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Athlete of the Month: Becca

Becca started at NoCoast thinking she wouldn't love CrossFit too much. I think it has slowly grown on her, but what's been more interesting is watching her talent slowly unfold. She is secretly a superstar, and this article will uncover at least some of that. She's a decorated collegiate swimmer-a true leader and example to many who have followed in her footsteps. Her champion mindset and drive has gracefully come more and more to life. She outed herself a little when she climbed a rope the first day at the gym. As her first year at NoCoast ended last month, she can't help but be great. It's not her fault. She's just an amazing athlete. She's lifting proficiently and more weight, can do pull ups, toes to bar, bar muscle ups, and has a rare capacity to really dig deep. This little fish is learning to thrive out of water!

Age/Weight: 37/131

How long have you been CrossFitting? One year.

Athletic/Sports history/highlights: I joined a swim team the summer after first grade. My dad said my big feet were built in fins. By the age of 10, I was practicing twice a day (before and after school), up to ten times a week, mixing in a bit of dry land strength training in the afternoons. I had a lot of success in the pool through high school and earned a full scholarship to the University of Virginia, where weightlifting became an integral part of my training. During my four years at UVA, I was a 12 time ACC Champion and 19 time NCAA All-American in individual and relay events. I held the school record in the 50 yd freestyle from 1999-2009. In 2006, I was inducted into the UVA Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.

After hanging up my suit in 2000, I struggled to find a sport I liked. I tried biking, but I sucked. I tried running, but I upped my mileage too quickly and hurt my knee. I tried triathlons but…biking. I tried yoga and liked it a lot, but it lacked the intensity I had grown to expect from exercise. And hot yoga? No thank you very much. Too hot.

How did you get into CrossFit?

I have a persistent husband! Ryan loved it and was sure I would like it, too. I was skeptical. I believed all the stereotypes and feared bulking up. It only took Ryan a year and a half of asking before I finally agreed to go to NoCoast’s Grand Opening last March. I said, “Okay, I’ll try it! Once. And when I don’t like it, you will leave me alone.”

I might have liked it. A lot.

What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?

I most enjoy the challenge of bodyweight movements…pull ups, rope climbs, push ups, toes to bar…more recently hand stand push ups and bar muscle ups. More than anything else we do in CrossFit, bodyweight movements make me feel strong, capable, independent, and tough.

What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?

DOUBLE UNDERS. Double unders make me pee my pants. Not cool. It’s the one bodyweight movement I do NOT like.

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?

I think it must be my first rope climb. When you find out your body is actually capable of taking you from the ground to the ceiling, all on its own power, it feels pretty incredible.

How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?

I used to eat one pound bags of candy for lunch in college. Whoops. Guess what one pound of candy can do to your body when you’re not training 20 hours a week? Yikes. I have learned a lot about nutrition and what works/doesn’t work for my body in the last few years. I felt amazing by the end of the Zone nutrition challenge this past January. For the first time ever, I was jumping out of bed with energy, ready to start the day. Because I felt so good, I thought Zone would become my new normal, but I don’t (yet) have the self discipline to stick to it. I try to stay as close to Paleo/Zone as I can, but old habits die hard. I believe in good nutrition, and I believe a healthy diet/lifestyle heals what ails you. But, man, I love dessert.

How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?

CrossFit reignited my inner athlete in a way I was beginning to think was no longer possible. I have always thrived in a team environment, and NoCoast feels like a team to me. Everyone is welcoming, kind, supportive, encouraging, fun, and so incredibly inspiring. I look forward to going to the gym because I love the people there; they encourage me to do things I didn’t know I was capable of, and I can watch the elites do things I didn’t even know were humanly possible. Above everything else, I love the community at NoCoast.

I also love having good coaches. I didn’t realize that was something I missed. Knowing that someone I like, admire, and trust expects me to be at the gym on time, has planned my work out from start to finish, and will offer suggestions to improve my technique motivates me to keep showing up.

CrossFit has been good for my marriage. Ryan and I met on the swim team. We bonded over workouts that trashed our bodies. It’s good to have that back in our lives again.

I also love CrossFit because I feel like I’m always trying/learning something new. It’s a constant challenge, and it never gets boring.

Advice to new people:

My advice is more for the people who haven’t quite made it the gym yet. Try it. Don’t be scared.

CrossFit is not dangerous. Bad coaches are dangerous. NoCoast coaches are excellent and go above and beyond to make the gym safe and accessible for all ages and fitness levels.

CrossFit is not a cult. Well, not exactly. A good CrossFit gym, like NoCoast, can be a second family.

CrossFit is not only for the ALREADY fit. Workouts are adapted to meet you where you are right now. It’s up to you where to go from there.

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