Athlete of the Month (June) – Shea Cook

We’re proud to name Shea Cook as our June Athlete of the Month!  Shea joined CFBF 1.5 years ago and she’s had a BIG impact on our community.  She works hard and knows how to have fun and, as a result, those around her work harder and have more fun too!  She’s a joy to coach because she is a coach (high school girls basketball team) and an athlete and she wants to get better every day.  Keep it up Shea!

CFBF Athlete of the Month (June) – Shea Cook

What’s Your Athletic/Fitness Background?

Played High School and College Basketball. I was never the fastest or strongest, but I was always the most competitive.

Why Did You Join CFBF?

I had just moved to Portsmouth and having trouble finding a new gym community and routine. I was curious about the “CrossFit craze” and decided to give it a try. Although I was unsure about it during the intro classes, by the first month I was hooked. I loved the competitive yet supportive environment. It quickly became the highlight of my day.

Most Memorable WOD?

Definitely, The Lumber Jack 20! It was my first competition and I was so fortunate to have such an awesome partner, Becky! She was incredible and really got me to push myself the whole time. I never thought I could to an overhead squat till that competition.

Favorite CrossFit Movement?

Wall Balls

Biggest Challenge?

Still working on the strict pull-up!

Biggest Improvement?

I’ve learned to love my muscles and not worry about the number on the scale.

Who is Your Superhero?

All of the coaches. They care so much about every member and are cheering for you during every class! They inspire me each to work harder.

What Most Special About CFBF?

The community. Each member has helped make Portsmouth feel at home. I genuinely look forward to seeing the people more than the workout!

Any Advice for New Members?

Pick a time and make it happen! Each class has a core group of great people that will push you each and everyday to be better. I would be a much grumpier teacher if I didn’t have my 6 am crew!

Athletes of the Month (May) – Anne & Joe Persechino

Ok, we’re doing something a little different this month.  We have some amazing families at CFBF, and this month, we thought we’d highlight one super strong pair, Annie & Joe!  Not only are these two extremely dedicated, strong and focused athletes but they are actively involved in our CFBF community.  They are always there to help out, cheer on and support in any way that they can.  They have made such an impact on everyone that enters our gym and are great role models for all of us, including their two kids.  Congrats to Annie & Joe on being named our May Athletes of the Month!  Read their interview below to get to know them more. #fitfam

CFBF Athletes of the Month (May) – Annie & Joe Persechino

What is your athletic/fitness background?

Annie: I have always enjoyed being active!  As a kid, I grew up biking, swimming, skiing, and enjoying the outdoors in NH.  In high school, I played field hockey, and was very involved in the nordic ski community, skiing for both my high school team and a private club team on the weekends.  As an adult pre-children, I spent most weekends hiking in the White Mountains with Joe and our dog, Wiley.  Joe and I have also done some rock and ice climbing together, our biggest adventure (again, pre-kiddos) being a mountaineering trip in Peru where we summited Pisco Este, an 18,600 foot mountain in the the Cordillera Blanca. 

Joe: I played youth soccer and hockey for one year each. After being a bit intimidated by group sports (was it because I was always picked next to last for kick-ball?), I went off on my quest to be a ninja. Six years of Kenpo Karate later, I decided the outdoors was a better place to find my spirituality and fitness. Backpacking lead to rock and ice climbing, which then lead on to full-on mountaineering. After having kids, and realizing day-long trips were hard enough, never mind weeks-long expeditions, I needed to find something else. Running wasn’t the answer.

Why did you join CFBF?

Annie: I came to CFBF somewhat reluctantly, and after much urging from my husband.  He had started it a few months prior, and was immediately hooked. I was skeptical, and nervous!  As a new mom, I had stopped exercising almost completely, and after three years of virtually zero unnecessary physical activity, I felt out of shape, unprepared, and intimidated!  That all changed, though, the minute I walked into the box. The coaches were warm, welcoming, and encouraging, and the community was diverse, supportive, and inspiring.  Needless to say, I am now hooked, too!  I can honestly say joining CFBF was one of the best decisions of my adult life. Not only do I feel like my active self again, I am also mentally and physically stronger and have more confidence than ever before!  And I have made so many amazing friends!

Joe: One of my co-workers and fellow CFBF member, Brad kept prodding me to try it. After he organized a trial class for a bunch of us at work, I was hooked.

Most Memorable WOD?

Annie: Probably 17.2 in this year’s Open.  I did my first muscle-up the day before, and then I was able to get 6 muscle-ups in the workout.  It feels amazing to be learning new skills and applying them to competitions at age 35! You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. 

Joe: Oh, there’ve been many! Bergeron Beep Test, The Seven, 16.1, 17.1, the list could keep going. However, one of the ones during my first month sticks with me. It was super simple: 4 rounds for time, 400 m run, 40 air squats. The coaches encouraging me to go all out was what made it memorable.

Favorite CrossFit Movement?

Annie: Pistols!  I’m still waiting for Dave Castro to announce 100 pistols for time. Maybe next year???

Joe: Snatch.

