September Athlete of the Month

September Athlete of the Month

Alice Ryskamp

Meet September’s Athlete of the Month, Alice Ryskamp
 
Alice has been attending Fit Crew’s group classes since 2015 and recently began personal training with Andrew. She always has a smile on her face, has a great attitude, and is compassionate for others – especially dogs. When trainers add more weight to her bar she just laughs and gives it a try. Cardio isn’t her favorite, but still, she never quits. Rarely will you hear Alice push back or say that she can’t do something. She’s also an active member of the Fit Crew community, attending many of our events and participating in in-house competitions. Alice won the 1000m row at our rowing competition and recently PR’ed with a 300lb deadlift at our latest event, a supertotal meet. She is unafraid to give it 110% and is always setting the bar higher. We’re glad to have her with us and are so excited to see all that she will accomplish in the future.
Congratulations, Alice

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 31 years old and train guide dogs at Southeastern Guide Dogs, which I have now been doing for over 7 years. I have a 4-year-old yellow lab, McCoy, (who didn’t make the cut to be a guide dog) who I love very much! He’s silly, smart and the best.

I’m originally from Michigan and graduated from Hope College with a degree in Biology. After college I did an internship in Australia at a zoo, then interned at the Dolphin Research Center in the Keys, and finally at Mote Aquarium in Sarasota. After the internship ended I decided I wanted to stay near the beach and away from the cold.
I use to play tennis and volleyball in high school and a little in college. After college, I got into running (mostly because it was free). After running for a while I started working out at different gyms and worked out with personal trainers from time to time.


How did you get started at Fit Crew?

One of my coworkers used to come to Fit Crew and told me about it after he heard I was training for a marathon. I started coming once a week and was hooked. Slowly I started coming more and more often. 

What has been your proudest athletic moment?

My proudest athletic moment has been doing a rope climb at Fit Crew. I’ve never felt that I had a lot of upper body strength, so getting to that point was a huge accomplishment. The fact that I can do more than one in a workout now still shocks me!

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

My favorite lift is deadlifts. It’s one of the lifts I can go heaviest in, which is part of Fit Crew I really enjoy! But if it’s a workout where we lift heavy, I’m in! My least favorite is burpees, but that’s probably not uncommon.

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

I think what makes Fit Crew different from other gyms is the intensity of the workouts but also the support. When I walk in and see the workout, sometimes I think there’s no way… but then I complete it, and the feeling of accomplishment is unlike I’ve felt at any other gym. The coaches are always there pushing us and motivating us, along with the other athletes. There is a great sense of community throughout the gym, which makes it fun to workout.

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

In my free time, I like to spend time with my boyfriend, friends and of course McCoy. I like going to the beach, concerts, paddle boarding and playing tennis ball with McCoy (that may be his favorite past time). I also love to travel when I can and make the trip home to see my parents and sister in Michigan.

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

My birthday is July 4th. And I like to teach McCoy lots of tricks, one being to turn on the light.

 

February Athlete of the Month

February Athlete of the Month

Todd McClure

Meet our athlete of the month for February, Todd McClure!
 
Todd, aka Tomato Todd, is one of Fit Crew’s most memorable athletes. You may know him as the class clown- he wakes up the 5 AM group each morning with dance moves and endless jokes. While the early morning class gets to enjoy Todd’s moves, the rest of us enjoy the boxes of tomatoes that he brings to the gym from the farm.
Todd joined us when Fit Crew was located in a barebones warehouse and stayed with us while we grew into the extensive facility that we call home today. He is extremely consistent in attending classes and always makes an effort to represent the gym wherever he goes- from Bradenton all the way to Mount Kilimanjaro. His athletic background, dedication, and light-hearted nature make him an ideal AOTM candidate. Congratulations, Todd!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Todd Lambert McClure and I am 30 years old. I’ve been married to my wife Sally Heckethorn McClure for 7 1/2 years and we have a 3 1/2-year-old daughter named Charlotte and an 18-month old son named Grady.

