And the winners are…
The Lab Gym Lab Rat of The Year Winner-Long before he experienced his life changingbreakthrough, this Lab Rat become an icon in the gym, a smiling beacon of positivity, often coming in twice a day. From the start he had a number of physical and medical conditions to contend with and even basic movements were a challenge. At the start he could not do weighted squats or push-ups.
Working with his trainer Jessica on strength and conditioning once a day and coming back for a round of cardio later was his routine. He was very committed but hit an early plateau. Frustrated, it finally it all clicked together when Adrian worked closely with Cameron on his nutrition and broke through this plateau by passionately regrouping and rededicating himself to his training and his nutrition. And it has more than paid off. Over the course of the past 8 months, he has lost +80 pounds, 17% body fat, and 33 inches! Not to mention he has come off of medications and is nearly entirely off of his insulin.
Even walking past him in the gym I sometimes even don’t recognize him. He is a new man mentally and physically but still the same old sweet guy that we remember walking in the door for the first time. Now, he is squatting his body weight for 5 reps, and knocking out body weight push-ups and burpees as part of his regular training! He persistent and he rarely misses a workout, even coming in when he is under the weather. He continues to strive after his goals with a positive attitude and always with a smile on his face. He has a new reason to smile lately as we are hearing reports that the ladies have taken notice of him and they keep asking him out! So catch him if you can…The Lab Rat of the Year is Adrian Ruess!
The Lab Rat of The Year 1st Runner up- This young woman has come so far since her first visit to The Lab over a year ago. In her own words,” After being in good shape and fit most of my life, I was completely horrified when I realized I gained a hundred pounds in just over a year partly due to medications.” With the help of a family friend, she was introduced to The Lab and an environment that she found welcoming rather than intimidating. It was a rocky road to start, with frequent anxiety sickness, cancellations, and the bad days far outnumbered the good. That quickly started to change as the foundation of strength, endurance, and posture was laid. With the extra help of Cameron, she began to make improvements to her nutrition that made the days she felt sick much less frequent.
After a few months of consistent effort and patience, the good days began to outnumber the bad. The pounds began shedding and the transformation began! Over the past year her changes have been dramatic, losing a total of around 80 pounds! Along with her huge weight loss accomplishment, her strength has gone through the roof! She has pulled 205×3 on trap-bar deadlift, 195×3 on back squat, and throws around the 50’s on DB bench for 3! While her body composition changes and weight pr’s are impressive, her mental toughness has been by far the biggest change.
In her own words, “My thought process started to change, in some ways drastically, the reasons for gaining weight in the first place started to dissipate with this new mindset. I lost a lot of weight but my mindset also transferred to other areas of my life, which was a result I never expected.” She has a lot to be proud of for what she has been able to accomplish this year. She is now not only physically strong and capable, but mentally tough as well! She is only 25 years old and now has a new life ahead of her! Our first runner up is Liz…
The Weight Loss Champion & 2nd Runner Up Lab Rat of The Year- I am VERY happy to announce our weight loss champion this year who has been a friend of mine for over 15 years. I have always known him as a large jolly soul and I have to admit seeing him now takes some adjusting to and I often double take as if it were a mirage.
No, it’s not a dream, this year by a landslide we have a clear undisputed Weight Loss Champion! He set a goal last January to lose 134 lbs and never looked back! He couldn’t be closer to his goal at this moment, down a whopping 131 pounds!
After many failed attempts in his past this time he has committed 100% with 4 secret weapons. 1) The Lab’s Training program 2) Matt Miller his trainer 3) Cameron his dietitian and 4) His wife Susan who went on this journey with him and supporting him along the way. An unbeatable combination.
His strength gains have been tremendous. Benching close to 300lbs, deadlifting near 400, and squatting over 300lbs! As a former athlete, he says his conditioning might be better than it ever has been in his life.
