“I trust that every day I walk into CFS I am welcomed, encouraged, and motivated by the coaches and other athletes. CrossFit is my breath of fresh air and my haven from life as a student.”
I am a PhD candidate in the Cell Biology, Stem Cells, and Development program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. I’m in my third year and I research circadian regulation of cardiac energy metabolism aiming to optimize oxygen efficient pathways during heart attacks. I moved to Colorado to pursue this doctoral degree after earning my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2012.
I was a very active kid and teenager competing in gymnastics until age 15 when I was diagnosed with a neurogenic inflammatory disorder. I was no longer an athlete, but instead known as “the cripple” in high school because of my frequent use of crutches. Nerve blocks and hospital rehabilitation got me to a new normal by the time I entered college. I learned there was a fine line between keeping my muscles moving and pushing my body too far into relapse. Nonetheless, I maintained a low-key workout regime to keep my neuropathy at bay.
September of 2015 I decided to see how much further I could push that fine line. I joined CrossFit Stapleton within an hour after walking into the box. Ever since, I feel all that I yearned for as a teenager; I am part of a team, I have WODs scalable to what my body can handle each day, I have the most encouraging coaches and friends, and I am considered an athlete again.
Not long after joining CFS I began competing in CrossFit competitions. It is so reminiscent of my gymnastics days and it brings me so much joy and comradery. It sparks my healthy addiction to CrossFit and helps me set individual goals. Nowadays it is harder to take a rest day than it is to do a WOD! I also invest in proper nutrition for training. I follow an almost Paleo diet, paying attention to macros (protein, fats, and carbs) consumption, and aim to stay “in the zone”. I have designated “meal prep” time every Sunday to prepare balanced food for the week. Within the first year at CFS I saw my strength improve, body fat decrease, and my overall health under my control. I am constantly optimizing my nutrition plan for my body’s training needs with the goal of getting stronger and beating my PRs.
The greatest strength of CFS is without-a-doubt the coaches. Tayler and all the CFS coaches are amazing resources and well educated in multiple facets: they ensure athletes follow proper CrossFit movements to prevent injury; they focus on mobility and skill work and even instruct us individually to help develop our technique; they are eager to educate athletes on fueling our bodies for training; and lastly, they are always available if we have questions about any of the above.
I trust that every day I walk into CFS I am welcomed, encouraged, and motivated by the coaches and other athletes. CrossFit is my breath of fresh air and my haven from life as a student. It is no longer just exercise to me; CrossFit gives me the feeling I lost at age 15 when told I was no longer a gymnast…the excited feeling of a little kid on a playground…or the feeling of my inner gymnast swinging on the bars as a judge takes note during competition. CrossFit has become a way to celebrate what my body can do, and what others – with unique stories of their own – can do, too. You don’t have to enter the box an athlete, but I can guarantee you that CFS will make you one.