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Member Spotlight: Heather D.

  1. How long have you been a member of CrossFit Northland? 

That depends on how you count it. I did Elements in December 2017, but I left for a year to work overseas and came back. So, either 3 years or 4 years.

  1. What brought you into CFN all those years ago? 

My husband, Eric Donald, decided to try Crossfit for the first time shortly after moving to Kansas City. He quickly found CFN, and I don’t think he’s looked back. Even after I moved here a few months after he did, I didn’t immediately join CFN. However, after meeting some of the people and hearing him talk about the workouts, I signed up, too. The first time I walked into the gym it looked like a playground jungle gym, and I was excited to play.

  1. Tell us about your fitness/health background? (Did you play sports growing up? Try other gym settings? Workout at home?) 

I was a gymnast in elementary school; it’s amazing how long some of that muscle memory lasts! My high school years were spent on horseback; that’s a lot of functional fitness even though we didn’t see it that way. After graduation, fitness was an on-again, off-again thing. I joined the Army, and they’re pretty big on fitness. After that, I worked out sporadically, sometimes trying a fitness center, sometimes trying it on my own. There was never really a focus or meaning to any of it, just a vague sense of “this is something I should be doing so I don’t get fat”.

  1. What are some changes you’ve noticed during your fitness journey at CFN (Physically, mentally, capabilities, daily life, etc.) 

I have more confidence in my ability to do stuff. I know that, with very few exceptions, my body is going to do what I need it to do, whether that’s heavy yardwork or a long trek or just a busy, active day. Although it might be age, I respect my body’s limits more so than I once did. I listen to the aches and tightness and those little twinges I used to push through or ignore. Also, I have well-defined goals now. This summer I’ve dropped down to only one day a week at CFN because I’m training for my first marathon coming up in October. I’m more likely to show up when there are pull-ups in the WOD because in 2023, for my 50th birthday, I’m doing Murph as prescribed, weight vest and all. Before CFN, I wasn’t part of a community that fostered this type of thinking.

  1. How has CrossFit Northland played a role in the overall health of yourself as well as your family? 

I am so much smarter now! Of all the health advice I’ve heard over the years, CFN (and CrossFit in general) seems to have the most realistic, well-balanced information. So many “health gurus” out there preach an all-or-nothing approach. CrossFit understands that people need to live life without feeling guilty for having a slice of pizza and a beer on Friday night. Furthermore, participating in the nutrition challenges has helped me actually feel the connection between what I eat and how I feel. I come back to this when I find myself getting off track and feeling sluggish.

  1. What motivates you and keeps you coming back week after week?

 It’s tons of fun! Also, (and maybe more importantly) as I creep toward “old” age and consider how my parents and grandparents live(d) it, I have determined that I want the rocking chair to be optional. I don’t want it to be the only thing my body is capable of doing in 30 years.

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

It is the most judgement-free place I have ever been. No one really cares how much you lift, how fast you run, what your time is, or whether or not you made it to the top of the 14er. They are happy you’re here, and will cheer for you no matter what your fitness journey looks like. I’ve heard other places describe themselves as “judgement free”, but CFN actually is. *Although Coach David has been known to judiciously add 5# to your barbell when he thinks you need it and you aren’t looking.

  1. If you could have one super power, what would it be? 

Flying. Ever since I was a girl watching the fish in the aquarium, I was a little jealous of animals like fish and birds that could just go in any direction whenever they wanted.

  1. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is considering joining a CrossFit gym? 

Do it, but do it wisely. Not all CrossFit gyms are created equal. You’ll want a highly-qualified coaching staff that listens to you and can help you achieve your goals (whether that’s general quality-of-life fitness or competition prep work or somewhere in between) and friendly, welcoming athletes. I dropped-in to a gym once that had no energy and a disengaged coach complete with slouching and hands in pockets (3/10 would not recommend). I’ve dropped in at others with enthusiastic coaches and robust communities, which is the kind of place I could call “home”.

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