Women of 517 – Their CrossFit Stories

CrossFit can be intimidating for anyone — particularly women. There are many misconceptions … such as you’ll get “big and bulky”, “it’s only for fit people”, “it’s only for young people” … these are all untrue. CrossFit is for everyone!

A couple of months ago, in preparation for this updated website, I asked our Women of 517 to answer 9 questions in order to hear their stories. Below are the responses I received in the order I received them. These are unedited, I only copied and pasted them to the page.

Hopefully, the stories of these women, all of whom I’m sure were also filled with anxiety when they began, will inspire others to get involved and empowered as only CrossFit can do.

Taryn Applegate

1. How long have you been CrossFitting?
1. About nine months classes off and on, but on my own a lot due to schedule conflicts

2. What is your previous athletic experience/background?
2. Have always been involved in sports and lifted. College athlete

3. Do you actively diet?
3. I don’t diet, but I eat or don’t eat certain foods. No fast food. Very little processed. Very little bread. Venison as opposed to beef almost always.

4. What is your favorite “cheat” food?
4. Cheat food: whatever I want at a special occasion. Cake at a wedding. New foods at a new restaurant. Just not very often.

5. How often do you CrossFit?
5. I do a WOD or a version 3 times a week. Love the classes better then by myself. I like the competition in my own head to stay ahead of or pace with certain people.

6. What is your favorite part of CrossFit?
6.More motivation. No judgment that I have seen. People are helpful when I don’t know what we’re doing

7. What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
7. Every time I do something I didn’t think I could.

8. Do you use nutritional supplements?
8. I like to have protein shakes and gnc vitamin packs for women.

9. What has been the most rewarding part of your CrossFit experience?
9. I feel like Crossfit makes me leaner and stronger. I definitely see a difference and I have done weight lifting that has bulked me up in the past. I have not seen this with Crossfit. My legs and arms have definition and are not skinny. They have some meat to them, but I wouldn’t want to have “thigh gap” legs. I’m not 14 yes old and I’m not built like that.

Dayna Hamilton

1. How long have you been CrossFitting?
I have been CrossFitting since July of 2013
2. What is your previous athletic experience/background?
I danced for 14 years (tap, jazz, ballet, modern) and running half marathons
3. Do you actively diet?
For the last few months I have basically ate anything I wanted to. But now I have changed my diet to eating good. Meats, Vegetables, healthy fats, and some fruit. And drinking lots of water is key! Have to stay hydrated!! (:

4. What is your favorite “cheat” food?
My favorite cheat food would definitely have to be Homemade Brand ice cream and cupcakes! Or anything sweet for that matter; huge sweet tooth for this lady!(:

5. How often do you CrossFit?
I try to crossfit 3-4 times a week. sometimes five even if its on my own training and I like to lift/condition outside of crossfit
6. What is your favorite part of CrossFit?
My favorite part of CrossFit is walking into the gym not knowing what I’m going to be doing and I like how every day the workouts are completely different. I can’t say there’s a day where I have ever done the same WOD in the time I’ve been CrossFitting because there are countless combinations of workouts to do.
7. What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
There are way too many memorable CrossFit moments that I have made and will continue to make! The environment is so inviting and we all get along, always helping each other and giving each other tips on how we can better our technique. The competition days are always such a blast too! Every single day is a memory at CrossFit 517.
8. Do you use nutritional supplements?
The supplements I currently take daily is a multivitamin, Calcium, Biotin, Animal Flex (for joints), HMB + Creatine (help strength) and protein powder after my workouts or when I’m not able to take the time to eat while I’m in school.
9. What has been the most rewarding part of your CrossFit experience?
The most rewarding part of my experience? There are numerous rewards. I’m not getting super bulky like a body builder; I’m toned, in the best shape I think I’ve ever been in. I have gained so many new friends with this experience and have found my true self in the process. My Personal Records have been outstanding to myself; never did I ever think I would be able to lift the amount of weight that I can.

Toby Budd

So I know I’m REALLY new, but I love this idea. I’d been wanting to try the classes for a while but was scared to do it by myself. I thought I was maybe too old to do this. I don’t think I would have gone without SamB so maybe this will help someone else decide to show up!1. How long have you been CrossFitting? Less than a month 2. What is your previous athletic experience/background? I’ve been involved with sports for as long as I can remember, but recently I transitioned from calling myself a runner, because I didn’t really enjoy it, to really working out at the gym doing mostly weight lifting and very little, if any, cardio.

3. Do you actively diet? I don’t actively “diet”, however after my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago I completely overhauled my diet. At the time, “paleo” wasn’t really popular, but there were those who had done research about the link between diet, inflammation and MS. This wasn’t information that was shared by my doctor, but I chose to follow it by eliminating certain foods – gluten, dairy, sugar, legumes – in order to ensure that I remained in remission. So now this is identified as a paleo lifestyle and that’s what I do to keep my MS under control and also just to feel better.

