If I had to describe Celeste in one word, it would be “involved”. She is involved with her family and the people she cares about, involved with her business, and, lucky for us, involved with her gym. Whether it’s grilling meat for our next get together or spending an afternoon building a pull-up rig, both her and her husband Dennis are always willing to help. The Haar’s are part of the reason we have such an incredible community of people at CrossFit Roux, and Bradley and I are so appreciative of everything they do to support Roux. They even open their house every Sunday to host a supper club! Celeste blows me away with her strength. I remember the day she surprised herself when she pulled a 155 lb deadlift off the ground! She comes in day after day and does her best with a smile on her face! Last year she had a serious health scare, and she credits the lifestyle changes she made with her diet and exercise for saving her life. We’re so grateful that Celeste is apart of our gym! Tell us about yourself. I’m an aquarius. I love babies and I hate long walks on the beach… Just kidding except about the beach. I HATE SAND. I just made 40. I am a wife, mom of 3 (2 teens and a toddler), a business owner, and an avid CrossFitter! How long have you been a member of CrossFit Roux and why did you start? My husband and I have been members since November 2014. Back in September 2014 my dad had a really bad health event and I made a deal with God. My deal was that I would get serious about my health and get healthy if He just gave my dad ONE MORE CHANCE to try to get it right. Coach Missy is part of our family and I started talking to her about my concerns and she started The Butcher Shop, where a bunch of us worked out in her driveway twice a week. That’s where my love for Crossfit started. My first box jump sealed it for me. I failed miserably and then succeeded. When Missy became a coach at Roux we all transitioned over thanks to Bradley reaching out to us. It was the best decision we ever made. What is the biggest change in your body, mindset, and/or life that you’ve noticed since starting CrossFit? There have been so many. First of all I think has been my confidence. I am up for so many more challenges in my life ever since. My weekends used to be full of “Shouldas” – We shoulda done something this weekend but we wasted it. Now it’s always on the go and usually I am trying to FIND downtime. My body is so strong and I’ve shed tons of inches! I’ve also made soo many incredible friends and rekindled and strengthened old friendships. My “Crossfit friends”, as my family refers to them, are some of my closest friends. Without them we wouldn’t have Sunday Supper Club. What is the biggest take-away that you learned from doing the Challenges? Being conscious of your food to fuel your body is important – every single day. Trash in, trash out. I have learned SOO much about nutrition, how it works for MY body and what doesn’t work. I also now am a Dave Asprey stalker and bulletproof coffee drinker. I love that stuff. What are 3 specific fitness goals that you have for the coming year? This is really hard for me. On October 1, 2015 I had a very normal day. I went to the 5:30 am class at Roux, I worked and had my usual day. I was not feeling great, but thought nothing of it. I went to bed like usual around 9. At about 11:30 I woke up feeling like I had to cough pretty badly. I felt like I was wheezing and my chest was tight. I thought maybe I was catching a cold. I shrugged it off and tried to go back to sleep. For the next two hours, I was up and down and my breathing was getting worse and worse. I finally couldn’t lay down AT ALL. I couldn’t seem to catch my breath- I was drowning. I got dressed and woke up my husband. He thought I was having a panic attack but it was getting worse. We made a trip to the emergency room where they immediately started to try to get my sky high blood pressure under control. I had JUST been able to eliminate blood pressure meds from my life about 30 days before, working with my doctor, of course. So I was being brushed off by the doctors as not taking my meds, but it was worse. Much worse. I went to ICU, and then to a regular room where I finally met a cardiologist. Dr. Mailander sat in my room and in front of my husband and kids told me that I was in congestive heart failure from a virus. Believe it or not, my first question to her was if I was going to be able to CrossFit again! Just the thought of having to give up something that was such a part of my identity was crushing, but the reality is that I have had big changes. I take a LOT of medication. I had to wear a defibrillator 24/7 for a couple of months. My heart function has had some improvement but I’m still sick. Sometimes I forget and then my body reminds me. In December I was able to start working Roux back into my life a couple of days a week with my doctor’s clearance. Now I am back 4-5 days a week. I religiously wear my Fitbit Charge HR that monitors my heart rate to keep it under 130, where my doctor still wants me. I’m not as strong as I used to be. Some movements are way too much for me, I row slow, I am up to running 100m at a light jog, and