We are so proud to name Emma Schlauch Blackbird’s first Athlete of the Month of 2016! Tho she be but little, she is fierce! Emma walked in the door 6 months ago mainly identifying herself as a runner who liked to exercise. But she had greatly undersold herself. She is athletic, strong, and determined! Within a few weeks she had her goals up on the board and a few weeks after that she had already signed up for her 1st CrossFit competition! What we love about Emma is her realistic and patient motivation toward meeting her goals. She puts in the work, and then she puts in some more. She gets it. She loves to push herself without comparing her progress to others. It’s Emma against Emma on the gym floor each day. You can see the fire and focus in her eyes. She doesn’t expect a PR every time she picks up the bar or to go from 0-60 in a month, but respects her journey towards getting better every day.
And to call Emma “coachable” is an understatement. It’s always fun to work with an athletic perfectionist with great body awareness! She listens, digests, and practices. She understands the true meaning of form before load. She seems to truly enjoy and appreciate the process of learning and perfecting. We find this type of poise in a young person refreshing and exciting.
We are so excited for Emma in 2016. She’s always up for a challenge. We know that she has some new goals that she is dying to get up on the board and start checking off! She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s passionate, she’s frank…Meet Emma…
Hi! I’m Emma and I’m 24 years old. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Washington College in 2013 and am going back to school for my Master’s in Social Work. That program will be starting in January, so I’m really looking forward to that! When I’m not at the gym, I enjoy reading anything psychology related and watching movies. Oh, and I love to bake. That’s my back-up plan if all else fails 🙂
2. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START CROSSFIT? WHY DO YOU DO IT NOW?
I first started CrossFit because I wanted to supplement my race training with some weight lifting. It has greatly improved my stamina on the course and I’m able to steadily run up the “scary” hills without needing to pull off to the side. Now, I CrossFit because it’s become much more than weight lifting for me. It’s the community, the support, and the friends that I’ve made along the way.
3. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOUR 1st WOD?
Ha, my first WOD was a short, time-capped Cindy. I was using the green band for pull ups and I thought I was going to fly through the roof! It was fun and I couldn’t wait to go back for more.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I enjoy being mentally and physically challenged each time I walk through the door. I used to use my “rest” days during the WODs that looked “too tough” or too long, but now I make sure that I go to those classes and push myself. I usually question my decision during the workout and I curse a lot in my head, but once I’m done I feel like a whole new woman! Of course, I also love the people and the friends that I’ve made through CrossFit.
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
I’ve had so many but I would have to say completing a WOD that had about 6 rope climbs and I was able to do 4. The rush that I felt when I finished the last climb, was incredible. I hit my “high” and was so proud of the work I just did. Also, participating in my first competition and finishing in 6th place was pretty neat.
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?
My favorite lift is the split jerk. I also really enjoy double unders and wipers- we should do more of these (sorry, guys)! My least favorite is definitely strict press.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
When I first wrote my goals up on the board, they were: 200lb deadlift, 5 strict pull ups, and to compete in my first CrossFit competition. As of now, I only have strict pull ups left to cross off; however, I am so close!! I have 3 strict, so I would like to keep that number rising.
8. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO CROSSFIT OR THINKING OF GIVING IT A TRY?
Don’t be afraid to give it a try! It can be super intimidating the first few times, but it’s one of the best decisions I made for myself.
9. WHAT IMPACT HAS BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT HAD ON YOUR LIFE, IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
Inside the gym, I used to look at a lift and immediately think that I wasn’t capable of actually picking it up or lifting it over my head. Today, literally the day that I’m writing this, I was aiming for a 200lb 1RM deadlift and I was nervous as I was putting on plates. At that point, my math skills went out the window and we ended up throwing on 205. The first time I went to lift it, I pulled and that bar wasn’t budging so I backed away. I reset my body and mind, and ended up lifting 205lbs. A couple of months ago, I would have called it a day and settled for my previous weight.
Since I came to CrossFit for the purpose of supplementing my running, I have shaved off 10 minutes of my 5k time, 5 minutes from my 10k time, and I can finally get my mile in under 8 minutes (if I really want). I’ve been trying to do that for over a year and with the help of CrossFit, I have succeeded!
Outside of the gym, my confidence has skyrocketed since joining the Blackbird community. This summer I had an “ah-ha” moment when I was at the beach with my girlfriends, and I looked at them and said “this is the first summer I have ever felt completely comfortable in a bathing suit.” I’m strong and I feel great.
10. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT DIFFERENT THAN OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE PAST?
I find myself much more motivated and determined when I walk through the doors at Blackbird. When I was doing the group classes and moseying around the weight room, I would get self-conscious and eventually I got bored and stopped going. CrossFit is never boring and there is always something that I want to work on so I can be better the next time that WOD and/or lift comes around.
11. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND/OR THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DEDICATION TO TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?
Taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, translates into each part of your life. It’s important to feel good and to be able to do the things that make you feel good!
12. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS THE CHANGE IMPACTED YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?
I don’t have a particular “diet” that I adhere to. Since I did my first Paleo challenge in October, I’ve learned a lot about what my body needs for me to feel good and have enough energy for a workout. I’ll still dabble in Paleo recipes (and they’re actually really good!) and I always try to eat more vegetables, fruits, and protein than anything else. Chocolate and wine still make their welcomed appearances.
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?
It’s very frustrating, to say the least. The media already targets women enough as it is, telling us that we should look a certain way and what one certain food or exercise will make that happen. Not one body is the same! Lifting heavy isn’t going to make a woman bulky, unless they are purposefully aiming to achieve that- like training for the games, perhaps. Lifting makes you mentally and physically stronger, it makes you more confident, and it helps you reach new levels that you didn’t think were possible.
I can’t thank the coaches enough for all of their hard work and encouragement of all of the athletes. Thank you for always making sure that we’re lifting safely and providing modifications when we need them. Joining Blackbird was definitely one of the best decisions I made and thank you for welcoming me with smiles on your faces and with open arms.