So you’ve probably seen Julie kill WODs and throw some serious weight around. What’s interesting about her, is that lifting was not always something Julie was into, even after doing CrossFit for a while. She describes feeling how so many ladies do, afraid to get bulky, or just not being motivated by going heavy. But, Julie is, without a doubt, tapping into some serious talent. And it makes me think how unfortunate it would be if she hadn’t. She is a great example of not letting all the voices, whether your own, the media’s, or your non-CrossFit friend’s, get in the way of kicking ass.
Julie, watch out boys, she is probably outlifting you.
Height: 5′ 9″
Weight: Don’t know – usually somewhere around 155-160
Career: Licensed drug dealer – aka pharmacist
C & J: 160
How long xfitting?
I started crossfit in March of 2010 in Tucson, Arizona at the encouragement of my older brother. His theory was that I would make a good crossfitter because according to him, I am fairly strong for a girl and I have short arms. After much discussion, he said something about short arms being an advantage for things like pullups and pushups, but I’m still trying to figure out how being built like T-Rex is advantageous for anything. I always figured I would try it out for a few weeks to see if it was a good fit, and never expected to drink the kool-aid so quickly.
Do you have any athletic background prior to finding CrossFit?
I was a swimmer from an early age in a summer league in Montana and swam for a year in college. I attended a summer sports camp in Canada for 7 weeks that focused on swimming, but also had numerous sports including soccer, tennis, volleyball, fencing, war canoe, kayaking, and archery to name a few. I tried basketball and track in junior high and played soccer and volleyball in high school. I picked up ultimate frisbee in college and joined any intramural team that involved a ball.
You were CrossFitting before you came to MBS. What brought you to our gym, and what do you like about this gym?
I joined MBS in October of 2011 after moving to Westminster for my current job. After spending a year at Front Range CrossFit, I was certainly sad to go, but had heard nothing but great things about MBS. I remember my first workout was a team workout with two girls that had just joined about a month or so before I showed up. Admittedly, I was just coming back from taking ~ 4 months off from CrossFit, so I was feeling a little sluggish. These two girls were enthusiastic, energetic, and nothing but supportive as we gutted out our team workout. I remember thinking that feeling like a part of the community has always kept me motivated and coming back for more over the many grueling crossfit workouts and this was no exception. As a member at MBS, I have continued to see improvements in my numbers, which was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to continue to move my numbers as much as I have at MBS. I am no doubt my biggest critic, but having a group of like-minded people who continue to cheer you on goes a long way when you think you can’t lift a certain weight or do another rep, not to mention 5.
How has CrossFit changed your life? Physically, mentally, spiritually.
Crossfit has physically changed me in a way that I was hesitant to accept. I have always had a sturdy frame, but I was the girl worrying about building too much muscle when I first started. As I continued to see improvements in both my 1-rep max weights as well as being able to do workouts prescribed, I became excited about being stronger and getting in better shape. I don’t own a scale and I don’t care what the number is on the scale as long as I feel healthy and continue to improve.
What I have had to learn over the years is that crossfit is very much a mental exercise. The number of times I have thought that something was too difficult or too heavy held me back and created a wall that appeared impenetrable. When I started at MBS, I had been stuck on a 1RM deadlift for over a year, and came to realize that it was much more of a mental game than anything else when I tried to lift just 5 more pounds. I would fail and someone would say, “the bar was moving, you should have kept going”. In my mind, it didn’t feel like it was even budging, but if I had stopped thinking “I’m at the max weight and this is all I can do” and instead thought “I can get this one – I’m stronger than I was 1 year ago” it should have been easy. Instead it took me watching a girl who likely weighs 40-50lbs less than I do hit the same 1RM as I did and deciding that I was going to do better! I’m not saying you should compare yourself to other people in the gym, but I found it inspiring and motivating to watch her hit the same weight. I’ve since added 20 lbs to my 1RM deadlift and I’m confident that I can do more!
Spiritually, I think crossfit makes me feel more alive. For 1 hour, I get to focus on nothing but my ability to challenge myself to be tougher, stronger, or faster, and somehow still be breathing at the end of it. I also enjoy the great people I have met at the gym. It’s incredible to me to think that 1 year ago, I didn’t know any of you but have come to build some great friendships from having struggled and supported one another both in the gym and outside the wod.
Favorite WOD/least favorite WOD?
Favorite wod – anything that plays to my strengths which have thankfully continued to expand over the years. I started off with an advantage to wallballs (sorry to those who are a little more vertically challenged) but I’m happy to add double unders (which at one time I thought I would never be able to do), anything that requires lifting heavy weights, and rowing thanks to some excellent coaching over the years.
Least favorite usually involves something with body-weight exercises – toes-to-bar, running, burpees (although they are growing on me), and rope climbs
Most important CrossFit accomplishment?
Difficult to list just one as I love being able to see improvements. For example, I struggled with pullups for months. I had to use bands to do pullups for the better part of 6 months. At the time, I was told that to get my pullups I had to do 10 pullups with a band every time I came to the gym. Progress was measured by changing to a thinner band each month almost like clockwork. So much of my problem was timing with the kipping part of the pullups. I was willing to take advice from anyone that was willing to give it to me. Just continuing to try different techniques and hear what worked for other people kept me motivated until I finally got my first kipping pullups. In true crossfit fashion, then next workout had 100 pullups in it. While I shredded my hands on that workout, I’m proud to say I finished it without a band. It was the same with double unders. I’m sure it looked like I had been whipped by someone based on the welts I use to leave the gym with, but I was determined to link double unders. Continuing to pick up the rope after every workout and attempting double unders for 15 minutes or more helped me figure out the timing and ultimately link them together.
Any big goals you are going for right now?
I really want to figure out muscle ups. I’ve been working on dips and false-grip pullups, but anyone that has seen me after class knows I’m still painfully far away from getting one. While it seems like the most challenging movement in crossfit, I’m convinced that it is like everything else. I may not be the person that can get it on the first or even fifteenth attempt, but I’ll get it someday.
What/who inspires you?
I’m inspired by watching other people continue to challenge themselves and improve over time.
Most valuable thing you’ve learned through doing CrossFit.
Keep challenging yourself – you might be surprised when you look back and reflect on what you thought was hard or maybe impossible and realize it has become doable or even easy over time.
What’s the best thing that happened to you last weekend?
Getting to spend time with family who all live in different states. I may feel like I’ve had enough quality time with the family for now, but sometimes it can be hard being so far away from everyone all the time.
What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up? What is your favorite TV show now?
My brother and I used to watch cartoons after school which included Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, and TailSpin to name a few. Favorite TV show now is Modern Family.
Last book you read?
Technically, its a review guide for a big exam I have to take in October (how boring!)
Advice for new CrossFit athletes?
My favorite thing at crossfit is changing my 1RM on the white board and my best advice to any newbies out there is to add your name to the board and watch your numbers move. I was hesitant to put my name on that board at first, but it has been one of the most motivating things I use at MBS. While it can seem discouraging or intimidating at first, my favorite thing to say (and in my mind the most important part about crossfit) is that we all had to start somewhere.