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  • Laura Dickerson - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    I had a friend with whom I was about equal skill level when it came to gymnastics movements. She had left our previous gym about 3 months before I did. All was good until she posted a video of her doing 30 muscle ups for time in less than 15 minutes. At that point, I would’ve been ecstatic to complete 30 in 24 hours. I knew if I didn’t make a change in my training, my goals weren’t going to be reached. I reached out to OPEX and selected Mike Lee as my coach.

    My main goal when I started training with OPEX and Mike was to compete at The CrossFit Regionals. I had ancillary goals like getting a strict hspu, becoming more consistent and efficient in muscle ups and chest to bar pull ups.

    Since starting with Mike in August of 2014, I’ve put 30# on my clean and jerk, 35# on my split jerk, 15# on my snatch but much better movement, 15# on my push jerk and push jerks, PR’d my amrap pull-ups and muscle ups, PR’d my 500m row time a few times, PR’d my Fran, Annie, and Mile run times. I’ve done many strict hspu’s now, completed many muscle ups, and felt like I was going to puke from a workout now twice which was never felt before. My goal is still to compete at regionals on some level. I’ve made a more realistic goal of including teams as a front running plan because I also have a full time career that takes time from training and affects my ability to have a perfectly crafted lifestyle.

    Mike has been the first coach I’ve had that is positive and encouraging when I’ve needed it most. He can read me like a book some days and just knows when it’s not a good day. It’s very much appreciated that he takes the time to get to know his athletes, and I always feel like I can be open with him. We adjust things as needed and so far is been pretty spot on! He reminds me to stay grounded and remember the journey I’m on isn’t going to take a day or a week or a month, but rather quite some time.

    Throughout this process, I’ve learned I need more confidence! I need to focus on myself and not compare to others because they’re on their own journey. I’m one of very few competitive onsite athletes that has a full time career outside of the gym. My job is stressful and when I worked night shift, I had horrible hours that didn’t allow me to have hormones that support my goals. I’ve learned that sometimes I just have to do things a little differently and that’s ok. I’ve also learned to not be afraid to fail; that I need to push myself to that limit to find out where that line even lies. Not everything can be paced 😉 I’ve gotten 5 other co workers to start training since being at OPEX and posting videos on my Instagram! My nickname at work is “CrossFit” and I’ve been described as the “nurse with muscles and curly hair” by new staff who dodn’t know my name. Sometimes I’m called to help move patients or open bottles just because other coworkers know my fitness background.

    I love helping people change their lifestyle for the better. I used to coach entry level 101 classes at another gym, and just seeing things “click” for people is so cool. Then to see them 6 months later hitting a huge PR, and have them come back to you because you taught them how to do it in the first place – that’s a cool feeling.

    Laura Dickerson - OPEX Client
  • Antonette Dehaney - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    I had been trying and failing at CrossFit for two years. I heard about OPEX from a few folks at my box. Curiosity brought me to the web site. After a consultation with the Training Coordinator, I select Michael Bann as my coach because I knew he would be the right fit after reading his bio.

    My goal was to figure out why I kept getting injured and get healthier.

    With Michael Bann’s help, I definitely achieved both of the above. I’m not married to the idea of an ideal body image. I’ve realized that depending on my lifestyle, the external and internal, my body will react or change accordingly. I can’t keep up, so I’ve let that go.

    My goal right now is to continue to get stronger. I would love to do ten plus pull ups and make it look easy. I will not bore you with the others. Overall it’s to stay healthy, move injury free and without pain.

    Michael has allowed me to be myself, 100%. I admire his thirst for knowledge and the willingness to share that with others. There’s no drama, everything is what it is. I’m rarely speechless and he’s rendered me speechless on a few occasions by asking thought provoking questions. He’s recognized my true values and how they align with life, work and the gym.

    I’ve learned that it’s ok to be ok just where I’m at. By Michael accepting me, I’ve accepted myself. The past sixteen months has been a re-education of myself, a re-introduction to myself. I’ve discovered a love for myself that I don’t know ever existed. I choose myself more now, still a work in progress but I know myself so much better and I am no longer afraid to express it.

