August 2018 Member Spotlight

Islip CrossFit Member Spotlight

August 2018

Jeanann Lella

The month has come, the one she’s been waiting for…and clearly working hard for. Congratulations,  Jeanann, our August member spotlight, you’ve earned it. Jeanann has improved herself by leaps and bounds. She has not only improved as an athlete, but she has also implemented a healthier lifestyle. From someone who used to skip half and sometimes all the reps in the warm up to just recently fully committing to a 5 week team healthy eating challenge, as well as completing the warmups (most of them at least 🙂 ) her positive changes have not gone unnoticed.  She is kind, generous, smart, loving, and oh so funny, being around Jeanann will surely put a smile on your face. Congratulations girl, we love you!


Jeanann is a dear friend and someone I absolutely love to coach and WOD with.  She is our self-proclaimed class clown, but is so serious about making gainz in the gym.  She is dedicated in a whole new way… she is now increasing the weight in her workouts to fit the stimulus, moving faster than I have ever seen her in metcons, and is laser focused on her diet. Oh and she never misses a workout day, no matter what she needs to do to get there, she gets to the box!  I have loved watching her progress to where she is today.  Jeanann loves to be pushed in a workout, yea sure she will give you the finger and roll her eyes, but I know how much she loves getting out of her oh-so-cozy comfort zone.  Jeanann is an amazing example of someone who just loves all things Crossfit– fitness, community, hard work, dedication, and respect.  Congratulations girl!!                                                   –Coach Christine

Jeanann treats the gym a little differently than everyone else, she’s there for fun just as much as a good workout.  Her attendance is great, she scales appropriately, and takes the workout seriously.  She is a long time member and someone who is making great strides toward continuing to progress in her journey in fitness.  Congratulations Jeanann, well deserved and keep up the good work!            –Coach Phil


  • Tell us about yourself?

I am a 35 year old bad ass mom! (I mean, let’s be honest; all the ladies at the gym are badasses so I guess that’s no amazing feat).  I have 2 boys, Jack (8) and Matthew (7); not that any of you need an introduction to them since they regularly crash our workouts and entertain us while I curse at them to be quiet. (Ok I’m obviously not winning mother of the year any time soon).  

  • What do you do out in the real world?

Wait; this isn’t the real world?? My other persona is a Private Client Banker for JPMorgan Chase.  I am fortunate enough to work right in Islip; close to home and right down the block from the box! Anyone who knows me both at the gym and also at work knows 2 things about me…I absolutely love what I do and I’m a completely different person at work as opposed to the gym.  At work I’m very conservative and laid back. I almost always am in a dress and I’m quite polite and aim to please. That’s all a façade, which is why I don’t really consider that the “real world”. The real me is that beast you get at the gym that acts like a class clown and marches to my own beat with little to no patience.  I also tend to flip the bird regularly which I certainly refrain from doing at work…most of the time at least. I guess you can say I have quite a duality to myself…



  • What brought you to Islip CF? How long have you been doing CrossFit?

Nick brought me to Islip CF! I’ve actually known Nick and Rachel before joining Islip CF and they were the reason I even considered trying it out. After having both of my boys back to back, I was feeling totally out of sorts and needed something new to keep my interest.  Prior to CrossFit, I was able to lose the baby weight by doing my own thing at the gym and also cycling like a crazy lady. I would spend 3 hours every Sunday morning riding out to Mastic and back and then supplement with my own workouts at the gym. Although I was losing weight and getting thin (way too thin I might add) I was starting to get bored and wasn’t happy with my results. At that time, I thought being fit meant being thin…boy was I wrong!  I heard that Nick had opened a gym; something new and different called crossfit. Sounded like something that might keep my interest so I figured I’d give it a try and I immediately fell in love and haven’t looked back. I have been doing crossfit for just over 4 years and I can honestly say it has completely transformed me and my life and I couldn’t be happier!


  • What was your first CF workout? What did you think after it?

I don’t remember my first workout entirely but I do remember that it had thrusters in it and I have hated them since that day and still do.  I walked into the box on my first day of “on ramp” and was sure I’d be a natural since I was sooo fit from all of the cardio I was doing prior (ironic I know since I loathe cardio now).  I was wrong; it was like I had 2 left feet. I couldn’t even fathom jumping on the 12 in box because I was petrified I’d die and I nearly did die doing 8 lb wall ball shots (nowhere near the target I might add).  However, I stuck with it and showed up to my first crossfit class and faced thrusters…still not sure why I came back after that?????