I have to stop some WODs and wait for my heart to slow down a little and sometimes I have to stop altogether. For a type A personality like me, this has been a life changing experience. So this year I would like to just keep moving and do what I can and to push that limit but learn to LISTEN to myself. What is your favorite Roux memory? The Open last year – whatever WOD had push presses. I didn’t think I could keep going and my lovely husband was “yelling” at me to pick it up over and over! I cracked my chin with the bar on like the second rep and bit my tongue. I just wanted to drop it and cry. But he just kept yelling so I did, over and over and over. I actually wound up beating HIS score that workout. This ties with Mardi Gras with the Roux Krewe – Schneller style. You have changed Mardi Gras for my family forever and we are forever grateful. What is your favorite cheat meal? A REALLY good meal at a fabulous restaurant. I want it to REALLY be worth it. What is your favorite and least favorite CrossFit movement/lift? Favorite – back squat because I can go pretty heavy. Least Favorite – Everyone’s least favorite – SNATCH! It’s like unnatural. Tell us something that only people who know you really well know about you. I’m pretty much an open book. If you ask I’ll tell you. I do have a REALLY bad temper, though. What do you think is the biggest myth about CrossFit that non-CrossFitters believe? That you have to be “in shape” to do it. Guess what, FAT IS A SHAPE, a messy, blobby one. CrossFit is for everyone. Anything else you’d like to add? CrossFit has saved my life. I know, dramatic, right? Not just the workouts, but the challenges and the education about food in general, and the friendships I have. It helped me make my heart healthy so that the VIRUS that attacked my heart and caused my heart failure didn’t kill me. I had an angiogram – my arteries are “crystal clear” – that’s what the doctor said. Nothing. Zip. Nada. It has also strengthened my marriage. My favorite workout partner is my husband, as long as I don’t have to BE his partner. We are stronger than ever, and after almost 22 years that’s a lot (and he’s SOO HOT!). Our date nights often include a WOD and maybe a drink at River Shack. CrossFit Roux is my Church. I schedule my time there. I schedule my life AROUND it. I don’t work if I’m not working out. Thank you, Bradley and Emily for what you created. I’m crying again.
Member spotlight time! Nicole joined the Roux Krewe about eight months ago, and she has become a regular member of our 5:30 AM class! She’s a busy mom of two boys, and I admire her dedication to her morning workouts so she can spend the evenings with her family. We’re so glad that she ditched the running and found something that she actually enjoys doing for exercise!
Why did you decide to start CrossFit?
I decided to join CrossFit because I really wanted THAT change. I can remember driving home from work one day and seeing a group of people on the levee doing lunges. I thought to myself, wow..that’s what I would love to do! Not that lunges are my favorite thing, but you get the point. Little did I know that it was CrossFit Roux.
What would you say to someone who is intimidated of trying CrossFit?
I have the memory of being so scared in the beginning! Scared to step out of my comfort zone and afraid that I was going to fail. I realized that as much as my body ached the weeks after, I didn’t die and that instead of failing I had gotten stronger. Strong is the new skinny for me.
What did you do for fitness before joining the Roux Krewe?
I had really gotten into jogging. It’s the craziest thing because if you were to ask anyone, it’s the one thing that I do not enjoy doing! Right at a point where I was doing well, a family emergency pretty much stopped me in my tracks. So it took me 10 months and a 25 lb weight gain to finally say enough is enough I have to do something.
What has been in the biggest change in your body that you’ve noticed since starting CrossFit?
The biggest change I would have to say is that I feel so much stronger. Of course the truth is…I AM! I actually like when I’m sore. Am I the only one that feels that way?
What motivates you? What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to 5:30am CrossFit?
IT’S SO EARLY! Being able to share in my kids football games and making dinner for my family is what motivates me to get up in the morning. Feeling great while doing it makes me want to do it all over again the next day.
What’s your favorite cheat meal?
A big hamburger with everything on it!
What’s your favorite clean eat?
I love scrambled eggs with guacamole. It’s my go to.
What’s your go to clean eating snack?
What is your favorite and least favorite movements/lift?
My least favorite would have to be burpees! My favorite is the clean and jerk and push jerk.
What 3 specific fitness goals are you next hoping to achieve?
My first goal is to get my eating right so I can torch these unwanted pounds, the right way. The second is to continue to get stronger mentally so that I have the courage to take on different movements and weights. The third is to just get a kipping pull up one day. Those pullups look so bad ass to me!