    Sport and fitness has been an important part of my life. I truly believe the skills you learn and develop in this arena are transferable to real life. When I achieve things I once thought impossible that gives me confidence to tackle life outside the gym.

    OPEX and Coach Michael Bann has been an integral part of my physical, personal and professional growth. I believe people arrive just when you need them, this just so happens to be the OPEX community.

    Antonette Dehaney - OPEX Client
  • Tennil Reed - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    I came to OPEX because a good friend of mine Ashley McBride couldn’t stop talking about how great it was, and I wanted to train with her because we had been training partners since we both began CrossFit. Once I met with my Coach Mike Lee and learned more about OPEX, I could see that it could take my training to the next level. My goal has always been to compete in the CrossFit games. Since starting with OPEX, I have increased all my lifts, became more skilled with my gymnastics, and an overall more confident athlete. Last year I placed 9th at Regionals so I am looking to break into the top and head to the Games. I’ve placed well in all the major competition leading up to the Open this year so I am confident in what I have to bring to the table

    While my ultimate goal is to make it to the CrossFit games, right now I am working specifically on certain skills like double unders, hspus, grip endurance, and efficiency with the barbell. These little things will help me make my ultimate goal.

    My coach Mike is always telling me, “if you want it, you have to go and get it!” It’s almost like a challenge, which works for me because I’m so competitive! I’ve learned again and again, I can only control me and what I can do…. So that’s what I’m going to work on every day.

    Tennil Reed - OPEX Client
  • Stanley Bercovitz - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    For quite a few years I have been having issues with the typical CrossFit workouts. The workouts never really provided me the individual focus I needed to address areas of weakness, areas of constant pain and lack of mobility. They also never really took into consideration the need for rest in relation to the volume of work performed. It didn’t take me too long to realize that this was due in part to the fact that many of the people designing programs had little or no fitness training experience, little or no related exercise physiology education or the same in injury prevention or rehabilitation.

    I realized that you can’t provide a single workout with potentially dangerous weights and movements (when performed incorrectly) for an entire class with a huge variety of ages, skill levels, past and present injuries, levels of motivation. I also realized that although I could lift the rx weights, I often was not doing so safely or in proper form. And I learned that my improper form was due to not having adequate mobility and strength in some basic areas.

    I also watched a good friend and 2-time Games Master’s Champion, Mary Beth Litsheim switch to a “long-distance” coach with amazing results.

    So with that in mind, I reached out to OPEX and started training with Michael Bann. (Although it should be noted that he has instructed me to address him as “King Michael” or I will suffer consequences in my workouts.) My goals when I first started training with Michael included working towards increased hip mobility as well as a lack of pain in my left hip and lower back. I have achieved a much more solid base and level of endurance. I am able to complete entire interval workouts with nearly identical completion times, i.e. I am able to maintain a constant pace over an extended workout, both on the rower and off.

    I have increased my leg and upper body flexibility, overall strength and coordination (i.e. core strength).

    My current goals are more than simply in the gym. With my coach we have been working on time and sleep management. In other words, there has been quite a bit of life coaching and my primary current goals are to gain better control with my time and sleep management. In my case, when these two are in check, my workouts in the gym are much more successful.

    Michael has empowered me through positive support in getting all aspects of my life together. However, he is much more than a cheerleader. He provides insight, comments, firm/stern critiques and other suggestions based on success he has had with both personal and client coaching.

    I have learned that I truly am more successful in achieving fitness and life goals when I have a coach who is providing me individual programming. I have also learned that it is much safer and successful for me to take a slow, personalized and focused approach to meeting my fitness goals.

    While it is still early in the process for me, however I am already seeing results that I never saw with traditional CrossFit wods and I am waking up with no pain for the first time in many years. I began CrossFit in 2009 and have had some sort of pain everytime I got out of bed, not now. So, I guess if I had to sum it up with a single word so far it would be: patience.

