Neil is originally from New Hampshire, but moved Lynchburg almost two years ago, with his wife of thirteen years, so he could begin his job at Liberty University as a Counselor in the Athletics Department. He has two step-children: his 21-year-old stepdaughter just graduated from Liberty, and he has a stepson who is 25 years old. He and his wife also adopted a son from Ethiopia who will be 23 very soon.
Neil finished his Masters's degree from Gordon Conwell University in 2004. He began working on his Ph.D. seven years ago and is currently working to finish his dissertation now. He has spent extensive time working in residential counseling treatment. Neil worked in wilderness therapy, and at a therapeutic boarding school for a while. He is passionate about a holistic, whole-body treatment in counseling.
In his spare time, Neil enjoys running. He has trained for marathons, half-marathons, ultramarathons, and even a few triathlons. He is currently on a streak of almost four years of running every day! He enjoys trail running and can frequently be found on the Candler Mountain trail. CrossFit has been an integral component of Neil’s overall fitness journey.
What is your fitness background before CFL? I have been training for marathons since 2010. I swam in high school and even coached swimming for 20 years. I am an avid hiker and surfer. I enjoy the outdoors and have also played individual sports – including men’s softball for 25 years.
What brought you to CrossFit Lynchburg? Running – I knew my legs were strong, but my core was like a jelly donut. I came to CrossFit to feel balance and strength. I wanted to feel stronger since I work a job where I sit most of the day. I wanted to Be fit, healthy, and strong.
What is your favorite memory at CFL? I enjoy how interactive the coaches are with us. We have great fellowship and growth by being around like-minded people. I appreciate how the coaches are trying to focus on technique and strength and make us better. I tend to do a lot of my run training on my own, so it is nice to have a community in CrossFit.
What are you most proud of that have you accomplished while training at CFL? I smashed my PR (personal record) in the half marathon since joining CFL. I also did my first ultra this year and feel stronger and better in my running now – even though I have been running for over ten years. I enjoy seeing growth and improvement.
What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone new to CrossFit? It may seem intimidating because of what the activities are about, but it is worth it! Remember you can scale back, people are helpful, and it is welcoming for anybody and everybody. It is a great community and anyone can join in. It is at your own pace. Coaches are awesome. Jerrod & Amanda are great! I enjoy having a community and being focused on improvement. CrossFit is both a community and a lifestyle. It is all about being healthy and strong. After class, I walk away feeling better and stronger both physically and emotionally.
What is your favorite exercise? I can tell you my least favorite exercise is burpees. [laughs] Let me think… I seem to do well at squats. I love it when there is a run in the workout. I can make up time when that happens!
What song gets you ready for your workout? “The Fire” by the Roots
Laryssa grew up in Charlottesville, VA, and came to Lynchburg to attend Liberty University. She graduated in 2016 and works doing graphic design through her online business, and also works locally at CVS. She is very artistic and enjoys working on art in her spare time. She particularly enjoys drawing and making unique graphic design patterns. She is the only girl with several brothers. This summer has been an exciting time for her family as two of her brothers got married, and one brother graduated from high school in the midst of the pandemic. In addition, her older brother is very athletic and is a CrossFit coach in Charlottesville. He really inspired her to give CrossFit a try. Laryssa has attended CrossFit Lynchburg for over six year, and it has been an integral part of her health and fitness journey to increased physical fitness.
What brought you to CFL? I had been joking about how weak I was – I had about zero muscle. I didn’t eat well or workout. I had bad posture. I always wanted to get healthy after I graduated, and my brother convinced me to try it. After only three weeks at CrossFit Lynchburg I noticed a difference. I had never noticed a difference with any other workout program I had done before. At first, I only worked out twice a week, but I now have an unlimited pass and enjoy multiple classes each week. I try to get a minimum of three days at the gym a week.
What are some things you have been able to accomplish? I have gained a lot of strength during my time at CFL. When I stated bench press I could hardly do the bar, and now I am at 55 pounds. I have noticed a difference in my body – I have more definition and have better posture than I did before joining.
What are your current goals? I would really like to be able to do a pull-up – that is my biggest goal at this point. I would also like to see improvement in core strength and definition.
What is your favorite part of CFL? The results that it gives my body!
What is your favorite post-workout meal or snack? Smoothie King or make a smoothie at home!
Favorite lift or WOD? I like clean and jerks. CrossFit movements seemed very tricky for me at the beginning because I grew up artsy and never worked out. Going from nothing to CF was difficult in the beginning, but I enjoy that now and am proud of what I have accomplished.
What would you tell someone interested in CF? Don’t give up! Keep going! In the beginning, it doesn’t feel like you would see a lot of results, but it comes a lot faster than you would think. A lot of people who knew me before and have seen me several years after being shocked to see the results. I was too skinny because I wasn’t taking care of myself. I am definitely healthier now thanks to CFL.