Chris G has never been somebody I have personally highlighted as the client of the month. She has however earned multiple recognitions as a Crossfit Central success story over the past 3 years. She has continued to be an inspiration throughout the entire time she has been a client to many of her friends, family and 2 sons.
This story of her success is specifically to honor her achievements as a Crossfit Competitor. She is a perfect person to highlight in this light because 5 years ago she had never touched a weight or played any athletic sport in her entire life. At 45 years old she was a person who had no real understanding toward using her body in athletic or physically demand ways .
At 50 years old, I am blown away by how different of a person she now has become from the first day she showed up at Crossfit Central.
Out of the Hundreds of classes and private sessions I have coached Chris through, her toughest lesson has been learning to be patient. My hardest Lesson has to have been letting her try to progress as fast as she really wants to. 1 thing I can tell you about an athlete like Chris is that NO obstacle will stand between her and her goals. Given all the limitations she has worked though she has continued to have to find a balance between training smart and going full speed ahead. The lessons we’ve both learned are well beyond what we can count. But you know what… we are still here and she is now legitimately and contender in her division of the Crossfit Games. This is only the beginning for her!
Advanced Athlete Class (photo by Rabah Rahil)
This May will be the 4th year I have trained with Big Mike and when I look at where I started and where I am now I am amazed – and grateful that I found CrossFit when I did. I started in a boot camp with Jeremy Thiel in the Fall of 2007 – a 43 year old mom, not terribly active, with no real athletic experience or skill. I was looking for something to help me feel better about myself at a low spot in my life. What I found was not just a workout regime, but a community which has nurtured and challenged and embraced me – and has given me a completely different way of looking at myself.
I had been taking a Kettlebell class at CC Burnet with Chris Hartwell for a year, watching Big Mike’s noon Co-Ed class that whole time, with my thoughts running from “Yeah…there’s no way I can do that” to finally “I want to do that!” With some strong encouragement from a couple of friends already in the noon class, I finally made the jump on May 17th, 2010 – my first WOD in Mike’s class was a 20 min AMRAP of 100m row, 10 box jumps, 15 push ups. I had just started having the courage to jump on a 20” box and I’m pretty sure I was still doing push-ups from my knees most of the time.
2009 vs. 2014 (photo on right by Rabah Rahil)
I wanted to join Mike’s class because I had seen over the course of that year of watching what a skilled and dedicated coach he was with his clients, how he encouraged people to face fears and limits and push past them, and how much fun everyone seemed to have while they were getting their asses kicked! I have gotten all that and more in the 4 years I’ve had the privilege of training with him, both in class and as a long-time personal training client. I’ve learned a ton about CrossFit from Mike but even more about myself as a person – how most if not all of our limitations are self-imposed, what it feels like to face a fear and overcome it, how to fail and shake it off and get back to the work that’s in front of you, and – the biggest gift of all for me – how very much I am capable of and how I much more is possible for me (not simply with CrossFit but in my life as a whole, where it really matters).
The Fittest Games 2014 (photo by Caleb Kerr)
As I’ve taken up competing for the first time in my life, Mike has helped me shift my mindset to thinking like an athlete, including not only what I do in the gym but even more importantly how I recover, minimize injuries and handle the mental side of competition. With his help I’ve found the right way for me to eat to fuel the training I want to do. He’s helped me augment my nutrition with consistent supplementation that I have found to be critical to recovering well, maintaining energy, managing the impact on my joints, staying lean, and building strength and muscle mass (I’ve added 10 pounds of muscle since I started training with him – no small feat for a women entering her 5th decade of life!).
As load and intensity of my training increased with my shift to the Advanced Athlete class in June 2013, I’ve had to increase my out-of-gym recovery and soft tissue work a lot – rolling out, mobilizing and stretching, getting massages whenever I can, and more recently working with someone to correct some long-standing functional deficiencies in my hips and shoulders that have plagued me since I started CrossFit.
The Fittest Games 2014 (photo by Caleb Kerr)
All of these things came together with the phenomenal training I’ve gotten since June in the Advanced Athlete program to give me the best performance I’ve ever had in The Fittest Games this January (2nd place in the 50+ masters division) and in the recently completed CrossFit Games Open (234th in the world, 17th in the South Central region in the 50-54 year old Women’s Masters division). I plan on being in the Top 200 in my division in next year’s Open!
I am ever grateful that I have the opportunity to spend my noon hour 4 times a week at CrossFit Central Downtown with best group of training partners I could ever hope for. Relentlessly supportive and positive, this crew is my team and my family and are a huge reason I keep coming back for more!
My goals now? Giving my body a chance to recover from the Open, which definitely took its toll on me, and then getting back to my continuous quest to improve my Olympic lifting and gymnastic skills. And a muscle up – definitely a muscle up very, very soon!