Customer of the MonthApril

Josh R. (He/Him/His)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I am a lecturer at Northwestern University where I teach experimental performance in their Radio/TV/Film and Performance Studies departments. I also work for a food bank in Ravenswood and have an artistic practice of very questionable taste and success.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

During the pandemic I started to dislike the whole gym/fitness experience. I felt bored. Team sports weren’t an option at that point, but I needed something different. It was a really effective change-up for me. I’ve stayed around because I genuinely enjoy the people here and the challenge of CrossFit overall.

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

I would like to be an overall stronger/faster athlete in CrossFit. But I do like my progress!

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

Probably muscle-ups.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

I actually like wall-walks.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Double-unders. Because I can’t do double-unders.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

I think my overall reservation with joining CrossFit was because it’s very intimidating. Hardware is great because even though the CrossFit aspect is still intimidating and difficult, the environment isn’t. It felt really accepting and welcoming which made a difference in my experience.

Customer of the MonthFebruary

Damon N. (He/Him/His)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’m a recovering attorney. After years of litigation I recently shifted my career focus and am loving the improved work-life balance (and so does my husband). For fun, I like traveling, and enjoy all things sci-fi. During the winter months I like to binge a really good open world video game on x-box (Assassin’s Creed and Star Wars). I’m also a dog co-parent to two rescue dogs (a shiba-inu and beagle mix) who are both crazy in their own ways.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

My background in fitness prior joining Hardware was full distance triathlons (Ironman) and marathon running. I moved to Andersonville in 2021 and was looking to continue my adventures in functional fitness (which I had recently discovered during COVID when the lakefront was shut down in 2020 – which meant no running). After our move to Andersonville I did some googling and I found Hardware. At first, I was a bit unsure about coming and trying out a class because a lot of the movements were entirely new to me (I don’t think I’d ever touched a barbell in my life, or if I had, it had been decades; and don’t even get me started about rope climbs!). I was hooked almost immediately after my first few classes. I love learning new things and testing out what my body is capable of doing/learning. Overall, the things that keep me coming back to Hardware are the community (lets face it, no one would ever decide to do 50 box jumps at 6:00 am if there weren’t other people doing it alongside you); and the coaches (seriously, all of them are great).

 

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My fitness goals for this year are (and continue to be); getting better at doing double unders and handstand pushups. If my body is cooperating, sometimes I can string together a few double-unders. Handstand pushups, for me, is less of a strength issue and more of a coordination/confidence issue. Maybe sometime in the far distant future I’d like to consider working towards doing a muscle-up.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I remember when I first started at Hardware it was hard for me to get into a squat (having a desk job isn’t the best for overall flexibility; and flexibility is something I completely neglected). After lots of practice with back and front squats, they are much easier; and movements I (sometimes) look forward to doing. Besides the squats, I’m amazed that I was able to do a rope climb (and still am, to be honest).

 

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

This is a tough question to answer because I truly think it changes from week to week (or day to day). Right now, my favorite movement would probably be either box jump-overs, alternating dumbbell snatches or really anything with a kettle bell (russian/american swings). Sometimes I even enjoy a good thruster (I can’t believe I actually said that, but its true).

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Overhead squats. I can do them (now, sort-of), but I always question my life choices when I’m in a squat with a barbell raised over my head.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Just do it. The community is great, the coaches are great, and you’ll learn so much about yourself and get some exercise in the process. And more importantly, don’t feel afraid about not being able to do some type of movement, there are scales of everything, and I can’t think of one person in the gym who has mastered every single “crazy” movement that we do.

Customer of the MonthMarch

Damon N. (He/Him/His)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’m a recovering attorney. After years of litigation I recently shifted my career focus and am loving the improved work-life balance (and so does my husband). For fun, I like traveling, and enjoy all things sci-fi. During the winter months I like to binge a really good open world video game on x-box (Assassin’s Creed and Star Wars). I’m also a dog co-parent to two rescue dogs (a shiba-inu and beagle mix) who are both crazy in their own ways.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

My background in fitness prior joining Hardware was full distance triathlons (Ironman) and marathon running. I moved to Andersonville in 2021 and was looking to continue my adventures in functional fitness (which I had recently discovered during COVID when the lakefront was shut down in 2020 – which meant no running). After our move to Andersonville I did some googling and I found Hardware. At first, I was a bit unsure about coming and trying out a class because a lot of the movements were entirely new to me (I don’t think I’d ever touched a barbell in my life, or if I had, it had been decades; and don’t even get me started about rope climbs!). I was hooked almost immediately after my first few classes. I love learning new things and testing out what my body is capable of doing/learning. Overall, the things that keep me coming back to Hardware are the community (lets face it, no one would ever decide to do 50 box jumps at 6:00 am if there weren’t other people doing it alongside you); and the coaches (seriously, all of them are great).

