Q1. What have been your greatest successes (physically, mentally or emotionally) since you began? How does your body feel now compared to when you started and WHY?
Blake: This is an interesting question for me. I started CrossFit almost 7 years ago and saw dramatic weight loss and increased fitness. Then I stumbled into strength sports and used CrossFit as my conditioning. Now I am trying to find my way back to being primarily a CrossFit athlete. I can say that since joining DNR my torn labrum, which has not been surgically repaired, has felt better than ever since the injury. I also have been seeing my ability to compete in strength sports and complete challenging metcons comeback.
Megan: For me it’s been learning I can do more than I think I can. My body is stronger than I realize, and if I can manage to get out of my head for a bit, I can do more physically than I’ve ever done before. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs through CrossFit and at DNR. When we started at DNR I’d been doing CrossFit for 2 years, but I was 4 months pregnant and trying to figure out how to maintain my current level of fitness while my body felt different almost every day. It was difficult for me physically, emotionally and mentally because I couldn’t always do what I wanted to – I had to listen to my body and accept its limits. And yet I completed Murph for the first time while 7 months pregnant (and within the time cap!!) and managed to keep going to the gym until 2 weeks before our daughter was born.
Now, compared to when we started at DNR, I’m finally feeling like I’m getting back to where I was before I was pregnant – well over a year ago. It’s been a challenge to take the time to build back muscles that changed and regain movements and skills I had to take a break from for a long time. But thanks to the community of DNR, coaches who encourage and push but respect limits and a workout style that allows for real work within scaling options I’m stronger in all areas than I was a year and a half ago and finally feeling a little more like myself. It’s still a process :).
Q2. How has your life changed since starting CrossFit training? Has CrossFit transferred over into any other areas of your life?
Blake: CrossFit was a literal lifesaver for me. I discovered CrossFit not long after hitting my lowest point of a deep depression about 7 years ago. The ability to lay aside my worries and my fears about the rest of my life for an hour and begin to work on accomplishing things I never thought I could do in my life helped drag me out of those struggles. To this day, my mood and self talk simply isn’t the same when I don’t get in to the gym.
Megan: My life has changed because I feel like I am capable of so much more than I thought before I started 3 1/2 years ago. I have always been a runner, but never considered myself athletic or capable of anything besides running (I’m super uncoordinated!!). But CrossFit has taught me I can do more than I give myself credit for and can push myself harder than I have before. This confidence and endurance has transferred into other areas. I find myself standing up for myself more than I used to and realizing I have an inner strength I’ve honed from pushing myself in CrossFit that I can carry into the rest of my life.
Q3. What are the advantages of CrossFit style training compared to your previous workout styles?
Blake: CrossFit forces me to do things I don’t like, injuries not withstanding. It is quite obvious that I love heavy lifting where I can take my time and rest plenty. CrossFit allows for that but also pushes me beyond it. CrossFit is hard for everyone for this reason. CrossFit is effective for everyone for this reason.
Megan: It’s never boring!! I love that it changes every day! I also like that in the course of a week or month we work ALL the muscles, not just some like I felt when I did nothing but run. Another advantage is it’s scalable. It really can work for anyone and there’s always room to get better. And to look back in 6 months, a year or two years or whatever it’s easy to see how far you’ve come and to see results.
Q4. What advice can you give to others?
Blake: Listen to your coaches. It doesn’t matter whether you have been doing CrossFit for 5 years or 5 days, the coach of your class is the most important person for reaching your goals. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you so you can work together to reach your goals. Also, and this is pretty much straight from the Bible, NEVER put an old PR on the bar. It is better to fail a new PR than repeat an old one. Go get the ¼ lb. plates and ring that bell.
Megan: If anyone needs advice on working out pregnant, I’ve got it!! Haha, mostly it all boils down to (whether you’re pregnant or not) listening to yourself. Our bodies are amazing and they speak to us when we listen. We are more capable than we realize a lot of the time, but we all have limits. In the first few months of CrossFit (and even now sometimes…I’ll be honest) I felt so down on myself because I felt I didn’t compare with other athletes in the gym. I felt weak and slow – still do sometimes. But sometimes the best thing you can do is just show up and do the work. Listen to your own body and do what you can – pushing yourself a bit more each time – and see results! It takes time, but it does lead to change :).
Athlete Specific Q.
1) Has CrossFit strengthened your relationship as a couple and has it developed hopes for Ada in the Future?
2) Deadlift or Back Squats?
3) Greatest Band Ever?
4) Coffee or Beer?
5) Murph WOD or Max Out session?
6) What was the Best day of your life?
1) I love that Megan decided to start doing CrossFit with me. I do believe it has made us stronger as a couple because it is a common interest we share. Also, we kind of hate the same things. Double unders, hand-stand push ups, freaking burpees. But for me, it has shown me a side of Megan that makes me really proud because of her determination to do something hard that used to be out of her comfort zone. As for Ada, if she wants to do CrossFit, I will be thrilled. I mean, I pretty much already have plans for being her weightlifting coach and CF Games 2040. But my true hope is that she sees what her mom and other CrossFit women can do and will know that she can do that and anything else she wants to do
2) Deadlifts are the best barbell exercise there is. They are real world applicable and make you feel like a superhero. Also, I feel better after a set of deadlifts than almost any other thing.
3) Gun to my head…Rage Against the Machine. They are the perfect blend between meaningful lyrics and music that will light a napalm level fire in your soul. If I could listen to only one band ever again…it would be them.
4) I have heard it said that coffee tells you “You can do this!” and beer tells you “nice try, you will get it next time.” None of that matters though. I have an infant at home. Give me coffee…no really…I need it.
5) I should mess with you and say Murph. But Jesus doesn’t like liars. Max Day Every Day.
6) The day my daughter was born. Its the only thing in my entire life that people have talked up and called the greatest day of a person’s life…and they undersold how amazing it is. IN that moment I was overwhelmed with joy, completely terrified and utterly in love with a person I had known for all of two seconds. It was also absolutely as proud as I have ever been of Megan. She made a person, guys.
1) Yes! Blake’s a great coach and I think it’s helped our communication. I hope Ada grows up seeing her parents work hard, push their limits and be active. I hope those are values she develops.
2) Deadlifts. All day, every day
3) Florence & the Machine
6) Blake & I went on our honeymoon to Denmark & Sweden and spent 5 days alone on a lake in Sweden in a cabin with no plumbing (haha, that’s how you start a marriage…no showers!!). There was one day it snowed and it was so peaceful. We had a fire in the fireplace, read books, played board games, made dinner together and enjoyed an authentic Finnish Sauna (complete with jumping in a frozen lake in January!!). There were no outside distractions, no other people and it was fabulous.