Hometown: Clearwater, Florida
Occupation: Behavioral Epidemiologist (I do mental health and substance abuse research for the military)
When did you first start Strength & Conditioningting?: May 16, 2012
What is your favorite movement? Favorite workout?
Squatting heavy! I love hitting a heavy triple, then adding weight for a heavy double, and adding more weight for a super-heavy single.
What is your least favorite movement? Least favorite workout? Overhead squats and burpees. I just plain can’t do OHS, and burpees just destroy me!
Tell us about your sports & fitness background:
I’m a former nationally ranked distance swimmer- when I was 13, I was ranked 16th in the mile…not among 13 year olds, but among all ages. A change in life circumstances meant I had to quit swimming competitively when I was 14, though I dabbled in it a bit during high school. Other than enjoying recreational volleyball on occasion, health issues and apathy kept my butt pretty squarely sedentary until I found Courage Fitness Durham and Coach Bea’s bootcamps in May of 2012.
How did you first get exposed to Strength & Conditioning? Do you remember your first WOD? How did it go?
A friend of mine was going to start bootcamp at CFD, and I said, “what the heck!” I started with her, fell in love during the very first class, and haven’t looked back. I can’t recall what my first day consisted of, though I’m sure it entailed lots of push-ups, sit-ups, and other bodyweight work. For the entire first two weeks of bootcamps, I was more sore than I think I’d ever been- and happier. Twice during that time I had to text my husband from the garage to ask him to come outside and help me out of my truck. But, I was happy.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting Strength & Conditioning? (before / after)
When I started the bootcamps (and eating by my definition of Paleo), I was pre-diabetic, clinically obese, and in tremendous pain due to an autoimmune disorder. Within two months of that time, I was no longer pre-diabetic, had lost 10 pounds, and had markedly less pain (other than that caused by the workouts!). After about 6 months of bootcamps, Bea and I felt I was ready for “regular” Strength & Conditioning, however health issues intervened and I ended up at a crossroads. I can recall talking to Dave on the phone, in tears, because I thought my time at Courage Fitness Durham had come to an end. As long as I draw breath, I will never forget his words to me: “Well what CAN you do?” Turns out, I could lift…and lift I did. I joined Barbell Club and worked on getting strong. Other than about 3 weeks of “regular” WODs, I’ve been a member of Barbell Club ever since.
What is your favorite Strength & Conditioning/CFD moment?
There are two that stand out in my mind. For the first, I was about 2 months into Coach Bea’s bootcamps, and I got my first double-under…no, I got TWO, strung together! I immediately threw my rope down, ran over to Bea, and picked her up and swung her around like I’d just won a gold medal. The smile on her face was priceless, truly. Then, after we were done doing whatever it was we were doing, a complete stranger ran over to me from the other side of the gym, high-fived me, and said, “way to go!”
The other of my favorite CFD moments was evidenced by a photograph. CFD was hosting a Strength & Conditioning total “meet” for folks to test their totals. It was my turn to squat, and squat I did. Other female Strength & Conditioningters, all gym friends, were cheering me (and each other) on and spotting. I don’t remember what the weight was, but it was a big PR, and I was so overjoyed I jumped up and down, pumping my fist and yelling. About a week later, somebody posted a photograph of me in that moment of jubilation. What struck me, though, and brought me to tears, was the looks of equal jubilation on my friends’ faces. I’m tearing up just writing about it.
What is your advice for people just getting started or thinking about starting Strength & Conditioning?
If you’re thinking about starting, start. Now. There is no physical reason not to. “But…but…but…” NO. START. If people in their seventies and eighties, people missing limbs, people with cognitive deficits, morbidly obese folks, folks with back injuries, and anything else you can think of can do it, so can you. We will FIND A WAY for you to participate. If you’re worried about the cost, I would encourage you to try it for two months and determine after that time whether the cost is worth it to you. If you’re just getting started, learn how to do the movements correctly! Take advantage of the coaches and their expertise! There is no substitute for doing these things WELL before you do them Rx, or heavy, or fast, or anything else.
What are your hobbies, interests, and/or talents outside of Strength & Conditioning?
I am an avid technical diver and can often be found underwater when not at home, work, or Courage Fitness Durham. I love the challenge of planning complex technical dives with multiple breathing gases, none of which are air. And I love the peace that comes with cave diving- the knowledge that I must be fully sufficient in order to survive conveys a focus on the moment that is incomparable. Except, of course, when trying to survive a WOD or a heavy lift.