Athlete Spotlight

Meet some of the hard-working members of our community

July 2019


Miltos Arimblias

I’ve been CrossFitting for a year and some months, Started to try something different as I couldn’t stay motivated at regular gym for some time. I work with family at a restaurant and have been helping run it for the last 17 years. This made it difficult to stick to a work out regimen, but decided to start, as my weight got out of control and started causing health issues. I am married, no kids , but two Yorkies.

I Love all the compound movements bench/squat/deadlifts/cleans, but hate oh squats. I don’t have any particular favorite workouts, they are all new, different and fun. The Coaches do a great job of keeping things fresh and varied, and I love that it’s dummy proof. The sense of community at the box is awesome and helps keep me motivated.

May 2019


Annette Rush

Crossfit - How long and why:

I have been doing CrossFit for 3 years now.  I won a  free month at a local charity event and once I started I realized this was something very different.  I have never been super athletic or stuck with any kind of exercise program for very long,  I did silly exercise classes from time to time but this is definitely something special. I started with some simple goals and once I hit those, it made me want to try harder and work harder.  The supportive nature of Crossfit, especially at our BOX with Lenny and Mary Beth, allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, trust myself, and accomplish things I never thought I could do.  From climbing a rope, running a 10K, finally doing a handstand push up and finishing a Spartan race, this has made me feel like an ATHLETE!   


Married to my husband Bob for 23 years.  We have 4 children Bobby (23)  Faith (19) Tara (12) and Max (10).


Library Clerk at Old Tappan Middle School

Favorite Move:

Cleans and Deadlifts

Least Favorite Move:

Snatch/Overhead squats

Favorite Work Out:

Any of the Hero WODs.  They all just touch me and make me reflect on how we are part of something bigger then just what's around us.

April 2019


Alex Ayaz

CrossFit has opened up my mind and body pertaining to all the different fields of

fitness that I didn’t know anything about.

Growing up I was always a very active kid. I played baseball and basketball through

high school and then for fun in college. However, I never took fitness seriously. I was

overweight, not strong relative to my height/weight and definitely not physically

flexible. My cardio was always decent because of team sports but nowhere near the

impact CrossFit has had.

My fitness journey started 6 years ago when I became obsessed with beach body

workouts (e.g., Insanity and P90X). It transformed my body rather quickly, I lost

about 35lbs and was able to be proficient at pull ups, push-ups, squats, etc. while

also improving my aerobic capacity. Nonetheless, that fails in comparison to

CrossFit. I started at the OG CrossFit Escalate gym in September 2015 and the last

3 and a half years have been nothing short of amazing. In so much that I even began

purchasing equipment for my garage gym because I constantly want to improve in

various areas of weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, etc. CrossFit has led to a

genuine interest in fitness. I enjoy listening to fitness podcasts, reading articles,

watching videos and conversing with my peers about how to improve in workouts,

deal with injury, etc. I even found myself watching random tutorial videos on

YouTube about how to properly perform Olympic lifts (haha).

I think that the most important benefit of CrossFit, for me, is how mentally tough it

has made me. The pain and agony from many CrossFit workouts has definitely

made me mentally stronger in all other aspects of life. In the past I would get

extremely stressed out about work or school, didn’t know how to cope with it and

would turn to bad food or alcohol as a remedy. CrossFit has definitely helped me

lead a much healthier lifestyle and it not only is attributable to the workouts but the

community we have at CrossFit Escalate. The friendships I’ve made here are near

and dear to my heart. There’s something so gratifying about struggling alongside a

friend during a workout and cheering each other on that brings us closer together

and encourages growth. Lenny and Mary Beth were so welcoming to me ever since

the first day I showed up to the instructional class. I am grateful for their friendship!

You’ll typically find me at the 6:30 or 7:30 class every weeknight, trying my best to

absolutely crush every workout!

2) Family

 I am the son of my dad, Bill and mom, Susan as well as brother to my sister,

Michelle. I am not married and do not have kids.

3) Job

 I am a tax management consultant at KPMG. I assist clients of KPMG in

streamlining their tax provision and compliance annual/monthly processes.

4) Favorite move, least favorite move

 Favorite - Squat clean and overhead squat.

