December Athlete of the Month: Jade Tornatore

From CrossFit skeptic to CrossFit enthusiast.

Meet December’s Athlete of the Month: Jade Tornatore!


When did you start at CrossFit 704?


Seems like yesterday…. but really December 2015. I need a two year T-shirt 🙂 (hint hint)


What did you do for exercise, if anything, before then?


Played basketball. Spent hours at the YMCA or whatever gym had the best deal at the time.

I thought I was working hard and getting a “good workout” by lifting weights and copying routines I saw in fitness magazines or the internet.


What did you think about CrossFit before you started? Now what do you think?


Before I started, I thought CrossFit was just a bunch of testosterone raging cave men who loved the sound of their own grunts.

I was way wrong.

Now I think that it is a great community of people who like setting and achieving goals together, enjoy fitness, and healthy challenges. It’s the best.


What is your biggest fitness/health challenge?


It sounds super cliche but honestly just getting better day by day, week to week, month to month.

When I first started I was coming off 2 years of basically being immobile because of nerve and disc issues in my back. I was miserable and in the worst shape of my life. It literally hurt to move, sit, and/or stand.

So now I just don’t want to take my fitness for granted and I just want to keep getting better and stronger at everything! Mobility is probably the most challenging of everything we do.

I’m sure everyone has seen how ridiculous I look trying to do pigeon poses, and hamstring stretches. I don’t care. It’s tough!


What’s your favorite part of the gym?


The people hands down.

I have never seen any place (fitness or otherwise) like this gym. Everyone truly encourages every other person. It doesn’t matter whether they are older or younger, new or experienced.

When it is a really tough workout and you are falling behind or struggling with your hands on your knees bent over gasping for air wondering what the hell you are putting yourself through, there is always someone that is there to coach you, cheer you on, or provide just the right level of competition.

It is truly unique and amazing.


What’s your favorite type of food?


I’m a carb-o-holic! Jumbo Pretzles are my #1. But I love breads and pasta. Combos are another favorite snack. I try to keep it in check.

August Athlete of the Month: Ashley Kuzma

Pizza, deadlifts, and group workouts. What could be better?

Meet the girl who’s always got a smile on her face…August’s Athlete of the Month: Ashley Kuzma!

What is your athletic background? I was on the swim team from age 12 – 18 and also played lacrosse in high school and college.

When did you start CrossFit?  I took my first trial classes in October 2016 and officially signed up as a member at the beginning of November 2016. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago!

Why did you start CrossFit? I wanted to include more weight lifting in my fitness routine.  I missed the enthusiasm and intensity you get from group work outs. I also liked the idea of having my regimen pre-planned by professional coaches who could assist me in achieving my goals.

What was your first CrossFit experience? My first experience with Crossfit was a free trial class at CF704 – it included box jumps and front squats. I remember it being a really friendly team atmosphere that was supportive of a newbie. I loved that we could all work out together and still individually progress.

Why did you choose CrossFit 704? From my first day at CF704, I felt welcome. The coaches came right up and introduced themselves and remembered my name each class. I really liked that the coaches took the time to explain all of the exercises and taught me how to appropriately scale weight and movements. I appreciated that all of the veteran members made me feel included and encouraged my progress.

What keeps you coming back to CF704? The effectiveness of the workout regimen, coaches/members and friendly competition keep me coming back!

What’s your normal class time? 6:30pm – but I occasionally drop in on other class times to mix it up.

What is your proudest CrossFit accomplishment? I would have to say participating in my first Murph over Memorial Day – I had a partner and scaled portions of it, but I never imagined I could do such an intense workout. I know that I couldn’t have succeeded without the amazing people who were there with me!

How has CrossFit made your life better? I always feel like I have less stress and more energy everyday. I love when I am able to see progress in workouts or movements.

What are your favorite and least favorite movements? I love deadlifts and box jumps. I am not a fan of anything overhead.

What’s your favorite workout? Crossfit Open 17.1 – It was dumbbell snatches and burpee box jump overs.