Biggest Challenge?

Annie: Definitely double-unders!  I was proud of myself for completing the entire open Rx for the first time this year, but I barely finished 17.5 under the time cap.  Anyone who was unfortunate enough to witness me bumble through this can attest: it was NOT pretty.

Joe: Snatch.

Biggest Improvement?

Annie: I’ve made a lot of progress this year with gymnastic movements.  From handstand push-ups to muscle-ups, a lot is finally beginning to “click.”

Joe: Deadlift.

Who is your superhero?

Annie: My grandmother. Whatever she set out to do in life, my grandmother did with a quiet, determined passion. A first generation American, she was captain of her high school’s women’s diving team, and a dedicated violinist. After she was decorated for her services as a field hospital nurse in WWII, she went on to raise three children and provide love and inspiration for her three grandchildren. Although she lost her final battle to cancer when I was thirteen, she lived a full and meaningful life, and was the epitome of strength and grace. 

And speaking of strong women, another superhero of mine is Coach Addie Rae!  Addie is an amazing athlete, coach, and friend, who inspires me every day to be the strongest and best version of myself. 

Last but certainly not least, is my husband, Joe.  He works his butt off in at the office, in the gym, on the little league field, and around the house to make sure everyone in our family is happy, healthy, and loved.  He has seemingly endless amounts of energy, and a contagious enthusiasm for life in general.  I am a truly lucky woman; I couldn’t hope for a better life partner!

Joe: My children. Their courage, persistence, and kindness inspire me to be a better person every day.

Fun fact about yourself?

Annie: I love to read and write and hang out with teenagers all day (seriously!), but I also love almost any and all activities that yield tangible results.  I am pretty crafty!  I used to paint houses for a summer job, and I really enjoy painting. I think I’ve painted every room in our house at least once.  I also enjoying quilting; I’ve made quilts for friends and family, including baby quilts for both of my kids.

Joe: I spent a summer on the Big Island of Hawaii studying Hawaiian ‘Ohana, while living in a guest house at a Buddhist Monastery. I commuted to school in a matte black 1979 Chevy Nova, and worked at a local dairy milking cows to help pay the bills.

What is most special about CFBF?

Annie: The coaches and the community make this place great.  I have never been excited to go to a gym until joining CFBF.  Now I literally look forward to it all day.  I know I’ll get to challenge myself in new and fun ways, but more importantly, that I’ll get to do this while having fun with my friends.  I can be having the worst day in the world, and then I go to the WOD, and it’s like I’ve hit a reset button.  It recharges me and enables me to kick ass at parenting, teaching, and the rest of my life!

Joe: It’s truly been life changing for me. The coaches, community, triumphs and challenges are something I look forward to everyday.

Any advice for new members?

Annie: Just do it!  Don’t be nervous or intimidated, and stop making excuses! This is seriously the best and most supportive community I’ve ever been a part of.  As a new mom and a full time teacher, I spent years listening to my own excuses.   I “didn’t have time” to fit in an exercise routine, CrossFit was too expensive and too intense, I was too out of shape.  For the first year, my goal was just to show up three times a week and do the work. Now, I’m coming in 4-5 times a week, doing competitions, and working on my weaknesses in open gym.  I can’t NOT afford to come, and neither can you!  We all want to see every member succeed, and if you commit to this gym, you will be amazed by the results and friendships that will ensue!

Joe: Trust the coaches, be patient and just keep showing up!

Athlete of the Month (January) – John Slattery

CFBF Athlete of the Month (January) – John Slattery

What is your Athletic/Fitness Background?

I have a limited fitness background. I played football in high school and performed basic military training.

Why Did You Join CFBF?

I joined CFBF because I hit a plateau doing bodybuilding workouts. I was also bulking up not gaining much functional strength while losing foot speed and flexibility.

Most Memorable WOD?

My most memorable WOD was my first Fran. It took me just under an hour. Seriously.

Favorite CrossFit Movement?

My favorite CrossFit move is currently the bar-muscle up.

Biggest Challenge?

The biggest challenge for me right now is training the handstand walk.

Biggest Improvement?

The biggest improvement I’ve seen is in my Olympic lifts and my flexibility.

Who is Your Superhero?

My superhero is Josh Bridges. He represents the limits for a man my size.

Fun Fact About Yourself?

A fun fact is that I’m a very funny person. Just ask me.

What is Most Special About CFBF?

The thing that sets CFBF apart from other places is the nonjudgmental atmosphere created by the coaches.

Any Advice for New Members?

My advice for new members is “the reason you have two ears and one mouth is so you can lift more.” Just kidding, listen to the coaches, you will always learn something.

October Member of the Month – Becky Oleson


CFBF October Member of the Month – Becky Oleson

Previous fitness:

I grew up playing sports. As an adult I’ve spent a lot of time hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and going to classes at the gym.


I was looking for a CrossFit gym. I came in and met with Bryant and loved his friendliness and the welcoming environment. That hooked me. Now it’s the family-like atmosphere and the high quality of coaching that keep me here.

