CRISTINA GRAVES

Erin Parker is responsible for my Loudhouse connection. She was working out in Amanda and Jason’s CrossFit class when Miranda and I heard about it. It was about February because Miranda called and asked Amanda what it was and would we get our “bikini bodies” by spring break? Of course Amanda said “yes” so we signed up for what was supposed to be about 6 weeks of this “CrossFit stuff.” At the time we had done a few boot camps but wanted a change. This was prior to Loudhouse’s permanent location. Our first WOD was in a room in the fashion district. I don’t remember the exact details of the WOD, but it involved a ladder of sit-ups and something else. I thought she was nuts because it was a TON! Now we do that same number of GHD sit-ups.

The results that I have achieved from LHCF are not at all what I expected. I was stuck in the mindset of losing weight. I have always been active but really never thought of myself as strong nor was I worried about it. I remember when Amanda described the gym that they were opening I actually thought maybe it wouldn’t be for me. I enjoyed the classes I had done to that point so I gave it a try. I was surprised to find that some of my favorite days were when we maxed out. Kim, Miranda, Carolina and I would cheer each other on and even though they all out-lifted me we had so much fun encouraging each other. That’s where is began. Suddenly I became comfortable with who I am. I stopped trying to be thin. I have an athletic build and I am proud of that now. I have times that I know I need to clean up my eating and come more frequently but I don’t stray too far.

Anybody that knows me knows that CrossFit keeps me balanced. It is my stress relief and the only thing I do just for me. I have found myself viewing life challenges as a WOD. “Just one more round, you got this!” More recently my children have become involved which has been wonderful. I hope that I can provide a positive example for them of a healthy person. I like that they can look around our gym and see all ages, shapes and abilities. They see the pain, hard work and frustration combined with encouragement and support. These are great life lessons.

My goals and progress are so slow. I will never forget my first double under. I stopped and jumped up and down yelling because I was so excited. After 4 years I still struggle with those. I have small goals that I am still working on. Stringing more than 3-4 pull-ups. Consistently doing more than 10 double unders at a time. Getting my first ring dip unassisted. Beating Del in any way possible!

The coaches have all be an important part of my progress. Amanda has spent years telling me to just pick the bar up and her energy typically makes me do it. Kristie and Jason have been great to pick up on little details of things during my movements so that I can be corrected. Watching Megan’s progress has been inspiring and she is very motivating.

Some of my closest friends are members of LHCF. It’s hard and sometimes I want to quit. My husband in a huge inspiration to me and there’s nothing like having someone to complain about a WOD with. I love watching everyone’s progress and accomplishments. I must admit the thing I am most proud of is the fact that after 4 years I am still coming and don’t have any desire to quit.

KAIT COOK

How were you first introduced to LH?

I was first introduced to LH by my dad. I remember coming home one day and he was talking about doing 100 Turkish Get-ups. I wasn’t sure at the time what a Turkish Get-up was or why he was doing them, but I was intrigued.  After a few months of him talking about how great CrossFit was, and going Paleo (which I thoughts was NUTS at the time), I decided to try it out and I fell in love almost instantly.

Why did you decide to try it?

After watching my dad get stronger, both mentally and physically, I decided that CrossFit might be worth a try.  I will be honest and say that at first I was 100% in it to look physically better. What I have gained from LoudHouse is so much more than physical looks.

What was your first experience/WOD like? 

My first WOD was “Hell’s Half Mile” and it was HELL! I remember we did it outside at the end of August.  The workout wasn’t fun and we had to do several rounds of bear crawls. The palms of my hands ended up burnt and I thought I was going to throw up. I was hooked!

How has LHCF changed your life physically, mentally, and emotionally?

LHCF has honestly changed my life in so many ways I could write a novel.  The biggest change I have seen in myself is a mental one.  For years I have struggled with depression and anxiety. CrossFit has been a great outlet for me when I am feeling down and LoudHouse has become a second home to me.  Physically, I am much stronger; I can run faster, jump higher, do pull-ups, and things I never thought my body could do. I love all of the changes LHCF has brought to my life.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF?

Over the years I have set several goals at LoudHouse. First, I wanted to learn a pull-up, then to kip. I learned Double Unders and Handstand Pushups. I recently ran a sub-7 minute mile during a WOD and was incredibly proud of myself. Unfortunately, I spent the next 4 minutes of the workout catching my breath. Coming from a family of runners, and not being a runner myself, I felt the need to brag about that for a few days.