What’s your favorite cheat meal? PIZZA! I love almost all toppings and truly believe any pizza can be a personal pizza if you believe in yourself.

What would you say to someone thinking about trying CrossFit for the first time? Do it!  It will be much more fun than you expect and it is a judgment free zone. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses from the top performing athlete to new members – every movement has scaling options. Don’t be afraid to try, you will impress yourself with what you are capable of doing!

June Athlete of the Month: Ed Johnson



and anything not named thrusters.



Take a moment to get to know June’s Athlete of the Month: Ed Johnson!

  1. What is your athletic background? In high school, I played Tennis and did Track and Field (Long jump, 100M sprint).
  2. When did you start CrossFit? I just looked back in my email and found that I started at Crossfit 704 in June of 2013. I’m coming up on my four year anniversary! Time really does fly.
  3. Why did you start CrossFit? I needed a fitness regimen that didn’t rely on my initiating it. I wanted a fun and relaxing class schedule with people to push me to be better as much as I pushed myself. After the Foundations classes, I realized that it was a great community and that we were all striving for the same end goal – progression.
  4. What was your first CrossFit experience? The Foundations fitness test. I remember that the workout included running, ring rows, and air squats (among other movements). It was the first day of class and really helped me to realize what CrossFit was all about. It was great pushing through the workout with the other class members and feeling accomplished when we were done.
  5. Why did you choose CrossFit 704? I instantly felt welcome and part of an amazing group. That, coupled with the amazing workouts and results, made me know that CF704 was the place for me.
  6. What keeps you coming back to CF704? The regimen. I love the community and the space. I also know that I’ll get the best workout possible there.
  7. What’s your normal class time? 6:30 AM! Come join the fun. I love knowing that I’ve done more in an hour before most people have woken up.
  8. What is your proudest CrossFit accomplishment? I would have to say it was participating with my team in the Beer City Beatdown in Asheville. Seeing our hard work and training pay off by competing in an arena with other teams was amazing.
  9. How has CrossFit made your life better? I feel more energetic and flexible. The feeling of knowing you’re stronger every day really resonates.
  10. What are your favorite and least favorite movements? I absolutely love deadlifts. Least favorite would have to be thrusters. Always thrusters.
  11. What’s your favorite workout?  Open Workout 14.3 – Deadlifts and Box Jumps (step ups) – eight minutes of fun.
  12. What’s your favorite cheat meal? A hamburger. Usually one of those “over the top” kitchen sink burgers.
  13. What would you say to someone thinking about trying CrossFit for the first time? Try it out. Attempt any movement. No one is judging. Everyone has workouts that are a breeze and ones that are a struggle. Scale what you need to.

April Athlete of the Month: Joe Floyd


Meet CrossFit 704 Member, Joe Floyd

Joe is one of our longest running members. In fact he is THE senior member at CrossFit 704. He’s been around for everything and he’s been awesome to have since day one!

