CFLA Athlete Profile – Carolyn Freyer-Jones

CFLA Athlete Profile – Carolyn Freyer-Jones

carolynHometown: Bronx, NY Age: 47 (wow)

Occupation: Life and business coach

When did you first start CrossFitting?:2006

When did you first start training at CFLA?: 2006

Favorite WOD: Cindy Least Favorite WOD: Anything with more than 200 meter runs . . .

Tell us about you sports & fitness background: I have two older brothers who were excellent athletes – little league, tennis, etc.  So – I played little league baseball as a kid – I was the only girl on an all boys team . . .my dad was one of the league managers and he asked his friend to take me on his team.  The coach didn’t get upset when I was scared of ground balls and as a result he stayed in my heart forever. . . I did have a strong swing though.  I was on the girl’s volleyball team in 6th grade.  Girl’s softball came next.  Then a long break from sports . . .musical theater took over.  Then Emerson college in Boston – I played on the women’s basketball team.  Now, given I had never played basketball before, this tells you something about the team.  I was a point guard, and, though by no means stellar, my love of consistent exercise and practice, being part of a team, and having fun was cemented.

My dedication to fitness continued after college – step classes, weight classes, and so on. I shared a trainer for many years with one of my closest friends – meeting the trainer at 6am at the beach, crawling in the sand, going for long runs (I hated this then) and lots of other cross-fit like stuff.  Loved it – even though it was hard.

“Hard” was a theme in all of my fitness endeavors.  Trainers we worked with had us running Temescal canyon (this was both great and horrible – great because it was beautiful and horrible because it was horrible . . and like everything, I did it).  Stairs, lunges, etc.  Roller blading on weekends. .  .

Then I started doing this fitness program in the Valley – driving to the valley 3 days a week, at 5:30am.  It was taught by this kind of crazy yet very talented fitness coach who did these insane, highly varied, intense workouts . . .and he gave us food plans too – lots of protein, no sugar, vegetables . ..sound familiar?  I did this fitness program for close to two years – and it pushed me in ways that I had never been pushed before.  This was all a precursor to my CrossFit days . . .

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? I left the Valley program after becoming disenchanted with the lack of quality coaching and lack of attention to detail and basic poor gym management . . .and saw an article in the LA Times about CrossFit, and specifically Andy and his gym.  I thought, “This sounds like I could do it . . .maybe . . “

Andy was very nonplussed by me, had me do a few squats, maybe a lunge or two, and he said, “OK, you could do this.  It’s going to be hard though, and, people all know each other really well . . so it will be challenging . . .you’ll have a lot to learn.” 

The first WOD I did involved 400 meter runs and rope climbs – challenging, and, strangely fun. . . even though I was clearly not going to be a firebreather anytime soon.  My CrossFit career began, three times a week at 6am at Andy’s old location on Broadway.  I quickly became one of the 6am team, and, Andy grew on me – his enthusiasm, his encouragement, his sense of humor, his ease, and . . .he was so easy to harass.  I loved the environment, the difficulty, and the sense of community combined with outstanding coaching.

About a year and a half later I got pregnant.  Andy turned me onto a book by Dr. James Clapp about exercising with a high level of intensity throughout one’s pregnancy and that was it – I didn’t stop until 2 days before I gave birth.  Three days a week, no matter what, and it was one of THE highlights of my pregnancy. I have vivid memories of Andy helping me get into bands to do pull-ups when I was 8 months pregnant, doing kettle bells in a WOD a few days prior to giving birth . . .I felt fantastic.

I was back 6 weeks later, and everything was HARD. The fatigue that comes with caring for a newborn, breastfeeding, etc, made every workout feel like I was walking through sludge. But being at the gym was a lifeline for me – it assisted me in feeling “normal” at a time when everything was shifting around, adjusting to motherhood and all that this involves. 

