Today we shine a very bright light on someone who is truly a bright light herself, Cristi S.   She embodies everything about the culture of the Cove and if you looked up “community” in the dictionary, you’d see her beautiful smiling face.

Cristi came to us about a year ago with a strong background in Taijutsuand Ninjutsu (mixed martial arts). This was her passion and something she did with her kids, so she was unsure of how much time or energy she could put to CrossFit. But over the years, her body took some abuse and she wanted something to add to her fitness regimine. “ I did martial arts with my kids and loved it. I didn’t want to give it up entirely, but I had already had knee surgery, ripped my ACL and every time you get thrown, even with padding, it hurts!”

“I tried other things like spin and yoga but didn’t get a high from it like I did with my martial arts.   But CrossFit gave me that feeling.  That feeling that comes from doing something you never thought possible.”

But that high came with a lot of nerves initially. “I’m really self-consious and knew I wanted to make some changes to my body physically. I reached out to the Cove looking for the next Fresh Start Challenge and Brian told me to just come in and check it out. I was terrified and people must’ve seen the look on my face.  But I had three people come up to me and say ‘you are in the right spot’. They were right. On that first night I met Katie, Simone and Julie. And was introduced to Angie and Meliessa who had just started too. It was an instant support group”.

While a support system certainly made things easier, “Everything still scared me. But, like a lot of things in my life, I hide it through confidence.”   What an interesting and inspiring notion… and it’s clearly worked for her.

“I was raised by a single mom who constantly told me I could do anything I put my mind mind to. And even though there are lots of things I’m scared to do, I put on a poker face and just try it. And it works for me for everything from public speaking at work to walking in the doors at a CrossFit gym.”

And her lens on trying new things is simple: “As long as it is safe, just say yes. The Cove is a great example. It’s such a safe place that I had to say yes. Watching people do it was so intimidating, but everything is scalable. If there is something I can’t do because of mobility or injury issues, there’s always someone there to find a solution that works for me”.

“I JUST started reading the blog. For a long time I didn’t because everything scared me. The other day, I read it and thought “Oh crap, snatches! But then I thought that even though they still scare me, I can use it as an opportunity to work on form and technique ”.   (Author’s note: Cristi could barely do the training bar initially and now she’s moving big sets a 45” from the hang with ease).   AND doing so with great form (look at this extension!!)

She’s conquering snatches and has lots on the list. She’s making amazing leaps on her pull ups (from green bands down to red) and has climbed the rope to 10ft. She just completed her first Spartan race and is looking to do another with fellow Cove athletes.  She crushed virtually every obstacle – even the ones she thought she’d never be able to do. And she credits what she does at the Cove for a lot of this newfound ability.

“I love the programming categories and that I can focus on my FX goals. I don’t plan to compete, but I complete with myself. I love at the Cove you teach perseverance and confidence. It’s something I got from martial arts and love that I get that here. And it is so fun to see the progression, not just with myself but with everyone else around me.”

And now she’s chugging the Kool Aid. She went from a ‘occasional’ punch card to all in. “My goals have changed dramatically. It used to be ‘let me make it though the WOD today’ and now it’s ‘let me get to do fitness twice a week’”. And she even dresses like a true CrossFitter (have you seen this woman’s t-shirt collection?).

But the most dramatic is how the tables have turned in terms of mindset. Now SHE is the one making new members feel comfortable. She remembers what it was like and wants to make them feel as safe as those athletes did on her first night there. “I remember recently we had a new woman in the 7:30p class and I’d give her little words of encouragement and say ‘just keep going’ . I see myself in her a year ago. I’ll think to myself, what did I need a year ago to keep going? And I’ll try to give that to her.’”

“My new thing is now just trying to push others and myself. It’s a fun rabbit game and I love it. I’m only competing with myself, but at the end of the day, we are all helping each other. It’s just people celebrating doing the they never thought possible.”

Wow. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves Cristi. She just has a way about her. She’s a realist, but always the optimist. She makes the Cove a special place. And her view on life is something we can all learn from…

“Life is about experiencing and creating memories. As long as you are in a safe place, it’s all good. If you fail, you can laugh about it when you’re old and gray. If you succeed you can celebrate it. I push my kids to approach life the same way. I’m very strict with them, but I want them to try new things. What’s the worst that can happen?  You can just learn.”