From his own words: “People always ask me if I have more energy due to my weight loss. My answer is silly but true, “I’ve lost an 8th grader.” That hits home for anyone with kids who probably stopped carrying their child around toddler age. “Imagine carrying around an 8th grader. I had virtually no allergy issues this spring, and that could be attributed to my diet. Mentally, I think clearer and work more efficiently. As someone who has suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder, being able to think clearer and work more efficiently has been welcomed into my life. I did ran into a client last Friday who I hadn’t seen in a year. He introduced himself to me like it was the first time he had ever met me. He didn’t recognize me at all. I guess I look like different person today due to these transformations. He was embarrassed at first for not recognizing me, but then I explained my journey.” The Weight Loss Champion is Corey O’Connor
Lynne Cooper Award- Last year we are started a new honorary award dedication to Lynne Cooper, a particular Lab Rat extraordinaire who made a great impact on me and The Lab since it was merely one of my wild ideas. She was a strong influence on me to give me the backbone to make this a reality. She supported and enriched our community in ways that most will never know. Ironically, she is really not big on awards and made me promise to not give her anymore. Sadly we lost Lynne last year and to honor her we want to keep her spirit and influence in the fabric of The Lab’s culture forever. The award is dedicated to someone who ‘enriches the Lab’s culture and broadens our scope of influence’.
Again this year, the award goes to an energetic and enthusiastic woman whose Lab Love runs deep and her commitment to spreading our influence is far reaching! She not only rallies people together in Bootcamp or CrossFit, she seems to drag people in off the street to discover the Lab Magic! If you think she posts a lot on facebook and instagram about Team Lab and Heavy Metal CrossFit, you should see how she bombards my email! This woman is obsessed, but it goes beyond her own training, to which she is very committed, she is consumed with how to make the Lab and Heavy Metal CrossFit ever Bigger and Better and we are lucky to have her to spread the good word. Another angel to add to our team that I can’t imagine going forward without. The Lynne Cooper Award goes to Adrienne Johnson Davis
The Goddess Diva Award- This award is a new one for us. Some of you know we have a training program of the same name and some men who will not be mentioned requested to do this program after witnessing the results of the Goddess Diva Program. But the award goes to the total package woman who has got it all going on! From body composition, to strength, and conditioning. She sets a goal and conquers it routinely like it’s just something on her shopping list. This woman walked into The Lab fifteen months ago when her weight was at an all-time high, she had a painful frozen shoulder, and in her words was tired of being tired. She devoted 300 training days this year and has had an amazing attitude! She has elite level strength and can squat over 200 lbs now that she has transformed herself into this amazing Goddess Diva. She is a focused, hard worker, and as Pat always says to her, “Results don’t lie!” Congratulations Goddess Diva Julie Sodd!
Male Metal Head of the Year- If you have ever watched The Crossfit Games you know that the best of the best are near Olympic caliber weightlifters, gymnasts, and track athletes. In fact, he winner is crowned the Fittest Man on Earth! To do this you need to not be only very skilled and coordinated but have an amazing fitness capacity ranging from strength and power to elite endurance. Crossfitters are great because you can literally get them to do anything and they love it. But rarely do you find someone that can dominate everything you throw at them. This metal head brand new to Crossfit has scored a Fran time at 3 min on his first try which ranks him with the best in the world (and by doing strict pullups, not kips, making this feat twice as impressive). His raw strength is unreal and is now mastering the Olympic lifts. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world and soon you will see him at the Crossfit games de-throwning Rich Fronning. The Male Metal Head of The Year is Matt Fitzgerald.