    Stanley Bercovitz - OPEX Client
  • Gabrielle Andrews - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    I have been with OPEX since December of 2013. I knew after 2012 Regionals I needed to make a change in my training and I decided to go with OPEX. Going with James was the best decision I could have made and what has evolved from that decision I could have never dreamed. After working with James long distance for a few months, I was able to work with an OPEX coach Mike Lee in person for a few days. When I came home I knew I needed to make a big change and move onsite and train full-time as an athlete. A month and a half later I moved from Florida to Arizona and have not looked back. The coaching and programming style has made me more confident as an athlete and the realization of a dream becoming a reality.

    Gabrielle Andrews EC Client, Onsite Athlete 2015 Regionals Athlete

    Gabrielle Andrews - OPEX Client
  • Hank Carl - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    After training for a couple of years in the sport of CrossFt, trying to climb the ranks in the sport, I had a few of questions that would later lead me to OPEX. I wondered, growing up as a runner could I really have been a better runner if I would have just trained at high intensities for every session? Were my fourteen mile runs every Monday at an easy effort just a waste of time? I knew CrossFit was definitely a unique sport, but was it really so unique that I could disregard any previous ground made in strength and conditioning, endurance sports, and my own experience’s with training? If not, how could I apply some of the principles I grew up training in to the sport of CrossFit? I wondered if there was a place in CrossFit for easy days, tempo/threshold workouts, and interval/repeat training.

    Despite my curiosity, I needed to get really good, really fast, and that didn’t leave much room for experimentation. So, I continued to train how i thought the best were training, as hard as possible and as often as possible. As the 2014 CossFit Opens approached, despite all of my hard work, I realized the possibility that I was not on track to meet my goal of qualifying for Regionals, so I started reaching out for help. My Sister told me about OPEX (OPT at the time) , I listened to a webinar on how to prepare for the 2014 Opens by a dude named James Fitzgerald, who started breaking shit down. I listened in thinking that perhaps I had found some answers to my questions, I listened further in and was left with even more questions ! I emailed a few questions to James, he answered back, and yet more questions appeared. I decided to sign up for a consultation where I thought I would extrapolate all of the answers and devise a training program that would take me to the top of the sport. Our Skype started, but after listening to James drop a seemingly endless supply of bombs, pearls, and nuggets on the webinar, all I could do was sit in silence. Finally he asked something like: “So is it coaching your looking for?” and after a brief pause I realized the answer was yes, and I’ve been an OPEX EC ever since, working with James Fitzgerald and Mike Lee all along.

    Though I’ve been humbled by the sport and it’s competition over the past year or so, I came to OPEX wanting to win the CrossFit Games, and had hoped that I could at least earn a spot onto the CrossFit games. At the time, I had over a page of specific fitness goals for benchmark lifts and other various fitness tests.

    Just nine months in as an OPEX EC, I landed a 290# Hang snatch + OHS, 55# heavier than any snatch previous to working with OPEX. My 2km Row TT dropped from 6:50 to 6:17, I’ve hit a 350# jerk, 340# Power Clean, 267# power snatch, 400# Back squat, we brought my 30 Squat Clean @ 225# from 7:54 to 4:07, my 50 Strict HSPU went from a DNF (17 REPS) to completing the test in 5:42, and my Opens placings went from 371st in 2013(pre- OPEX), 79th in 2014, and to 35th in 2015.

    I have a lot of goals in fitness, but at the top of the list is to give full-effort for the each of the CrossFit Opens workouts. If your a part of the OPEX community, you’ve probably herd “Full Effort, Full Victory”, its’ always been my favorite goal. I’d also love to earn a qualifying spot to the 2016 CrossFit Regionals.

    I’m constantly being surprised by how much more Mike Lee knows about me, than I know about me!

    He’s empowered me toward my goals by hammering my weakness’s and giving me goals to shoot for on specific lifts and workouts to reach my goals. He also provides an environment where I can make mistakes and be educated on them. I’m amazed by the subtleties he can pick up on and bring into my awareness for continued progress. It’s always inspiring to see how much Mike Lee cares, and works for my progress, whether it’s insights into my Nuttrition, lifting cues, or helping to strengthen my mental game for the sport. I know that by having Mike Lee as a coach, I have an edge on most of my competition.

