Athlete of the Month

Athlete of the Month

All of us who work out here at Mission CrossFit SA train hard. We are all on our own journey in pursuit of a higher level of fitness, health and ultimately, life. It is not an easy journey, but it’s worth it. It requires hard work, sweat, discipline, and perseverance. The journey is filled with challenges, obstacles, and sometimes-even setbacks. And although every person’s road is unique, it is not a solo endeavor. We are in the pursuit of fitness together. Like a team, when a person is knocked down, the group responds by picking them up. Equally as important, when someone succeeds, their accomplishments are enjoyed and celebrated by the whole. To that end, every month, one person will be recognized for their outstanding achievements in fitness, whether they are in or out of the box.

This page is dedicated to that individual who portrays what CrossFit is at Mission CrossFit SA. It is someone who pushes hard, never gives up and wants to accomplish something each day they step foot inside our gym. They are chosen by their peers and lead by example. The athlete doesn’t necessarily lift the most amount of weight, or win every WOD, but instead they have passion and desire for what their individual goal is. Work hard, everyone is always paying attention, and you could be next!

January Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Raymond “RJ” Pittman on being selected as January Athlete of the Month. RJ has embraced the CrossFit community like no other, best way to put it, he drank the cool-aid. RJ came to us with some military background training but nothing prepared him for what we had in store for him. He comes in every afternoon with a positive attitude and willingness to get better and work on his weaknesses. Besides the work he puts in the box, its also the little things he does for the Mission community outside of classes. You can always find RJ helping out for events and bringing in his friends to give Mission a try. For those reasons and many more is why RJ has been selected as January Athlete of the Month.
Started CrossFit: April 2018
Favorite WOD: DT
Least favorite WOD: Karen
Favorite Lift: Deadlift
Least Favorite Lift: Overhead Squat
Story: My story is like most people, I was previously a very active person, from distance running in my teens, to military PT in my 20s, to making it up as I went (with Ken Helgren) in my 30s.  After spending 4 years in Germany doing nothing but eating schnitzel and consuming beer by the liters, I found my way back to San Antonio in far worse shape than I had left it.  Ken could not shut up about CrossFit and the results he was enjoying and the amazing people at MCFSA.  I decided to give it a try in April 2018.  After getting my a$$ handed to me in a trial class I signed up.  I took the Foundations class with Coach Amy and set a few short term goals- trade some body fat for lean muscle, improve my physique, and fix my diet.  I wanted to look like my old self in 3 months.  For me, that meant losing about 10% body fat, building about 10 lbs of muscle, and getting smart about food.  Several factors lead to my success in meeting those goals:
1. MCFSA ran a 6 week paleo challenge.  This was a great kick start to educating myself on the diet I needed to fuel my body the right way.  Having spent most of my active life in running I had a very carb heavy approach to food, and remember vividly saying “I work out so I can eat whatever I want.”
2. MCFSA Coaches!  There is not enough space on the internet to list everything the coaches have done for me.  Every coach has helped me in my pursuit.  Each has their own specialty or their own way of making things make sense to me.  I know which coach to engage when I need a kick in the butt for motivation, who to ask about aches and pains, who can spot my flaws and get me straight.  No matter which coach is leading us I learn something and improve.
3. All of you fine people!  Countless members of this community have impacted my story.  Teaching me technique, cheering me on, pointing me to resources.  Some of you don’t even realize that I look up to you and watch you doing movements to try and emulate you.  You all have been welcoming and amazing.  People call us a cult, they call us crazy, fanatical kool-aide drinkers- if I can continue to be associated with and surrounded by you great people I’ll wear those badges with pride.
Being selected as an Athlete of the Month has me looking both backwards and forwards.  Reflecting on almost two years of memories and experiences in our CrossFit journeys and the impact all of this craziness has had on me; reaching my own goals and PRs.  Thinking about what goals I should set for myself going forward.  Thank you for selecting me, it’s an honor.
Thank you, Ken and Amy, for dragging me into this world.  Thanks to all the coaches for your efforts week after week.  Thanks to all of the MCFSA family for being a great community.  A special thank you to my amazing wife, Noha, for letting me talk you into joining me in this journey. I love you and am so proud of you and your accomplishments so far.

December Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Julissa Salazar for being selected as December Athlete of the Month. Tying to make time for yourself to get to the gym is hard enough, but throw in a brand new baby girl. Julissa juggles being a brand new mom, work and still trying to make time for her fitness with class. She normally attends the noon class, but also throws in a 5am class every now and then. She has shown drive and commitment in her overall health through this journey as a first time mother. For those reasons and many more is why we have selected Julissa as December Athlete of the Month.
Started CrossFit– October 2017
Favorite WOD- ”Annie”
Least favorite WOD– ”Karen”
Favorite lift– deadlifts
Least favorite lift– overhead squats
Story– My story. I began my fitness journey back in 2013. I’ve always enjoyed watching the CrossFit games and been mesmerized by the movements, strength, and endurance athletes perform. My husband and I attended Krav Maga, a gym where powerlifting or CrossFit movements were not allowed. So we decided to join MCFSA, which a friend recommended. From the very beginning, I fell in love with CrossFit. I appreciate the coaches that take the time to teach technique because of them I have gotten better and a lot more comfortable with the movements.
What I have learned is that it takes practice, patience, perseverance and determination to learn every movement.
I have also learned that a person cannot accomplish any of it alone. It is through knowledgeable coaches and members/friends who motivate you. And of course the strength and the abilities that God provides.
Every day is a chance to get better regardless of life’s setbacks, so I count every day as a blessing and an opportunity to get stronger. With that said, thanks MCFSA family because of the impact you have had on me, I can reach my goals.

November Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Galen Valadez  on being selected as November Athlete of the Month. Galen has been a valuable part of the Mission community for many years now. You cant miss him at the 6:30pm class because he always makes his presence known. You can see him hitting big numbers on his lifts with his “old man strength” to giving the Coaching staff a hard time. Galen has not only been a tremendous asset to the Mission Community inside the box but outside the box as well. For those reasons and many more is why being selected as November Athlete of the Month.

Started CrossFit: 20111
Favorite WOD: King Kong
Least Favorite WOD: Murph
Favorite Lift: Deadlift
Least Favorite Lift: Full squat
Story: My journey in CrossFit started in 2011. My daughter and son in law had joined a CrossFit gym and they wanted me to come try it out. I did and I was hooked. I especially enjoyed the friendly competition with my fellow crossfitters.
What really impressed me was the sense of family among everyone. I have made some life long friends through this journey. I have not been at the box as much as I would like this past year. When I am there I try to cause as much trouble as i can. I am coming for your Joey, watch your back. There is a reason we call the 6:30pm class the Best thirty. We are not just a class, we are family, except Ignacio.

Galen Valadez

October Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Nydia Levario for being selected as October 2019 Athlete of the Month. Nydia was forced out of her comfort zone when she first joined the Mission Community. She not only thrived in her new environment, she has accomplished more than she could ever imagine. Juggling nursing program on top of 3 growing boys, she finds the time to be part of the evening Mission Community. For those reason and many more is why she has been selected as October Athlete of the Month.

Started CrossFit July 2017

Favorite WOD MURPH

Least favorite WOD Anything

Favorite lift Deadlift

Least favorite lift Snatch

Story I entertained the idea of joining a gym when my husband mentioned to me in July of 2017 that he needed to get into tip-top shape for an upcoming promotion. I initially started looking for CrossFit gyms near our home to eliminate the hindrance of driving too far. After reading reviews on a couple of gyms near our home I came across the Mission CrossFit SA website. I immediately saw the difference in this gym from the others I had done my research in. What caught my eye was that MCFSA offered an all-women’s class three times a week, all while promoting the community of women empowering women. I had a “You had me at Hello!” moment and immediately signed up to try a free class. I messaged my husband and told him about the gym, but he wasn’t quite as eager to jump into something new. I went further and told him that I had already signed up for a free class. After less than an hour he had sent me a confirmation that he had signed up too.

What started as me trying to help my husband improve his health turned into the discovery of a new love for sport for myself. I love being a part of a community. Those that know me best can confirm this. However, I was recovering from a very stressful and emotional organizational letdown and I had removed myself completely from being a part of social groups or engaging in new friendships. I was very cautious about who I shared any of my time with. Signing up for this class what a huge step for me. I was intentionally putting myself in a vulnerable situation where I would have to engage in some way or another with others (women especially) and I was entering into a group that I did not know what the cultural norms were there. Did I mention that I was never athletic? Well, at least never consistently. Not even in high school. I was, as my husband calls it, “artsy-fartsy”. Fighting every emotion inside me I stepped out of my comfort zone and not only visited a trial class but committed to join the gym.

