March’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of the gym so you can get to know them a little better!

March’s Athlete Spotlight is Amanda Tovey!


When did you first begin working out in the Bootcamp with us?

The first time I worked out at the gym was when I came as a guest with my husband, Jason.  I was nervous about returning to a gym after being absent from working out for so long.  I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to complete what was asked of me.  Shortly after my first visit I decided to join the gym, via the Bootcamp, and start working out regularly again. I have now been a member of the Bootcamp for 2 years and counting.

Do you remember what your first workout was? And do you remember how you felt about it?

I don’t remember exactly what my first workout was, but I do remember that all of the movements and exercises were explained to me and I could do them.  I felt capable, encouraged and supported.  I felt like I was part of a team and together we were working towards the same goal; being better and stronger.   I remember feeling like Jonathan was crazy for encouraging me to do things that I knew I couldn’t do, only to quickly learn that he knew better than me and I was stronger than I thought.

What is a typical day like for you outside of the gym?

I work out first thing on some days.  I pack 5 lunch boxes for my little people and get them fed and dressed for school.  I drop them off and run errands, visit with friends, do house chores, and/or volunteer at the school.  I also work part time as an adoption social worker for Amazing Grace Adoptions in Raleigh and do seasonal work at Homewood Nursery in Raleigh.  After school, we do school work, play outside, do extracurricular activities, and then have dinner as a family and finally bedtime.  My husband and I typically have a couple hours of alone time at night to talk, watch tv, or just sit in the quiet. 🙂   

If you could be anyone famous for just 1 day – like body swap type of thing – who would you be and why?

This is a tough one for me.  I can think of talents I would love to have…to fly 🙂 , to sing like Adele, to play soccer like Mia Hamm, but to switch places with someone.  Yikes.  Maybe Kate Middleton.  I mean being a “princess” (or duchess) for a day seems like a pretty unique and lovely day to me.

What is your favorite book or book series?

My favorite book series is Anne of Green Gables.  I loved these books as a child and it was really the first time while reading that I enjoyed, and engaged and felt emotion from the story and characters.  One of my favorites.

Thank you Amanda for being such a valuable member of NRCF! You’re always a pleasure to be around! We truly appreciate you!

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February’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of the gym so you can get to know them a little better!

May’s Athlete Spotlight is Deepak Manoharan!

What inspired you to come through our doors for the first time?

I had been going to the gym (not sure if I was working out) for close to 10 years, for me working out was all about running and doing some weights. I used to have pain in my upper back. Also with time I was not able to run because my knee was hurting. So, I realized I needed a different form of workout that strengthened me overall. So I did some searching and found this great place!

What have you learned about yourself since starting CrossFit?

Patience and perseverance is the key.

You always seem to have so much joy regardless of the circumstances that may be going on in your life. Would you care to give us a little bit of insight about how you choose to approach the tough situations that life brings your way?

When we go through tough situations, I honestly believe we become tougher. Also, life is like a wheel, it keeps rotating. So have fun during good times, and be patient and continue to push during tough times. 

What advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Just have fun every single day. Life is too short. Being yourself is the easiest thing in this world!

And lastly, if you could fly anywhere in the world in a 6 hour window, where would you go and why?

I would fly to California. I lived there for 12 years and I still love the place. I just love the weather, food and the environment.

Thank you so much, Deepak! Your positive outlook and happy disposition make you such a joy to be around! We love having you as part of our North Raleigh CrossFit family!

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January’s Athlete Spotlight

Welcome to our Athlete Spotlight! Each month we highlight a dedicated member of the gym so you can get to know them a little better!

January’s Athlete Spotlight is LindsEy Boggs!


What is a typical day in the life of LindsEy Boggs like outside of being a ROCKSTAR CrossFitter?

Busy. Between being a wife, mom and a career-driven sales professional, my days are literally insane. I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic and am often traveling the country for conferences, trade shows and meetings.

Tell us about speaking in front of 20,000 people in Vegas all while becoming BFF’s with Shaq.

