What’s your athletic/fitness background?
Well, for most of you that know me, I am a very high energy person. I am always doing something whether it is physical or mental. So, I have been pretty active in sports, extracurricular activities, you name it, for most of my life. I started my sports career at the tender age of five and got really into soccer and swimming. Found that I was pretty good at them and loved the competition. The desire to compete continued through high school. Took up basketball and ended my high school career as an all state soccer player and an all conference basketball player.
When I got to college, I decided that I was burnt out with sports and wanted to focus on the other aspects of life – which turned out to be an aggressive social life. I dropped the sports, and took of the (NOT RECOMMENDED) activities of drinking lots of beer and smoking cigarettes. Needless to say, although fun, college was not my shining moments when it came to my fitness journey.
When I graduated college and a few years after (I, of course will not tell you what year that was and reveal my age), I continued on the course of putting fitness second and found life less than exciting. This is probably because I was in the worst physical shape of my life and bored. I needed an outlet. So, I decided to make some changes; drink alcohol like a normal person, stop smoking cancer sticks, and start playing soccer again. Well, again, if you know me, I always put my 100% effort into everything that I do. So, I started by playing on just one team and in no time, I found myself playing on 5 different soccer teams and having a social schedule that involved one to two soccer games A DAY. Hey – at least I was no longer spending that time drinking beer
Flash forward to January 2011. A friend of mine had been inviting me to some circuit training (let’s call it – sort of Crossfit) and I was really enjoying it. The program that I was doing with her and a couple of her teammates was coming to an end so we were looking for a new fitness routine. This friend lived in Chinatown and suggested that we drop into District Crossfit and see what it was about. That day, January 16, 2011, is when my glorious Crossfit journey began.
What was your first CrossFit workout and what did you think of it?
My first workout was with Andrew during my Introduction. It is called the Baseline workout – some of you may have done it before. The workout is something like row 500m, 40 sit ups, 30 air squats, 20 pushups and 10 pullups. I had done most of these movements before (scaled obviously) so I figured, what the hell, let’s do it. Since I had a background in soccer, I was all about the cardio but I had ZERO upper body strength. I cruised through the row, sit ups and air squats, struggled through the push ups (I am sure my form was horrendous) and then died on my banded pull ups. But, it happened – I did not cry, I didn’t throw up and I wasn’t bleeding. All I knew was that next time I did that, whether it was the next day or 3 months from then, I needed a stronger band for my pull ups.
What’s been the biggest change for you since starting CrossFit?
What hasn’t changed is probably a more accurate question but I can give you a few examples of what HAS changed.
1. Sleep. So, before doing Crossfit, sleeping 5 hours a night was good for me. 8 hours was unheard of. I now understand the importance of balancing work with rest. There is nothing better for your body and mind recovery than to get a good nights sleep.
2. Food. God, I really love food. I mean, ALOT. Sit me down at an all you can eat meat buffet and plan to be there for a while. Anyways, I am half Italian so I was brought up surviving on pasta, raviolis and bread. When I started at DCF, I did some tweaks to my diet and tried strict Paleo for 30 days. Though that process, I realized that I am MUCH better off not eating gluten based products on the regular. Don’t get me wrong – beer has gluten so I don’t abstain – I just try to keep it at a minimum I think my approach to what I eat has changed. I eat out alot less and cook a lot more at home. It is easier (and in most cases cheaper) to make food at home. You also have the added benefit of knowing exactly what you are putting in your body – not label reading required.
3. Friends. I have made some amazing friends at the gym. I am one of those people that likes to work hard and play hard. I am also a closet dork that REALLY REALLY enjoys doing puzzles, doing sudokus, reading for hours. Some call this personality Type A or neurotic – I call it charming.
Anyways, throughout my entire childhood and adult life, it was always really hard to find friends that appreciated all sides of me. I really think Crossfit appeals to a certain type of person. And that type of person includes people just like me. Since starting at DCF I have found alot more comfort and satisfaction in the relationships that I have fostered here. Don’t get me wrong, I still have friends that are not at DCF, and they are a very important part of my life, but I have really made some great friends here!
