June Athletes of the Month

June Athletes of the Month

The Van Eerden’s

Meet our Athletes of the Month for June, Brent and Robin Van Eerden
Congratulations to Brent and Robin, our first ever Athlete Couple of the Month. To say that they are a hard working duo would be an understatement. They both consistently come to train and always give it 100% when they are in the gym. Recently, Brent was the overall male winner at our super total competition while Robin came in second place out of the women. Brent and Robin are also a strong part of our community, providing support and encouragement to all of our athletes with a smile on their face and setting a great example for not only their own children, but all of our younger athletes.
Congratulations, Brent and Robin


Tell us about yourselves.

Brent: I was born in Grand Rapids, MI. My parents were very wise and moved my older brother and I to Bradenton when I was 5. I have lived here ever since and love it. My mom, wife, two of my sister in laws, and my brother currently come to Fit Crew. I have never really considered myself athletic, as I didn’t play any sports growing up. Instead, my hobbies involved spending time on the water: skiing, fishing, diving. These are all things that I still love to do with my family.

Robin: I was born and raised in Florida with my parents and younger brother and sister. After high school, I went to Auburn University where I got my degree in Education. I taught for 5 years until we had our first kid–I’ve been “retired” ever since. I do however still use that pretty degree since I part-time homeschool our four kids.

Growing up, my brother and sister did well at sports. I, however, was not very athletic. I did not have a lot of coordination, though I did try my hand at some sports. It wasn’t pretty, but I’m sure my parents were entertained.

How did you two meet?

Brent: I met my wife Robin here in Bradenton when I was finishing up college and when she was heading off to New York City for her masters (2000). She was working in a bank for the five weeks she was home and I was lucky enough that she said yes to going out with me (she was bored, but it really worked out for me). We were married the next year. We have four amazing children- two boys and two girls that I am sure you have seen around Fit Crew.

Robin: The summer after I graduated from Auburn, I was working at a bank here in town for a few weeks before I headed off to NYC for a Masters program–this is where Brent and I met. He came into the bank one day and ended up asking me out. I agreed to dinner with him (after i checked his account–JUST to make sure he was the right age for me). We went out that night, were engaged within five months, and married within the year. 16 years and four crazy children later here we are–and there’s no place I’d rather be.

How did you get started at Fit Crew?

Brent: I started at Fit Crew after Daniel Kesten told me he went and really enjoyed it. After that first class, I was hooked. It took me a couple months of looking like death, lying on the floor of our house after a workout, to convince Robin to join me. It has been so much fun to see how she excels at this type of workout and how fit and strong she has become.

Robin: Brent started going to Fit Crew a couple months before I did. We had always worked out and did some “running” to stay fit (well, mostly so we could eat ice cream) and thought we were in decent shape. When Brent started going to Fit Crew, he would come home after the 5 AM class and lay out on the floor, drenched in sweat, telling me how great it was and that I should try it. It wasn’t hard for me to say no to that- I didn’t want to die. After about 2 months, I finally gave in and went, not by myself though. I convinced Patty Kesten to come along. I can’t say it was love at first sight. I was so nervous and continued to be nervous EVERY time I went for at least a year. I kept going though!

What has been your proudest athletic moment?

Brent: I would say that my proudest Fit Crew moment isn’t even about me. I love that my family loves it. My wife has accomplished so much more than she ever thought she could, and just keeps getting better at it. My kids love to run and exercise. They choose to come to the gym freely and do workouts. My girls get to see just how strong their mom is and through that, they enjoy training. They see that they can work hard and be strong and that is beautiful. As a husband and as a father this makes me very proud.

Robin: My proudest athletic moment…hmmm… Well, I really enjoyed participating in 2 competitions–the Buddy Brawl and the Super Total. Both of these experiences pushed me waaaaay out of my comfort zone, but it was so rewarding to push and see what I was able to do. I managed to get on the podium for both of them. I’ve been “ok” at things in my life(which is not a bad thing), but to have something that you feel like you’re good at is pretty sweet. What makes me the proudest though, is being able to share this with our kids. We get to show our kids how fun it is to work hard and get stronger–especially our girls. They watch Brent and I work hard to reach our goals and they see how much fun we have with it. All 4 of them love coming to Fit Crew and working out–they want to be strong and healthy and this is something that will stay with them forever.