Female Metal Head of the Year- Peppy and spunky are never words I have ever used in a sentence or used to describe something as a coach. But, if pep is powerful, she is the princess of pepitude. And still, I have no idea what that even means. So here we go, she is the peppiest and most fun loving metal head we have, from starting Heavy Metal CrossFit over the summer to now competing with team lab and continuing to PR all of her lifts week after week, constantly making incredible amounts of progress and giggling every step of the way in spite of how she knows it kills me as I constantly explain there is no smiling or laughing allowed in weightlifting. In fact the harder I have tried to break her and her smile the happier it made seemed to make her. Her ever positive personality and strong work ethic seem to push her through all of her incredible WOD times as well as improvements in her skills with gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting. She is the mother goose of all new members and perhaps one of the friendliest, happiest, most positive people I have ever met. You have no choice but to like her. No matter how hard you try she will melt you down. And is one of the brightest most enthusiastic and helpful people I have ever known. The Female Metal Head of The Year is Adrienne Johnson-Davis!
Male Bootcamper of the Year Award You could not have convinced me in the beginning that this Man would win Bootcamper of the Year much less attend classes for much longer than a week. In fact I will never forget the nose dives he took nearly every time we did sprints upstairs at the old gym. Worried for his health and safety I was not about to ever kill his enthusiasm as I noticed he kept coming back for more. He was like the little engine that could and next thing you know he is beating most the class in many exercises. In fact his Olympic lifts, squats, and deadlifts are in the top 10% of the class even at his ripe age. And without a doubt he is by far the best sweater of any client I have ever had. If you ever feel like you haven’t sweat enough, he could lone you some…he had enough for the whole class. He may not have been a supreme ninja out of the gate but he has consistently worked hard not only in Bootcamp, but also CrossFit and he has blown me away with his effort, work ethic, consistency, and his progress! Male Bootcamper of the Year is Gerry Richardson!
Female Bootcamper of the Year Award –This woman tore up the award podium last year by losing about 30lbs and going from mom to the incredible hulk in less than a year with Bootcamp and winning the Justincredible Award. She is one of the strongest women at the gym and stronger than 90% of the men in the United States. She even recently deadlifted 330lbs for 2 reps and 400lbs from knee height for 3 reps. She does Bootcamp, Crossfit, and Team Lab and has the best case of road rage I have ever heard of. Guys, do not cut her off and then get out of your car with a club and try to hit her with it. She WILL take it from you and beat you with your own club. A natural talent, a damn hard worker, and all around bad ass…in the future you will see her at national weightlifting championships and maybe even the Crossfit games. Dominating everything in her path the Female Bootcamper of the year is Tabitha Porter!
The Mighty Mouse Award-The Mighty Mouse Award is for a powerhouse in a little package. The Mighty Mouse of Lab Rats is small, smaller than most Lab Rats. Minnie mouse perhaps. She may be mouse sized, but she is seriously STRONG and Pound for pound as STRONG as any woman in the gym! She is sugar and spice, super strong, and super nice. This year the Mighty Mouse award goes to a fierce Crossfit competitor and member of the afternoon lifting group…Nancy Taylor!
The Hercules Award- This award goes to the strongest Lab Rat or Rat that has gained the most muscle mass. And we have a big list of nominees who are incredibly STRONG. This year our winner reminds me of a young version of myself, except he is not so easy on the eyes. As a rookie he finished 4th at the USA National Weightlifting Championship can clean and jerk 374lbs and squat 550lbs. And he is just getting started. The Hercules award goes to Kyle Doterschill!
The Dynamic Duo Award-This year our dynamic duo has had quite a year! This couple has been training together at The Lab since 2011 and prior to getting strong and ripped, they were runners looking to make body transformations. This year they welcomed a baby and despite many sleepless nights he did his best to make the 5am sessions and hit PRs throughout. And in her own words…
I’m most proud that I lifted for the first 7 months of my pregnancy, even though I didn’t believe that would be possible I was happily proved wrong! I ran the first 4 months as well and finished the pregnancy with good old fashioned cardio. I felt great the whole 9 months and recovery post baby was cake. I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym and was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes in 10 weeks.” The Dynamic Duo Award goes to Bhavik & Priyal Patel
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at The Lab Gym Annual Lab Rat Awards!