img_2541I started working out at QDA through its partnership with the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY. I was nervous and suspicious of how I would fit in. I had been a lone wolf at the gym for years and really considered it my time, not a social activity. I started at QDA and immediately connected with the environment, the atmosphere, and the people. I have said this many times since walking in, and it is still 100% true, working out here is as close to a military-style culture as I have been a part of since leaving the service. The comradery, support, connectedness, and trust that exists inside the gym are truly unique. It is a safe space; it is a place I can go and be myself and trust that everyone else there is genuine and we’re all in it together. And what does ‘in it’ mean? We are there to put forth our best effort, whatever your best is, each and every day. We are there to push one another to be better than yesterday, and to go to dark places the workouts take you to, together. Bonds are formed in that darkness, and afterward, those bonds are nearly unbreakable. I have evolved physically since walking into QDA, but I think my emotional and mental evolution has far surpassed the physics gains I have achieved, and to me in my life, with the things I struggle with, those gains are priceless. We work hard, we play hard, we bust each other’s chops hardest of all, and each and every day I walk out of the gym I have a smile on my face. I feel more full of life and more confident in myself. It has been an incredible year. I’ll end this with something we talk about regularly here, and that is progress. In our society, we seem to overestimate the progress we can or want to make in one single day, but we underestimate and devalue the progress we can make in a year. It takes time, it takes consistency, it takes effort. It’s not easy, but trust me, it’s worth it. -Mikey Shurmatz, 37

I’m a rower who was looking for alternative fitness training, primarily during the cold months when we’re not on the water. I live downtown and wanted a convenient location. I looked at various options online and stumbled into QDA, having no idea about CrossFit. What I discovered, and what kept me returning over the past few years, was patient leadership, encouraging coaches, and welcoming “classmates.”  While they challenge and push, the coaches always work with your starting point. They help you find ways to grow physically stronger, gently correcting movements and maintaining body safety. Although often 20 years older than other participants, I never felt out of sync. If you are there, you are a QDA athlete. -Suzanne Bergman, 69

Screenshot_20220916_155441I have proudly been part of the QDA community for over four years now. I choose to be committed to QDA because of the amazing coaches who hold me accountable and teach me to go beyond my comfort zone so as to grow in strength and endurance. When I think less of myself and my ability, they lift me up. QDA is an inclusive community that I cherish. QDA is where I laugh most in my life at this present moment. QDA is about growing physically and mentally in an uplifting and non-judgmental community that only wants the best that you can do. -Jim Nuwer, 55

I’ve always been someone who has been active in some way most of my life. From childhood and into adulthood, I’ve liked to engage in various forms of exercise but at times found that my routine would get old or I’d be lonely at the gym solo. In my early 30s, I had the start of what would be some chronic health issues that caused me to re-think my relationship with my body and with food. It was also at that time I found myself seeking community and hoping to meet more people who shared similar goals of personal and professional development. CrossFit had been on my radar for a bit, and after doing some online research and asking friends already in the community, I settled on QDA. I started at QDA during a healthy eating challenge which allowed me to attend a few weeks of classes while also receiving nutrition support. It was immediately evident to me that QDA was a special place. I enjoyed the challenges of the WODs and quickly learned how CrossFit focuses on functional fitness. As I progressed through the challenge, I could see my strength and endurance for everyday activities already improving. The coaches were supportive, knowledgeable, and knew all the members. The members were supportive of each other and there was a bond formed over the challenges faced in each class, most physical but many very much mental. After completing the challenge, I went “all in” and have been a full member for over four years now with no end in sight. QDA has become a home base for me. I love starting my day there. I’ve made new friends. I’ve done things physically I never dreamed be possible. I’ve learned how to mentally and physically stay in the game to overcome challenges. I’ve developed a much healthier relationship with my body and am in the best shape of my life at nearly 40. Many of the things I’ve learned about at QDA are translatable to my everyday life: Small and consistent progress adds up, all difficult stuff ends, and the biggest challenges are often mental. I’m grateful for this community and encourage you to give CrossFit and QDA a chance if you – like I was – are reading this and contemplating your next step! -Jenna Witkowski, 37

IGreg D first joined QDA a couple of years ago with no background in CrossFit. I was nervous about joining the gym, especially after going years without a serious workout program. The coaches are excellent at picking up on your skill level and helping tailor the workouts to your ability. They also motivate, push, and put in extra time and attention to help perfect your technique. QDA is a friendly and welcoming community with great diversity. They also offer chiropractic treatment and nutrition coaching, so it’s truly a one-stop shop for fitness and well-being. Since I joined the gym, I’ve seen major improvements in my strength, mobility, overall fitness, and mental health, all while making some good friends along the way. My only regret is not starting sooner! – Greg Dirschedl, 32

I started training at QDA in May of 2022. At first, I was anxious about being in a new workout environment with a new group of people. My anxiousness went away quickly though. I immediately felt like I belonged. I love the high-energy, fast-paced workouts. I like being around other people who push themselves hard like me. Everyone is really positive and supportive of each other. – Mike Shanley, Fit Over 40

FB_IMG_1664244168294After nearly a year of persuasion from some fitness friends, I tried a month at QDA and never looked back. I went in as a runner/obstacle course racer and was plagued and defeated by injuries. I needed strength training and had no idea how to do that safely and effectively as everything I had ever done prior only broke my body down more. Dennis and the coaches with their knowledge and experience have brought me to a place of less pain, better mobility, and confidence in running again. Dennis is amazing with working around injuries and developing modifications. Almost a year later, I am stronger than ever and have learned that patience and consistency are the keys to my success. The cues and corrections from all the coaches allow me to feel safe, especially with the barbell, as I had no real experience with the bar before joining QDA. Everyone is encouraging. As we go through the same WOD no matter the level, there is a huge sense of accomplishment and comradery. QDA has a family feel to it. I’m always terrible at remembering names even if I see your face at 530 a.m. for a month, but I know that in that hour we are there, I got you and you got me. Then when I see you at a QDA outing or holiday party, we can laugh that I don’t know you. I am very thankful to Dennis, the coaches, the athletes, and the friends who brought me in. -Tammi, Ageless

JamieI’ve been doing CrossFit for 10 years. Every day is different, challenging, and fun. I’m stronger and more fit than I was at 29! Den has been my coach since day one, and he knows exactly when I can push harder or when I’m just there to relieve stress. I also enjoy the competitive push from my husband, my workout partner. -Jamie Pond, 39