What is your favorite and least favorite movement/lift/drill?

Brent: My least favorite movement at Fit Crew are wall balls. Give me thrusters, give me sprints, I don’t care! I just don’t like wall balls. My favorite movement at Fit Crew is really anything under five reps. I know, I need to work on my cardio, but my goodness it hurts so bad.

Robin: My least favorite is anything with high reps. Really anything over 15 is miserable. Cardio is NOT my thing. I’m pretty sure there’s not enough oxygen for me, and I hate not being able to breathe. What I do love doing these days is lifting heavy. I’ll take a one rep max workout any day–there’s plenty of time for me to breathe!

What do you think makes Fit Crew different from other gyms that you’ve tried in the past?

Brent: There are a few things that set Fit Crew apart. One of the most important is the “dysfunctional family” that you become a part of. There is such an amazing support system among the members that you just become friends in and out of the gym. Everyone wants to see you succeed and get stronger. The trainers have been amazing from the beginning, so supportive and willing to help in any way they can including personal training, recovering from injuries, and dieting.

Robin: What makes Fit Crew different from other gyms is the community and the people there. The trainers are honestly the best out there–they push us to our limits all while keeping us healthy. The other athletes/friends are amazing, and inspire me to push harder each workout. I can not imagine going anywhere else. Fit Crew is the best!

What do you like to do when you’re not training at Fit Crew?

Brent: When I am not at Fit Crew I really just love being at home with the family. We love being on the water doing just about anything. When my wife and I do get the opportunity to go on a date, it revolves around food. We love food.

Robin: When I’m not training, I love spending time with our family–going out on the boat is our favorite thing to do together. I also enjoy date nights with Brent–with 4 kids we seem to need them more often. Going out to eat is our favorite, we like to eat.

Tell us a fun fact that we might not already know about you.

Brent: A fun fact you may not know about me is the older I have gotten the more I have figured out that I am an introvert. You might have never figured this out by watching me in a crowd, but after any social gathering, I am pretty exhausted.

Robin: A fun fact that you might not know about me is that I spend every Thursday night with pregnant and teen moms at Young Lives (a ministry of Young Life). I help watch and love on their babies while the moms can have a fun night of games, music, and hearing how deeply Jesus loves them. They get to have a few moments of just being teens. It’s beautiful and messy and I love it.

May Athlete of the Month

May Athlete of the Month

Renee Pennebacker

Meet our Athlete of the Month for May, Renee Pennebacker
Renee has been attending our group classes since 2013, and in February she also started training one-on-one with Judy. When asked about Renee, Judy said: “She is hardworking and is focused on her goals, both in and out of the gym. When she comes in to train, she is ready to give it 100%; I have to make her take breaks, or else she would go until she absolutely couldn’t anymore! I can see her confidence growing with each workout she crushes, and her overall demeanor is inspiring. She is goofy in the best way and is makes those around her smile. I couldn’t have thought of a better person to nominate for this month.”
Congratulations, Renee!

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Altoona, PA.  I have an undergrad degree in nursing from Penn State and an MBA from UConn.  I have been married to Paige for almost 29 years and we have three sons.  We have lived in Bradenton for 25 years. After being a stay at home mom for 22 years, in 2014, I helped Paige open a solo practice in General Surgery and I am the boss.  My athletic background consists of being high school cheerleader before it was a sport. I may not be an athlete, but I am a strong athletic supporter of Penn State and I bleed blue and white.  Don’t ever ask me a question about Joe Paterno, you will regret it.

How did you get started at Fit Crew?

I got started at FC when a friend from LA Fitness told me to try it. I can’t say I loved it at first.

What has been your proudest athletic moment?

Since I am not an athlete, I guess my proudest athletic moment is each day when I get through a WOD or a session with Judy.  With consistency in both my private training and group classes, I feel more and more like an athlete.  I am proud and blessed to be able to continue to get stronger each day.

