Matthew and Christleen Knaub | Members of the Month | CrossFit Thoroughbreds | Fort Myers | April 2017

April Member of the Month: Matthew and Christleen Knaub

Member of the Month Badge | CrossFit Thoroughbreds | Fort Myers


Matthew and Christleen Knaub


M: New Haven, CT
C: Cape Coral, FL


M: 31
C: 30

Hobbies or interests outside of Cross Fit? 

M: SPORTS. I’m an avid sportsman. When I’m not sportin’ on court I go from shootin’ home runs to shootin’ pictures. Photography has always been one of my passions and I wish I had more time lately to do it. I also love hiking, Florida isn’t known for it’s hills but if they had some I’d climb them.

C: Lip syncing, rap battling, and training to be on Wheel of Fortune one day.

How long have you been at CFTB?

M: 4 years
C: 1 year

Favorite WOD or movements? 

M: Running and sledgehammer swings
C: Not running. I enjoy back squats and deadlifts because I always get excited when I am able to lift more than I ever thought I could.

Tell us about your fitness journey?

M: As a child I had very bad asthma, I was in and out of the hospital and on countless medications. Having exercise be one of the biggest triggers for my asthma paired with the side effects of almost all my medications being weight gain I was at a disadvantage. My entire childhood I was overweight, by the time I was 18 I was nearly 240lbs. I made a decision to change everything. Starting with my diet, and Incorporating biking I managed to drop down 80lbs in a little over year. Biking turned into jogging, jogging lead me to cross training, and that lead me to CrossFit. CrossFit has a mixture of everything: weights, biking, running, it’s a one stop shop for exercise.

C: It wasn’t until our third date that Matt even mentioned he did CrossFit. I thought it was a rule that people who did CrossFit told everyone within 30 seconds of meeting. Matt never pushed it on me, he always welcomed me to join him, but I would always blame work as my reason for not having time to go. Finally after my event season was over, I decided to give it a whirl. My first day included running and deadlifts, I remember thinking “Omg, there’s no way I can run that far and there’s no way I can lift that.” Spoiler alert: I ran and I lifted. I remember feeling so empowered that I was able to defy my own expectations that I knew I had to come back and see what day 2 had in store for me.

How has your fitness changed since joining CFTB?

M: My goal was always to maintain a baseline of fitness, fitness adjacent if you will. When I first started I was 155lbs and only did cardio. CrossFit doesn’t reward those who specialize and that became obvious, most of workouts I had to do less than the scaled weight. So I made a decision to try and find a balance between strength and cardio, I’m still finding it today, but I’m super happy with how far I’ve come.

C: When I first started CFTB, I would dread coming certain days because I knew I would struggle, now I welcome those days as growth opportunities. I remember the very last workout before our wedding was a deadlift test day, I knew there was no way I could do more than my previous PR, but there was Matt, Brian, and Mitch telling me to try a little more, and then a little more. Next thing I know, I’m deadlifting what Matt weighs. I felt so strong and unstoppable. Old me would have never pushed myself, new me is always looking for areas to grow. I would not be this person without CFTB.

Favorite memory at CFTB?

M: I’ve had so many fantastic memories at thoroughbreds. I’ve seen it grow and change so much in the 4 years I’ve been there. My favorite memory is easy though, it’s the first time I convinced my now wife to come with me. The only thing that could make something that’s been such a big part of my life for years better was sharing it with her. I love getting to help her and watch her grow and struggle with the same things that I did (and everyone does for that matter). It’s turned something I love into something we love, and that’s by far my favorite memory.

C: BRB, crying from how adorable Matt is. In my year at CFTB I’ve had many great memories. My favorite memories are any time there’s a partner workout and Matt and I are able to do the workout together. I think both of us are afraid of letting the other down so we push ourselves to do our best. I always leave those workouts feeling so accomplished and proud that I was able to do a partner workout with my favorite person. Honorable mention for favorite memory is anytime a Jay Z song comes on mid-workout because Matt loves singing along #shaboy.

Any advice for new members or people thinking about trying Cross Fit?

M: I think CrossFit has inherent stigma that it’s hardcore and extreme and for the “elite athlete” and that can be very intimidating to newcomers. A lot of people do take CrossFit very seriously and that’s great, I however am one of the least serious people you’ll ever meet. Throughout my time at thoroughbreds I’ve gotten better at things, then worse, then better again…but the one thing that’s been consistent is how much fun I have doing it. I love going to CrossFit Thoroughbreds and that’s been my one constant. My advice would be to remember to have fun, you don’t need to be an elite athlete, be competitive, or have a reason period to enjoy CrossFit.

C: Before joining CrossFit Thoroughbreds I thought CrossFit was absolutely terrifying. I assumed it was all one big competition and there was no way I could ever measure up. After joining, I quickly learned that CFTB isn’t about competing with others, it’s about pushing your own limits and becoming stronger each day. I am so thankful for Matt and everyone at CFTB for welcoming me and pushing me to be my best self. There are days (heck, there are times mid-workout) where I want to quit and give up, but everyone at CFTB is so encouraging that I feel as if there’s nothing I can’t achieve. If you are new to CrossFit and think it’s terrifying, I get it, I’ve so been there, but I promise after one day at CFTB you will fall in love with the incredible support system and be surprised that you are able to do more much more than you ever thought you could.