I was born and raised here in Bradenton, FL and grew up making the rounds through all of the obligatory kids sports leagues and summer camps.  I have always been a morning person and I credit my father with that. We used to wake up early on Saturday’s and before church on Sundays to ride our bikes to GT Bray for batting practice, hit the tennis courts for an hour or so, or even go kneeboarding in Warners Bayou behind the old family wave runner. I graduated from Bradenton Christian School in 2004 and went to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. There, I received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and met my beautiful wife Sally. I actually started out pre-dental (don’t ask me why) but failed freshman chemistry! I took that as a pretty good sign I needed to change directions. After graduation, I came back home to live and work with my family in the tomato business.

My great-great-grandfather was a rancher and farmer from Palmetto, FL and started the company back in the early 1900s. I proudly represent the 5th generation of our family to help run the company. Eight years ago I started out on a tractor learning the ropes.  Those were much simpler times. In some respects, I wish I could go back to sitting on the tractor all day. My current day to day hands on role encompasses a broad spectrum of activities including tomato production management, farm labor issues, field policy/compliance, human resources and food safety. We all pretty much do whatever we have to do in order to get the job done and keep moving forward!

How did you get started at Fit Crew?

My wife and I were preparing for a trek to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in the summer of 2012. Earlier that spring, Brent and Robin VanEerden invited us to try Fit Crew. Sally went first one morning and told me how they all grabbed PVC pipes and went out back in this dirty and dark auto parts warehouse to start stretching. She said it was scary but exhilarating. I went the next day and distinctly remember feeling that same apprehensiveness and exhilaration. I had not lifted weights in a few years at that point and was mainly running for exercise. I could not do many of the movements including regular pull-ups. It was both humbling and inspiring.

What has been your proudest athletic moment?

I got really into endurance sports in college. A friend and I once rowed indoors on the ergometers for 3 hours straight! We rowed almost 40,000 meters in one sitting. Running, rowing, long-distance solo day hikes, long runs, it all excited me.

Of course, there’s only so much excitement one can get from a rowing machine so that summer I bought a road bike and stayed at school to take a statistics course. I would go to class every morning and ride my bike every afternoon. That’s spring we started the Furman Cycling Team and within a couple years (and with the help of a few freshman phenoms) we took a four-man team, of which I was a part of, and won the collegiate national team time trial in Fort Collins, Colorado. Individual members of that team are now racing as professionals on UCI tour teams. It was a great experience for me to be a part of.

Since marrying Sally we have been on some great expeditions together. We have climbed Mount Rainier (14,410′) in Washington state and Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341′) in Tanzania. Most recently I summited Aconcagua (22,841′) in Argentina. These strenuous climbs push your body to the limit and Fit Crews mental and physical conditioning has played a key role in our preparations for these trips.

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

There are a few movements that I am just flat out unable to perform. Heavy squat snatches, pistols, and triple unders are all currently on the blacklist. I’m also vehemently opposed to anything over 30 reps. I just seem to lose interest. That being said, the variability of the workouts at Fit Crew help strengthen your body and mind as well. Being open to completing whatever is on the board helps a person push through and persevere, even if they don’t care to. Sometimes it’s simply an exercise in mind-over-matter. My favorite movements are nae-nae’s, dougie’s, whips, stanky legs and anytime I get to ju-ju on that beat. And the bench press.

 

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

For me personally, Fit Crew feels like equal parts sickness and antidote. Choosing to work out and suffer at 5 AM (sometimes 6 AM) for four days a week could seem like a mental imbalance to many people. More often than not I find myself getting through lunchtime on any given day and starting to get excited about the next days workout. That is the sickness element. Fit Crew is also the cure for what ails me.  The rest of my days are usually stressful and completely unpredictable. Fit Crew is predictable. It’s a constant. It’s an energizing environment that helps me focus and make it through a work week. Fit Crew is made up of individuals (a lot of whom are some of my closest of friends) who are there because they want to be. They are all driven by any number of reasons but it is easy to find common ground over something with every single person in training. That 5 AM class gets me up early to get a workout in without sacrificing time with the family. By the time Sunday afternoon roll around I find myself itching to get into the gym and get the week started.

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

I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family. Running around or swinging in the backyard is one of our favorite things. We also enjoy going boating as a family and finding all of the waterfront restaurant spots. I’ve also just recently gotten the kids fishing a little bit. It’s fun to see the excitement that the kids have for being in and around the water. Everyone in this area is fortunate to live where other people dream of vacationing. Also, my wife and I both grew up tent camping and will soon try to get the kids up to the Smoky Mountains for some camping and hiking along the Appalachian Trail.

