How long have you been doing CrossFit and where did you start?
In November of 2022, I will be celebrating my 2 year anniversary with
Alvin CrossFit. Prior to beginning CrossFit the only athletic background I had was
competitive swimming. I started doing that when I was about 5 years of age and
continued throughout my four years of high school. However, in my adult life,
I had no exercise regimen, nor had I stepped foot in a gym . . .
Barring the occasional Yoga class.
Is CrossFit different from what you thought it was before you came in? How so?
Oh my, it's so different from what I thought it would be. I’ve always thought of CrossFit athletes as the elite of the elite, like you have to be in amazing shape to even do half of the movements and exercises that we do. Never did I think a normal person, let alone ME, could walk into a box (CrossFit gym) and learn the sport, and THRIVE. I always assumed it was a competitive cut-throat sport...and while it is competitive, it’s you versus you, everyday, fighting that battle to get to the ultimate goal. And that’s a healthy life. In any arena of my life have I had the love and genuine support of other people. I have met some of the best and my most favorite people at the gym and I can’t imagine my life without
them now. I am forever so grateful for the lessons they have taught me both in and out of the gym.
How does CrossFit compare to any other fitness training you’ve done?
OH! I can’t lie here, CrossFit is by far some of the hardest and most challenging training that I have done. It is a sport that requires everything from you. Dedication and understanding to the massive role that nutrition plays in your progress in the gym. Why it is so vitally important to make small,
consistent and healthy habit changes that are easily maintained so that you can have longevity. The patience you need to be able to learn a movement and be committed to the hard work it takes to master that particular skill. And more importantly the humility the sport requires when you don’t know something and being able to ask for help.
They are all such beautiful lessons that are applicable to gym life, but even more so to actual life. That is actually one of my favorite things about the sport, every lesson I have learned in the gym . . . In one way or another, its applicable to my daily life.
Why did you start?
I’ll never forget it. Full disclosure. This is a bit of personal information, but I don’t mind sharing because its all apart of my story.
In July of 2019, right after I had my daughter, I remember my firstvisit to my plastic surgeon’s office. You see, growing up, I had always been very uncomfortable and embarrassed of my physique. I was a larger chested girl, always had been, and let’s be honest, after having two children so close together (10 months), it sparked all of my insecurities and the way it made me feel as a woman is something of a tragedy. After years of being unhappy, I finally scheduled a consultation with my plastic surgeon for a consultation about breast reductions; it was time. Very long journey and story short, I had my reduction in December of 2019. Just the confidence I gained from that procedure alone was insane. But I’ll never forget something my surgeon mentioned that scared the loving Jesus out of me. She told me, “now, since we didn’t insert any artificial implants, you have to be careful of any unwanted weight gain, because that could potentially cause them to get bigger.” I remember thinking, “oh heck no! I didn’t just undergo major surgery and pay this lady an arm and a leg to just gain all my breasts back!” I’ll never unsee that scale at my pre-operative appointment either, that number is always going to flash in my head. I won’t say exactly what it was, but FOR ME, it was enough to make me feel ashamed, and uncomfortable...and so sad. I just remember thinking, I am too young for this, I am too young to feel undesirable, to feel so frumpy... and more importantly, I have children now. Is this the example I want to set for them? Do I want them to have a momma that is sad, that isn’t confident, that doesn’t give her best effort? Is that what I want for them to see? At the time, I didn’t know what I was going to do...but I knew I needed to do something.
Why do you keep coming back?
Love for myself, love for my kids and my happiness and sanity. A phrase that I always find myself saying is, “I don’t know why anyone does drugs!” The feeling that you get after a hard workout, or when you conquer a skill that you’ve been working on for a while, it is second to none. You feel
incredible, you feel so beautiful and so strong. As a momma, how can I pour into my kids if I am not doing something that fills my cup up? There’s a certain feeling I get when I’m at the box, its a genuine feeling of happiness, of calm and peace. Mainly because I know that I am doing something
good and healthy for my body, for my kiddos. Always stay chasin that feeling and that hunger to want to do better and be better.
