveness but provides real results to the people that are committed to the program. It provides you with the knowledge from your trainers and the physical ability from your training to do things you never thought you would be able to do.


January 2013 Athlete of the Month

Me & john








Starting off the new year most people have a list “goals” they want to accomplish over the course of the year. Alot of the time the goals consist of saving money and other financial goals, but majority of the time eating healthier and getting into better shape are at the top of that list. The “Athlete of the Month” (AOTM)  for January 2013 is no different from the people who have eating healthier and hitting the gym on their list. This months “AOTM” is very familiar with the eating and gym part of things being she was one of the past winners of the Paleo Challenge and also being a Collegeiate Athlete. This athlete has not only put in the work while in college playing sports, but also over the past couple of months doing CrossFit. Hardwork and determination is what helps individuals reach their goals no matter what may come between them and thier goals. The athlete of the month is one of those individuals who will climb any wall no matter how high it may be to reach her goals. CrossFit Denham Springs (CFDS) is very proud to have this person apart of this gym as an athlete, a motivator, and inspiration to her fellow CrossFitters.

CrossFit Denham Springs gladly announces the “Athlete of the Month” to…………………………. Kelli O’Donoghue!!

Check out the interview with Kelli below.

Kelli, congratulations on being selected as “Athlete of the Month”  as well as being Paleo Challenge Winner for the females. What do think about starting off 2013 with these 2 accomplishments and being noticed for your hardwork you put in?
I am just floored, totally unexpected.  I think it’s a great way to start off my 41st year.
What is your occupation and does your job have you active throughout the day or sitting behind a desk?
 I am the Assistant Controller at Providence Engineering, an environmental engineering consulting firm in Baton Rouge.  I sit behind a desk… ALL. DAY. LONG.
What class at CrossFit do you attend and why?
  I attend the 5:30am class.  I am so NOT a morning person, but this is the only time of day that I can commit to myself and do something that is just for me. I used to think that that was selfish, but as I have gotten older I have come to realize that I HAVE TO make time for my health.  I feel like it makes me a better wife & mom. If you asked my family, I think they would readily agree.
So with you and the previous “athlete of the month” both being members of the 5:30am class, is there something to say about the 5:30am class?
Definitely!  I hate getting out of bed in the morning –period. But getting out of bed when it’s still dark out…that’s just awful.  I keep doing it though, in part because of the people I get to hang out with when I get to our box.  There are anywhere from 6-8 of us that come every day. All of us go to work right after our class ends so we all like to get in and get to work and get home.  I know I can count on them for the support & encouragement I need to get through our daily WODs.  And some laughs.
Any words of advice to give the other CrossFit classes or words to have them step up their game?
 I’m not sure I’m qualified to give any advice… I’m just trying to be better than I was yesterday.  There is a little saying that I try to follow.  “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse”.  It helps me when I’m feeling not-so-motivated.
Before CrossFit, what were you doing to stay active and live a healthier lifestyle? Do you feel CrossFit has helped you get back on track with being more health congenious for you and your family?
 Before Crossfit, I would workout intermittently – join a gym, quit, join a gym, quit…etc.   I was unhappy with the way I looked and felt, but I just didn’t like anywhere that I joined. I didn’t know what to do on a day-to-day basis to get myself fit. I learned about Crossfit from the internet, and it sounded like something I would enjoy, but honestly, I was too chicken to join until July 2, 2012.  From my first day, I knew I had found the place for me. Crossfit  definitely has me back on track.  I feel better than I have in years. 
In college you ran track at LSU, what did you run and what is your most memorable thing about running for LSU?
 I was recruited out of HS (T.C. Williams – Alexandria, Virginia) as a High Jumper. My first two years at LSU I did the HJ exclusively. My Jr. & Sr. years I also competed in the Heptathlon  (the Heptathlon is the female version of the Decathlon. It is a two day event comprised of the following 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, 200m, Long Jump, Javelin & 800m).  Some of the more memorable moments include winning SEC & NCAA Team Championships and Jumping a PR of 6’1/2”.  It was a very special time in my life, I met people from all over the world and consider my  former teammates and coaches family.  I cherish the 4 years spent as a Tiger.
Being a former college athlete do you think the competition side of CrossFit helps you push yourself harder than you would if you were working out by yourself?
 The competitive aspect to Crossfit is my favorite part! I push way harder than I would if I was working out by myself.
Being a former college runner, being that running is common in CrossFit workouts do you feel that helps you at the WODs?
ugh… I really don’t care for running. It is one of my weaknesses. I am getting better at it though and I do see the benefits to my overall fitness and my mental toughness.  I did the “Play Dirty” 5k in the fall and it was the easiest race I have ever done, even with all the obstacles my time was not far off of my former 5k best time. Which I think speaks volumes for the daily programming that we complete.

