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

My name is Kristen Harmel, and I’m a wife to my wonderful husband, Quentin (aka Q), and a mother to my three crazy boys; Kaelob (20), Cooper (8), and Kaine (5).  They all keep me pretty busy with school, sports, and well…boys being boys.  I am 39 years old, and was born and raised in Apex, NC…believe it or not.  I love spending time playing golf with Q whenever possible, and sometimes the kiddos play along to make it a family affair.

How and why did you get involved in CrossFit?

I have always been drawn to the crossfit style, and even dropped in a few times to join in on the fun.  My sister would send me WODs from her crossfit box that I would incorporate at the gym, and those were always my favorite.  I worked out at a gym 3-4 times a week, but just wasn’t obtaining the weight loss/muscle toning results.  I finally took the leap and joined Crossfit Surmount in January 2020 (one good thing in #2020 to celebrate).  This was my Christmas gift from the hubs…the gift that keeps on giving.

What was the first workout that you completed?

Prior to actually becoming a Crossfit Surmount member; I ‘dropped in’ to survive The Murph for 3 years in a row.  My first workout with Surmount involved Power Snatches!  This was an awkward movement for me, and I kept trying to muscle them up…pretty sure I strained some muscle/tendon in my right thumb/hand.  I just remember feeling dead after the workout, and having to take so many breaks and wondering how in the world everyone else kept pushing through so QUICKLY!

What are your current and future training goals?

Endurance/Stamina is still top on my list to improve.  I struggle with any metcon that involves running.  Second, on my list would be Cleans and Snatches to work on dropping under the bar.  I should probably add in Double Unders…I try!

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

Despite needing work on my Snatches; these are probably one of my favorite strength movements to do.  I love a challenge and these provide that everytime.  I also enjoy the gymnastics movements HSPU and Pull-Ups.  I think I like these, because I have only recently been able to grasp these concepts and every time they are on the calendar I get excited to try and improve those movements.  I’m super competitive so honestly…I want to be ‘good’ at ALL of them!!!   Also, I found it hilarious that burpees were on the “example list” for this question.

What is your least favorite activity or lift?

After some of my previous responses; I feel that these answers should come as no surprise…running and burpees (BLAH)!  Cardio is my nemesis!!!

What PR are you most proud of achieving and why?

Since I only joined in Jan2020 the PRs are still coming regularly for me, but each time brings a new excitement!  The Squat Snatch PR may be my favorite, just because dropping under the bar is so mentally challenging for me.  So, anytime I am able to drop under that bar and increase my weight is an achievement.

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

STRENGTH 100%…perhaps just because I can more easily see the upwards trend in my progress so it is more rewarding.  Cardio/conditioning is a struggle for me, and I have seen improvement but I loathe those days where we have a run/wall balls/burpees all in one metcon…AAAAAHHHH!

How have you handled your training during the quarantine?

Training during quarantine was a struggle at first, but I knew I needed to keep up with it.  My husband was my motivator during this time…I love working out with everyone in class and that in itself is the energy needed to get through some of those workouts, so not having that proved to be a challenge for me.  I scaled most movements as equipment was limited; however, I was super impressed with how Surmount and the Coaches handled the entire situation!  I was able to land some equipment/barbell later (WOO HOO!), and that was the extra push I needed to get me through until the box reopened.  That was a new challenge…making sure you didn’t forget to sign-up…man the classes filled up quick (especially 6am)!

Favorite food(s)?

I love ALL things food!  My family and I have to eat Mexican food at LEAST once a week!  I don’t make them often (bc I will EAT THEM ALL), but homemade Cinnamon Rolls with cream cheese icing is my favorite sweet!  Is wine a food group? 

What are 3 fun facts about yourself?

I was Little Miss Apex (for my age grp 10) back in the day and won Overall Miss Congeniality (HAHAHA)

I had a brother, Kyle DuBose, who suffered from Schizoaffective Disorder and took his own life at the age of 23…Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Awareness are VERY important to myself and my family (we organized a 5K in his memory for 3 years where the proceeds went to Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder research)

I LOVE to bake! I always make homemade cakes/cupcakes for my boys’ birthdays (on theme, of course).  I am on the hospitality committee at my church, so I bake regularly for them (once allowed to again).  Holiday cookies are just around the corner!!!