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Transformation Tuesday – Fabienne Hanks

Fabienne HanksCrossFit East County podcast episode one:

Think for a minute if you were faced with possibly not being able to do physical activity any more or perhaps if you are faced with a major life-changing event. What would go through your mind?  If you were faced with making those types of decisions how might you react?  I know for me personally; I think I might react negatively.  I had an opportunity to interview Fabienne Hanks.  She was faced with this very difficult situation.  After turning 64 years old and entering into retirement having a lot of exciting opportunities in her life she was faced with a life-threatening brain tumor.  I talked with her about her about how CrossFit was able to be a positive impact for her. Fabienne faced this debilitating challenge with real optimism and courage.

Fabienne Hanks has had what many would consider a non-traditional athletic experience but she is a real champion.  Fabienne didn’t start working out until she was 45 when she decided to participate in the “Susan G. Komen, 3 day, 60-mile walk to end breast cancer”.  She official met Paul Flores 15 years ago when Paul became her personal trainer. Shortly after beginning the master’s program at CrossFit East County Fabienne began to feel that she was losing strength in her body in addition to some unusual physical phenomenon.  She went to some doctors and essential she was told what she did not have –i.e. Parkinson Disease etc.   Then they scheduled her for an MRI to see what was going on.   Within 10 minutes of the MRI they had her doctor’s office on the phone.  Fabienne had a Brain Tumor in the hospitaland they were going to be transporting her to the hospital.  She was then fast-tacked through the emergency room process.  The official diagnosis was a tumor in the center of her head that was 10 to 15 years’ old and about 3 centimeters in diameter.  She was at an extremely high risk of stroke or having seizures.  The ironic part to Fabienne is that she did not have any headaches or other symptoms that would be consistent with having a brain tumor.  Fabienne biggest concern at the time was that she would not be able to attend a prescheduled trip with her family.  So within 48 hours of the initial

The ironic part to Fabienne is that during this time she did not have any headaches or other symptoms that would be consistent with having a brain tumor.  Fabienne biggest concern at the time was that she would not be able to attend a prescheduled trip with her family.  So within 48 hours of the initial diagnosis they went in and perform the surgery to remove the tumor.  She was able to go home three days after the surgery. Other than the pain from the incision Fabienne says that she was pain-free.  She was able to attend that trip with her family and has had an amazing recovery. The doctor’s prognosis said that her brain would essentially be rewiring itself for about a year.

Fabienne went back to the Masters class with Paul and her concern was that she would be holding back the rest of the class. Paul assured her that he could scale certain options of the training.  Fabienne feels that this was an integral part of her recovery.  She feels that doing CrossFit has helped her with her balance and her strength and her recovery.  In talking about her recovery she feels that she’s more fit than she has ever been in her life.  What’s really hot tatie for your bodymiraculous about her recovery is that she is currently on no medication at all.

So what is this Masters CrossFit class?

Masters CrossFit at CrossFit East County is designed for older athletes to assist in developing core body strength.  Traditionally older women lose a lot of upper body strength as they get older and this masters CrossFit class is specifically developed to enhance and increase upper body strength along with endurance.  Ages for this particular class range between 60 and 78 years old and it has become not only a resource for recovery but is also more of a fraternity where she is getting a lot of support from other members as she makes her transformation.

CrossFit can help you find your bounce.

One of the areas that is most difficult to develop within CrossFit is having a strong core. This can take a long time to develop the necessary strengths in order to effectively have good rebounding and the ability to change directions quickly.

One of the greatest benefits to being involved in the community of East County CrossFit is the wide diversity of ages of people that attend.  There are athletes as young as 13 years old and as old as 78 years young.  Paul has the ability to connect well with athletes and he is committed to meeting them where they are at and assisting them in their short hairdevelopment.

The most amazing thing about this transformation is that Fabian had no physical therapy nor did she require any speech therapy during her recovery.

CrossFit East County has provided an environment where you can become the best version of your most physical self.

Start today.

