CFLA Athlete Profile – Caitlin Saunders
Hometown: Syracuse, NY Age: 26
Occupation: TV Writer’s Assistant
When did you first start CrossFitting?: October 2012 (I think?)
When did you first start training at CFLA?: Same time
Favorite WOD: Any heavy lifting!
Least Favorite WOD: Franklin Hill!
Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I grew up playing sports – soccer, softball, lacrosse, snowboarding. My teams were really a huge part of my daily life and my friendships. Then I went to NYU Tisch to study photo – and because of the people and type of activity I found myself surrounded by, all those sports and teams dropped out of my life for about 4 years. When I moved to LA I joined a softball team, and realized how much I’d missed being a part of a team and having an active lifestyle – and a good excuse to be competitive!
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I’m not sure how I heard of CrossFit – but I remember typing “CrossFit Los Angeles” into Google, and clicking on the first result – the CFLA blog. I spent days, weeks really, just reading the CFLA blog and trying to bolster the courage to give it a try. Finally – months later – I moved to Santa Monica and had no more excuses. I came in for an intro session – and the baseline workout is the ‘WOD’ I’ll never forget. It was a 500m row, 40 squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push-ups, 10 pull-ups. And it felt – horrible. And humiliating. I’d always considered myself an athlete – just not in the greatest of shape sometimes – and here I was, so incapable of finishing 10 banded pull-ups on my own that Stanwyck had to hold my feet for me. But, perversely, that was motivation in and of itself – I couldn’t be the person who couldn’t do a pull up and ran away from a challenge! I signed up that day and have never regretted it.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Aside from the obvious weight loss/muscle gain, I’ve learned to listen to and trust my body more. I’ve learned to listen when something feels wrong (or right!), and to trust that feeling instead of trying to muscle past it or argue against it. Plus – I just love feeling stronger, more confident, and like an athlete again.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I’d joined just hoping to lose some weight. Instead I got stronger, and became an entirely different person. I felt so confident and like my high school self again – both in and outside the gym. I realized how much I’d missed having an active community and being a part of a team – so I joined a soccer team again. I feel confident and excited about trying new things – like surfing or stand-up paddle boarding or tri-training – because I’m not so worried about being “out of shape” or about failing. It sounds hokey, but I think CFLA has taught me a lot about failure – that it isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s just a part of the process, a standard to work from that gives you a goal to aim for. And that’s a theory I’m trying to apply across the board.
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: My favorite part about CFLA is the community – so I love any event where I get a chance to see old friends and make new ones – the WLC, the Open, Tri-Training, the Christmas Party – even stretching after class! The friends I’ve made through CFLA play a really big part of making Santa Monica home for me and help to make going to the gym a treat and not a chore!
Any advice for people just getting started? Just keep going! You’ll be blown away by the progress you’ll see and the friends you’ll make.
I started in the 6am class (an intimidatingly strong bunch, to be sure) and the first few weeks were hard for me because I hated going into class knowing I would be the last person in from the run, or the lowest number on the board. But the more I went, the more I improved. And that made me realize that the only person I wanted to compete against was myself. And the girl I was when I first started (who needed help with banded pull-ups) was easy to compete against – and fun to beat!
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? In addition to playing on a soccer and a softball team (did I mention that enough?) I spend a lot of my free time reading, writing, and watching TV. I’m always looking for any excuse to spend more time at the beach – and love meeting up with friends for a coffee, a good meal, or a night out dancing! Oh and instagramming. But that might be more addiction than hobby.
A) Snatch high pull
70% x 5
80% x 5
90% x 3
95% x 3
100% x 1
B) 3 RFQ
75 Double unders
10 Wallballs to 10’
**2min Rest between rounds**
And Coming Monday
A) Back squat (Use 90% of 1RM as 1RM)
75% x 5
85% x 3
95% x 1+
B) 4 RFQ on the 4:00
20 Box jumps with step down
15 Thrusters (45%)
10 Toes to bar