What is your favorite and least favorite movement/lift/drill?

Running by far is my least favorite thing to do.  I really love sled push and wall balls and all leg WODs.

What do you think makes Fit Crew different from other gyms that you’ve tried in the past?

Fit Crew is different from other gyms because it does not feel like a gym.  It feels more like a family of everybody wanting the best for everyone.  I have made so many good friends at FC and that is why I love it and keep going back.The comradery makes it easy and fun to work out at FC.

What do you like to do when you’re not training at Fit Crew?

I love to travel and one of my favorite places is NYC hanging with my college BFF.  I also love to cook and try new recipes. And I love to eat. I always have fun at FC, but when I am not at FC I have most fun partying like a rock star, drinking tequila in the Vining bus with my tribe!  I also love college football and have so much fun going to games especially when Penn State plays Michigan.

Tell us a fun fact that we might not already know about you.

Paige and I met in the library at Hershey Medical Center in 1985. His pick up line was “do you have a highlighter?”

My Fit Crew Story Archives

Congratulations to Tricia Bean, who had five #myfitcrewstory entries over the month of March and won the raffle prize of a three-month class pack! All of the entries we received were incredible, so we wanted to take a moment to share some of our favorite entries. The community at our gym is part of what makes it so special and we love learning more about all of our clients, new and old. Our March contest is officially over, but if you still want to share a moment at the gym or the story of how you found Fit Crew, you can always tag us in on Facebook or Instagram, e-mail us, tell us in person, or even comment on this blog.


Jim Racky (Via Facebook)
My fit crew story starts back in May 2014. Couple friends of mine Troy Masterson and Tony Cerniglia were going to fit crew and kept talking about it and kept trying to get me to go. I kept making up excuses whether I was too busy at work too busy at home. But I finally gave in and went to an afternoon training one day with Tony Cerniglia. That is when I met Niels Renzenbrink. We talked for a few minutes and started the workout of the day. The very first workout was a EMOM.

What the hell is an EMOM?

10 back squats EMOM. We were supposed to do 10 back squats every minute on the minute. Neils put 15 pound weights on each end of the barbell and I’m thinking to myself this is easy, I got this, this is nothing I can do this, I could do more right?

Niels didnt know me but he still started me off slow and watched me the entire workout. I went thru this workout and Neils was there correcting me on my form several times. That being said as we all know I could not walk the next couple days so it took me another week to get back into the gym. Over the next several months I met Andrew JP, Roc, Josh, Keith and Tori. Coming into the gym I was thinking more so of not embarrassing myself. Watching some of these guys lift more weight than me watching some of the ladies who are beasts in the gym, lifting just about the same weight as me and I’m thinking I’m doing something wrong. But I soon learned that everybody in the gym encourage you from the owners to the trainers to the people you’re working out with. Nobody cared if I liftef less weight than them or did less box jumps or less pull-ups than them they all encouraged you nonetheless. I have done every workout time available from 5 AM to 4 PM. I have also done the stretching class, beach workout and bootcamps. I’ve done just about everything that the gym has to offer.

Then came a major step back, one day doing snatches I feel a pop in my right shoulder. I knew something was wrong with my shoulder I knew it was going to be bad so over the next few weeks I tried rehab with Niels. The pain did not go away. Tuned out I tore my upper bicep tendon at 100% and I tore my rotator cuff at 100%. Niels and Andrew were always there to talk to me let me know what I should be doing up until the surgery. I kept coming to the gym working on my core working on my legs and they were always there watching. I had surgery in July 2016. I returned to the gym a few weeks after the surgery and again Niels worked with me on my rehab from very minor movements and stretching up to bands and then barbells putting more weight on my on my shoulder.

If I had not been going to fit crew during the surgery with my shoulder I am sure I would not have recovered this quick.
I would not have the confidence I do now and I would not be in the good of shape as I am now. Whenever I run into an exercise or a lift that I am not sure of the trainers will always make sure my form is right. Even if it is Tori yelling at me. Or Andre telling me to lift my butt up on the elevated pull ups. Every time I walk into the gym the trainers all say hello and ask me how I’m doing. My friends that I work out with always have a smile (before the work out).