Here’s a little more about the legend they call Joe…

Occupation: Carpenter/Manufacturer of ATA Road Cases
CrossFit Experience/when did you start? 3.5 years/late April 2013
Proudest CrossFit Accomplishment: In my first CrossFit Open, 2014, I beat Bob Harper from the Biggest Loser in Open WOD 14.3. I felt like a big shot inside. Later on that year I found out Bob was like 45, so that took away a little bit of my excitement, but when it first happened, I was psyched! Other notables are when I learned the kipping pull-up, first muscle-up, first pistol, and 40 unbroken wall balls one time, and a sub 5:00 Fran. And that one time (really, it only happened once) I squatted 300 lbs. at 165 lbs. bodyweight I felt pretty good. I’m pretty sure I told everyone about it the day it happened.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge for me has always been to make myself keep going when my mind says it’s time to stop. I don’t think that part ever fully goes away. So definitely the biggest challenge is to just keep going.
What keeps you coming back? I like the people and the camaraderie. I like it when I can tell I’m getting stronger. I like it when I surprise myself that I can do something. It’s fun to surprise other people with your cool gym tricks too. I like pushing to get better, even at the ripe old age of 35.
Where are you from? I represent the ESVA! – I’m from a little town called Parksley, VA.
Where did you go to school? Nandua High School, Melfa, VA – Go Warriors!
Hobbies: I like to lift, I like to eat, and I like to drink coffee! I love watching and reading about football. Go Panthers. Some call it being obsessive, but I call it being passionate. I really like to play golf, though I don’t get to do it very often. I’d like to be more of an outdoorsy kind of guy, but we’ll have to call that a work in progress for now.
Favorite Movement: I’ll have to go with Front Squats. I think everyone would be mad if I said anything different. I do enjoy a good squat clean too though. I like all the movements on the pull-up rig as well.
Least Favorite Movement: I’m gonna have to go with wall balls here. They’re 100% awful.
Favorite Workout: There’s a few I like a lot. Of the benchmarks, I think I’d have to go with Helen.
Least Favorite Workout: Karen is the worst. She sucks.
Write your own workout: We’ll call it “Short and Sweet” 2:00 AMReps: Front Squats 135/95lbs.
Favorite Healthy Food: Crock pot shredded chicken breast is my go-to. And if we can call “natural” peanut butter healthy, I’ll give that a thumbs up too.
Favorite Cheat Meal: Five Guys – Cheeseburger w/ ketchup, mustard, and pickles – Little fries and a Cherry Coke. And as many of those peanuts as I can eat between the time I order and the time the food is ready.
Favorite TV Show: There’s a lot. Football. ALL the football. Fox NFL Sunday is my favorite pre-game show. Deadliest Catch and Homeland. I watch both of those the night they air. Everything else is on DVR or on demand. The Wonder Years (it’s on Netflix now!), and Roadies on Showtime had an impressive opening season. I really miss Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, and Desperate Housewives.
Favorite Movie: Top Gun
Best advice for someone new to CrossFit: The biggest thing is to not to get discouraged. You’ll see people doing all kinds of crazy movements you don’t understand and think you’ll never learn, but if you stick with it, you’ll catch on in no time. Take some time to meet people because they’ll end up helping you one day. Also, don’t get caught up in the whiteboard winning. It sounds cheesy, but in the beginning, it’s just You vs. You. Just try to do better than you did in the last class. Oh and don’t buy all the accessories right away!! Stay with it for a little bit and decide which toys are right for you!

Want to learn how you can take your fitness to the next level? Sign up for a free 1-on-1 introductory session today!

February Athlete of the Month: Ashley Cafero


Meet CrossFit 704 Member, Ashley Cafero

Ashley it’s been a pleasure coaching you. We’ve gotten to know you over the years but some people may not know how awesome you really are. We want to change that.

Let’s start with something easy…

Where are you from?
I am originally from Steubenville, Ohio but I’ve lived in Charlotte for almost 5 years now.

Very cool. And where did you go to school?
I went to college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. And I’m actually getting ready to start grad school here at Queens University.

What do you do for work?
I am a 7th grade social studies teacher. In the summer I waitress and work at a day camp.

Are you involved in any sports at your school?
I have been coaching the girls soccer team at my school for the past 4 years and I’ve also coached cheerleading in the past.

It sounds like you’re pretty involved with the community there. That has to be very rewarding.

What’s your favorite thing to do? Besides CrossFit of course.
Honestly, I usually stay pretty busy with work. But when I do have free time, I like to go out around Charlotte. There are so many cool neighborhoods and things to do.

Do you have any particular hobbies?
I like to shop and read.

When did you start CrossFit?
I started CrossFit almost 2 and a half years ago and I’ve been at CrossFit 704 the entire time!

Was there anything specific that drove you to give CrossFit a shot?
My friend and I bought a Groupon for the Foundations class. She never ended up using hers, but I used mine and liked it. I didn’t know if I should join because I wasn’t sure I would be any good at it. I kept thinking about it though so I decided to give it a try and I’ve been going ever since!

