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CrossFit Bartlett Athlete Profile: Allison

Name: Allison K.

Age:  30

Occupation: Executive closer, real estate

When did you first start CF:  09/2013

Favorite WOD : Fight Gone Bad

Lease Favorite WOD:  Fran. I hate Fran so much

When did you start training at CFB?

My husband started attending three months before I did in June 2013, and it took him that long to convince me to give it a try!

What drew you to CrossFit?

The structure of the workouts. I am not a supporter of traditional gyms as I find it hard to motivate myself without a plan. The fact that CrossFit planned out my workouts and gave me a layout to focus on really made it worth it for me. I didn’t have to worry about how many squats to do and at what weight; all I had to do was look at the WOD and hope I had enough energy to get me through it!

What’s kept you coming back?

The community. I find it incredibly difficult to push myself when I’m alone, so being surrounded by people of all abilities and sizes who cheer and push me to finish that last rep has made this experience so positive for me. When I’m sweating and trembling and don’t think I can do any more, my classmates surround and encourage me until I get up and finish. No high five has ever felt sweeter.

What was your first workout? How did it feel?

My first workout was a Saturday all-level class. I don’t remember the warm-up, but the skill for the day was cleans. I lifted in high school, so the cleans felt pretty good for my first day. Then the WOD arrived: 15 wall ball tosses, then jump rope for 100 double-unders or 200 singles, for as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes. I have been an athlete all my life, and I managed to make it through only two rounds doing single jumps. I was winded, exhausted, and somewhat discouraged by my performance, but I knew by the end of the workout that this was what I wanted to do from now on.

Tell us about your sports and fitness background

I have played sports since I was a baby swimming around in my parents’ bathtub. My first steps took place in the water, and I swam for fun and competitively for two-thirds of my life. My land career began with t-ball and moved to slow- and fast-pitch softball leagues where I spent nine years with one glorious year on my city’s all-star team. In high school, I swam and ran competitively for two years and earned the Coach’s Award for each sport. I spent a semester weight-lifting and also spent a great deal of time biking around the golf course where I lived. In college, I earned a bronze medal in tournament fencing and tried my hand at skiing and snowboarding.

After graduation, I spent five years learning and teaching Shaolin-do kung fu and earned my first degree black belt. My favorite weapons were the bo staff and kwan do, and I excelled at Tiger animal forms. Today, I spend three days a week at CrossFit Bartlett and the occasional day in the park with my dogs.

Since joining, what results have you seen? (Please be as specific as you can, use examples where you can)

In the beginning, I was tired, sore, and hungry all the time. I checked the mirror constantly and was disappointed to see that nothing was happening. No miracles occurred, and I felt disheartened. Roughly three weeks after I started, I glanced at myself in the mirror and noticed a line running down the middle of my abs. Despite my extensive career in sports, I could not remember ever seeing the outline of my abs before.

After that, muscles began sprouting on my arms, my quads became firmer, and my chest and butt tightened to the point where I wore a strapless dress and felt absolutely stunning. My waist shrank, and I went down an entire jean size.

My confidence improved enormously, and I found that I no longer felt self-conscious just walking around in front of people. I could lift more, run longer, breathe better, and accomplish more in my life thanks to better sleep and a bigger store of energy.

With the exception of kung fu, I was in the best shape of my life and actually got to watch it happen in the mirror.

Any weight loss experienced since joining CFB?

I finally broke 130 pounds for the first time since college!

However, weight doesn’t matter as much to me anymore now that I’m focused on losing fat.

An Inches lost since joining CFB?

I’ve only lost a few inches overall, but I consider that a huge victory since I’ve gained so much muscle!

Strength gains? (any PRs you’re particularly proud of?)

When I started at CFB, I had never rowed in my life and had no idea how to use a rowing machine. After just one month, I was able to row a 5k in under 30 minutes!

But probably my proudest moment was hitting a PR of 70 lbs on my overhead press. Arm lifts are the hardest for me, and I was so excited that I could lift that much over my head using only my arms. I have never had great upper body strength, so lifting this much was a huge achievement!

Endurance/stamina gains?

My lungs have really opened up, and I’m able to run farther without slowing down. My rowing has improved a great deal as well so that I’m going longer without wasting energy with ineffective pulls. I’ve become a better self-motivator now that I can look back at my records and see how far I’ve come, and I’ve found that I can push myself past long rests in between movements. Overall I feel like I can breathe again when I work hard.

Skill gains? (anything specific, i.e. rope climbs, double-unders, pull ups)

I was really proud when I was able to hit 20 consecutive double-unders with a jump rope. These frustrated me a great deal when I started, but now I’ve found a rhythm that works for me (for the most part).

Can you please describe what some of those challenges were facing before joining CFB? What improvements have you seen in your physical activity since joining CFB? Do you attribute those improvements to CrossFit?

My biggest challenge has been motivating myself to stick with an exercise program that I feel works for me. I had tried gyms in the past but always stopped after a month after two because I felt I had no support. I wasn’t sure what lifts would help me, and I didn’t know how hard I could push myself without tempting injury. I grew up playing team sports, so individual challenges have always been difficult for me. CrossFit has given me a great mix of weightlifting and strength and endurance challenges; the variety keeps me interested, and I feel pushed to excel no matter what the workout. The structure of the workouts keeps me on-track where more traditional gyms left me spinning my wheels.

