Athlete of the Month

Congratulations Jen!!!

I would first like to thank the coaching staff at Crossfit KOP for your nomination for ATOM.  I am truly humbled and honored to receive this nomination and it truly means a great deal to me. 
I can honestly say that Crossfit has changed my life in so many ways all for the better. I have become fitter not only physically but mentally in every capacity. But, I can say that it would not have happened without the quality of coaches at CFKOP. Your ability to make me a better person in every way possible each and every day has certainly not gone unnoticed. Through your instruction, knowledge, motivation, and accountability, I am a better me.  Thank you Aimee and Jason Lyons for creating this box / gym and the community you have developed and your continued vision. But most importantly creating a home of friendship and family in the way you go about developing and seeding this community. I can say that the community between coaches and athletes is incredible. And the friendships we all have developed are bonds through sweat but longstanding and genuine. Thank you to all the athletes I have had a privilege of working out with. You all are incredible and amazing athletes and I look up to you all. Each one of you have given me something I can take and put to good use. Whether it is tips, pointers, assistance, motivation or support. I have felt that we all can learn from each other and I am truly grateful for that and the time we share at the box.

Born in State College, Pa ( Happy Valley ) but lived half my life in sunny Orlando, Fl. But I will say I am a baby lion always at heart given I was born on a game day. 

Current Location:
King of Prussia, PA.

42 but they say age is only a number.  

Self employed for 12 years. I am the owner and CEO of a Interior Design / Home Renovation company.

Lenior-Rhyne College, Hickory, NC

How long have you been a CrossFitter?
It will be 3 years this October.  A special thank you to Alona for introducing and getting me involved in Crossfit.  You have been a true mentor to me through your strong dedication to your fitness, your passion to succeed, and wiliness to always do better. Thank you for always being there for me and for being my motivation and inspiration to keep going. You have carried me through workouts just by your presence and support and I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for pushing me and believing in me when I couldn’t.

Did you ever play sports?
I have played competitive sports my whole life from elementary school through college. The sports I played throughout my education are the following: Volleyball, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, and Softball. After leaving college I just played for fun or as a weekend warrior. But, I can say I love being apart of team and how a team lifts and elevates the performance of an individual to heights never before achieved. I love learning from a team and being able to help those around me as well when I am able.  I guess this is why I have fallen in love with Crossfit. Because in Crossfit we are a collection of individuals with different abilities and limitations all striving for the same goal. Each of us helping one another to do better and dig deeper in all capacities. I feel very privileged to be a part of this community with the quality of people it has and I enjoy so much going to Crossfit and the interaction with friends.
Got some cool (or uncool) hobbies you'd like to share?
I have a very artistic side to me. I like to draw, paint, and write poetry when inspired. I also like to consult with other entrepreneurs in starting businesses and helping others in business and be guidance to them. 

What is your biggest achievement at CrossFit?
Finishing the Open 2016 doing all RX versus scaled as I did in 2015. Doing 16.1 , 16.4, 16.5  with the weights involved has been my best accomplishments yet weight wise and movements. 

Goals for the rest of this year?
My biggest goal for this year is to not stop training once the OPEN stops and start training for the 2017 OPEN now. Spending extra time working on my weaknesses. As well as once bootcamp and endurance are over for the year I do not want to go into hibernation mode with my cardio.  
What's your favorite WOD?
Well those that know me know my wheelhouse. Bootcamp, endurance, anything that consists of a metcon, and let's not forget the Hero workouts. For I love doing the Hero workouts as they say no pain no gain.

How about your favorite food/snacks?
If I am going to cheat it would be a european cheese board and ice cream.

What is the craziest workout outside of CF you have ever done?
I would have to say the Alona Special 18 mile bike ride which resulted in me not being on a bike since. 

What’s your least favorite WOD?
I hate that bitch "Jackie". Her and I do not get along well. And 14.5 which is now 16.5 is a true misery. Where I am going here is Thrusters and me do not get along.

Favorite lift/movement?
Surprisingly it is now the dead lift due to the fact I can lift more weight than any other movement. It is funny it used to be my worse movement due to my back injury when I started, and now my favorite.  Then came 16.4 and I even surprised my own self by lifting what I thought was my 1RM 55 times. #55REPMAX

What’s your least favorite lift/movement?
I would have to say the thruster. Given any respectable weight it breaks my soul in a WOD. 

What skill are you planning working on in 2016 the most ?
 I would have to say I need improvement on everything. But, I think the most important thing I need to do is Mobility. Mobility is some of the reason I can not do some of the things I want to.  And then you have the usual double unders, toes to bar, pull ups, and continue to improve my form to be able to increase my weights.

Whats your favorite piece of workout "gear"?
The JAWS hand grips. They have saved my hands from ripping many times.

What you say is your biggest improvement since starting CF?
My biggest improvement is just getting to this point where I am at now and the strength I have developed in my back. It was 15 years ago that I fell through a drop ceiling  8 foot down after the ceiling collapsed. This fall resulted in me having back surgery and it has taken me along time to get to where I am now. When I started Crossfit I was not able to lift at all and especially not from the ground. I remember pulling boxes out or taking the bar bell from the hang. And now I do not need those training wheels anymore. This comes from the coaching staff and there extreme dedication in working tirelessly on my form and giving me the motivation to get there. Thank you greatly.
Who is your favorite coach?
 This is a very difficult question to answer because CFKOP has some of the best coaches I believe among the Crossfit communities. Each and every coach has given me something different to get me stronger, faster, and overall better. Without all of your help I wouldn’t have gotten to the point where I am now nor would my growth as an athlete be continuing. I am forever blessed by all the work you all have put into me to help me get to where I am at now.  I always enjoy taking classes with different coaches to learn their individual styles and approaches to give me a variety of prospective on different movements.
But if I had to pick one coach it would be Giulia Umile. She is my drill instructor that will not let me quit, give up, or slow down. She pushes me beyond my limits to always exceed my personal best and to this day I have no idea how she does it.  The fact I was able to RX every open workout this year I attribute largely to her constantly breathing down my neck and telling me that I can do that. And I finally believe her and started to believe in me. That transformation is what took me to my best performances yet. Thank you for setting goals for me, for pushing me and not letting me stop. Thank you for believing in me and being there for me when I needed you the most and being the excellent coach you are.
I also want to give special thank you to Aimee Lyons for tremendously improving my form, forcing me to get better each and every WOD. For never letting me quit, pushing me to new heights, and believing in me as well.  To Tim Pappas for the new found love of running. Just kidding but know I still hate running but you certainly have me mesmerized by your approach and style of coaching. And how you are able to make running manageable in my mind now.

PR's to mention? Goals Reached? Nutrition highlights?..
Believe it or not I normally do not track numbers or PR’s. For so long I just wanted to just survive the workout out that numbers really didn’t matter. However one that really stands out to me is the difference in my performance during the OPEN 2016. In 2015 it was my first OPEN and I did all the workouts scaled. In 2016 I was able to enter all RX scores. Which was a huge accomplishment in my mind. I think I surprised myself what I had in the tank stored up for that event. All I can say is I am looking forward to getting even better in 2017 thanks to the wonderful community and coaching staff at Crossfit KOP.  

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