Jenessa Connor 

My five years as a CrossFit 718 member have given me so many gifts: health, physical and mental strength, confidence, new friendships, and access to a supportive community of remarkable athletes. That’s why I’m so honored to be January’s Athlete of the Month.

Thank you, Tammy and Iz, for your continued support… and this opportunity to awkwardly interview myself.

How did you discover CrossFit?

A few health and lifestyle bloggers I follow had started posting about their CrossFit workouts, and that piqued my curiosity. The old box was just a few blocks from my apartment, so I dropped in for the free Saturday afternoon WOD. The 400-meter medicine ball run almost made me cry, but I got a great workout and found Iz and Tammy’s energy and approach to group fitness totally refreshing.

What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit? 

I used to be a cardio junkie. I spent most of my time in spin classes or running on the treadmill. Maybe I’d throw in a few sets of half-hearted dumbbell curls and presses, but resistance training always bored me (probably because I saw zero results). CrossFit helped me get comfortable with lifting heavier weights and actually develop some upper body strength and muscle definition. That was totally new for me; running kept me fit, but I never felt (or looked) strong. One of the first things I noticed was how much easier it was to change the five-gallon jug on the office water cooler. Functional fitness for the win!

How do you make time for working out?

I treat workouts like any other important appointment or deadline. (Luckily, I work from home, so I can make my own schedule.) If I’m particularly busy and can’t make it to the box, I’ll do a quick apartment WOD in my living room using bodyweight movements or my own collection of weights and bands. Even a 12-minute AMRAP is better than nothing.

What’s your favorite lift, movement, or WOD?

I really enjoy working with kettlebells – snatches, Russian swings, and single-armed cleans are my favorites. As far as WODs go, I like longer metcons, chippers, and partner WODs. I understand the value of the all-out three-minute metcon, but I just have more fun when I’m working at a challenging but sustainable pace for a longer period of time.

What recent PR are you most proud of?

I experienced a ton of growth in the first year or two of doing CrossFit, but most of my stats have remained pretty consistent since then. And, (sorry, Tammy!) I’m okay with that. I’m always interested in improving my form and gaining new skills, but I’ve never been one to obsess over hitting a certain number on a lift. My primary goal is to stay healthy and have fun with my friends. That being said, I did nudge my longtime back squat one-rep max by five pounds during our last squat cycle!

What goals are you working on?

I’m always working on getting more consistent double-unders. They’re usually the first thing to fall apart when I get fatigued during a WOD. Of all my undeveloped skills (toes-to-bar, pistols, ring dips, to name a few) they are the most frustrating… and punishing.

What do you do when you’re not at the box? 

If I’m not at the box, I’m probably at home on my computer. I’m a freelance writer, so I spend most of my waking hours tapping away at a keyboard. When I’m not working or working out, I’m usually hanging out with Dan, my husband. I’d like to say we spend every weekend at museums and cultural events, but we mostly watch movies and play scrabble.