    I’ve learned so much about myself during this process, but I’ll just limit this one to fitness for the time being, though, I will say that when you become an OPEX EC you may at least encounter the opportunity to learn more about yourself than just how to progress physically in fitness. From an athletic point of view, I’ve learned one of the most valuable things a CrossFit athlete can learn in this sport, how to run my engine. It’s still a work in progress which is fine by me, with Coach Mike Lee by my side this has become one of the most fulfilling parts of my fitness journey.

    Hank Carl - OPEX Client
  • Laura Davidson - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    Why did I start training with OPEX? Well, I selected OPEX because I needed help. My blood sugar was up, my blood pressure was up, my knees constantly hurt and one swelled every day, my belly fat was out of control, plain and simple I needed help. I could not do what needed to be done on my own. I had been working out hard for months with no results. I had lost a few inches but no weight. Being 52 and premenopausal presents lots of challenges. I wasn’t sleeping and my weight was climbing. I knew if I continued I would face an aging process that was certain to involve High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and two knee replacements. I was tired of feeling sluggish and getting nowhere. Something had to change. I needed to call in the big gun, Sean McGovern and OPEX.

    When I first started with OPEX my initial goal was to lose weight and to avoid a fifth knee surgery on my right knee. It never healed from the last surgery in 2012. I have been overweight for years, yo-yo’d and suffered through injuries. I want to get to level healthy ground. Since started with OPEX, I have seen amazing results. I am stronger that I have been in years. If I had to guess, I have gained about 15lbs of muscle in just 103 workouts! I am up to 45lbs on my goblet carry, I started at 15lbs. I literally could not do anything with my knees, RDL, Roman Step Up in the beginning. Sean really had to start me out slowly on all accounts. He would know best as to where I stared to where I am now from a trainer’s perspective. In my opinion, I am light years from day one! My knees no longer hurt all the time, and the right knee is no longer swollen all the time. If I have trouble, ice and ibuprofen do the job. This is honestly a miracle as I was getting ready to have surgery to strip the scar tissue. I was lucky to have 6,000 steps a day now my daily goal is 15,000. I have lost 4.5 inches in my hips and 5.o inches across my belly. I am down 9 pounds over all. Of course being down 9lbs does not account for the fact that I know I have gained muscle.

    Back in 2008 I had injured my glute very badly. I had not warmed up properly for a cold morning run and in mid sprint I suffered a tear in my glute and piriformis. Excruciating pain. It was a constant issue from that point on. The best way to describe what had happened to me is that my glutes literally slid down the back of my legs and suffered (both sides) complete atrophy. I told Sean about the injury, as I had done with all my injuries and he worked out a plan for me to re-activate my glutes, to get my hamstrings and quads where they needed to be, to open up my hips, and to improve my strength. I can know actively squeeze my glutes and can feel and see the incredible results. My strength can now come properly from this area and my hips. Baby got back is all I can say!

    Also, I learned awareness- Did you know that the average person needs 60 grams of protein by lunch? Just for basic digestive and brain function. I did not know this. Sean taught me. Did you know that if you hit a spell where soreness is an issue increase your carbs a bit but if you have a spell where fatigue is an issue increase your fats a little bit. I did not know this, Sean taught me. Hydration, sleep, less stress and eating clean are all topics I think about and actively pursue every day. I preplan my meals the day before, set my work out clothes out the night before and review my work out before bed. All new habits that I learned through this process. With Sean’s’ guidance I have worked out through smashing and injuring my right big toe, through the holidays and through a bad cold.

    My current goal is to lose 40 pounds by my 53rd birthday, 9/24/16. This will get me out of the obsess category, back to a weight that both my doctor and I thing would be healthy. If Sean and I feel this target needs to be modified we can do that. I just need to be prepared for the aging process and extra weight is not going to help.

    I want to get rid of my belly fat. It is nasty and gets in the way! I want to get to a point where I am at my normal percentage of body fat and weight. All of these goals will add years to my life and give me a quality, active life!

