By: Monica Fritsch
Newport Fitness has been a family affair from Day 1 for Owner, Emily Wagner. So when the Hicks family knocked on her door in April of 2011, she welcomed them with open arms.
Dennis and Jeanne Hicks have a total of nine children: Adam, Emily, Sarah, Rachel, Lydia, Rebekah, Michael, Joseph and Maria. For Dennis, there wasn’t necessarily a master plan to create a family of CrossFitters as he himself didn’t exercise regularly until later in life. “I would get bored fairly quickly and stop going (to the gym), only to start back up a few months later for several weeks, repeating the same pattern.”
The Hicks family was introduced to CrossFit by Jeanne’s brother. “We were hooked after the first day, even though we thought we might die that night,” Dennis jokes.
They truly were hooked because over the past seven years they’ve not only taken regular CrossFit classes. They’ve also competed in and judged competitions, babysat, taken kids classes, participated in social events and a Paleo Challenge.
Dennis and Jeanne’s daughter, Rachel, is even the youngest member of the coaching staff at Newport Fitness. At 19 years old, Rachel juggles coaching with being a mother of two boys, and studying nursing at Northern Kentucky University. “It’s crazy busy, but for real, it’s a lot of fun,” Rachel says. “I get to pursue my passions and love on my babes all at the same time. What’s not to love?”
Rachel started off her coaching job by shadowing Wagner as she taught her classes. While Rachel felt a little nervous about starting a new adventure, she also believed in herself because Wagner and her family believed in her. “She has a natural talent for CrossFit, is very self-motivated, and has great self-confidence,” Dennis says. “Her friendly nature makes her very approachable and non-intimidating, both great attitudes for any coach.”
Seeing people achieve their goals is Rachel’s favorite part of coaching. “Doesn’t matter what it is; first Pull Up, losing fat/gaining muscle, or finding time in their busy schedule to make their health a priority,” Rachel says. “I love that I get to be a tool to help people improve their health and quality of life.”
Rachel isn’t the only serious CrossFitter in the Hicks family. They’re all competitive and doing CrossFit together keeps them motivated. In fact, Dennis has been known to hold off on posting his morning WOD (Workout of the Day) score, so his children don’t have a specific score to beat. “A little friendly competition for dinnertime bragging rights goes a long way,” Dennis says.
“It makes me try harder everyday because we all compare scores at the end of the day and I don’t want to come in last!” Lydia says.
“I can’t let my little sister (Rachel) who just gave birth four months ago, beat me!” Adam continues.
The Hicks children have clear goals for their future in CrossFit. Adam hopes to beat Rachel’s scores every day. Rebekah wants to get stronger and compete at the Rx level for the first time. Lydia hopes to get stronger, mentally and physically. She also enjoyed competing in the past so she wants to compete more often. Rachel wants to get back to her pre-pregnancy PR’s (personal records) and get back into competing as well.
Dennis’ goal speaks to the tight bond he has with his family. “To develop a true life-long love and lifestyle of fitness and health.”