When she first joined CrossFit 718 in 2016, Cheryl Zienkiewicz hoped to just get through a WOD without passing out… But we could tell she was a badass from the get-go. Not only did Cheryl continue to WOD all throughout her pregnancy, but she tapped into her functional fitness to endure 67 hours(!) of labor. As a mom to toddler and Nurse Practitioner who works 11-hour days, she still manages to get to the box on a regular basis. She recently completed the 718 Long Haul without stopping. And just try to keep up with her during a conditioning WOD.
Cheryl continually impresses us, and we love that she and her family are a part of the CrossFit 718 family!
Check out our Q&A with Cheryl to learn more about October’s Athlete of the Month.
How did you discover CrossFit?
My husband was doing CrossFit for several years and kept trying to get me to join. I had other activities I was doing at the time, like running and rock climbing. I was also in grad school and didn’t have time to add another thing. But I noticed how Peter was getting in such great shape, so I wanted to see if I could get through some classes without passing out.
Why did you end up sticking with CrossFit?
I immediately loved the variety and intensity of the classes, the amazing coaches, and the friendly peeps of 718. It was also nice to spend the time working out with my husband. Even when I became pregnant, everyone was so supportive, and I was able to modify my workouts to get through most of my pregnancy. CrossFit really helped me improve my endurance, which I found incredibly useful during 67 hours of labor. It was the best thing I did for myself and my baby while pregnant.
What kinds of changes have you noticed since starting CrossFit?
I have a very stressful job and CrossFit helps me to relieve some of this so I’m not a raging maniac at home. I definitely have become stronger and faster since I started. There are several things I’m still working on, like double unders and pull-ups, but I’m gonna get them one day soon. I’m so happy to have met a lot of great friends at our box and make lasting memories with my family.
How do you make time for working out?
As a mom of a toddler, it is hard to find the energy or desire to exercise when I would rather be playing at home with our girl. But my husband and I have been bringing our daughter to the box since she was an infant and, thankfully, she loves it too and has made so many friends with the other kids and dogs of CrossFit. I’m out of the house 11 hrs a day and off Friday to Sunday, so I try to get in my time at the box on these days. If I have an early day, I’ll try to do a 7 p.m. class during the week. We love the family class on Saturdays.
What’s your favorite type of WOD?
I pretty much enjoy any workout with running, squats, squat lifts, and conditioning WODs. I guess that’s because these come easiest to me.
What recent achievement are you most proud of?
Every time I’m working out and complete a WOD without injury and in great spirits, I feel like I’ve achieved something amazing. But recently we did the 718 Long Haul, which was brutal, but I completed it without stopping or taking a break.
What are your current goals?
Pull-ups, double unders, handstand push-ups.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
When I’m not at the box, I’m most importantly the mother of a truly amazing girl named Valentina and the wife of fellow CrossFitter Peter. We try to expose her to fitness as much as possible. She loves the rings and hanging from the pull-up bar. Outside of this, I’m a Nurse Practitioner and specialize in patients with blood cancers that need a blood/marrow (stem cell) transplant. We enjoy going to museums, music, and spending time at the park.