Member Spotlight: Lori Cayea

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CrossFit 561 is proud to recognize Lori Cayea for our April member spotlight. Lori has been working very hard over the past few months and it really showed this past open season.

More than individual accomplishments and personal accolades that come with hard work, Lori is a great person who absolutely lights up the room when she walks in.

We are honored to have her as a member of our community and we couldn’t be happier to share her story:


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“I was the kid that no one ever picked to be on their team. I was little, had no hand-eye coordination, and no athletic ability. So when the coach assigned me to any team, the sighs of disappointment from the other kids were deafening!

Fast forward to six years ago when I received a six-week boot camp certificate from my daughter, Michelle, for Christmas. She had already tried to kill me by making me do interval sprints with her. I laughed as I opened the gift and agreed to give it a try. I have not looked back since! I have gone from not being able to run 40 feet to completing 2 half marathons.

I remember the early stages of my journey, doing most bar work with the PVC pipe, Turkish get ups with a water bottle, and performing a tiny bunny hop from a box in order to get a pull-up. These days I can dead lift 195lbs, back squat 150lbs, and I can do handstand pushups! I finally conquered my fear of the box that I acquired from too many falls and scarred shins and now perform most workouts RX with a 20” box. Next up on my list of skills to master are double-unders and toes to bar, while continuing to improve in the snatch and overhead squat.

My favorite part of CrossFit is being able to work out with my daughter, Michelle. I love when we have the opportunity to attend the same class. My youngest daughter also does CrossFit in Clearwater. We all love to share war stories and commiserate about our soreness.

I would have to say that CrossFit has changed me in more ways than just physical. I have stepped out of my comfort zone as someone who would rather blend in with the scenery to going as far as leading a small community fitness class at Palm Springs Middle School where I am the treasurer during the day. My competitive side has also been awakened. That little girl no one wanted on their team just finished in the top 19% of her age group in the 2017 CrossFit Open!

I encourage people of all ages to do CrossFit. If I can do it, ANYONE can!”
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Member Spotlight: The VPVs

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CrossFit 561 is so proud to honor a tremendous family who has been putting in some
serious work every morning at 6am. James, Sandy, and Bailey have committed to Pulse40
fitness and are reaping the rewards inside and outside of the gym. Please take a moment to
read their bio below as we take the time to spotlight our members of the month the Van
Putten Vink’s. You three are an incredible asset to our community and deserve to be
recognized for your hard work and dedication. Congratulations!

Nick Penizotto has been a friend of our family for years. Nick has always motivated us to go
above and beyond what we thought we were capable of, so you can imagine our excitement
when Nick started Pulse40 at CrossFit 561 right near our house. The idea of getting up at
5am to workout at 6am seemed impossible, but 3 out of the 5 of the VPV clan- James (46),
Sandy(43), and Bailey(18)- decided to give it a try.

We have been active members of the Pulse40 Fitness class for about 3 months, and could
not be more pleased with the results. The environment and the people have been so helpful
in the process of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When Bailey is not at the gym she is a
senior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts. When Sandy is not at the gym she is a hardworking
mom of three who never sits still. When James is not at the gym he is a financial advisor
(side job-comedian at CrossFit 561 & Pulse40 Fitness). Our weekends consist of family
activities, school work, local events, etc.

Bailey – My short term goal is to get a killer bod for prom season and graduation. My long
term goal would be to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so I can avoid the freshmen 15 in college,
and maintain my eating/ workout habits throughout my 4 years at a University. Overall, I just
want to feel good, look good and be the best version of me! The biggest change in my day
to day life would definitely be that my energy level as well as activity level has increased
immensely. I no longer huff-and- puff as I walk the dreadful four-flights of stairs at school.
Unfortunately, I was involved in a car accident a few weeks ago. However, Pulse40 fitness
has been amazing and accommodating and has helped strengthen my neck and back.

Sandy – Pulse40 fitness has been a tremendous help in rehabbing my knee after having
knee surgery a few months ago. When I'm not at the gym I'm usually running around for the
kids: either going to my son's football games, taking my daughter to horse lessons, and
trying to help Bailey prepare for her freshman year of college! I find doing Pulse40 at 6:00
am is a great way to start my day and it gives me that extra energy I need for the day! My
short term goal is to continue going to classes 6 days a week and to gradually improve my
fitness while maintaining a healthy diet. My long term goal is to continue working out, gain
more confidence in myself, and enjoy life!