First Memorable WOD:

It was the shortened version of Cindy in the on-ramp class. I thought I was in decent shape and quickly found out that I wasn’t!

Favorite CF moment:

Definitely the Lumberjack 20 that I just did last weekend. I was able to hit the overhead squats that I’ve been struggling with and also pull-ups with no band. After it was over one of the judges came over and complimented me. That was awesome!

What motivates you the most:

Even if I don’t feel like going I know I’ll see friends that will motivate me to do my best. I’ve never gotten there and wished I hadn’t gone.

Biggest challenge:

Right now I’d say toes to bar and overhead squats. Those are the goats that I’ve been working on.

Biggest improvement:

I started Weight Watchers in May and drastically improved my eating habits. Even before I started losing weight I noticed that I was feeling faster and stronger in all the workouts. Now that I’ve lost 10 lbs. everything seems easier than it did before – especially pull-ups.

Advice for new members:

Don’t be intimidated and ask questions. We’re all here to help each other and we were all new members at one time so we understand what you’re feeling. And definitely stick with it because you’ll be amazed at what your body can do.

Who is your Superhero:

Definitely Wonder Woman. And all the strong women at the gym who motivate me.

Fun fact about yourself:

I’m a grandmother and I ride a motorcycle with a tribe of other women.


September Member of the Month – Gary Godtland


CFBF September Member of the Month – Gary Godtland

Previous Fitness:

Not much the past 30 years. I sporadically would work out for a little while but didn’t usually make it past the 6 month mark.


Just lucky timing. I was at EMS and Bryant was out front, we started talking and he took me through the gym and I signed up then.   

First Memorable WOD:

I signed up for the Christmas Throwdown, which would be my 6th WOD.  It was an eye opener but I’m pretty sure that was also when I decided this might be right for me!

Favorite CrossFit Movement:

DEADLIFT!! It’s just you and the bar, pick it up and put it down. I never did it before CFBF and now it’s one of my happy places.

What Motivates you the most:

Different things do, sometimes it’s just me trying to better myself.  Other times, it’s trying to keep up with others.

Biggest Challenge:

FOCUS!  My whole life is is focus.

Biggest Improvement:


Advice for New Members:

It is going to be hard. You will struggle at times. Just keep moving forward it will get better. Everybody here has been through it and will help push you to the end.

Who is Your Superhero:

Not sure I have one, probably Heather for dealing with me for 19 plus years.

Fun Fact about Yourself:

I still have a record collection maybe 500ish .

Favorite 2016 Open Workout:

16.3 I got my first muscle-ups (tore my hands all up but didn’t care) but I think 16.4 and doing the 55 deadlifts with my hands still tore up was my favorite.

Member of the Month (July) – Josh Jasper


CFBF Member of the Month (July) – Josh Jasper

Previous Fitness:

Not much. I was a pretty sedentary creature prior to starting CF. I would go through intermittent spurts of hiking but then revert right back to my lazy ways. I played soccer growing up but life pulled me away, or so I told myself.


One of my employees, Kara, was a member and raved about it. I figured…what the hell? I was desperate for a change and something to kick me into high gear before my sons got old enough to leave me behind.

First Memorable WOD:

15.5 with Lyndsey B. was extremely memorable for me because it was the first time I really experienced the CFBF community and the larger CrossFit atmosphere as a whole. We pushed each other the entire WOD and it really was a mental shift for me in my approach to CrossFit.

Favorite CrossFit Movement:

I love Overhead Squats. It pushes me more than any other barbell movement. That makes every PR or high rep push even more rewarding. A close second would be Cleans.

What Motivates you the most:

My boys. As soon as Jameson was born, I realized I had a very finite window to get healthy before they were old enough. My goal has always been the their role model in as many ways as possible, and being healthy is something I’ve struggled with my entire life and wanted to set a better example for my spawn.

Biggest Challenge:

I completely tore my ACL back in January (soccer….not CF!) and recently had surgery. It was far harder mentally to get back to my CF routine and get motivated post operatively than I expected. I’m just now starting to recover my drive that I had pre op, but the mental struggle caught me completely off guard.

Biggest Improvement:

Definitely my cleans. When I started, it was a daunting movement from a technical standpoint and I just struggled with it from day one. My knee injury actually helped me focus and tackle my clean deficits.

Advice for New Members: 

Stick with it and be yourself. I distinctly remember pulling into the parking lot in my second week at CFBF and seeing all the “fit people” going in. I had a sudden and intense wave of being self conscious and pulled right back out. I almost quit that day. I am so glad I didn’t. I’ve since lost 53 lbs and my life has changed because of CrossFit. There will always be someone fitter than you. Just focus everyday on being a better you.

Who is Your Superhero:

Captain America. All day, every day. My second son was almost named Steve Rogers.

Fun Fact about Yourself:

My wife and I breed various types of reptiles including snakes, tortoises, and monitor lizards.

Favorite 2016 Open Workout:

16.2 since my knee didn’t prevent a strong result and it was the day before I got the news that my ACL was kaput.