Rest Day – Athlete Spotlight



Hometown: Allen, Tx

Age: 27
Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.). 
I’m the product of two loving parents, Jan and Steve Penn, and the middle child between my older brother, Jon, who has been my guide through life and my little sister, Rachel, who I strive to protect and love with all my heart. I work as a mechanical engineer in Richardson and hold a BS in mechanical engineering from the best school in the country, Texas A&M (class of ’11).  I love when I get the chance to use my fitness in everyday life, but I’m also happy just having a chill day with my friends and family. Coaching and seeing people transform into a better version of their previous self inspires me to live a life that matters.
When did you first start training at CrossFit Urban Jungle and what was your first WOD? How was it?
I started at Urban Jungle on August 4, 2014, but my first wod at CFUJ was a drop-in a month or two before that.  It was a partner WOD on a Saturday.
I think it was something like 3 or 4 rounds for time:
20 Partner Wallballs
20 Pushups (each)
20 Partner Sit-ups with the wallball
I made it about half way through before several people started to ask me if I was feeling okay. I was not haha. I tagged Daren in to finish the WOD with my partner while I focused on not throwing up in front of 30+ strangers.
What is your kryptonite? (least favorite movement)
I have a love-hate relationship with the rower and deadlifts and a pure hate for the assault bike.
Your best ninja skill? (favorite lift/movement)
My first love is muscle ups but have recently added handstand walks to my favorites 🙂
What your favorite cheat meal?
An entire Red Barron (classic crust) pepperoni pizza. Then a full pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked Ice Cream+peanut butter.  It’s about 3,000+ calories. Gainz for dayz.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit?
I started as a 155lb jiggly sack of cookie dough.  Since then I’ve gained over 20lbs of muscle and have reduced my % body fat from 18% to about 12%.  Life is just better when fitter. That fact can’t be argued.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFUJ moments:
There are plenty of great memories with the CFUJ family that I’ll always cherish like when its Open season (Potluck Thursdays and Friday Night Lights at the gym).  I’ve also met the best friends I’ve ever had in my life over the last two years. But the moment that has always stuck with me most is when our very own Michelle T had a family tragedy about a month or two after I started at the gym.  I didn’t know her well at all back then, but Daren called on us to come together as a family to support her the following Saturday. So many people showed up that day.  That was a really special thing to see and be apart of.  I didn’t have many close friends yet at the gym, but I knew that if something were to ever happen to me or someone close to me I would have my CFUJ family to support me regardless of how well they knew me.
Any advice for people just getting started or new to CrossFit?
Don’t wait to “be in shape” to start. Jump in and get started.  There is no judgement on new members.  Only support and encouragement.
Something you might not know about me:
I’m terrified of heights.  So rope climbs are quite a mental struggle for me haha.
I’ve always wanted to be a high school physics teacher. One day it will be a reality, but for now I want to see how my engineering career plays out.
If you see me around and don’t know me as well as you’d like, come talk to me. I love getting to know people and hearing their stories.

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