The whole thing was surreal. I was prepared for my 45-minute breakout session at the LinkedIn conference, a goal I set in 2015, but had no idea about the Shaq encounter until 2 days before the conference. I got a call from the head of marketing letting me know I had the highest SSI (social selling index) score and was asked if I’d be willing (ha) to get on stage and attempt two free throws in front of everyone. I’ve never played basketball in my life (or any sports for that matter) and never in a million years expected to get both shots in. The whole thing is still surreal to me, but just remember in the practice round only getting 2 out of my 10 attempts, so I knew the chances were slim. On stage, a place I’m very comfortable having a background in opera, I transformed into the role I needed to be and got them both in. Shaq had the best hug after my 2 shots were thrown in and the crowd went wild for me – meeting him and getting him to sign the basketball I threw afterwards was icing on the cake. It was definitely a day I’ll never forget in my career and life.lbog2-300x300

If you want to see the the free throws, click here.

If you want to read about my entire experience, click here.

If you could sing one song at the Super Bowl halftime show what would it be?

Assuming my vocal cords are dusted off since I last sang in public (2006 was my last performance), probably Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod). That piece used to put everyone in tears when I performed it. But it would probably put the audience to sleep since it’s a Super Bowl audience 😉

What have you learned about yourself since you’ve started doing CrossFit?

I am stronger than I ever, EVER imagined. The mere fact that in this questionnaire it has the word “athlete” in it is mind-boggling. I have never, ever, done sports or anything athletic in my life. I’ve tried so many different things whether it be a diet, or a FitBit challenge, or a gym membership and I never stuck with any of them. As I reflect on the reasons why, it all comes down to strength. I didn’t have the mental strength to keep going on my own. With Crossfit, I’m now strong both mentally and physically.


What would you tell someone who’s thinking about coming to check out NRCF, but just hasn’t taken that first step into the gym.

I started on April 1, 2015 and my biggest advice is this: Give. It. Time. This is NOT a quick fix. You will not see results in weeks. TAKE PICTURES. Taking pictures has been my saving grace. While the scale may not change, photos tell the entire story. I take photos every 90 days diligently and the transformation is ongoing. Set goals. Set small ones and large ones. My first goal was to make it 3 days a week, and my longer-term goal was to go 100 times in 2015. I succeeded both of those goals and now go 5 days a week and went OVER 100 times in 2015. Now, for 2016 I have different, but attainable goals: my first ever pull-up and toes-to-bar. One of the biggest successes for me was holding myself accountable and taking photos every time I went to class and posting them on Instagram. I even made my own hashtag so I could go back and see the workout each day. Putting yourself out there to your social network and holding yourself accountable in public was huge in my success. Ashley truly cares about helping you achieve your goals and there is a modification for every single exercise – believe me, I’ve used all of them! Crossfit has forever changed me for the better and coming from someone that has never been athletic in my life, trust me when I say: “If I can do it, you can do it”.


Thank you LindsEy for being a part of the North Raleigh CrossFit family!  You’re one of the hardest workers in the gym, and your positive attitude is contagious!



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What the Open Means to Me

This year, I was one of the hundreds of thousands to compete in the Crossfit Open, for my first time.  I went into the experience excited and full of confidence. I’ve done a couple competitions and have felt great after each- I was ready for the Open.

What I experienced during the open was a completely different story. At times, it left me questioning myself as any sort of “athlete”. Being my first Open, I really just wanted to see where the cards landed for me. I felt good after each workout, knowing (or thinking?) that I had done my best.  And then I felt worse and worse as I watched my ranking fall. Every. Hour.  Obviously everyone knows the names to watch in their region, and if you have a shot at regionals you know this going in to it. Obviously I did not- like most of the world. But, I still had my target number in my head of where I thought I wanted to be ranked. I was so far from that place!  I had so many conversations with my coach about what I was doing wrong, and conversations with my training partner about how I was going to find my “mojo” again. During the Open there were times I didn’t even want to workout, because I felt so discouraged- and if you know me, you know that this has NEVER ever happened before. Ever. I’m that girl who jumps up and down with excitement when I see pistols or hand stand push ups programmed. No joke. I love them! Pistols all day, please.


So here I was in the Open, not getting my first muscle  up like the rest of the world-I was actually part of that .2% of females who scaled 15.3 and rx’d 15.4. I was getting no-repped like crazy on my hand stand push ups because I let my back arch when I’m tired, even though my arms lock out and my hands are never too wide. BUT- my heels couldn’t get past the Dave Castro line on the wall. Fail. I think I actually told my coach I wanted to quit the Open after that. Haha. Luckily, she knows me way better than that ;). I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it through the Open without this strong woman’s encouragement- Thanks Ash!