How did you achieve those goals?

Consistency is so important with anything you do, CrossFit included. Having someone to push you and be competitive with helps.  Fortunately, I have a few people at the box I try to keep up with. I know walking into a Box and seeing people excel at hard movements, looking “crazy” by kipping or throwing weight around can be intimidating, but if you stay consistent and work hard,  you can be one of those crazy people too!!

What are your current CF goals?

On a more serious note – A year and a half ago I became very ill.  After a year long process of being poked and prodded, hospital visits, GI appointments, and a lot of stress, I finally got answers about what was going on inside of my body.  I lost a lot of weight and energy and everything I had worked hard to achieve.  I am now at a point where I know what I can handle and I know when I need to sit back a let my body recover.  Currently, I want to be 100% healthy and continue to regain strength.

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?

LHCF would not be what it is without the coaches.  I am fortunate enough to get to work with them AND know them all personally. They are always supportive and always believe in me and everyone who walks through the doors of the box.  I know for a fact that I would not have half the mental strength when stepping up to a barbell if it wasn’t for them.

Kristie is always quiet but gives the best pointers.  She is always the coach I want around during a mentally tough WOD because she’ll camp out next to you to encourage. Jason is always on the hunt for the best programming to bring to the box. He works hard to keep the box running and I am thankful for him.  Amanda is the mom of the box; she is constantly checking on everyone and making sure everyone is happy and healthy.  She is also not afraid to scream in your face to work harder when you’re slacking.  Meagan I am kind of partial to because she is one of my favorite friends.  She is more than a coach to me. Meagan is the girl I text at 10pm when I think my thighs look huge.  Each coach plays a completely different role at LH but they are all essential to make the box run smooth.

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF?

Second to a good Church Home, I think a good Fitness Home is essential. LHCF is a second home to me and is somewhere I truly want to spend my afternoons (and mornings, but we all know I’m not a morning person). The community at LH is what makes LH the best. Whether I am kicking ass in the gym, or laying in a hospital bed, I know for a fact that someone from the Box will be by my side supporting me.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?

More than anything physical, I am most proud of the mental accomplishments I’ve been able to achieve with the help of CrossFit. Like I said earlier, I am mentally stronger now.  Life and CrossFit are both more mentally hard than physically (at least for me). Every day killing a workout is a mental victory. I know that if I can walk in the Box and do “Murph” then surly I can walk out of the Box and do life.

RICHARD PARKER

How were you first introduced to LH? It was sort of a combination.  Erin had signed up for one of the original boot camps that Jason did before they had the gym and really liked it, so I was interested immediately.  Then when Jason mentioned it at work I had to google what Crossfit was but I watched a few Youtube videos and thought this might be fun.

Why did you decide to try it?  I had gained a lot of weight right before I started and I was looking for a way to get back to “normal”.  So I cleaned up my diet and started seeing some results and this seemed like the best way to speed that up.

What was your first experience/WOD like? It was a massive disappointment.  I had been working out at home and thought I was getting in decent shape.  That all came crashing down in the first WOD.  I had to scale everything and I felt like my lungs were going to explode.  So I was hooked.

How has LHCF changed your life physically, mentally, and emotionally?  The physical changes are still happening so we will see where that goes, I am stronger now than I have been at any point in my life I know that.  At 41 gains are hard but I am still trying to improve.  The biggest changes for me were probably mental and emotional.  I have never liked exercise.  I never considered myself a runner or gym rat no matter how much I did those things.  I was doing them to achieve a result not because I enjoyed them.  Several months ago Jason posted something in the blog about positive thinking and recommended a book for me to read.  That was the turning point for me.  I started looking forward to the WODs (even the heros).  I stopped focusing on the temporary pains and tried to think about all the long term gains and how far I have come since starting.  I think no matter what happens from here on I will have Loudhouse to thank for that.  Those same changes have filtered into the rest of my life and I am happier for it.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF? I initially didn’t have a goal, but after doing several months of this it was simply to do a muscle up.  I was like a kid on Christmas when I got that first one.

How did you achieve those goals?  I listened.  I watched the videos that the coaches shared and just tried to push myself so I could be stronger every week.

What are your current CF goals? Finally figuring out double unders would be nice but really now I just want to be more competitive in the box.  You hear that Dustin and Del ? I’m coming for you.

