There are many famous male/female duos, Sonny and Cher, Linus and Lucy, Han and Leia (can’t stay away from a Star Wars reference this month) and the January members of the month Rayne and Neil DuPaul. Fortunately for our community when Rayne and Neil went looking for a new home they walked through our doors.
With team DuPaul in the house, the environment is just different. They know how to keep things light and fun and never take themselves too seriously but when it’s 3-2-1 go time its hard to find 2 other people who throw down harder on a daily basis (Neil is also especially good at showing you how hard he went by rolling around on the floor for a while post wod, but as soon as he recovers it’s right back to the jokes). Rayne and Neil truly are a team; It’s rare to find one at the gym without the other and they are always motivating and competing with each other.
When Rayne and Neil first showed up it was obvious that they came with high powered engines. Give them some body weight movements, a light barbell, a wall ball and some burpees and it is like they were shot out of cannon. Many people also learned quickly that when running was an element in a WOD, chasing a DuPaul is always a bad plan because they can fly like the wind. Throw in heavier barbells however…But, what is impressive about both Rayne and Neil is that they both identified their weaknesses and hammer at them. Most every Thursday nights, they can be found at Oly class and more often than not, one of them hits a PR. Lately, Neil has swapped out his running shoes for some lifters and you can find him on the B-side having some epic battles with a barbell. Rayne dedicated herself morning and night to achieving the pinnacle of CrossFit, the Ring Muscle up, and with tireless work, she achieved her well before the end of 2015 (not just once, THREE times!).
What also makes both Rayne and Neil such a valuable part of the CFA community is their personal investment in others’ success. They are the first to cheer on others and offer helpful tips even if they are competing against the person they are helping. Rayne loves being part of the community so much that she continued to come into the gym when recovering from an injured shoulder, so she could support and motivate others.
CrossFit Amoskeag is very proud to say that the DuPaul duo are members and they have certainly demonstrate what it means to be #Amoskeagstrong!
-Coach Dan B
When/How/why did you choose to CrossFit?
N: I like to think I chose CrossFit about six years ago when I started stumbling across pictures of elite-level competitors on the internet. I looked at the men and saw that their level of fitness was well rounded and undeniable, I instantly knew that it was a track I wanted to be on. I looked at the women and found that fitness and strength is one of the most attractive qualities there is. After a couple years of thinking about this, I realized I was the next Rich Froning Jr. and started my trek towards Regionals.
That was a joke. :]
R: Neil wanted to join CrossFit years ago, but I was against joining because I was intimidated. A few weeks before our wedding in May 2014, I finally agreed to try it out, and was immediately hooked. My only regret is not trying it earlier!
What is your favorite thing about CrossFit Amoskeag?
N: My favorite aspect of any CrossFit gym will likely always be the community, I’m a strong believer in surrounding yourself with the right people and the social aspect of CrossFit I believe is one of the primary reasons that “CrossFit works.” What impresses me most about CrossFit Amoskeag in particular, is how they keep adding value. There are coach-led classes all day long, open gym anytime, weekly Olympic lifting classes, and yoga sessions all included in my base membership price. The owners have their heads screwed on right and their priority appears to be building a vibrant and supportive community.
R: CFA recognizes every person at every level and the coaches are always attentive, fun and helpful. They go out of their way (even if you’re not doing the WOD) to give feedback and input. Plus, the people are awesome! I could go on and on about the members and the community.
What role have your family/friends played in your CrossFit journey?
N: For 99% of them, none, sadly. I encourage everyone to try CrossFit if they are interested in improving their fitness. I find that many are intimidated by the idea and/or look at the cost and balk. The reality is that you’re investing in yourself and that is one of the best investments you can make, and there are far more benefits to joining a CrossFit gym than fitness. However, that’s hard to quantify or explain to people without sounding like a stereotypical CrossFitter, so there’s only one way to know what I mean.
My wife, Rayne plays the biggest role in my journey. We started CrossFit a month before our wedding and wish we started years before. She quickly proved to be a much more well-rounded athlete than I and I’ve been pushing to catch up ever since. Day in and day out she is my biggest inspiration and I adore sharing this hobby with her.
R: Last month, my parents came to see me compete for the first time and it made me really happy and proud that they came to support me. However, I try not to talk about CrossFit to family and friends except for Neil. We have a goal wall at home, and we make it a priority and an event to check things off our goals list.
Who at CFA do you look up to, respect or admire and why?
N: I respect every member that shows up every week to improve them self. It takes effort to make this a priority and just getting to the gym is half the battle.
The list of who I look up to and admire is pretty long as well. Here’s a few in the order that I’ve met or interacted with them.
Moonshine Mike: I think Mike was the coach in the first class we attended as new members of the gym. I recall doing some jerks and he walked over to me saying “Let’s see what you got.” Mike has a very soft spoken, controlled way of speaking and initially I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to hear him (half deaf here, technically more than half) I was delighted to find that worry unfounded. He told me to slow down and take a breath between jerks (they were 5×5), I lamented “I have shoulder mobility issues.” and he replied “You aren’t the only one.” I instantly liked him. He gives great feedback, calling you out when you need it. I’m following some of his strength programming now and it is kicking my ass.
