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Featured Athlete-Ian Cassel

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Let’s give a round of fist pumps for this week’s featured athlete Ian Cassel.  He has been a constant in our gym since almost the very beginning and always a positive force in the classes.  Ian is always smiling and seems happy 24/7 even doing burpees and the assault bike, two of his favorite exercises.  We love Ian for his endurance, his ability to grind through workouts with encouraging words, and the fact that he always stays to cheer on the last person working out.  I always figured Ian was a smartypants, but after reading his answers, I realized how accomplished he really is.  Thank you, Ian, for always offering a joke during those dark times in the workouts and for being such an upbeat part of our community.  It wouldn’t be the same without you!

  1. How long have you been a member at CrossFit Ephrata?

7 Years?  A couple months after you opened down the road from the current location.

  1. What class time(s) do you typically come to the gym?

10am or 4pm

  1. Why do you workout?

When I was in graduate school (2004) I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. It was rather debilitating. I almost had to drop out of school. The doctor I was seeing said to help fight the disease, in addition to antibiotics, I should work out hard every day, like my life depended on it. He said raising my metabolism would help shorten my recovery. So I just started working out, mostly running 3-5 miles per day. Then I spoke to an Olympic athlete that ran long distance. He told me I should start doing intervals. It didn’t make any sense to me why a long distance runner would tell me to do 200m and 400m sprints. But I did what he said. It took a year before my symptoms from Lyme disease started to go away, and was treated for Lyme disease until 2008. I continued to do a Forest Gump, and just kept running and doing intervals, mostly out of fear the disease would come back. I then met Tyler at the Ephrata Rec and the rest is history.

  1. What are your favorite things about CrossFit?

I like the intervals and the cardio.

  1. What are your favorite movements or WODs?

I like workouts like Cindy and body weight movements (burpees, pullups, box jumps, wallballs etc). And the Assault Bike!

  1. Least favorite movement or WODs?

Deadlifts – I have the tightest hamstrings on the planet

Squats – It bothers my knees

Double Unders – They are the most useless exercise and should be banned!

  1. If you were given $100,000 and you were only allowed to spend it on yourself, how would you spend the money?

If I couldn’t invest it and was forced to spend it selfishly, I would take the family and go travel and create some memories.

  1. What are some of your proudest accomplishments in the gym?

The first time I did an overhead squat.

  1. What are some of your proudest accomplishments out of the gym?

Finally meeting my wife. We met on We now have a daughter Madelyn (2 year old), and just had a son, Jack.

  1. What are your favorite things to do or learn outside of the gym?

Golf, family, friends. I like to read business biographies.

  1. What do you do for a living?

I’m a full time investor. I invest in small public companies. It was a hobby when I was a teenager that grew into something I could support myself. I don’t find what I do that interesting, but I know other people do because it’s not “normal”. If you are interested in learning more about it I was interviewed a year ago on a business podcast. You can listen to it here if you want to fall asleep:

  1. What is something interesting about you that your gym friends would not know?

I’ll give you two things, one personal and one professional:

When I moved back into the area I was looking for an apartment that was unique. I ended up renting a two bedroom barn. Yes, it looked exactly like a barn from the outside. It was located at the end of a dead end road next to two Amish farms. It was beautiful. When my wife moved into the barn, we noticed mice in the pantry. I killed 23 mice in five days. One week later, two feral cats got into the barn. They would climb up the spouting, and go through a small hole into the upper barn. You would hear them walk across the ceiling. It sounded like a bear walking across the ceiling. A few days later I noticed something was dripping from one of the smoke detectors. I thought it was a leak in the roof. I unscrewed the smoke detector and it gushed down onto the floor. It was cat pee. Lets just say my wife told me we weren’t going to live there anymore.

In 2011, I started a website It’s a private investment community for investors that invest in the niche that I invest in. We have a few hundred members from across the world. Then a member of this site and I wrote two books and launched another website this past November. On this website we study and analyze great business builders, those rare individuals that built a business from scratch into something that dominated their niche, geography, and/or industry.

  1. What is your favorite cheat meal?

I don’t know why but I love McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches.

  1. What is your favorite healthy meal?

Salmon and vegetables

  1. What piece of advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Talk less, listen more.

  1. If you could program the perfect WOD, what would it be?

5 Rounds

10 pushups

10 Calories

10 pullups

10 wallballs

  1. Leave us with a quote, joke, or inspirational message for the members at CrossFit.

Here are a few:

Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you, not the worst.

Fear will always try to convince you to stay where you are. The quickest path to a mediocre life is to give in to your fear of failure.

You know you are in the presence of a fool when you see arrogance.