Well we’re glad you stuck with it. You’ve been an awesome member of the community and we’re lucky to have you train with us!

Alright, what’s your favorite workout?
Even though I don’t particularly enjoy many of the movements in it, I really like “Fight Gone Bad.” It’s challenging, but it goes by pretty fast.

It’s time to write the workout “Ashley.” What’s it look like?
12 min AMRAP of 5 handstand pushups, 10 kipping pull-ups and 15 abmat sit-ups.

That sounds like a fun workout! Look out, one day you may just see that on the board.

Okay so we know your favorite workouts. How about movements? Do you have a favorite?
I like anything involving handstands because they’re something I’ve always been able to do. However, one of my former least favorite movements is now one that I really like: overhead squats. I used to feel really unbalanced when doing them, but I’ve gotten more stable and actually enjoy them now!

Okay, okay. Now to the good stuff. What’s your favorite food?
I have pizza once a week…I can’t help it.

No argument there. Favorite TV show
I have a lot of shows I like, but my one true all-time fave is The Golden Girls.  I’ve seen every episode so many times but it never gets old for me.

That’s awesome! A classic. Do you have a favorite movie?
Yep, my favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.

Another classic! You’ve got great taste in entertainment Ashley. How about a favorite book?
One of my favorite books I’ve read is actually a young adult fiction booked called “Wonder.”

Alright before you go…hit us with your favorite quote?
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”

Want to learn how you can take your fitness to the next level? Sign up for a free 1-on-1 introductory session today!

December Athlete of the Month: Jamal Blackwell

Jamal Member Spotlight

Meet CrossFit 704 Member, Jamal Blackwell

Jamal is one of our hard-working morning athletes. He’s up before most, getting his workout in during the early hours. If you know Jamal you know that he’s an avid sports fan. And a big Cam Newton fan.

Here’s a little more about our good friend Jamal:

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Fayetteville, NC

And how long have you lived in Charlotte?
August 2016 will make it 10 years!

What brought you to Charlotte? College?
Yeah. I graduated from UNC Charlotte

Nice. Go 49ers! So when did you start CrossFit?
I tried CrossFit for the first time in September 2013 at another gym. But I only went to 5 classes. Then I started again in December 2014 here at CrossFit 704.

And what drove you to try CrossFit initially?
I was doing my own workout routine. Sometimes at a local gym, sometimes in the comfort of my own home. But I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough to see the results I wanted. As soon as I would feel one drop of sweat I would call it a good workout and expect amazing results. Didn’t happen.

One of my friends was doing CrossFit and told me to check it out again. So I did. I guess you could say that I was looking for guided workouts. And someone, other than myself, to hold me accountable for completing the workout.

That makes sense. So you’ve been doing CrossFit for awhile now. And you know all about benchmark workouts. Write the workout “Jamal”.
Start with a 400 meter run. Then do 21-15-9 reps of push press and abmat situps with a 400 meter run after each round. Make the weight 95lbs for guys and 65lbs for girls on the push press.

Do you have a favorite food?
Anything sweet! Cake, cupcakes, candy, etc.

What about a favorite TV show?

Favorite sport?

Favorite team?
Panthers and Steelers

Favorite player?
Cam Newton

Awesome! So what do you do for fun? Outside of CrossFit of course.
I like to hang out with my friends and travel to different places or I can just be at home relaxing listening to music or reading a book. After a long day of work I like to unwind by playing my Xbox one or PS4.

And what do you do for work?
Technical Account Manager for Microsoft

Do you have any hidden talents that we don’t know about?
I am the best R&B singer in the world…..when I am in the shower or having a sold out concert in my car!

Any hobbies?
Trying to learn how to play the guitar and also listening to new and old music. I love music with a passion so I can easily get lost in it.

Very cool.
Well there you have it, a little more about our dedicated athlete Jamal.

Want to learn how you can take your fitness to the next level? Sign up for a free 1-on-1 introductory session today!