And there is also something to be spoken of the people that I have met in the gym. Kind, loyal and fierce are words that won’t even begin to cover how I feel for these people. Especially in today’s cruel world, where almost everyone you meet wants to see you fail and fall on your face. Just a bunch of gorgeous souls who want to see everyone else succeed as badly as they want it for themselves.
What are your biggest accomplishment(s) or what are you most proud of? Go ahead, brag a little!
In November of 2020, I decided to begin this journey. I didn’t know exactly what needed to change, but I knew something had to. At that time, a 26 year old woman, mother of two should not be feeling the way I had been feeling. I was embarrassed of how I looked, I found myself always seeking validation from other people or other things and I knew that I didn’t have my own place in the world; only viewed myself as the roles I played in other people’s life . . .a wife, a daughter, a friend, a mother etc, instead of an individual woman.
I met Coach Austin during my beginner's class and he has been my day one. He has been with me since 22.5 pounds ago, when I was 170 pounds, when I was sad, when I didn’t have any self confidence, when I felt like I didn’t have any worth until now. 22 pounds down, more confident, happier and thriving doing things I never saw myself capable of doing. 24 inches doesn’t sound like a lot, but put it into perspective of a wooden box that you now have to jump on and try not to fall; to say I was scared to try was a huge understatement. But Austin was there, literally holding my hand through it, as many times as it took to get it right, he stood by me until I could do it on my own. And that’s what I needed.
Let’s talk about the CrossFit Open, because that is something that still seems like a beast of an obstacle. Every late February-early March, CrossFit athletes from around the world come together to compete in something that is called The CrossFit Open. Over the course of three weeks there is 3 different workouts that are prescribed. And they’re tough, they’re challenging, and they are designed to be a showcase for all of the hard work you’ve been putting in. Needless to say when CrossFit Open 2021 came around; I regret to say that I didn’t participate. I was way to scared. That’s something that I’ve learned about myself since being in the gym, I am a person that is driven by fear. So, I knew it was scary, it was going to hurt, it
would require sacrifice and talent . . .and I didn’t think I could do it. I talked myself out of it.
Fast forward to either November or December of 2021 to our cold weather Murph. Murph is a work designed as follows: 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats followed by another mile run. It’s hellacious, it’s gruesome and it truly is for heroes. Coming up on this workout, I was feeling a little more confident, I was holding onto the regret of not trying the Open the year before and I felt like I at least wanted to try. The
main goal: just do it, get a starting point; that’s been the key in anything in my gym life...just do it...try. Now with the Open of 2021 and the cold weather Murph behind me, here we come up on facing my next goal . . . Saturday Hero WOD’s (Workout of the Day).
One of Coach Shannon’s most memorable quotes, at least in my brain is, “during the week, we workout for ourselves, but Saturday’s are for our hero’s. We workout to honor our fallen hero’s.” Each Saturday, the workout is dedicated to honoring a fallen veteran. WHILE THESE WORKOUTS ARE FOR VETERANS...THEY ARE ALSO DESIGNED TO TEST YOU IN ALMOST EVERY WAY. I put it in all uppercase letters to emphasize
how grueling they can be. It’s a harder workout, it’s generally pretty hot and humid and its a war zone. Needless to say, they were yet another thing I was scared to come out and try, plus . . .who wants to get up early on a Saturday and workout? But here we go. Once I went to one and saw and did and experienced, I WAS HOOKED. Not only is it a challenge (in the best way) there’s only one class time, so it provides the opportunity to meet people that normally attend other class times than yourself. That sense of community is only of the main reasons that I have kept going this long. I don’t know what I would do without my gym family.
