Focus 501: Blog en-us Focus 501 (Focus 501) Sat, 02 Apr 2022 11:05:00 GMT Sat, 02 Apr 2022 11:05:00 GMT Focus 501: Blog 80 120 The Cool Down - CrossFit Open - Ep.1 - The Open Was Different This Year The 2022 NoBull CrossFit OpenVideo R\recap of the programming for the 2022 CrossFit Open The CrossFit Open and the Open Division Quarterfinals have come and gone, and there's a lot to dive into. So much so that I'll be dividing this episode into a couple of sections. Each section will also be uploaded to YouTube (link in bio).

For this first episode, we will break down the workouts and discuss the 2022 Open as there were some changes, some big and some small, that are noteworthy. And in a future episode, we will dive into stats for Arkansas boxes and athletes specifically.

(Focus 501) CrossFit Open Sat, 02 Apr 2022 11:04:43 GMT
Not Today Cancer  

Ben at a chemo treatmentBen Spickes IIIBen at a chemo treatment Ben at a chemo treatmentBen Spickes IIIBen at a chemo treatment Ben at a chemo treatmentBen Spickes IIIBen at a chemo treatment

Athlete of the Week: Ben Spickes III from Omnis CrossFit North

Ben was nominated for athlete of the week by a former athlete of the week, Blakley Lensing.

In his words....

"In the spring of 2021, I kept having the feeling like something was wrong when I was working out. I kept feeling like my strength was declining and that I did not have the stamina that I used to. My endurance, I felt, was falling off. I tried cleaning my diet back up, added some of my supplements that I used to take, and tried to drink more water. All the normal stuff that I thought I was slacking on. In my day-to-day life, everything was normal and I could not tell there was any problems. However, when I was working out, I could tell something was just not right.

After doing a timed 1 mile run in June, and only running a 8 minute mile instead of my usual 6:15 minute mile, I finally went to the doctor thinking I had low testosterone. They ran blood tests, did a physical, and finally on Sept. 9th I was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia), which, after more testing, was changed to MCL (Mantle Cell Lymphoma), a rare but aggressive form of a blood cancer. 

The cancer was so aggressive at first. It had spread to my lungs and liver, and caused my spleen to swell up a little over 3 times its normal size, which caused me to have to stop working out. The cancer caused me to lose 25 pounds and all of my muscle mass in one month. 

Every other round of chemo, I have to go into the hospital for four days to receive chemo over that period of time. My first time in the hospital, I was in my room, wondering, “Will I ever be able to get back to working out? Will I ever be able to run half marathons again? Will I ever be able to compete in competitions again?”. One night, while I was scrolling thru Instagram, I saw a video of Blakely Lensing just crushing it. Seeing how far she has come after her own battle gave me some motivation. Watching Blakely turned into a source of inspiration for me. She has been a huge reason I was so determined to return to the gym!

After 2 months of treatment with chemo and antibody infusions, my spleen went down enough to be able to return to the gym. November 4, 2021 was my first day back to Omnis North and there was a welcoming party to receive me. It was awesome! My faith in God is pretty strong and it has so far carried me through my battle with cancer. Something I noticed after I started working out again was not just how much better I felt physically but how much better I felt mentally. The mental boost from being there and receiving all the support from my friends was a game changer for me. Being able to step away from everything I had going on for a little while and winning small goals in the gym was huge for my mental wellbeing. Mentally, I did not realize how much I needed to be back working out until I was back doing it. 

Every three weeks I do chemo and I usually take the first few days off after receiving it. I try to get back to working out as soon as possible, usually 3 or 4 times a week. The coaches at Omnis North, Kelley, Taimi, Josh and Lori have all been awesome. They all help me scale the movements to what I can handle and, most importantly, they help me save myself from myself. Sometimes, I want to do more than I should, or do something that I don’t need to do. With a PICC line in my arm, I am limited on the movements I can do, and the amount of weight I can lift with my arm. No Olympic lifts at all, and the only barbell work I can do is squats. They are great at scaling the movements and coming up with alternatives for me.

