By: Jenessa Connor
For October’s athlete of the month, CrossFit is just as much about emotional health as it is about physical fitness. When Jeannie Ruiz, member since February 2015, does thrusters, she feels like she’s pushing off all of the negativity that once tied her down and held her back.
But that doesn’t mean she isn’t getting stronger too! With a recent deadlift 4 rep max of 195, she knows her old PR of 200 is about to go up.
As huge fans of Jeannie’s positive attitude and commitment to staying healthy, we wanted to know more about how she discovered CrossFit and why she makes the one-hour journey in from Manhattan just to work out with us. Here’s what she shared.
How did you discover CrossFit?
Gaby and I were doing kickboxing classes 7 days a week, and in that time we got a new coach. He saw how motivated we were to constantly push harder and introduced us to CrossFit. (Believe me, the owners were not happy, so we knew it was time to go.) We wanted more. That’s when we found CrossFit 718.
Why do you do CrossFit?
For me, CrossFit is empowering. I was in a mentally abusive relationship for 20 years. I was shredded emotionally. Now CrossFit is building me back up. What I love most about CrossFit is that no matter how long you’ve been there –whether it’s been one day or four years – we all work together and give 100%. No one feels inferior because we’re all working and pushing just as hard as the person next to us. We are all athletes in training.
How do you make time for working out?
It’s very hard to make the time, but I really want to be healthy and strong. It’s all about sacrifice and how bad you want it. I live and work in Manhattan. I wake up at 4 a.m. and take an hour ride into Brooklyn after work to take the 5 p.m. class with my CrossFit 718 family so I can be home by 7 p.m. to be a mom. It sounds like a lot, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
What’s the story behind “Life is a burpee after 40?”
It’s actually my Facebook page. I use to weigh 210 lbs. and I’ve worked really hard to kick my addiction of emotional eating, which I inherited while I was in a verbally abusive relationship. In the beginning of my journey, my most difficult challenge was the burpees. So, I pushed myself till I was able to complete 100 a day for 30 days. So that’s where my page began: “Life is a burpee after 40.” I’m now an open book for women in the same situation that I use to be in.
What’s your favorite lift/movement/WOD and why?
Wow, this is hard but I would have to say the deadlift because I’ve gotten stronger.
My favorite movement is thrusters. I feel like I’m lifting all the negativity that use to have me tied down. I’ve become aware of how strong my legs are getting as they help me push the weight over my head. You might have guessed my favorite WOD is death by thrusters. I was happy when I saw I was the last woman standing; it made me push harder.
What’s a recent PR that you’re particularly proud of?
I’m proud of my deadlift 1 rep max, which is 200. I recently did my 4 rep max at 195, which lets me know that I can go even heavier.
What goal are you currently working on?
My goal is not to PR everything, but to have the technique for all movements down one year from now. Technique is very important
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
When I’m not at the box I’m probably working or inventing a workout at home. I’m constantly doing something physical. I know I should rest but it’s so hard.