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My fitness goals for this year are (and continue to be); getting better at doing double unders and handstand pushups. If my body is cooperating, sometimes I can string together a few double-unders. Handstand pushups, for me, is less of a strength issue and more of a coordination/confidence issue. Maybe sometime in the far distant future I’d like to consider working towards doing a muscle-up.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I remember when I first started at Hardware it was hard for me to get into a squat (having a desk job isn’t the best for overall flexibility; and flexibility is something I completely neglected). After lots of practice with back and front squats, they are much easier; and movements I (sometimes) look forward to doing. Besides the squats, I’m amazed that I was able to do a rope climb (and still am, to be honest).

 

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

This is a tough question to answer because I truly think it changes from week to week (or day to day). Right now, my favorite movement would probably be either box jump-overs, alternating dumbbell snatches or really anything with a kettle bell (russian/american swings). Sometimes I even enjoy a good thruster (I can’t believe I actually said that, but its true).

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Overhead squats. I can do them (now, sort-of), but I always question my life choices when I’m in a squat with a barbell raised over my head.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Just do it. The community is great, the coaches are great, and you’ll learn so much about yourself and get some exercise in the process. And more importantly, don’t feel afraid about not being able to do some type of movement, there are scales of everything, and I can’t think of one person in the gym who has mastered every single “crazy” movement that we do.

Customer of the MonthFebruary

Hande P. (she/her/hers)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I live in Andersonville with my husband, Dan, and my two dogs, Woodrow and Vedder. I work from home and am part of the merchant care team at a third-party logistics company based in Chicago, supporting small to mid-size businesses manage and grow their operations. When I’m not working, you can find me watching true crime documentaries, trying new recipes, listening to vintage records, walking my dogs around the neighborhood, and continuously searching for the perfect pair of leggings.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

Throughout my life, I’ve always been focused on working non-stop and emotional avoidance. It wasn’t until 2020 when the world went into lockdown that I was finally forced to slow down and confront the things I had been avoiding. It was a turning point for me, a moment when I had to choose between giving up or fighting back. In January of 2022, I entered into an intense program where I received a diagnosis and treatment for addiction, PTSD, and depression. Without a doubt, it was the most challenging six months of my life. Shortly after, I lost my dog Buddy, who had been my everything for thirteen years. After caring for him during his illness, his absence created a painful emptiness. I didn’t know how to navigate life without him. Two weeks after losing my Bud, I decided to walk through the doors of Hardware, and it was the best decision I ever made for me. Grief brought me to Hardware, but the incredible impact it has on my mental health and the people is what keeps me coming back.

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Since I started working again and had to switch to 7 am, my focus has been to get my butt out of bed and to class at least 3 days a week. I promised myself back in November that if I could consistently make 3 classes a week for 4 weeks, I would switch back to unlimited, which I’ll be doing in February! Overall my main goal has always been to keep showing up for myself.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I’ll never forget the first time I was in a class where we had to do box jumps, and instead of a box, I could only jump onto a 45 lbs plate. I remember thinking I would never be able to jump on to a box, let alone RX a wod. It definitely feels surreal and pretty great to be able to do both. I often look back at my results in btwb from when I first started, and it’s hard to believe how much stronger I’ve gotten in a year and a half. And on top of that, I made some amazing new friends in my 40s, which is an accomplishment I’m truly proud of!

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

Deadlifts and squats forever! Although cleans have been growing on me!

 

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Anything where I need to be up side down. Turkish-get ups. Also, double-unders. Also, running.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Embrace consistency, rather than relying on motivation. Keep track of your progress with the help of apps like btwb, and revel in the satisfaction of seeing how far you’ve come. When Coach Dana says, “rest is crucial” believe him! Once I started prioritizing rest while committing to a steady routine of 3 to 4 days a week, my performance and energy levels improved wildly. Hardware is a safe space for any skill level. Everyone is welcoming, supportive, and always ready to cheer you on!

Customer of the MonthJanuary

Kristie Z (she/her/hers)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’ve lived in Ravenswood for the past 20 years with my husband, Bryan (also a Hardware member!) and my 2 kids, Henry & Lucy (who have both moved to Los Angeles).  I love to cook and work in our garden, and you’ll usually find me walking our dog around the neighborhood.  I also love to travel and seem to visit California a lot!

