First, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your interests outside of CrossFit?

I grew up right here in North Raleigh in the neighborhood of Brentwood. I went to Millbrook High School and then attended ECU where I received my BS in Exercise Physiology. I then moved to Portland, OR where I received my Doctorate of Chiropractic at Western States Chiropractic College. I began gymnastics when I was 5, right after Mary Lou Retton received the gold medal. I even had the same American flag leotard! I did gymnastics for 13 years and competed for Raleigh School of Gymnastics. I also competed for Millbrook and was a part of our 2-time state champion team; undefeated 2 years in a row. I’ve been practicing chiropractic in Apex since 2005 and became owner of Back to Basics in 2008.

Outside CrossFit I love being active. My friends know my passion for yoga, but I also enjoy running. If I lived closer to the ski slopes (and the slopes were better than here in NC) I’d ski 2-3 times a week. It’s the only reason snow is ok with me. I enjoy gardening and have landscaped flower beds at our house. We also have a vegetable and herb garden to which I have a love/hate relationship. I hate how much work it is and all the factors I can’t control, but I love getting food knowing how and where it was grown. I love to cook and bake. I have fun trying new recipes and then figuring out how I can doctor it up in different ways to make it my own. I make a killer chocolate pound cake, carrot cake, and pumpkin bread. None of these are paleo! Luckily I don’t have a big sweet tooth, so I can make them and not eat them all myself. I also enjoy painting. One day I hope to take an oil painting class, but for now I use acrylic paints and love to use the flowers from my garden as my subjects. My husband. Jim, is even tolerant enough to let me paint things on the walls of our house, so I’ve done several things from words to the OM symbol to a tree in the room that was my daughter’s nursery. Jim and I enjoy traveling. This usually involves a passport and a backpack to places people have never heard of or thought of as a vacation destination. We look forward to teaching our kids how to travel, see other cultures, and not just book at the all-inclusive resorts. I enjoy being a mom. It’s something I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do, until I met the right person. Turns out they have been the single, biggest thing that has shaped me as an adult. They are my mirror images and I work really hard at making sure I’m a good role model to them. As a family we have a lot of fun together.

How and why did you get involved in CrossFit?

Getting involved in CrossFit was divine intervention at its best. Things were not working out so great where my chiropractic practice was located, so one day when driving home I passed CFS and thought to myself, “I wonder how Paul is doing?” When I got home I sent him a text and asked if he might have space for a chiropractor, yoga teacher, and massage therapist (Debbie has been with me for over 3 years now). He replied that CFS had just expanded into the space next door with an office for which he had no use. Later that day I checked it out, called Debbie, and within 3 weeks moved in. I was 3 months pregnant with my son when we moved into the office. Paul kept telling me I needed to come try a workout, “lots of women do CrossFit while pregnant!” I wasn’t convinced I needed to add that yet, so I promised him that when I was 3 months post baby I’d give it a try. I figured if I’m going to practice chiropractic next door to a CrossFit gym I had better find out what they do and what all the fuss is about in the healthcare community that CrossFit is dangerous. Once I started I can honestly say I cannot believe, and get a little regretful, that I didn’t discover CrossFit sooner. I was a competitive gymnast, took weight lifting classes in high school and college, and love to run…how did I not do this sooner?!

What was the first workout that you completed? What do you remember most about the workout?

I’m a super nerd and have a ridiculous memory (don’t you know my husband just loves that about me!), therefor, I remember that first workout like it was last week. It was a Friday, May 1st at 7am and Mike Allen was the only other member in the session with me. Paul was coaching. We first did an EMOM Sumo Deadlift High Pulls in the strength segment. The MetCon that day was an AMRAP of 30 box jumps, 20 push press, and 30 pull ups. I scaled the crap out of it! I did half the number of reps, lower box than prescribed, and bands for pull ups. I felt really good afterwards and was very relieved that Mike was so kind and the only one to witness my first time! I will say it took a few workouts for me to be hooked. I was so sore for the first 2 weeks I wasn’t sure I was going to adapt. Not to mention it’s a lot to pick up at first. I quickly zeroed in on Laurie and Jaclyn at 6am as my goal to hang with them one day. Mission accomplished!

