June Athlete of the Month: Jennifer Paquette
Congratulations, Jennifer! You are the NoCoast June Athlete of the Month!!
We are so lucky to have Jennifer as a part of our community! No matter the day she had, she always walks into the gym with a smile and ready to put work in! She is fierce, dedicated, and an absolute asset to our crew! Jennifer once used CrossFit as a means to stay in shape for her number 1 passion of horseback riding! Unfortunately, her passion became the epicenter of a tragic injury recently where she fell off her horse and suffered a severe hip injury. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she had to undergo hip replacement surgery! Throughout her whole recovery process, she would only communicate positive thoughts and was in high spirits the whole time! All she wanted was to get back to NoCoast and get back to working out . . . and, that she did! Talk about inspiring! The moment she was cleared, she was back in class excited to grab a barbell again! And, even though she has been forced to forego one passion, she is only looking forward to more moments and years in the gym instead! I wish for her that she could saddle back up on her horse, but I am so proud of the woman she has been through this whole process . . . Jennifer is definitely a woman on a mission of health and community who cannot be stopped! :) We love you, Jennifer, and are ecstatic to finally have you healed up and back in the gym!
These are our favorite quotes from Jennifer’s interview:
“I am more fit at 55 than I was at 35. I love that I can unload and stack 50 bales of hay without asking my husband for help. I think he likes that too!”
“It isn’t just that NoCoast instructors are talented at coaching and tailoring workouts to individuals, the whole gym is welcoming”.
55 years young. 112 pounds
I have never played organized sports. In high school, I danced and figure skated. As an adult, my passions have included dressage, vinyasa yoga, and now Crossfit.
How has CrossFit helped your recovery from your hip replacement?
Crossfit has been critical to my physical and mental recovery. The accident was traumatic. I used the discipline I learned in chipper workouts to literally move forward from a walker to crutches to a cane. Recovery felt so slow. Physical therapy focused on my legs and hips. I added dumbbells, planks, and other Crossfit exercises (constantly varied) at home to work my whole body. In Crossfit, I had learned to listen to my body more effectively and could sense when to push myself and when to back off in recovery. I had generally good body strength before the accident which also helped.
How long have you been CrossFitting?
Two and a half years minus the four long months healing and waiting to come back to NoCoast.
How did you get into CrossFit?
Our youngest son, John Paul, started Crossfit three years ago and encouraged me to try it. After a few classes, I was hooked. We have three sons and I love finding activities I can enjoy with them. John Paul earned his level 1 certification and is now away at college where he programs and coaches on campus. We text frequently about work outs, recovery, nutrition, and goals.
What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
Deadlifts are my favorite by far.
What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
Single-unders. Nothing can humble me more than a jump rope. If I ever get double-unders, I might pass out from excitement.
What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
I had been doing Crossfit only four months when I yielded to my son’s insistence that I sign up for the Open. 16.4 started with 55 deadlifts at 95 pounds for the scaled workout. I had never lifted 95 pounds even once. With the relentless encouragement and insistence of my son, husband, coach, and gym, I got through the deadlifts and even a few wall balls. I learned from 16.4 that my body and mind were capable of things I didn’t think possible. I also learned that it took both the body and the mind to succeed.
How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?
Nutrition is so important. I did the nutrition challenge about a year ago and it had a lasting impact. Drastically reducing sweets and empty carbs improves my energy level, complexion, and sleep. It is amazing to me how digressing to unhealthy food equates to weaker performance in the gym and feeling lethargic.
How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?
I am less afraid to try new things. It has helped with self-confidence. Crossfit has also changed my attitude towards aging. I am more fit at 55 than I was at 35. I love that I can unload and stack 50 bales of hay without asking my husband for help. I think he likes that too!
How has CrossFit changed your family?
Our son has taken over part of our barn to use as a gym. We have rings, rope, boxes, weights, rower etc. Everyone in our family goes to the barn on occasion to workout. When we get to do it together, it is awesome. We have also attended the Crossfit Games a few times. Crossfit has brought nutrition to the table in a meaningful way but not without costs. I have been known to hide my partially eaten ice cream bowl in the freezer if John Paul is home and unexpectedly comes down the stairs.
Advice to new people:
We all have different bodies and aptitudes. Focus on your own progress and enjoy yourself. Progress doesn’t come in a straight line. I am in awe of men lifting bars which bend from so much weight on them and women powering through kipping pull ups rep after rep. These super athletes are the same extraordinary people that high five me when I finish a WOD four minutes after them, lifting much lighter weights, using rubber bands and other supportive devices. It isn’t just that NoCoast instructors are talented at coaching and tailoring workouts to individuals, the whole gym is welcoming. We are all on our own journey. No matter how young/old, strong/less-strong, healthy/in recovery, flexible/inflexible, motivated/unmotivated, we are in it together.