August Athlete of the Month: Jess Colton
Congratulations Jess! You’re the NoCoast Athlete of the Month!!
Jess has been a NoCoaster for just over a year now and, in that time, has gone through an incredible transformation inside and out. Not only has she gotten stronger, but she has physically and mentally gotten healthier over the past year as well. Having an outlet and a positive influence for her and her kids has been a game changer and the NoCoast community has become her second family. We love having Jess in class; her kind spirit and energetic personality lights up the room. Jess comes in everyday and gives it everything she’s got - we couldn’t imagine NoCoast without her!!!
A few quotes from Jess...
“I found that when I focused on eating whole foods and limiting my sugar intake, I was not only stronger and faster in my workouts, but I was also far more patient and even-tempered. That’s right. My kids (ages 6 and 8) told me I was more fun to be around when I “stopped eating sugar”.”
“The NoCoast community is amazing. The respect and love and support that everyone has for one another is apparent every day, both inside and outside the gym. We all have this entire community at our backs. That is super freaking cool!”
I’ve never been very athletic. Relatively fit and semi-coordinated, but that’s about it. I did ballet (and other dance) for 10 years when I was younger and I played volleyball in high-school…like a million years ago. Super boring, I know!
How long have you been CrossFitting?
Exactly one year. I think that in February of this year, I really committed to getting in 4-5 times/week (when I’m not travelling!) and I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my performance.
How did you get into CrossFit?
I had heard friends talk about it, so I had been notionally curious about it for awhile. I started renting an office space next door to NoCoast and after about 6 months (yes, it took me that long), I finally went over and talked to Sam about giving it a try. I was just looking for an alternative to a typical gym…at that point, I didn’t really understand what the community was about and I was more than a little concerned that I was too weeny to make a go of it. I sucked up my BS, showed up for a Saturday class, and got my butt handed to me. I signed up right then and there.
What is your favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
Rope climbs. There is something about the risk involved in being 15’ up in the air in the middle of a killer workout…it really forces you to focus on what is happening right at that moment. Also (I’m going to get ridiculed for this) burpees. I always feel like I got some good work in when burpees are involved.
What is your least favorite WOD/CrossFit movement?
OMG, snatches and wall balls. Snatches are so badass, but dang. The complexity of that movement astounds me. And I don’t know why, but there is nothing that makes me feel more clumsy and uncoordinated than wall balls. Shouldn’t be that hard, right?!
What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?
Finally getting pullups. I’m still not particularly adept at them, but I’ll be damned if the first time I got my chin over that bar, I didn’t feel like a total rockstar.
How does nutrition play a role in your fitness and recovery?
Oh, boy. Paying attention to my nutrition is a totally new aspect of wellness for me and this part is very much a work in progress.
Like a lot of people, my eating has always been tied to my emotions…when I get stressed, I lose my appetite. I went through a pretty rough personal crisis last fall and dropped a significant amount of weight really fast, so I asked for Sam’s help in gaining it back. We started with just a daily calorie target and a food log (which I had a HUGE mental block about doing)…it totally worked and I was sold.
After that, I jumped in and did the nutrition challenge with Kandi in January. I found that when I focused on eating whole foods and limiting my sugar intake, I was not only stronger and faster in my workouts, but I was also far more patient and even-tempered. That’s right. My kids (ages 6 and 8) told me I was more fun to be around when I “stopped eating sugar”. Pretty good motivation to keep doing better.
How has CrossFit improved your overall wellness?
It’s a total game-changer. Seriously. I’m physically fitter than I probably ever have been, which is totally rad, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The biggest impact I’ve noticed is in my mental health. We all know that being physically active lessens the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, but doing CrossFit regularly seems to go beyond that. I imagine that it has something to do with showing up at the gym every day to do a thing that you know is going to be really tough. The coach helps you plan a strategy for your own success, you do it, and you get better. It seems like then when life throws you crazy stuff, you have this baseline of mental fortitude reminding you that you are more capable than you think. That’s pretty cool.
I’ve always been small and skinny…which I equated to ‘weak’ without even a second thought. After a year of doing CrossFit for myself and witnessing what other people in this awesome community can do, I no longer feel so constrained and defined by my smallness. With hard work and practice, I actually see that I get better and stronger and faster. That shift in mindset absolutely affects how I interact with my world and the people in it.
How has CrossFit changed your family?
All the evening folks have surely run across my curly-haired, crazy kids and I am so thankful that the NoCoast community has been so welcoming of all of us. They love coming to hang out.
I think that what’s most awesome is that I now have conversations with a 6 and 8 year old about what it means to really take care of oneself. We talk about nutrition, getting enough rest, and the importance of being physically active…more than that, I feel like I’m able to surround them with good role models in that. I like to think it is helping set them up to make healthy choices on their own as they get older.
My son struggles with his own flavor of anxiety and it has often kept him from joining in group activities. CrossFit has provided a platform for us to talk about (and me to model) stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new and hard things. Not long after I joined NoCoast, he decided on his own to start Ninja Warrior classes…that’s huge for him!
How has the NoCoast community impacted you and your life?
The NoCoast community is amazing. The respect and love and support that everyone has for one another is apparent every day, both inside and outside the gym. We all have this entire community at our backs. That is super freaking cool!
Last fall, I finally came to grips with the fact that I’m an alcoholic. My last drink was October 15th, 2017. While I haven’t talked a lot about it outright to very many people, the environment at NoCoast has been invaluable for me in finally walking away from that.
I want to call out all the badass NoCoast women that show up every day (you men rock hard-core, too!). It’s important to me that both of my kids really get that it’s normal for women to be strong and work hard, right alongside the guys…I couldn’t ask for a better demonstration of that!
Advice to new people:
Be patient and kind with yourself. Those folks you see throwing around ridiculous weights and finishing the WODs in half the time it takes you, have put in a ton of time and effort to be able to do what they do. Cheer loudly and often, for yourself and the team around you. Celebrate the victories. And keep showing up!