July 2013 Proven Athlete - Anne B.06.27.2013

1. When did you start training at CrossFit Milwaukee?

I went through On Ramp in February, so it’s been a little over four months.  And before we go any further, I want everyone to know that I have politely suggested to Ryan that he rename this month’s article “Aspiring Athlete of the Month”, but he’s the boss…so he may still be calling it Proven Athlete.  I’ve read the last few profiles, um yeah…I’m definitely aspiring. Anyway, on to the next question…. 

2. How did you find out about our gym and what motivated you to start our style of training?

I had just moved and was talking with a new neighbor of mine and could tell that she worked out with weights and I asked her what she did.  She said she did CrossFit.  I was searching for information about the gym she goes to and stumbled on CrossFit Milwaukee’s website.  I did some research, got the scoop on Ryan and decided to make the call to join.  Best Google search ever!As far as what motivated me?   I was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over two years ago.  Four surgeries and fifteen months of treatment later and I was basically starting from scratch.  I had lost 25 pounds and at times during my treatment, I could barely get out of bed or walk up the stairs. Before that, I wasn’t quite the CrossFit athlete, but I did sprint triathlons and wasn’t a complete train wreck, so I was in better shape than a lot of people.    I knew going in that the treatments were going to be pretty rugged, but I also knew that I would come out of it and that I would *literally* have the chance to rebuild myself.  So, with all of your help, that’s what I’m doing. 

3. What were some of the first changes you noticed when you started training?

Besides that when your quads are crazy sore, it’s actually easier to walk down the stairs backwards?  Well, let’s see…. I started gaining weight.  And that’s probably not what most women want to see happen, but I didn’t freak out.  I knew I was gaining muscle.  I’ve actually put on almost ten pounds since starting CrossFit, but I’m wearing the same clothes.  Now granted, they fit a bit differently, but I’m just more solid.   Everything has just gotten firmer.  I saw it in my legs first—I had lost so much muscle in them, I was amazed at how quickly they responded to the training.  I remember during one of my first WODs, we had to do lunge walks in the hallway and I thought I might just fall over right there--in the hallway at Dominican….the 9:00 am class would have had to just come in and step over my sweaty, spent body.   But I kept going, and I’m not saying lunge walks (or anything else) are super easy, but they are easier than before.  And that’s been the key for me—to just keep going. 

4. How was your mindset towards working out changed as a result of attending training at our gym?

I think before I looked at working at a chore.  Now I look at it as a gift.  I don’t have to do these things.  I am *able* to do these things.  I am with people who want to better themselves.  It’s such a positive place to be.  We encourage each other.  When you need to be in your own space and do your thing, you can do that.  Lift by yourself and get in your zone…nobody will bother you.  If you want or need a little more interaction and support, that’s there too.  And people want to help you—they want you to succeed.  I have had people stop their own workout to help me with mine.  It took a few weeks to get into the groove of getting up early (I only go to the 5:30 am class) but once I did, it’s easy now.  I want to do it. I look forward to it.  I want to find out what I’m going to learn next.  I know every single time I walk out of the gym after class, I will have done something or learned something that I didn’t know when I walked in—and that’s awesome!  I never had that feeling when I belonged to other gyms. 

5. What would you tell people about CrossFit Milwaukee?

It seems like many people have preconceived notions about CrossFit.  What I would like to tell them is that they should come check it out for themselves.  Come see how it feels to be with a group of people who might have a different background than you, all working towards a common goal.  Come see how it feels to be in a place where you are encouraged to challenge yourself and make yourself better.  Come see what it’s like to get helped, coached and cheered on even though you are last in a WOD (and yes, having lifted the lightest weight).  When I started CrossFit, I would get kind of stressed out about the WODs.  That’s just me, being my freaky self.  I would look at them the night before, Google the moves because I didn’t know what they were and then lose sleep because I was worried about how I was going to do them.  I don’t do that anymore.  One of the best things about CrossFit is that you can always, always do the work.  The trainers will help you scale and figure something out.  And you will be alongside some amazing athletes, working just as hard as they are.   I know that no matter what the evil genius Ryan Atkins has planned, I can do it—at the level that is right for me.  And I also know that if I might not have it that day, someone else might help me try to just jump that extra bit higher or run faster or lift heavier—and that’s what it’s all about. The feeling of community is amazing here.  That’s what I’d tell people about CrossFit Milwaukee.  But it’s kind of like parenthood—you can explain it all you want, but people won’t get it until they experience it. 

6. What are some of your goals for next year?

Ok—I’m kind of laughing now.  The list is looooooong.  There are so many to choose from!  Well, we could start with being able to do double-unders.  And on some mornings, I’d take just being able to jump rope without swearing a blue streak.  I would also like to do an RX WOD that involves weights.  I’ve done one that involved med balls and running, but that’s it.  And I really want to be able to do a pull-up.  And execute a decent power clean.  And a handstand.  Oh, and an overhead squat with more than just a bar. I just need to improve on everything. 

7. Anything else you want to add?

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t express sincere gratitude to you, Ryan and the trainers who have helped me since I started.  I really can’t say enough good things about them.  Chris has challenged me to pick up heavier weights when he knew I could do it, even if I didn’t.  Mark has recorded me and spent so much extra time helping me with movements. Josh has shown extraordinary patience and seems to know exactly how to give the right cues at the right times to help me get better.  Alex has encouraged and demonstrated (and given me shit) to make me better.  “Just lift the bar!” is in my head now.  Sometimes I think we are all moving really fast and just trying to make it all work.  I have three kids and a full-time job, so I know I’m going Mach-three with my hair on fire all the time.  But what’s important is the difference you can make in people’s lives.  And you all make a difference in our lives.  You have helped me.  You are helping all of us--and I will continue to evangelize about CrossFit Milwaukee as long as I can.  Either that, or I will get you on TV - Thanks Ryan!

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