May 2018---Philomena Quenneville

1. Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, hobbies/interests.  
I was born in Silicon Valley and my family moved to St. Mary’s about 10 years ago. I am 25 and work as a pattern maker and seamstress. My hobbies include: cooking, reading, organizing, gift wrapping, building things, and running.

2. When do you start CrossFitting? Why did you start? Why do you continue now?
I started on January 17, 2017. I wanted to become stronger in the hope that this would alleviate ongoing back and arm pain caused by many hours standing, sitting, and wielding an iron. I continue because of the wonderful community and because I see so many positive changes in my health, strength, and mental attitude as a direct result of regular attendance.

3. Do you remember your first WOD? What were your thoughts after your first WOD?  
My first WOD was 1 RM Deadlift 5-3-1-1-1 ladder with an extra serving of CF Open 12.1…AMRAP Burpees for 7 minutes. I remember feeling like I was progressing in my relationship with the barbell after the deadlift session. My experience with the burpees on the other hand seems to have mercifully faded from my memory. But I took away a few things: I never forgot that there can be 7 minutes of burpees or that I was able to survive it without quitting due to all of the ladies cheering me on.    

4. What do you enjoy most about CrossFit?
The people. They are amazing and inspiring, very welcoming and encouraging. The coaches most especially, as they go above and beyond, genuinely trying to help you improve in a safe manner. The Crossfit program is the other part of the equation. It is a program that works, is goal oriented, and tracks everything so that over time you can see what you have accomplished, how you have improved.

5. What is your proudest CrossFit moment?
I am proudest of persevering. I did not start out with an athletic background and it is only because I kept coming back, was inspired by all the other ladies working so hard, and listened to the coaches that I have seen any of the improvements I have.

6. What is your favorite movement or lift? What is your least favorite?
My favorites change as I attempt them at greater volume or weight. I thought I liked kettlebell swings but ask me to do 150 of them and that movement suddenly rivals burpees in my least favorites list. In general slam balls, burpees, and man makers are all awful. Kettlebell deadlifts, dumbbell snatches, and push presses are usually fun to do.

7. Have you had one or two challenging CrossFit goals that you've achieved recently? What are your current goals and how close are you to reaching them?  
Some of the challenging goals I have been able to achieve recently are: bodyweight dips throughout a WOD, 200 double unders in a WOD, chest to bar kipping pullups, and pressing into a handstand (for all of a second). Some of my new goals are: to complete Murph, do 30 strict pullups in 6 minutes, back squat over 200 lbs, deadlift 300 lbs, kick into a handstand consistently, and perform a muscle up. I have a long way to go.


8. What makes CrossFit different from other fitness programs that you might have tried in the past?  
I have not tried a wide variety of fitness programs, the few times I did, I was either hopelessly outclassed by the expected minimum level of fitness, bored by the repetitiveness, or only sporadically motivated to participate. It is a tribute to the CrossFit program that I was able to come in and see one class and be hooked even though cardio, gymnastics and weightlifting were, none of them, in my previous repertoire.  
CrossFit works with your fitness level scaling to your current work capacity so that you never feel that the workout is impossible though it might be challenging. There are coaches who invest time helping you safely accomplish goals you did not know you were capable of. There is no time for boredom to set in as every day is different and often a surprise. As for motivation, there is a signup system that holds you accountable as well as the other people in your class who care about your attendance.  


9. What impact has CrossFit Benedictus had on your life, in and out of the gym?
Crossfit Benedictus has given me a more positive outlook, an increased mental discipline, better health, and more energy. I find that having finished a workout gives me a sense of accomplishment that stays with me throughout the day and lifts my spirits or gives me the mental strength to persevere through obstacles.  

10. Tell us about your nutrition and how it has changed, if any, since starting CrossFit?
My nutrition has not changed much as I was already doing a paleo eating plan but I have acquired a much clearer idea of how hard it will be to work off those awesome chocolatey brownies.

11. If you could write a WOD for the classes to do, what would it look like?
I like long workouts 20-30 minutes and a specified amount of work, but no matter how I try there are just too many movements to choose from to put into a workout. If I had to narrow it down to a few though I would like: kettlebell deadlifts, dumbbell snatches, toes to bar, pullups, and running.    

12. What advice do you have for others about the importance of the dedication of taking care of yourself, of investing in yourself?
It is hard to accomplish your goals physical and or spiritual if you are constantly distracted or incapacitated by physical weakness or discomfort. Investing in your physical upkeep now will pay dividends helping you to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

13. What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit or who is thinking about giving it a try?
I would say come watch a class, do your research, and ask questions. Then, be willing to stick with it for at least 3-6 months of regular attendance - you will see results. Listen to your coaches, don’t expect too much of yourself, be inspired by those around you to do better today than yesterday even if that improvement, is to you, quite minute.

14. Open Forum:  
I would like to thank God for His providence that helped me to finally try this program out. It took five people in one day, separately and spontaneously, saying, “You know, I think you should try Crossfit” before it clicked, but it happened.
A special thank you is owed my parents who have supported and encouraged me through this mystifying change in their often tired, never leave the house daughter to someone who spontaneously wants to do random exercises and is positive they are dying to have a blow by blow account of the latest workout. Thank you for your patience!
There is also a great thank you due to Doc and Cindy for opening Crossfit Benedictus and making it the special place it is. I have been so edified again and again by both of you and by the time, effort, and care you have invested in the box and the people of Crossfit Benedictus.  
I am also so very grateful to the Coaches for your patience, direction, time and care towards all of us box members. I am sure it cannot be easy, but we are all so glad you can be there for us.
Last and by no means least there are my fellow members and workout partners. Your enthusiasm, humor, concern, and example inspire me and challenge me to work harder, without you there to lend your support I would not have done even one of these workouts at home!
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