We knew Kris and her husband Zach were something special the first time we met them at our Beginner’s Only Class back in February. They were already strong, moved well, and very athletic. But they were bored with their in-home routine and looking to be challenged and learn new skills. Kris is not afraid to challenge herself with movements and lifts outside of her comfort zone and quickly set lofty goals for herself. Since her 1st week, she’s worked diligently on her new goals, taking advantage of open gym and any extra moments she has to put towards her practice. The best part is that she does it with a smile on her face. I mean, this girl LOVES a good challenge. She’s an inspiration to our Blackbird community. We all admire and respect the dedication that she shows to her training, and of course, we are so thankful for her years of dedication and brave service to our county.
This girl is STRONG. Kris’ years of push ups in the military have aided her in an impressive bench press, which is now over her body weight! She is now getting the hang of the Olympic lifts and is already snatching 100lbs. At first she was a little nervous to go above 75% of her max effort out of that long-time belief that lifting heavy will make women look bulky. But in the past 4 months, getting serious about her diet and adding some more weight on the bar, has garnered her the results she’s been after. Sweet-looking abs, more arm and leg definition (what most women refer to as “tone”), and increased strength and performance.
But the best part about her…Kris is infectious. She is one of the most upbeat and outgoing athletes in our gym. She quickly made friends and became a fixture at Blackbird. She is the best welcoming committee we have for new members and OGs alike. She’s everyone’s favorite lifting partner, because she will challenge you under the bar and make you laugh hysterically while you rest! And she dances! MEET KRIS…
Helloooo!!! My name is Kris Koelzer, 34 years old. For the past twelve years I have served our great country as a soldier in the United States Army. My husband, Zach and I have two awesome dogs, Kirby, a Pit Bull and Zoe, an Alapaha Blueblood Bulldog. My interests include reading the WOD first thing in the morning, traveling, hanging out with friends, and chocolate. I am working on my Bachelor’s and look forward to starting my Master’s this winter.
2. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START CROSSFIT? WHY DO YOU DO IT NOW?
I started CrossFit to escape my home gym and the repetitiveness of home workout videos. I continue with CrossFit because it is AMAZING! An unforeseen benefit has been psychological. When I am counting reps, breathing heavy, laughing with friends, and struggling to add up my bumper plates, I forget my troubles. On some of my worst days CrossFit has given me a sense of peace and control in my life.
3. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOUR 1st WOD?
My first WOD was a METCON (AMRAP) that consisted of pull ups, pushups, sit ups, and squats. I was glad the movements were familiar to me and I felt great afterwards. The WODs that followed, to include the Open rocked me to the core. I thought I was in shape! I never felt soreness like I did the days following 16.1.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
The daily challenge presented by the CrossFit philosophy of, “functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity.” Just when I think I’ve mastered a skill here comes Matt to challenge me again. “Yeah, that looks good but try doing this ______ (insert some obscene movement variation or heavier weight).”
5. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?
Memorial Day when I completed Murph at 59:58 minutes. The support of our Blackbird family, the pain of the workout, finishing under an hour and the story of LT. Michael P. Murphy – bought me to tears. I will never forget that day. I have never been so humbled.
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?
Least favorite: Running
Favorite: Everything else
7. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?
5 strict handstand pushups(7/18/2016)
- 1 muscle up (Accidentally got my belly to the bar once, I have to start working on this one)
- May my thighs part and never met again (Hey we all can dream, right?)
- Newly added goal – ring handstand pushups. (Thanks CrossFit Games)
8. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT MAKES CROSSFIT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS THAT YOU’VE TRIED IN THE PAST?
The community is second to none. As a soldier, I have had my fair share of organized physical fitness but CrossFit takes it to a whole other level. When a fellow Blackbird surpasses their own expectations, everyone celebrates. We are here for each other just as much as for ourselves. Also, the scalability of the WODs is unmatched. There isn’t a “modifier” cast off to the side for someone to follow along with. Everyone is working hard together. Everyone is equal.
9. WHAT IMPACT HAS BLACKBIRD CROSSFIT HAD ON YOUR LIFE, IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?
I look forward to Mondays, who knew that was possible? If only Blackbird were open on Sundays…
11. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MAINSTREAM ATTITUDE THAT BELIEVES WOMEN SHOULDN’T LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS? OR IF SHE DOES, SHE WILL GET BULKY?
LOL, Rebekah had to remind me recently that lifting heavy will not bulk you up. I knew this but I didn’t want to PR each time I moved some weight out of fear of looking like a brute. Her reminder set me straight and I deadlifted 265 lbs. that day setting a new PR. So I guess you can say, I don’t care about mainstream fitness attitude regarding strong women who lift heavy. Now bring me the 45 lbs. bumper plates, I have to make some gains.
10. WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE? HOW HAS IT CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED CROSSFIT?
So….let’s talk sweets. I love sweets!! Cookies are my go to and I can live on them for the rest of my life. Recently I began to follow the Paleo diet at an 80/20 ratio. Additionally, I have drastically cut my sugar intake. Now I look at food as fuel. I am giving my body nourishment to live and crush WODs. Since February I have lost 12 pounds and seven total body inches.
12. IF YOU COULD CREATE A WOD, WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
- Bench Press – I’m damn good at this lift.
- Assault Air Bike – I love it!
- Deadlift – Everyone loves deadlift day.
- Box Jumps – Gets the heart pumping and works the legs.
- Peg Board – I’m just saying, we need one of those beauties.
13. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL AND/OR THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DEDICATION TO TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?
You are worthy of so much more than what Monsanto, Coca Cola, Domino’s, McDonald’s and all of those who profit from poor nutrition give you. Dedicate the time to education yourself on nutrition. Dedicate the time to move your body, sweat, ache, and have fun. Get off the couch, put the phone down, stop eating crap and do something that can change your life for the better because you deserve it.
14. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO CROSSFIT OR THINKING OF GIVING IT A TRY?
The uncertainty or anxiety you may feel during those first few weeks or months will fade. Show up everyday and amaze yourself. You will get stronger, have fun, lose weight, and make friends. You can’t lose!
Matt and Rebekah, you have found your calling in life and I am so grateful you opened Blackbird CrossFit, well done to you both. Thank you to our great Blackbird coaches – Matt, Rebekah, Steve, Justin, DJ, Michelle, and Monika. Your passion for CrossFit and your willingness to answer questions between bites of dinner does not go unnoticed. To my fellow Blackbirds, you are rock stars! Being surrounded by so many high- caliber, enthusiastic and dedicated athletes makes showing up that much more rewarding.
Well, I have “drank the Kool-Aid”.
I wear the scars from double unders.
I can snatch, clean, and split jerk with confidence.
I have purchased the wrist wraps, the lifters, and the jump rope.
I am a CrossFitter and I couldn’t be happier.