Success Stories


Meghan Wallace

For years I have struggled with my weight and trying to find an exercise program that not only motivated me, but that I enjoyed going to. I was a swimmer all throughout my life and once I stopped swimming I didn’t know what to do. I tried just running and then joining a gym, but I would always fade out and get bored. When I was swimming I could eat anything I wanted, but once I stopped, I still had the same appetite but not the same exercise regimen. I had heard so much about CrossFit and swore to myself I would never do it, but then the New You Challenge popped up on my Facebook and I decided to give it a try. I began my journey in March with the New You 6-week challenge.

I quickly learned how hard CrossFit was, but it challenged me and was different every day. I am not the strongest or fastest person and sometimes I can be down on myself about that. CrossFit allows me to modify, but still be able to push myself. By the time I finished the 6 week challenge, I had lost 16 inches total and 10 pounds. I made sure to commit to the three days a week, but I also did (and still do) Pure Barre once a week and try to go on walks or hikes as well. My goal after that was to at least maintain or keep losing, which I have been able to do. I consistently come 3 days a week, even being in grad school, being a teacher, and coaching swimming. Some days I don’t get home till 8:00pm, but I have been able to find at least one class time that fits with my crazy schedule. I have become stronger and feel better about myself. I never thought I would be able to lift weight like I do now!

I still have a lot of work to do especially since there are some things that I still just don’t understand how to do, like double unders. It took me a little while to realize that it’s okay if I don’t get something, I just need to keep practicing and ask for help. Everyone has been so welcoming and I have learned so much from the coaches. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months have in store!


Mike Hanzich

We recently had the oppportunity to interview the illusive and ever so humble Mike Hanzich. This is what we managed to get out of him.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

A year and a half.  (Only at CFR7!)

Why did you decide to start CrossFit?

A couple guys from work were joking around at work one day and said “Do you want to try CrossFit?” and I’m not really one to back down so I said “Yeah!”

What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit?

The Olympic Lifting aspect.  It’s different than brute strength.  It is a technique you have to master to get better at it.  It’s not just brute strength and “Can I pick this up off the ground?”  And that interests me.

What have you learned since starting CrossFit?

I’ve learned I have a lot more drive than I thought I had.  When my body is telling me you should probably quit, my mind is able to break past that and I’m able to keep going even if after the workout I’m pretty much dead on the floor.

Who is your favorite CrossFitter?


What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the fact that I never thought I would be able to pick up Olympic Lifts.  I never knew I had that in me.  I never thought I had that kind of mobility or coordination.

What piece of advice would you give to new members or people considering CrossFit?

Stick with it.  It is a great atmosphere here.  Don’t let anything intimidate you cause if you keep going at it you’ll get it and when you do get it, you will feel really great about yourself!

Here are some of Mike‘s favorite accomplishments and new goals he has set for himself to achieve by this June!

Strength Gains (#’s when he first started at CFR7/Current #’s/New Goal)

Deadlift: 245/425/440

Snatch: 95/160/170

Clean: 150/220/230

Physical Transformation
80lb Weight Loss


Robert Townsend

After a 20 year break from regular exercise, I stepped into CrossFit Route 7 about 7 months ago. Health and fitness had been crowded out by other priorities. After a disconcerting health check-up, my doctor suggested that I should do more exercise. Prior to my prolonged absence, I had been active and successful at sports at school and university. I was familiar with some of the CrossFit exercises, and an online search led me to Crossfit Route 7. 
It was shocking at how out of condition I had become and was determined not to stay that way. I did not finish my first foundations class. Thanks to coaches BJ and Tucker for sticking with me, I managed to gingerly get through the foundations and began to slowly find my feet again and joined the regular classes. It was amazing and inspiring to me how people could breeze through the gymnastics, cardio, and strength exercises.
My approach has been simply to turn up to several classes a week, step-up and give it my best shot (max effort), and to let this accumulate into improvements over time. Allowing time for recovery has been a necessity with the adjustment to a fairly intense exercise program. It is always challenging to find the time to go to classes, but the range of class-times has made it possible to get these in, particularly the 6am weekday classes and weekends. The class structure, fellow CrossFitters and excellent coaches have provided an atmosphere conducive to pushing myself beyond what I thought possible.
After 7 months I am pleased with progress. Some of my strength is back (recent 300lbs x 20 back squats – a long way from my first foundations class), stamina and endurance have improved (30-40 percent improvement in times for some benchmarks – although still fairly slow), and I am beginning to recognize elements of my past self. Still a long way to go – particularly on gymnastics movements, stamina, endurance and mobility which are weaknesses I need to work on. So perhaps not a success story yet, but work in progress, and  while there is no predicting the future, so far, so good. 
CrossFit has turned into something I currently enjoy doing. The advice on exercise at my earlier medical check-up was to find something I enjoy, as this increases the likelihood of sticking with it, rather than just doing something for the need to exercise. I have found this general enjoyment factor in CrossFit, with thanks to all the coaches and fellow CrossFitters at CrossFit Route 7!

