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October Athletes of the Month

 

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Congrats to the husband and wife team, Andrew and Jama, on being October’s Athletes of the Month! Please read their stories below.

Name: Jama Johnston
Age: 36
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina USA
How long have you been CrossFitting? Just over one year.
What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? Push-ups. I think they are a good gauge of fitness, and I am excited when I can do a higher number of continuous reps or more difficult versions.
What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Sit-ups or pull-ups. I may be the slowest person in the world at sit-ups, and pull-ups make me feel so weak! Box jumps would also be up there. The amount of mental focus required is exhausting.
What is your previous workout/athletic background? I grew up playing a variety of sports – mainly softball, swimming, and golf. My focus was primarily on softball, and I traveled around the country playing competitively. When it was time to go off to college, I made the decision to hang up my cleats and gain the freshman 15. From that point forward, I hopped around different gyms and different types of workout classes on a search to be fit.
What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? CHALLENGING! I started CrossFit when I was 8 weeks out from having my first child (so I basically had zero abs) based on the encouragement of my husband, Andrew, who started CrossFit while I was pregnant. He caught the bug from the beginning and was working hard to avoid a dad bod. I figured there must be something magical about this place because of his dedication, and I wasn’t about to let him be more fit than me! I was super nervous the first day I met Tarasa to talk about whether my body was capable of jumping into Foundations at that stage. Other trainers I had seen after giving birth were quick to limit my level of exercise, and I was finding it frustrating. I missed intense workouts and wanted to challenge my body in a safe way. CrossFit Cayman was such a different vibe. I could tell from the beginning the coaches were really invested in me getting back in shape and helping me stick to a healthy lifestyle for the long run.
What results have you seen since CrossFitting? Tons. A year ago, I was sure I was never fitting into my jeans again. After the new year challenge in January, I was able to slide in my old clothes with ease. I have added a lot of strength which helps since my son is a husky boy! I am most proud of me and my husband’s dedication to working out 5 days a week while navigating a newborn and demanding jobs.
What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? I work out in the morning so my brain is still asleep, and I don’t realize the level of torture until its too late. I try to limit my breaks as much as possible because I feel like once I stop I may not be able to start again.
What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman? The coaches are always watching and ready to give much needed guidance!
What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? For years I was of the mindset that CrossFit was for meatheads and everyone gets injured. CrossFit Cayman is quite the opposite. Its a safe environment where you can become the healthiest version of yourself if you are ready to commit. Don’t put off giving it a whirl to see if its for you! I can’t imagine working out in any other gym now – I am a believer.
Name: Andrew Blevins
Age: 35
Hometown: Crossville, TN, USA
How long have you been CrossFitting? One and a half years
What is your favorite WOD/Exercise? I enjoy WODs with a mix of weightlifting and cardio. Bench press is my favorite exercise because I don’t have to think much when I do it. Squat snatch, overhead squats, and double unders have become favorites because I couldn’t do them when I started CrossFit and I learn something new on the technique every time they’re programmed in a workout.
What is your least favorite WOD/Exercise? Chippers are my least favorite type of WOD. Something about staring at a huge number of a particular movement (70 burpees for example) makes my stomach turn a bit. Toes to bar and pull-ups are also my least favorite because anything on the rig is hard for me since I have zero gymnastics background. Even though I always have to scale my numbers, I keep working on them and trying to get better.
What is your previous workout/athletic background? I played football and basketball through my sophomore year of high school. After that, I was a typical gym member and played some recreational sports. I spent way too much time on treadmills and elliptical machines, doing bicep curls, and ignoring squats.
What was your first experience at CrossFit Cayman like? The coaches and members were welcoming and encouraging. They helped me realize anyone could do CrossFit. I quickly became addicted to the variety of the workouts and the feeling of having a barbell in my hands. I hadn’t done a power clean in nearly 20 years and it felt great to do some real weightlifting again. I had gotten away from it because I usually worked out alone and didn’t feel confident enough to lift heavy weights without someone around to watch my form.
What results have you seen since CrossFitting? The results have been tremendous. I haven’t lost a huge number of pounds, but my body composition has noticeably changed. It’s funny to me that I’m in the best shape of my life now that I finally stopped working out to get skinny or get to a certain weight and instead started focusing on strength and fitness. My mile time is as fast as it’s ever been and I haven’t run more than a mile and a half at a time since I started CrossFit. My arms are more defined than they’ve ever been and I haven’t done a bicep curl in the same time frame. The most unexpected result is my increased mobility. It’s not something other people notice, but it’s so much easier for me to squat down to play with or pick up my son. That has come from the mobility we do in class and increased strength in my squat. My son is also a big part of my motivation to stay healthy and keep working out. I don’t ever want him to be stronger than me. My goal is not just to feel and look better now. I want to still be doing power cleans, snatches, and squats when I’m 70+.
What do you do to get yourself through a tough workout (mental thoughts, tips and tricks, etc.)? I usually focus on how I’ll feel when the workout is over. I know I’ll eventually get through it and I’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment when it’s done.
What’s your favorite aspect about working out at CrossFit Cayman? No doubt, it’s the attention to detail from the coaches. Whether someone has been CrossFitting for a day or 10 years, we all go through the same basic warm-up and focus on the fundamentals of each particular lift. The coaches dedicate a lot of time each class to making sure everyone is moving safely and they are very helpful to scale workouts to each athlete’s fitness level. I’ve visited several other gyms since I’ve started CrossFit and each time I’m so thankful I started at CrossFit Cayman.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about joining CrossFit Cayman? If you’re thinking about giving it a try, do it for a month and see how you feel. I always joke that everyone who starts CrossFit looks like a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time when they first do a snatch or a power clean. That’s ok because you have to learn the movements. No one there will judge you because they can all remember how awkward their first experience felt. I wanted to cry the first time I did a workout with thrusters. I was only working with the bar but my wrists hurt so bad I didn’t know if I could finish the workout. If you talk to most CrossFitters, I guarantee their biggest regret is not starting sooner.

 

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