Warren Jennings: He’s all heart. I love Warren, I don’t get to wod with him as often as I did when first starting out at Amoskeag but he was the first member I really connected with. He pushed me often early on as my squat partner, straight into some instant PRs. I think he’s a pillar of our community organizing our first in-house com. Well done Warren, know that my respect for you is off the charts.
I think my answers are getting a bit TLDR so here are some rapid-fire shout outs. Coach Tiffanie, I think you’re a stellar coach and I appreciate your feedback anytime it’s offered. Bob Byrnes, most charismatic member ever? Congrats on your bar mup, you’ll have dubs in no time. The whole Dubois clan, I want my family to be like yours. All the Moms CrossFitting through and after pregnancies. Patty, Jake, Dave R, Tom, Lisa, Jeff, Jen, Kelly, Jon, Kyle, Mike, the list goes on and on.
R: I admire the parents with young kids who make time in their lives to get to the gym (and the mommas who WOD while pregnant). I look up to so many people at the gym for different reasons it would be hard to list everyone.
N: Pull ups came really naturally to me. Loved them and still do. Lately, I’ve been growing more and more fond of the barbell as well, cleans are a favorite and snatches have been a blooming love as well. As far as WODs go, I did Jackie once and loved it, I think I’d call that a favorite.
R: Favorite WOD would include anything to do with C2Bs, pull-ups or HSPUs.
Least favorite WOD or skill (your “Goat”)?
N: Handstand push-ups. While most gymnastics movements have come pretty quickly the hspu has been and continues to be one of my biggest areas of weakness. Filthy fifty gives me nightmares, I haven’t done it in awhile but when I recall memories they are drenched in sweat, dark, and full of misery.
R: Any workout with Thrusters. Hate.
Biggest challenge so far (in CrossFit, health or nutrition)?
N: Patience. We’re all embarked on a long journey and that journey doesn’t really have a final destination. I can be a highly competitive individual have struggled to deal with how slow my progress feels occasionally. When you get discouraged zoom out and look at the big picture, look at your whole life, how long you’ve been doing CrossFit, and all the benchmarks you’ve hit. Don’t ever let the competitive nature of CrossFit undermine your achievements.
R: Waking up for 6am classes (sorry Warren, I do miss you cheering everyone on) because of the cold weather and lack of sunlight this time of year.
Proudest accomplishment so far (in CrossFit, health or nutrition)?
N: First muscle-up, PRing my clean in the 2015 Open, honestly though I’m most proud of simply staying committed. The wife and I have been consistently attending for one year and eight months. I’m in the best shape of my life and I have CrossFit and the communities at the gyms I’ve attended to thank for it.
R: I have the body I’ve always wanted but never wanted to work to get prior to CrossFit. This year, a muscle-up was my proudest accomplishment…but once I get a skill, I’m immediately thinking “Okay, what’s next?”
Best experience as part of CFA?
N: Probably the focus and support services they offer around Olympic lifting. Thursday night Oly sessions with The Commish Dan Baram and Barbell Club on Sunday mornings with Coaches Moonshine and Carissa. My lifting has improved immensely since joining Amoskeag, drilling the basics, tweaking technique, working mobility, it all adds up really quickly if you put in the time and focus. A huge thank you to all three of you for the effort you put in, I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made and looking forward to building on it.
R: I really enjoy working out with groups of people. Saturdays are my favorite CrossFit days because I see people in other classes besides from 6am or 6:30pm. My favorite experiences have been all group related workouts, holiday Hero WODS, Peer 2 Peer Competition, Thursday night Oly and Sunday Barbell.
Favorite quote or motto?
N: Life’s rough, lighten up.
R: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. It’s tattooed on both Neil and I.
When you think it’s tough, difficult or impossible, what keeps you going?
N: The people around me passing me in the wod. You draft off their energy, CrossFit is a solo sport in a team environment where every member of the gym is your teammate.
R: Everyday is tough and difficult, but nothing is impossible. You need to be willing to put in the work if you truly want something. I couldn’t do a single pull-up when I started CrossFit. Since I started at CFA, I’ve improved my clean by 35 lbs, and that isn’t by chance or luck. It’s because I get my ass to the gym on weekends and on days when I don’t really want to be there.
N: Regionals 2020. I jest. Staying the course! Building on everything, I’ve got 300 in sight for my back/front squats, 200 in sight for my jerk, and I’d love to figure out my muscle-up technique further so I don’t look like a fish flopping around on the rings.
R: To improve my overall strength. I know this isn’t a goal, but a wish…. I wish for CFA to do an in-house team comp, making teams of people from all different skill levels.
Your message to readers:
N: If you’re already CrossFitting, good on you – keep it up and don’t let yourself get discouraged.
If you aren’t CrossFitting but are maybe considering, try it out. The environment and community are warm and newcomer-friendly. In most cases, you probably can afford it, carve out your budget carefully, make sacrifices if needed. You will get in better shape, there will be far more benefits than getting in shape, show up, try it out, and you’ll see what I mean.
R: If you’re thinking of trying CrossFit, stop thinking about it. Just sign up. It’s undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. CrossFit changes you mentally and physically for the best, in my opinion. You will meet people, make goals, change your life-style habits and grow stronger. And for the people at CFA, try Oly on Thursday nights and Barbell club on Sundays!