What are your current and future training goals?

I have set a goal to begin competing individually outside the box in 2017. With that said I am hoping to achieve my ring muscle up and get faster and more competent at handstand push ups. I am also getting more serious in my head with getting my weights heavier.

What is your favorite activity or lift, e.g., pull-ups, dead-lifts, running, front squats, snatches, burpees, etc.?

I love anything with the barbell. I love to squat. I love handstand walking, too!

What is your least favorite activity or lift?

This is a trick question! A year ago I would have told you a list of things I did not like, but that was simply because I struggled with them. No one likes to do things they are not good at doing. Am I right? I am not a huge fan of squat cleans or snatches. I love everything with a barbell, but those 2 lifts get in my head.

What PR are you most proud of achieving and why?

I have 2: my bar muscle up and legless rope climbs. Muscle ups are fundamental moves in gymnastics. The bar muscle up is something I did regularly on the bars (we in the gymnastics world call those “kips”) when I was younger. Ring muscle ups are the for the guys in gymnastics, so they come a little more odd to me. Achieving that bar MU at 37 reminded me of times when I was 17. It gave me a feeling of I’m never too old to do what I want. The legless rope climbs make me feel like a solid bad ass. Period.

What do you enjoy more, strength or conditioning and why?

I enjoy strength training more. Being strong comes naturally to me. I have been told I have a pretty powerful presence, lifting heavy things makes me feel that power. The confidence I’ve gained through lifting is phenomenal. To look at a weight and think, “there’s no way” and then lift it…amazing. It’s such a mental game, too.

I will say that my first endurance training with Paul showed me that I’m quite the sprinter. I never knew that! I’ve shaved some time off my mile, 3K, and 5K, but that does not really mean I enjoy training. Years of gymnastics and teaching yoga and Pilates have ingrained conditioning into my body, so I don’t mind pushups, sit-ups, planks, pistols, and those sort of activities.

Do you eat Paleo/Zone?

I will first say I hate labels. And when are “they” going to change the name of the paleo diet? Eat for the body you want and the fitness level you want. I have definitely learned the hard way you eat to perform. But I don’t deprive myself of what I want, either. I don’t count calories, I don’t weigh my food, and I don’t chart 30/30/40. Years of yoga has taught me to be mindful of everything I do in life, and that involves eating. I can mindfully enjoy 1 or 2 chocolate chip cookies, rather than carelessly devour 8 or 9. I also know that if I go to my husband’s bar and eat the loaded nachos I better eat some good salads in the days ahead. I would much rather have homemade goodies with good ingredients over store-bought pre-made, prepackaged, and sugar/chemical loaded crap.

With that said, I eat strict Paleo when in the Lurong Challenges. I find that doing the Lurong Challenges are great ways to reset and become more aware of, and eliminate, sugar. Each time I do the challenges I notice I’m just as strong, just as fast, and rarely get sore from any workout. I do believe potatoes, oats, rice, quinoa, and other good quality grains/starches are healthy, but if I can substitute them for veggies in a recipe, why not. We all need more veggies in our lives.

What are 3 fun facts about yourself?

  1. I was the strongest girl in my high school. I was the cheerleader/gymnast in the weightlifting classes with the football players. Our 4 core lifts were bench, clean, deadlift, and squat. I was the only girl while I was in school there to combine my 1 RM of all 4 lifts to get into the 800# club.
  2. I was an EMT in college. I worked on a volunteer rescue squad outside Greenville for 2 years and was the medic for ECU’s rugby, lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee teams.
  3. I started teaching group fitness in 1998 at the ripe age of 19. Here’s what I can remember of what I’ve taught over the years: step, cardio aerobics, slide, circuit, cycle, aqua, Pilates, BodyPump, BodyFlow, RPM, senior chair fitness classes, and of course, yoga. I remember being 5 years old when I asked Santa for the “Get in Shape Girl” set. My mom took me to her women’s only aerobics studio a few times so I could take the classes when I was about 5 or 6. I wore my gymnastics leotards and wanted to be Jane Fonda. Fitness has been my life for a very long time!