Anybody going through chemo battles low energy, and having a hard time gaining weight back, because of loss of appetite. I was no exception to this. However, after the swelling in my spleen went down, and my oncologist released me to start working out again, something remarkable started to happen. Not only was my attitude getting better, my energy levels were up, and I was starting to feel better physically, but I started gaining some weight back. It was crazy! Now all of the sudden I started to have more of an appetite. During one two week period between doctor visits in December I gained 9 pounds. My oncologist told me, “Whatever you are doing, keep it up”. My weight is getting closer to my precancer levels. 

On November 11th, 2021, after being back to working out for a week, we were doing the hero workout CHAD for suicide awareness. My goal was to do half the reps, 500 box step ups. When I reached 500, I felt OK and my buddy Dave Sluder told me then try to get to 750. After 500 reps the wheels on the bus fell off and I started to get nauseated, my legs were screaming “What are you doing to me?!” and I was side stitching badly. After going outside to get some fresh air for a minute, I was contemplating just stopping the workout. I told myself “Not today cancer, today you are not beating me”. I made it to 750 then I was determined to finish that workout and reach 1000 reps. Sixty-seven minutes later with the help of the class cheering me on I finished the workout. That day was a game changer for me. I left out of the gym with a new motto. “Not today cancer”. Sometimes, we just need a win, and that day was my win!! After that day I carry that motto around with me “Not today cancer”. You are not beating me.

My faith in God has been my source of strength since the beginning of this battle. If I told you I don’t ever have times of doubt, I would be lying, but being back at the gym has improved my outlook on life tremendously! Physically I feel better and mentally I feel way better."


(Focus 501) Athlete CrossFit CrossFit Athlete Bio of the week Sat, 26 Feb 2022 14:15:02 GMT
The 2022 CrossFit Open Giveaway - Sponsored by Your Total Fitness Shop How to enter:

Follow both  @ytfstagram &  @Focus 501 on Instagram

Like the post

Tag at least 1 friend in the comments - unlimited comments allowed 


How long is the contest:

Contest valid from Feb. 18th to Feb. 21st at 11:59 pm.

How will the winner be chosen:

The use of will be used to randomly pick the winners of the promotion.

On Monday, Feb. 21st, the random generator picks the comments, I will confirm the entrant is following both accounts and liked the post. You must do both to be eligible. 


How will the winners be notified:

Each winner will be notified via a DM through Instagram and announced via Instagram Story on Monday.


How will the winner be receive the prizes?

The top prize winner will need to be provide the closest YTFS location via DM and will be able to pick up the gift card as early as Feb. 22nd -

The RPM jump rope winner will be delivered to in Central Arkansas or the use of UPS for mail delivery.

The CrossFit Open Entry fee will be a cash prize of $20 sent via PayPal, Cashapp, Zelle, Or Venmo.


How many times can you enter:

Once you’re a follower of both accounts and like this post, you have an unlimited number of entries through tagging a single person per comment.


For all other questions and inquires please email, [email protected]


(Focus 501) Thu, 17 Feb 2022 19:36:40 GMT
Jeremy Burton - Athlete of the Week 12/24/21

Athlete of the Week: Jeremy Burton of Nehemiah House and Stronger Together Fitness

In the true spirit of giving during Christmas, this week's Athlete of the Week is Jeremy Burton from Union Rescue Mission’s Nehemiah House and Stronger Together Fitness. Jeremy is  positively changing the lives of the men of Nehemiah House one workout at a time... Here is his story in his words…

"I came from a broken home and have struggled with drugs and alcohol since thirteen years old. 

I managed it until I was in my mid-twenties, but things fell off the rails when I got ahold of prescription painkillers. I started selling them to make money and support my habit.  Then I began to use pills and methamphetamines intravenously, and I knew I was headed for death or prison. 

God's grace landed me in jail in a conspiracy pill ring, and I was facing 20 years in prison. I thank God for that day eight years ago and have been sober since then. 

I went to rehab at the Union Rescue Mission Nehemiah House and began healing my heart! Shortly after I graduated from the program, I started interning when my dad shot and killed his wife and then shot himself. Little did I know God had big plans for me here at the URM through all of these experiences. I graduated from the internship position and became the Director of Discipleship at URM. 

