March Athlete of the Month


Hometown: Frackville, PA (Schuylkill County - 10min from the Yuengling
brewery, 1hr north of Harrisburg and 1hr south of Scranton on I81)

Current Location:  Ambler, PA

Age:  39

Occupation:  Biologist, specializing in virology - experienced in Gene
Therapy/live virus vaccines.  I recently started a job as a manager at
a testing facility in the naval yard - I am responsible for a group of
19 technicians that screen samples for many different kinds of
viruses.  No, I don't work with Ebola and I don't have to wear any
crazy kind of biohazard suit either.

College:  Immaculata (yes, it was all women when I attended.  No, we
didn't have pillow fights in our pajamas.)

How long have you been a CrossFitter?
Since May 2010.  Michele (aka Donkey) was drunk on the Kool Aid and
for 6M kept telling me about this "box" where there was no heat, they
made you run outside in the freezing cold and there was no regular gym
equipment.  I couldn't understand what was so appealing, especially
because I didn't know her to be a gym person, but her passion and
enthusiasm about it made me curious.  Plus, I had stopped playing
bball regularly and was looking for something to replace it.  Fate
temporarily landed me in Bridgeport living with Michele.  The week I
moved, I went to my intro and immediately went into fundamentals.  The
first month was a blur...I didn't understand how I would EVER be able
to do WODs 2 days in a row.  I am forever grateful to her for
introducing me to Crossfit and the KOP box.  What a gift!

Did you ever play sports?
Basketball - Schuylkill County historically had one of the best
leagues in the state for high school girls bball.  Started my career
in 6th grade and continued through high school (we made it to the
state playoffs for the first time in school history my senior year),
was recruited for D3 in college but chose to focus on my studies
(would choose differently if I had a do-over).  Started playing pickup
with the guys from 1997 - 2010.  Came to a halt when I got tackled on
a fast break at the Lansdale Y.  Was a competitor in and treasurer of
the Merck Basketball League until I left the company last year.  Yeah,
you might say I love the sport.  I love talking trash on and off the
court and enjoy challenging people to shooting contests.  March
Madness is like Christmas for me.

Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share?
I took piano lessons for 11 years with the same teacher (never made
student of the month - I think I broke the spell now), baking (love
trying new cheesecake recipes), former spelling bee champ, can name
most 80s songs after the first few notes.

What is your biggest achievement at CrossFit?
When I started, I didn't do situps, used 13" box for box jumps and had
to air squat to a box.  Now I can string 25 situps, use the 20/21" box
for box jumps and I backsquatted 130# a few weeks ago.

What do you feel that you still need to work on?  my attitude - I run
into so many demons (not the good Vinny kind) inside my head and it
holds me back.

Goals for the rest of this year?
Unassisted pull-up, get my 5K time back down to sub 30, Rx Grace in a
reasonable time domain,

What's your favorite WOD?

How about your favorite food/snacks?
French fries, pizza, cheesecake factory, reese's PB cups, lobster

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done?
MS Mud Run - I knew I'd get muddy, but I didn't realize I'd have to
hold my breath and put my head underwater - ewwwwwwwww.  There were
frog parts floating in the water and all kinds of other stuff I didn't
want to think about.  It was a 10K - the longest run I've ever done.
Did I mention I hate running unless it's on a bball court?

What’s your least favorite WOD?
I have a love/hate relationship with "Randy".  First time I did it, I
thought I was gonna die.  For like 2 hours after it was over.  I'm not
sure how I drove home.  I remember Rob P and I talking about it - the
WTF moment hits you around rep 30 or 35.  But any WOD during the peak
of summer...I tolerate WODs much better in the winter.

Favorite lift/movement?  C&J (it's hard to pick b/c I love deadlifts, too!)

What’s your least favorite lift/movement?  OHS or burpees - I can't decide.

What skill do you want to work on in 2013 the most ?
squat form - I still struggle with lower back flexibility and core strength.

Whats your favorite piece of workout "gear"?
Silly knee socks.  I need more!

What do you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF?
When I started I wasn't doing any situps, I had to air squat to a box
and was using the 13" box for box jumps.  I can string 25 situps, I
backsquatted 130# a couple weeks ago and I can do multiple box jumps
on the 24" box.

Who is your favorite coach?
Plentus - I've historically been a 6:30 gal and I happen to attend more
of his classes than any other coach so I feel he knows me well.  He is
the one that coached me to my deadlift PR and helped get my C&J on the
right path.  The programming in BarBelles was so suited to what I
needed and like, it didn't even feel like work (ok, some of the
cashouts were brutal).  I appreciate that he remembers where I came
from and reminds me when I'm down on myself after a particularly
difficult workout.  He also gives me great advice about what weights
to use when I ask him about scaling the workout.  The thing that helps
me the most is when he points out what portion of the workout is the
most mentally challenging.

