Athlete of the MonthDecember

Chris Leoniak

Chris was nominated for his dedication to CrossFit for the past 12 months. We're very proud of the progress he has made and can't wait to see what he does in 2019!

Tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in State College, PA and moved to Colorado around 1995 or so. I’ve been fortunate to live in some great mountain towns in the Rockies and spent 4 years in the Caribbean, but I’m pumped to be back in Denver. I’ve recently started a new job working in Trust and Estate recovery for the State of Colorado. So for those of you that heard me describe myself as a recovering lawyer…well, I’ve relapsed somewhat. Most of all, I’m happily married to my wife of 14 years, Lain. She’s a Colorado native but more importantly recently started working out at Vantage!

 How and when did you get started with CrossFit? 

I started with CrossFit because I wanted to get back in the gym, build some durability, and lift heavy(ish) barbells again.

 What recreational activities/hobbies to you do/have?

The things I don’t seem to have enough time for include: Mountain biking, skiing, saltwater fly-fishing and suboptimal electric guitar playing.

 What is your favorite cheat meal?

I’m going to go ahead and select “Scotch Whisky” as my cheat meal.

 What is your favorite thing about CrossFit?

I enjoy the community at Vantage. Just about everyone likes to have a laugh and work hard.

  What kind of positive affect has CrossFit had on you and your life?

Besides creating some strength and durability for the activities I enjoy, I felt blessed to be strong enough to carry my 80lb doggo home in the August heat when his hips went out in the park. We had to put him down the next day, but he lived for 15 happy and healthy years.

Athlete of the MonthFebruary

Athlete of the MonthJuly

Dani Michaud

Dani was nominated for the way she embodies community here at Vantage! Always a friendly welcoming face when people come in the door and always looking to improve her fitness in classes!

Tell us a little about yourself!
Oh hiiii!!! I’m Dani, your friendly neighborhood Canadian! I’m from Calgary, and came to Denver via San Francisco about 6 months ago. I practiced as a Physical Therapist in Canada, but am currently waiting on a US work visa. So I guess you could say that I’m a “professional” CrossFit athlete! ;)

How and when did you get started with CrossFit?
I started my CrossFit journey in January of this year. I have been a distance runner for many years, but had been sidelined by an achilles injury and was unable to run. My sister is a CrossFit badass and she encouraged me to check it out, knowing that it would stoke my competitive spirit and love for training. When I moved to Denver, Vantage 2.0 was just down the street, so I dove right in!

What recreational activities/hobbies to you do/have?
I love to move and to be outside, so basically anything that falls into those 2 categories: trail running, hiking, mountain biking, yoga. I am also a dedicated doggy mom to a rambunctious collie mix, Sudi. My goal most days is to help her live her best life and to tire her out!

What is your favorite cheat meal?
Probably beer. It’s not a meal, but it’s my favorite treat- especially in the summer!

What is your favorite thing about CrossFit? 
Favorite thing about CrossFit: The people! The camaraderie, “shared suffering”, encouragement and genuine care people at Vantage have for each other.
Favorite WOD: the longer endurance ones that require pacing! Anything 20 min and over- that’s my jam!
Favorite CF movement: I don’t know if I have a favorite movement yet, but the ones that make me feel the most badass & powerful are split jerks and deadlifts. I’m also pretending to love the snatch until the love becomes real.

What kind of positive affect has CrossFit had on you and your life?
CrossFit has had such a positive impact on my life in so many ways! Through CrossFit, I’ve become a more well-rounded athlete. Though I am not back to running yet, I am more mobile, stronger and more powerful (and hopefully less injured)! Being new to Denver, Vantage has also been my community & social hub. I have met so many great people, and everyone has made me feel right at home! Lastly, CrossFit is building my character and helping me become braver. Every class is an opportunity to practice being open-minded to what I am capable of, and to avoid setting self-imposed barriers. There is no better feeling than overcoming the little voice of doubt in your head and crushing a workout or getting a PR!

