Crystal initially got into CrossFit for the guys. (Hey, she was single and 24 years old!) Access to a large pool of in-shape dudes was worth the burpees and wall balls. And guess what? It worked! She met her now-husband, Tommy, and CrossFit became their shared hobby, even when they were living in different cities.
But at some point, CrossFit started to become less about Crystal’s relationship and more about her own strength and accomplishments. When she started, she could barely lift a 45 lb. barbell. Now she’s chasing a 300 lb. deadlift and consistent muscle-ups!
While Crystal may be moving on this fall, we’re so happy that we had the chance to share part of her fitness journey.
Good luck in Japan, Crystal! You’ll always have a home away from home at CrossFit 718.
Read our Q&A with Crystal, August’s athlete of the month.
How did you discover CrossFit?
I had just moved from NYC to DC and was in between jobs for a couple of weeks. While I had nothing to do, my sister told me I should “try this thing called CrossFit.” This was still when the sport hadn’t blown up into what it is. When she said there was weightlifting and barbells and sweating, I said, “Nah, I’m gonna stick with the elliptical and cardio five times a week that gets me nowhere and does nothing for my girlish figure.” Then my sister told me there were hot guys that did CrossFit, and as a single 24-year-old, I decided to join a box in Baltimore.
Why did you end up sticking with CrossFit?
PLOT TWIST – I met a guy…who later ended up being my husband, Tommy. I was only into CrossFit initially because of the dating pool, but ended up ultimately sticking with it because of Tommy. We were living in different cities our first couple of years of dating (him in Baltimore; me in DC) and it was this really cool hobby we had in common that we could “do together” from our respective cities.
I’d say in 2015 or 2016, I started doing CrossFit more for me. I remember my first day at CrossFit doing deadlifts and I – no lie – could not lift a 45 lb. bar. A couple of years into CrossFit, I was hitting PRs and getting stronger. I felt pretty badass and decided this sport was for me.
What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
For better or worse, I move a LOT. I joined CrossFit 718 in November 2018 after relocating with my job from DC to NYC. My then-fiancé was finishing school and wasn’t going to be living with me until late 2019, so I was going to have a lot of time on my hands. The obvious remedy was to find a CrossFit gym to 1) make friends with non-douchey New Yorkers; 2) get stronger and more badass while living apart from my partner; 3) find a healthy distraction to keep my mind, body, and spirit in a good spot for the next year. CrossFit 718 solved for all of that.
How do you make time for working out?
Hence why I’m part of #6AMStrong! If I don’t workout at 6 a.m., I’m not going to be able to work out. I never get out of work before 6 p.m., and my hour commute has me beat by the end of the day. I’ve told myself a dozen times, “Oh, just work out after work!” and I cannot do it. I have no energy left to give and too few hours left in the night (it probably doesn’t help that I go to bed at 9pm…) so I have to just do it and decide to go to the 6 a.m. class.
What’s your favorite type of WOD?
I love those long, gotta-keep-grinding metcons. Every time I see a 20- or 30-minute WOD programmed, my mental game weakens immediately and I think, “Maybe I’ll skip tomorrow,” but I always go. Something strange happens during these WODs and it becomes a total mind game. My thinking tends to go something like:
“Wow, this effing sucks. I hate CrossFit.”
“How do I have 17 minutes left?!”
“Keep maintaining pace; slow and steady.”
“Okay, almost at the halfway point.”
“Okay, probably just 3 more rounds left.”
“Probably 2 more rounds left.”
“5 more minutes left.”
“2 more minutes left – you can do anything for 2 minutes, Crystal.”
“15 seconds left – don’t slow down, just a few more reps!”
If you’ve seen me doing a metcon, you’ve probably read this series of emotions on my face. I feel like I’m definitely at my best toward the end of one of these metcons when somehow this internal engine of mine kicks in and it becomes all about the mental game and less about the physical movements.
What recent achievement are you most proud of?
I WAS going to say it was my 270# deadlift (thanks CrossFit Total programming!) but I now have to say it’s my snatch PR and clean and jerk PR from this last bout of lifting! I get SO in my head when it comes to lifting 100#+ and I freeze up and call it quits before I ever PR those two lifts. Due to some sneaky help from Coach Tammy, she put me on the weightlifting platform using the kilo weights and purely told me which colored plates to put on my bar. I had no idea what weight I was on but I just kept climbing per her instructions. I went from a 105 lb. snatch to 112.2 lbs. and a 140 lb. clean and jerk to 149 lbs. It’s awesome to have a coach who gets my nerves and can trick me into performing better.
What goals are you working on?
I’ve got a couple goals in mind across the board: 1) 300 lb. deadlift; 2) consistent bar muscle-ups….ah, the elusive muscle up that I get once out of every three workouts; 3) 600 lb. CrossFit total.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
I work for a media company doing hospitality and events, which keeps me fairly busy traveling a bit. That always makes routine and consistency tough. But it’s funny that when I get back to the city after every trip, I always feel “back to normal” when I’ve gone to bed at 9:00pm and make it to 6:00 a.m. CrossFit that next morning. I love routine!
We heard you’re leaving New York. Where are you heading?
My husband is going back to active duty with the Navy and we are headed to Okinawa, Japan this October! We’ll be stationed there for three years, so if you all have any intentions of visiting Japan, definitely hit me up since I’ll be an unemployed military spouse with quite a bit of time on my hands (maybe that’s when I’ll start having hobbies? Ha!).
Also, save the date – Friday, September 13th, Tommy and I will be having a going-away party (location TBA in Brooklyn). Would love all of the CrossFit718 fam to be there!