  • What changes have you made in your workouts that have been the most successful?

Recently I’ve finally taken the advice of the coaches and increased the weight I use on certain workouts and movements so long as I can keep the workout still within the target time frame.  I’m well known for over scaling things because my mind convinces me that my body simply can’t handle anymore. Coaches and many members have encouraged me to get a bit uncomfortable and increase the weight load, which I have been working on. I’ve also been trying to “re-learn” a few movements as well since I simply wasn’t executing proper form which defeats the whole purpose.  That’s been the hardest thing because that forces me to go a bit lighter on that particular move in order to re-train my body how to move correctly. I’ve done this most recently with my deadlifts and squatting…thanks to all the coaches for helping me with that!


  • Most embarrassing/funniest gym moment?

Well, I have plenty of embarrassing/funny moments since I’m generally a fool. Aside from my usual issues with peeing during doubles, I’d have to say that one of the funniest gym moments was right in the beginning when I first met my pal Jeannette.  I believe it was the very first time I had worked out with her and after the workout we were discussing our ages…did you know how old she is??? Well I didn’t, and when she told me I couldn’t hold back my surprise and belted out “You’re how old?? I can’t believe you’re THAT old…” Jeannette nearly punched me in the face and I swear she hated me after that.  I felt terrible and was convinced I had just ruined any chance of me making friends there; but I guess I grew on her and others because I simply wouldn’t go away. Oh wait, there was also this one time when I was trying out handstand pushups for the first time…and the coach at the time told me “just put your hands on the ground and flip upside down”, well I did that and landed right on my head…no mat. Ouch! Apparently I was supposed to lock out my arms too…minor detail. (don’t worry, that coach is long gone).   I was mortified because a ton of people witnessed it and I’m sure they laughed as hard as I laughed when Rachel landed on her head at our pole dancing expedition…but that’s another story for a different day!


  • Favorite movement? Least favorite? Benchmark WOD?

I love hang cleans, handstand pushups and bench presses.  I feel strong doing them so it’s great for my ego. I HATE running…end of story!  Favorite benchmark WOD is Grace; I particularly love doing it during the barbell for boobs event…I love the energy and atmosphere!


  • Favorite memory OR most memorable moment at Islip Crossfit? (could be a PR moment or an event etc.)

Truthfully, I can’t think of just one.  I generally love all of the organized events we do; from our Christmas and Halloween parties to our wine tours and random internal comps (we are long overdue for one btw).  I just love how we not only workout together, but we also do things together outside of working out; makes it more personally and fulfilling for me. It’s like having a large; slightly dysfunctional extended family and I love every aspect of it.


  • If you could program it, what is your perfect workout?

All the lifting and zero cardio!  I’d love to do a 20-1 benchpress with increasing weight and maybe a short metcon of hang cleans and handstand pushups.  That might result in a nice pump!


  • Favorite workout music?

I generally like the music Taylor and Christine choose; more my style.  I could do without the country (sorry guys) and the yelling music Phil likes (still love ya though).


  • Advice for a new member or someone thinking of trying CrossFit?

You have to give it a try and not get discouraged when you start.  You most certainly will be out of your element and when you walk in and expect to be a pro, you’ll likely be disappointed.  You almost have to go into it with no expectations. It’s hard, but that’s what makes it rewarding. At the end of each workout I still get that overwhelming sense of “holy shit”; I can’t believe I just did that”.  It’s those moments that make each and every workout so worth the effort and keeps me and others coming back for more; or maybe we are all just a little bit insane???


  • How do you find/make time to get your workouts in?

Very good question…and I still have no clue.  Honestly it’s not even an option to not go. Even when things got super crazy for me personally and I was convinced I’d never get to gym; I realized I couldn’t let my gym time suffer.  CrossFit is just as important to me as eating and sleeping…would you just not find the time to eat or sleep??? That’s how I view crossfit. So somehow, with lots of help from friends and family and a ton of patience from everyone around me, I’ve managed to make getting to the gym my personal priority; and even my kids have come to accept it.  It’s something mommy HAS to do and there’s no negotiating it. It doesn’t hurt that everyone at the gym has been so accommodating and accepting of my children while they are there and many have even helped me shuffle them back and forth so I can get my workouts in.


  • What is your favorite part of Islip CrossFit?

100% the people.  Honestly I cannot say enough about the people here.  This is the first time in my life I can honestly say I feel like I’m a part of something amazing and unique.  Everyone at the gym is so uplifting and supportive and that extends far beyond the 4 walls of the box. I have laughed, cried and shouted for joy with each and every one of the members and coaches at Islip and that’s the reason I keep coming back.


