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Q. What was your life like prior to your CrossFit training and why did you want to start working with a coach?
Rob: So I started doing CrossFit after Justene had tried it out. I had just done a lacrosse tournament with a group of 18 yr old college kids and got destroyed. For her birthday I bought her some classScreen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.22.54 PMes and she told me to go with her. Prior to that, I was a collegiate athlete in lacrosse. There was a 6 yr. period after college where if I felt ambitious I would go to a gym, but wasn’t too interested and thought my metabolism would do the work necessary.
Justene: Before CFJ I had been part of many athletic teams. I was a 3 sport division III athlete in college. Playing field hockey in the fall as a defender, ice hockey in the winter as a goalie, and lacrosse in the spring as an attack player. I always valued being on a team and worked best when pushed by others to improve. I had heard of CrossFit but it never occurred to me to try this type of training. When I was out of collegScreen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.18.51 PM
and on to the real world, finding time to workout became the last priority on the list.  After having my second daughter a friend came to visit from college and introduced me to 
CrossFit Julia. I’ll never forget the moment walking into the CFJ box and feeling way out of my league. My friend was an experienced CrossFit athlete at the time and encouraged me to do the whole WOD. After that first trial it took me 12 more months to return to CFJ.  It was the summer of 2012 that I read a poster in Platte Middle School that struck me “if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live.” It hit me that I was bored and needed some change and challenge in my life. I started at CrossFit Julia in August of 2013. Working with a coach was appealing to me because it gave me a sense of how to improve and what strengths I already had. The group dynamic was encouraging and it became addicting and hard to not come back.Q. What have been your greatest challenges  since you began your CrossFit Training?

          Justene: By far my greatest challenge physically has been my own ability to want to give in and give up. I never thought I would get better no matter how many times I was in the box. This all changed when I started seeing results. These results felt great and I wanted to come back for more. Mentally, during a WOD, having the community atmosphere has pulled me through many brutal workouts. These are the times I am most grateful that mentally when I could give in the coaches and athletes help pull me through. Emotionally, I have been challenged inside and outside of the box. From graduate school to being a working mother of two active girls life can get twisted and crazy emotionally.  During the WOD I feel I am able to leave all the emotions behind and focus on the task at hand.

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            Rob: I hate not meeting my own expectations. I am competitive and I want to be able to work at the same levels as the top athletes in any sport. I can get frustrated when I don’t meet these expectations. However, with a great WOD buddy and a supportive atmosphere like CFJ’s, I’m able to get back to work and find the results. CrossFit in general has highlighted that a bad day will happen, but how you respond to it is what makes the rewards even greater.
Q. What have been your greatest successes since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY? 

           Rob: Mobility is the biggest success. When I started, squatting was awful, I couldn’t stay on my heels, my torso collapsed forward, and I usually had to wait for my hip to pop for it to be a good day at CrossFit. Now, though still working on mobility, I love overhead squatting, squat cleaning or just about anything legs. I also have returned to the lacrosse tournament twice since starting CrossFit, and I seem to be hanging with these young, fresh out of college lacrosse players better than when I played in college. CrossFit is constantly diversifying ways to hurt you, so when running a full field in a sprint then having to play defense for 45 seconds prior to rest, it’s hard for me to give up and whine or not go 100%.
             Justene: Physically I feel stronger and in better shape. I think CrossFit encouraged me to run my first 10K, which was something I never thought would have been possible. I’ve been able to push myself physicaScreen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.20.42 PMlly through barriers such as a damaged kidney. Mentally CrossFit has brought me closer to being able to work through things. Quitting challenges prior to coming close to them was one of my worst habits, and in CrossFit you can’t do that, the community won’t allow it. Through this I have developed a confidence to accomplish things and see them through till the end, no matter the result. Emotionally, working in environments where emotions can be drained, CrossFit has given me endurance to handle the emotional drain that can happen with working in high intensity jobs. It has been a great outlet for me.

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

          Justene: Since starting CrossFit I have had something positive to look forward to everyday. Even on the days when I know the WOD will be painful, I look forward to working hard and seeing the members of the CFJ community. CrossFit has made me strive for more positive life changes, such as finishing graduate school and getting my master’s in Early Childhood Education. It has also taught me to be grateful for what I have. Everyday when my lungs burn and my legs can’t move anymore, it is hard to not be thankful for a good ass kicking.
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             Rob: Well, I’m stronger now and I have a new outlook on how hard I can push myself. It has helped to strengthened my faith and my marriage, especially when I can look over and see my wife sweating and working so hard it makes me want to do better. I feel stronger in my morals as well. CrossFit develops a confidence in you, you walk taller without having to speak any louder. That translates into all aspects of life. 

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

           Rob: In college we had our system. It was a very skill specific routine that repeated itself frequently. It was easy to hit ceilings and plateaus and get bored. CrossFit varies so much. I love that I only repeat a certain amount of workouts every so often. Yes, it’s great to see growth, but to mix things up so often really creates confusion and that’s why I love CrossFit.

         Justene: I love the diversity of workouts. So far CrossFit has kept me reaching any plateaus and excited to come to the next WOD. I have never had a day the same as the one before in the CFJ programing and I think this is what keeps me coming back! Even practices in college could become repetitive, there was never a group of workouts like CrossFit has provided.
Q.What advice can you give to others?
          Justene:I find having a partner or friend is the key motivation to holding yourself and your partner accountable. It makes going to the gym more fun, and there is someone holding you accountable when you want a day off. When in the box: work hard, set goals, and smash them. Don’t hold back because there is nothing in the end to save it for. And lastly in the words of my favorite all time coach and Winnie the Pooh ” Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and better is best!”
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           Rob: Don’t be shy. Most people that talk to me about it talk about injuries and how freakishly large the athletes on tv are. I like to reply with talking about the person who got injured playing pickleball. There is always risk, but the gains associated with CrossFit are amazing. The sense of community is by far the greatest aspect. When you are dying and someone is telling you to keep going or you see someone dying and you want to tell them to keep fighting, you’re inspired. You can’t help but feel a part of something special. 

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Q. Any other details you would like to share about your experience?

          Rob: Find a buddy. I’ve been so fortunate to have Justene be my buddy. She’ll be the first to tell me great job or to stop being a little “baby” and pick up the bar. It’s fun to celebrate in their accomplishments and to have them do the same for you. I’ve felt so much closer to her through CrossFit. I feel like without having a buddy to train with, it would be easy to start complaining about how miserable things are going, how the sport became boring or how change is needed to find that edge or spark again. There is a reason why professional athletes from all sports work together, it provides a push, and a bond that makes you want to be better for them and yourself.

          Justene: One for my greatest coaching memories came from a workout with Amber when I had first linked 2-3 pull ups. I went to get a band for the 90 pull up workout and she said “you can do one, you don’t need a band.” It scared me so bad I did all 90 mostly singles and never turned back. Today I completed 100 pullups in 20 sets of 5 and it was a breeze.  The gains happen, the results will show up, this isn’t some overnight success story that will just happen. It will take time, and with a great community such as CFJ, it is a lot of fun along the way.
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