I asked Kristin Mann if she would be my first feature on the CrossFit Roux “Member Spotlight” series that I’m doing on the blog. The series is intended for everyone in the Roux family to get to know everyone a little better. Kristin is one of the original gym members, and she has come such a long way in terms of her health and fitness ability since she started. I’m so proud of this girl! 1. Where are you from and why are you in NOLA now? I am from NJ originally and I moved to NOLA 13 years ago for a “temporary” teaching job. I enjoyed the job and my city and decided to stay. 2. Why did you decide to start CrossFit? 2 years ago I had a month before school started and a month before my 33rd birthday so I decided to take that time to try a whole bunch of new things. During that time I tried Pure Barre and CrossFit both because of a friend’s recommendation. I had always been curious about CrossFit, but I never had a clear picture about what it really was. I actually remember thinking it was for elite athletes. I have always been athletic, but far from elite! I ended up trying both for a month and then had to decide between the two and I chose CrossFit. It was an easy choice for me because I liked that the workouts changed everyday and I loved feeling that immediate success and confidence that comes from finishing something that you didn’t think you could. I started off going one time a week and before I knew it I was going almost everyday! 3. What did you do for exercise before starting at Roux? Prior to CrossFit I belonged to a gym and my commitment varied. I always enjoyed exercising and have participated in a club boxing class pretty regularly for over a decade. However, I could be really good about going for several weeks or months, but then if I got into a slump and didn’t feel like going, there wasn’t anyone to hold me accountable and force me to go back. 4. What has been the biggest change in your body that you’ve noticed since starting CrossFit? Since starting CrossFit I have noticed many changes in my body and health! The most important thing is that I finally have my diabetes and all of my other bloodwork in check! I have been diabetic for about 7 years or so and during that time I have had a little trouble managing it. For many years I was taking two oral medications everyday as well as experimenting with supplemental medications (shots, more oral meds, etc.) A year after starting CrossFit and after 3 different challenges at Roux my A1C (average blood sugar over 3 month period) was low enough that my doctor felt that I didn’t need any of the “extra” medicines anymore and that I could cut my daily medicine in half. I was a little nervous about the change and hoped I could keep up the good eating and exercising even when I wasn’t on challenges. A few months ago I went back to the doctor for my annual bloodwork– I was a little nervous– but when I get my A1C back it was even better than it was before. This made me realize that all of the good things I was doing and the changes I was making were becoming habits and a lifestyle. In addition, my bloodwork over the past couple of years has been completely transformed! Prior to CrossFit my tryglicerides were almost 300 and now they are in the 50s. I had a fatty liver and had liver enzyme numbers near two hundred– last checked my liver enzyme numbers were 12 and 17! Finally, I am so much more comfortable in my own skin. My body has always fluctuated between “chubby” and “athletic,” but I hardly ever felt comfortable trying on clothes, etc. For the first time in a long time I feel good when I am shopping for clothes. It makes your life so much easier when you aren’t constantly worried about how you look! 5. How many challenges have you done and what advice would you give to a newbie? I have done about 5 or so challenges and I have learned something new every time! It can be easy to be overwhelmed if you are completely revamping your lifestyle. There are three big things: use your friends as a resource and support; find staples– recipes/foods/snacks that you like and are easy to make; food prep! Food prep is so helpful– during the week it is easy to get home from work and want to eat whatever is easiest— if you have a plan, then it is easier to stay on track. Most importantly, though, don’t beat yourself up over a mistake. I used to get so angry with myself when I ate something bad and then that would usually spiral into more bad eating and more frustration with myself. Now, if I make a mistake, it’s not a big deal because I know that it’s not going to ruin me and that it’s just one choice out of million other choices I’ll make that day and that I can follow up that “bad” choice with a good one. 6. What’s your favorite Roux memory? I have lots of memories of Roux– fun memories and emotional memories. The one that sticks out at me isn’t a 100% clear, because I can’t remember the exact workout, but I remember the feeling I had when I thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish the workout and that feeling of “overwhelmedness” I had and then how I felt the minute it was over– this intense sense of accomplishment. I remember feeling like I wanted to cry, but I didn’t know why. It makes you feel stronger, not just physically, but mentally as well. 7. What’s your favorite cheat meal? A shot of Jaeger, followed by some pizza, and rounded out by a bag (or 5!) of peanut M&Ms!
8. What is your favorite and least favorite movement/lift. My favorite is back squats! I feel strong when I do them and I have seen great gains. My least favorite is snatches. I get too much into my head sometimes and I think that can hinder me from making more progress with them. 9. What are your fitness goals for the coming year? 1-Running- I have always hated running, but I am trying to like it more– I previously wanted to run a 9 minute mile and I met that goal, so now I would like aim for 8:30 mile. 2- Increase gains– I know for long-term success I should be going up in small increments every week or so, so I would just like to focus on slowly increasing so that I am working out for now, but also for the future. 3- Continue my health journey– Ideally I would like to get off medicine completely, so that is something that I will continue to look into and work toward, but in the short term, I would definitely like to tone up. I don’t focus on weight as much as I used to, but I know carrying weight around your stomach is the worst place for health, so it is definitely something I want to work on. Part of this is, of course, exercise, but a larger part comes from the kitchen and what I eat.