Each month we will feature an athlete that embraces the difficult feat of changing their lives for the better. We all come with our own set of challenges — whether it is work, family, or just a seemingly endless ‘to do’ list. Getting fit, making yourself a priority and finding that balance is hard work. Relying on a great support system outside the gym is important, but having that same support system with you INSIDE the gym is quite another. Chris Block and Katie Ramsey have been with us from the beginning and the progress they’ve made is exceptional. And we are inspired by how they have done this all TOGETHER as a couple. We wanted to hear more about what drives them, how CrossFit at the Cove has changed their perspective on fitness, self image and impacted them as a couple. We are proud to announce them as our JUNE ATHLETES OF THE MONTH. Here’s the ‘he said/she said’ story:
JUNE ATHLETES OF THE MONTH:
KATIE AND CHRIS
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
KATIE: I was born and raised in Southern Arizona and found my way to Maryland by way of Texas, Pensacola, and Iraq thanks to the USAF. I was introduced to lifting by a friend when I was in Iraq, but I never really got comfortable with it. I was afraid to go heavy, and the idea of attempting complex movements like cleans, jerks, and thrusters were out of the question. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to really commit to a healthy lifestyle. I would work out regularly for a few weeks, then something would come up and I wouldn’t see the inside of a gym for weeks or months. This went on for years. I knew it wasn’t best approach to fitness. Then, last September, my dad had a heart attack and passed away unexpectedly. He was an amazing man, the kind of person who took care of everyone, but he didn’t take the time to take care of himself. Knowing that the loss of my hero could have been prevented if he had only taken his health seriously made me realize that I need to take this last lesson to heart. CrossFit has not only been an outlet for my grief, but it has also given me the structure and community I needed to make a real commitment to my health.
CHRIS: Typical diary of a former fat kid story. All the stereotypical highlights are there:
1) Got fat, 280lbs 2) Joined the army 3) Lost the weight 4) Gets out of the army
I really really didn’t want to become the standard ex-military civilian who balloons up after his contract. The only problem is I hate exercise. Like I would rather abstain from everything other than tuna and apples then run a downhill mile. I’m a giant turd deep down, I can go weeks at a time without so much as raising my heartbeat. But Crossfit came along as was like “Hey guy, lets lift stuff and it’ll be fun. Every day is a new and interesting workout, with great people.” And since someone is telling me what to do that day, I won’t just wander into the gym do a set of curls and a set on the bench then meander out, with a strut as if I ran some great marathon.
How has CrossFit affected life outside of the gym?
KATIE: Since starting CrossFit my energy levels have been through the roof and I just feel stronger. There is something about being physically strong that bolsters your confidence in every arena. I am less timid in meetings and feel more comfortable in my own skin.
CHRIS: Real talk, Every time I use a urinal I have an irrational fear that someone will sneak up behind me and use my moment of weakness to burgle me. But after doing CrossFit I feel confident that I could use my clean and jerk training to deliver a devastating uppercut elbow.
What changes have you notices since starting CrossFit?
KATIE: Crossfit has helped stabilize my moods. I firmly believe that stressing your body with exercise in a controlled environment like CrossFit teaches you how to deal with the other stressors life throws at you. The endorphins also help by giving you a boost when you need it the most.
CHRIS: My triceps, I’ve never been able to get “the horseshoe”……right now I’m sneaking up on it slowly but surely.
How has CrossFit affected your relationship?
KATIE: It has giving us a common goal to work toward. We talk about the workouts ahead of time, plan our meals around our time at the Cove and our diets have definitely improved. It’s also nice to be able to really relate to and understand the victories we are always achieving in the box. I can tell Chris “congrats on beating that boss” in whatever video game, but I know it just doesn’t carry the same weight since I don’t play.
CHRIS: It’s cool to have something to do together every day, besides the usual “What do you wanna watch tonight?”. It’s kind of like every day we are that couple from the movies where they get trapped on a broken elevator, a cabin that an avalanche buried, or in some other terrible situation and they come out of it madly in love. Only through our suffering can we get closer.
What do you love most about working out together?
KATIE: You know the saying “You’re your own biggest critic”? This certainly applies to me. I have days at the box when I don’t lift as much as I’d like to, or I don’t move as fast as I think I should be able to. It’s really nice on days like this to have my biggest fan by my side to help keep me balance.
CHRIS: Definitely knowing that there is always back up. The worst part about working out is those days when you just have nothing in the motivation tank and would rather be lazy and call it in. Having someone to share the pain before, during, and after keeps you honest.
On days when you work out separately, do you talk about it?
KATIE: YES! If Chris does a WOD before me I am always pumping him for details so I can try to prepare myself for what is to come. Or, if I go on a day that he takes off, I can’t wait to get home and tell him about how I did. I love sharing my successes and failures with him!
What do you enjoy about The Cove?
KATIE: I feel like I could write a novel about the people at the Cove. The community and the coaches are wonderful. As soon as you walk in you are welcomed and part of the family. It is such a diverse group of people, but we all share the goal of self-improvement. There is nothing more motivating than hearing a buddy cheer you on when you want to quit and nothing more valuable than that coaching tip given at exactly the right moment.
Outside of the people of the Cove, I have to say that I love overcoming self-doubt. Seeing a WOD, a lift, or a movement and thinking “There is no possible way!”, then getting down to business and getting it done! I am constantly challenging myself and seeing growth.
CHRIS: Goodness gracious, everything just everything. But if I had to pick just one thing. I love the coaches, like if Brian/Eric/Chris/Luke ever need a kidney or something I’m all over it, Marina you get my heart 😉 It takes a special kind of amazing to get me to look forward to doing anything other than laying on the coach with my dog. And the coaches somehow do it day after day.
Any advice for people who are just getting started with CrossFit?
KATIE: Embrace the culture of CrossFit and believe in yourself. You don’t have to be the best in the box, you just need to give it your all! Everyone is incredibly supportive, and as you start to hit those PRs you will see that they are almost as excited for you as you are!
CHRIS: Buckle up, you are gonna be twenty kinds of sore that first week.
2 Back Squats OTMEM for 8 minutes
(These are speed squats and should be at about 50% of your 1 RM)
9 Front Squats
12 Sit ups
200 M Run