4. What is your favorite “cheat” food? Dark chocolate.

5. How often do you CrossFit? 2 to 3 times per week

6. What is your favorite part of CrossFit? I love the lifting and also watching my little sister get stronger. I also really like the fact that no one gets irritated when Mark takes the time to stop and correct my form or give me guidance. Everyone is very supportive and that helps with the anxiety of doing something new.

7. What is your most memorable CrossFit moment? Finishing my first WOD. I was extremely anxious and then it was done. I felt great and knew that I was coming back.

8. Do you use nutritional supplements? No

9. What has been the most rewarding part of your CrossFit experience? Completing the WOD on the 10th anniversary of my MS diagnosis. I plan to do the same in a couple of months on my 40th Birthday (Birhday burpees? No thanks.). It used to be I celebrated with food, now I celebrate with CrossFit!

Paula Causie

1. I’ve been doing crossfit consistently since about January 2013, so a little more than a year.
2. I started with gymnastics at an early age until about the end of grade school. After a neck injury that followed a state championship, I had to leave that sport and find something else to fill the void since gymnastics was my first love. I did every other sport that came my way after that including basketball, volleyball, track, and tennis. I was a high school varsity athlete in tennis, volleyball, and track. After high school though, I stopped doing sports in order to concentrate on getting through college. After college I continued to take another seven or so years off from sports until about 5 years ago when I started playing rec beach volleyball. After awhile I got pregnant and had my daughter. That’s when I really wanted to get serious about getting back into shape. I started back at the gym with some elliptical and then added some weights because I knew that having muscle is a natural metabolism and helps to burn calories even when you’re not working out. It helped some but nothing like what crossfit has done for me.
3. I don’t like the word diet. I try to eat right all the time basically but I don’t prevent myself from having some amount of food that isn’t good for me. I have found that by letting myself have a little of it, it prevents me from over-craving and over-indulging. I was raised with the food pyramid and that’s what I basically try to follow.
4. Besides chocolate (3 musketeers), Hinkley’s donuts, buttered popcorn, ice cream, and some adult beverages I can’t think of any favorite “cheat” foods. ;)
5. I crossfit once a week every week and then three times a week every other week (about).
6. Being able to clear my head and de-stress from life is probably part of my favorite but there are so many other benefits that I can’t list them all. The people for sure because they are so encouraging, getting stronger physically and mentally, gaining confidence, feeling better about how I look, having something to be proud of when I accomplish a new skill.
7. My most memorable thing so far has probably been that muscle up. Any time you do something for the first time when you’ve tried so many times before and haven’t been able to feels so amazing.
8. I do not take nutritional supplements. I think that if I eat right then my body should be getting what it needs through the food pyramid concept. Only if my doctor tells me that I need something would I take a supplement.
9. The most rewarding part is having that de-stressing activity. Something to take my mind off of everything else for a little while. I missed that a lot about playing sports from before. It clears my head.

And obviously, Mark and Heather Jones are to thank for all of this! You guys are awesome and the reason I have all of this to be able to say. Thank you!!! Thanks for talking me back into trying it again after I took a little break when I first started. You really are wonderful and I <3 crossfit!

Leah Janowiak

1. How long have you been CrossFitting?
Almost a year
2. What is your previous athletic experience/background?
little to none
3. Do you actively diet?
Paleo :)
4. What is your favorite “cheat” food?
Ice Cream and Hinkley Donuts
5. How often do you CrossFit?
Before my wonderful surprise of being preggo 2-3 times a week, now in 3rd trimester I try to make it once a week.
6. What is your favorite part of CrossFit?
The huge amount of progress I have made physically and how much easier it makes everything else.
7. What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
Being able to lift the bar (I couldn’t when I first came) and being able to do real push ups the whole time (not able to this far into my pregnancy)

Also passing my weight goal and then throwing it out the window when I was getting toner and stronger without loosing weight.
8. Do you use nutritional supplements?
prenatal vitamins. Does that count?
9. What has been the most rewarding part of your CrossFit experience?
Feeling way more confident in being able to handle giving birth- toner muscle, pain tolerance, endurance and breathing. It has really shown me I am more capable to do more than I think I can.

