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Athlete Profile: Ladies of the Virtuosity Competition Team

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Photos by Hope Davis

Maybe you’ve noticed some badass ladies quietly repping out muscle-ups, or throwing ridiculous weights over their heads at the back of the gym during team practice times. Perhaps you’ve wondered who they are and what they’re doing. Wonder no longer: introducing the lovely ladies of the Virtuosity Competition Team!

First, a quick overview of the VCT:

What is the Virtuosity Competition Team? The VCT is a group of the strongest athletes in the CFV community. These athletes regularly represent CFV at local, regional, and national CrossFit competitions.

Can I watch the VCT throw down? The VCT will be heading to the 2014 CrossFit Games Northeast Regionals competition May 30th-June 1st.  They would love to have you come and cheer them on!

Can I join the VCT? Participation is by invitation only, but everyone is up for consideration — keep kicking ass in class and you’ll earn a spot!


jess

Fun Fact: Jess has been an individual competitor at the CrossFit Games twice, both times while training out of a globogym in Astoria with no bumpers, ropes, or other CrossFit niceties.

Name: Jessica Pamanian
Age: 30 **sigh**
Occupation: Personal Chef (at The Me in Meat) & CrossFit Coach/Personal Trainer

How long have you been training with the CFV team? Since August 2013.


Why did you choose to compete as a team as opposed to an individual? There’s safety in numbers and I enjoy the camaraderie.  Growing up as an only child was lonely, you know, and I never had anyone to talk to. I always played team sports like softball and soccer and created some of the best memories of my life while doing so.

Being part of a CrossFit team has always appealed to me, it’s just difficult to find a great one. In Team Virtuosity I’ve found it — an awesome group of people who happen to be really excellent at exercising.

Do you have any individual goals for this year’s Open & Games? If so, what are they?  Sure do. To overcome myself: my demons, my fears, my ego.  Since competing as an individual in 2010 & 2011, it’s been a bumpy ride.  I’ve been through a lot with CrossFit. It can be an emotional rollercoaster; a ride I both love and hate; and one that I swore I’d never ride again unless I was sure. So, now it’s about attaining my higher purpose, not necessarily finding it anymore, but proving to myself that it’s true.

If you could program one workout for the Open, what would it be and why? I don’t like this question at all. I’ve worked towards being a damn generalist — that’s a fact — and any attempt to program a workout in my favor would just be stupid. Thus, I’d have it be nothing more or less than that which Dave Castro so desires.

Why do you think so many people compete in the Open? What advice do you have for athletes participating in the Open for the first time? Competing in the Open is a fun way to be part of your CrossFit community. We are all looking for a connection after all; to one another, to our coaches and fellow athletes. Even if it’s just to connect by comparison, there’s a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself. We sweat, we cry, we bleed, and we do it together. It’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come as individuals and to be part of a community that values your growth and shares your journey.

For first-time Open competitors and veteran athletes alike, I’d say have some fucking fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously — it’s the CrossFit Open, for fuck’s sake, not the end of the world. Your score is not a reflection of you as a person, nor does it mean anything in the grand scheme of things. These numbers are a mere reflection of you in a single moment in time. Use these moments to learn about yourself. Introspect, but don’t dwell. They are tiny lessons – learn from them. If you leave it all out on the field, you will have no regrets.

Any other thoughts or comments on why the competition team is awesome? Yes. Wearing matching shirts, shoes and other paraphernalia is cool. And, I love C4. C4 for life.


emily

Fun Fact: Emily is barely 5′ tall and weighs a mere 115#, but managed to squeeze out a deadlift at 205# during her command 14.3 Open performance!

Name: Emily Buckley
Age: 25
Occupation: Manager of a kickboxing gym

How long have you been training with the CFV team? Started training before the 2013 Open, got a little hurt fell off. Now I’ve been training constantly since October.

Why did you choose to compete as a team as opposed to an individual? The level of competition as an individual athlete has drastically skyrocketed in the past few years.  I think the fun part about CrossFit is going to competitions to compete and being in that atmosphere. As a team we have our eyes set on regionals, and I think that would be a great experience competing there with this group.

Do you have any individual goals for this year’s Open & Games? If so, what are they? Individual goals preparing for the Open was mostly to get stronger across the board. I’m a pretty small person and when it comes to competing, my numbers aren’t quite up there with a lot of these chicks.

If you could program one workout for the Open, what would it be and why? If I could program a workout for the Open it would be something with burpees, toes to bar and then an AMRAP at the end of muscle ups, which are my best movements.

Why do you think so many people compete in the Open? What advice do you have for athletes participating in the Open for the first time?  I think CrossFitters in general have a level of competitiveness that draws them to this type of work out and atmosphere. So it’s not surprising to me that people flock to something like the Open: relatively inexpensive to sign up for, can be done at your own box, and a commitment level you choose yourself. I also think people are interested in how they “measure up” to other CrossFitters outside of their own box.

Any other thoughts or comments on why the competition team is awesome? I’m excited to see how we do in the Open; we’ve got some great athletes with unreal work ethic and an awesome team dynamic.


kath

Fun Fact: Kath wore the same Stacie Tovar-inspired white booty shorts for every Open workout, and claims she didn’t wash them until the Open was over with!