During and after the work out it’s always good work out, good job, we all push each other to the work out we all try to encourage each other to push ourselves. Fitcrew is like family to me it’s like a second family.
I have learned that Fitcrew is Law Enforcement friendly also. Niels and Andrew supported our efforts to raise money for Law Enforcement United road to hope tour.
Fitcrew has given me the confidence and drive to complete my first half marathon and full marathon.
I would say this is my Fitcrew story….
but is more than that It is my of FITCREW LIFE!

Roxanne Britt (via Instagram)
So My Fit Crew Story is due today and Im just now getting to it! When I first began working out (prior to Fit Crew) my very first trainer asked me what my goals were. “Goals? I guess I just want to eat!” Fast forward to Fit Crew. I still love to eat (I will never give up my coffee with cream or my brownie mix but I have cut back;) but my goals have definitely evolved! Climb that rope all the way to the top? Check. Learn how to lift correctly? Check. Increase my cardio endurance? Check. Wear those super cute socks? Check check and check! 😉 Do a competition? Check +! My Buddy Melissa and I got second in our division! Speaking of Buddies! Ive made some of my best friends through Fit Crew! The people and trainers are wonderful and I have never felt left out or weak even when I was the last one finished. Everyone supports each other and encourages you and you leave Fit Crew with a profound feeling of accomplishment after every workout…. Now to get a little serious. My precious mama passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s several years ago. Let me just tell you that Alzheimer’s SUCKS! I miss her. I hate that my girls don’t have her in their lives. I hate that I can’t go to her for advice and support. I hate that every indication is that Alzheimer’s has a significant hereditary component. I hate that every time I forget where I left my keys, in the darkest parts of my mind and heart, I get scared that it’s started and I’m doomed to repeat what my mom had to endure, that God help me but my amazing daughter’s may get it. I hate that my mom did not have the benefit of current research. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are things I can do to fight off this disease and one of the biggest is exercise. So my ultimate goal? I want to set an example for and be there for my girls. I want to grow old with my husband. I want to do everything in my power to kick Alzheimer’s metaphoric a$$!!! Will working out at Fit Crew guarantee that I won’t get this horrible disease? No. But after witnessing what happened to my sweet mom and experiencing the long goodbye that is Alzheimer’s Disease, not trying is not an option. So I say thank you to my Fit Crew family! #myfitcrewstory 💪

Stefanie Masterson (Via Instagram)
My Fit Crew Story: My brother @troy_masterson was a member at Fit Crew and I heard him and my Dad talk about it and thought how fun and scary it sounded at the same time. I decided I would give crossfit a try and visited a few local crossfit gyms who wanted me to go to some type of on ramp program at hours that wouldn’t work for me. I am super busy; at the time I was a single mom with a 1 year old, a full time manager, and working on my first graduate degree, so when I found out Fit Crew had early morning (5am) classes and afternoon classes I could go to after work without an on-ramp program I was excited. I remember my first morning there I was nervous and since I’m not the most graceful I busted my shin doing tire jumps. No one made fun of me, in fact it was the opposite, so many people helped and encouraged me. The first few weeks were painful but I loved everything about it. The trainers spent a lot of time working with me on my form and encouraging me to push through the workouts. This became so much more than a workout for me. It is also my therapy, my “me” time, and the people became like a second family to me. I also never thought I’d have defined abs after having children but two years after my first child and a lot of tough mornings at Fit Crew I did. I also gained so much more patience, confidence, and happiness in my life. Being a mental health professional I know how important self-care is and the mental health benefits of a good workout. They even helped me continue my journey and modify when needed when I became pregnant with my second child, and let me just say it made labor so much easier! When I came back 4 weeks after giving birth (I really love going), they helped me modify until I slowly started getting my strength back. I still have a ways to go before I get my body and skills fully back that I lost with the second pregnancy but I can confidently say that I WILL get there and that I CAN do it. The support and community of Fit Crew is amazing, so if you have always been worried about what other people think or scared that you won’t be able to do any of the moves then this is the place for you. #MyFitCrewStory