How long have you been doing crossfit?

I have been Crossfitting 6 months.

What is the coolest part of CrossFit in your eyes?

The competitive nature of workouts, followed very closely by the camaraderie.

Favorite WOD and why?

Hero WOD “Brenton” 7/3/12 –  This WOD was the very first WOD I did after my intro workout.  I remember it being so hard, thinking to myself “why am I doing this”??” There is no way I can do this “ – just all of this self-doubt and being mad at myself for getting so out of shape.  That was the workout I met Tamara and Amanda and they were so nice and kept encouraging me the whole time.  I think Tamara even finished the WOD and then put on a weight vest and started doing it again! I think at that point I realized this wasn’t going to be a typical gym environment…& I liked it.  I finally finished and just knew that I had finally landed at the right place.

Favorite movement(s).

Tie – Cleans & HSPU –  with bands right now, but I’m working towards Rx in 2013

Least favorite movement(s).


What type of experience have you had doing crossfit?

Awesome. Obviously, some days are better than others, but for the most part it’s been just great. I talk it up every chance I get.

Do you think CrossFit is something all people should give a try at if they are looking to get back in shape and be healthier in 2013, and why?

Yes! I think Crossfit works for all demographics. The scalability is what makes it work.  I even bring my kids with me to work out during Saturdays group WODs

Anything else you would like to say to your fellow CrossFitters or someone reading this interview.

To my fellow Crossfitters; you are top notch, You motivate me to always strive to be better.  To my husband John and my kids Ty & Abby;  your support is appreciated more than you will ever know.  To everyone else; if you are looking for a great place to work out and make some new friends come check out Crossfit Denham Springs!


December 2012 Athlete of the Month







The “Athlete of the Month” for December 2012 is one that has overcame the struggles that life throws his way, but has chosen to throw something back at life and can now smile about it. This athlete has done it all from being  a”Bull Dogger”, type of bull riding, to a competitive dirt bike rider. If anyone knows anything about these hobbies/extreme sports you know that these are not the most safe sports to be involved in by any means and the chance of injury is higher than other popular sports. For me personally just the thought of participating in these two sports is just crazy being the sacarfice of putting your body in such a situation everyday. This athlete is a prime example of how hard work in the gym and eating “Paleo” will pay off with great benefits. Not only did this athlete get awarded ” Athlete of the month”, but he also won the October Paleo Challenge by losing 37.5 lbs and 6% body fat in just 45 days. Congratulations to this athlete for what he has done while being a member at CFDS and what he continues to do for himself and by motivating other members in the BOX.

The “Athlete of the Month” for December 2012 is………… Casey Lewis!!!

Below is Casey’s interview on getting this award.

Casey, congratulations on being selected as “Athlete of the Month” and also winning the Paleo Challenge. How do you feel about these two accomplishments?

I am really surprised,  I know I am not the best athlete in the box but my goal from the beginning was consistency and so far I am going on 21 weeks at 5 days a week sometimes 6.

What is your occupation and how do you fit CrossFit into your schedule?

AT&T-Service Tech
I work long hours usually about 60-70 hours a week so the only time I have to go is 5:30 in the morning.

How long have you been doing crossfit?

I started July 20 (about 5 months).

Are you a firm believer in hard work will pay off in the gym and has it worked for you?

