Member spotlight – Melissa Hoffman

melissa snatch deadlift

On any given weekday evening you can find Melissa laughing through the hardest workouts and lifting some seriously heavy weight.  Since joining, she’s been the picture of consistency and her progress is a testament to that.  Her journey is inspirational and we’re very glad to have her at Copperhead.


Where are you from, Originally?  If Phoenix, what kept you here?
I’m a born and raised Phoenician.  The weather! Sure it’s insanely hot in the summer and you can burn your hands on the steering wheel if you’re not careful, BUT at least we don’t have hurricanes, huge earthquakes, or tornadoes. Running the A/C while Christmas shopping is weird, yes, but I will take it over shoveling snow for hours.

What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
I like to travel and more specifically I like to travel to see concerts. My favorite band is Taking Back Sunday and I have been all over the US to see them. It is fun to explore all of these cities and meet other people that like the band because then we find other things we have in common. I now have friends in many states thanks to that band.

How long have you been at Copperhead?
I have been at Copperhead for 9 months!!

What was your motivation for starting?
I have been struggling with my weight since high school. I had become used to being the big girl. I had tried diets and exercises before only to fall off the wagon within weeks. The drive thru was my best friend. This past Spring I was actually traveling to shows and realized I wasn’t fitting in the jeans I packed. The photos I took with the friends I was melissa with bandmaking showed me at the biggest I had ever been. Adam Lazzara, the lead singer of Taking Back Sunday had been doing CrossFit himself with incredible results so I figured it worked for him maybe it would work for me. After discussing with him and talking to Mark O’Connell, the drummer, I realized I needed to do it. After telling them I knew I was on the hook. My family and friends didn’t bat an eye when I would give up on another diet, but I knew that with these guys I would make a fool of myself if I didn’t follow through. Their words of encouragement and their results inspired and motivated me in the beginning, they have continued to be supportive since then, and I’ve kept them updated on my progress. As time has gone on I have motivated myself through the results I have seen in the progress photos I’ve taken. Now I am focused on getting more results.

melissa progressWhat fitness-related accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am happy that I can look down now and see my feet. When I started my squat involved sitting on a bench because that was all I could do and I had never lifted weights. I can now back squat 165 lbs. and deadlift 255lbs, I have done one handstand and discovered I am pretty good at rowing. Any time I can do a WOD at RX I celebrate because it wasn’t too long ago that I would finish a majority of the WOD’s last or had to “Fisher Price” the workout so that I can even participate. It was hard and yes there were some tears especially when I would finish another WOD last, but this is the longest I have ever stayed in a routine without quitting and I see no end in sight.


Do you have any advice for new members?
The beginning will be hard. You will be convinced you’re dying at times. In fact, that is all I would say for the first couple of months. “I’m dying” was my catch phrase. But the truth is you’re not dying, you’re starting to live a better life. Copperhead has great coaches that will teach you what you need to know to do the best and be successful at working out. They, as well as fellow CrossFitters at Copperhead, are among the most supportive and encouraging people I have ever met. They ooze positivity. Getting in shape will be a long hard road, but you can do it. You’re not alone. Don’t stop.

Supertotal Competition, 2015




In a weightlifting or powerlifting meet, your “total” is the sum of your heaviest successful lifts.  A Supertotal is a combination of your weightlifting total (max snatch and max clean & jerk) and your powerlifting total (max back squat, max bench press, and max deadlift).


Saturday December 12th, 2015.  This will take all day so regular classes will be cancelled.


We’ll be running this like a standard weightlifting or powerlifting meet, but a bit more relaxed.  Each person will have three attempts at each lift.  We’ll have a women’s session and a men’s session for each lift.  What that means is that all of the women will perform their lifts in the snatch, then all of the men will go.  This will continue for each of the movements.