 Fast forward to now, and my CFLA experience has changed and grown.  I am in one of the best phases I have ever had – both in terms of my personal fitness level and the gym itself.  The gym has continued to expand, and the quality of the coaching has stayed . . .well extraordinary.  Danette starting the women’s program and leading it with great creativity, heart, and holding the bar high for the women has created a new level of participation and inspiration for me, and, I love the new programming (thanks Kenny!).  There’s also a lot to be said for being part of a warm and caring community for eight years . . .coming to the gym is one of my greatest pleasures each week.  It’s a new level of fun and challenge.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Before – I was fine – never one of those highly muscled women and it was all good – fit, etc.  My commitment to my health and fitness has been ever present, and, dialing it in over the years has been a process, not an event, especially the nutrition.  I am in a great place right now, having slowly upped my days at the gym to 4 times and after having done a number of WLC, I have also made some great changes with nutrition.  I am at a new level of lean and strong for me – lifting heavier, seeing more pr’s . . .who knew I would experience this after CrossFitting for 8 years?  

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? Gosh – so many.  I love to tell people I CrossFit, particularly new coaching clients.  People are always surprised, and it creates a great reference point in coaching conversations.  I coached an Ironman for a few years (in his work as an executive, not as his fitness coach, let’s be clear) and I was able to use his fitness training as reference point for other parts of his life.  Without my CrossFit experience I wouldn’t be able to do this.  I’m able to speak credibly about doing something that’s challenging in so many ways, finding the strength inside to do it, AND how do it without taking it too seriously.  Now that CrossFit is so prevalent in the world, and is seen as almost dangerous, I seem like a bad-ass at first to people who don’t know me very well.  I like this. 

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFLA moments: Too many to count.  Andy’s laugh.  Watching many strong women do amazing things – Shirley, Jen, Becca, watching Danette become a powerhouse both in her workouts and in her growth as a coach.  Laughing and “complaining” with many fellow gym members – Phattana, Trista, Mike, Yin, Eli, Pili, Nina, and now all the regulars who take the women’s class – Amber, Cara, Julie, Francesca, the whole gang.  

A big recent highlight for me was participating in the CrossFit Open – Danette suggested I do it (I thought I could escape without being noticed) and it was a fantastic experience . . .scary, inspiring – I did things I did not think were possible.  I experienced the value of competition and of being coached powerfully in the moment – by Jonesy, by Kenny, and Danette.  Coming on Saturdays and being a player – and getting Eli into a tutu.  I demonstrated my worth by this alone.  Who needs a good score when you can get Eli to wear a tutu?  

And of course, my daughter Lucinda who is 6 is now doing CrossFit kids – it’s so fun to see her in class with Shirley and think about that she was in my belly while I was doing pull-ups . . .

Any advice for people just getting started? Don’t stop.  Keep coming, drop the expectations, don’t judge yourself – acknowledge the teeniest of progress and acknowledge just coming to the gym.  Give yourself a year – maybe two.  Ask questions, talk to fellow gym goers and keep the focus on showing up.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I love my work – I love coaching.  I work with fantastic people and get into their lives with them – what could be better?  I love to travel, particularly my yearly trip to a new country with my mom (now 80) and daughter.  I collect arts and crafts from my trips abroad and have a special love of all things Mexico.  I like hanging out with my family.  I have great women friends who I like to have breakfast with, my favorite meal of the day.  I do some volunteer work, I sing, my husband plays guitar, and my daughter likes to pretend we are a band sometimes.  I really like good coffee – made by someone else.  I like laying on the couch doing nothing, although that doesn’t occur very often. 

FRIDAY’S WORKOUT
PRACTICE

A) Call your pace
500m Row
400m Run
30 Burpees

B) Back Squat 3 x 3 (+2 / +5)

C) Match your pace
500m Row
400m Run
30 Burpees
**Time should be within 10-15 sec of part A**

AND COMING MONDAY
COMPETITION

2 RFT
8 FS (185/120)
400m Run
8 FS
500m Row
**15min cap**
**See 5/10/13**

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