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Stephanie Walsh MOTM May 2020

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Family: Husband Rob and pup Volcom, Mom, brother, aunt
Favorite Movements: Anything that starts with a clean, Toes to Bar, Sled pushes, double unders, wall balls
Immediate CF Goals: To put in the work – be somebody that people look up to, get the Level 1 to learn more about CF in general, faster 5k time.
First Job: VIP server at the Gold Sox Stadium with Jenna
Current Job: Employment Program Representative for the Employment Development Department (basically a mentor to adults)
Favorite Podcast: Classified Fit
Favorite TV Shows: Sons of Anarchy, Bar Rescue, and Golden Girls
Favorite Quick Recipe: Egg bites – scramble eggs, add some meat and veggies, pour in muffin pans, bake at 350 for 15ish minutes
Supplements: Fish Oil, Collagen, Protein, Vitamin D gummies, amminos, casein at night
Favorite Shake Recipe: 1 scoop collagen, 1 scoop protein, water
Favorite Thing to do Outside CrossFit: watch sports, go to sporting events and concerts
Favorite Teams: Raiders, the Warriors, the SF Giants, the Sharks

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for some of the people I’ve met in CrossFit.” Stephanie said as we talked one afternoon. “It’s the people, the community, the transformation in the way I see my body, the kids, that keep me coming back.”

Stephanie was born in Yuba City and grew up in Marysville. She graduated from Marysville Highschool and then went to Yuba College for two years. She was always a three sport athlete, playing volleyball and basketball, and switching between softball and track. During one game at Yuba College she hit an in-park homerun, helping her team win the game.

Wanting to experience life in a bigger city, she moved to Sacramento where she worked at Wet Seal. When managers were needed in San Diego, she was asked to go. She said yes and at 21 moved to downtown San Diego.

It was a huge culture shock at first. People would bump into you and not say excuse me and the pace was just go-go-go. At first, she wanted to come home but over time she became acclimated and lived there for six years. While there, she left Wet Seal and began working for Cox Communications. That company went through a transformation, which resulted in her moving to Santa Barbara beginning a position as an outside account executive in business sales.

Moving to Santa Barbara proved to be another culture shock. Santa Barbara was the town of newlyweds or newly dead. Everyone was really young, going to college, or really old, rich, retired, or famous and there wasn’t much in between. Networking was really important to get to know people in the town, and being new, she didn’t know anyone. Things weren’t very good with Rob and Stephanie found herself drinking more, staying at home and falling into depression. Her weight started to go up and she hit the heaviest she had ever been. Still drinking, feeling pissed off, she realized she had hit her rock bottom.

One day, her co-worker Tim told her she should come work out with him. He was a runner who ran marathons and triathlons. Stephanie told him no, she wasn’t a runner and he said “well, I also do CrossFit” which she replied with “that’s a cult, I’m not doing it.” Soon though, she got tired of where she was at mentally. Determined to take advantage of beautiful Santa Barabra she decided to get it together and tried CrossFit.

When she went in for the first time, she didn’t even know what to wear. When she walked in she saw people pushing hundreds and hundreds of pounds of weight and handstand walking across the floor she thought to herself “what am I getting myself into?!”.

The gym started her in the on-ramp program where she met Isabelle, who had also never done CrossFit. They ended up joining together and at the end of the first week Steph found herself thinking “I think I can do this!”.

Once she found CrossFit and started putting her energy into something, she started meeting people which led her experiencing more of what Santa Barbara had to offer. Her stay there came to an end when a new program launched inside her company. A friend of hers was on the management team for the new program and asked her to join his team. Joining required her to move back to San Diego, so she decided to do it. Once there, she joined a new gym where she met people from many different backgrounds and made friendships that she still has.

When she moved away from Marysville, she told herself that she would never ever come back. The entire 15 years she was gone, she dreaded coming home to visit. But when her and Rob started doing the long distance thing, she started coming home for a weekend, every other month. And then when he proposed, and they talked about their future, she realized it made more sense for her to move back.

Stephanie started trying out gyms soon after she got back. Her and her friend Jenna tried out Saturday classes at two locations, but neither one felt right. Jenna recommended she try Classified, so Stephanie got ahold of Ryan and started her adventure. One of the biggest things about CrossFit to her is the community and how comfortable you feel when you walk in the gym and she felt really comfortable and welcomed when she walked in the door. After a couple of months the 5:30pm class became her regular class and she began to develop relationships that have helped shape who she is.

For her, it’s the people that keep her coming back. The community, the kids and the transformation in her body. She loves how people come from all walks of life, from all kinds of backgrounds and fitness levels and no matter where you are, you still have people cheering you on. She also loves that there are kids (teenagers/soon to be teens) that WANT to go to be there. We have student athletes who play sports and then still come to class at night and she thinks it’s so cool that kids are doing what she’s doing. CrossFit has also changed the way she views her body. Stephanie had always wanted to be skinny. Now, she has a new love for her body and knows that it’s okay to have thicker thighs and to grow a butt. It’s okay to have muscle formations when you’re just putting on a tank top or fixing your bra and when someone tells her her traps are huge she says ‘thanks!’ when before, that wasn’t a thing.

Since joining CrossFit, Stephanie has competed in 5 competitions. Her first competition happened six months after she joined and she did it with Isabelle, the girl who had joined with her. The beginning of it was scary but after their first event all the jitters were gone and they ended up placing third. Their whole gym came out to support them and another team of guys.

Out of the five competitions, only one of them was an individual and that was last year at Classified. That competition turned out to be a game changer for her. She had never done one with running in it and that was terrible. She knew in that moment her endurance needed work. She found herself thinking “I’m too old for this. I’m too fat for this.” She even found herself wondering if CrossFit was meant for her. She came in dead last for that event and it was really hard for her to swallow. Priding herself on her strength, she was a little upset with herself for not getting first in the clean and jerk ladder. It was really intimidating to see other people lifting more than her. It felt a little like a punch in the gut she said. “That competition was an awakening that there were still some things I needed to work on…because in my mind I could push heavy weight so why do I need to do everything else?” Since then Steph stopped skipping running days (in fact she’s even ran two 5ks!) and put in the extra stretching. When we have ten minutes to work on handstand holds, she actually does it. She knew she needed to work on more of the basics so she could be better at the more complicated movements. And by doing so, she is now stringing together toes to bar, can do 50 double unders unbroken and she’s still strong. That one competition changed her CrossFit life.

Stephanie is in inspiration to others, inside and outside the gym. She strives to make the people around her better and to be an example. Instead of letting things knock her down, she gets back up and comes back even stronger. It is going to be so exciting to see what she accomplishes when we get back into the gym.

By Bethany Schmidl