By: Jenessa Connor
In just six weeks, our very own Tina DeGraff will be competing in Wodapalooza, a three-day, international festival and CrossFit competition in Miami’s Bayfront Park. The event attracts 1500 athletes from 16 countries, and over 20,000 spectators are expected to attend. In other words, qualifying for Wodapalooza is kind of a big deal.
If you’re wondering how Tina got to where she is today, read our Q&A with December’s athlete of the month.
How did you discover CrossFit?
I first heard about CrossFit in October 2010 from a fireman who suggested I would probably love it and should check it out. I googled it and didn’t understand a word of it, but saw that there was one right by my work at the time. Again, I looked at their website, but just didn’t understand it. Four months later I met a member who raved about his weight loss and strength and how much he loved it. At the time, I was pretty miserable at my job, which consisted of long hours and minimal time for anything else. As a result, I had gained weight and was bored and uninspired at the gym. I still was hesitant to make the jump and join, but I did leave my job. A month later I met yet another person who did CrossFit and that was it. That summer I took my first free class and started doing my own research and wrote down any and all metcons I could do at the globo gym. The weight literally fell off and I started to see definition and I was hooked. Finally, in February 2012 I called 718 one Saturday morning and asked if I could come in for the free class, and that was it!
Why do you do CrossFit?
I do it because I love it and can’t imagine not doing it. I love the people, the atmosphere and the way it makes me feel. Every day is a challenge and I surprise myself and my abilities almost daily – it’s incredible to see the process and how progress is always happening and how you are constantly evolving into a better athlete. At 40 it’s amazing to think of myself as an athlete – it’s empowering, and I love to inspire others as well as be inspired!
How do you make time for working out?
I make it a priority in my life. I have goals, and in order to meet them, it has to come first.
What’s your favorite lift?
I would probably say the snatch. it’s such a beautiful lift when performed correctly. It’s like this elegant flow from bottom to top.
Tell me about a recent PR that you’re proud of.
I honestly don’t have a particular PR that I am proud of that comes to mind. PRs don’t come every day anymore – it’s just working on foundations and perfecting what is already there. I would love to PR my clean and just get better at the movement in general. Right now I’m just focusing on trying to be better.
You have a big competition coming up. How are you preparing?
I have been working on any and all weaknesses. I’m trying to really focus on gymnastics skills as much as possible. Wodapalooza is also known for programming WODs with unique movements that you don’t see all the time, so I’m mixing it up as best as possible. Also, I’m starting to take swimming lessons to learn proper breathing technique because there is definitely a chance that a swim will be incorporated somewhere – prepare for the unknown!
What’s your Fran time?
The last time I did it was April 2015 and I got 3:41.
What do you do when you’re not at the box?
I am at work a lot! Anyone that knows me knows I’m either at work, at the box, or with family and friends. Unfortunately my job as a food stylist is very time consuming, but I do really enjoy my weekends, going to dinner or enjoying a nice beer. I love to travel and try to do that as much as I can as well.
Good luck in Miami, Tina! We’ll be cheering you on!