I've struggled with my weight since I was around twelve years old. When I got into the program, I weighed a buck fifty. I had muscle deterioration due to meth and lack of nutrition.

I then began to eat emotionally and gained 70 plus pounds. I didn't like where I was going physically. With a renewed mindset of full recovery from anything harmful to my body, I set out to change my overall health. When I found CrossFit, I immediately knew it was something I loved dearly and would incorporate it into the program. 

CrossFit translates so well to this life. It's tough, but it makes you appreciate the struggle. Being able to push through a workout even though you want to quit, makes you feel accomplished and proud of yourself. Doing it in a community that is genuine and loving makes it all the more real. 

Since then, I've become a level one instructor and incorporated it as part of the recovery program for Nehemiah House, Dorcas House, and the brothers of M18 recovery! 

CrossFit has changed my life, and it's changing the lives of the communities around us. Recovery doesn't happen alone; it takes a support system like in CrossFit. I love getting to see these guys and gals overcome pain and hardship in life and in the gym. Stronger Together Gym isn't just a gym; it's a community of people who care for one another and want to help everyone. 

Hard Work Pays Off is something I teach and preach at my facility. As you saw, about five of us have it tattooed on us. This is so much more than just working out! If you work hard at whatever you're doing, no matter the results, no one can take away the effort you put in! 

We don't just workout together; we struggle together, we laugh together, and we build together. We are stronger together!"




(Focus 501) Fri, 24 Dec 2021 17:19:39 GMT
End of 2021 Give Away - Rules & Details  

How long is the contest:

Contest valid through Dec 14th or until I reach 900 followers of this account, whichever happens first.


How will the winner be chosen:

The use of will be used to randomly pick the winner of the promotion.


Once the random generator picks the comment, I will confirm the entrant is following me and liked the post. You must do both to be eligible.


How will the winner be notified:

The winner will be notified via a DM through Instagram.


How will the winner be receive the gift card?

The winner will need to be provide an email address and will be sent a digital $100 Rogue Giftcard via email


How many times can you enter:

Once you’re a Focus.501 follower and like this post, you have an unlimited number of entries through tagging a single person per comment, the more commen ts, the better chances of winning.


(Focus 501) Wed, 01 Dec 2021 18:48:06 GMT
Second Chance Athlete

Tabitha Mayberry entered the 2021 CrossFit Open on a whim after her friend and coach, Elisabeth Schach, suggested she compete in the new adaptive athlete divisions introduced this year. At the close of the Open, Tabitha's performances placed her 27th in the world for her division and left her excited to improve for next year.

A lifelong athlete, Tabitha was a college rugby player before a car accident at the age of 21 relegated her to a wheelchair. Not letting this set her back, Tabitha tried many different gyms and training regimens before falling in love with CrossFit.

"Other trainers really didn't know what to do with me," she recalls.

That was until she found her training home at CrossFit Commence in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Striving to complete workouts as closely as possible to other class members, Tabitha thrives in the regular class setting and confesses she is super competitive, even to the point of secretly picking out able-bodied athletes in her class to try and beat for each WOD. She has worked closely with her coaches and developed her own set of scaling options to keep the stimulus as close to its intended purpose.

"Following the programming is pretty easy because the coaches give great substitutions for workouts,” she says.

With the introduction of the adaptive division this year, Tabitha had a chance to compete again on what she hoped would be a level playing ground.

"The introduction of the division was really exciting," she said, but she would love to see some revisions moving forward. "There needs to be greater clarification. For example, there is a female in my division that can stand up with limited assistance, where I can not."

Tabitha's goal for the next open is to earn a pull-up. "I'm a pusher, not a puller,” she said and regularly training to shore up her weaknesses for next year. Until then she will continue to work hard, encouraging other potential adaptive athletes to join a local CrossFit box with the message of ‘Don't be afraid of CrossFit, anyone can do it.’ She is also working alongside Elisabeth to seek out potential athletes and grow the adaptive program at CrossFit Commence.




