WEDNESDAY WINS! ANDREA C.!
Today we celebrate one of our most fierce morning warriors, Andrea C.! Not only is she one of the strongest and most determined athletes at the Cove, she’s also one of the sweetest. She’s that bright light that makes those tough mornings so much easier for so many and we are thrilled she’s allowed us to feature her as this week’s Wednesday Win!
It’s hard to believe when you see her move that she wasn’t a lifelong athlete. “I didn’t play any sports — I was the anxious kid who always watched everyone else play. I’m such a nerd. In the summer when everyone else went to sports camps I went to science camps. I tutored other kids. I literally sought out camps to do intellectual things.
My brother used to tease me and tell our friends that I was ‘just smart and pretty’”. Being an athlete is something she never saw in herself, even though others did. “In middle school the coach, who was also my PE teacher, asked me to try out for the track team. I said no and they persisted so instead I asked if I could be the manager. They said yes because I think they were trying to get me comfortable with the idea of being on the team, but I didn’t want people to looking at me. I didn’t want to be the center of attention.”
Ironically, now her job IS to be the center of attention. “I teach in front of classes that have anywhere up to 100 people. It took me to my adult years to get comfortable. I finally realized no was looking at me the way I thought they would.”
It also took her a long time to rethink her fitness and find the gym life she now loves. “Even though I never worked out, I was always pretty fit. I had two dogs – a Lab and a Bloodhound – and if I didn’t walk them all the time the house would be a mess! So I walked them a TON!”
It wasn’t until 2013 that she found her first gym. Let’s do the math: Today she turned 33 (Yes, today! Happy Birthday Andrea!) so it wasn’t until she was 28 that she stepped foot into a gym. “It was a boot-camp, but it’s where I fell in love with lifting weights. I was around all of these super strong women and I loved it. And then I got confident enough and started even lifting with the guys. I loved hanging out with the people I trained with. We’d come early just to hang out and catch up on life. I felt like I was a part of a team. It’s the TEAM that makes it easy”.
After we moved I found my way to CrossFit gym and loved it right away. I belonged to another box and have dropped into so many that I really knew what a box could be. And it helped me figure out what I really wanted from gym. I came to the Cove with Jeff for the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ and it was so much fun. One of the coaches said ‘you should come back and do the free week trial — and I was like I want to sign up NOW.”
That’s why this extraordinary woman drives 25 minutes to be at the Cove six days a week at 5am (yes, she’s always the first one there well before the 5:30 start). She even came in for the 5:30am class on her birthday when she had the day off.
“That’s the whole thing. I love working out with the am crew. The guys are great and I love working out with them but the women are so strong — physically and mentally. It’s so great to sit and talk to them and find out more about their background and what drives them.
I know I’m improving in part because who’s there. We all know each other’s weaknesses so people know where you need to go and want to help you get there. Natalie helped me push through to hit 305 on a deadlift last week and I never thought that would be possible. We all recognize where everyone is in their journey and it’s about trying to help each other find that breakthrough. I remember the day we did ‘Annie’ I heard Nassim let out a yelp mid-workout. I knew immediately she got those first 50 doubles unbroken and we were all so happy for her.
That sign above the door that says, ‘The best part of your day starts now’– it is SO true. There are times I come in for the competitor’s class on Saturday and think that Coach John has legitimately lost his mind. But afterwards I feel so good.”
Andrea is undoubtedly a seasoned athlete now, but what we are most amazed by is her ability to continually ‘break through’. She’s well past the ‘CrossFit Honeymoon’, where every day is a PR and benchmarks are shattered. She works hard for EVERY incremental win, every 5lb PR and better movement quality.
“I think it starts with consistency. I come six days a week. I try and come in early and try to play around with a few things because there is always going to be something to work on. Sometimes doubles happen, sometimes they don’t. I’m working on ring muscle ups now and stringing HSPU. It’s always evolving. There’s always something to master.”
And she is great making the time to do what she loves. “I love the Olympic lifts so I did the Barbell Club last time. It was so great. There were so few of us we could watch each other and learn from each other too. And John could dive deeper into the nuances. He would explain how things should ‘feel’ and really spend time on each position. You have to dedicate time outside class to do that, but you can really learn so so much!
The competitor’s class on Saturday mornings is awesome and comp training is just phenomenal too. There are days I wish I could just live in the gym, but I just can’t. But before class I can do my thing in just a little bit of time. I can spilt it up and do part of my accessory work before or after class. You really don’t have to be there too long to get the work done.
My nutrition is getting reeled in too. I try to be really conscious of what I put in my mouth. I do Territory meals for lunch and some salads with protein for dinner. Breakfast is usually a shake and eggs and turkey sausage. I just think about it more than I used to. I don’t love sweets so it really has to be REALLY good to tempt me. Like those pumpkin bars that Ms. O’Donnell used to bring in…. those were amazing!”
And she does all of this with an added challenge. “I was bit by a tick in March in 2017. It took a long time to diagnose, but I ended up having Lyme’s disease. And I now have rheumatoid arthritis as a result. At first I was just so tired, and there still days that crush me, but it could be so much worse. My doctor said ‘CrossFit has saved you’.
It really did. It saved me mentally and physically. Some days I’m just cognitively and physically slow. The Lyme is now being managed but I have rheumatoid arthritis as a result. They gym has been a place that where I love being; even if my body tenses up, I can let go of things. Even to be able to share this with Mattie, who’s also going through this — we check in on each other and that’s really cool.
And what about all that confidence she lacked when she was younger? “I come in just wanting to get through the workout but when I leave I have so much confidence. I used to be so concerned about people looking at me, but in the gym all of that goes away. Even if I’m the last one working out – it still builds my confidence because I know I challenged myself. You will never get better by not being last at some point. There’s always a way to push harder. You can up the weight on the bar or go for the doubles instead of singles.
I’m not saying it’s easy. But you can’t just stand in front of a bar and wish it would lift. You have to just keep at it. The accessory work matters. It all matters.”
And while her brother teased her for being ‘just smart and pretty’, well, now he’s eating his words. Now his Christmas gifts to her consist mainly of workout gear and fitness accessories. AND he’s yet to work out with her. We might argue he’s afraid he can’t keep up and she’ll start calling HIM ‘just smart and pretty’. Call her whatever name you want, but the list of amazing attributes is LONG. We’re so proud of what she’s accomplished and we can’t wait to see what’s next.