She reminded me many times that life decided to throw a lot of things my way right before and during the Open, which may have affected my performance and overall outlook. It’s amazing what a lack of sleep and too much stress will do. So, all of this happened, I survived to write this blog, and my training is better than it has been in a while. My first experience with the Open has taught me a TON about what your Open scores mean, even more about what they DON’T mean, and has shown me that  you can always learn more about yourself. So, here goes.

What your Open Scores DO Mean:

  1. You aren’t afraid to make a commitment to your well-being or to take risks. The Open is five weeks, five unknown workouts. Signing up is a huge commitment to bettering your health and yourself as a human being. You have to work hard and listen to your body during the five weeks of the open. You train hard to meet specific movement standards for each movement and are honest with yourself and other about this. You need to eat well and take care of your health. All of these actions show a true commitment to bettering your health and your lifestyle.
  2. You are part of a community. A huge community! Crossfit is well known for its strong community across the world. I have yet to visit a Crossfit gym where I have not felt completely welcome like a part of their family. And I know for sure that any person who enters North Raleigh Crossfit is considered family. That’s just how it is. So, think of the hundreds of thousands of people across the globe competing in the Open, working hard, and going through the same thing as you. Talk about community! And, YOU are a part of that community.
  3. You have strengths, and you have weaknesses. Just like everyone else. The Open is programmed a specific way, and seemed to have a different focus this year. If gymnastic movements aren’t your strength, then you and I have a similar weakness, and we probably didn’t do as hot as we would have liked this year. BUT- for everything you felt you did not do so well with, you did something else GREAT! Learn from this. Get over the blow from your weaknesses, celebrate what you did well, and then start working.

What your Open scores DO NOT Mean:

  1. You are not trying your absolute best. You weren’t that happy with your score afterall? You’re not alone. But I challenge you to think about the big picture. Maybe you were going through a stressful time. Maybe you were just hungry. Maybe you were just having an off day. It happens. That one (or two or three or four or five) Open workout is not going to make or break you as a Crossfit athlete, or in life. You’ll have good days after the Open, and you’ll PR again after the Open. Life will go on! No matter what happened in the Open, you tried your hardest. And, trying your hardest every day when you step into  your gym is the best that you can do and will take you far.
  2. You should just give up. Oh, so you’re not going to regionals this year? You weren’t in the top 500? Join the club of hundreds of thousands of others. At one point I thought of giving up. Trying my hardest and not feeling “good enough” for myself got to me. Until I learned to let it go. I realized my hardest better be good enough for me, or me and myself are going to have some serious problems. My coach believes in me and supports me so why shouldn’t I? After I took that step back, I felt sortof free. And, killed the next workout. It’s amazing what your body will do when you just love yourself a little. You should not give up, and you’re still a badass no matter how you feel. You just have to believe it.
  3. Anyone is better than you, or you are better than anyone else. Sure, people have different rankings throughout this thing. People also have different strengths. There are a lot more movements than the eleven that were programmed, and even more combinations. You might have a strength that you could have place hundreds higher in- if it had been programmed. Even deeper and more important than the sport of Crossfit- people have different ages, weights, health factors, life factors, etc. that they are juggling. The workouts in the Open are about as standardized as they can be. Dave Castro is a ninja with a HSPU standard, BUT- there’s no way he can standardize life. Everyone is doing the best with what they have, no better and no worse.

So, how was my first experience with the Crossfit Open? It was awesome. Sure, I didn’t finish as well as I would have liked, but I learned a huge area where I need to work in the gym to get better in a lot of other areas, and even more importantly I learned a lot about me. There are not many times in my life that I really spend time reflecting on me (I actually really don’t like thinking or talking about myself much at all). During this reflection I read a great quote from Buddha- “The mind is everything. What you think you become. What you imagine you create”. So, deal with your wounds, do some reflecting, set a goal to start working on in the gym, and decide what you will become and create. Then figure out what the Open meant to you this year.

