Posted on December 22, 2013
Ever since Ali joined our gym in 2012, she has been a loyal, hard working member of the 4:30 crew. She takes coaching so well that within a few attempts to fix her technique, she is able to see improvement! She is always the first person to hold herself accountable when it comes to pushing herself and has been improving across the board in regards to her skills, strength, and endurance. Ali is always hungry for more and her positivity will make it easy to continue for her to see great progress in her CrossFit journey. - Coach Cheryl
1. When did you join NorCal CrossFit?
I joined NorCal CrossFit Nov. 1st, 2012.
2. Why did you join CrossFit?
I’ve always been a competitive athlete and love trying new things -- I merely joined CrossFit to join CrossFit. It was back in 2009 that I was first introduced to it by a good friend of mine from high school. He was coaching at a local CrossFit facility and asked that I come in to give it a whirl. I did a little research on the main site beforehand to get a feel for what I might be in for and you know what I thought? -- “Pshhh, 10-20 minute workouts, really?! Should be a piece of cake!” I clearly was unaware of the challenge that was about to unfold before my very eyes. Much like I’m sure many of you experienced, my very first workout kicked my butt, highlighted all of my flaws (The BIG 3: flexibility, strength, and endurance), and left me sprawled on the floor, gasping for precious air.
The next 3 months were both mentally and physically challenging to say the least. While I really liked what CrossFit had to offer in terms of its message and style of programming, slight fear and embarrassment heavily weighed on me. The “simplest” of movements and core of just about every workout (i.e. the not-so-simple squat) was darn near impossible for me to perform. Despite everyone's eagerness to help and encouragement to start stretching out the ol’ bean stalks, I just couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I wasn’t just inherently capable. The competitive side of me was having a terrible time with this as you might imagine and it really started to wear me down. It actually got so bad that I started to cherry-pick, which led to my attendance dropping week to week, and I ultimately quit (Boo! Yes, I’m booing myself).
Fast forward to 2012 with 3 years of floundering attempts get into running and go to my work’s gym with any sort of consistency, my good friend said, “Hey Ali, stop being a dum dum and come back to CrossFit… you know you want to!!!” I totally did, but knew that I was in for a whole lot of suck given my lack of mobility and strength. After a little peer pressure, I begrudgingly agreed to come by NorCal to check it out. I showed up, got to talking with Cheryl and before I knew it, I was signing the waiver and ready to officially redeem myself.
One year later, here I am alive and kicking, but it hasn’t been easy. I often still feel like I need to hold onto the pull-up structure when I drop it like it’s hot, but I’ve come a long way with the help of our wonderful coaches and support of our awesome community here at NorCal. I’ve found that even the tiniest of successes have been worth the effort, so as such, I plan to continue fighting the good fight.
3. What changes in your health, physique and overall performance have you seen since starting CrossFit?
I’ve never considered myself to be strong pre-CrossFit, so suffice to say after one year of pumping some serious iron, I’m definitely the strongest I’ve ever been. I went out for a jog for the first time in a long while this past summer and it was then when I suddenly realized just how much my strength and endurance had progressed. It was a cool feeling.
One thing that’s been interesting (and I know my girls will empathize with me on this one) is that I was recently forced to ditch my old jeans and work pants. Not that I minded going shopping for a new wardrobe, but it was the fact that I had to go up in size (gasp!) that caught me off guard. This of course was due to my flourishing quad and glute muscles -- so many #GAINS it hurts! I’ve gotten over the initial shock though and have learned to embrace this newfound muscle.
4. What advice would you give to someone with regards to starting CrossFit?
Pre-Crossfit: Stop worrying about what others say and just do it already! There are a lot of opinions out there, but do you know what Miley Cyrus and the Honey Badger have in common? They DON’T CARE and neither should you! Give CrossFit a try and decide for yourself.
Post-Starting Crossfit: Hang in there, grasshopper! In time, you’ll find that this truly is the most humbling, yet rewarding athletic experience you’ll ever have. If at any time your motivation starts to get a little shaky and you’re unsure as to whether or not you can persevere, just remember that everyone around you faced the exact same mental/physical tests you’re experiencing. Talk to your coaches and fellow CrossFitters about it -- we’re here to help!
5. Favourite CrossFit exercise?
Power clean and deadlift.
6. Favourite activity outside of CrossFit?
My favorite activities outside CrossFit are wakeboarding, snowboarding, bowling, golf, slow-pitch softball, and throwing the football around with my husband. I seriously could throw the ball around for hours!
7. Proudest accomplishment at CrossFit?
My proudest accomplishment in CrossFit is probably when I nailed my first kipping pull up. I was in the process of getting ready to strap on the rubber band to the pull up structure for the workout that day when something inside of me insisted that I try a kipping pull up sans the extra support. So, I jumped up on the bar, swung a bit to get a feel for the rhythm, kipped as hard as I could, and then BOOM -- my chin magically popped up and over the bar! I remember jumping down from the structure and just staring down at my hands with astonishment. I looked up and Coach Rick was giving me that wide-eyed “Oh sh*t!! Did that just happen!?” face from across the room. I’m pretty sure I screamed like a little girl at an N*Sync concert, yelled “TASTE IT, pull up bar!” and threw around a lot of high-fives. Best. Feeling. Ever.
8. Favourite place to eat a paleo-ish meal?
I don’t always eat paleo, but when I do, I prefer… to eat at home. You totally thought I was going to say Chipotle, didn’t you? My keys to paleo success are grocery shopping with a list (you want to avoid freestyling at the grocery store as much as possible) and cooking enough to have leftovers for lunches throughout the week. I will admit though, in a pinch I do love everything-Taco Bell, the Philly cheese steaks at Jersey Joe’s, and any local Fro-yo establishment… oh wait, those aren’t paleo? … Dangit!
9. Something that people would be surprised to know about you?
1. I detest neon and writing.
2. My Grandma and I hit holes-in-one on the same exact hole within 3 months of one another.
3. love to watch Real Housewives of (fill in the blank). Pretty sure my street cred just dropped a few points with that comment, but oh well.
10. What/who inspires you the most?
My friends, family, and husband are those that inspire me most. I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who want and encourage nothing more than for me to be the best I can be. I wouldn’t be who I am today without their unconditional love and support and for that, I am forever grateful.
EIGHT DAY OF NORCAL CHRISTMAS
8th Day of NorCal Christmas: 30 wall climbs
20 Deadlifts (275/185lb)
40 Push Ups
20 Cleans (205/135 lb)
20 Snatches (135/95 lb)