March 2014 Spotlight Athlete: Liz Gard
What made you decide to start CrossFit?
I had heard about CrossFit for a couple of years. My cousin is a volleyball coach for Southern Wesleyan University and has her girls do CrossFit workouts. In April of 201, I went for an on ramp class at another local box, but did not feel like I belonged or was even remembering movements from one day to the next. I came across a Living Social deal in May and thought, it’s now or never! I decided to start in June, as school would be ending and would be a perfect time to focus on myself. That first workout I thought I might die, yet I couldn’t wait to come back. I knew I was hooked!
What results have you seen or goals have you achieved?
Thanks to Ryan I can no longer fit into most jeans, especially skinny jeans! But I could not be more proud of the strength in my legs. I grew up playing volleyball from the age of five and admired most of the Notre Dame volleyball team, their hamstrings, their calves, their overall strength. I am happy to finally have the strength and physically fit body I had admired so many years ago.
What do you like best about the gym?
I love the atmosphere and family of friends. No matter what day or time I am there someone is saying hello, congratulating me on an accomplishment, or encouraging me to push harder or dig deeper. You can’t just walk into any gym and feel that kind of love and support, even from day one.
What is your favorite exercise or WOD?
I love Saturday’s when we do team or partner WODs especially if something is programmed that I think is the skill I will never be able to finish. I also like any WODs with handstand pushups, simply because the first time I didn’t have the shoulder strength to do even one.
What is your least favorite exercise or WOD?
Any WOD with burpees, wall balls, or running! Killer when they were all once programmed in the same WOD! Although they are not my favorite, I never skip those days as I know it will only make me better in the long run.
What motivates you to show up day after day?
The people in our box and the experience each day. I know no matter what kind of day I had at work, I can walk in the box and my focus is immediately shifted to the strength skill or WOD for that day. Nothing else seems to matter at the point and just being there is a little daily therapy.
What negative thoughts hold you back from being your best?
During summer challenge in June I would look at the WOD and think, there is no way! I would have a negative dialogue in my head on continuous playback. “You are too weak.” “You will never be able to lift that weight.” “You are not meant to be a runner.” The list goes on and on. But I would finish and shock myself at my accomplishments. Then one day in August it clicked, I keep saying I can’t but yet I overcome it each time! I trained myself to stop thinking that way and think no matter what it is, I CAN!
What has been your most memorable moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
Just this past week during 14.1 workout getting DU for the first time. It was also my February challenge to myself to get 10 unbroken, proud that I finished what I thought was never going to happen! Also the time Ryan was demonstrating wall balls and said he could throw it so high it was possible to do a burpee before having to catch it. So I dared him to do it! Needless to say that did not turn out well, but I got a good laugh out of it. The 5K Gone Bad was also a great experience and chance to get to know some awesome women at our box!
What has been your least favorite moment at Strongpoint CrossFit?
I really can’t say I have one. Maybe hitting the box during box jumps, but we all have to go through that rite of passage!
What’s one thing that no one at the gym knows about you?
I was born with a congenital birth defect which did not allow me to digest food properly. My mom fought for years, going to doctors and specialist throughout the state, to get answers and the help I needed. The condition I had was so rare, that it took five years to diagnose. The doctors had given my mom little to no hope that I was going to live more than a few months when I was at my worst. Due to the malnutrition of not being able to digest food properly my heart and other major organs were beginning to be compromised. I was finally able to have surgery and make a full recovery after two weeks.
What is your favorite quote from Strongpoint CrossFit?
For kettlebell swings, “Thumb up your butt, you’re good” Isn’t that how it goes?!
What do you want to accomplish with your training in the next year?
I have yet to complete a WOD with tire flips, so that is one my list. Overall, I want to continue to build my endurance, strength, and become more lean. My diet is a big focus for me this year so far.
What advice would you give to someone who just started out?
To not give up on yourself, the process, and our coaches. Keep coming back and getting plugged in with the people at our box because they want to see you succeed!
What advice would give to someone who was on the fence about starting?
You never know until you try! Don’t think you have to already be in the best shape of your life before you try CrossFit. Doing CrossFit will get you in the best shape of your life.
Coach’s Comments: Liz came from a very humble beginning in CrossFit…. I distinctly remember that she missed the Summer Challenge Kickoff and then was late to her first class the next week. Her comment above about negative self-talk makes complete sense in hindsight. She did not seem to have a lot of confidence in her ability initially, but stuck with it and we have seen marked improvements in all facets of her fitness and most importantly, her attitude and confidence since that time. She participated on a team during 5K Gone Bad, just ran her first half marathon (The Donna), and immediately turned around and registered for the CrossFit Open. This is a person that would not run 400m without an inhaler 9 months ago and, oh by the way, she ran that half marathon (her first ever) on CrossFit alone! She has also participated and seen results in each of our last three nutrition challenges and goes out of her way to help along new members. Liz is a prime example of CrossFit empowering someone to do more than they ever thought possible. It is for these reasons that she was an easy choice for our March Spotlight Athlete!