Every Day Stuff

Featured Athlete – Sarah Adkins

A few weeks after she started at CrossFit Fairport, Sarah went on vacation. She sent me this pic showing me she was still working on that squat 🙂

About 18 months later here she is at one of the Hammerhead competitions this past winter. That’s a legit Front Squat!

When Sarah came to us she had limited mobility due to a knee replacement at 28 years old. She could not squat to parallel, or jump very well. What she did have was an indefatigable spirit and amazing work ethic. She did the basics until she could do the movements right. She stayed at lighter weights until she knew she could handle more. And all that time she still kept coming in and encouraging others no matter how much she hurt. We are so happy she is part of our CrossFit Fairport family.
Here is her story.

What did you like about CrossFit that kept you coming back?

It’s not just one thing but a combination. It was hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done athletically. So, I’d say the number one thing that kept me coming back was that it was a challenge and due to some physical limitations I had at the time, I wasn’t very good at it. And that made me mad. Also, I loved the environment. I played team sports since I was 6 years old…everything from soccer, to tennis, to softball, to basketball, the camaraderie that exists within the CrossFit community, and especially at CFF, was a huge draw for me. I loved the support that I always had…whether I was first or last. On the flip side, I love cheering others on – watching them accomplish something for the first time is a special thing to be a part of.

How do you describe it to your non-CF friends?

Let’s see, at this point, all of my non-CF friends are tired of hearing about CrossFit. But at the beginning, I guess I described it as a full body workout. And all workouts were based off of basic movements, and those movements are performed at high intensity. I never went into great detail as most peoples’ eyes tend to glaze over a few minutes in!

What are your favorite movements?

It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I guess it would be box jumps. When I came to CFF, I could jump on a 12 inch box because of my knee replacement. As I got more into CrossFit and my knee got stronger, I would have jumping competitions with some of the guys at the gym (shout out to my buddy Mac). The highest I’ve done is 40 inches (Ed. note: Sarah has since done 43″ :)) To me, that says a lot about the body and even more about CrossFit. If you would have told me I would be doing that back in 2006 when I had my replacement, I would have thought you were crazy.

What is your least favorite movement?

That’s easy…handstand push-ups. It’s the movement I’ve worked the hardest at for the longest period of time, and I still haven’t been able to conquer them! Not yet anyways!

What’s your favorite WOD?

I love Fight Gone Bad. It sucks, it hurts, it’s a lung burner, but most importantly, it’s a mental test. I love going into those dark places within myself, where the voices in your head tell you that you can’t do anymore or that you’re too tired, and pushing through it and out of it, and coming out on top. There isn’t a greater feeling in this world.

Advice for new people?

CrossFit is an adventure, and if you stick with it, will be life changing. So be prepared. Come in with an open mind and a willingness to hold yourself accountable. Everyone has their own CrossFit journey to walk, some do it for the competition, some do it because they simply want to feel better, and some do it for weight loss. Whatever your reason – hold yourself accountable each and every day and put in the work. Everything else will fall into place.

How has it helped you (physically, mentally, etc.)?

I had lost the athlete in me. Athletics have been a large part of my life since I was young. I excelled at them, I thrived on the competition. It also has provided me with some of the greatest friendships and experiences in my life thus far. So, when I had to get a knee replacement at age 28, I thought that was it for my sports days, at least how I wanted to play them (when I do something, I go all out). CrossFit has helped renew the competitor in me. But, the greater gift CrossFit has given to me is the gift of mental fortitude. In August of 2012, I went through, hands down, the toughest time in my life to date on a personal level. I used the gym as my escape. I can remember one specific occasion during a workout that we were doing some type of lift. It was a particularly hard day for me emotionally, in the middle of the workout, my eyes started to well up with tears. Gina noticed and immediately came over to me and told me to “pick up the bar”. Simple words that to someone else, would have little to no meaning attached to them. But for me, those 4 words not only helped me finish the workout that day, but they are 4 words I repeat to myself during every competition, or whenever life is throwing some shit at me I don’t think I can deal with. Life is ever-changing and the unknown that CrossFit offers has shown me how to adapt, be flexible and power through. Our minds, not our bodies or physical ailments, are what hold us back and keep us all from unleashing our inner badass.

Any additional comments?

Yeah, CFF is my family (quite literally as I met my beautiful fiance, Delia, at CFF). I am only able to do the things that I do, because of the people I get to workout with every day and the coaches that support me and believe in me. Gina and Mary are two of the strongest, most amazing women I know. And my life would have a huge empty hole if I had never been lucky enough to walk into the gym a few years ago and have the opportunity to learn from them.

Featured Athlete – Karina Piva
“What your mind wants, your body will accomplish”

We are so proud of Karina. She has an extraordinary amount of determination and a wonderful attitude. Be careful if you decide to partner up with her – she doesn’t quit and often does a little extra. Here is her story:

Early in 2012 I went out to dinner with a friend who was a member of CrossFit Fairport, and she started talking to me about this “new” popular type of exercise called CrossFit, that she had been doing for a while. At that point, I remember having fallen off the wagon and having a very hard time following a healthy diet and exercise routine. So I decided to give it a try, having little idea what I was getting into… and I mean this in the most positive way possible!

The day was Monday October 1st, 2012. I have to admit it… the first week was just so horrible I promise you, even my hair, nails and skin felt sore, and I could do so little without gasping for air and feeling that my heart would burst out of my chest any minute. But as the weeks went by and I started feeling better and better I kept coming back for more.

Why? Because CrossFit simply works. I have searched high and low for a place offering strength and conditioning programs that would not only be effective, but also fun to follow and not dependent heavily on machines; a program which would allow your body to do it all, where you could challenge yourself to be the best you can be, and where you could feel the best you can feel. To me, this is what CrossFit is like.

After several months doing CrossFit I have grown to like certain exercises and certain WODs. If I had to pick a favorite exercise I probably wouldn’t be able to decide between pull-ups, sit-ups and squats. I would pick Cindy as my favorite WOD – tons of squats, push-ups and pull-ups. Can’t get any better than that! Least favorite exercise? Burpees. No further explanation needed. (editor’s note: Karina didn’t do burpees when she started, they were too difficult. About 2 months ago after she had been with us a year she decided to try them and did them like a champ!)

To any new people out there trying to decide whether to give this a try, my advice is: “please do!”. The benefits of this program are just incredible. I have had people come and tell me that I am nuts for putting myself through so much pain and suffering with each workout. What do I say to that? I love it! It is all in your mind. What your mind wants, your body will accomplish (editor’s note: I may steal that quote for a t-shirt :)).Challenge yourself to do it today, and keep at it to make it better tomorrow. You will be amazed at what you are able to achieve when you put your mind to it and want something wholeheartedly.

So after 14 months of CrossFitting, I am a totally different person. This experience has changed me not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. I have lost an incredible amount of weight (over 100 pounds!) and with that I have gained an incredible amount of self-esteem and attained a whole new sense of satisfaction and happiness. And this is not only because of my weight loss; CFF is also an amazing group of individuals who have become like a family to me, who offer support and encouragement, and who rejoice and enjoy each other’s achievements as if they were their own.

A big thank you to the coaches and all the members who challenged and inspired me to get better and stronger every day. I still have a long way to go to get to my ideal weight and higher level of fitness, but I WILL get there, I know I am on the right path. I love my CFF!