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?  They are great because they have similar problems and struggles as the rest of us.  They get invested in our success too.  It is a great feeling to know that other people are proud of you for overcoming an obstacle or getting that PR.  The support is priceless.

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF?  I work out with my wife everyday so I have a really close workout partner.  Her involvement and support is one of the best things for me.  She pushed me to get up and go in the early days when I didn’t want to.  Her commitment to it basically shamed me into sticking with it and it is one of the best things I have done for myself.  Beyond that the easiest way to explain it is to watch any of the videos of people competing or finishing the WODs.  In the back ground you will always here shouts of encouragement and shouts of joy from people you sometimes barely know.  That is something special I have never seen anywhere else.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?  I think for me it is the fact that I have stuck with it for this long.  Erin will tell you I have borderline ADD and things usually only last months, not years.  That is the biggest accomplishment for me so far, but I’m not done yet.

DUSTIN DUPREE

I was first introduced to CrossFit by my brother. The box was having a group WOD one day and I tagged along.  The initial WOD was tough and it kicked my butt but, it did it’s job and got me hooked. After that first WOD, I kept training at a normal gym but, about six months ago I felt the need to challenge myself in a new way.  I remembered that WOD and decided to give LoudHouse a more permanent try. 

 LoudHouse has really challenged my mental strength.  I am now more motivated and stronger.  All of the encouragement and friendly competition at the box is definitely a confidence booster.  My main hope after starting CrossFit was to gain muscle and lose body fat.  This is an ongoing process but with hard work and dedication I am already happy with the results I’m seeing. A few current goals I have are to improve my form in my lifts and continue to gain strength in everything I do.  Fortunately, the coaches I work with are knowledgeable with the Olympic Lifts and are always willing to offer help when my form is lacking or if I am doing it completely wrong.

 Everyone at LoudHouse CrossFit works hard and in turn that motivates me to do the same.  Even if someone is more advanced in CrossFit, no one is made fun of or treated like an outcast; instead everyone pulls for one another which makes us all better at the end of the day. The environment is always light and fun which is great for everyone, especially when you are trudging through a hard WOD. The thing to date I am most proud of is doing handstand pushups, but once I tackle double-unders that will definitely move to the top of my list!

KELLY NOE

I first heard about LoudHouse from people around town. I was extremely bored with the exercise classes I was taking at the time, so out of boredom, I decided to try it. I was extremely nervous but that quickly went away. I don’t remember the very first WOD I did, but my most memorable, early WOD, was “Annie”. Kristie and I were the only two in the class and she finished like 6 hours before me.  I just remember her and the coach standing over me, encouraging me to finish when I didn’t want to. It was great.

LoudHouse has changed my life in in many ways. I can be having a really stressful day and any WOD I do will make the stress melt away. Physically, it has allowed me to care for my husband’s grandfather and my grandmother. Being strong enough to move your loved ones is a great feeling emotionally. Overall, I have the endurance to handle everyday life. When we go to Disney I am not tired and dragging by the end of the day. I also love the fact that after more than 3 years, I am not bored with the workouts. When I first started CrossFit, I was overweight and sluggish. LoudHouse helped me gain energy, lose weight, and keep it off because of the physical demands of the workouts and the nutritional advice given by the coaches. The biggest goal I set for myself, be healthier overall, was achieved and has remained because of CrossFit. This is the thing I am most proud of to date.

The coaches at LoudHouse are awesome and they all play a separate role in the success of the Box. They are all around to offer support and encouragement when it is needed. Jason and Amanda are always there to answer my nutrition questions; Kristie is always there to tell me what weight I can handle during workouts; Meagan is always there for support.

The main thing that I love about LoudHouse is the community. The second you walk in the door, you feel welcome and supported. Often during the workouts I say, “I would quit if I wasn’t in a group.” LoudHouse provides a fantastic group atmosphere. I have formed some really great friendships outside of LoudHouse because of the camaraderie at the box.

KYLE HARRIS

How were you first introduced to LoudHouse?

I was interested in the “non-typical” gym type workouts and wanted to learn more.

Why did you decide to try Crossfit?

My wife’s coworker had been talking about joining a Crossfit class but didn’t want to go alone so I said I’d try it out with him.  After some google research I found Loudhouse and was impressed by the website and all of the information they had to offer.

What was your first experience/WOD like?