Next up on the member spotlight is Mark Szush! For the last challenge that we did, I had all the teams come up with a team hashtag. Mark and his twin brother Jeff’s hashtag was easily my favorite: #szushittothelimits. Mark is always a wonderful addition to the challenge Facebook group because this guy has some culinary chops! He’s always posting pictures of his mouth watering creations and making us all jealous that we didn’t get an invitation to dinner. We’re lucky to have Mark in our Roux Krewe!
1) Where are you from and why are you in NOLA now?
I am from Harahan, LA & currently live in Metairie. I’ve actually never left, I love the culture too much!
2) Why did you decide to start CrossFit?
I was overweight and was just becoming too stagnant in life. I would see people from my past who had let themselves go, and I came to the conclusion that they were probably saying the same thing about me. I didn’t want to be that guy anymore.
So I had some friends doing Crossfit who were constantly talking about it, and I really wanted to try it; however, I was a little intimidated by some of the bigger, more established gyms. When I noticed Crossfit Roux was starting from the ground up, and Bradley, who I had known from high school was the owner, I thought that would be a great opportunity to get my feet wet. It turned out to be a great decision, because I feel like I got a little extra attention because of the smaller classes early on. To see what it has grown into now is amazing.
3) What did you do for fitness before joining the Roux Krewe?
I occasionally “jogged”, usually around Crescent City Classic time, just to justify to myself that I was doing something. I wasn’t good at it, and frankly, it sucked. Before that, it had been 10 years before I picked up a weight, in which I would embarrassingly only do bench press.
4) What has been in the biggest change in your body that you’ve noticed since starting CrossFit?
Let’s see, as far as health, I had mild asthma from about age 15 (I turn 33 this week) until the time I started CF in May of 2013. That is now completely gone, along with bad heartburn & indigestion I often encountered after every meal. I haven’t had a flare up with either in about a year and a half.
Physically, I have dropped appox 30lbs, & have lost 9 inches & 4 pants sizes in my waistline. Oh, and I have muscles in my back that I didnt know existed previously.
5) How many challenges have you done and what advice would you give to a newbie?
I have done at least 3, but I want to say 4. For me, I had done CrossFit for about a year before doing a challenge, and it wasn’t until I finished my first challenge that I realized I had been doing it all wrong. I’d ruin the rigorous workouts with food that wasn’t the proper fuel for my body. At the time I didn’t know this, and my results were just OK, not great. But once I did the challenge, everything accelerated. I kicked myself for not seeing the light earlier in my journey. So I would advise to stop playing around if you aren’t sure of what to eat, or if you aren’t seeing the results you want, and join one. You could be wasting your workouts like I was! Get to know the other people at the gym, ask questions, and have fun with it. As far as cooking, just keep it simple at first until you learn what is best for your body.
6) What’s your favorite Roux memory?
I have many, but I think getting my brother Jeff involved in CrossFit & the eating challenges have been the most rewarding. Also, staying late and watching members get loose after the Thanksgiving & Christmas parties was quite entertaining.
7) What’s your favorite cheat meal?
If I’m having a cheat meal, I’m usually going to Bevi Seafood Co. & having The Peacemaker poboy(fried shrimp w/ roast beef gravy & swiss cheese), an order of gravy cheese fries, & a Barq’s. Company Burger followed by roasted Pistachio ice cream at Creole Creamery is also on my list.
8) What is your favorite and least favorite movements/lift?
My favorites would includ the back squat; I have seen great gains with Hatch program we are currently doing. Then I would say cleans, since I was so terrible with my mobility at first with them. Grace is my favorite benchmark WOD. I really enjoy the beauty & power of the lift.
Least favorite, I hate running, sit-ups, & snatches.
9) What 3 specific fitness goal are you next hoping to achieve?
1. Id like to clean up my jerk to where it comes closer to my 1 rep max clean. It’s sloppy, and not something i work on enough.
2. I also want to ramp up my intensity in some of the WODs & metcons. I had a heart scare(not CF related) last August, & I’ve had reservations about pushing too hard, but it’s been a year & its time to push myself harder.
3. Finally, I want to keep increasing my mobility. I didn’t realize how important that was, until I really started focusing on it. Then things began to open up for me, but I am still not even close to where I want to be. My hip, shoulder, & ankle flexibility are specifically terrible. It’s an ongoing battle that I hope to conquer.