Welcoming the Vespas!

In February we will welcome Michael, Jade, and Hadley to CrossFit Fargo!

After their most recent visit to CrossFit Fargo, I had the opportunity to learn more about the Vespas through a Q&A. I am excited to share some of what I learned with you. I am equally excited for them to experience how welcoming our CrossFit Fargo community is!

The Vespas

Michael was born in Springfield, Illinois but moved to Minnesota at the age of ten. He grew up in Duluth and graduated from East High School in 2008. Then went on to one semester at Lake Superior College for Fire Technology. Michael spent four years Active and two years Reserve as a 68W (Combat Medic) for the United States Army.

Jade was born and raised on the Iron Range and went to school in Virginia, MN. She graduated in 2005 from Virginia Secondary School and started out her college career at MSUM-Moorhead. Jade shared about this experience by saying, "My love for trees and lakes overcame my love of the college and I moved home." Where she enrolled at the local community college and played college basketball. She moved to Duluth in 2014 with her daughter Hadley.

Jade was a single mom to Hadley when Michael came into the picture, filling their hearts and completing their family. Michael was coming off of a big career shift when he and Jade started dating, her worldview and the way she loves others helped change his perspective through a tangled time. About this Michael said, "So in a lot of ways Jade is the largest part of my success as a coach because she taught me how to really love people and connect." When asked separately to share a little about their relationship, they each used the words "my best friend" to describe the other. Something they are both grown by in their marriage is that they are very strong-willed individuals. Michael and Jade have been together for four years, and celebrated their first wedding anniversary in September.

Starting CrossFit

Michael's experiences have lead him to a love for coaching and sports education. He was a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® and USA Weighlifting Level 1 Coach prior to finding CrossFit in 2012. He now holds his CrossFit Level 1, Level 2, and OPEX Coaching Certificate Program Level 1 Training Certificates. He has attended other minor seminars and clinics along the way. Michael called his experience of starting CrossFit a classic story: “Hey, come try this.” “No, that looks dumb.” Tried it; got just annihilated. “Hey, want to try this again tomorrow?” “Um, hell yes.”

Jade honestly hated CrossFit when she started. Declaring herself a "cardio and machine YMCA roamer." CrossFit was hard, and require body awareness Jade did not have. (Shout out to the people who miss mirrors at the gym.) With Michael's military background, where fitness greatly affects your work, he found CrossFit to be fascinating. He enjoyed the new level of athleticism and wanted to learn everything he could. Michael's encouragement (or teasing) lead to Jade sticking it out long enough to learn CrossFit gave her the same rush as competitive swimming—one of her favorite pastimes.

Michael has experience with personal and team training and programming, sport specific weight lifting for sports teams, coaches development and other clinics and events. He has been coaching CrossFit since 2012, where the bulk of his experience has come from the four years he spent with CrossFit affiliate, Aerial Athletics in Duluth, MN. Jade got her CrossFit Level 1 Training Certificate and began coaching at Aerial Athletics after being asked to coach a Boot Camp there. She has about 1.5 years of experience and was named "Female Coach of the Year" in her first year. Jade also has previous coaching experience from time spent teaching swimming lessons.

When asked their perspective on what makes the "best" athlete to have in class they both gave unique, insightful answers. For Jade, it is someone who is open to coaching and cues. She said, "Sometimes in the heat of a workout people can get defensive or they are emotionally invested and that's great! But as a coach, you are trying to keep your class safe, so it's important that people can listen and adjust." Michael says for him it is the athlete who, "understands their own extreme ownership." He explained this athlete understands, whatever is happening in class or in life, ultimately they have the power and passion to be in control. This realization leads to the most accepting, coachable, and successful people.

Thinking Outside the Box

Both Vespas think #gymislife. Michael said in his free time, he likes being at the gym. And Jade questioned, "Outside the gym? What's that?" Because CrossFit has not gone to a 24-hour model, she says they enjoy to hang out as a family. Movie nights with family snuggles are a big hit in their home. Michael also enjoys music, travel, reading, learning, and using social media platforms to speak with new people and learn new things. Michael would like to learn to bow hunt. And a few books on his 2018 list are:

  • Good to Great by Jim Collins

  • Leading From the Second Chair by Bonem & Patterson

  • Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

  • Barbell Buddha by Chris Moore

  • Periodization Method by Dr. T Bompa.

"Oh and COFFEE, I love trying new coffee," Michael included.

"We like to eat out, enjoying new restaurants or coffee shops is always a fun experience." said Jade.

(Share your favorite coffee place in Fargo with them in the comments!)

Though Michael and Jade are both excited to join our community, a few things will make moving challenging for them. "New. Change. I am a creature of habit and routine. This will be a big life shift for us," Michael said. Both expressed hope for their daughter Hadley to have a smooth transition. "She struggles with the classroom setting of school and warming up to people. So when you meet her and she's unresponsive, don't give up! She just takes a while to warm up. She's awesome; I'm not biased," Jade shared. They are looking forward to creating friendships and developing connection with people. Michael commented, "As much as I can seem outgoing I am very much an introvert. Jade and I value close friendships and enjoy spending time with our friends so leaving all of that behind here in Duluth will be a challenge."

For a little more insight on what they enjoy, and to finish on a fun note, I asked for their top three Netflix recommendations. Both thought only three was a challenge; I commend them for taking it on. Jade shared her recent favorites are: The Killing, Mind Hunter, and Stranger Things. She is a fan of crime shows like Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, Blue Bloods, Shooter, Black List, How To Get Away With Murder, etc. Michael's current favorites also include Mind Hunter. The other two he listed were Rotten, and Peaky Blinders.

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