Once I decided to go for it I contacted Loudhouse and scheduled the On-Ramp personal workouts with one of the coaches.  I remember being nervous that I wouldn’t be in good enough shape to complete my first workout.  I showed up to Loudhouse just ready to get it over with and wondering what the heck I got myself into.  I felt very intimidated walking into the box (gym) for the first time.  That feeling only lasted about 10 secs before the other athletes/coach welcomed me with open arms.  The moment I stepped into Loudhouse I felt a part of a team.

How had LHCF changed your life physically, mentally and emotionally?

LHCF has changed my life more than they realize.  I have been “working out” since high school days and have done the same routine (chest, arms, legs, cardio… repeat) over and over.  I thought I had the knowledge need to become physically fit…but never got there.

With LHCF… they do ALL the thinking for you. I just show up and they have a thought out programming system that will never allow your body to plateau. I look forward to the days I go to Loudhouse.  I’m more relaxed, less stressed and just happy.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF?

My goal when starting Crossfit was to become “fit”.  I wanted to change my physical attitude to just being “fit”.  At the time of starting Crossfit I weighed between 210-205lbs.   I now weigh 170-175lbs!!!  I have neverrrrrr everrrr been in such good shape #Crossfit-fit

How did you achieve these goals?

By soaking in every word the coaches at LHCF had to offer.  Using their knowledge and applying it each WOD (workout of the day) and to everyday life.

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition.  Meal planning with my wife has been a huge help.

What are your current CF goals?

My current goals are still and will always be the same. Stay “fit”! My perspective on “fit” has changed dramatically though.

One of my biggest and so far most challenging goals is to get my wife involved!!

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?

LHCF coaches have everything to do with how I’ve been able to achieve my goals.  The coaches make exercise an absolute blast.  It can be one of the hardest workouts you have ever done in your life… and the coaches will still be right beside you encouraging you to keep pushing. They are full of knowledge, if you’re just a beginner or even an experienced athlete.

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF:

There is nothing like it.  It only takes one workout and you’ll feel like you’re part of a family.  Even though exercise can be grueling at times, I promise you’ll be laughing/smiling before and after.  The LHCF family will push you to be your best.  I’ve learned from LHCF that it doesn’t matter if you’re first or last to finish the WOD, just as long as you did the workout to the best of your ability.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?

Showing up consistently.  Crossfit has become a lifestyle rather than just a workout.

That would also be my best advice…JUST SHOW UP and the LHCF team will take care of you from there.

CAROLYN SMITH

How were you first introduced to LH?

I was introduced to LoudHouse by my husband, Lonnie.  He started CrossFit  before I did.

Why did you decide to try it?

Our son Chad is a coach at CrossFit Arizona and he is the one that started all of this for our family.  I had tried gyms before and they just weren’t for me.  I needed someone to show me how to work out and gyms just don’t do this.

What was your first experience/WOD like?

My first WOD was 100 Turkish get ups.  Well, that was fun!  My coach, Amanda, said that I could do it with a water bottle and could do 50 instead of the 100. I did all 100 and I was hooked. I guess I really drank the water!

How has LHCF changed your life physically, mentally, and emotionally?

Loudhouse has changed me so much.  My life is so much better because of the changes in my body, mind and spirit.  The strength that I have is getting so much better.  They say the older you get the weaker you get, well I can say that age is just a number and it is how you live your life that counts.  LoudHouse has shown me this in so many ways.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF?

I have had so many goals, that it is hard to choose just one.  Be better at Wall balls, rope climbs, run a mile is less than 11 minutes, handstand push-ups.  These are just a few that I have been able to accomplish.

How did you achieve those goals?

I achieve these by having Coach Amanda stay with me and encourage me to keep going.  Especially the Wall Balls, that is really the only time I want to quit.  Thank you Coach.

What are your current CF goals?

My current goals are to keep going and just do my best.  Keep adding weight and get stronger

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?

My Coach, Amanda, is the best.  She helps me more than she realizes.  Her encouragement and friendship means so much to me.  Loudhouse has become family to me and would not want to be going anywhere else.  Thank you, Amanda Skinner, for your friendship and for always being here for me, I could not be where I am in CrossFit without you.

 

 

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF?

The family at Loudhouse is the best.  They come together to help both new and old members.  The encouragement at Loudhouse is so much more than I have ever had at a gym.  This is another reason I love going to work out.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’ve had many proud moments since starting CrossFit like, doing my first handstand, first rope climb and so many other firsts, but the one that sticks out the most is from the Lurong challenge.  We did a WOD with wall balls and I wanted to quit so bad, but Coach kept encouraging me to keep going and I did.  That showed me that I can do anything as long as I keep my mind and body in it.  I can do all things through Christ because he gives me the strength.  Don’t give up, just keep going.  Thank you for letting me a part of LoudHouse CrossFit.

