CFLA Athlete Profile – Beth Karlin

 In Athlete Profile, Blog

Name: Beth Karlin
Hometown:  Laguna Niguel, CA
Age: 37
Occupation:  Research Psychologist 
When did you first start CrossFitting?: August 2009
When did you first start training at CFLA?: August 2009
Favorite WOD:  Cindy
Least Favorite WOD: Fran

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I played soccer as a kid and then just did basic gym workouts throughout college and my twenties – went through a “Turbo Kick Boxing” phase at 24-hour fitness that I look back on and smile/cringe. I also worked outdoors for a few years leading young people on hiking trips and teaching rock climbing, mountaineering, etc., so my lifestyle was generally pretty active. When I settled back down in LA, I started running but wanted to gain strength so Zar convinced me to try out a 3-month membership at CFLA and the rest…

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?I can’t remember my actual first WOD, but I definitely remember everything feeling very very (very) hard for the first few months. After a few weeks I would think I was getting the hang of things and BAM – a new movement I’d never seen or heard of before. Back to square one. When will it end? How much more is there to learn? When will I ever feel like I know what I’m doing? Felt like such an uphill battle…

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I’ve had some ups and downs with fitness since I joined. I got in GREAT shape for a couple years, was running half marathons and feeling stronger and more fit than nearly anytime in my life. I remember after one of our holiday “inversion challenges” I could stay in a (supported) handstand for over 3 minutes and thought I was invincible. Then I sprained my ankle on one foot and tore my Achilles of the other one so that put me out of commission for a bit. I feel like I’m just getting back into shape after all of it but the CFLA community has been supportive and encouraging throughout. In addition to exercise, my diet and lifestyle habits have changed through CFLA challenges and now the Whole Life Challenge – I still love a good croissant but wouldn’t deign to eat a saltine cracker.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?I remember arriving to my first class at CFLA – I was about 5-10 minutes late and Andy told me I had to leave and come back the next hour. I couldn’t believe that a gym would treat a paying member like that… why couldn’t I just come and go whenever I wanted? How could that possibly affect others in the class? And then AFTER that first class, he asked us to clean up before we left and I was just in shock. What kind of business was this? With the prices we paid they couldn’t even afford a cleaning person? I viewed a gym as a commodity and a service I paid for – it wasn’t about the people but just a place to exercise muscles. It’s hard to even remember feeling that way because I now completely see how each person contributing to and being accountable in class by showing up on time, cleaning up, cheering on classmates, etc. creates the environment I love so much at CFLA. That was a big shift in perspective and not something I expected from a gym.

Also the feeling of trying something for the first time (e.g., pull-ups, double unders) and being quite certain that its impossible and then a few months (or years) later being able to kill it on that same movement (or at least string one or two together)… well you can’t help but take that out of the box and into your life. How many other things in my life do I think are impossible but just take a little focus, practice, and attention? 

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: The first WLC finals back in Spring 2011. I had stayed pretty strict the entire challenge – had barely a cheat point in the entire 8 weeks – and then we got to the gym, did the WOD and lo and behold there were Diddy Riese ice cream sandwiches waiting for us in the tall room. I think I ate 3 of them. And I looked around this room and we were all sweaty and giddy and just loving those ice cream sandwiches like grown adults had never loved ice cream sandwiches before. I honestly can’t remember the last time something tasted that good…

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t be hard on yourself. It gets better. You get better. Track your performance but your points are not the point. Being the best you physically and mentally is the point. Workout “scores” are just a good anchor to measure progress towards your own goals. And they are your own – yours and only yours. Nobody else cares if you are slow or lifting light or using assistance. Everybody in the room is completely supportive of you and proud of you for everything that you do. And don’t be afraid to push yourself a little. Finishing the workout first is not winning – in fact it may just mean you could have gone a little heavier. Winning is when you feel like you gave your all to every single movement – your attention, your energy, your focus, and your skill. When you do that, you win CrossFit.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I really enjoy entertaining – nary a month goes by that I don’t have a dozen or so people over for a Shabbat dinner or a holiday themed brunch. I also am in LOVE with Los Angeles and try to take full advantage of what this city has to offer. Summer concert series, First Fridays at the Natural History Museum, curator-led tours at LACMA, Iris talks at Annenberg, concerts and comedy shows at Largo, the Bowl, the Getty, Artwalk, and of course the outdoor recreation – beach, mountains, desert, climbing, hiking, camping – I can’t go a month without seeing stars and lots of them. And I have an uncanny ability to remember early 90s hip hop lyrics. It may be greatest talent – if only it paid the bills, I would never have gone to grad school. 


Friday’s Workout

Toes to bar

B) Double under skill practice
-Identify 1 area to improve or challenge to meet. Implement in Part C

C) 4 RFQ
12 Pistols
1min Double unders
**5 Burpee penalty each time point of improvement is missed or challenge is not met**

And Coming Monday

A) FQ at ≤70 RPE
1k Row

B) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM + 8-20lb as 1RM)
60% x 5
65% x 5
70% x 5

C) QAMRAP 10 at ≤70 RPE w/ SOMSAVS scoring
10 Wallballs
10 Power clean and jerks (40%)



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