  • What motivates you to keep coming back each day?

Mentally I need it.  It’s my one hour a day to have to myself; where everything is about me and what I want to do or not do for that matter.  It’s one hour a day where I’m not responsible for anything or anyone else other than me and I can be as silly or serious as I want.  It’s truly my sanity and my escape from anything and everything that might be stressing me out in the real world. Honestly, the physical benefits of crossfit have become the bonus for me…


  • What is your greatest achievement in your fitness so far?

My greatest achievement so far would be handstand pushups…I honestly never thought I’d get them. After my first failed attempt noted above I swore I was too clumsy to ever get myself upside down and way too weak to lift my ass up and down like that…


  • What has been the most challenging part?

Right now the most challenging part for me is playing the game of chess in my life to make sure I get to the box as much as I need to.  I constantly feel like I’m begging people for favors and running my kids all over the place just so I can get to the gym. Makes me feel a little selfish; but I also know I really need this in my life and so far it’s been working out.


  • Short term goal? Long term goal?  

Short term I’d love to learn to butterfly my pull-ups…I feel like it’s just a movement issue for me and that’s frustrating.  Long term I definitely want to get a muscle up one day…hefty goal huh? Oh and I really want some abs…


  • What/Who motivates or inspires you?

Everyone motivates me on some level because everyone has story.  Some people have come into the gym and have completely transformed themselves right before our eyes!  It’s so amazing to see and be a part of. Other’s just amaze me because I can relate to how difficult it is to just get to the gym with life’s schedules being so hectic.  And then you have couples and families doing this together which inspires me the most because at the end of the day this is a lifestyle choice I’ve chosen not just for me, but also for my family and I hope that my boys follow in my footsteps one day as well.



  • Favorite Cheat Meal?

PIZZA and Ice Cream…yes I’m 5 years old


  • What changes have you made in your diet that have been the most successful?

I’ve been doing mostly paleo and macro counting (thanks Nora)  and also the intermittent fasting as well. I overall feel better and have more energy, and I think my body is finally starting to get to where I want it to be.  Not there yet though.


  • What is the worst “diet” you’ve ever been on?

Isagenix…it was bad news, I lasted less than a month on it.  I had zero energy and I was always hungry (hangry even).


  • What’s your go to breakfast?

2 eggs with turkey bacon…my favorite


  • Do you eat before you workout? (If so, what?)

NEVER, I’d puke.



  • Something no one at the gym knows about you?

That’s hard because I’m generally an open book!  Ok, well I have a strange obsession with condiments… I literally feel the need to put ketchup, or chipotle mayo or hot sauce on just about everything.  


  • Favorite Quote?

“When times get tough, you get tougher”…my mom used to always say it and now I live it.


  • What Superhero are you?

Super girl…I swear she looks just like me!


  • Biggest Fear?

I’m terrified of spiders…any kind, even tiny ones


  • Best Vacation?



  • If you aren’t at the box, where would we find you?

Aside from being at work it really depends on the season…

During the summer I’m on a beach yelling at my children to try not to drown. In winter I’m usually hanging with my friends drinking massive amounts of wine.


  • If you won lotto, what would you do?

Quit my job and move to Hawaii! JK, some of you may understand my joke…

Honestly I don’t think I’d do too much differently, maybe I’d move to a house close to the water with a nice big pool and Jacuzzi. I’d still work though because I love feeling productive and valued outside of the house.  I’d definitely be doing a lot more for myself… I tend to treat myself well.


  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I’d love to travel to Italy.  Despite me being super pale and with crystal blue eyes I’m actually mostly Italian and have always wanted to learn more about my heritage.


  • Who is your celebrity crush?

David Beckham…words cannot describe how beautiful he is.


  • Last pic on your phone?

Matthew from this morning.  He was sleeping in his bed with his oversized (like 5 feet tall) bear on top of him.  It was too adorable not to take a picture.


  • What’s the wallpaper on your phone right now?

 Me and my boys…I’m a typical mom, always forcing pictures of my kids down people’s throats.


  • What’s in your most frequently used emoji tab? (get a screenshot)

Definitely the middle finger for sure…


  • What’s the last thing you searched for on Google?

Traffic in Outer Banks…I’m a nervous traveler.


  • Summarize your lifestyle in 5 words or less

Unconventional, Hectic, Passionate, Loved, Supported

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