The Noon Class: Building a Fit Community

Community is the heartbeat of CrossFit, and the platform of CrossFit Central.

From our beginning in 2005, we have been on a mission to “build a fit community” here in the heart of Austin, Texas.

The Advanced CrossFit noon class at the CrossFit Central Downtown location is a testament to that. Over half of the class has been together for the past two to three years-plus, and have become a fit community of their own within our CC community, known as ‘the noon crew’ .

Meet the crew:

  • Patrick Massey, 40, Operations Manager of Efficient Exercise gym, member since 2012
  • Donavan Miller, 43, a start-up marketing and technology consultant, member since November 2011
  • Andrew C., 38, IT extraordinaire from Wales (UK) with an awesome English accent
  • Tom Nelson, 48, entrepreneur and gym owner, member since 2007
  • Robert Malina, a business-suit wearing Vice President of Construction Lending at Frost Bank , member since August 2009
  • Christine Gaussiran, 50, a former band ‘geek’ and ‘non-athlete’ turned bad-ass Master’s competitor
  • Connie Arismendi, 58, sculpture and project artist that is a tiny, but mighty, ‘fireball’, standing at 5-feet-tall.

This melting pot originally came together under the guidance of ‘Big Mike’ at CrossFit Central-Burnet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in his 12:15 p.m. indoor-CrossFit class. Over the years, this noon class has seen many come and go (Coaches Jessica Estrada, Ingrid Kantola and Michael Winchester to name a few), but the core has remained the same.

At the time when they all started their own individual CrossFit journeys, little did they know the bonds they would form with one another, and the crazy feats they would accomplish. In fact, they would be the first to tell you that they were not always “advanced.”

“I’ve never been an “athletic” person. I swam in high school, did a few triathlons, a handful of half-marathons, and mountain biking has been a passion of mine for a long time, but I would have never imagined I could ever achieve the things I’m now doing in these workouts. Barbells, consecutive pull ups, handstand pushups?! No way. Now, nothing is impossible. Both inside and outside the workouts,” Patrick said.

Tom Nelson agrees with Patrick. He knows, without a doubt, that CrossFit has made him a stronger person—inside out. He originally discovered CC when he attended an in-house competition back in 2007 to cheer on his wife who had been doing CrossFit for about a year. He said, watching her fight through a grueling workout, inspired him to give it a shot and he was one of the first of this bunch to jump in with the 12:15 crew.

Previous to CrossFit, I do not feel like I was a very grounded and I certainly took many things for granted. As I’ve progressed in my CrossFit journey, I have learned to be humble and thankful—thankful for my accomplishments but more thankful for the people that help me accomplish my goals. I am inspired by the people in my life because of the lessons I learn from their strengths,” Tom said.

Andrew C. was overweight and out of shape prior to giving CrossFit a shot.

I was a lot heavier than I am now, heading down a path to becoming diabetic or having heart problems. Lots more fat, lot less muscle. I originally joined CrossFit because I was a pudgy dude and knew that wasn’t good for me, but a few years in now with my noon class, and much healthier, I came to an understanding that I was missing something. I was missing my hunger and my intensity for living my life. I wanted it back. Needed it back. I wanted to get the most out of the rest of my life—and now, I am,” Andrew said.

Connie Arismendi seconds Andrew’s motion. She came to CrossFit Central in 2009 when she was 53-years-old, sick and overweight. She had Osteopenia, with brittle bones at risk for fractures, and her doctor wanted her to lift weights. She had been working with a trainer at another gym but said she was not motivated by working with machines. She originally was a part of Big Mike’s 7 a.m. class before he headed up the Advanced CrossFit class years later in January of 2014.

“I am surprised to discover late in life that I am an athlete. I’m stronger now than ever before, and I love it. As I age I want to continue to do all the things I love. I believe I can become a better athlete and I want to pursue that.”

Like Connie and Andrew, Robert Malina, too, said he originally joined CrossFit Central and just so happened to fall into the noon class for health reasons.

“I had high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Like real high, in a bad way. After my first 6 months, my numbers were significantly lower and they have been improving and staying low since. This year, my numbers were as low (good) as they have ever been,” Robert said. 

Donovan Miller had always been active his whole life. From collegiate and professional soccer, to volleyball and racing BMX. However, at the ripe age of 41, with years of wear and tear from competitive sports taking its toll on his body, he was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

“My body was unable to perform at a level that would allow me to simply enjoy kicking the soccer ball with my then 2-year-old son without pain.  I knew I had to address the lack of strength and overall lifestyle. This led me to stop in and check out Crossfit Central,” Donovan said.

On the opposite side, Christine (‘Chris’) Gaussiran said she had never played sports in her life.

I had never been athletic or really involved it sports. I did band growing up and was the most uncoordinated, non-agile individual ever!” Gaussiran said.

So when the idea of joining CrossFit Central entered her mind in her mid-40’s, those who knew her thought she must be going through a mid-life crisis. Chris originally signed up for bootcamp, which she loved, but over time, she became interested in seeing what the indoor classes, with barbells, were all about.

“It took me a good year-and-a-half and a friend convincing me to just give CrossFit—the other side of the gym—a try,” Gaussiran said.

When she did, Gaussiran instantly took to the community that came with the fitness program, and says like everyone else, she was hooked. She joined a class in 2009 and has been training with them ever since.

“CrossFit’s brilliance is the community, It’s hard not to workout with this group of people that I have worked out forever, and not feel energized by them—everyone keeps positive and encourages one another to achieve their fullest potential. They are who keep me coming back every day,” Gaussiran said.

While each one of these ‘noon classers’ came to CrossFit Central in a different way and for different reasons, one thing rings true for all of them: They have become like family.

“The strength of the bond of the noon class is incredible. I look forward to seeing these people every week. The support and camaraderie is special. For instance, When CrossFit Central Burnet was planning to close last year, we as a team (family), got together to discuss next steps as a team/family before searching elsewhere outside of CC. We also hold each other accountable, pushing each other and supporting each other. I recently had to take some time off from the workouts. This team never let me feel like I was gone for that long. Constant open communication and encouragement. Can’t beat it,” Patrick said.

Today, they come together every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 12 p.m. sharp to ‘make shit happen’ (‘Make shit happen’ is actually their motto that they chant when they circle up, put their hands in the middle and ‘break’ with at the end of most classes).

Now led by both Coaches Big Mike and Jessica Estrada on varying days, the noon crew decided to make the ‘big leap’ into the recently-introduced Advanced CrossFit program in order to stay together with their original Yoda, Big Mike, when he told them he was moving downtown.

Big Mike has always been a great coach to work with, and he has evolved into the great coach that he is over the years. You get a lot from him and he will push you. As for the classmates, we have always had a bond, even when people come and go. In my opinion, this group has gotten even more closely knit since the advanced program began. The Advanced CrossFit class has brought us back together since it’s tougher and more in line with everyone’s abilities, that have grown over the years,” Robert said.

Tom couldn’t imagine leaving his clan.

I come from a big family—the youngest of 7. Whenever I go to a family event, there is a sense of belonging. There is no judgment and I know that I always have someone to count on. I get the same feeling with this group,” Tom said.

Andrew said no questions were asked when Big Mike announced that he would be heading up the Advanced CrossFit noon-class, moving from Burnet to Downtown.

“(Regardless of the location), forgetting the craziness of the day and doing CrossFit, is something I really look forward doing. Gaining small victories with intensity is like a drug – and I get it at the noon class,” he said.

CrossFit Central is building a community of fit individual all over Austin. We offer multiple locations and a variety of training to help you have fun and get results.

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