How were you first introduced to LH?

I was introduced to LoudHouse by my husband, Lonnie.  He started CrossFit  before I did.

Why did you decide to try it?

Our son Chad is a coach at CrossFit Arizona and he is the one that started all of this for our family.  I had tried gyms before and they just weren’t for me.  I needed someone to show me how to work out and gyms just don’t do this.

What was your first experience/WOD like?

My first WOD was 100 Turkish get ups.  Well, that was fun!  My coach, Amanda, said that I could do it with a water bottle and could do 50 instead of the 100. I did all 100 and I was hooked. I guess I really drank the water!

How has LHCF changed your life physically, mentally, and emotionally?

Loudhouse has changed me so much.  My life is so much better because of the changes in my body, mind and spirit.  The strength that I have is getting so much better.  They say the older you get the weaker you get, well I can say that age is just a number and it is how you live your life that counts.  LoudHouse has shown me this in so many ways.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF?

I have had so many goals, that it is hard to choose just one.  Be better at Wall balls, rope climbs, run a mile is less than 11 minutes, handstand push-ups.  These are just a few that I have been able to accomplish.

How did you achieve those goals?

I achieve these by having Coach Amanda stay with me and encourage me to keep going.  Especially the Wall Balls, that is really the only time I want to quit.  Thank you Coach.

What are your current CF goals?

My current goals are to keep going and just do my best.  Keep adding weight and get stronger

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?

My Coach, Amanda, is the best.  She helps me more than she realizes.  Her encouragement and friendship means so much to me.  Loudhouse has become family to me and would not want to be going anywhere else.  Thank you, Amanda Skinner, for your friendship and for always being here for me, I could not be where I am in CrossFit without you. 

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF?

The family at Loudhouse is the best.  They come together to help both new and old members.  The encouragement at Loudhouse is so much more than I have ever had at a gym.  This is another reason I love going to work out.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’ve had many proud moments since starting CrossFit like, doing my first handstand, first rope climb and so many other firsts, but the one that sticks out the most is from the Lurong challenge.  We did a WOD with wall balls and I wanted to quit so bad, but Coach kept encouraging me to keep going and I did.  That showed me that I can do anything as long as I keep my mind and body in it.  I can do all things through Christ because he gives me the strength.  Don’t give up, just keep going.  Thank you for letting me a part of LoudHouse CrossFit.

SANDI WHITEMAN

CLIENT PROFILE SANDI WHITEMAN

How you were first introduced to LH?
I had been working with a personal trainer for about 2 1/2 years and was very comfortable there but I really wanted to work in a group setting. I googled Crossfit in Lufkin and found the web page! My actual first intro to LH was a KTRE news story where Coach J was interviewed on how “bad” Cross Fit was for you…) and I thought yep, this is the place!

Why did you decide to try it?
My daughter had started Cross Fit about 6 months earlier in Houston and like all “good” cross fitters she talked about it non-stop. Every day she would tell me what they were doing and I was really jealous J and after looking at the website I just decided to go for it. The WOD scaling appealed to me because my first thought was I am 48 years old – I don’t have any business climbing ropes or jumping on boxes!

What was your first experience/WOD like?
Terrifying. I had a huge knot in my stomach when I came to the first class after on-ramp (I wanted to stay in on-ramp forever.) I don’t even really remember what the WOD was but I do remember being really proud of myself for not crying, puking or passing out – and I didn’t die. Now, I won’t say none of those things have happened since then but let’s just leave that right there.

How has LHCF changed your life physically, mentally, and emotionally?
My whole outlook on life in general has changed. Physically, I am stronger than I have ever been, mentally, I have more confidence (some days are better than others – depending on how high the “metaphorical” box is) and emotionally, let’s say there are some days I believe I can take on the world (or at least my part of it) and those are huge contrasts from life before CF.

