13901543_10102104650590372_4275982040087541899_nWhat was your fitness like before becoming a member at CFMTL/MECKA?

Before coming to this fitness facility, I did a variety of group exercise classes at other gyms and ran for several years. I had really good endurance, but I wasn’t very strong nor did I know proper weight lifting form.

How long have you been working out with us and how did you get into it?

I joined Mt. Lebanon CrossFit in April 2015, and Mecka when it opened. I decided to try CrossFit again after I moved to Brookline. My other gym was too far away to travel to daily.

What were your thoughts after your first workout here?

I was impressed on how knowledgeable the coaches were with proper weight lifting techniques. All of the coaches were great, but John (and former coach Josh) were extremely helpful in assisting me with my squats and teaching me to become more flexible in my back, hips, and ankles. I learned more in my first month at Mt. Lebanon CrossFit than I did in a whole year at a different CrossFit facility. I also liked how encouraging the other members were towards me. Yes, the workouts are competitive, but never once did I feel like someone was trying to beat me. Everyone just wanted to push me to do my best, and that’s a great feeling! Lastly, I liked how I could electronically keep track of WODs and weight lifting performance.

What were your goals when joining us?

When joining this fitness facility, I wanted to maintain my current healthy lifestyle and learn to lift heavy weights. I always had to work hard at the gym and eat well to maintain a healthy body weight.

28093816204_e85c4ff032_kSince joining what physical and mental transformations have you made? Tell us about that.

A few months after becoming a member, I planned to get pregnant. I wasn’t sure if CrossFit and the Mecka classes would be an appropriate workout routine during my pregnancy. With the approval of my doctor and the help of the coaches, I was able to continue with modified exercise movements up until the day before I gave birth. It also helped me to become physically active again after having the baby. Before pregnancy, I was just worried about being skinny and fit. Now, I want to be strong and healthy. I want my daughter to grow up seeing her mom take care of herself physically and mentally through exercise and good nutrition.

What inspired you to make such a drastic change to get healthier? What or who was the biggest motivator?

I was inspired to become healthier after college. I had gained weight because I didn’t maintain a healthy life style, and it affected how I felt about myself. By becoming physically fit and eating clean, I gained confidence again. At Mt. Lebanon Crossfit and Mecka, my biggest motivator is seeing other people push themselves in their workouts. Also, the kindness they have shown me and others have made me want to be a better person in my everyday life.

12983244_10101936960612432_6288923451642542930_oWhat has been the most challenging part of your journey? Biggest obstacles?

The most challenging part of my fitness journey is getting back to where I was at before the baby. Each day, I am able to do something I couldn’t do the day before. I still have a long way to go, but I know that I will become the best version of me if I continue to work hard and stay positive.

What changes have you made to your daily life, diet & workout routine that have been the most successful for you?

When I eat 5-6 portioned meals and/or snacks daily that are clean and balanced, I see the best results. By eating lean protein, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, and drinking a lot of water, I have more energy and perform better during my workouts. It also helps when I prepare my food ahead of time. I try to follow the 80/20 rule. Plus, I don’t trust people who don’t eat pizza and drink beer every once in a while.

What advice would you give someone looking to start a similar journey?

The advice I would give others is to use the gym as your “me time”. Even if you don’t feel like going, just go! I always leave the gym feel invigorated and ready to take on the world afterwards.

Favorite WOD/Workout Least Favorite WOD/Workout?

I used to like burpees alot, but now that I’m working to build up my core muscles again, each one feels like I’m slowly being tortured.

28093810204_0a1d79a011_kFavorite Lift/ Least Favorite Lift?

I like squatting now thanks to John and Josh!

Something no one at the gym knows about you

No one at the gym knows that when I’m having a bad day and head to the gym, their smiles, nods, waves, and encouraging words during workouts make my day 100% better! I’m beyond appreciative of that support system.

When you’re not here, where are we most likely to find you?

When I’m not at the gym, you can find me taking care of my 2 month old baby girl Reese, or spending time with my family and friends. I like trying out new restaurants, going to the movies, attending a sporting event, going skiing, spending time at my cabin, traveling and going on vacation. Right now I’m on maternity leave, but I’ll be returning to my 5th grade teaching job at some point in the next year.

Knowing how far you’ve come, if you could give your past self-advice, what would it be?

I would tell my past self that life’s too short; eat dessert.

Do you look up to any particular athlete at the gym?

I look up to all of the women who lift more than what I weighed when I was 41 weeks pregnant! You girls amaze me! That’s my 2018 goal.

How do you feel about the coaching staff here? Who has inspired you the most?

Not only are the CrossFit coaches top notch, the Mecka instructors and the lovely ladies working the front desk are amazing as well. Each and every one of you make this gym my happy place!