Athlete of the Month

Leslie Callahan

Hometown:  Warrenton, VA  

Current Location:  Conshohocken, PA  (soon to be Plymouth Meeting!)

Age:  35

Occupation: Practice manager for a financial planning franchise

College:  University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

How long have you been a CrossFitter?  I started with once a week at the Lite class in July 2011 after meeting a bunch of CrossFit KOP ladies at Melinda Kristakokas' going away party.

Did you ever play sports?  Field hockey

Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share?  I love to cook and entertain. I'm a voracious reader, I especially love biographies.  And I'm no stranger to the poker table.

What is your biggest achievement at CrossFit?  I think I'm most proud that I just keep showing up... It took me two years, but I've gone from having to talk myself into making it there once a week to now being excited for four times a week.

What do you feel that you still need to work on?  Everything!  But especially bodyweight movements, I can't wait to see the difference that Barbelles makes in that area.  

Goals for the rest of this year?  I would really like to get a pull up.  Just one.  And DUs.  I definitely haven't been practicing enough.

What's your favorite WOD?  Anything that involves power cleans, deadlifts, kb swings and box jumps.

How about your favorite food/snacks?  I am a big time foodie, so there's not much I don't love and I really enjoy trying different things.  I'm always up for filet, dark chocolate, berries and cheese.  And bacon, of course.  

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done?  CrossFit is crazy enough for me.  For now.

What’s your least favorite WOD?  Anything with lots of running, wallballs or burpees!

Favorite lift/movement?  A toss up between the clean and the deadlift.  Thanks to Barbelles, I am learning to also love front/back squats.

What’s your least favorite lift/movement?  Overhead squats (because I am terrible at them!)

What skill do you want to work on in 2013 the most?  DUs.  I can get a few here and there so it feels like stringing them can't be that far off, but they are still eluding me so far.

Whats your favorite piece of workout "gear"?  I think it may be time to start investing in some!
What you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF?  Probably my confidence, I am still amazed at the things I am able to do that I never imagined were possible.  One of my first workouts involved box jumps and I was struggling jumping on a 45# plate.  Today I used a 24" box for a cashout!  

Who is your favorite coach?  First some love for KOP coaches past... without Cindy, I would definitely not have made it for more than a few months.  And Mel has a great way of balancing encouragement with the push I need to do things I don't want to do and Tuesdays at 7:30 just isn't the same without her!  I have a great appreciation for Plentus and his dedication to fitness and nutrition.  Between his C&J clinic and Barbelles, I am learning so much and improving by leaps and bounds.  And I can't leave out Paul!  He always knows what to say to get me to push through a WOD and is the first person I ask to help me determine the weights and scales I should use.  He's never too busy to answer a question or tweak a movement so that I'm doing something right instead of just doing it.  

PR's to mention? Goals Reached? Nutrition highlights?...  5RM Deadlift 225#, 5RM front squat 135#, 5RM back squat 145#, 3RM power clean 115#.  I'm looking forward to blowing these out of the water in 6 weeks at the end of Barbelles!  I have learned so much about nutrition from Plentus and Mel and others at the box and try to eat 95% paleo 90% of the time.  It has made a huge difference for my psoriasis and arthritis... I am off of my bi-monthly IV infusion medication and feeling the best I have in 10 years!  Having the Custom Fit meals for lunch during the week has been a great new addition.  


Megs said...

Congrats Leslie! I can remember Cindy telling me how proud she was of you week in and week out when you kept coming back!

Keep up the good work!

Gina Spinelli said...

Leslie, you rock! I have loved getting to know you through Barbelles and can't wait to see all your improvements. You are always positive and have helped me push through our Barbelles cashouts, esp the kettlebell/suicide one. Congrats and very well deserved!

Chris P. said...

Nice Leslie! You have a pretty cool story both on the fitness front, but more so on the health and wellness side. The fact that you were able to get off your meds for your arthritis and psoriasis is awesome. You might not be 100% confident, but your effort certainly is, and that confidence grows day by day as a result. Congrats!

Joy N said...

Congratulations, Leslie!

Kathleen said...

That's an awesome success story Leslie. Congrats!!!

Paul S said...


Congrats! Well deserved! You are so strong, and have such a great attitude about everything! I love having you in my class, and always inspire me! Keep up the hard work.

Unknown said...

Congrats Leslie!

Stasie said...

Yay & congratulaions Leslie!! Well deserved. I told you coming more would pay off. LOL>

Miranda said...

Congrats Leslie!!! I remember talking to you at Mels going away party:) I was so happy to see you come in that first night and even happier to see that you have stayed:) Keep up the good work chica!

Melanie said...

Congratulations Leslie! I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished! You always come to class ready to work, no matter how you are feeling. I am so impressed how you have taken every possible step to improve your overall health and have seen how making those changes can really make a difference. Please ask your hubby to make you 3 pieces of bacon as a reward! LOL

Jess C. said...

Congrats, Leslie! You are one strong lady. Love the list of accomplishments, both in fitness and wellness. Keep on kicking ass! And if you ever need someone to hate running and wallballs with, let me know.

Unknown said...

Thanks for all of the kind words! I definitely feel blessed to be part of such an amazing community!

Sam B. said...

Congrats Leslie!