Each April after the CrossFit Open we give our community the chance to choose the Blackbird Athlete of the Month. Many worthy members were nominated by their peers, but we could not agree more with the majority vote for CJ! CJ has been a Blackbird for 2 years. During that time, she has always worked hard and had a great attitude, but in the past year CJ has really hit her stride in her training. She is a no excuses type woman. She’s a dedicated single mom with a successful career and a super cool daughter with a stacked activity schedule. And she STILL makes herself a priority every morning at the 5:30am class and on Saturday mornings at 8:00am sharp. She uses her new strength and fitness to attack new challenges like Spartan races, 10Ks, trail running, and CrossFit competitions. She is our lover of all-things Wonder Woman, and she fits the mold as our modern day superheroine and living-breathing “inspirational quote.” Don’t take it from us, here is what her fellow athletes had to say about CJ.
- “CJ is incredibly encouraging, friendly, and really was the ‘face of BBCF’ for me when I started.”
- “She is constantly smiling and modeling the value of working on yourself mentally and physically.”
- “She challenges herself inside and out of BBCF.”
- “Her biggest competitor is who she was yesterday. I love it!”
- “She is by far the most positive, encouraging, and supportive.”
We are so lucky to have CJ as such an instrumental part of our CrossFit community at Blackbird. Thank you for inspiring us to be to better than we were yesterday! We love you babe! MEET CJ…
1.TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
My name is CJ which stands for Christine Juliet! I am a mom, a CrossFitter, a Spartan and a Wonder Woman! I’m 2.5 years shy of the big 4-0!! I was born in DC and raised in PG County, Maryland. I’m mom to a horse-riding, loving, sassy tween and to an adorable “Yes, my right ear does flop” 2 year GSD pup, named, Izzy. Both are my world! I work at the University of Maryland College Park, where I have been working for nearly 9 years. I’m a Terp! I received my Bachelor’s degree in History from UMD. In my “spare” time, I enjoy running, playing softball, and participating in Spartan races. AROO!
2. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START CROSSFIT?
This June marks my 2 year CrossFit anniversary at BBCF! I had always wanted to try CrossFit, but I didn’t know I’d fall in love with it instantly. I was looking for a form of exercise where I didn’t get bored. CrossFit has changed my life!
3. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOUR 1st WOD AT BLACKBIRD?
I’m pretty sure, I googled the meaning of WOD after my first class. I believe my first WOD included box jumps, bar facing burpees and (squat) cleans. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it definitely introduced me to the world of burpees!!
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I enjoy the sense of community that CrossFit creates. I’ve visited other boxes, competed in competitions and volunteered at Regionals and everywhere I go, there is a sense of community. I’ve enjoyed the connections made through CrossFit.
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
Honestly, I can’t name just one! Hitting 200 on my deadlift, or hitting 100 on bench, then there’s competing in my first competition and volunteering at the East Regionals, both in 2016.
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?
Some of my least favorite have become my favorites! At first, I thought wallballs were so hateful (they still are), but, now, I kinda love them! Cleans and snatches were probably the toughest to learn!
7. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
My CrossFit goals are to be better than I was before. To improve in all skills not just one. To continue to strengthen my mind and body. My goal is to continue CrossFit!
8. WHAT IMPACT HAS BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT HAD ON YOU IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
BBCF has had an enormous impact on me both in and out of the gym. Mentally, CrossFit has given me a sense of confidence and brought back the “happy” that I had been missing for quite some time. Also, I love how CrossFit has changed and strengthened my body. Because of CrossFit, my running has improved and it has definitely given me the tools to complete Spartan races.
9.WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?
It is important to take time for oneself. This includes healthy eating habits as well. For many of us, our lives have become so routine and we get caught up in so much that we exclude taking care of ourselves. We take out frustrations on others and ourselves by eating poorly, drug/alcohol abuse, etc. This leads to depression and other issues. Take time for yourself, do something you love or try something new that you’ve always wanted to do! Find a buddy to help you in the process!
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO CROSSFIT OR THINKING OF GIVING IT A TRY?
Determine your goals, develop a plan and give it all you have! Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace and scale when you need to. You’ll only get stronger!
11. WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE PAST?
CrossFit is different from other programs because of the variety of the WODs. The lifts and WODs are different every day. A WOD may get repeated 3 or 6 months later which gives a wonderful opportunity to see how much you’ve progressed.
12. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS IT CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED CROSSFIT?
I try to keep it Paleo as much as possible. Thanks to the nutrition seminars and the Paleo challenges at BBCF, I’ve learned so much. I definitely look at food differently now. I’ve probably lost 15-20 lbs since starting CrossFit. I still love my sweets tho!
13. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MAINSTREAM FITNESS ATTITUDE THAT BELIEVES WOMEN SHOULDN’T LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS? OR IF SHE DOES, SHE WILL GET “BULKY”?
Don’t believe the mainstream!! Lifting weights is actually good for you on so many levels. Remember your goals!
14. IF YOU COULD CREATE A WOD, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
If I could create a WOD would probably include a 1-mile run (okay, maybe 200m instead), a bear complexes and maybe burpees or sit ups. I chose a bear complex because the name says it all!
15. HOW HAS CROSSFIT MADE YOU FEEL MORE PREPARED FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE?
Zombies!?!? Psshhha… Ready to kick some zombie butt!
I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had at BBCF. Matt, Rebekah and the coaches are amazing! I am thankful for their guidance each and every day. I am thankful for the friends I have made as well. You all inspire me every day with your hard work and dedication. CrossFit has changed my life in so many ways. I was in such a rut when I started at BBCF. I was unhappy and life just seemed to be kicking me in every way. Once I started working on myself, things slowly started to change for the better. I love sharing the lifts and WODs and how I did with my daughter every day. My hope is that I inspire her to be the best she can be in the same way she inspires me. I’m excited for what is to come at BBCF! Keep up the great work!! <3 P.S. Shout out to MB!