A few weeks ago I met Laura and her lovely dog Pina at CrossFit Outbreak on Grand Ave in Brooklyn! It was the first time I met her and her warmth and welcoming was amazing. I discovered she was a middle school teacher as well as one of the strongest women I've met!! Here is her journey :
"I grew up a female athlete. I trained to be faster and stronger than my opponents on the soccer and lacrosse fields (and my older brother)--whether it meant extra track workouts over the summer or drilling skills in the back yard. As a team sport athlete, I trained because I saw it as my responsibility to my teammates to be the best that I could be. To be better than our opponents, and better than I was the year before. A feminist from a young age (read: kicked out of playgroup for aggressive behavior), I reached adolescence despising images of stick thin female models because I knew they weren't strong. Aspiring towards a physically weak "ideal" woman was not progress.
After graduating from college, I knew I would be a lifelong athlete, but found myself without a team to play for, train for, compete for. When I started CrossFit during the summer of 2014, I learned a few things: 1) Despite a recent interest in running and the completion of two marathons -- which I saw at the time as the pinnacle of athletic achievement -- I was NOT fit in any comprehensive sense; 2) competing with myself to achieve personal goals I never thought possible, but in a team atmosphere, was addicting. CrossFit also exposed me to a whole community of seriously badass women; an environment in which women aspired to be strong--to lift more, move faster, and take care of their bodies so well that they could become capable of athletic feats they never thought possible. It was a place where women competed alongside men, and were revered for their strength and athleticism. When the owner of my gym approached me in early 2016, asking if I would be interested in training to become a coach, I agreed almost immediately. At the time, there were no female coaches on staff. I felt passionate not only about promoting the notion of strong women and female athletics in general, but about messaging to women that CrossFit was not about beefy men pounding creatine, but about men AND women becoming the strongest, most fit, and healthiest versions of themselves possible. In particular, for women it was a place where strong was sexy, and where we were about using the science of nutrition and muscle performance to push ourselves to achieve goals in strength and endurance--instead of an ideal weight achieved temporarily via a fad diet.
As a middle school teacher, I had had a great deal of experience coaching kids, through both academics and athletics, but thought it would be a great challenge to try my hand at inspiring adults--often far less impressionable than your average pre-teen.
CrossFit coaching has proved incredibly rewarding; while I will be the first to admit that I am nowhere near performing at the level of an elite athlete, like some of our other coaches, hearing a gym member tell me that I've inspired them in some way -- to push harder during a workout, to practice a particular skill after class, or make a new goal for themselves -- is inspiring to me. When it's a female member who tells me, I can't help but feel like I've had an even greater impact."