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

Wendy: I had mainly focused on cardio exercises, running, biking, hiking and various classes at the rec center but would end up getting bored with the workout and then move onto something else- not ever really feeling like I was seeing the results I was looking for.  I even had a couple of sessions with a personal trainer after our second child was born but didn’t feel like I had picked up anything helpful from the sessions.  I had come across a few “home” CrossFit exercises that I had been doing while training for a backpacking trip and enjoyed the challenge.  I started noticing a change in the amount of energy I had as a result.  Then I just happened to come across a Groupon for a month at CrossFit Julia and bought one for both my husband and myself.
Nate: For years I had tried to get into a rec center routine, or a sport that would provide me with enough physical activity to keep in shape.  Softball, hockey, running, nothing was doing it for me.  I was not happy with the condition of my body, and was feeling like I was at the point of settling for what I had.

I did not do well in the rec center, trying to figure out what I needed to work on, wandering from station to station guessing on a weight, or waiting for someone to get done at a station.  No motivation, no accountability, no workout routine, no direction for a training path, all of which I need to keep interest.

I had heard of CrossFit, but didn’t know anything about it.  One evening Wendy came home and said she had purchased a trial membership to CFJ.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I researched what it was all about, found out about the prescribed daily workouts and the coaching involved, and couldn’t wait to begin the training.

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

Wendy: My biggest challenge has been tackling negative self talk.  I remember my first night in Evolutions thinking that there was never anyway I would be able to do a rope climb and that I was way out of my league.  I had planned to just skip those WODS!  Then the challenge started becoming something I enjoyed and looked forward to after a day of sitting at a desk. Great coaching on techniques and advice- one evening Zach had told us to just not die in the next 21 minutes 🙂 – along with a fun atmosphere has been the biggest contributor to my success.

Nate: One of the greatest challenges was getting into the routine of finding the best time to get into the gym.  I tried the evening classes, but the weight of the day didn’t leave much energy and motivation to go workout when I should be eating dinner.  I have landed into the 5:30 am routine, which allows me to get a good workout in before starting my day.  The hardest part about the early morning class was getting out of bed at 4:00, but it became easier over time, and is now a routine, not needing an alarm most days.

The other challenge that I have experienced is patience learning and mastering the movements, and seeing other athletes kill movements and being unable to do them myself.  My lack of strength in the beginning was frustrating, having to mod way down to be able to complete a WOD.  Being a very competitive person by nature, it was (and still is) very humbling when a movement comes up that I cannot perform, or an Rx weight that I cannot yet hit.  Getting over this frustration is an ongoing challenge, but provides the motivation to push harder.

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?

Wendy: The rope climb is now a welcome challenge and within the last couple of months I tackled unassisted pull-ups!  I’ve never been able to do either.  My body composition has changed drastically from when I started.  I’ve dropped 10 pounds and as a result I have a lot more energy, which comes in handy when you have a two kids to chase around and have to keep up with your husband on Saturday partner WODS!

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Nate:  I have found a passion that I have been searching to find for many years.  Interest is spiked, and is reinforced every time I come in for a WOD. I have transformed my body from a squishy, average build, losing 30-35 pounds, to a toned, lean, athletic build.  I have embraced a new healthy eating lifestyle, and have never felt this good in my life.  I am stronger and more fit that I have ever been before.  I have recently had to rework my wardrobe with clothes sizes that I haven’t worn since high school.

When I walked in the door the first class of evolutions, I couldn’t do a pull up without a band, I couldn’t climb a rope, could barely hold a handstand on the wall, and my mobility and strength ability left much to be desired.  Learning to listen to my body, push when it allows, rest when it needs it, and fueling it properly has helped me progress in the movements and increase my strength.  I have a long way to go in this sport, but have made great strides in the 9 months I have been doing CrossFit.

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

Wendy: Crossfit training has helped me feel more confident.  I was always the skinny girl – enjoyed exercising but was always maintaining what I was – never tried to loose weight, get stronger, etc.  Enter kids and a few extra pounds- it’s been a challenge to get back to “me”.  It’s hard to justify taking the time to exercise when you have small children.  Being a mom that works outside the home, I miss them!  CrossFit is something I can dedicate a few hours to during the week to make myself happy without missing them too much and we all enjoy coming in on Saturday mornings.  Now I’m a stronger “me”.

Nate: One of the major things that CrossFit has helped me with is work stress.  My career in construction demands a lot on my body mentally and physically.  Long hours, lots of stress, and dealing with many different types of personalities drains a person.  CrossFit is a huge stress relief and allows me to start my day off on the right foot.  I find myself handling tough situations better and more professionally, and am able to leave work at work, and spend quality time at home happy to be with my family.

CrossFit has also brought Wendy and I closer with something in common that we can share together.  Being in better shape, I have the desire to do more hiking and outdoor activity which Wendy has always enjoyed.  We can motivate each other, not only at the gym, but at home as well, keeping each other accountable, pushing each other to get better, stronger.  I really enjoy the nightly conversations on how we did on the WOD that day, and how each of us have been improving.

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What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your nprevious workout styles?

Wendy: It’s a great total body workout.  The exercises are extremely efficient compared to a workout consisting of mostly cardio activities.  The variation of exercises keeps me challenged and interested.

Nate: CrossFit is by far the most well rounded training style that I have ever tried.  From the gymnastics style movements and the Olympic weight training to the pure, hard cardio, it promotes the “whole” athlete, with the required mental focus, physical agility and stamina, and strength requirements.  The never ending WOD variations demand your body to “keep on its toes”, and doesn’t allow it to get into a routine rut.  If something isn’t sore the day after a WOD, then I don’t feel like I achieved anything

The coaching is key to success as well, teaching proper form, giving tips on how to improve, and the added push to complete a tough WOD.  You will never find this at a rec center.  The CFJ community of coaches and athletes are second to none.  Everyone cares for each other and want to see each other improve to the best of their ability.

What advice can you give to others?

Wendy: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and take on new challenges.  Break it down into manageable pieces and it will help you get through it!  Just don’t die…lol!!!  Seems attainable, right?

Nate: Everyone’s ability levels are different, don’t be frustrated by the abilities of the person stronger or more experienced, younger or older.  Make your own goals, and bite them off one at a time, work on them, master them, then move onto the next.  It will take time to get to the level that you want, but don’t stop pushing.
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Any other details you would like to share about your experience would be great!

Wendy: Joining CrossFit Julia with my husband has been a positive step for our relationship.  It’s nice to have a common interest with my husband that is so beneficial for both of us.  We motivate each other and keep each other on the right track.

Nate: Being committed to CrossFit with my wife, Wendy, as been nothing but a positive impact on our relationship and family as a whole.  Being in this together has brought us closer and having more in common, sharing successes and pitfalls, motivating each other to improve and stay on the right track.  We have transformed our lifestyles together, which will trickle down to our children, having the opportunity to instill healthy habits on them at a young age, teaching them good eating and exercise habits, as well as time management.  It also give us the opportunity to spend quality time together.

Also, the attitude of the coaches and athletes at CFJ truly defines the “Community of Greatness”.  I have never had a day where I walked through that door and didn’t feel like I was surrounded by family and people who care for each other and their success.