When did you start Crossfit?I joined in February 2014 right after my birthday. I started because I wanted to lose weight and fit better in clothes but I remember the exact day my mindset shifted from just wanting to lose weight to something even better. Last September, I hit a new one-rep max on my deadlift at 315lbs and on the way home I was thinking about wanting to get to 350lbs. That’s when I realized that for the first time since I started CrossFit that I was thinking about lifting goals rather than dress size goals (though, as of today, I have dropped about 25 pounds).
What's your favorite part about CrossFit?Community. I know it’s a typical response but it’s so true… from the trainers who get to know you on a personal level, to members who cheer you on even if you’ve not formally met. As someone who has always been a bit shy, I keep coming back because I feel welcomed and part of the family in and out of the gym. I also stand taller now and I have way more confidence because of my CFA family.
Favorite workout and/or movement/exercise/lift?My favorite workouts are those that have lots of barbell work well except for thrusters. (Fran can just go away!) And, I guess I am known for my deadlifts which is my favorite but I like power cleans, too.
How has CrossFit helped/affected your life outside the gym?I’ve used my CrossFit experiences as inspiration for trying to get my students to think about math in a new way. Some of my students believe that they are not good at math and that they never will be. I used my 5-rep 300lbs deadlift experience as motivation at the start of the new semester.Did I ever think I would ever reach that? No way! I told them that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it hadn’t been for three things: my coaches teaching me the correct form/technique and preparing me for success; my fellow members cheering me on; and myself telling me I can do it. So, I tell my students that I’m their coach guiding them through Algebra I, their classmates are their support helping each other work through the problems and cheering each other on, but most importantly they have to have their mental game reminding themselves that they may not have it yet but they will through hard work and dedication. I like to think it worked: one student went from a low F on one test to the highest grade in the class on the next! And you should have heard the cheers when I let the class know!
What is your proudest CF related accomplishment?There are just too many! The Open was overall a great accomplishment for me: PR’d my Clean and Jerk, knocked out 2 unbanded pull-ups, and shaved 1:36 off my 15.5 WOD time in a matter of two days. (Yes, I’m one of those crazy ones that redid 15.5!)When I think about the long term I think my running has been my greatest accomplishment. I remember that first 101 class and Jesse was showing us where the 400 meter mark was. I couldn’t keep up and when I finally got back all I wanted to do was collapse. I think it was a couple of months before I could do the entire 400 meters without stopping. I still remember the day and feeling when I ran my first sub-10 minute mile. Then, just a few weeks later, there was that Monday WOD that started with a 5K. This would be the longest distance I’ve ever run and I thought 40 minutes was a good goal for me. So, when I got back (and without stopping!) and saw 32:26 I was super pumped and on an emotional high for hours after.
What are your future CF related goals?I need to get my double-unders to link together and to work on my breathing to help me through the more lung-intense workouts. I’m looking at you wall balls and burpees. And maybe RX the Open next year.I also want to work on my mental game because it seems that everyone around me knows I’m tougher and stronger than my mind wants me to believe.Oh, and come Memorial Day, I’m going to crush my Murph time by at least 30 minutes. (Seriously, it took me 103 minutes last year!)
Anything else you want to add?I have to give a shout out to my sister Amy for inspiring me to start CFA. She is my biggest cheerleader and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Posted on Wed, April 1, 2015
by Luke Russlle