Has CrossFit improved your mental health at all? For example, do you feel more alert, have more energy, are you happier, do feel more confident?

Yes to all of these! I feel more comfortable wearing clothes that fit me and even feel brave enough to wear something sexy every now and again. I’ve always been very self-conscious and have never liked the way I look. Now I feel strong and capable, and sometimes I even feel that I look pretty damn awesome!

I tend to get more done during the week as well because my energy level stays at a strong, consistent level, and I’m not as cranky since I have a physical release in exercise.

Honestly, I’ve noticed benefits in all areas of my life, and I can thank CrossFit for helping me make the change!

How has your diet changed since joining CFB, and has that had an effect on your performance/body composition?

I was introduced to the Paleo lifestyle when I started CrossFit, and though I tend to lean more towards the 80/20 rule, I have never felt better about the food I eat. Cooking has changed completely for me, and I am much more selective about what I put into my body. Meals taste better; my body functions on an even keel; and I can feel the difference when I eat junk food and go back to eating healthy.

Sometimes I’m irritated at the amount of preparation required for Paleo meals, but in the end, it’s worth it to know that I’m treating my body like the precious vessel it is.

Was CFB helpful in transitioning to and maintaining your diet?

CrossFit started me on the Paleo path, but I tend to maintain my resolve on my own. I don’t always stick with it, and after eating cakes and cookies for a few days, I know my performance is nowhere near where it should be. I have made a change to a new lifestyle, not just a new diet, and it’s been difficult at times. However, I’m thankful that CrossFit introduced me to Paleo as it has granted me more success than any other diet or lifestyle I’ve tried up to now.

What do you like most about coming to CFB?

I love being around people who are working just as hard as I am to love themselves. I work from home and am not from Memphis, so I don’t have a lot of friends here. The CFB community has really helped me find a place to fit in, and I can’t express how much it means to me to have them cheering me on when I’m struggling to finish a difficult routine. Seeing my friends and encouraging them on their own paths is just as rewarding to me as seeing those lines in the mirror.

What is your proudest accomplishment/achievement at CFB?

I volunteered to help coach the World’s Best Bootcamp program in 2014 for the first time. I was not a trained coach, so I made mistakes, and even though I loved working with my students, I felt that I hadn’t really made that much of a difference. On graduation day, one of our students who had experienced a double lung transplant the year before spoke about her experience. She said that, in the beginning, she could barely run 50m without stopping. By the end of the program, she was not only able to a run a mile, but she was also able to complete her baseline workout under the allotted time. I was so proud of her and the heart that she had put into every class. Then she turned to me and said, “There were so many times that I wanted to give up and just go home. But then I heard you cheering for me, and I saw how much you believed in me, and it gave me the strength to keep going. You are the reason I made it.” I cried when she hugged me, and I realized that I had made a huge difference in the life of someone who had accepted that she would never be able to do what she did. She has continued to ask after me even though she has officially joined CrossFit, and I talk of her often to other students who doubt themselves. She is my inspiration to keep going, just as I was once hers.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CF that were unexpected?

I find that I’m more likely to accept challenges that I never would have thought possible before. In my line of work, I occasionally encounter people who are losing a great deal of money on a house sale or who have been unable to obtain the home of their dreams. I shy away from conflict and try to make things better where I can, so I have never been a particularly firm person with clients.

However, since starting CrossFit, I have grown bolder and have even stood up to some of my clients who were being unreasonable (though in a professional manner). CrossFit has made me more confident, and even my family has remarked on it.

Any advice for people considering CFB or just getting started?

This program is not full of buff beach bodies who move effortlessly through some of the toughest workouts I’ve ever seen. My classes are filled with people who are overweight, shy, scared, or just plain average. They want to make themselves look better, feel better, and overcome things they’re embarrassed to admit. They want to find out who they can be when someone pushes them past what they think their limits are.

Everyone in CrossFit started right where you are: scared, confused, and doubtful. But I can guarantee that you will find a community of support here at CFB, and before you know it, you will be telling a scared newbie how far you’ve come and how grateful you are that you stuck with it instead of giving up.

What are your hobbies, interests, and/ or talents, outside of CF?

I crochet stuffed animals and blankets for friends and family, and I am teaching myself how to knit and use American Sign Language. I read voraciously, particularly dystopian fiction and fantasy, and have discovered the wonders of for when I’m working around the house. I love creating quirky organizational set-ups for sections of my home and, since purchasing my first home, have been trying my hand at interior decorating. My dogs keep me out and about in the neighborhood and parks whenever they can, and my husband and I enjoy PC gaming and finding new sushi restaurants on the weekends. Currently I’m planning to build a magnificent virtual castle in “Minecraft” because I am a huge nerd.

Anything else you’d like to include?

I’m so glad my husband convinced me to join CrossFit. I hope to stick with it for many years to come. Someday I will have those six-pack abs, and someday I will overhead press 100 lbs!


1/27/2015 WOD



3 x 5

Then Hip+

Back extension

1 x 30


Static hold 1minute cumulative

Met Con:

Rowing x 10 Calories

Chest to bar pull ups x 10

Thrusters x 10

AMRAP 15 minutes

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