They make quite a pair.  And we’re not just talking about a cool pair of shoes, a coordinating pair of socks, or a colorful pair of eyeglasses, although there are plenty of those to go around in the Snyder household.  We’re talking about Mandi and Jeff Snyder, one of RTC’s favorite couples who bring laughter and fun to every workout, and who are being honored as the October Members of the Month.

Mandi and Jeff came to RTC after seeing fellow member Sam L.’s amazing progress.  Mandi reports that she and Jeff had “a lot of discussions” about joining, but after “finally taking the plunge,” a little over a year ago, they haven’t looked back.  And why would they?  Both have seen amazing results and have transformed both physically and mentally.  They credit their success to not only their own hard work, but also the RTC coaching staff and community. 

Both Mandi and Jeff have very different fitness backgrounds, yet they came to RTC with very similar fitness goals.  “Jeff was extremely fit through his 20s,” says Mandi.  “When he was in the Navy, he even ranked #1 for his fitness level in his area of the United States. He has always been a big, strong guy, but as we’ve gotten older and had more kids, we have struggled finding a routine we can stick with. I have never really been into fitness. I dabbled in sports and was an active kid, but became a mom at the age of 19 and then continued having babies for the next 10 years. We have done various programs such as Body for Life, My Personal Trainer, YMCA, Planet Fitness, etc., but I always felt lost and very intimidated in regular gym settings.”  

RTC has changed all of that for the Snyders in a variety of positive ways. “RTC has helped us because we don’t have to think about it. We just show up for one hour a day and trust the coaches to help us make our way through whatever is programmed,” says Mandi.  And both Jeff and Mandi say they immediately loved “the efficiency” of CrossFit.   “We don’t have hours to spend in the gym when we both work full time and are raising a large family,” says Mandi.  “I love getting in and out in an hour but being super challenged in that hour. I also like that we keep track of our progress so we can see how we are improving. We are both pretty competitive and goal-oriented, so it is really motivating to see how a workout improved over time or to see how we are getting stronger on lifts.”

The Snyders have also been lifted up by the RTC community, whose support and encouragement have been “a huge part” of their fitness journey.  Mandi reports that,”when we aren’t in class, I’ll get text messages or DM’s checking in from fellow members to see if I’m okay. When we are in class it is so amazing to be surrounded by supportive people who are cheering you on and truly want to see you succeed and go after big goals. We love pretty much everything about RTC!  The coaching, support, encouragement, friendly and kind environment…ALL OF IT!  Jeff and I have both lost about 50 lbs., which is such an amazing start. We’re so excited to see where the next year takes us!”

In addition to their amazing physical transformations, both Jeff and Mandi report improvements in their mental health, as well.  Jeff says that his confidence has improved, and that “knowing you can complete a hard workout helps you face other challenges with confidence.”  He also notes that the support and encouragement of his gym friends “makes it harder to be down on yourself for too long.”  Mandi suffered from panic attacks and was on 2 anxiety medications when she started at RTC.  The panic attacks have stopped and she no longer has a need for the meds.  “They say the body keeps score of our trauma and movement helps release those trauma stores from our bodies,” she says.  “I believe that has been true for me.  It’s helped me to deal with heavy stuff, such as the grief of losing my mom.  Jeff and I have both started seeing counselors.  It’s like these physical changes put you in a better place to deal with other areas of your life, including your mental health.”

Jeff and Mandi graduated from West Branch High School in Beloit, OH.  Jeff then joined the Navy and worked as an Aerographer’s Mate, trained in Meteorology and Oceanography.  (Mandi says that “If you ever want to know about clouds or weather patterns, Jeff is your guy!”)  It was after Jeff got out of the Navy that he met Mandi when they were both working at the Pick ‘N Save in Alliance.  “Jeff was too afraid to ask me out, so I noticed his phone number on a Girl Scout cookie list in the breakroom,” says Mandi.  “I wrote the number down and called him and we’ve been together ever since!” They were engaged 2 months after their first date, got married less than a year later, and will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary next March.  Jeff currently works for Eleet Cryogenics in Bolivar as a Cryogenic Tank Technician, while Mandi works as a Systems & Applications Manager at RJ Matthews Company, an animal health product distributor with retail stores called PBS Animal Health.  They have 5 sons: Devin (23), Joshua (22), Kaeleb (17), Toby (15), and Zachariah (13), all still living at home.  Their rescue dog Chewie makes the family complete.

You might wonder how this busy couple (Mandi refers to herself as the “Chaos Coordinator) finds any time for hobbies outside of work, the gym, and raising their houseful of boys, but they enjoy many activities as a family, including watching movies together, as they’re big Marvel, Star Wars, and Harry Potter fans.  They recently took their first family vacation to Disney World, and Mandi and Jeff hope to travel more, specifically to Ireland and Scotland, now that the boys are older.  Jeff loves smoking meats on his Traeger grill, all things sports, and collecting shoes, while Mandi is an avid knitter who loves fair trade jewelry and collecting her many novelty tees.  She’s also in the midst of a major kitchen remodel, a space that is important to her and a project that she calls “a labor of love.”

And while Jeff and Mandi say they are sometimes just in survival mode, “managing the chaos of a large family,” both are focused on their wellness journey, and their goal to “continue improving their overall fitness.”  This fantastic pair adds so much color and flair and positivity to the RTC family.  It’s impossible to work out beside them and not share a laugh or two and be inspired by their commitment to their health.  Congratulations to Mandi and Jeff Snyder, RTC’s very deserving Members of the Month!!

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