My two most recent accomplishments in the gym are something that I will forever be so proud of. Remember the Open that I referred to above? Open 2022, not only did I compete in my first open (which I was proud of already), but I ended each week (three weeks) on the leaderboard for my scaled division. The leaderboard? Me? The girl that was scared to jump on a box? Ok, let’s all laugh together...but I did it! I just did it.
Murph looked a little different this year too. I had one goal, and I can’t lie, I didn’t have much confidence that I would even come close to accomplishing it. My goal for this year’s Murph was simple: just finish it under an hour. Under an hour. That’s all I wanted. Proud to say, when I came back into the box from running that last mile, I looked at the time clock and it said 59:25. By the hair on my chinny chin chin, I
made it! I accomplished that goal!
I have a tendency to keep surprising myself, the goals, the skills, the things I never thought I would be able to do. If I try, 9 times out of 10 I can actually do it. That feeling of pushing and grinding it out to get what you want, not only is it one of the most rewarding feelings when you accomplish your goal, but there’s valuable lesson to learn from it. We have to work so hard, everyday for the things we want. We can’t
cheat, there aren’t any shortcuts, you just have to work through it. Grow through what you go go through. What’s to come? I don’t know. There’s a saying that keeps playing in my head when I think about my future as an athlete. “The man who loves walking will be happier than the man walking toward a destination.”
When you love the journey, when you fall in love with the process, the accomplishments, the goals, the success . . . Those are all just going to happen. It’s a life style, not a race. Shannon always says, “this place will change your life, if you let it.” I let it. And my life, my children’s life, they’re all changed for the better.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
BARBELL SNATCHES!!!!! There is just something about that movement that makes me feel incredible. Incredibly strong, incredibly beautiful and extremely happy. Crazy how 1 thing can make you feel that way.
What is your favorite healthy meal?
Protein Iced Coffee!!!!!! I am PRIMARILY a 5 am’er (class time). I thrive in the early hours of the morning. So after class, I used to be in the habit of going to Starbucks EVERY MORNING, AFTER EVERY CLASS. To summarize, I am not rich and that’s a lot of calories! So I started making my own coffee at home . . .to take it up a notch, let’s add some protein.
Protein Iced Coffee:
Start by putting two scoops of protein powder, which ever you prefer and some milk into a blender. I use Almond Milk and the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides protein powder. (This protein powder is perfect for girlie girls) as it benefits hair, skin nails etc. Blend it on up! .While that blends, get yourself a cute cup, put some ice in it, pour some cold-brew coffee in. I use some by the brand STOK.
Mix in some flavoring of choice into your cold brew. I use Torani’s Sugar Free French Vanilla syrup. .Then I pour my protein/milk mixture on top.
The best part of this recipe, the homemade vanilla sweet cream.
- 1 tablespoon of sugar free vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon of 2% milk.
- Use a hand-held frother to froth that mixture and pour it on top.
- Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and there ya go!!!
What do you enjoy doing away from the box or tell us something else about yourself?
I am your typical girlie girl. I enjoy shopping, coffee drinking, and traveling. I like to plan, anything nursing related, and all the things PINK! Give me all the yummy food too please.
Any advice for new members?
Walking into the box, let alone any new situation is traumatic and stressful enough . . .but then you add all those negative emotions on top, and I just knew I was going to be fighting an uphill battle. Battle, constant battle is how I would describe this journey. There are very few other places in life where I felt that vulnerable, and to this day, I couldn’t tell you how I was brave enough to even request an intro session . . .But I did it. And that is truly the key here, just showing up . . .being consistent. I just did it.
Another key to success to take away from this, find those people . . .and it can be your coach, your best friend, a significant other . . .someone who doesn’t leave you, who pushes you and who is there to catch you when you fall. They are such a huge piece. If I need help understanding a movement, if there is something that I’m curious about, any questions, anything that needs to be talked out . . .Austin has always always been just a text away. I’ll never be able to tell him or express how much that all means to me.