I give Tim Pappas a shout out as well - if it wasn't for him I would
have never done my first 5K summer of 2011.  I also regularly attended
his Monday night class and found his endurance WODs so helpful.  His
experience with and advice about running were key to me not giving up
on it - from helping me find different shoes to learning about
breathing, made all the difference.  I've done 4 X 5Ks having never
run for distance and plan to do some more this summer.

Aimee and Jason are obvious choices - I was fortunate to be in a
number of their classes, especially my first year.  I love the
technical details they point out, even on the simplest of movements
like the burpee, rowing and pushups.  I learn something in every class
they coach.

Every coach has helped me improve, so it doesn't seem fair to answer
this question - I think every class is coached with quality.

PR's to mention? Goals Reached? Nutrition highlights?...surpassing
100# on the C&J and 200# on the deadlift, able to do pushups close to
Rx (not doing girl pushups anymore), strung 18 double unders, I made
it through Summer Slam (barely), finishing the K&Q workout in 2011,
started zone in December having never been on any diet in my life
(compliance was lagging in Feb, but still way better than pre-zone).

I love Crossfit for so many reasons - keeping track of progress
motivates me, learning things I never dreamed I would try (oly lifts,
free weights in general), the comradery.  Crossfit KOP takes all of
that to another level - there are many wonderful people in my life
because I happened to choose this particular box and everyone else's
accomplishments are just as exciting as mine.  A special thank you
goes out to Michele - for leading me through the door and especially
all the extra coaching, cheering and encouragement.  I was stunned
when I got the email saying I was selected as AOTM - I would have
never gotten this far without KOP behind me from the first day, so
thank you to everyone who has supported me through a WOD.  Aimee &
Jason can add me to the list of people who are grateful for the
community you built.


Chip said...

Awesome JNa!! Congrats on a well deserved AOTM!

steph said...

congrats JNa!!!!!!

Sam B said...

Congratulations J-Na! You always bring a great attitude to the gym and its always fun when we are in a class together.

shoeless said...

Awesome J-Na! Your "Athlete of the Month" title is very well-deserved. You've taken on a lot of challenges in the forms of running 5Ks, the Mud Run, BarBelles, etc. You've made a lot of improvements since I met you two years ago in P's C&J clinic, and your kindness and humility are uncorrupted by your accomplishments. Plus, you throw great parties and write great facebook statuses! I consider myself very lucky to have you as a friend and co-gym member.

Samson said...

Very proud of my "birthday buddy" for this. Well deserved Jna!

Joy N said...

Great job, Jna! It's been a lot of fun working out with you regularly over the past 8 weeks. I appreciate your encouragement in WODS and cashouts. Congratulations!

Alli B said...

Congrats JNa! Very well deserved! You helped make me feel comfortable when I first started crossfit a few months ago and it's great to see how much you have accomplished since you started.

Unknown said...

Congrats JNa! Way to go girl! I have really enjoyed getting to know you and working out with you in Bar Belles. You are so encouraging, supportive and kinda funny. I love reading your fb posts about your commuting trials and tribulations.
Congrats!!! You so deserve it.

Melanie said...

Congratulations J-Na! I am so very proud of you! You have worked really hard and have come a long way. You always bring a smile and a positive attitude into the box and are always supportive of others. I have always admired your "never give up" attitude and no matter how hard a WOD is, you push through to the end giving it all you've got. Plus, I think you have one of the most interesting job descriptions ever!!! Keep up the hard work girl!!

Mike Worth said...

Congratulations, J-Na!! Always a pleasure working out with you when we sync up in the day. Keep rocking your Crossfit Experience!

Sarah J. said...

Yeah J-Na!!! I'm so so so proud of you! You are so much fun to work out with and such an inspiration to me. Love you girl!!!

Jason Lyons said...

They are not girl push-ups. I stopped calling them that when Angie introduced me to them when I started. They are modified push-ups. Proud of you! Duke sucks!

Mike P said...


Jen S. said...

Yey JNA - congrats! i love pushing through a wod with you! You make me smile and inspire me to keep going!

Unknown said...

Congrats JNa! Love your attitude and encouragement, especially with my du's!

Wax said...

Way to go JNa!!!

Mike S said...

Congrats JNa!!

Kathleen said...


Congrats! You are awesome and an inspiration to everyone at the box!!!! Love working out with you!!!!


donkey! said...

Could not be happier to see this :) You rock, woman!

Kristin T. said...

Keep rockin' JNa! You are such a sweet person and it is awesome to see your progress! Keep it up!

Jen Naspinski said...

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and congratulations, either on the blog, FB or in person. They truly mean a lot to me and I'm glad to be a part of KOP.

Stasie said...

yay JNa!!!! Congrats and well deserved. Can't say enough of what you bring to CFKoP. Glad to know you and work out with you.

Chris P. said...

Very cool JNa, I'm glad you're being recognized for being the awesome person you are. Getting to know you over the past year and through BarBelles has been fun and I'm sure there's more to come. I hope you keep these comments somewhere and read them whenever you need that little boost. Congrats JNa!