Gigi Schwartzman


Six weeks after the birth of my second child, my doctor gave me a clean bill of health and I was ready to get back into shape. I had gained 47 pounds to be exact and had lost major muscle mass and was in poor cardiovascular health due to a pregnancy related medical condition that prevented me from regular exercise. I felt weak, sluggish and overwhelmed at the prospect of going back to the gym but I knew it was necessary if I wanted to feel better again and maintain daily stress.

As I was about to join my regular gym, my husband recommended CrossFit based on his experiences powerlifting which incorporates many CrossFit movements. Why not join CrossFit with its daily structured programming and supportive community? I agreed but not without some hesitation. I was nervous and did not know if CrossFit was for me. That first day I visited Route 7, I was excited but also scared. Would I be able to overcome my fear and do whatever it took to get my health back? And indeed, the first month was HARD. Not to mention, I had absolutely nothing to wear to work let alone to the gym and starting from ground zero was an uphill battle.

Those first few months, I was delighted to learn that the CrossFit exercises that I thought were impossible to ever do myself all had many modifications and were all “scaled” to individual ability level and comfort. This scaling makes it possible for all us to work at our own pace and achieve our personal goals. The coaches at Route 7 were all knowledgeable of the different modifications for any given workout and encouraged and motivated us to our best no matter our limitations.
The Route 7 community of coaches and athletes have been nothing but supportive and encouraging of each other and of those of us brand new to CrossFit.

Six months in, I think back to how I felt when I first started and I have come a long way. I have gained a lot of strength and my cardiovascular health has greatly improved. I noticed these changes just within my first month of WODs! And, I am more or less at my pre-pregnancy weight. I have many CrossFit goals, some of which include a strict pull ups and rope climbs. With that said, I am excited to continue my journey with the Route 7 community as we endeavor to CrossFit together!

I am SO thankful for Coach BJ and the incredibly supportive community of coaches and athletes at Route 7! With you, I see myself achieving levels of fitness I had never thought I would be capable of. Thank you for your dedication and your hard work – your Route7 programming is first rate and your community of athletes like no other.


Julia Seder

The hits keep coming. Success Update after 1 year with CFR7: When you came you had a goal of doing 1 strict pull up and to no longer use a band or ring rows. Now you have multiple strict pull ups and yesterday you did all the pull up in Fran (45 reps) and just 10# under RX. Great job girl. Keep up the great work!



I never did any weight training prior to starting CrossFit in January 2014. I always thought “CrossFit is for strong women, who are tough and not afraid of anything”and convinced myself I couldn’t do it. For years I watched my husband’s love for the sport grow and his hard work pay off in and out of the gym. I eventually grew tired of being afraid and tired of being, well…tired.

At first I was intimidated and hesitant, but told myself I’d stick it out for 3 months. During those first few months I couldn’t even lift the training bar overhead for more than a few reps. Doing a single push-up on my knees was almost impossible  and just hanging from the rig was a struggle. I quickly realized how weak I’d let myself become and “cardio” wasn’t going to help me be as strong as I wanted to be. Watching and learning from the other women in the gym was such an inspiration to me; I was blown away by their strength and confidence. This helped me commit and dedicate myself to creating a mentally and physically stronger me.

Support from the CrossFit community has also kept me going. The coaches and other athletes made me feel welcome and have been supportive since day one. I’ve completed many tough workouts that wouldn’t have been possible without the cheering from my fellow classmates and coaches. They believed in me and I eventually started believing in myself. Now, after a little over 2 years, I can get #95 over my head, do strict and kipping pull-ups, rope climbs and more easily do knee push-ups with a few strict ones mixed in. I just recently learned how to kick up into a handstand and can even do modified handstand push-ups. I’ve also gained 17 pounds and never felt better and more confident!

I’ve significantly improved my overall fitness with help from the Route 7 coaches,  members and programming. The coaches prioritize form before intensity and  provide a fun and safe training environment. I’m incredibly thankful to have started CrossFit and it makes me so happy to feel like one of the strong women!


