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September Spotlight: Jess and Arthur
How long have you been a member at CFD, and what made you want to get started?
Arthur: I started foundations in December of 2011, so six and a half years. I was always active in sports with wrestling being my main sport. I tried several things after college including the John Deere fitness center, Westside Fitness, and then a year of doing P90X in my basement. I wanted to find something that was not so repetitive, had a wider variety of movements, and would get me out of the house. I finally found Crossfit Dubuque searching for fitness programs online, and it sounded exactly like what I was looking for.
Jess: I’ve been a member for about five years and it was Arthur that made me want to join. He had started the year before me and was so into it, I finally decided that I HAD to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, I was just as hooked right away.
What changes have you seen in yourself since your very first day?
Arthur: One of the biggest changes I’ve seen (which may seem shocking because I still have so much further to go) is my flexibility! I have been told I am as flexible as a 2×4, but I have made large improvements. When I first started I could not properly get into a squat snatch/OHS position due to the lack of flexibility in my hips and shoulders. Over time I kept adding weight and felt the bar starting to lock into the right position. I feel I have improved nearly all movements, but I have personally noticed the biggest changes in the movements I dislike the most: Wall balls, rowing, deadlift, snatches, and running. I feel like I am becoming more efficient and am learning to relax in uncomfortable movements, if that makes sense. I have found I am able to better control my breathing. Finally, I know more about my body and how to pace/attack each workout.
Jess: Strength, confidence, and an interest in fitness! I’ve never been one to focus on strength gain, didn’t play sports growing up and never thought much about working out. I would usually pay attention to my fitness in spurts (like when I had something to ‘get in shape for’) and then taper off after the event had passed. CrossFit instilled in me a genuine interest in my health and wellness and made me realize I could actually have fun working out. It always seemed like a chore before. I never thought I’d enjoy the challenge and excitement of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.
What did you do for fitness prior to CFD, and what do you like most about CrossFit?
Arthur: As I stated before, I have always been active in sports with wrestling being my go to. At one time or another I was also involved in baseball, football, cross country, and track. After college I did help coach wrestling for 3 years at Wahlert, and then began doing solo workouts. It always felt like something was missing going from team sports to working out by myself in a gym or at home in my basement. To me, one of the best parts of Crossfit is working out with the class. There’s the comradery, people to keep you accountable, and always being pushed to do your best. Even on the days that I feel like pulling back a little, watching others give 100% inspires me to do the same. Another favorite part of Crossfit to me is the varied workouts. I have been in Crossfit for over 6 years and I have never felt burned out or that anything felt too repetitive. It is something new every day and I still anxiously pull up WOD Hopper every night at 7 to see what we will be doing the next day.
Jess: I bounced around between aerobic videos and those like Insanity, and would walk and/or jog here and there but didn’t commit much. A few co-workers at a previous job organized a boot camp on lunch breaks that I got involved in and really enjoyed, which made me start thinking about committing to some sort of fitness organization. Luckily, that was about the time Arthur heard about this new CrossFit gym opening up in town and the rest, as they say, is history. I like the community most at CFD – the amazing coaches along with the awesome members provide the support and encouragement that keeps driving those gains! I mean gainz. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by friends when you hit that PR or as you’re lying on the floor completely exhausted but knowing you accomplished something great.
What type(s) of workouts are your favorite?
Arthur: Anything that has bodyweight movements: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, toes-to-bar, muscle-ups, burpees, rope climb, HSPU’s, ring dips, etc. Whether it is a couplet, triplet, EMOM, or chipper, I like the bodyweight movements included.
Jess: I enjoy the ones with a variety of movements, like chippers. I’m a big ‘to-do’ list person (I know, surprising right?), so chipper workouts feel like my thing. I also like working on gymnastics type movements because I think they’re fun and I know I have some room for improvement there, which is a nice challenge.
What type(s) of workouts do you least like to see come up?
Arthur: It is definitely no secret that I am not a fan of wall balls and rowing! I am sure most people don’t like to see the movements they feel they are most lacking. I also mentioned in a question before that I feel I need a lot of work on deadlifts and snatches/OHS as well. While part of me doesn’t like to see these movements come up, the other part understands that there is only one way to get better – keep doing it! And it is extremely rewarding to feel that you have made progress on a movement.
Jess: Anything with overhead movements since I have A LOT of flexibility work to do. Overhead squats and snatches definitely make me nervous!
What are your goals going forward?
Arthur: This is a hard question for me. I have so many reasons why I work out, but if I had to specify a goal, I would have to say to continue to improve. I know that is very vague. It is easier for me to state the reasons why I work out. First, I feel better physically and mentally when I work out regularly. I get out of sorts and a little cranky when I go several days without a workout. Second, I love the daily grind. I enjoy challenging and pushing myself. Third, I want to be an example for our kids: Aiden (6), Jayda (3), and Aubrey (4 months). I have already noticed Aiden and Jayda trying to replicate the exercises that Jess and I do. Fourth, it allows me to do other physically demanding activities that I enjoy such as mountain hiking, obstacle course races, and local Crossfit competitions. Finally, the long term health benefits of regular exercise.
Jess: My main goals are to stay healthy and to be able to keep up with our very energetic kids! I want to be the type of parent that can get down on the floor to play and run around with them in the yard. Gym-specific goals are basically to keep working hard at mastering technique and uncovering more of that untapped strength and endurance. It’s so fun to learn new skills and continue to raise the bar for new challenges!
What advice do you have for someone just starting out at CFD?
Arthur: Listen to your body and go as far as you are comfortable going. Also, showing up is the biggest hurdle – the coaches and other members will help to make sure you get through any workout.
Jess: Enjoy the journey! It may be intimidating at first, but if you trust the process and let the energy of the community support you, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish, while having fun at the same time!