Categorized as: ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT

Member Spotlight: How An All-American Runner Mentally Prepares For A Race

Coach Kasye Beza is the head cross-country coach for The Community School of Naples. A three-time All American 400m runner, she holds the school record at Truman for that distance. 

How did you prepare mentally for race day?

When I ran track, I used to get myself into a “zone of focus before a race. I would complete my warm-up routine and stare down the lanes. I would tell myself I belonged there and that I owned the track. I would actually start yawning before a race because I was so relaxed.

During a race, I don’t remember thinking about anything, just doing it and pushing through the pain. I didn’t care what lane I was assigned or who else was in the race, or whether it was snowing, raining or hot outside. I did not let outside factors influenced me. We did a lot of drills and race modeling so my body knew what to do.

When I finished a race, I would return to a normal state instantly. I would be happy and cheerful, not tired, not stressed, no more yawning or tunnel vision.  Of note, my friend and teammate used to talk to herself aloud all the time and we all thought it was hilarious. Mine was more internal. 

How is this different from CrossFit training? 

At the gym, I can’t always be mindless because I am not always competing and I have to think about the movements more.  There are days when I do get into the zone and become blank, and there are days when I talk myself through a rep scheme or count a rhythm in my head. It’s easier for me when I have a number to strive for in a workout.

For instance, today, Coach told us that we were going to perform max rep push press for a minute but I didn’t know how many that would translate to. When he said we should get 20 reps, that was something I understood. I could focus on that number and achieve it, whereas, without that cue, I would not have felt as good. I didn’t stop at 20 if I could do more, but I also knew that 20 was a reasonable goal. Sometimes AMRAPS are hard for me because I want to know how many rounds I should get. I guess I am still getting used to the time element for CrossFit, which is different than it is for other activities, like running. 

Is it hard for you to commit to training? 

Left to my own devices, it is never a question for me whether or not to go to the gym. That is the same to me as for whether or not I’m going to shower today or go to work. Since it’s just part of my day, it isn’t ever an emotional decision whether or not to go. I wake up, I go to the bathroom. I put on my gym clothes. I’m  genuinely happy to be starting my day. I rarely even look ahead to see the workout unless I have a wardrobe consideration to make.

What’s hard is when I am on vacation or with other people. It’s hard for me to assert myself to others that I want to work out because I think it will be inconvenient for them or they will make fun of me. So, unless I can wake up early and sneak a workout in, I don’t usually do a workout when I am with other people.

Athlete Spotlight: Daija H.

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Age: 31

Profession: General Manager

What did you do for fitness before CrossFit? Did you play any sports growing up? I wasn’t very active growing up but played some sports.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I was first exposed to CrossFit back in 2013. I had gained weight from moving and needed a change but didn’t know how or where to start! My friends did CrossFit and saw immediate results, I thought I would just give it a try!

What was your first workout and how did it go? How did you feel after? I remember not even being able to finish the initial Baseline workout!! I literally did 3 pull ups towards the end and threw up…. It was so embarrassing!! But coming to the gym, every workout I always say “that was the hardest workout I’ve ever done” as I’m laying on the ground.

Favorite CF Movements: Deadlift, power cleans, kettlebell swings, wall balls!

Least Favorite Movements: snatch, running, pull-ups, strict press, … basically everything I’m not good at!

Favorite Cheat Meal: BRUNCH!!! (mainly for the bottomless sangria )

Favorite Healthy Meal: spaghetti squash, chicken & rice….I”m a very boring eater.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you? I am insanely ticklish! especially my feet!

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I gain weight super fast, so when I began CrossFit the first time around, I had some insane “newbie gains”. I love that with CrossFit, you are focused on what you can control vs what you want to control. Your body changes the way it wants too, naturally! I am able to decrease fat and increase muscle at the same time. I also sleep like a baby every night!!

What sort of unexpected changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit? Focusing on a high-intensity functional fitness program has given me the ability to appreciate my body for its capabilities rather than be ashamed of my imperfections (from society’s point of view) I have a new found motivation for eating healthier and when you feel good, you look good!

Any advice for people just getting started or new to CrossFit? As everyone who does CrossFit says, don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. Everyone is on their own fitness journey. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t doing workouts RX, or if you need to modify, or if you’re not lifting as much as someone else, you don’t know how long or hard they have been training. Be consistent! Make healthy life choices, show up for the workouts and push yourself for yourself. You are your own competition. Put in the work and you will not only see the results, but you will feel them, too! Embrace new friendships, after all – we’re all drinking the same kool-aid!

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I am not only a GM by profession, I am very passionate about developing leadership and sales training. I read a lot of mentorship and leadership books. I love to write (currently working on my first book ) and I enjoy hitting the beach, nightlife on occasions and hanging out with my husband and my girlfriends! I am very much a homebody. ๐Ÿ™‚

Athlete Spotlight: Trevor H.

Age: 45

Profession: Search Firm Owner (Headhunter)

What did you do for fitness before CrossFit? Did you play any sports growing up?  Mostly bodybuilding/weights.  Played Football and Pole Vault / Track in High School.  Joined a semi-pro football team when I was 35 for 1 year.  About that time, I had my bench press up to 350lb.  Often skipped leg day. lol

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?  I moved to Florida in 2011 and my workouts became less and less frequent.  Felt like I was on vacation every day, going to the beach and out to eat constantly.  Became overweight.  One day in April of 2017 I got on the scale and looked in the mirror, and reality hit me.  Saw an ad on Facebook called a “New You 6 week CF challenge” and I signed up.  After the challenge, I sought a gym closer to my house and found Naples Crossfit.  Talked my wife into checking it out with me, and both of us joined in July 2017.

What was your first workout and how did it go? How did you feel after?  It was on May 15th, 2017.  I forget the details, but I remember coming in last place.  I felt exhausted afterward, had trouble catching my breath and realized how bad my fitness really was.  Which drove me to just keep showing up and do the best I could, even if last.

Favorite CF Movements:  All weights like the jerk, deadlift, squats, DB and BB work.  Also, like the HS holds and HS push-ups.

Least Favorite Movements: RUNNING.  (Although the 2 miles run on Labor day I was able to run the first 5 laps without walking which is huge for me)  Running is getting to be more tolerable which I never expected.

Favorite Cheat Meal: Pizza or Double Cheeseburger and Fries.

Favorite Healthy Meal:  Chicken Tacos on Corn Tortilla

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you? I never miss an Indiana University Basketball game.  If they are playing, I’ll be watching it.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I am down 20-25 pounds since May 15th, 2017.  Definitely, a change in body composition, more muscle less fat and I am much more aware of what I am eating, the amount of calories and the type of calories I intake.

What sort of unexpected changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit? I would never have thought that I would be as motivated to workout at 6:30 am.  I’ve tried working out in the mornings in the past and hated it.  But now for some reason, I really like having it done and starting my day that way.  (It just made sense for our schedules to go in the morning and in the past my wife and I would talk ourselves out of the gym after work and choose a restaurant instead) ๐Ÿ™‚  

Any advice for people just getting started or new to CrossFit?  Just show up.  It is 90% mental, especially at first.  Once you start noticing gains you start getting addicted to them.  There will be workouts that halfway through you think there is no way I can do another 5 rounds, etc.  You can…just keep moving, rest then keep moving.  Don’t worry about being last.  Don’t compare yourself to other that have been doing CF for months or years.  Compare yourself with your past self and focus on personal gains and goals.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?  Boating, Jet-skiing, Motorcycle riding, Golfing.