We are proud to introduce the next Featured Athlete of Crossfit Everett, Colleen Robinson. Colleen is a wonderful example of the type of athlete that makes our gym better. Her dedication to improving her fitness is consistent – she is always at the gym. Her attitude towards each and every WOD is exemplary – she never complains and is willing to try new and intimidating movements, often finding humor in the hardest parts. Her work ethic is outstanding – she chips away at every WOD and pushes herself – always finishing and often doing her own ‘extra credit’ work after class. Simply put, Colleen makes our gym better. Take some time to get to know her, you’ll be glad you did.
Q&A with Colleen:
What fitness improvements have you experienced as a result of doing Crossfit?
Where do I start? It’s a 101 things in my everyday life that have changed – toss a 12” cast iron skillet filled with food one handed, pull back a 60lb compound bow with ease, practice at the archery range for two hours straight, putting a 70lb UPS in the server rack at work by myself, I can open my own garage door when the electricity is out (don’t laugh, it’s one of those really, REALLY heavy old solid wood doors that weights a lot!), I sleep the sleep of the dead these days and the daily 60 minute dog walk is now 50 minutes (suck it up my little buttercups, we still cover the same 3.5 miles, we just walk faster and don’t stop for breath on those hills anymore –- oh yeah & woo hoo!)
What is your athletic background?
Zip, zero & zilch. I have no physical grace or rhythm; things that I tried before CF (Jazzercise, Zumba, Pilates, etc.) were more laughable with my two left feet and frustrating than anything else. For anyone who’s ever been in class with me or seen me work out, this explains a lot, doesn’t it?? The first time I did an overhead squat; used a PVC pipe & medicine ball to squat to – lost my balance & fell over backwards (still holding the pipe tho!), the next time, landed so hard on the medicine ball repeated the fall a second time – grace in motion, that’s me! Who named it a Burpee and why? I was thinking how strange that the seed company would have an exercise named after it when I first heard the name – I’d like to spray that dude with some Round-up to show my appreciation – I still can’t do them right, but trust me, sooner or later I will.
What keeps you coming back to CrossFit?
-I can’t believe I’m really saying this but it’s almost fun to be tortured and share the pain with others. Most of all, I’m always so frickin’ thankful when the workouts are over (not only did I survive but I finished)!
– I love the folks I work out with! Never, ever, EVER been to a gym where I knew so many people by name – it’s both friendliness and camaraderie – we’re all in it for the same ‘whoopin’ even though we’re all at different levels.
- Before every class starts my stomach still knots up like stage fright (“what are we doing?”, “oh crap! the last class is still going?”, “Oh no, not burpees!”) because you’re always competing against your past self / past time – can you do it better?
-When you’re the last person on the WOD as I so frequently am, the words of encouragement from others keep you going strong.
-Pride & accomplishment – small ‘victories’ & firsts give you a real sense of achievement (yeah – I’m a real amateur but the first real pushup without a band, first run of the four blocks without walking/stopping means I’m not afraid to keep trying when I fall flat on my face or butt). I feel like I’ve gone from 0 to 60 MPH in just a few months and I now believe that 120 is out there – I have less limits!
- Finding out that all the jokes about CrossFit are true doesn’t hurt, either. (Everything else IS just P.E, breath later, it’s like meth but you get to keep your teeth, in case civilization is temporary)
-CrossFit Everett is kinda like Hotel California “you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave” … it’s a place where I’m at home in my own body.
What do you like the least about Crossfit?
Anything that involves feet off the ground (no, I don’t want to do a handstand pushup or jump 24” off the ground, thank you) or foot ‘constraint’ (the dreaded AB machine or putting my feet in the rower straps – eeewww!)
Anything that involves jump rope, kettle bells, most all of the weights, and pull ups
Least favorite WOD?
Anything with burpees & bear crawls (how bad is it when you ACTUALLY have a nightmare that you did an all bear crawl workout – warm up, mobility & WOD – good lord 40 minutes of bear crawls and I woke up screamin’, wouldn’t you?)
What are some remaining fitness goals that you have for yourself?
A life without bands (pull-ups & pushups), ability to run consistently (still practicing on my neighbors treadmill in the garage!) and I want to dead lift 200 lbs (I will, I will!)
What advice do you have for others that are looking into CrossFit?
You don’t have to have outstanding athletic talent to do CrossFit (and if by chance you are outstanding, it’s still for you!). Everything I’ve done has been scaled for my abilities at that point in time – Jesse can get & keep you going – pushing your own limits. If this ‘chunky monkey with a slowly disappearing muffin top’, physically uncoordinated and definitely older than most of the other members can do it – so can you! Stick with it, be consistent and you’ll never be more tired, sweaty or amazed at what you can accomplish than you will by doing this.
What have you learned about yourself in doing CrossFit?
– That I am stronger than I ever believed I was.
-Exercise can actually be fun (never EVER thought that before) & there is always is another goal to shoot for when you’ve met one.
-Writing down your workouts/times really helps in the long run to encourage you when you feel stuck in a rut as there is always progress of some type going on when or where you least expect it.
-More than anything, that I never, ever quit – I may suck at something or I may hate doing it, but I don’t stop (oh, is this the same person that quit Zumba, Yoga, Pilates & Jazzercise? Somehow, I don’t think so …)
How did you find or learn about CrossFit?
The ‘son I forgot to have” is in the Marine Corps and casually said in an email, that IF I was serious about getting into shape I should look into CrossFit. He explained what it was and sent me links to YouTube videos that scared the bejesus out of me to watch and caused me to email back “WTF, are you out of your mind? What the H-E-Double hockey sticks do you think I’m looking to do, KILL MYSELF??” … So yes, apparently I do have a death wish – with the help of a Google search, finding CFE, and the cold slap of reality of taking the fitness assessment from Jesse, the rest is history. I want to be the ‘CrossFit-ism:’ “Strong People are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general” as it has great appeal to me – I want to live out-loud & fully mobile until the day I simply tip-over many, many years from now – CF is how I will get there!
What do you think about the trainers at CFE?
Jesse is a disciple of Margaret Thatcher when it comes to teaching “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end”. I swear he can stick with you, stick to you, explain and demonstrate ANY move a hundred different ways until you get it and do it correctly. He also seems to have eyes in the back of his head (I thought only my Mom had that super human quality!) and lives to catch and correct you when your form isn’t up to par during the workouts.
I truly like to understand the what’s & why’s of how things work which means Jesse’s got to think that he’s on Jeopardy at times (“Alex – I’ll take calluses for $1,000 and the answer is PedEgg & Corn Huskers lotion!”). He’s always got an answer to my endless stream of questions on Saturdays and will whip out a white board to illustrate a point (just ask him about how insulin resistance & cortisol works in your body – I dare you!). Where else can you go to row your butt off AND learn about effects of fish oil on inflammation AND find out why you sweat more now than when you started CF? Pretty cool, huh??
I love the seamlessness of the workouts when I’ve taken classes from Rhonda & Randy – everyone approaches the workouts in the same way, yet each has their own take on how to encourage you and get you where you want to be (and sometimes, where you never thought you could go!).
At different times, many of my fellow classmates have been my teachers as well with tips on grips, hand positions and different ways to approach an exercise – truly words of wisdom – I love that perspective and their willingness to always share what worked for them, to encourage and help, no matter where you are in the skill level range – I like being around positive people & you guys all rock at that!