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I’m the last of my family to join Hardware.  My son started first in high school and then my daughter and husband followed.  I’ve always exercised but mainly did cardio. I finally decided that it was time for me to lift weights. I want to build muscle and strengthen my bones to stay active, healthy and injury free as I get older.  What keeps me coming back –  the amazing community of people, supportive coaches and that feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout.


WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My overall goal is to stay consistent and keep showing up.  I’d also love to do a pull up and string together some double-unders. Everything is a work in progress.

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I consistently track my workouts and just seeing the overall progress has been really satisfying.  Every increase in weight on my bar, no matter how small, is a big accomplishment.  I was also pretty happy to deadlift my body weight recently.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

I enjoy most movements but particularly like deadlifts and shoulder to overhead.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

Overhead squats.  The bar should never be over my head when I’m in a squat.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Hardware is such a welcoming place so just try it!  I honestly wish I had started years ago. You’ll be challenged in the best possible way!

 

Customer of the MonthDecember

Matt M (he/him/his)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’m kind of a vagabond: I was born and raised in Northern California, graduated high school in Philadelphia, went to college in DC, and have lived/worked in 16 states. Despite all those moves, Chicago has always felt like home: my parents both grew up here and are high school sweethearts, and my whole family lives here now. Make no mistake, though: I’m a passionate San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan who tolerates the Cubs and Bears.

I’ve spent my career in politics and government – the first 15 years or so working on campaigns around the country, the last eight in Chicago.

Like many others, Hardware is a family affair, and you can often see my wife (Lourdes) and daughter (Madeline) at the gym or in the playroom. Fun fact: Lourdes and I first met on a relief mission to Puerto Rico a few months after Hurricane Maria. As of May, we live a few miles west of the gym, in Sauganash.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I remember this pretty distinctly: I was at a wedding in the Bay Area in May of 2015, and a bunch of us went hiking the morning after the ceremony. It wasn’t a particularly grueling trail, but I was out-of-breath, sweating profusely (hard to do in coastal, 58-degree weather), and generally struggling. I was holding the group back, and I was embarrassed. I had been a decent athlete through high school and always enjoyed competing, but a pretty serious shoulder injury, and normal life circumstances (plus plenty of food and booze) had led to this point.

At the time I had just moved back to Chicago to work on a campaign, and was living down the street from Hardware. I sent an email inquiry the day I got back from the trip, and had my intro class with George two days after that. I’ve been coming back (more or less) ever since. Before Hardware, I usually always had a globo gym membership in whatever city I was living in at the time, and occasional bursts of commitment. What was missing was the consistency, and really a plan. Hardware provided a level of structure and accountability I hadn’t realized I needed – even (or especially) on the days I didn’t want to hear it. But having coaches who were invested in my progress and potential – and who observed my effort and attendance – made a huge difference.

As virtually everyone else has noted, Hardware’s is also an incredible and dynamic community, and I’ve been fortunate to make some really good friends here.

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Good question. I’m probably guilty of complacency and riding an interminable “maintenance phase” at the moment. In general I’m happy just to get to the gym regularly and to keep up with younger/better athletes on most WODs and not embarrass myself. More specifically, I want to get my cardiovascular fitness/engine closer to what it was pre-pandemic/fatherhood, and I’d also eventually like to perform the elusive muscle up.

To get there, I need to drop some weight, which means more time in the gym, and a better nutrition plan. So, not as close as I’d like?

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

Honestly it’s hard to top the initial 6-8 months where progress is most obvious. It was really rewarding to see and feel the work paying off. From there, being able to consistently Rx most WOD’s felt really good, because I still remember feeling early on like I would never be able to do some of the most fundamental movements. That’s really a testament to the coaching, which has always been so good here, particularly on the more technical lifts.

Completing Murph each Memorial Day is also a proud if sobering accomplishment.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

On balance I like barbell movements, and WOD’s that incorporate a good cardio burn with something like a dumbbell snatch.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
My aversion to double-unders is well established: it took me more than three years to be able to do them consistently, and even today I’ll occasionally find myself in a rope-throwing rage when they’re not clicking. But this is also a redemption story: I (kind of) enjoy them now, and seek out WODs where I can put this hard-earned skill into practice.

While I don’t hate them per se, I don’t care for WODs with a high volume of toes-to-bar. And I’ll never use a metal-plated dumbbell again.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Once you’ve walked in the door the first time (which is an accomplishment in and of itself), give yourself three months. Even if you’re instantly hooked (like I was), there will be some days you don’t want to go to the gym, or you may get to class but just want to walk out the door during one of Coach Owen’s warmups. You will have some days where you’re tired, frustrated, or feel like your progress stalled out and this isn’t worth it. Resist that temptation, embrace the discomfort, and allow yourself some patience and grace until it becomes routine. CrossFit isn’t for everyone, and there’s no shame in that. But I genuinely think most everyone can find something meaningful in Hardware’s approach – and in the community here – if you’re open to putting in the work.