What is a goal that you set and achieved through CF?
My original goals have changed! Like many others I just wanted to lose weight – period, however that needed to happen, but then as I looked around and I saw the lady with the nice butt, and the one with the awesome back and shoulders and then there is that one that has beautiful abs (or at least it appears that way through her shirt) oh and don’t forget the one that has incredible biceps – (I promise this is not creepy) I wanted ALL of those things – that was my new goal. After a couple of months, I realized I didn’t need to focus on the outside of me – I needed to change the inside first and then hopefully those previous goals would fall in place (and they haveJ). By changing inside I mean to show up no matter what the WOD, work hard – even when it hurt and the hardest part, to be proud of the progress no matter how slow (it’s easy to be my own worst critic.) I still am usually “last” on the whiteboard but I am still proud of the work.

How did you achieve those goals?
I came to work even if I was terrified of the WOD. Many times within the WOD I would have to put fears aside. There were lots of nights that I left feeling proud – not of conquering the physical goals but conquering the fears that went along with it – there is so much mental training going on there!! And don’t get me wrong – there were nights that I left feeling defeated as well and with a thought of “what the hell am I doing here!” But the proud overcame the defeated – every time.

What are your current CF goals?
My immediate goals are to be able to do many of the movements unscaled. Box Jumps (I was able to finally make 18” – they scare me), Rope Climb – I can now climb halfway. My scaling progression of handstands and pull ups has increased – slow progress, but I will take it any day! I still am not able to get a double under but I will!! Additionally, I want to complete the Spartan Trifecta this year!!
My long term goal is to be able to do a legitimate muscle up at some point in my life. I will be 50 in a little over a year and I’m not convinced it will happen by then since I have so many other things I want to accomplish but I’m sure going to try. A new long term goal would be to complete (in under 30 min) the Filthy Fifty at age 50 (Rx) – that, I am convinced, is doable!

What role do the LHCF coaches play in helping you with your goals?
The coaches are awesome – each with their own style of motivation, encouragement, and training. I have never felt like I would hurt myself doing any of the movements and if I just really wasn’t comfortable with something I could scale until my mental caught up. That’s not to say they just let you do whatever you want. They all have a sense of knowing what you are capable of even if you don’t. Coaches know when you’re struggling and they help you out – they are patient. They know when you are conquering the fears and encourage you to push through.
It is also evident that LHCF is not just a paycheck for them – all of the coaches are passionate about what they do and they have fun with it which in turn makes it fun for the rest of us!
They offer so much more than just physical training too with knowledge of every aspect needed to be successful in an active life – I feel very confident following their lead.

Tell me about the camaraderie/community at LHCF?
THIS is NOT just a “gym” – it’s a place to go to get your ass kicked by people who believe in you alongside people who believe in you, by people you trust and respect alongside people you trust and respect. It’s a place you leave feeling tired, sore, and sometimes bruised and not being able to WAIT to come back for more! Even though everyone is at a different level in their journey, you are ALL there and that’s what makes it a “family.”
I have heard of CF referred to as a cult – like that’s a bad thing. I had preconceived ideas myself but I cannot think of any other cult (or place) I would rather be a part or any other people I would rather be with on a daily basis.

What CF accomplishment are you most proud of?
Learning to believe in myself. Learning to not let my fears get in the way of my life. Learning that your comfort zone is really not all that comfortable in the long run and that stepping out of it on a daily basis is really where it’s at. I never would have thought that climbing ropes, jumping on boxes, or swinging on monkey bars would have such life lessons in it but they do – you just have to be willing to see them for what they are. Thank you LHCF for everything you have done for me and being such a huge part of my life in such a short span of time – YOU ROCK! (and going from a size large t-shirt to a medium is pretty sweet too… J)

AMANDA HUCKABEE

1) How long have you been part of the Loudhouse CrossFit family? I started CrossFit the summer of 2013

2) What is your favorite WOD? That would be any WOD (workout of the day) with any kind of lifting, more specifically deadlifting.

3) Least Favorite WOD? Anything that includes a great deal of running, or any amount of running.

4) What is your favorite lift? The deadlift. It was the first thing I “just got”. I was warming up for a deadlifting WOD one day when everything just “clicked”, it was the first time in CrossFit I realized everything the coaches had been saying all along really did make sense

5) Least favorite lift? That would be the bench press.

6) Tell about self (family, job, interests, etc…) I have four beautiful, intelligent, funny, and wonderfully insane children. If you have been to the box and you haven’t seen them I’m sure you have heard them. I work at Lufkin State Supported Living Center as a Transition Specialist; I assist our individual’s with locating and transitioning into group homes. I enjoy reading, hitting parks and hiking trails with the kids, and eating lots and lots of food.

