When we meet potential new members at Croga I often ask them why they want to do CrossFit. For many of the members at Croga, the reason is often to be able to do more activities with their kids and to know they are doing something to live a longer life so they can spend more time with their loved ones. And as you will read below, Courtney is one of those members who has a very strong will to improve so she can be the best mother to her children and wife to her husband.
She is such a great example of strength, persistence, will power and love. We couldn’t be happier than to honor her with our member of the month award and to let her tell her story because we know it’s one that a lot of people can identify with and is one of empowerment through hard work and dedication.
When did you join Cróga?
I think it was late in 2016 for the first time. I’m a boomerang as some would say (at least in my work world). I wasn’t consistent back then though. I had just gone back to work after staying home for a few years and was figuring out how to balance work, 3 kids, a marriage, home, etc. This time around I came back in October 2018. A little over a year ago, a very good friend of mine had a heart attack. Since October 2018 alone, I have had 2 friend’s husbands die in their sleep from heart attacks. Due to that and the fact that coming back this time around was about 1000x harder physically than the first time I joined, I promised myself I would set aside 3 days a week and really commit to these workouts. Overall, with a few exceptions, I’ve kept that promise. For the month of June, I’m trying to make 4 classes a week as my kids’ schedule lightens up a bit.
What were you doing before for fitness?
Sadly, the last 2 years nothing. I just worked a LOT, came home, drove kids to practices and appointments of all sorts, ate dinner then went to sleep. Did that on repeat and felt pretty awful. I would wake up achy for no good reason which is another reason I came back. I figured it’d be better to be muscle sore than joint sore. Previous to that I did quite a few things. I grew up riding horses and competed pretty heavily in my 20’s. Then I had kids and took some time off. I went back to it for a bit after having my 3rd child but it was too time-consuming. I also had a new(er) fear of getting hurt that I didn’t have before I had kids, getting thrown off horses is no joke! Around the same time I started riding again, I also joined a local bootcamp 3 days a week and picked up running 2-3 days a week as well. I did a couple of half marathons and decided I really didn’t like running THAT much. The last race I did was a 10-mile race over the Golden Gate bridge. I did it for my daughter Kendall, who happens to have special needs. She was turning 10 that year and I thought it was a very fitting way to end my few years of running. It turned out to be the easiest and best long run I ever had. Somewhere around that same time my youngest son wanted to try karate. I sat in the waiting room watching him for a few months. I thought this was one of the few sports that I could do (equally) with him so I started taking classes with him. Let’s just say kids make everything look easy! It was much harder than I originally thought. Part of the deal in karate is that you also have to spar eventually so I jumped in and took classes for that as well. It was super intimidating but really empowering and I loved it. Soon enough I had earned my first belt then another and another etc. Before I knew it both Chase (my youngest boy) and I ended up with our purple belts after a pretty grueling 4-hour test.
What was your first workout? First reaction to your first workout?
I have no clue what it was back in 2016, it’s all a blur. This time around I still don’t know what it was but I know a farmers carry was involved and that was a modification. I’m pretty sure the entire thing was modified and I didn’t record it because I was so frustrated that I was so out of shape. I thought I was going to die. I remember my husband, Dan, telling me when I got home and walked through the door that I looked almost dead. I followed that comment with the good ol’ look of death then sat at our kitchen island and planted my face down on the nice cool granite for like 30 minutes before I moved or even spoke again.
What improvements have you seen in the way you look, feel and perform?
I’ve lost a bunch of inches all over my body, I think the last time I check it was around 11 inches gone. I am definitely stronger but still not as strong as I would like to be. I will say the biggest thing is that I can do the workouts now without my back/hip acting up and stopping me in my tracks (knock on wood). We spent what felt like months working on getting my back and hips to cooperate and now they do!
What days and times do you come to Cróga?
Mostly 3:30 or 5:30 pm during the week on whatever days my schedule allows. I’m often there on Sundays too.
What’s your favorite WOD?
Ideally, one where I could beat Dan (my husband). For real though, I like the longer workouts with a combo of weights (I like power cleans), some gymnastic movement (because I want to get better at them) and rowing, running or box jumps.
What’s your least favorite WOD?