Customer of the MonthNovember

Julie K (she/her/hers)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I’m an impact producer, which means I help filmmakers, podcasters, and other media creators launch projects in a way that helps them reach the audiences who need them most in order to create the change they hope to make in the world. I love what I do. When I’m not working, I’m cooking, reading, or looking in the mirror at my gym bruises.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

Childhood asthma sidelined me from a lot of activity when I was a kid, and I’ve spent my adulthood figuring out how to keep my body moving. After walking past Hardware lots and lots of times and seeing indicators on the Instagram account pointing to an inclusive and welcoming environment, I decided to give it a try. What’s kept me coming back? The community and the coaching. I might drag my feet on the way to class (every single time), but I never regret walking in the door.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

My main goal right now is to just show up and embrace the sweat, sore muscles, and everything else that comes with the workouts, especially when the activities are way outside of my comfort zone. Lately I’ve been making it to class three times a week, and that’s a big win for me.

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

It’s been exciting to work on box jumps. When I first started at Hardware, I had to relearn how to do any sort of jumping; I started just by jumping to a line on the ground. Slowly I’ve worked up to jumping on higher stacks of plates, and you can be sure that I celebrated the first time I jumped up on one of the low boxes. It’s still super intimidating for me, and I’m inspired every time I see y’all flying on box jump days.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

It turns out I love sit-ups, wall walks, kettlebell swings, and jumping rope. Also, I hate burpees but love devil’s presses. Still figuring that one out.

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Running. I’m sure it’s a character flaw. I can live with that.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

Trust the coaches. Believe them when they tell you that every move is scalable. And don’t worry about competing or keeping up with everyone else. Your workout and progress belongs to you.

Customer of the MonthSeptember

Liscel E (she/her/hers)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I was born in Chicago, grew up in the western suburbs and have lived in Lincoln Square/Ravenswood for 10+ years. I’m an executive assistant for a design-build construction company and mom to, soon to be 7 year old, Evelyn.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

I heard about crossfit while training for my 2nd marathon.  It took months to work up the courage to step into a gym, but when I did, I stopped running, sold my bib and never looked back.  This is my 10th year in crossfit and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love strength training and like how I feel after every workout- challenged and accomplished.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Currently, my fitness goals are to go to class as much as I can, exercise/move at least 30 min each day, while staying injury free. It would be great to get a strict pull up and I hope to continue crossfit for a long time and to set a healthy example for Evelyn.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

I try to RX each workout and overall lift more weight.

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

DT is a fave, I like burpees and love CLEANS!

 

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
Wall balls and thrusters.  Karen is the worst wod.

 

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?
Give it a try, Hardware is for everyone and all skill levels. The Hardware members are incredibly supportive and the coaches are excellent!

Customer of the MonthJuly

Cameron H (he/him/his)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?
I live in Andersonville with my awesome husband Manny (I’ve tried to get him to Hardware more times than I can count…he’s not perfect). We’re both hustlers with too many jobs and creative pursuits, but we wouldn’t know how to live any other way.  In a nutshell, I’d say my favorite things in life are cooking, making music (primarily on the piano), tending to plants, and consuming art in all its forms.  I’ve been in Chicago for over 20 years.  Despite our many problems, I love this city and am still amazed at how it feels like a well-kept secret.

My entire career has been dedicated to the performing arts here: I’ve run some theaters, produced a ton of shows/festivals, raised some money, and done just about anything else I could to help the community thrive. Last year, I started my own company helping small businesses with financial management. I will hop on my soapbox and proselytize about the importance of small businesses any chance I can get and am excited to have a chance to support them in this way.

 

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
I got bullied a lot as a kid and teenager for being shy and gay and weird and almost comically unathletic; gym class was a fresh kinda hell every day.  It took me a while to work through those emotions and I didn’t get back into group fitness until my late 20s, primarily through yoga.  I slowly began to understand that workout spaces could be supportive and uplifting and I started challenging myself to classes that took more skill and stamina.

I would frequently pass by Hardware when walking through the neighborhood and think, someday I’ll really push myself and try it out.  The first time I walked into the gym was in the middle of a WOD and the room was packed with people heaving around loaded barbells; I almost turned around and walked out. But I’m so glad I didn’t.  It took me a while to open up and get comfortable, but over the years, I’ve met fantastic people and achieved more physically than I ever thought possible.  Anybody can program a good fitness routine, but for a place to build a community culture that makes someone like me feel at home in a gym is very rare and special.