Transformation Tuesday – Tony Patterson

I started working out with Paul Flores in 2007, all the way back when we were La Mesa Workout, a tiny little place on Lake Murray Road.  A short time after we initially connected, Paul embraced much of what CrossFit had to offer and La Mesa Workout became CrossFit East County. Snatch_1

I was in pretty shabby shape when I started – I was recovering from my first serious spinal surgery.  I was totally de-conditioned and dealing with a variety of neurological symptoms primarily affecting my left side extremities.  Things started very slowly for me at CrossFit, and I found working out to be miserable.   My recovery time between 2x weekly sessions was about 3 days.  Progress was non-existent to my eye, and during my days of extreme soreness and fatigue between sessions I really wanted to quit and say screw all of this.  My now close friend Paul, kept me in the game.  He assured me he DID see results even though they were subtle, and I just needed to keep at it and things would change for me.  About nine or ten months into CrossFit we added a third day a week.  Finally I could see some progress, but still pretty puny stuff in comparison to the amazing athletes around whom I was sweating my ass off.

In January, 2009, I kicked it up to 5 days a week and things really started to change for meBad Days_1.  My progress accelerated rapidly.  When I started, my first pull-up was a PVC pipe being pulled down to my chin while standing still.  I progressed, eventually achieving 30 unbroken kipping pull-ups.  When I started, I had trouble doing a pushup from my knees.  I progressed, and developed a strong push up and have done as many as 200 in one workout (Murph).  When I started, I could not easily clean a 45# bar.  I progressed, I eventually cleaned 160#.  When I started, I actually failed at a deadlift of 135#. I progressed, and eventually dead-lifted 345#, back squatted 225#, shoulder pressed 110#, and front squatted 205#.  I developed 7:59 2000 meter row and a 9:15 mile.  My weight went from 207 down to 185.  I was a real success story, a real athlete for the first time in my life, and I enjoyed great progress through 2012.

All of these great things slipped away from me in 2013-2014 when my left side symptoms worsened, and I discovered that my spinal cord was severely damaged.  Since that first spinal surgery I’ve had 4 additional cervical and thoracic spine surgeries, and 4 other orthopedic surgeries.  I spent a few weeks in the hospital and in in-patient rehab, trying to recover from it all.  It sucked big time, but I’m over it now.

NeckSide_1 Neckrear_1 CSpine Rear_1 CSpine Front_1 Better Days_1 DeadLift_1

I have permanent spinal cord damage and I’ll never be able to run like I could, or lift heavy weight again, or put much of anything over my head, but Paul keeps working with me.  Designing workouts I can do, and helping me to get back on track – both physically and mentally.  So, here we go again.  I need to drop 15 or 20 pounds again.  I need to improve my nutrition, again.  And I need to step up the intensity of my workouts, again.  And I will – because I have Paul and my CFEC family helping me do it, again.  Thank you all for your never-ending support.

Tony Patterson

Transformation Tuesday

So the other day, a random person at the gym made an offhand comment to me and said, “I can’t imagine you ever being out of shape.” I was flattered by the remark and I took it as a compliment.  That day I went home and flipped through some old photographs and I reflected on how out-of-shape I was.  The before pictures below are from 2010.


Looking at several older photographs of myself, I am astonished at how I let myself get so unhealthy, fatigued, and out-of-shape.   In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I consistently did not make time to go to the gym neglecting taking care of my physical fitness needs which resulted in the 2010 pictures.

In 2012 I joined CrossFit East County.  I remember my first few days at the gym chuckling to myself at how convinced I was that everyone working out must be on some type of steroid or taking  hyper supplements to perform at such a high level.  I still remember my first few workouts and how punishing they were thinking to myself that I would not survive.  However, over time, and with excellent coaching my health improved, my strength improved, my endurance improved, and my overall fitness evolved into a much stronger version of myself.



In all honesty, what really motivates me to continue the CrossFit discipline at CrossFit East County is the tangible results that I see from each workout and the superior programing of Teshina Deboer.  Furthermore, the positive energy of the members encouraging one another is second-to-none.  Throughout my life I have been exposed to my coaches and trainers, it is noteworthy to mention that Paul and his wife Tina are consummate professionals and what I qualify as the “Real Deal” when it comes to professionals who understand physical fitness. They know how to connect with and work with each and every member at CrossFit East County to ensure that members reach their individual fitness goals.

I am genuinely grateful for my association with the CrossFit East County family that I train with.

The best time to start working out is 5 years ago.  The second best time to start if you did not start 5 year ago is right now! Today!


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