February 1, 2016 by thao

Jay & Becky Tolpa




Q1. What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY? 


I will never forget coming in for the “athlete assessment” on the very first day.  It was open gym and there were incredibly fit shirtless guys and super-fit girls moving heavy weights and dropping them on the floor.  I was definitely super intimidated, and every time the weights dropped, I was worried that I was in someone’s way.  It took me some time to get comfortable working out next to the aforementioned athletes, and I had to figure out how to mentally see myself in this type of environment.  It took me some time to get used to the movements, and I had learn which classes I liked best, but once I got that nailed down, it was a lock!  Now here I am 9 months later, and I think I might have even dropped a barbell once or twice…

I thought I was in pretty good shape when I started, but I really only thought about my cardiovascular physical fitness.  I’m definitely getting stronger, and more comfortable with the movements too!  I know my upper body strength has improved immeasurably, and my core has gotten stronger.  I also notice that I stand up straighter and think more about my posture.  Snatches are still my archenemy, but I had a few that I felt ok about last week.  My biggest accomplishments to date are moving from double banded pull ups to using a single band at the end of last year, and I even started doing actual handstand push ups last month, like upside down and not on a box!! I feel proud of my achievements.  I certainly have a LONG way to go, but I’m so happy with what I’ve accomplished so far at CrossFit DNR.


Mobility, Mobility, Mobility!   I have been competitively body building for the past 15 years and working out for many years before that.  I never saw the importance of focusing any of my time on mobility or stretching, that all changed a few short months ago.  Starting CrossFit has been a humbling experience.  After working out for so many years, it has been like starting out all over again with these crazy new moves; squat cleans, snatches, handstand push ups, overhead squats, double unders, etc.  Even though I still can’t perform most of these exercises, I have enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself past new limits outside my comfort zone.

When I first started CrossFit, even DROMS made my back ache because my muscles were so incredibly tight from lifting heavy and mountain biking a ton, and NEVER stretching.  I have made small progress with my mobility and can start to do a few overhead movements.  My greatest success has been slowly being able to perform some of these complex movements by focusing on mobility on a weekly basis. My body feels way more limber now, not to mention I can reach my own back with a wash cloth in the shower too!

Q2. How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?


Going to the gym has never really been my thing.  I was always working on ways to incorporate fitness into my life, but being a mom comes first.  I work a weird alternative schedule so I can be home with my kids and I could never justify putting them in daycare to go to the gym.  When I worked it in, I always went to big gyms where I hid in the back of group fitness classes and left as quickly as possible.  Since starting CrossFit, I find myself prioritizing exercise in my day because I look forward to it, not because I have to go.  My kids love it, and you can often see them hanging outside the door playing their devices while Jay and I work out.  They LOVE this time (partially because devices are banned at our house during the week), but they are genuinely interested in what we did and ask about it in the car when we leave, and they usually want to try the movements at home later.  Last week, Asher and Walker learned how to do handstand push ups at home too!  I love to see them challenging themselves and getting excited about it.  They started CrossFit kids, and they love it too!  I want to model healthy habits for them, and I realize now that by prioritizing exercise for myself they see that as an important part of life too.  I also want to be able to keep up with them mountain biking, Walker surpassed me a long time ago, but getting stronger in CrossFit has helped me to control my mountain bike better and I am still holding strong with Asher!

The other really fun thing is that CrossFit is a regular topic of conversation for Jay and I.  We could never really relate to each other’s exercise habits before, and now this is something we can share.  I love being in class with him, and when we aren’t in class together we usually have a phone call during the day to talk to the other about what was hard, and how we did.  It’s brought us closer together.  It’s sometimes the only real conversation we can have with each other without little ears listening in too.


My life has definitely changed for the better since joining CrossFit DNR.  I would definitely say that I joined a cult, and I like it.  It has become an integral part of our family’s routine, our entire family our members of DNR!  It has been an enjoyable experience being able to work out with my Becky on a daily basis (something we’ve never been able to do since the day I called her a baby during our first work out together before we were married).  I would definitely say that CrossFit has brought Becky and I closer together and provided us with an activity that we both truly enjoy together.  We are a fairly busy family and base so many things around our kid’s activities. Crossfit has really given us something during all that chaos and running around that we still prioritize and is ours!