(Focus 501) Adaptive Athlete Bio CrossFit Wed, 09 Jun 2021 15:45:00 GMT
Not Your Typical 65-Year-Old Barbara Blount is not your typical 65-year-old woman.

Heck, she may not even be your typical 55-, or 45- or even 35-year-old woman.

But make no mistake, Barbara Blount is a badass.

Barbara, who trains at Omnis CrossFit in Little Rock, Arkansas, is the CrossFit Games Open Arkansas State Champion in the 65+ Age Group, finishing 100th world-wide and 86th in North America. And she credits it all to her coaches, her fellow Omnis athletes and her older sister, Nancy Steen, a CrossFit Games competitor herself.

In 2015, Barbara was on the floor with unbearable back pain.

“I hurt it so badly I was crawling on the floor, thinking I would never stand up and be good again,” Barbara said.

But that back pain, some motivation from her sister and the caring and attentive coaches and athletes at Omnis CrossFit have her thriving in life and the CrossFit space.

“I hate to say it, but it is fun,” Barbara says of why she continues to CrossFit. “When I am walking out of here after a workout, I’ve accomplished a lot.”

And it’s those hours in the gym alongside her fellow Omnis athletes that keeps her coming back for more.

“I’m not as competitive as a lot of people are...well, I kind of am,” she says with a laugh. “It pushes me to see what they can do. I know being 65 if I don’t keep moving and working, my upper body strength, my don’t use it, you lose it.”

Barbara was already an accomplished athlete before walking into Omnis four years ago. She was a member of the first women’s gymnastics team at Oklahoma State University and then taught gymnastics for 20 years in Blytheville, Arkansas.

That ability to coach and to be coaches has translated well as Barbara continues to chase excellence.

“Barbara is very humble and has no idea how awesome she is,” XXXX, a coach at Omnis said. “She doesn’t understand that what she is doing is really amazing. Not just for her age but for a CrossFitter in general. I wish she saw all the magic that she exudes in the gym. It’s really cool just to watch her.”

📸- @focus.501
✍️- @danthemediaman

(Focus 501) CrossFit CrossFit Athlete Bio Rowing Thu, 03 Jun 2021 15:51:55 GMT
The Fittest 15 Year-Old In Arkansas  

Two-a-half years ago, you could find Jack Ryan Brooks where you would find many kids his age - in front of a TV on his PlayStation. Now the 14-year-old is a regular at CrossFit Conway, placed first in the Arkansas Boys (14-15) division in the CrossFit Games Open and qualified for the next month’s CrossFit Games Open Age-Group Online Qualifier.

At the urging of his parents, Jack Ryan began training with his father, Ryan, who is also a coach, at CrossFit Conway and, according to his father, hated it.

“He was out of shape,” Ryan said. “There were new movements that he wasn’t used to and there weren’t any other kids in the class. He eventually started to figure out the movements and gain muscular strength and endurance. That’s when he started to notice that he felt good after working out and he gained a lot more confidence in himself.”

During last month’s Open, Jack Ryan, who also runs middle distance for the Conway Junior High School track team, won the first and final events of the Open state-wide to lay claim to the top spot in the state while also finishing 63rd in North America.

His success has not only impacted his life, but also the CrossFit Conway community. When Jack Ryan began his CrossFit journey there wasn’t a teens program at the box, forcing him into the regular classes. Now behind the success of Jack Ryan and others, CrossFit Conway has opened a teen class that has trained three of the top four teen athletes in the 14-15 age bracket for Arkansas.

Finding balance in his life has been huge for the younger Brooks. Before starting his CrossFit journey, Ryan Brooks struggled to get his son to ride a bike or even run around the neighborhood with his friends. Now, Jack Ryan trains three to four times a week at CrossFit Conway after his track practices and can proudly call himself the Fittest 14-year-old in Arkansas.


✍️ Dan Froehlich & Smitty




(Focus 501) Mon, 19 Apr 2021 16:00:00 GMT
Lori's Journey to the Podium A black and white photo of a female performing an Olympic Snatch. The bar is at the hip and she is in full extension. Lori SnatchingLori Performing an Olympic Snatch at CrossFit Omnis North When Lori Webb walked into her first CrossFit gym, it was to do yoga, not CrossFit. Now, five years later, Webb has not only advanced to the Age Group Online Qualifier for the 2021 CrossFit Games season but she did it by winning the Arkansas masters 40-44 women’s division, placing 53rd in North America and 86th worldwide.

