1. What was your life like prior to your CrossFit training and why did you want to start working with a coach?

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 5.24.50 PMPrior to CrossFit my fitness level fluctuated. I danced for most of my life and thought that meant I was fit. I tried running (ran a half marathon and a marathon), and tried typical exercise classes (taught step aerobics), but I never saw the results I wanted. I had heard a lot about CrossFit and always knew it would be something I would love, but honestly I was always too scared to try it. When I moved back to Colorado, I figured I’d try. I got hooked immediately – as I’m sure most people can relate to.

2. What have been your greatest challenges (physically, mentally, emotionally) since you began your CrossFit Training?

My greatest challenges have been (and still are) pushing past my mental blocks/letting go of any excuses and learning to value my successes. My mind gets the best of me and I can easily come up with a million excuses for why I can’t lift a certain weight or do a certain movement (mobility, long arms, long femurs, weighing too much, etc.) I have had to learn to get out of my head in order to discover my capabilities.

I am also impatient with myself, and when I think about how long I’ve been working on movements and still can’t do them (strict pull-ups) it really pisses me off. It feels unfair to see people walk into the gym day 1 and be able to do the movements I’ve been working so hard for. I have to remember that I’ve come a far way from where I started, and everyone has a different starting point and a different journey. Each are equally valid and equally meaningful.

I’m not going to lie – these are still struggles for me, but each time I PR or accomplish a new gymnastics movement I am thrilled. The harder I work and the more I shut my mind up and just DO IT (what up Nike) I am able to celebrate my successes more and more, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem.

3. What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY?

My more blatant successes include making it to the finals in the Festivus Games in the intermediate division, and completing multiple Spartan races. I never trained, just knew that I was capable because of CrossFit.

But besides those, my most important success has been the confidence I’ve developed. I’ve struggled with body image issues since I can remember. I never found a form of exercise that made me feel as strong and comfortable in my own skin as CrossFit. It’s exciting to see what I can do now compared to when I started and knowing that those successes are only going to continue. I feel truly proud of what my body can do, and while I feel I still have a far way to go to have the body I want, I know I will get there. I never used to believe I could lose the weight and attain that strong body that a lot of CrossFitters have, but now I do. I’m proud of how much my body can lift, and when I got my first rope climb, HSPU, and kipping pull-up I realized how much I am capable of, and how I should never let body weight be an excuse.

I attribute this confidence to my determination to improve. I continue to work hard for the goals I set for myself. I come in early and stay late in order to gain strength in my areas of weakness. I’m constantly trying to learn and understand the correct technique, and look for what I can do to help with my mobility and strength limitations.

4. How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?

My life has dramatically improved since starting CrossFit. The confidence I’ve gained has transferred into all other areas of my life – relationships, work, school, and just day-to-day life. Nothing feels oScreen Shot 2015-07-30 at 5.15.53 PMut of reach, just requiring passion and dedication. I rarely question if I can do something, instead I think about how I’m going to do it.

Additionally, I started the paleo lifestyle. I’ve realized how much eating this way positively influences my success in the box. I see more gains when I’m eating clean, along with increased energy and increased determination. It’s still a journey for me and it’s not perfect, but I’m happy to say I’ve let go of calorie counting and obsessing about the number on the scale and instead I focus on how I feel in my body, and my performance in the gym.

5. What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?

The quick progress. Toes to bar, pull-ups, and HSPU are perfect examples. I remember once I really focused on getting those movements, it took a couple weeks to be able to do them. As with everything in CrossFit, there’s still so much room for growth within these movements for me, but that’s another advantage to this way of training. There are NO ceilings – sometimes this can be frustrating, but more than anything it’s exciting to know and believe that there’s more to be done and if you work hard enough you will get there.

6. What advice can you give to others?

If CrossFit is more than just a workout to you then work hard. I remember in early January, Ian went around and asked everyone their New Year’s resolution. I told him mine is to do a strict pull-up. He asked the most important question – How are you going to get there? I said “by coming here everyday” and he told me that it would take more than that to attain this goal. Spend the time working on what you care about. When it happens it will feel incredible to know you worked your ass off to get there.

Along with that, listen to your body. Rest. Eat well. Stop when something hurts. Focus on the movements you care about. But not all of them at once. Don’t over-analyze. Your body is not the person’s next to you. And remember that we’re all BADASSES.