~ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT~

Usually you see Sarah working out at the 5:oo am class - or the 9;15 - and on Saturdays - and at Open Gym. Sarah takes her workouts seriously but is one of those people who makes you enjoy working out with her. She's here helping at our competitions and parties, bringing her great family, Peyton, Adam and Jacob, to join in. We are proud that she is our October Athlete Spotlight! 

- Meet Sarah Jackson -

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HI Friends!
 
I will admit, when Lynette said the coaches wanted me to be Athlete of the Month, my initial response was a huge smile but, "oh hell no, I don’t want to talk about myself."  Then, I talked to my UCCF buddies and they coaxed me into it.  CrossFit is so good for so many reasons, pushing me to do things I wouldn’t ever dream of is definitely one of them. 
 
My love for CrossFit developed in a round-a-bout way… 
 
I always played sports growing up.  I played soccer year round, softball, volleyball.  I was an average athlete who loved being on a team, but preferred to be out of the spotlight.  As an adult I started to struggle with my weight.  In my early twenties, I worked out a lot teaching water aerobics and taking step classes, sometimes two a day. I even ran two miles a day for a while (hush it).  I had a group of friends who also taught classes, so gym time was socialization.  Mid- twenties I had Adam, my oldest, and I struggled even more with my weight.  I tried weight loss pills, personal training, weight loss challenges, every diet known to mankind; all different types of exercise too – Zumba, spinning, group exercise, Pilates, step, couch to 5K’s (yeah, seriously).  None of these things ever lasted long or really interested me.  I’ve been thin and I’ve been pretty heavy, but I’ve never felt strong.  Anyway, fast-forward a few babies later, and I finish grad school around 230 lbs.  How did I get there?  Working nights, no regular exercise, not making myself a priority, always on/off dieting, unhappy – so many factors.                        

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In 2014, I started a new job and started to work on my diet. I joined a fitness weight loss group at the YMCA and met some great people.  I made some drastic life changes that year and vowed to make my happiness & health a priority.  I stuck with it and lost about 40 lbs. that year.  It was slow, but rewarding.  I started doing yoga every day for about 2 years, some Sean T videos at night and basically lived without carbs.  I lost another 25 lbs. I was happier, my confidence was better, but I missed being in a group setting to work out.  I met someone at work that was a CrossFitter and raved about it.  I thought he was crazy.  Like cult crazy.  But I was intrigued, so I read a few articles, talked to a few people and convinced my bestie to try it with me.
 
We signed up for an elements class and started the day after Christmas, 2015, at another CF affiliate.  I was hooked after a week.  I had never lifted weights before and had this new awe at what bodies could do. We stayed there a few months and started looking at different boxes.  We have known Jackie Seabaugh for years, and she told Brandy about UnCharted.  We looked at the website, took a tour, met Patti and Karl, and quickly signed up.                        

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It was tough at first, 5 am was a little intimidating and we were the only females.  Have you seen the boys that work out at 5 am?  I loved that I was making progress and feeling stronger and liked the coaches and programming.  I made friends - those 5 am peeps are amazing!  I was now being held accountable to show up, making plans, & working harder than I ever had.  My focus started to shift from wanting to “just be thin”, to wanting to be healthy and stronger.

CrossFit pushes my boundaries and expectations for myself.  It pushes me to try new things, to be OK to fail, to set goals.  I hated being cheered for in the beginning; it was too much attention on me.  Now, I’m OK with it.  When I started CF, I said I would never, ever do a competition.  I competed in Festivus in April this year with my UCCF friends there cheering me on.  I was scared to death to be upside down or hold weight over my head.  I can do handstands now, and feel pretty good throwing some weight up.  I can now dead lift my body weight, which was a huge goal & achievement for me. We all know how I feel about running, but 95% of the time I don’t WOD pick.  That’s huge. I have a healthier relationship with my body.  Esther has coached me at lifts, body image and nutrition.  I have learned more about myself and nutrition than I ever imagined with her support.
                               

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Having the community, fitness and a lot of fun is why I love CrossFit the most.  I love being with my UCCF fam.  I still get nervous before most WODs, which is something the coaches get, so when they push me to do more, now I say OK (usually).  The coaches are so supportive and are excellent at making the WOD work for me, whether it needs to be modified for a random pain or tightness or because it’s a skill that I don’t yet have in my repertoire.  Esther, Lynette and Jo are great examples for my daughter and I, that girls can be strong.  Ryan has infinite body positioning knowledge.  My days are always better when I get to 5 am.  I love the community, the jokes, the support, the feeling of accomplishment after a PR or a particularly hard WOD.  And the people at UCCF!  I have the most amazing, big-hearted, fun loving friends here.   Clearly, I am now in the cult. 

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