7) What were you doing before CrossFit? I wasn’t doing a whole lot of anything prior to starting CrossFit. I’d worked with a lady at one time who was a certified aerobics instructor and she did personal work on the side, I would get with her occasionally and that would last 2 or 3 months at a time. Although she was a lot of fun and would show me no mercy, Loudhouse CrossFit is the only thing that has ever shown such drastic all over progress in such a short amount of time.

8) What were your thoughts after your first WOD? My thoughts after my first WOD are probably the same that were going through my head during the WOD. I am sure it was along the lines of “Holy S#! t! I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die!” but I didn’t die so I came back the next night, and the next, and the next…and as a matter of fact, I am still alive (just in case there was any concern). Actually I came back the next night because that whole day I was EXTREMELY sore, I told myself if I go back and do more work tonight that soreness will be worked away. Just FYI, if you are thinking of beginning, that’s not exactly the way things work in the wonderful world of CrossFit! I couldn’t sit or stand without cursing for at least a week and a half due to all the squats I did during my foundations class along with the rest of the week. The initial soreness finally dissipated and now I keep myself moving and working on a regular basis it not such a shock to my body. If you can get through the first week of CrossFit you can get through anything.

9) What were your goals when you walked through the door? I didn’t have any goals walking into the box the first time other than to feel better. I have never been one to care what the weight on the scale says as long I am comfortable in whatever I am or am not wearing I knew once I got active again I would begin to lose weight where I needed to. Believe it or not I was pretty excited about seeing the number on the scale increase due to muscle development.

10) Have you achieved any of them? Considering I didn’t have goals when I began I would say that I have far exceeded them. I first began to notice some definition in my biceps, then my pants starting falling off my hips and there was a little bit of definition to my thighs (something I have NEVER seen before!) and my back fat began melting away!! In 2 years I have only lost about 20 and some odd pounds but I have dropped nearly 3 pants sizes and now have difficulty in finding shirts to fit just right around my biceps. A couple of my current goals are to get a strict pull up and handstand push-ups, also to complete a Spartan Race (or 3) and maybe a Tough Mudder. I have only recently been able to do rope climbs which is a major accomplishment as not only have I not EVER been able to climb a rope but I also have a fear of heights!
In the beginning I dreaded the warm-ups when we were asked to run 400 meters and if the WOD included running also…ouch, just thinking about it hurt my lungs and actually completing it made me physically ill. Running still hurts but I can now do it without feeling the need to spew my innards (unless it’s cold). I have never been a competitive person and never would have used the work athletic to describe myself but with the encouragement from a wonderful friend form the box competed in my first CrossFit competition, I finished first in one WOD, hit a 25 pound PR in another WOD, and finished 9th overall for my division out of 24 or so other ladies.
I would also like to say, prior to beginning CrossFit, I was a mess. I was stressed all the time, four kids can be a lot to deal with and being that I am the only adult in the house, I seldom get a chance to step in the other room and just take a break. I was constantly drained of energy. I hated walking up and down the stairs at work; it wore me out and hurt my knees. More often than not I had to muster the strength just to walk to my car at the end of a work day, I just wanted to curl in a ball and sleep or cry. I have suffered from depression for pretty much most of my life and at times required medication to help get back on track. At the time I learned Lufkin had CrossFit, I was coming through some personal issues in my life that had really had me down for quite a while on top of everything else in life…like I said…I was a mess, basically a basket-case. Not only have there been physical changes but mentally and emotionally I just feel so much more….clear, stable, and just all around happy. I am not saying that Loudhouse CrossFit is a cure-all for mine or anyone’s depression but it is something HUGE for me to sit here and say that I have not experienced any issues with my depression since deciding to make changes in my nutrition and physical activity and to stick with it. I still get stressed, I still have bad days, I still get onto and yell at the kids but my head is just much clearer.

11) What advice would you give a newbie? Don’t be afraid to walk in. Age, size, shape, disability, fitness level…it is of no matter. We are all here for the same reasons, to improve ourselves. Planet Fitness is not the only “judgement free” zone. Everything we do can be modified to your abilities…everything. I have never met so many caring, encouraging, and friendly people in one place. Both Coaches Amanda and Jason have taken extra time to focus on physical and nutritional programing for me, there really is only so much I could have accomplished on my own but with the extra time and expertise from them and the constant encouragement and friendly competition from everybody, I have far exceeded everything I thought I was capable of. I plan to keep going until I stop ticking.