Name: Kathleen Ryan
Age: 28
Occupation: Executive Assistant

How long have you been training with the CFV team? Oh man, I think it has been about two years now!


Why did you choose to compete as a team as opposed to an individual? I think there is something to be said about achieving things as a unit. Most of the team members have been athletes in other team sports, prior to their CrossFit life. A major part of you becomes addicted to that locker room atmosphere, team camaraderie, and just that genuine awesome feeling of working with good people towards a pretty fun goal. We all get on really well (so I think!), compliment each other physically and mentally, and saw ourselves being successful as a team… so it was kind of a no brainer!

Do you have any individual goals for this year’s Open & Games? If so, what are they? For sure. I think after last year’s Open we all re-assessed what we needed to do as individuals to make it to Regionals this year as a team. We knew the work started then. Individually, I knew I had to commit to consistent and proper training to prepare myself as best I could for the Open and work on my weaknesses. That is all you can really do… one day at a time. I don’t have a goal of a certain rank, or desire to score the best, I just want to finish this Open knowing that I was as prepared as I could have been, and I gave it all I could. We all have put in the work over this last year so now it’s just up to us trusting our bodies to do that work.

If you could program one workout for the Open, what would it be and why? I honestly don’t really have an opinion either way on this one. Sorry, I know… boring. I sort of enjoy not knowing what is coming — it makes you tougher and mentally stronger as an athlete. You don’t always get to choose what you want in life, so by seeing how well your body and mind can adapt to something unpredictable… well that is the purest form of training right there.

Why do you think so many people compete in the Open? What advice do you have for athletes participating in the Open for the first time? It is a good feeling to be a part of something bigger and the sense of community that everyone talks about in CrossFit is very much felt during the Open. Everyone has his or her own reason… but my advice regardless of why you do it would be to not forget to have fun. As a team, we always talk about how you can get caught up with the Leaderboard and how everyone else is doing. Do it for you. If you think you can’t do something, still give it a go and push yourself as hard as you can. The rewards are greater that way and I can almost guarantee you that you will be surprised with the outcome.

Any other thoughts or comments on why the competition team is awesome? Ya know, I am going to get so much sh*t for being so sentimental, but I freaking love coming in and training with this group. We know how to work hard but have fun at the same time. That makes it all so worth it. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better combo. We are all passionate about this sport, and get to share in that. We support each other, encourage each other, and make each other better. I learn something different every day from one of these clowns and I am lucky to wake up each morning with the opportunity to be part of something so special.


nicky

Fun Fact: Nicky is quite possibly NYC’s fittest math teacher!

Name: Nicky Berman
Age: 28
Occupation: Math Teacher and Instructional Coach

How long have you been training with the CFV team? 4 months


Why did you choose to compete as a team as opposed to an individual? I am not much without this team! But seriously, being a part of this team is *hopefully* a mutually beneficial relationship: I am pushed to be a much better version of myself as a result of being a part of this group. I discover all the time that I can push myself way further than I thought, and it is only through training with these athletes that I’m able to realize this. During nearly every WOD and every day of training, I end up being able to lift far more than I thought possible, move way faster than I thought possible, and endure more pain that I thought possible – or than I ever would have known had I been training alone. While I’m less confident of my benefit to the team, I hope that I can contribute as well – both through my scores for the WODs but perhaps more importantly, through being a huge fan and supporter of each person on the team.

Do you have any individual goals for this year’s Open & Games? If so, what are they? Two words: MUSCLE UPS! I have woken up thinking about muscle ups pretty much every day for the past 3 months, and I think I’ll probably continue to do so every day until I can look at the gym from that perch on top of the rings. If you have any advice for me on how to conquer these things, please send it my way! More generally, I hope that my Open scores can have some impact on increasing our overall rank, even if only for one rep of one WOD!

If you could program one workout for the Open, what would it be and why? My ideal workout is pretty unlikely to be programmed for the Open because it would involve running – lots and lots of running – and running is one skill that never gets programmed. I think my next pick would be some version of Annie – sit-ups and double unders – with the addition of toes to bar. I have been working hard on increasing my pace and would love to be tested on those under pressure.

Why do you think so many people compete in the Open? What advice do you have for athletes participating in the Open for the first time? I think competing in the Open reminds us that being a part of CrossFit goes far beyond one individual or even one gym – it means being connected to a worldwide community that extends outside ourselves. I remember when I first joined CFV, just at the start of the Open season, and I hardly knew what the Open was. But I was immediately sure that it was something people were completely pumped up about and something I knew I wanted to be a part of. If you’re competing in the Open for the first time, take a second to stop and appreciate that! The Open is about pushing yourself hard and seeing how you match up, but it’s also about the chance to play your role in this community that promotes healthy living, fiery support of others, and pushing yourself to be the best version of you – some pretty cool stuff to be a part of.

Any other thoughts or comments on why the competition team is awesome? I am incredibly grateful to have the chance to work out with these ridiculous athletes. I am impressed and inspired each time I train with the members of this team – by their relentless drive, their unmatched discipline, their tolerance for pain (!) in pursuit of a goal, and most of all, their deep support for and belief in each other.

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  1. Kathleen says:

    MY GOD…I washed them!!

  2. Nicky says:

    sure ya did, Kath! :)

  3. Jeb says:

    Hey Ladies! Awesome profile! Can’t wait to watch you all kill it at Regionals!