Yes!! I am doing things I haven’t done in a very long time because of past injuries. I am running, jumping etc…..

Where there any obstacles that you had to overcome when you started doing CrossFit? (injuries, out of shape, etc)

November 2009 I had a dirt bike wreck and shattered my left ankle.  I had 3 surgeries, 13 screws and 3 plates.  Doctors said I would never be able to run or jump again.

What is the coolest part of CrossFit in your eyes?

Never knowing what the work-out will be for the day and the support from everyone!

Favorite WOD and why?

Any WOD with cleans in it.

Favorite movement(s).

Wall Balls

Least favorite movement(s).


What type of experience have you had doing crossfit?

Before I joined CrossFit I was going to have my ankle fused because of the pain.  Since starting CrossFit this is the first time I have ran or jumped in 3 years.  I still have a long way to go, but it is a start.


November 2012 Athlete of th Month

Starting November 2012, every month CrossFit Denham Springs will present an athlete with the “Athlete of the Month” Award. This award is not  presented to the athlete based on how good they might be at CrossFit or how strong they may be. The award is given based of the foundation of why CrossFit was made, HARDWORK, DETREMINATION, AND MOTIVATION. The athlete this month has shown me and her training partners the meaning of CrossFit is more than just a positive impact in her Life. This athlete has had the highs and lows that everybody has had since doing CrossFit. She has hit PR’s on her lifts and the next day struggle to do good at a running WOD. This athlete goes in early and stays late to get better at the things she struggles with no matter if its pullups or double unders. She is a motivator in more ways than she even thinks she is. She gets knocked down 9 times and gets up 10 and that shows alot about who she is as a person and athlete inside and outside the doors of CrossFit. CrossFit Denham Springs is honored to have her as a client of this BOX and the years to come!!

CrossFit Denham Springs would like to present the 1st ever “Athlete of the Month” to…. Amanda Gauthier!! Amanda is a 19 year old Sophomore at LSU.Please read the interview with Amanda on receiving this Award and  CrossFit below.

First ever athlete of the month, what does that mean to you? It means a lot to me! It a really good feeling to know that my progression is being recognized.  It just makes me even more motivated to become better!

How long have you been doing crossfit?  I have been doing crossfit for about 8 months now.

Prior to doing CrossFit, were you actively working out and what were you doing? How does CrossFit compare to your previous workouts? Yes, I had a membership at Snap fitness, and I started going to LA boxing and taking kickboxing classes. In my opinion CrossFit is so much more fun, challenging, and effective. I was getting bored with the same routine every week. It gets old. But WODs are different every single day which keeps me wanting to go to my BOX everyday.

Like most people, you have a busy schedule. Whats your major in college? Kinesiology –concentration in fitness studies.

Do you think CrossFit helps with your major being that  both deal with the human body? If so, how? Yes, an example would be in the kinesiology class that i am in now which is a strength and conditioning class. I already knew alot of information and anything i didn’t know was just more interesting because i was just thinking of how i could apply it to crossfit.

Has crossfit made a positive impact in your life and if so how? YES!! I LOVE IT! I don’t know how I’ve gone for so long without it! It just completes my whole day. Plus I’ve gained a whole other family now!

Favorite WOD and why? Favorite WOD…hmmm…I don’t remember which one exactly, but I would probably have to say that my favorite would be which ever WOD i finally did pullups the whole time without a band.  That was exciting for me.

Favorite movement(s). Favorite movements are basically any lifts!! I also like wall balls and T2B (until my hands rip atleast! lol)

Least favorite movement(s). Least favorite movement would be RUNNING.  Maybe one of these days I’ll like it, but not now.

What type of experience have you had doing crossfit? A great experience! I like seeing constant progression in myself and in the people around me.  And as much as everybody pushes themselves, they push everyone else even harder.  It’s awesome motivation.

Do you recommend CrossFit to anyone looking for a good workout regimen and why? OF COURSE! I think everyone should do Crossfit! The changes you will get are amazing. You’ll become so much faster and stronger, and what makes it all so much better is that you get so much support from your crossfit family!!