    When I just had a gym membership it was easy to say I was too tired, or too busy and then blow it off. Having Sean, knowing that he puts the time in to give me my weekly workouts motivates me to be there, give my all, and do it every day. He has taught me really how to fish instead of giving me fish. I won’t have him forever but while I do I learn every day. He responds to my FITBOT questions within an hour or two. He provide videos for me so that my form is spot on and if I still have questions he breaks it down further so that someone of my skill level can understand.

    The biggest thing I have learned during this process is I can, I am, and I will do this. But I need help. My work outs, especially this week have been killer but I managed to get through them and further more really do my best. Scary and hard as this process can be, I have to do it. Looking forward to the next four months and the results. Can’t wait to see what September brings!

    Laura Davidson - OPEX Client
  • Paul Fendler - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    “I dabbled in Crossfit for a couple of years and this inspired me to learn more about fitness. I caught wind of OPEX somewhere along the line and I immediately clicked with everything they were teaching. They seemed to be light years ahead. I had so many questions and Crossfit wasn’t answering them. In particular, I felt Crossfit had no clue as to how the aerobic system functioned and supported fitness. OPEX was the only one in that realm that seemed to get it. I saw James Fitzgerald understood endurance sports and he also understood the sport of fitness…along with a lot of other key stuff. Finally, someone was making sense. Meanwhile, after 40 years of serious distance running…and a 5-6 year period of stress involving one family emergency after another…I began to falter physically. I turned to OPEX to try and guide myself back to a healthy fitness.

    Today, I am coached by James Taylor. When I first started with OPEX, my goals were to restore health, create a more balanced approach to fitness, and learn new things. As an endurance running, improving my running performance was on my list but it was less of an importance than overall restoration of my body. I am significantly stronger than I was when I started. My energy levels and mobility is much improved. And somehow, I have maintained my aerobic fitness levels despite devoting less time specifically to that area. My body feels much less inflamed and I have better proprioception. With JT’s help, I have laid down foundations for long-term improvement and have done all this despite severe family stress.

    My currently goal is to continue to develop as an athlete in a more complete, well-rounded way. Physical fitness is one of my primary avenues of expression. JT has created a customized program that is geared towards long-term results. Rather than trying this and then trying that and being all over the place, my programming with OPEX has settled me down. Also, JT has me patiently correcting weaknesses and imbalances using a methodical, low-risk, high success approach. I used a very patient training approach to distance running. JT has taught me how to do it with strength training.

    During my time at OPEX and under JT’s programming, I have learned a great deal about myself. I crave recognition. I want people to like me. Always looking for a pat on the back. I’m very curious. I am very disciplined. I am enduring by nature. My interest in health and fitness is extremely high. Also, my dream of becoming a world class Olympic lifter might not happen…(hee hee…kidding)

    OPEX is the ultimate “class act. A breath of fresh air. I have so much admiration and appreciation for what you guys do. You have no idea. I think that’s saying a lot because I’m someone that’s a million miles past my prime. Not that I don’t respect my own efforts…it’s just that there is no obvious glory in it for you…like having a winner of the Crossfit Games or whatever.

    It’s quite beautiful.”

    Paul Fendler - OPEX Client
  • Tammy Miller - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    “I started working with Sean McGovern in 2011 as just my CrossFit coach. As he grew as a coach and ultimately found OPEX, I grew right along with him. I didn’t hesitate for one moment to move over and become an OPEX client when he transitioned over to become an OPEX EC Global coach. When I first started with OPEX, I wanted smaller thighs. I’m not joking. I was CrossFitting for several years, felt fairly fit, was active, and I was adding muscle tone to my upper body. I was not seeing any change or definition in my lower body. I thought maybe I needed a different approach.

    Since starting with OPEX and Sean’s programming, I’ve achieved so many thing!

    Physically, I’ve learned that a lot of my lower body issues are a result of my glute not firing. I felt like I was doing movements correctly, however, I wasn’t engaging the muscle needed to correctly move. At the time, I was experiencing little progress and random pain arising in different parts of my body (knee, ankle, etc.). Now that I have learned to engage my glute muscles, the pain has dissipated.