Caroline Ruckstuhl


We celebrate all fitness victories here at Crossfit Route 7. Just like Crossfit, there is so much versatility, and exposure all things gym. Congratulations to Caroline Ruckstuhl whose discipline, and commitment to her fitness goals makes her a winner and a shinning example of hard work and dedication. Your passion is inspiring!

Caroline has been active in the fitness world for over 8 years. She started instructing at UFC Gym in 2007 and began her love for crossfit in 2012. She currently instructs part time at Orange Theory Fitness and decided to take on her first figure competition. She started her figure training and body sculpting in June 2015 and just competed in the 2015 Max Muscle/Mid Atlantic show on Saturday the 14th at Garfield High school in Woodbridge.

She ended up placing 5th in the Max Muscle Women’s Figure division and 2nd in the VA/DC Mid Atlantic Figure division. She owes her success to her incredible support team and coaches who have helped her along the way. A big part has been with Crossfit Route 7 and she cannot wait to get back in the gym full time!



Steve Kwiatkowski

Steve 31, started CrossFit in February of 2015 with CrossFit Route 7 and has experience some awesome changes.  photo

With a regiment of 4-5 classes a week, Steve has dropped  23lbs in 6 months and increased strength/speed and mobility since joining CR7.

All around I feel a whole lot better too, with increased energy!”

Steve enjoys playing in his recreation flag football league, being outdoors and watching other sporting events and hanging out with friends and family. Steve’s favorite strength movements are Power Cleans and Back Squat, “Those two movements I feel the most comfortable doing and have seen a big jump in the amount of weight I am able to do”.

“I am still learning all the names to the benchmark WODS but I do enjoy whenever running is incorporated in the WODs. Out of the Benchmark WODs we have done, Angie and Diane were both challenging and I enjoyed doing them. I look forward to completing more Benchmark WODs that I have not yet done.”

Steve, like all of us is still a work in progress and has goals to focus more on Diet and would like to drop another 10-15lbs and says he wants to cut out the pop and sugary drinks and to trim fat and build muscle. Steve has displayed such a positive and ambitious attitude towards his health and fitness and all of us around have watched his confidence and abilities grow. We look forward and expect big things from him in the future.


“Mom” Allyn Jones

photo62 years young and getting stronger every day!

I came from a fairly active group class at a regional gym where all around aerobics, body and hand weights were our medium.   Except for a torn rotator cuff that kept me from many movements and a knee that hurt to bend I thought I was physically fit!  An orthopedic Doctor looking at my MRI said my shoulder could only be fixed through surgery and my knee was an age issue….he said I was old!!  The more my son Tucker told me about CrossFit and the more I watched his physical improvements, the more I wished to join.  But I thought I was too “elderly”.    Somehow the conversation came up and Tucker said it was never too late to get in shape, so I made the commitment to begin.  I joined Ballston CrossFit during the Foundations class in May 2014 and I expected to “try” it out for 2-3 months.  Within weeks my “try” turned to a very positive addiction even though I had to make the time commitment to drive more than 20 minutes to get to Ballston. Thankfully Tucker opened CrossFit Route 7 to greatly shorten my commute to the gym (I like to think he opened the new box for me)!

The encouragement (and education) to do mobility before and after class has been a most positive affect on my ability to hold correct positions and then increase my weights as strength improved. When I started, my shoulders and hips were so tight that I could not even do an overhead squat with PVC (using weight was impossible).  After months of mobility in the shoulder and hips I can now do an overhead squat with 35lbs and good form! Here are some other things I have accomplished

  • 4 full rope climbs to a 15′ height
  • Can do 10 “real push-ups”!!
  • Double unders w jump rope
  • Jump on a 24″ box
  • Power clean 75lbs
  • Back squat and deadlift over 100lbs
  • Bench Press 50lbs

The other blessing about Ballston CF and CFR7 is that no one seems to mind how old I am.  The point for each individual is to improve their strength, function, mobility and nutrition.  Some people practice and some don’t but the obvious successes are by those athletes who improve because of focus and the work they do on both mobility and strength training.

I wish I would return to those orthopedists who said I was old and needed surgery, to show them my massive improvement (and share that I’ve lost 8lbs doing CF and gained new muscles).  CrossFit and all that goes along with its focus such as chiropractic care (ART) and Thai massage which have all been parts of my rehab and reconditioning.

I am very thankful to my son Tucker, his excellent standards at BCF and CFR7, his incredible team of coaches, and the wonderful encouraging community which he has built for introducing me to the wonderful world of CrossFit. I have had an incredible improvement in my fitness since starting CrossFit and can’t wait to meet my new fitness goals! See you at the 7:30am WOD!