Each Wednesday we celebrate the wins of our athletes, today’s Wednesday Wins celebrates the fierce and fabulous Liz B!
Liz is a perfect example of how fitness should be approached from a 360 degree perspective. She’s re-learning her body after having a baby. She’s super smart in her ‘slow and steady’ approach. She has specific goals. Takes rest days. Proper nutrition and a great support system are paramount. If we could clone Liz and her phenomenal approach to CrossFit, we would time and time again. We asked her to tell us a bit about how she’s accomplished so much in so little time…
From holding a trophy to holding a baby…
“I started doing long distance bike riding in 2012 to train for a charity bike ride, but other than that I really had never been active my whole life. Like, at all. A few of my friends were getting into CrossFit around 2012 and I was interested, but didn’t think I could do it. I first tried CrossFit that summer but it wasn’t until 2014 that I started doing it consistently. Money, time, and motivation were all factors in why it took a little while to really get regular. Also, even though I left my very first intro session totally in awe of the women I saw at the box, and amazed that I had seen muscles in my arms during ring rows, I did not believe that I could EVER be anywhere near as fit as those women. But, my boyfriend (now husband) gave me a 10-class pass for Christmas one year and I redid the intro classes at the gym I’d been going to, and was hooked from there.
It took me a little while to make friends at my gym because I am not very good at small talk, but once I started feeling a part of the community there I started going to classes more regularly and so I was seeing more results. I was lifting weights I never dreamed of (back squatting more than I weighed!? And a 215 pound deadlift!?). I have been really fortunate to have excellent coaching my whole time CrossFitting. My coaches in Wisconsin (Sanctify Fitness) always pushed me to lift more, lift better, and push harder than I thought I could.
For example, I wanted so badly to get a pull-up. SO so badly. Just one. I worked on them for a whole year with my coaches, doing drills and whatnot. In December 2014 I set that as my 2015 fitness goal figuring that would give me another year to keep working on them. But I made the mistake of trying one on new years eve 2014 and got my first strict pull up, so had to rewrite my fitness goals for the next year! Almost immediately after I achieved my 2015 fitness goals, I found out I was pregnant (the day after a crossfit competition, in fact). I knew I wanted to stay active in my pregnancy, and so my coaches were some of the first people I told I was pregnant. They helped me find modifications as I needed them, but also helped me learn to listen to and trust my body. There was another pregnant woman at my crossfit gym, and we modified things differently sometimes, but I had to remember not to compare to her, just to do what felt right for me and my body. I did our gym’s intramural competition during the Open last year, and it was totally fine because they made it (for me at least) about fun and community and fitness, not winning necessarily.
One of the hardest things was moving back to MD super pregnant. Brianna told me about the Cove, and I dropped in last spring during a visit. Coach Lyndsey was super welcoming, I met Marina and Brian virtually on email and I researched the programming online and it looked really great. Also, the Cove is about the same size as my old gym (Sanctify Fitness). But I didn’t want to join a new gym 32 weeks pregnant, since you all didn’t know my movement style or skill level. So that was really hard going from being really active to not being active at all. I tried motivating myself to work out at home but it did not happen, so I was off basically from May until I came back at end of August when I joined. It was intimidating, though, to come back to Crossfit at a new gym because I felt like I wanted to prove something to myself and I didn’t feel a part of the community yet.
But the Cove has been beyond amazing. The programming is phenomenal, the coaches are all great, and the other members are the best! Everyone is so supportive. And I would not be able to work out without the kids room coverage. It just wouldn’t happen, so I’m grateful for all he sitters and the facility! And the Clash at the Cove was special to me because it was almost a year to the day from when I found out I was pregnant (and I was able to come in 2nd place).
I set a 2016 fitness goal to get back to where I was last October and I’ve just been trying to chip away at it. Slow and steady is my philosophy. I come in 5 days a week, and one of those days is Sunday Open Gym. So my first Sunday back I tested all the lifts and some gymnastic moves, and saw where I was compared to where I wanted to be. I wrote it down (old school in a copy book) and then I just kept working on those lifts during open gym. I’m getting close to my target weights, and have checked a few off the list already (Front Squat, Toes to Bar, Strict Pull-Ups to name a few). Still have plenty of time left to get there, and even if I don’t, I am probably in better shape overall than I was last year. Sometimes I get discouraged or frustrated at the speed of my progress, but the coaches and other members do a good job readjusting my attitude.
The things I do that seem to work are:
1. I read the coach’s tips on the blog and if it says we should pick a weight we can do 10 of in the first set or whatever, that’s what I do. So I sometimes feel like I could go heavier or harder, but I trust you all and the process and it’s about the big picture not any one day.
2. I take the modifications suggested by coaches (even when I would rather do banded pull-ups than j-hook pull-ups).
3. Brittany and FLEX have been a complete game-changer. Not only as far as my appearance but also how I feel (and it is rubbing off on the rest of the family!)
4. I stick with my schedule even when I don’t want to. I take Wednesdays and Fridays off, even if those workouts look really fun.
5. I added some accessory work programming (developed by Joe Tito) to help give structure in my Open Gym time so I’m not just doing whatever I feel like (because then I would just do my favorite things and that wouldn’t be any good!). First week went great and I’m really pumped to see how it goes.
6. I have fun. Brianna and I have a blast lifting during Open Gym, and my regular 9:30a folks are so positive and encouraging. And now have the competitions with Angela D and Brianna in January to look forward to.
Bottom line, I am not interested in being an elite athlete, or going to regionals or anything like that. What I am interested in is being stronger than I was before and in doing things I didn’t think I was capable of doing. I want my son to know that strong women are everywhere, I want him to grow up seeing women throwing heavy weights around, doing pull-ups and also looking beautiful and supporting each other. I am really fortunate that the kids coverage works with my schedule so that I can keep working towards these goals, and I am so grateful to Brianna for recommending the Cove to me. Even though I am still 10-20 pounds away from some of my lifts, I feel like I am in better shape than I was before, especially as far as conditioning/endurance. And Derrick (my husband) says I look stronger than I ever have. So I just have to remember that a 5-pound difference in my Clean and Jerk from last year does not say anything about who I am as an athlete, but showing up every day does.”