“Forcing myself through a workout has built a mental toughness that spills over into my daily life. I’m feel like I’m more interested in challenges and have confidence I can handle them.” 

 

1. Tell us how your journey with CrossFit Northland began? How long have you been a member of CrossFit Northland? What brought you into CFN?

David was my trainer at Rapid Fit, and I switched over when he took ownership of CrossFit Northland in 2017. I didn’t know anything about CFN. I figured it was just a different place to go for PT sessions.   

2. Tell us about your fitness/health background? (Have you always been active? Tried other gym settings? Worked out at home?)

At school in Singapore I swam and played table tennis. I rode my bike all over the island to get around. I learned to row when I moved to Australia and competed in a collegiate women’s eight. After I moved to the US, I ran 5Ks. I rowed competitively at the Masters level until I couldn’t fit in a boat because I was pregnant. In 2006, with three kids in tow, we relocated to Asia. Lots of things happened between KC, Singapore, Hong Kong and California, including a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s and my husband getting laid off from work. My commitment to fitness was sporadic because there were so many other things to juggle.  

3. Tell us a little about your experience with transition from personal training to group classes. 

After we moved back to Missouri in 2016, I tried rowing again but discovered I no longer had the strength to carry a single scull by myself. I tried running but stopped because I could hear my kneecap grinding away. (Still gives me chills.) I would lose my balance during yoga because my knee was weak. I thought fitness was over for me. When I started training with David, my expectations were low. I just wanted to get up and down the stairs without pain. 

Eight months later —  I was good with stairs. I continued training with David but didn’t have any big goals. David made me do hard things anyway. One memorable moment was a hot summer Saturday when he made me push a weighted sled most of the way down the side road and back again. I remember Leon Versfeld saying to me, “That looks horrible.” David kept increasing the weights for my squats and presses and taught me Olympic lifts. Then one day last fall, he said I was ready for a group class. ME? I actually laughed, until I realized he wasn’t kidding. 

David prepared me well and told me what to expect, but I had a fake smile plastered on my face the whole class. I felt awkward and uncoordinated. I was cleaning instead of snatching. Maybe I was snatching instead of cleaning. I was using baby weights. No one seemed to mind. Everyone was friendly and encouraging. I completed the METCON. I lay on the ground and people came over to check if I still had a pulse. Coach high-fived me and said, “Good work!”

What I love about CrossFit is that we’re all in it together, yet individual ability varies so widely. There’s a lot of room to scale a workout to “your best,” whatever your best might be that day. The coaches really care about the details, and they’ll make sure you’re performing movements safely. Because I’m cautious about reinjury, this means a lot to me. 

My performance in group classes improved dramatically when, a few weeks later, I attended the CrossFit Level 1 certificate course here. I gained a deeper understanding of what CrossFit is about, and how to get the most out of it. I grew in confidence after practicing points of performance (what to look for) in gymnastic movements and Olympic lifts. You’d be surprised by how many people do the course for interest’s sake. I highly recommend it. 

4. What are some changes you’ve noticed in yourself during your time here at CFN? (Physically, mentally, capabilities, daily life, etc.)

I went for a hike in the woods with a friend my age. She used to be an elite athlete but now only rides a bike to keep fit. It was a hot day, and we were going mostly uphill. I broke a light sweat, but she was dripping. She had to keep stopping to rest, and I was ready to keep going. We went paddle-boarding later that afternoon and I went for miles. The overall functional capacity that CrossFit gives you is phenomenal.  

Forcing myself through a workout has built a mental toughness that spills over into my daily life. I’m feel like I’m more interested in challenges and have confidence I can handle them. I have more mental stamina for things like managing my job and the family dramas.  

After a workout, I step out with a grin on my face and endorphins that last a couple of days. I cope better with stress at work, and I am just generally nicer to be around. If I get sick, I get better faster. When I work out, I’m more interested in making better nutritional choices. I sleep soundly.  

5. What kinds of things can you do now, that you were not able to do when you first started CrossFit? (inside or outside of the gym)

I can run again. I gave it up because the pain after a run was debilitating. But the running clinic taught by Becca, promised that I would learn to run more efficiently, and more importantly — pain-free. This was truly a life-changing 6 weeks. My running cadence got quicker, and my body position changed. When I lace up my running shoes now, the tick-tick-tick of the metronome starts in my head. During the clinic I ran my first 5K in 15 years. In the rain! It was awesome. And I was so freaking excited by this that I signed up for another 5K the next weekend.  

I keep learning things. I did a handstand for the first time ever in my life. That was a big day.

6. In your opinion, what is the most valuable aspect of CrossFit Northland?

So many things come together here that you don’t often get in one place. There’s lots of physical space to work out or hang out. You can open up the garage doors when the weather’s fine. The coaches know what they’re talking about and they’re generous with what they know; they don’t see your limits, only your potential. There’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into education and bringing the community together. Tune in to  “Meet Me at The Rig” and you’ll see what I mean. Bright Spots Friday reminds me to look at the week in a positive light. And there’s always something to explore: Nutrition Power Hour or #CFN Influencers on Facebook. I feel like this community is always evolving for the better and is always ready to take you along for the ride.  

Thanks for reading this! And please say hi when you see me!  

PS: Want to try a new sport? Have a tall teenager who loves the water? The Kansas City Rowing Club is just 15 minutes away. They hold 4-hour learn-to-row classes in the spring. Check out: kcrowing.com 

 

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