Jessica Uehlin
BS Nutrition, Syracuse University
Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, North Raleigh Crossfit

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The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Shepherd

Every once in a while you’ll come across a story that is so inspiring you’ll feel like everyone is missing out unless you share it with them.  That’s how I felt when I heard the story of Ernestine Shepherd, a 77 year old body builder. Ernestine spends a little bit of time talking about what a typical day is like for her. You’ll notice that her days look almost exactly the same – even down to the meals she eats. The one thing I’ve noticed about people who excel in their area of expertise is they are creatures of habit.  They do the same things day in and day out. I’m not sure what this character trait has to do with becoming exceptional at your skill or a craft, but I’m willing to bet that routine is a foundation to success. Be looking for some research from me regarding that in the very near future.

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You’re Not Going to Get Bulky

There is a good article bouncing around Facebook that’s aimed at dispelling the misconception of women who lift called, “The Fear of ‘Bulkiness’ and CrossFit“. I have been searching for something to blog about for a while, and after reading that article I knew exactly what I finally wanted to write about.

My intention is not to offend anyone with this post, but I’m going to be honest about what happens to me on pretty much a weekly basis.  So, if you get offended, I’m sorry?

Women will typically make the, “I would love to do what do you, but I don’t want to get bulky”, statement to me when I’m running around after leaving the gym in what’s usually a tank top and Lulu shorts.  I hear it often, and I hear it from both friends and strangers, and I know the “bulky” that they are referring to is me.

A few shots of me getting my bulk on…

Photo from MDUSA

995393_10100126214477412_1049471878_nPhoto from Zach Griggs

pic Photo from Zach Griggs

I get that I may look “bulky” to the average person outside of the S&C community, and I’m honestly not one bit offended by it. You see, I am more concerned with the progress I make in my training, competitions, and lifting than I am concerned with how people view me as they pass me walking down the street.

This is where I might offend some people… More often than not the comments made to me about the fear of looking bulky come from women who are overweight and aren’t doing anything to improve their health. What I don’t understand is how is it possible that a fit body, even if it is considered to be “bulky, is viewed as bad to someone who is overweight and unhealthy? It doesn’t make any sense to me.  How is choosing to live an unhealthy lifestyle a better decision than choosing to become a healthier human being by exercising, eating well, and losing weight?  Here’s the answer… It’s not. Even if it does mean that person may end up looking a little bit “bulky”, who cares?  Isn’t that better than the illnesses and diseases that come hand in hand with an unhealthy lifestyle?

With that said, below are the 5 things I would like to tell all women who fear bulking up from lifting weights:

(1) You won’t. (I could stop right there.)

(2) If you see me and think I’m bulky then you still have nothing to worry about. I do more volume of work in one day than a lot of people probably do in a combined 3-4 days of training. I’m not being rude, it’s just the truth.  I workout with different goals in mind than those of most of the women who walk into my gym.

For example, below is a typical day for me.  Compare this day to any of the workouts I have posted for my gym under the “Train” tab and you’ll see the difference in volume.


1) 3 position snatch max effort on complex; then 2-3 sets at 90% of max effort
2) Snatch high pull from hang – 3 sets of 3 at 15% greater than max effort of 3 pos snatch
3) Trap Bar Deadlift – 6×2 @ 80%
4) 2 sec pause front squat into push jerk – 4×3, heavy
5) Strict press – 4×10, as heavy as possible

8 x 350m row/ 3 min rest between each row

In case you were wondering, yes, that row was miserable.

(3) If you saw The CrossFit Games on TV and thought that those women were too big, well… re-read #2.  I guarantee they do more work than I do.

(4) Instead of bulking up, I lean out when I’m in a heavy lifting cycle.

“You may burn more calories during your 1-hour cardio class than you would lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who did weight training burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended.

And the effect is magnified when you increase the weight, as explained in a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted more weight for fewer reps (85 percent of their max load for 8 reps) burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps with a lighter weight (45 percent of their max load for 15 reps).” – Shape Magazine, 8 Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavier Weights. 

(5) Muscles and strength are empowering.  You’ll end up appreciating a stronger physique, like the progress you make in the gym, and notice that you’ll look and feel better.

If you haven’t read it, here is the link again to the article I mentioned above.  Read it.  It’s good.  Doooooo it.  🙂

Much love,


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