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

I love listening to audiobooks. Theology, apologetics, Historical biographies, self-help, business management, political strategy, you name it! I don’t make much time for reading during the day so I listen to audiobooks and ESPN Radio (especially Dan Le Batard and Stugotz) while driving between farms.
I also am a licensed real estate agent and use it sparingly when the opportunity presents itself.
And finally, I’m scared to admit that I’ve never done The Murph! In the 5 years that I’ve been coming to Fit Crew, I’ve never been present for this workout. By mentioning this I am fully aware that I have jinxed myself and will be targeted by Niels and Andrew to complete The Murph in the very near future. Bring it on!
January Athlete of the Month

January Athlete of the Month

Tamara Venditti

Meet our athlete of the month for January, Tamara Venditti
 
Tamara is one of our longstanding clients at Fit Crew, she started training with Niels in 2007 and has been both consistent and dedicated to our gym ever since.
Anyone who is familiar with Tamara knows that she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s headstrong, consistent, hard working, driven, and persistent. These qualities have helped her not only set impressive PR’s, but also take home multiple awards in Figure competitions. Don’t let her incredible physique and badass qualities fool you though, as she is also kind and supportive of our community- showing up to the gym’s events, and always offering a smile and kind words to both new and longstanding clients.
Thanks for your dedication to Fit Crew, Tamara. We’re so thankful you still make the journey to the gym, even after moving so far away from the area. Congratulations!


Tamara Venditti doing a 215 pound deadliftTell us about yourself.

I’m a fourth generation native Floridian, and was born and raised in Bradenton. Until recently, I was the only athlete in my family. A year ago, I introduced my great niece to gymnastics and she loves it. Occasionally, she comes with me to Fit Crew. I started as an athlete in grade school, 3rd grade to be exact, doing Track and Field. In middle school, I played Volleyball, and in high school, I continued both volleyball and track. I started weight training when I was 22. I loved how it made me look and feel, very empowering, and I’ve never stopped.

How did you get started at Fit Crew?

I am proud to be one of the Fit Crew Veterans. I started personal training with Niels at LA Fitness in 2007. In 2009, we trained for my first NPC Figure show, which I won- qualifying me for Nationals. Right after that, Niels started cross-training a small group of us. I remember how tough it was, and at times thinking “how am I going to get through this kind of training!?”.  The rest was history, I’ve been with these guys ever since!

What has been your proudest athletic moment?

Tamara Venditti Figure Competition WinWell, at my age there has been several. I’m proud to say that at 52, training keeps me young, as I recently wrote on the door at Fit Crew; I want to make your 50’s fabulous! I would say doing 114 unbroken double unders (a PR) was another proud moment. Most recently, I competed in a figure show with girls half my age. I took home both the first place and overall winner trophies. I train very hard at Fit Crew for these kinds of shows, and attribute a lot of my success to the type of training that we do.

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

My favorite would be anything that works the legs- I love doing squats, sled drills, and sprints. All are very tough, but the results are gratifying! My least favorite exercise would be handstand push-ups, because they just hurt! Also, rope climbs, I don’t like the rope burns!

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

Fit Crew is like my second family! The friendships made here are ones for life. The support that you receive from other athletes while doing a tough WOD is so unique- you don’t experience that at other gyms. I recently moved across the bridge into St. Pete and I still drive to Fit Crew every week. I couldn’t imagine going elsewhere. Niels and Andrew are both great trainers. They’ve made an awesome place for athletes to train and learn new skills without feeling intimidated.

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

Tamara Venditti riding a horse at dude ranchI work full time as a licensed Skin Care Specialist, so I love making women feel and look beautiful! I also like boating, biking, and going to Arizona every year to ride in the mountains and dessert at a Dude Ranch.  My boyfriend, Mark, and I recently bought a home on the water, so we really enjoy working on the house.  We’ve made it our own little paradise.

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

I think some people see me as this bad ass (or beast) work out girl. I do take my training very seriously, but outside of the gym, I’m such a girly-girl. The gym is the only place I don’t mind getting dirty.  Outside the gym, I like to feel pretty and feminine. I also really enjoy decorating and making things beautiful!