Tell us a little about you...
What are some of your athletic accolades?
- Attended Wodapalooza as an individual athlete in 2016
- Qualified for the MACC Sanctional Event in 2019
- Obtained my CF L1 certification in 2018 and I coach/do personal training at a local gym in Pittsburgh PA
- I’ve competed and placed on the podium in many local competitions from 2014-present
What have been some trying moments during your competitive CF career –or- life in general that have shaped you into the person you are today?
I used to be very skinny (approximately 90lbs at 5’6”) and I had a very unhealthy relationship with food and fitness. I would think that the skinnier I was, the healthier I was, and would do cardio only. I was honestly scared that weights would turn me bulky and make me “too big”.
In 2013 I started CrossFit at 95lbs, and I quickly realized that to move the weight, I had to be stronger. I learned that physical AND mental health is important in this sport and in every aspect of life.
As I progressed and began coaching, I also realized the value of exercise not only for myself but also for the value of helping others enjoy exercise. That really resonated with me as I was coaching and even further established itself while I was finishing up physical therapy school.
Nutrition also came into play when I realized that I performed so much better when I put healthy food and clean supplements into my body. I used to work at a nutrition store and was always amazed at how people would just resort to a magic pill to fix everything instead of cleaning up their diet and health choices.
Which do you enjoy more, competing as an individual or on a team, and why?
Definitely a team. When I first started doing CrossFit, I did a lot of individual competitions because I was honestly scared to let anyone else down. But after going to RAW and doing many team competitions, I realized I work better when I know I have others who are supporting me and who I can support. I perform well when I know I have others who are rooting for me.
I find team competitions to be more engaging because of the strategic planning that has to go into each workout as well. It’s amazing when you have a team that works well together because of the way that you flow together and read each other. I also am extremely competitive, so if I’m with a group who will push me then I know I will be able to excel.
Tell us the best piece of advice you can give someone looking to get into CF?
To get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s a big CrossFit slogan already, but I think it is really applicable to everyone. In order to grow, you have to move outside of your comfort zone. Some movements might be awkward and clumsy at first, you might need to scale back every single thing, but each day you have the opportunity to better yourself by learning new things and advancing the skills you already have. No one starts out being perfect in this sport and comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Set goals, get uncomfortable, train hard, and the results will follow.
By learning to be content with being uncomfortable, you also can apply this to the rest of your life outside of the gym. Learn to take chances that are scary, set high goals, and never live with regret. I’d rather live knowing I tried and failed then knowing I never tried.
What advice do you have to offer someone who is having trouble balancing working, school, and their fitness?
I think I can really connect with this statement because I started CrossFit while I was in my freshman year of undergrad and have been doing it ever since while holding down multiple part-time jobs.
You are going to need to make sacrifices and learn how to prioritize. There needs to be a balance and you should never force yourself to train if that means neglecting school, work, or family. Accomplishments are made through consistency in the gym and love for the sport. If it becomes something that is tearing you away from your other priorities, you will end up resenting it eventually.
Taking off days is good, take care of your mental health and give yourself breaks, you’ll know when you need them. I’ve been known to burn the candle from both ends and no good will come from that, every aspect of your life will start to suffer. Set aside time for yourself to recharge, and then set a plan for the next couple days/weeks so you don’t have that to worry about.
What is your ‘why’?
When I was younger, my grandma told me to always be strong even when I didn’t think I could. I’ve always loved remembering this statement. There are lots of days that I think I’m not good enough or that I’m doing too much. But I just remember that she told me to be strong, so I know where I came from and what I’m capable of.
How do you give back or positively impact your CF community?
When I’m at the gym that I coach at, I will constantly apply some of my PT knowledge to go beyond the usual coaching skills and help people with accessory work and modifications they can do outside of the gym in order to prevent/heal an injury.
I also constantly strive to keep a positive attitude. I think we were all put on this earth for a reason and I like to think that if I can positively impact one person in some way each day, then I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
What do you like to do outside of the box?
I love to do everything and anything outdoors! Hiking, swimming, kayaking. I’m also a very avid reader and cat snuggler. I love to go to the movies, travel to different historical destinations, and spend time with my friends and family.
I am also finishing up graduate school for my doctorate degree in physical therapy, so I am always learning, studying, working, and trying to increase my knowledge basis so I can help those I work with.
Why do you choose to fuel with Swolverine?
Since I used to work at a nutrition store for about 5 years, I saw the things that they would fill their “supplements” with. A lot of it was garbage and not helpful at all. Swolverine is a transparent company with even more transparent and clean ingredients. The flavor is absolutely amazing and what the company stands for is everything I want to represent. I trust Swolverine to help me go from fit to the fittest.