4. Self confidence. This has changed in so many ways but I will just focus on my view of myself and how Crossfit has changed that. In general, with everything I do, I always assume that others have low expectations of my abilities. I guess this is setting the bar low but as a result, I always put 100% effort into everything I do to make sure I do well – in everything – all of the time. Enter my Crossfit journey and how I ended up where I am today:
When I started doing Crossfit at DCF, I just came into the gym, didn’t talk to anyone, worked out and left. Naturally, since I could not do 50 kipping pullups and didn’t have a 300 lb squat, I assumed everyone at the gym was not impressed and did not take notice. As I kept coming to classes, I felt like I was getting better. I looked at my log and said, HEY, things are happening. But, I still had a long way to go. Nonetheless, I keep on trucking. About 9 months into my time at DCF, Andrew and Noah approached me about doing a competition. I thought to myself, they must be smoking something or really desperate because I am not very good. Long story short, I ended up doing the competition and our team came in second. NOT TOO SHABBY. That is when I realized, hey, people actually notice that you try and see some potential. I thank Andrew and Noah IMMENSELY for seeing potential in me and giving me that chance. I think that was a major turning point for me in my Crossfit career and gave me the self confidence and support to push hard and get better.
5. Work. Yes, I have another job. When I am not at DCF, I am an Environmental Engineer for the EPA. At my job, I juggle alot of different responsibilities, job duties, deadlines, etc. I have to work with alot of people. To put it lightly, at times it can be frustrating and high stress. I credit crossfit (both doing it and coaching) to providing me a great life balance which I believe, makes me much more focused and less crazed at work.
What’s been your favorite DCF moment up to now?
It was August 10, 2011 (my birthday). Obviously on my birthday I am going to go to DCF and get a WOD in. Who wouldn’t? Anyways, the WOD was something with deadlifts and 200m runs. Obviously – two movements I love so happy birthday to me indeed! For those of you that might have heard of Jenn Jones, she was coaching at DCF at that time. She had done the WOD earlier in the day and her time was on the board. Just to bring everyone up to speed, Jenn Jones is REALLY REALLY good at Crossfit. So, the likelihood of most normal humans beating her time on a WOD is slim. I saw her time, did the time per round math in my head, and told myself, although slim, that time was doable. So, I put my mind to it, got nervous to the point of almost throwing up before the workout, did it AND beat her score.
To this day, I think that is the only time I have ever beat Jenn in anything and probably the only time it will ever happen but hey, a girl can dream!
Least favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?
Ehhhhhh. Tough one. Depending on the day, it can be anything But, I would say, my most hated movements are anything that requires me pushing overhead. I have long, condor arms so the distance that must be travelled is longer than most. Thrusters suck. Handstand pushups are not my favorite.
I have a love/hate relationship with muscle ups. I am a very cerebral person and for some reason, muscle ups are a huge struggle for me mentally. If I am on, I am GOLDEN. If I get in my head, it is a problem.
Favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?
I don’t really have a favorite. If I do well on a workout, the movements in that workout are my favorite movements for that day!
I actually like alot of different types of WODs. I like cardio so give me anything with a long time and I will do well. I also am not a small, little girl so I am a big fan of heavy WODs with alot of reps.
When did you know you were hooked?
When I upped my membership from 2 times per week to unlimited!
Any advice for people starting out?
1. Rest is just as important as PRs.
2. Good athletes are real people too – they have struggles just like everyone else. Don’t be afraid of them. They are a wealth of knowledge.
3. No question is a dumb one. ASK ASK ASK.
4. Be patient. Most people that come into Crossfit are not going to be good at it immediately. When I started, my hip mobility was soooo bad that I could not squat below parallel. With some persistent focus on form and mobility, I can now safely say that my hip crease can get below my knee with GOOD BODY POSITION.
5. A stable midline is key – it will be critical to making process and preventing injury.
Describe your favorite part about DCF?
ALL OF IT. The people, the facility, the coaches, the members, the Box Mom, the Grill Master, etc, etc, etc.
From a coaching perspective, I think DCF members are the best. You guys continue to bring a great vibe in the gym. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed by the coaching staff. Thank you for making our coaching jobs so rewarding and so much fun!