July – Danielle West
Member of the Month:
Danielle is one of the member transformations I am most proud of. When I first arrived at CrossFit Alpharetta I would see her standing in the corner working out alone. She seemed to be a bit overwhelmed. The woman who used to stand in the corner and could barely squat to parallel is now doing ass to grass squats and smiling at everyone in the room! I am truly amazed at the progress she has made. Her quality of life has improved drastically and you can see it in her every day demeanor. Congrats on being our July member of the month Danielle!
What got you into CrossFit?
I got into Crossfit because of back pain. Ironic, huh? I learned that I had bulging discs (L4, L5) and that a simple shot in the back would bring me relief. I was not open to surgery and the idea of a large needle in my back didn’t appeal either. Shortly afterwards my husband and I ran into one of his older buddies doing CF and my brother, who is in the Navy, did CF. Both guys were super enthusiastic about CF but my husband said if you can’t bend over to brush your teeth, how are you going to do lifts? I didn’t know how but I knew my back muscles needed to be strengthened. To my surprise, I was not expected to do the same weight at the same pace in the class, so I found a modification that worked for me and worked out slowly the first 4 months.
What changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
The changes I’ve noticed in doing CF is I’m addicted to something that is very hard yet so rewarding. My body shape has slimmed down even though I am lifting heavy weights. Yes, us girls always get worried we are going to get bulky but the combination of the aerobic with the lifting, it is impossible for me to get big. I love the definition and tone. I’m definitely in better shape at 47 than I was working out on my own.
What do you enjoy most about CrossFit Alpharetta?
I love CF Alpharetta because it is a box that cares about it’s members by the way they interact, coach and take care of the place. I can walk in after a full class and feel like the box is completely organized and ready for a new class. That takes discipline and shows the members that they are just as important to receive a box organized for the next class. The caliber of the coaches is significantly important to me. I feel we have experts, well trained, coaching our classes. I can’t believe I went for years to the gym, doing the same old routine, basically working out by myself. I love working out with a group of people that cheer me on even if I’m the last one to finish.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge with CrossFit?
My biggest challenge with CF has been my own setbacks (two surgeries within 2 months. Coming back was tough but the coaches reached out and some asked and some demanded I show up. I needed that! Shortly after being off for 6 weeks, I climbed the rope 6 times within a WOD. How was that possible after so much time off? Coming back after my second surgery was not as scary and I now know within two weeks I would regain what had temporarily been lost. I’ve learned there will be setbacks but to just keep showing up.
The other challenge I have is I don’t mentally push myself as much as the Coaches push me. They learn how much you can do, they coach you technically and they make recommendations to do more than you think you can do. Pretty incredible feeling once you accomplish the WOD and you start to see how much you limit yourself mentally.
What is your favorite movement and why?
Strangely enough I like Snatches. Perhaps it is due to the vulnerability I have putting weight above my head in a position that stretches me both physically and mentally.
Anything you would like to add/say?
I’ve mentioned the physical body change I can see but I’ve just recently learned my bone density test was slight better than the average 30 year old woman. With osteoporosis in my family, I’m even more motivated to keep this a part of my lifestyle. My husband thought this was just a fad for me. I can’t imagine not only having Crossfit in my life but the incredible coaches at CF Alpharetta pushing me past my own limitations