Although this is mainly just going to a loosely regulated bro-session, we’ll still be crowning some winners.  Best lifters will be determined by bodyweight/weight lifted ratio and most weight lifted regardless of bodyweight.Lifters may compete in as few or as many of the lifts as they choose.

We’ll be following up with more info on the specifics but coaches Craig, Dave, and Mitch all have experience in this type of meet and they’d be happy to answer any questions.


Well, why not?!  We’ve done another in-house competition in the past and it was a great time.  You’ll get a chance to re-test your maxes in a positive environment with your friends cheering you on.  Plus, if you’ve ever considered entering a meet, this will be a great way to test the waters without diving in head first.


Sign up on the board at the gym.  We’ll see you on the platform!

Member Spotlight, Niva Odahlen

niva swing
On any given weekday evening you can probably find Niva in the gym.  Whether it’s lifting some seriously heavy weight or, more recently, rolling on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mats she always has a smile on her face.  Niva is one hell of an athlete and an even better person.  We’re happy to have had her at Copperhead since day one.

Upcoming events, end of 2015

Hey guys, with the holidays coming up we just wanted to give you a quick idea of what we have coming up.


11.5.15 – 11.9.15
CrossFit Lift-Off
This is a new type of CrossFit event. It’s similar to the Open in that the workouts will be revealed on a Thursday and competitors will have until the following Monday to complete them and enter a score. It’s unique in that the first two events are max snatch and max clean and jerk. The third workout will presumably a more typical CrossFit Open-type WOD, but we won’t know for sure until 11.5.15. We’ll be doing the workout (Event 3) on Friday, November 6th.

Squaw peak hike
We’ll be heading up Squaw peak at 8am instead of the usual Saturday workout. If you’ve never done it, it’s not the easiest hike in Phoenix, but it’s not the toughest either. We can meet up at the gym and carpool to avoid parking issues as well.

Just to be clear, the gym will be closed.

Copperhead Super Total Comp
Snatch + clean and jerk + back squat + bench press + deadlift = Supertotal! This even will be run like a weightlifting meet and a powerlifting meet combined. Entrants can chose to lift in any or all lifts that they’d like. We’ll be doing a bigger announcement with all of the details soon.

Copperhead Holiday Party
This year’s party will either be at the gym or at Twin Peaks on Camelback and 20th Street.

Spartan Sprint

The Reebok Spartan Sprint: This is our shortest distance. It is perfect for athletes of all levels; from Spartan first timers to seasoned racers. The 3+ Mile Sprint may be our shortest distance but it packs more than 20 Signature Spartan Obstacles including mud, fire, walls and barbed wire. If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. Get to the starting line and show yourself what you are capable of.

Team name Copperhead Select the 8-11 time. Once the team is complete it will give an exact start time (looks like 10:15). There is no cap size on the team so everyone can go. Once it cools off we will start meeting at phoenix college track, Sunday mornings to practice.  We had a good turn out last year, let’s try to do it even bigger this year!

spartan group

Farewell Adam


We wanted to take a moment to say goodbye to one of our original coaches, Adam. He was with us from day one (before then, actually), and he was an integral part of setting our gym on the right path. His attention to detail and sense of humor will be missed.

adam jerk

Below is a note from the man himself,

A message to the members and friends from Copperhead CrossFit. I want to thank everyone over the years that has been a member and that still is. I had so much fun coaching you guys working out with you talking to each of you and learning about the person behind the barbell. It has been a great journey and an evolution of my person to have been graced with such a great group of people on a daily basis to share a sweat and help to achieve whatever goal you may have had. I wish everyone the best with their training and most importantly their life’s evolution. Every time you accomplish something or move through a challenge or an obstacle you didn’t think was possible you build Self-Efficacy in your life. So take those big and small accomplishments from the gym and magnify them in your lives and everyone will have whatever level of success they desire in their life. Much love and gratitude to all my friends at Copperhead I will see you along the path.

Thank you Adam. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

adam nathan mitch opening day