Besides increased positive time with my wife, I have also seen a huge benefit in another favorite activity…mountain biking! On any given day (when there isn’t snow), you can find me riding my bike in the early mornings on the trails by our house.  CrossFit has definitely kept me in better biking shape, and made me mentally stronger during long hard rides.

Q3. What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?


Exercise has always been a chore for me. I did it because I had to, not because I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t socialize when I worked out!  I’m pretty independent, and pretty shy.  I’ve met lots of great people at CrossFit DNR and the community has pushed me to do more and be more.  I love this, and it’s made me love going to the gym!  As an adult I have had little opportunity to challenge myself athletically unless I was running in a race.  I love that Crossfit challenges me everyday I’m in the gym.  I’m accountable to the number of reps, or the time in a totally different way than I’ve ever been.  It was other women and the coaches at CrossFit DNR that pushed, encouraged and supported me through trying to do handstand push ups or working on learning how to kip. I never would have imagined myself signing up to participate in the CrossFit open.  It’s a ridiculous thought really, but some of my favorite CrossFit partners helped me think about doing it together, and that community feeling of accomplishment motivates me.  I find myself encouraging other people to sign up to participate with us!  I appreciate the whole body movements of CrossFit too, it really maximizes my time in the gym.  We have a busy hectic schedule, and I always walk away feeling like I used my time well.


I love the variety.  After so many years of traditional body building, there’s only so many times you can train a certain muscle group and still keep it fresh and exciting.  The constant variation allows me challenge myself on a daily basis and pushes me to continue to better myself.  I had been looking for this type of training for years.  One of the biggest advantages during these long winter months has been not having to get on the hamster wheel at my bodybuilding gym.  I hate spending time on the elliptical machines or the treadmill, spinning and going nowhere.  I love the high intensity of a Crossfit workout!   I’ve actually incorporated a lot of CrossFit type workouts into my body building training as well now too.  I have always exercised first thing in the morning or over my lunch hour.  I never would have the motivation to go to the gym after work because I was always tired or had other things I had to do.   I still sometimes have these days but I always find that I wake up when I get to CrossFit.,even if I didn’t feel like working out before I arrived.  I’ve never regretted a single day of working out since I started CrossFit. I’ve met lots of great people and I can honestly say that I learn something new from someone there every single day. I look forward to going and seeing everyone at DNR on a daily basis.

Q4. What advice can you give to others?


If you’re like me and you find it intimidating at first, stick with it!  You’ll get it!  There are modifications for everything and soon you’ll find yourself needing less and less of those!  The more you go, the more you get it.  There are always other people there willing to help.


Be open to trying something new.  I had been lifting and training for years, I was even certified as a personal trainer at one point.  Because of this, my pride was bruised when I had to go through the Liberty class.  I thought I knew what I was doing and how to lift weights. I found out real quickly how wrong I was. My form was continually corrected and I struggled through all the Olympic lifting techniques.  In the end, it turned out to be a great experience, one I would not take back. So, no matter skilled you are, or what level you are at, there’s always something new you can learn. Being open minded and allowing yourself to put your ego aside can push you outside your comfort zone and lead to new opportunities.

Athlete Specific Q. Is it safe to say you found your perfect swolemate in one another?


Aww, well of course!  Jay always pushes me to be my best, and he is the nicest person I know.  His push ups are pretty impressive too, aren’t they?


I would say because of CrossFit, I can answer this question as a yes now.  Previously we had never been on the same page when it came to exercise.  Becky never felt t it was enjoyable working out with me.  Now, we love going to classes together and talking about the workouts.   At times, we are even making it a friendly competition of who can get more rounds in an AMRAP, or finished the WOD faster.  CrossFit has become so much a part of our lives that when we both seek out a CrossFit gym when we travel.  The support I have received from my swolemate in every facet of my life has been unbelievable…I wouldn’t change her AT ALL!


    [honeypot level]


    2716 S. College Ave Suite B Fort Collins, CO, 80525

    (970) 213-3974


    Terms and Conditions for trial week

    You must be a resident and have a local address in Fort Collins. Offer valid for new members only! Parent or guardian must be present to sign waiver for anyone under the age of 18 years of age. Can note be combined with any other offers or discounts. 

      Still Have A Question?

      We Respond Fast! If we don't respond to your message in 15 minutes, WE OWE YOU 15 BURPEES!

      [honeypot level]