Anything with burpee box jump overs or burpee pull-ups or the whole burpee then jump 6 inches thing. If it was ever just a burpee it would be ok but it’s never just a “simple burpee”. Overhead squats also hate me but at least my body allows me to do them now so I’m actually grateful for that. I’m pretty terrible when it comes to anything that requires me to sprint or go super fast. Those workouts are not at the top of my list, but I do them anyway. Pretty much only because there are so many of them! Look, if I was asked if I was the tortoise or the hare in the race, I’d for sure be the tortoise. I go slow but I always finish.
“The Courtney” WOD! What would it be?
First, I’d have some amazing 90’s rap playlist that would likely include Dre, Snoop and maybe even Too Short. Just to mix it up I may even throw in some good big hair bands as well, no ballads though. Then we’d do something along the following for 3 rounds, building in weight for the squat cleans……there would probably be a time cap on it as well and since I’m a tortoise I’d make that 20 min. I don’t even know if that’s a reasonable time for a workout like that but it doesn’t matter because it’s “The Courtney” WOD right!?
15 Squat Cleans
30 Toes to bar
13 Squat Cleans
30 Toes to Bar
11 Squat Cleans
30 Toes to Bar
What’s your favorite post-workout routine?
Laying on the ground in front of the big fan, almost dead, realizing I survived another workout. I also really like the darn Fitaids but I try to minimize the amount of them I have every week. Once I’m out of there it’s back to reality so just laying on that floor feels like a break for me and I always appreciate a good break!
What do you love about CrossFit?
This is an easy one, the people, the workouts and the coaches. Everyone is 100% supportive, it doesn’t matter where you are in your fitness journey, everyone wants you to succeed and roots for you. I love that the workouts are constantly changing so you can’t get bored and of course the coaches. They have been absolutely awesome. They are so knowledgeable, helpful, and kind. They even make me laugh when I want to cry (note- I have yet to burst into tears in class, I’ve come close a couple of times so don’t put that past me).
What’s been your favorite culinary discovery since joining Cróga?
Dave posted the Skinny Taste cookbook recipe for a Giant Turkey Parmesan Meatball. We double the recipe because my kids can put down some food and basically turn it into a meatloaf. Serve it with pasta (zoodles for me) and salad. It’s something all 5 of us gobble up. Definitely worthy of the #crogaeats hashtag.
What’s your biggest fitness goal for this year?
I’d really like to be able to do toes to bar and not just knee raises. I’d also like to get at least a banded pull-up. Overall, I want to get stronger and more efficient with all the lifts.
What words of advice do you have for new members or people considering joining Cróga?
Just show up and trust the coaches. Everything can be modified.
Anything to add that we didn’t touch on yet?
When I was 29 I had my first child, my daughter Kendall. She was born with special needs due to a rare chromosome disorder and was/is also deaf in her right ear with a mild loss in her left one. We had no idea until she was born that anything was wrong. That really rocked my world and crushed me. Basically, in that moment I had to shift all my dreams and expectations of what her life was going to look like. That is VERY HARD to do. Actually, it may be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. We all have some unspoken expectations/dreams of what our child’s life may look like. With typical kids, you have time to start to see them shifting away from things you thought they may once do and you have time to process it. With Kendall, I didn’t get the time to process it. It was thrown upon me. Everything she has done in her life has been on her own time frame. She didn’t crawl until she was 15 months old, she didn’t walk until she was 2.5 years old and she didn’t talk until she was around 9 or so years old other than some very basic words. To this day she talks but there is a lot you can’t understand and everything is still delayed compared to the typical world. However, she has been the best gift I could have ever received in life. She has shown me that life is not a competition even if we do live in one of the most competitive areas in terms of schools/jobs etc. She’s forced me to slow down (and be that tortoise), she’s shown me nothing but love, taught me empathy, changed my view of the world and others in it and so much more. She has been through more in her 15 years of life than most people I know. Because of her, I don’t take anything for granted. I’m grateful for all that my body can do even if I often get frustrated that I can’t do more. She’s given me such a good perspective on life. Raising her has been challenging and amazing all at once. She’s the reason (along with my other 2 boys of course) that I do this. I need to be strong enough to continue to care for them but especially for her. She’s made me both resilient and persistent. I think both of those qualities help me in all areas of life but they really help in Crossfit as well.