 Least Favorite – Handstand Pushups….I hate handstand pushups

5) Favorite workout

 Anything with a barbell and gymnastics work 

March 2019


Valerie Fernandez

Why CrossFit , and what has it done for you?
I have always been a competitive athlete. Growing up I swam, played basketball and softball.  Then as an adult, I fell into that typical gym routine of exercise equipment and classes with mirrors – I hate working out in front of mirrors!  When I found CFE 4 ½ years ago, it tapped into that inner athlete that I missed for so many years.  When I walk into the gym, I now feel a sense of empowerment (along with jitters, depending on what the WOD is) and I pride myself on being strong and continuing to test my own boundaries.  It’s exciting to me to now be able to do movements that I didn’t think were even possible 4 ½ years ago and perhaps inspire others who are doubtful like I was.  What I love the most about Crossfit is what it’s done for my family.  My husband joined the gym with me 4 ½ years ago and it’s brought us closer together. My children watch our workouts in awe of the things that we do and it supports my constant drilling in them that anything is possible with hard work.  The Crossfit journey has taken me many places - from doing my first rope climb and box jump, completing crazy WODs like Clovis and the Murph and even training for 9 months while pregnant for the hardest WOD of all: life with 3 kids.  Being a Crossfit athlete is so much more to me than burpees and barbells.  It’s given me a sense of pride and accomplishment that I didn’t know was possible.  It’s also given me a home to truly be myself and an extended family that I cherish so much. 

I have 3 children – Maya (8), Michael (6) and Nicholas (2)

Director of Sales Operations, KPMG

Favorite move / least favorite move?
Favorite move – ANYTHING WITH A BARBELL!  If I had to choose, I’d say cleans, although a close second lately would be deadlifts (which I used to despise)
Least favorite move – WALL WALKS! 

Favorite workout?
Being the barbell girl that I am, my favorite workout is THE BEAR COMPLEX

February 2018

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Kaylie McGivney

How long have you been CrossFitting? 3.5 years

Why CrossFit?
It satisfies the competitive, but team work mentality that sports used to fill. It constantly challenges me to chase faster times and lift heavier weight.

Starting medical school Fall 2019.

What, if anything has CrossFit done for you?
It has broadened my workout routine, introduced me to new skills, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and kept me in shape!!! Also, met awesome people who provide tons of encouragement and have the same goals and motivation as me.

Favorite workout? BURP (sorry)

Favorite move? Handstands 

Least favorite move? OHS

December 2018


John Bannan

How long have you been with CFE?
A few months shy of when CFE opened. At first I was going 2/3 days a week. Lenny and Mary Beth are good friends and when friends open business you support them! But it quickly grew into my wanting to do CFE for me!

Why CrossFit?
It was the combination of things that got me hooked; Endurance, speed, strength, and athleticism. They all play a part in being really good at CrossFit. Coming through the doors of CFE opened my eyes to just how hard it is to combine all of those and compete at a high level.

The other great part of CrossFit is with setting goals and constantly measuring them to track your progress and make sure you are getting better. 

Why CrossFit Escalate?
CrossFit Escalate is a great community. The coaches are sticklers in regard to technique. They push you when you need it. They are 100% positive and everyone feeds off that. The thing I like most about CFE is the atmosphere. You feel welcome from day one and we all help each other constantly. When someone does their first double under, muscle up, or hits a PR on a movement, it is greeted with a cheer and lots of high fives. 

A little bit about yourself
Family- wife, 5 children, mother-in-law, 2 dogs, and a cat. 

I am a Financial Advisor with ABMM Financial. I help people plan and save for many different goals; first house, college and retirement. I focus on helping teachers, police, and fire fighters. 

Favorite workout/movement
My favorite workout is the Burp. While it doesn’t have any skill movements it is still a brutal WOD.  It reminds me to stay focused and to keep moving and that you can continue to push yourself even though you can barely breathe!
Favorite movement is squat clean. 

Least favorite movement
Least favorite movement is double under. Mostly because I STILL can’t do it!!

November 2018

Jency Calderon

What made you stick with CrossFit?
I chose CrossFit because it helps me to overcome my obstacles and I like it a lot, especially the way that each class works. My family is everything to me and the support I receive from them is very important. I’m very happy with the classes Coach Lenny teaches everyday.

Time CrossFitting: 2 years, 3 months

Least favorite movement: Burpees