Also, I’ve had Crohn’s Disease for over 30 years and mention it here to let folks know that you can absolutely train effectively with a chronic illness.  Some days I don’t go as hard as I do other days and have learned scaling is my friend, but overall, the net benefit to my health is huge.

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
I’m a workaholic and struggle with placing fitness as a top priority.  Therefore, my main goal is always to just Get. To. Class.  If I do that, I’ve already won.  I’m also very analytical, so a continued goal is to keep learning more about each movement and how to do it the most efficiently….a shout-out to Coach Dana and Coach Vasilis, who really break things down in a way my brain understands.

Unlike many aspects of my life, I’m not tied to an outcome with my fitness, which feels liberating.  I just want to keep showing up and keep getting better and wherever that leads, I’m there for it.

Oh, and a handstand push-up.

 

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?
Participating in the Open has been so rewarding.  I’m very good at breaking my own rules and coming up with excuses for myself, but when I’m part of a team, I feel obligated to try my hardest to get those team points!  And when I do, I realize I’m capable of so much more than I thought possible, like 50 TTB in a row, or heavy snatches, or an absurd number of wall walks.  It’s such a testament to how mental all of this is.  Not standing in your own way is really the coolest.

 

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­
Double unders all day.  Deadlifts.  Biking.  I also love a super complex chipper WOD, since I’m so in my head staying on track with the workout that I forget how tired I am.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?
All of the gymnastics movements, especially on the rig. This is why I don’t look at the workouts in advance, because if I do and see rig work, I’m obviously making up an excuse for why I can’t go to class that day.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?
I mean, the only useful advice is to just go and try it out!  The proof is in the pudding.  Hardware is the rare gym in the sweet spot: somehow both holding you accountable for being your best but also not taking things too seriously.  There’s room for someone like me, who would never describe themselves as an “athlete,” to learn and grow and become a better version of themselves.  15-year old Cameron would never believe that one day he’d emphatically recommend that someone go to a gym, but here we are.  And it’s because of Hardware.

Customer of the MonthMarch

Andy F (He/Him/His)

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU DO OUTSIDE OF THE GYM?

I moved to Chicago from Florida after college, and the amazing Ravenswood/Andersonville community (including places like Hardware!) made it my new home. I now live in Irving Park with my partner, Tim, and our dog, Sammy. For work, I am a data nerd in supply chain for a consumer packaged goods manufacturer. The gym helps me balance the ridiculous amount of chocolate and snacks that are part of my day job.

WHAT INITIALLY GOT YOU INTO TRAINING AND WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?

For most of my adult life, the only atheltic activity where I had any experience was running. Eventually, I just got burned out from it, and I didn’t know how to get started with anything else. I have a close friend at another gym who encouraged me to try functional fitness, which brought me to Hardware. As someone who had basically never touched a barbell or dumbbell, I had a LOT to learn on day 1, but that’s what keeps me coming back. I love that with personal focus and support from the coaches and community at Hardware, you can see yourself achieving new things. And also, “achieving” doesn’t only have to mean nailing a new movement or a higher weight, but just showing up to class on a hard day can be a win.

WHAT ARE YOUR FITNESS GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

One big goal is to apply functional fitness to the only sports I play nowadays, which require the utmost athleticism: pickleball and disc golf. But seriously…my main goal is to make steady, consistent progress on the various movements. Specifically, I’d like to break into being able to do HSPU and get to a 3-digit snatch weight (need to put in that OLY time!).

WHAT’S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OR GOAL YOU’VE REACHED AT HARDWARE THAT MADE YOU THE MOST PROUD?

My first rope climb – it was not something I was willing to try until I was confident enough in my strength that I could do it. So there was both physical and mental stuff bundled into that accomplishment that I’ll remember!

FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?­­

Annie on the Run – combines my 2 favorite things (double unders and running) while also still crushing me with the sit-ups.

LEAST FAVORITE WOD/MOVEMENT?

This is super specific – getting into an overhead squat during a snatch. I still get very freaked out with having a barbell punched over my head while doing something that technical.

ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE INTERESTED IN TRYING OUT HARDWARE?

One great thing about Hardware is that the coaches know how to cater to everyone from those who are brand new to any kind of strength training (like me) all the way to very experienced athletes. My suggestion is to try out all the specialized classes: Foundations, OLY, gymnastics, open gym, HIIT. You will be welcomed at all of them, learn something new, and may even find a strength you didn’t know you had!