After about six months it got uncomfortable for me once again. My schedule was turned upside down and I was left with the option of going to the 6:30 pm class or stop going altogether. Now you might ask why would this be such a big deal? Well, I had only been going to the all-women’s course where the workouts are structured differently, but most of all where I had developed a comfort zone. Once more, I stepped out into unchartered territory and decided to join the co-ed 6:30 pm (aka “best:30” class).

I started 2018 with my guard up and remember voicing to a few members that I wasn’t participating in the co-ed classes to see how heavy I could lift, or I prove to myself how strong I could be, “I’m just here to get toned and stay healthy”, was what I recall saying. Boy was I wrong once again! I gained a whole new appreciation for how far I was able to challenge myself. Through music, laughter, and weightlifting an overwhelming amount of endorphins rushed to my brain giving me the drive to want to challenge myself more every class. Consequentially this drive also blinded the fears and feelings of anxiety that I battled with, to begin with. I felt a sense of freedom and gained a measure of self-esteem and security that I was not aware that I lacked.

I love being a part of such an amazing community. I have met so many people that have inspired me and have secretly become my role models. I have also had the privilege to work with several of the coaches at MCFSA and they all bring forth a diversity in how they help you improve in your skills, knowledge, and CrossFit technique. Aside from being stronger and healthier than I have ever been in my life, I have discovered a whole new me. Most importantly I feel empowered by everyone I encounter at Mission. I would hope that more people find their path to optimal health not just through focusing on physical attributes, but through discovering a place, as I have here at MCFSA, to organically bridge mind, body, and spirit to produce the best version of one’s self.

September Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Adam Graeber on being selected as September Athlete of the Month. Adam has been part of the Mission community for well over the past 3 years. With an active duty status in the Army combined with also working in the medical field, Adam juggles a hectic schedule. He still finds the time and energy to come in put a beat down on the workouts. It may not be a steady class time but you will find him in one of the classes at some point throughout the day. For those reasons and many more is why Adam has been selected as Athlete of the Month.
Started CrossFit– April 2015
Favorite WOD– Grace
Least Favorite WOD– Karen
Favorite Lift – Deadlift
Least Favorite Lift– Thruster
Story – As my wonderful wife will tell you I was stubbornly against CrossFit for the first year we dated for all the usual stereotypical reasons (you know like how it’s a cult that will leave you crippled with injuries).  Eventually she gave up trying to convince me.  Fast forward to the summer before we got married and I was looking for something to shake up my workouts and decided to give CrossFit a try.  Since that first class I was hooked and have never looked back.  CrossFit has given me a lot over the 4 years I’ve been doing it.  However the most important to me is the community I’ve gained here at Mission.  It made moving to San Antonio a wonderful rather than stressful experience and I know for both Mary and I it will be tough to leave when the time comes (hopefully many years from now).  It’s too bad I will be away for work this month to fully abuse my athlete of the month powers but it saves Ignacio from 1000 daily burpees so perhaps for the best.

August Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Meredith Peiffer on being selected as August Athlete of the Month.  Meredith has been a tenured member of the Mission Community for some time now. Even through deployments and school she always put the time into achieving her goals, her work ethic and dedication to her fitness has been amazing to be a part of.  For those reasons and many more is why she is deserving of Athlete of the Month.
Started Crossfit: 2011
Favorite WOD: Mary
Least favorite WOD: Anything longer than 15 mins
Favorite lift: Deadlift
Least favorite lift: Thrusters
Story: I started CrossFit when I was in the Air Force in Florida in 2011. I remember the coaches talking about the open that year, and that we had to pay $20 to do some workouts? I was skeptical and thought it would just be a fad that fizzled out… I am 8 years later. When I moved to San Antonio in 2012, Mission was the first gym I tried and I’ve never even thought of moving. I love the support of the community here, I love watching new faces become seasoned members who get PRs and achieve things they never thought they’d be able to do. I’ve grown so much and accomplished so much in my time here, and just when I think I’ve got the hang of things, I learn something new all over again or find new ways to improve my technique. I can’t thank the coaches and other members enough for providing an awesome environment where I can come and sweat and forget about my day and get work done.
Meredith Peiffer
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