August Spirit Award Winners
The Monthly Spirit Awards
Each month the CrossFit Xtra Mile coaches nominate an athlete from each gym as the monthly Spirit Award Winner. At the end of the year, members from each gym will vote for the yearly winner of the Clayton Pfeiffer Spirit Award who best represents the character and qualities of Clayton Pfeiffer, a young Xtra Mile athlete lost to us much too young. Clayton was a college baseball player and a gym junkie. He was not the biggest athlete, but he would not be outworked, and he had a kind and fun personality. At the CrossFit Xtra Mile gyms, coaches are constantly on the lookout for athletes that honor Clay’s memory.
August Spirit Award Winner–CFXM Fenton
CrossFit Xtra Mile–Fenton’s August Spirit Award winner enjoys playing piano in his spare time, especially the music of Lucas King and Tchaikvosky. However, if you know Blace Eckols, you are wondering what spare time he might have since he is pretty much always at the gym!
Finding the Perfect Place
Blace has been CrossFitting for a little over five years. He found CrossFit Xtra Mile after moving back from England with his family. He tried several gyms in the area and settled on Xtra Mile because of the people and the type of community. Blace feels that Xtra Mile does a good job of balancing a social atmosphere with the feel of a challenging gym. He likes that even if he gets his booty kicked by a particularly nasty WOD, he still enjoys himself because of the people who were there getting their booties kicked alongside him.
For Blace, the Xtra Mile community is like being surrounded by a bunch of brothers and sisters. They are really encouraging and best friends. At the same time, they can also give him a good-natured hard time, which is pretty entertaining.
Bodyweight All the Way!
When he is working out, Blace’s favorite movement, by far, is the muscle up. His favorite movements are mostly bodyweight movements like pull-ups, handstands, and muscle ups, of course. Blace is going to apply his fitness as he goes off to college in just a few weeks, joining the lifting team at Lindenwood University.
One of his favorite Xtra Mile memories is his first time doing an Xtra Mile “Throwdown.” He hadn’t been at the gym very long, but people he didn’t even know were cheering him on and encouraging him. It was a great way to join the gym.
A Better Attitude
As he looks back on his time in CrossFit, he realizes that his biggest change has been in his attitude. Pre-CrossFit, Blace describes himself as shy, timid, and lacking self-esteem. Five years later, he has a new-found sense of confidence. He is comfortable in his own skin. CrossFit has allowed him to turn a complete 180.
If Blace had to offer advice to someone just starting out in CrossFit, he would tell them not to get overwhelmed, to not get discouraged, but to enjoy the process and people you get to share the process with. He says, “The journey to your goals is just as important as the goals themselves. Have fun with it and don’t get caught up in the end product.”
A New Journey
Blace’s coaches love his attitude and outlook towards CrossFit, and that’s part of why they nominated him. You will not find a harder worker in the gym or someone more willing to get better every single day. He truly lives out his own advice to enjoy the journey. We are so excited to see what comes next for Blace as he continues his athletic career!
Be sure to get in the gym before he leaves for college WOD with Blace. Come any time. He’ll probably be there! Congratulations, Blace! We are so proud to have you as a part of the Xtra Mile Family!
August Spirit Award Winner–CFXM Central
When you get to know a little bit more about CrossFit Xtra Mile–Central’s August Spirit Award winner–you will be amazed he even makes it to the gym. Kurt Schaeffers has his hands full with his job as an investment advisor and his four children Jack (9), Ethan (6) and Alaina and Olivia–3-year-old twins. Kurt has been CrossFitting on and off for five years, having taken some time off when the twins were born.
The Perfect Mix
He found CrossFit Xtra Mile when he came back to CrossFit primarily because it is close to his home. Kurt really enjoys the atmosphere of CrossFit Xtra Mile–Central. To him, it is the perfect mix of hard work and having some laughs. He feels like now, he is in the best shape of this life! When in the gym, his favorite movement is push jerks.
His favorite memory from the gym is the first time he strung together kipping handstand push-ups. It was a movement he had a lot of trouble with, so it was exciting to get a few in a row. Kurt’s coaches nominated him because of his work ethic on movements like handstand push-ups.
Finding A Way to Make it Work
Kurt consistently comes 4 to 5 times a week, even with a large family. He works hard every day and never complains. He listens well to coaching and tries to get better every single day. Recently, he has been coming more often and even added the weightlifting program. Coach Rachel points out, “If he hits a bump in the road, he adjusts quickly and works through it!”
When Kurt is not in the gym, he enjoys date nights with his wife. They like to go to concerts or explore the city. They love trying new restaurants around town.
Kurt’s advice to new CrossFitters is to stick with it, even though it seems tough at first. He says you will see results.
Be sure to wake up early one of these days and come join a 5:30 am class at Central. You are sure to find Kurt there! Congratulations, Kurt! We love having you as a part of the Xtra Mile Family!