Competing in a new age group in 2021, Webb had been rapidly ascending the 35-39 leaderboard the past two seasons. After debuting in 2017 with a finish nearing 3,000th in her division worldwide and 2,000th in the US, she climbed nearly 1,000 spots worldwide and 600 spots nationally in one season. 

Webb then made a massive jump in 2019, finishing 447th worldwide and 273rd in the United States. The following year brought her closer to the threshold, finishing 468th worldwide and 267th in the US in 2020 before moving up and onto the next round in 2021.

Recalling her first days of walking into Chopper CrossFit in Wyoming, Webb was dealing with a diagnosis of alopecia, an immune system condition that causes hair to fall out in patches or completely. That’s when she chose to don a bandana, a practice she continues today.

“People just assume I’m trying to be some bad ass but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I am a pearls and fingernail polish kind of girl,” Webb says behind her 10,000-watt smile.

An athlete and coach at Omnis CrossFit North in Little Rock, Webb thrives on the CrossFit community, “No one cares that I’m wearing a bandana or what I look like,” Webb says. “It’s all about effort and being a great person.”

A mother and wife, Webb, who volunteers and works part time at her children’s school, will take part in the Age Group Online Qualifier over Mother’s Day weekend in May.


(Focus 501) Black and White CrossFit CrossFit Athlete Bio Snatch Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:21:46 GMT
Losing to Win with Paul Rivera

Paul Rivera placed second in the 55-59 year-old age division for Arkansas and ranked 43rd in North America and 54th Worldwide for the 2021 CrossFit Open. His accomplishment is a far cry from his former self when he started CrossFit at 270 lbs and needing to take multiple medications to manage chronic disease states.

His life transformation started in 2013 by walking into Rock City CrossFit and began working out five times per week and drastically changed his diet. These changes led him to lose 60 lbs, ditching the medications, becoming a competitive athlete, and even inspired him to become a CrossFit Level 1 Coach and USAW weightlifting coach.

Paul said his doctor told him, "One patient in hundred would make these type of lifestyle changes and maintain it for more than a year." Paul has been steadily improving for eight years now.

Paul recently competed in the Legends Masters Comp held in Arizona, where he befriended several of the top CrossFit athletes in his division and staying in touch to keep each other motivated.

Paul ensured he would remain competitive with his peers by enrolling in nutrition coaching a year ago at Rock City. Since then, he has improved his body fat percentage by 9% while keeping stamina and performance while decreasing his overall body fat to 17%.

Paul's next step is the Age-Group Online Qualifier that will take place over Mother's Day weekend.

(Focus 501) CrossFit Snatch Tue, 13 Apr 2021 02:24:59 GMT
Back in Action with Gena Hartwick

Gena Hartwick took the top honor of the 2021 CrossFit Open in Arkansas for the 35-39 masters division and fifth overall in the open division standings. She is a perennial big name on the local CrossFit scene as an individual athlete and at larger CrossFit competitions such as Wodapalooza alongside her teammates as a member of the Pineapple Pump Crew, who trains out of Above and Beyond CrossFit.

Her victory this year might be her sweetest to date as she recovered from back surgery over a year ago, where several vertebrae were fused. Her road to the podium in 2021 was anything but straightforward. It included a year of slowly increasing intensity and range of motion that started with the inability to bend over fully. She began her recovery only a week post-op by riding the Assault Bike without the ability to rotate safely. She has come back stronger than ever and set a lifetime PR of 215 lbs in her clean in late March. She credits her success to her support crew, including her friends and family, surgeons, medical team, chiropractor, and even a mobility coach.

Gena's next step is the new Quarterfinals stage (Age-Group Online Qualifier) of the CrossFit Games that will take place over Mother's Day weekend.

(Focus 501) CrossFit Tue, 13 Apr 2021 02:20:01 GMT