Vantage May Member Highlight Joe Galera

Joe Galera

Joe has been around the world and back again, but he will always consider Minnesota home! He graduated from Minnetonka High School and went onto study at Miami University.  After college and some traveling he went to study Law at Temple University in Philadelphia! After working for some time as a public defender he decided to open up, The Law Office of Joseph W. Galera, LLC where he focuses on criminal defense and family law. He works hard to ensure that his clients get treated fairly and that he is the best advocate for his client.

During the summer Joe and his wife, Laura like to spend time outdoors with their two children Sofia and Juaquim. Now that their kids are older they may even get to camp with them soon! They went to Spain last year with little Sofia and will be taking a trip to the Jersey Shore this summer with both kiddos this time around! He might just be taking part in a cheat meal of lasagna or cheesecake while there!

He did not originally start at Vantage, but came to us from another gym after speaking and working with, Coach Kat. One of his favorite things about CrossFit Vantage is the community. Vantage has become like family to him and he loves how positive everyone is! He is doing things that he didn’t think that he would do and he loves the challenge! He loves that here you really can, “claim your own experience” and make it what you want it to be!

Through his experience here he has his confidence has gone up and he has lost a total of 34lbs through CrossFit and taking part in the Whole Life Challenge! His energy level has increased and he can see a noticeable difference in his overall life. He is very proud that he decided to take part in the CrossFit Open 2016 because it was a challenge he would have never thought of doing and of course having Amanda as your judge isn’t all that bad either!

Vantage May Member Highlight Ketra Dawson

Ketra Dawson

Ketra grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and went to school at TCU (Go Frogs)! She came to Colorado 5 1/2 years ago. She recently just started working for Global Down Syndrome Foundation in Development. She loves going to sports events, anything outdoors and hanging
with her friends and puppies! When she has a cheat meal it’s Mac & Cheese all the way!

She started at Vantage at the end of October after she was working with a personal trainer for a few years. She started looking into CrossFit because personal training no longer fit into her budget. She spoke with her friend and Vantage Coach, Jared Scott about it and he had nothing but great things to say, so she started a few days later.

CrossFit makes her do things that she wouldn’t normally do in a workout and she has made some great friends since joining Vantage! I get happy when I see dead-lifts in a workout (although 16.4 might have changed that). Although she has never been a fan of cardio she has seen

a huge improvement since starting just a short time ago. CrossFit has helped hold her accountable for making it to the gym and it’s something
she actually looks forward to coming in every day for. She has also found that it’s been a great to set little goals for herself along the way or for the WODs and be able to achieve them and improve!

March Member Highlight Mike Donovan

A little bit about Mike!

I am a Colorado native and I have lived in north-west Denver for the last ten years. I went to school at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and after graduating I started working in restaurants. I have been working for an independent bar owner for over ten years and I am now the general manager of Hopper’s Sports Grill. CrossFit Vantage is right down the block from where I live and after checking it out, it seemed like a perfect fit for what I needed. I needed a change and CrossFit was the beginning to a bunch of changes! 

Bar life takes its toll long days and late nights start to add up and after a couple of years of dating I decided to ask my girlfriend, Kari to be my wife. She deserves more than an out of shape bar tender. When I have some spare time I enjoy the mountains as much as I can. The bar I work at has volleyball leagues in the summer so I try to get involved with at least one team. In the winter Kari and I usually hit up a few concerts around Denver.

It takes a lot of self-control for me to avoid all the bar food that I am around pretty much all day every day.  When I cheat it usually has something to do with fried food. CrossFit works great for me because of the class structure and the easy schedule. I appreciate the group motivation and constant coaching help from the great staff at Vantage. CrossFit has helped me get out of the day to day grind at work. A more active, healthier lifestyle has become a habit as opposed to the exception that it used to be.

June Female Athlete Profile

Our June Female Athlete can be found in the evening classes as well as the mid-day classes. Her name is Anna, come spend a few minutes getting to know her.

June Male Athlete Profile

Here he is ladies and gentlemen, our Male Athlete Profile comes to you from the 6am class. Say hello and stick around a little bit and meet Jeff.