    The biggest achievement is my new knowledge about what is going on inside of me that affects my performance. My coach learned early on that I never slept well. He also learned that my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for over 3 years without success…but all infertility tests/doctors reported no issues with either of us and diagnosed it as infertility due to stress. Sean had me do a few tests and discovered that my cortisol levels are insanely low. It all attributed to lower estrogen and progesterone levels available for my reproductive system because my adrenal system was using it for cortisol. I completely revamped my philosophy and approach to health and wellness. My priority became increasing sleep and stress reduction. I added supplements to those I was already taking.

    Sean programmed my weeks with less focus on CrossFit type movements and more focus on what would decrease pain and stress on my body. I started sleeping more, stressing less, cutting OTC meds for pain management, etc. Also, I very recently learned that I am (very newly) pregnant. Whether or not there is a scientific path from one to the other or not, I am convinced that I may have to name my first-born after my coach because I don’t think I would be pregnant had I not “fixed” my inside and managed all of the different stress.

    With the news of my pregnancy, Sean and I are shifting my priorities and my programming to allow me to keep working out as a pregnant woman, while keeping the baby safe. keeps. I’ll be incorporate practices that will contribute to a healthy pregnancy and delivery (focusing on sleep, adding in breathing, working on hip flexibility, etc.). I want to be a fit pregnant woman!

    Sean is the most supportive and flexible man I have ever worked with (and I’m not even talking physically…although he probably is that as well!). I was lucky that I started with Sean, who knew me years ago when I just started CrossFit. He also knew I had two different surgeries over the last few years that affected my training and frustrated me. He finally made me see that if we took the time to go back and figure out where and what was limiting me, I would have the progress I wanted. I was frustrated constantly; after we isolated one pain, another would pop up. After I felt great, I would try something that should’ve been easy, and it wasn’t. Sean was there with a text, email, Facetime chat, or Fitbot comment to remind me how far we’ve come and to encourage me to keep thinking about my biggest goal: to become a mom.

    I’ve learned that I “deal” way too well. If I have a lot to do, am stressed, don’t sleep, etc. I just deal. I trained myself to function in high stress situations without even realizing it. Slowing down, documenting, making changes all helped me learn how much better I feel when I am sleeping, when I am slowing down, when I do say no. And I learned that, although I “felt fine” and my tests initially with the fertility doctors were “all fine,” my ability to just deal contributed to my body’s inability to take on the task of growing a human WHICH has been reversed with Sean’s guidance :)”

    Tammy Miller - OPEX Client
  • Christine Fenton - OPEX Client, OPEX North Scottsdale Testimonials

    I have been an online client with Matt Springer for almost a year already! I started with OPEX because as a competitive CrossFit athlete I have had a deep desire to qualify for the CrossFit Games. As years went by and working out 5 days a week at my local CrossFit box I realized that even though I was happy with my physical ability there were a lot of areas that I needed improvement on and being in a community affiliate they were unable to focus solely on my personal weaknesses. Thats when I began searching for online coaching.

    Matt had to start with me as a client recovering from injury and he worked very well alongside my PT the whole time up until now where I am able to workout without restrictions. Having Matt as my coach has given me a greater realization of the dedication and commitment that is required of me to gradually obtain the level of fitness I need, to be that elite athlete that I have so longed for!

    I recently came to Scottsdale to meet the man himself and get one on one training in which I was completely impressed. His ability to help me execute proper technique and give me small but yet big tips on utilizing time and effort for each workout was valuable.

    And I tried my best to encourage him to move to my hometown but I would have to live in the Cayman Islands first! He has empowered me by helping me understand that I need to start from the basics and gradually move forward to improve my technique and gave me a path to improve my nutrition. The biggest thing I would say that I learned about myself it how empowering “mental strength” is. I have always been able to really push myself hard through workouts but Matt has brought me to a higher level, becoming more efficient and striving to become a well-rounded athlete. This is definitely about commitment, dedication and the will to always overcome obstacles, move forward and become all that I am meant to be.

    I like the path that OPEX is on and believe in what their purpose for fitness is about. I would recommend Matt to anyone, he has a promising future ahead of him!

    Christine Fenton - OPEX Client


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