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July Athletes of the Month

Congrats to Brianna Wilkerson and Andrew Morrison on being July’s Athletes of the Month! Please read their stories below.

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Name: Brianna Wilkerson
Age: 28
Hometown: George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
How long have you been CrossFitting? 4 years! June 30th, 2014 was actually my first official day after Foundations!
What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? Weightlifting! In particular, Power Cleans and Squat Cleans! Love the power, intensity, strength, speed and honestly, confidence that comes when I do those exercises!
What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Double Unders – messing up and whipping my butt with the rope, ouch for days. But when I don’t do that, I love them :)
What is your previous workout/athletic background? In high school, I used to play Basketball, Softball, and Netball. Stopped sports later in high school and also stopped exercising as much. It was around this time I really began to struggle with body image, eating disorders – both under and then overeating and eventually lost tons of weight to just gain it all back. But once I moved back home from college, I began to see eating and exercising as ways to truly love my body and myself, and slowly changed my habits, got back into eating well and running as my choice of exercise and lost 30 lbs and have kept the weight off since.
What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? Amazing! The coaches do a great job at caring for their members – making sure we move safely and well, attending to each member individually in some way, and taking time to get to know us personally. Matt and T were also extremely instrumental in encouraging and mentoring me in the early stages of my health and life coaching business, Made Well, allowing me to support their members’ nutrition and health-wise through my coaching programs. They continue to support me as I prepare to take my Crossfit Level 1 Trainer exam this month and I can’t wait to support my clients and the members of the gym in that way!
What results have you seen since CrossFitting? TONS! The first week I started Crossfit, the Summer Challenge was happening and I decided to do it and see whether the Paleo Lifestyle was a great fit for me or not. Come to find out, it was and still is! Not only did I win that challenge by cutting down my Angie time by 3 minutes and losing 4lbs (since I had lost a lot of weight before joining Crossfit) I also now follow a more Paleo/Whole30 lifestyle because my body just responds way better to it digestively and physically overall. Furthermore, since starting Crossfit I’ve actually gained more muscle, strength, leanness and overall fitness than I have ever had in my entire life. Even with the injured wrists I had, with the help of all the coaches, I was able to still workout daily and get stronger and fitter.
What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? Since I’ve been working out a lot with the coaches lately, I just tell myself that if I could even finish 10 minutes behind Tomy and Tarasa, it’s a good day. Jk! But in all seriousness, I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to what others are doing in the gym and tell myself that I am not a quitter and although the workout may hurt, I have what it takes to finish it by taking it one movement at a time.
What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman? The support from the Coaches and the Members! The coaches are keen on making sure you have proper form, push yourself, and become the best version of yourself. The members are always supportive and tell one another they have what it takes to keep going and finish the workout strong. And of course, Saylah (Matt and T’s Daughter) is one of my FAVORITE aspects of working out at Crossfit Cayman. Who doesn’t love a little angel who also knows how to lift weights and pull up? :)
What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? Listen, stop waiting until XYZ happens to start. There is never going to be a perfect time to start working out again or eating well. The best time is RIGHT now. Don’t look back on where you WERE or COULD BE, start where you are RIGHT NOW and take one step forward in caring for your health again. At CrossFit Cayman, you will feel loved, supported, and empowered to reach your health goals right from the day you start.
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Name: Andrew Morrison
Age: 38
Hometown: London
How long have you been CrossFitting? 4 years, which surprises me now that I think about it! I have a short attention span, so there’s not much that is capable of holding my interest for so long…
What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? Anything involving snatches and bar muscle-ups. I enjoy those movements the most and also there’s some satisfaction in how challenging and time consuming it can be to learn them. I’m writing this having just laboured through Randy though, so will caveat for that one; 75 snatches, ouch.
What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? I don’t know what it is about wall balls, but we don’t like each other at all. Nothing takes the gas out of me like a wall ball. That makes Karen my nightmare WOD.
What is your previous workout/athletic background? Lots of football as a kid, followed by years of inactivity, followed by further years messing around with, but not being particularly serious about, running half-marathons, triathlon and traditional gym memberships. There was one gym I recall in particular where I signed up to pay monthly membership fees for a year and only stepped foot inside once… All in all, not a particularly glorious athletic background! I struggled for ages really to get consistent or meaningful results.
What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? I was hooked by the end of foundation course. The theory behind CrossFit and what fitness means all just made sense to me; functional movement, the 10 components of fitness, eating non-processed foods etc. Although I remember feeling pretty awkward and uncoordinated with lots of the movements. Everyone has been there though, which creates a really positive and encouraging atmosphere for newcomers.
What results have you seen since CrossFitting? I lost around 20 pounds rapidly in the first year, and then slowly but surely started to add muscle weight and eventually gained back around 10 of those (in a good way!). Apart from the physical changes its been something of a re-education – I cringe at what I previously considered to be good nutrition or moving correctly (horrible wide-elbow push-ups, anyone?!). I’m in a challenging place right now because of a bad injury (not suffered at CrossFit I might add – that bouncy castle has a lot to answer for…), which has taken three months and counting to recover from but unlike pre-CrossFit, I now know exactly what is needed to get my fitness back to where it was.
What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? Setting mini-targets within a WOD works well for me – aiming for x number of reps on the minute or no longer than 10 seconds of rest between sets for example. The buzz of a busy class and some friendly competition can also take the edge off a tough WOD. I check for my PRs in benchmark WODs too – it’s motivating to improve upon a best ever time. I used to look out for Nick Rogers’ times, but he’s been blowing me away recently. The man is a finely tuned machine.
What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman? Kind of a cliché thing to say but it’s got a real family feel. I’ve met some of my favourite people and made great friends through CrossFit. Competing together in events outside of the gym has been awesome too – Off the Beaten Track, the CI Marathon, Cross Island Relay, even a paddleboard relay. Mostly thanks to our chief organizer / motivator, Renata. Also compared to CrossFit gyms I’ve dropped by in other countries, the standard of coaching and focus on good movement is off-the-charts at CrossFit Cayman.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? If you want real results and are prepared to work hard for it, I just don’t think there is anything out there as effective for physical change or as a base for achieving your best performance in other sports. The other thing is that I often hear people say they want to get fit before trying CrossFit – guess what, the best way to get in shape for CrossFit is to come and do some CrossFit!!

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