June Athlete Spotlight: Brandie Seay




I joined Crossfit Dubuque in October of 2014 after checking out the website probably a million times.  What made me finally pull the trigger and go for the newbie session was hearing a couple of my coworkers talk every day who had joined the month before.  I would see them hobble down the hallway and tell stories from the night before.  As they would talk about their workouts and what the coaches had said (could there actually be people with a sense of humor as inappropriate and irreverent as mine??) I could feel myself becoming jealous.  I signed up for the newbie session and haven’t looked back since.

Once I began it was a humbling experience.  Although I knew my general fitness had room for improvement I had lifted weights since being in sports in high school and knew I was strong, especially “for a girl”.  But as I started attending classes I was in awe of the weight that was being thrown around, much of it by women much smaller than me.  If the coaches and people in class weren’t so amazing and supportive I might not have continued after the first month because I had always been a person who stayed firmly within my comfort zone.  I would find something I was good at and keep doing it until I was better.  However, if there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to do something with a relative degree of skill from the outset I avoided it at all costs.  As the weeks went on, though, I realized that although people are very competitive at CFD, it is a competition with yourself first and foremost.  Can you be better today than you were yesterday?  Are you giving it your absolute best?  That is what is admired most, even if you have the lowest score on the whiteboard.

While I have always been generally athletic, I was not consistent with my workouts until after my 2nd son was born 10 years ago.  He was a difficult baby and it is no exaggeration to say that I essentially held him for the first 5 months of his life, even while he slept.  Even though I loved him dearly, there were times that I felt I was going to lose it, and one of the only breaks I got from him was when I would walk on the treadmill in our basement.  Granted, I didn’t really enjoy walking on the treadmill but it was better in that moment than holding a crying baby.  Thirty minutes turned into forty, forty turned into fifty…all in an effort to squeeze a little more time for myself.  After a while I realized that I didn’t just look forward to my workout because of the break it provided but I truly enjoyed how I felt after a good sweat.

When he was 8 months old we learned that he had a very rare and serious neurological disorder that would affect every aspect of our lives from that moment on.  I honestly don’t remember much about the time right after his diagnosis but I know that in six weeks I gained 30 pounds (yep, 30!).  I finally woke up one day and realized that I needed to take control of something in my life since so much was beyond my control.  From February, 2007 until now I don’t know if I have gone more than a day or two without getting in some sort of workout.  It keeps me both physically and mentally healthy and has become an integral part of my persona.

It is because of his limitations that I strive to do my best every day.  For example, even though I am probably one of the slowest runners at CFD, I will never stop.  When I feel like my legs are going to fall off and my lungs are burning I remind myself that my son would give anything to be out running with me and so I have no excuse to quit.  I still groan when I see lots of running or burpees in a WOD and consider clicking “un-RSVP” but then I remember that I am blessed to have a body that can do these tasks so I tell myself to suck it up and go to class.  I need to keep myself physically strong so that I can   snuggle with him whenever I want.  Every thruster I do delays the day when I can no longer pick him up and take care of him with my own arms instead of having to use a piece medical equipment.  That, to me, is the best PR I can score.

My advice to newbies??  Find your “why”.  Why do you want to workout?  Why do you come back day after day?  Why are you worth the time you take for yourself when you are at CFD?  Hopefully you will have many whys.  The way you feel when you accomplish something you never thought you could do.  The exhilaration that comes with reaching a PR.  The amazing friendships you will develop that become deeper than you could have ever imagined.  Stick with it in the beginning when it’s hard and you can barely move because I promise you, you will be so glad you did.  I know I am.