Back in the days of the gymnastic studio, I taught the single morning class while Justin did the evening class. We had only two classes.
I didn’t spend much time at the gym in the evening but occasionally I’d pop in to see what was happening.
The day I met Jen Leander she was hanging upside down strapped in a band from a pull up bar. Handstand push ups. Her face was serene.
I followed her gaze across the room as she locked eyes with another inverted athlete, her husband Alex. He was doing the HSPU against the wall.
It was fascinating to watch them encourage each other from across the room, while upside down.
Jen and Alex were two of the original CFStC athletes. Their daughters were gymnast and the whole family spent a lot of time in the gym that we were located in.
They both worked out at the local Globo Gym, where Justin and I had been private trainers.
Jen was intrigued by what was going on in our little room and thought she’d give it a try. Next thing we knew, she had Alex in with her.
These are the things I remember most about Jen and Alex in those days…
They were always smiling and laughing.
They worked very hard.
These two things were exactly what CrossFit is about. Hard work and fun.
The Leanders quickly became the anchors of the gym. Consistent and passionate about what we all were doing.
They became more and more interested in helping others in the gym. Eventually they obtained their L1 Certifications and began teaching classes.
They taught classes together. Two coaches in one class! The dynamic duo!
We had so much fun back then. Everyday and every workout was an adventure. After the WOD was over, we’d sit around and talk about the WOD. Thinning of ways we could have done it faster. Maybe there was beer involved too!
This enjoyment of the intensity truly fostered a sense of healthy competition. Competitions were such an amazing event in those days. There weren’t many around and we knew all the athletes.
The Leander’s were two of our very first competitors. They were a part of a team that competed in the very first St. Louis Affiliate Cup. After that day, they were hooked. They created an atmosphere of fun and friendly competition and encouraged all the members to participate.
Time changes most things and those days have slipped by, but the effect that Jen and Alex have had on our community will last forever.
My goal is to bring back that fun. That drive to exceed our own expectations. That push of endorphins.
By the way- if you get the chance to work out with Jen, check out her expression during the WOD.