James aka Jimmy Jamz – My short term goal is to continue to get up at 5am to make the
6am class & increase my calorie burn. My long term goal would be to incorporate good
eating habits while working out (A.K.A get ripped up!!) Outside of the gym I hope to continue
to build & maintain my business, and eventually retire and enjoy life in Florida. Pulse40
fitness has increased my energy level; working out early makes me feel 10 times better
throughout the day.

Member Spotlight: Raquel Hernandez

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CrossFit 561 is proud to honor the hard work of Raquel Hernandez. You can find Raquel crushing workouts at 9am with a fearless attitude and a contagious work ethic. She is an inspiration to many and she is a great example of what you can accomplish if you work hard inside and outside of the gym. Please read her bio below.

I knew I needed to make a lifestyle change when I saw myself getting heavier and unhealthier to the point I could not keep up with my young children’s active lifestyles. I was constantly tired and had no motivation to work out and no energy to play with my children. One day, I was driving my 9-year old daughter to school and while she was sitting in the back seat, she said, “mom, time to get back to the gym because your arm is flabby.” My weight at that time was 155 pounds and I am only 5’2.

My first day at CrossFit 561 was on 8/31/2016 at 6:30pm class. I will never forget my first intense week of workouts where I didn’t understand the names of what we were doing. All I remember is Coach Nick saying, “Easy day today, elbows up, chest up, good work.” I have not looked back since. I am now 13 weeks in and I’ve lost over 20 pounds, 8 inches, and I am gaining muscle. I train at least 3 to 4 days a week and the days I don’t make it to the gym, I shuffle between my work and kids schedule.

I have an active family of 5 and I am committed to make sure that we all stay fit and healthy. I work as a Business Manager for a private company and volunteer at my daughter’s school. My husband stays active by running daily before starting his day at the office. My oldest son is 21 and he’s been an athlete since 5. We call him silver bullet, a nickname his coach gave him because he’s a fast runner. My daughter is 9 and goes to dance lessons, church class, and chorus on a weekly basis. Alex is my youngest and he’s 5 years old and loves the water and outdoors.

Eating healthy is a priority at our household and it starts with me. With two small children, finding healthy foods they like is quite challenging but we make it work. I eat 6 times a day taking in at least 2000 calories. I do our meal prep on Sunday’s and I’ve omitted lots of sugar, bread and rice on my nutrition. A lot of my meals consist of grilled salmon and chicken breast with brussel sprouts or spinach.

My short term goals are to lose 8 pounds and improve my front rack position by the end of this year. As I continue my progress, my long term goal is to continue to practice proper form, tone my body, and build strength.

I am astonished at what I have been able to accomplish over the last few months with the help of CrossFit 561. At 45 years of age, my energy level has increased dramatically. I now am able to keep up with my children as well as the day to day hustle and bustle of life. I’ve had so many compliments with my body transformation that I have become a motivation to my friends and family. I will continue to work hard, eat clean and train hard and can’t wait to see where this new road leads me.

Member Spotlight: Alberto Roche

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Alberto recently started with us at CrossFit 561 and has experienced some amazing results.  We asked him a few questions about where he started and the goals he want to achieve.  We know if he keeps up the hard work, Alberto will see great success.

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The defining moment in my life that led me to make a significant lifestyle change was when I went to see the doctor about a back injury and learned that I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a fatty liver. I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. At that moment I knew I needed to change the way I was living. I weighed in at 305 pounds, had a terrible diet, and just became a father to a beautiful baby girl. I had to do something.

I knew fitness and changing my diet were the answer. So I joined CrossFit 561 and I am currently training Monday, Wednesday and Friday with my wife, Stephanie. On Tuesdays and Thursday, I train jiu-jitsu for about an hour each day. On Saturdays I double up with CrossFit training and jiu-jitsu. Sunday is my rest day to spend with my wife and daughter where we like to relax and get ready for the week.

I currently follow a paleo diet. I have not felt any better than this. I feel stronger, leaner, and it is really helping me to lose weight. After I cut all the bread, sugar, and dairy from my diet, my joints and my back feel so much better.

My favorite CrossFit workouts are the high intensity days with cardio. I enjoy the feeling of giving everything I have to give and not being able to move or make it to my car. I don’t have a least favorite CrossFit movement. I didn’t join CrossFit to be a skeptic, and I know every movement has a purpose whether it’s functional strength or flexibility.

My short term goal is to weigh 200 pounds before the new year. I want to start 2017 off right. I am down 35 pounds so far from 4 weeks ago. My long term goal is to stay on this journey of fitness and clean eating. I would also like to compete again either in CrossFit, a 5K, jiu-jitsu, or even a Spartan Race.