Dana Wessels

Member of the Month: Dana Wessels


Dana Wessels 




Suttons Bay, MI.

Member Since:

August 2019.


What was your athletic background, if any?

I started practicing Taekwondo in elementary school and continued that through grad school. I also did track and field in high school.

What led you to Crossfit and CFA specifically?  

I needed to start training for my potential military career, and I knew that Crossfit was probably the best option for increasing overall fitness. I graduated from GVSU and stayed in the Allendale area, which led me to CFA.

What do you do when you're not at CFA?

I’ve been studying/reading for Officer Candidate School with the Marine Corps, as well as getting some fly fishing in. I also love taking my dogs to the beach or on walks through the cherry orchards when I’m up north.

When did you realize that CrossFit is right for you?

I guess I’d say the first day, because despite knowing I would be out of my element for a while, I decided this was something I wanted to stick with so that I would eventually feel comfortable with barbell movements and strenuous workouts.

Do you remember your first WOD?

I do remember walking into the warehouse and using the 15 lb barbell, but that’s about it. 

What movement do you despise over everything and why? 

I’ve never loved running, and there are a couple of more technical barbell movements I don’t enjoy. 

What has been your all-time favorite moment at CFA?  

I would say seeing my progression in pull-ups. A year ago, I could not do a single pull up and it drove me crazy. Now, they’re far from easy but I can do a handful, and I’ll continue to try and build on that.

What motivates you during a tough workout?

The most important thing to me is doing the workout well - using a challenging but not impossible weight, keeping a good pace, and finishing strong. I also try to remind myself of the progress I have made and am still making, because it’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come compared to when you started out. 


What are your goals going forward and what do you think will help you achieve them? 

My goal to to get through OCS this fall, and while I am certain that will be extremely challenging, I think training at CFA with some additional time targeting certain movements I’ll need for the physical fitness tests is the best preparation for someone in my situation. We’ll see!


What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health, and fitness or just day to day life since starting CrossFit (before/after?) 

As I grew more comfortable in the Crossfit workouts, I began to look forward to them at the start or end of my day. Every day that I get a workout in, I’ve made progress and there’s a sense of accomplishment that goes along with that. 


What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out with CrossFit or is too afraid to try it? 

Crossfit is immensely beneficial in more than one way, but it also takes time to see those benefits. For someone trying out Crossfit and jumping into the workouts, I would remind them that if they feel intimidated or out of place, everyone else in the gym has been there before too. And in the process of learning barbell movements, learning the correct form is the most important (and often the most awkward) step, but you have to decide to let yourself move through that learning process and not be concerned with what anyone else might think. 


If you could have one skill or characteristic of another member at CFA what and from whom would it be? Or which other CFA member are you the most motivated by? 

I would love to be a better runner, and there are a LOT of people who are better runners than I am. I am motivated by members like Celine and Leah who are usually pretty close in WOD times and weights used. I am also really impressed by all the members who I’ve seen jump into the WODs as beginners since I’ve started, because it takes intentionality and consistency to keep at it.

Quick Questions

Favorite Cheat Meal: Panera broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl


Favorite workout song: Emperor’s New Clothes by Panic! at the Disco


Favorite place you have traveled: Donostia San Sebastian, Spain.


Favorite Tv Show: The Punisher or Jack Ryan

Coach's comment:

We are thankful to be a part of getting Dana ready for the Marines. After starting last August she has been in the gym super frequently, doing her best and even kept working out during the quarantine. Her fitness has improved immensely over the last year. Not only has she gotten stronger and become a better runner but she has also gotten more comfortable with her barbell lifts and quite a few new friends. One of the biggest improvements was her pull-ups. When she started she was unable to do a single strict pull-up and after plenty of hard work she was able over 8 in a row! Dana was a great pick for member of the month for September as she is leaving for the marines this month. We want to wish her the best of luck!

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