Samantha Matthews

1.How long have you been crossfitting?
1. About 6 months I started in October.
2.what is your previous athletic experience/background?
2. In high school I played volleyball and softball throughout my whole life.
3. Do you activity diet?
3. Not currently.
4.what is your favorite “cheat” food?
4.My cheat food could be many yummy sweets but usually ice cream.
5.How often do you Crossfit?
5. When I started I would do classes 2 to 3 times a week, but currently I attend classes everyday of the week with one or two rest days depending.
6.What is your favorite partof Crossfit?
6. I enjoy the self drive I find in myself by setting goals to accomplish. If the goal is a skill I wish to aquire or the next PR to see the strength I have gained over time. I have met some incredible people who push me to better myself and the community of individuals is inspiring.
7. What is your most memorable Crossfit moment?
7. I have many memorable moments I will never forget. One being when I first started crossfit my goal was to be able to do a pull up. Yelling and screaming echoed through the gym as I sought the attention of everyone to witness my awesome accomplishment, I had finally done a pull up. Another great moment was probably the surprised look on my face while I was for once getting multiple double unders.
8.Do you use nutritional supplements?
8. The only supplements I used have only been recently and its mostly recovery drinks.
9. What has been the most rewarding part of your Crossfit experience?
9. The most rewarding experiences in Crossfit cannot be narrowed down to a few words because Crossfit is just that, an experience. You would never know the self satisfaction of the community and life changing impacts Crossfit has on your life unless you are willing to step outside your comfort zone and test it yourself. But if I had to sum Crossfit up I would say its Awesome- extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.

Megyn Locke

1. Approximately 6 months.

2. Almost none except for running as an adult. When I started crossfit I was horribly out of shape.

3. No, I just try to eat healthier. I am looking into the Eat to Perform meal planning guide to aid me in eating more for my workouts, but I would not consider that a diet.

4. N/A

5. 4-5 times a week

6. Scalability…any activity can be modified to fit the individual and razzing Mark.

7. Deadlifting 285 lbs. I would have never thought my body was capable of the things I can do today.

8. Not really.

9. I have met some really great people who have helped me work towards meeting my fitness goals. I spend time with these people outside of the box too. Also seeing my body change, even though the change is slow, the change is amazing.

Audrey Doher

How long have you been crossfitting?
– I have been with crossfit 517 for about a month, before joining I dabbled a little at another Jackson gym for about 5 months before I decided to get serious and join powerhouse. What is your previous athletic experience/background?
– I have enjoyed playing sports from a young age. I started with t-ball when I was 5 and was active in a sport or training for a sport every season until I went to college. Since starting college in 2007 my athletic activities have fallen off until I decided to change that in late 2014. Do you actively diet?
– I wouldn’t consider it “dieting” diets to me have a stigma attached to them insinuating that they are short lived changes that will yield outstanding outcomes. If I am going to make a decision to better myself I don’t want it to be short lived. That being said, since I have started living a healthier lifestyle I have been eating much healthier. Eating clean, prepping food so I don’t over eat, and cutting out pop are just a few changes I have made. It is difficult for me and I have days where I will just want to eat everything under the sun but it is a process and soon hopefully it will just be a habit. What is your favorite cheat food?
– golden birthday cake Oreos, hands down. I swear nabisco puts crack in their cookies.
How often do you crossfit?
– I have made it a goal to at least crossfit three times a week.

What is your favorite part about crossfit?
– where to begin… The empowerment, the passion it brings regarding health and fitness, how I can see my body change, how I can do things I never thought I was capable of doing, that I enjoy doing it AND it is good for me. Just a few of the many favorite parts of crossfit.

What is your most memorable crossfit moment?
– my most memorable moment so far when it comes to crossfit didn’t take place in the gym. I was recently working out with my older brother, who has trained on and off for the past 10 years, and he was so impressed and proud of what I was capable of. That moment I realized how far I actually have come and it motivated me to continue impressing people with my capabilities.

Do you use nutritional supplements?
– No, occasionally I will use a pre-workout, but it’s something I would consider trying

What has been the most rewarding part of your crossfit experience?
– the physical results have been extremely rewarding, but the confidence crossfit has given me outweighs the physical changes to my body. No longer do I look at something and say, “I can’t do that” right now I might not be able to, but given time and practice I have proven to myself that I can do things I never thought I was capable of doing.

Sidenote: It took me a long time to muster up the courage to begin participating in crossfit. I was extremely intimidated by not only the intense workouts but also the other participants. I thought they were going to see me walk into the gym and immediately start judging me, sizing me up and criticizing me. After my first day I realized I was the critical and judging one. Everyone was willing to help me when I was lost, everyone was pushing me to preform my best, everyone was cheering me on. You’re like a team but you’re competing against no one but the person you were yesterday. I am so grateful I decided to join the crossfit family, I have met a group of amazing people that share the same passion and values as I do when it comes to health and fitness and it has initiated a cascade of positive changes in my life since day one.

Hope my story encourages others!!