JESSIE NELSON is BBCF’s July 2015 Athlete of the Month!
You may know her as Jessie, but around Blackbird, she’s known as THE CLEAN QUEEN! We have known Jessie for two years and there are two things that were apparent right from the start, she was a natural athlete and she cared about getting it right. Her conditioning from a lifetime of sports made easy work of the WODs for Jess. But, while learning how to properly lift weights, she took her time, was methodical, and made sure every rep was a good one, not just a heavy one. This girl has got some quick elbows and knows how to get under the bar! She now has impeccable weightlifting form, especially with her cleans and snatches!
Jessie is a humble, positive, encouraging, yet quiet person. While some of our leaders are obvious Type A personalities, simply leading by example is what Jessie does best at Blackbird. Our gym is not teeming with young, 20-somethings; but Jess has inspired everyone from our high schoolers to our mothers of 3. She pushes herself each and every time she walks through the door. She is quick to encourage others through a tough lift and celebrate other’s accomplishments. When she broke her wrist, she maintained her awesome, positive attitude. She still showed up and worked hard with modified workouts and lifts. And during the Open Team League she helped coach and cheer on her Orange Crush team and was our full time judge for every event.
We’ve also enjoyed watching Jess thrive in CrossFit competitions. It’s never about winning with her, it’s just about constantly challenging herself and stepping up her game in new ways. We are always proud to have her out on the floor representing Blackbird CrossFit! We always like to say, “If you aren’t challenging yourself, you’re not growing!” And we have definitely seen this amazing young woman grow over the past few years. Meet Jessie!
1. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hi! My name is Jessie Nelson, and I’m a 25 year old teacher at Westminster Elementary. I earned my degree from Salisbury University in Elementary Education, but have been working as a Special Education teacher for 2 years now. I grew up in Carroll County and attended Century High School, where I played soccer and lacrosse.
2. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START CROSSFIT? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IT?
I graduated from college and moved home and found myself very bored with my typical treadmill and “weight lifting” (I wouldn’t call it that now) routine. I was a member of Merritt Athletic clubs at the time, and noticed that they were starting a CrossFit class. I’d heard the word before, but didn’t know much about it. I gave it a try and was hooked immediately. I loved that I could show up and have a workout ready for me—I didn’t have to think about what to do that day. I also, obviously, loved seeing the improvements I made in my strength, conditioning, and physical appearance (without EVER getting on a treadmill again—yay!) I continue to do CrossFit at Blackbird now for the same reasons, but also because of the friendships I’ve gained throughout the past 2 years. There is nothing like achieving your goals with people who are probably more happy for you than you are for yourself.
Oh man—I’ve done so many things that I never thought I could over the last two years, I don’t think I can pick one specific moment. Some of the things that stand out are competing in Halloween Havoc, Gemini Games, and Vekter Games. Competitions are scary but such a thrill! I also finally have double-unders consistently which was something that was very sporadic for a LONG time. I can get my chest to the bar now (not often, and not quickly), but it’s touched!! I’m also pretty proud of myself for cleaning a 135 lb bar touch-and-go (next time I’m going to stand up on the second one!!)
If you’ve ever worked out with me, you know that my favorite lift is cleaning!! I remember being so scared to clean 100 lbs at Merritt, but once I figured out how to get under the bar it was awesome. Now I can clean my body weight without thinking about it.
My least favorite movement is Turkish get-ups because they take a looooong time to get through. Although my abs are telling me not to hate them so much, because they really work!!
5. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I thoroughly enjoy my relationships with the people at Blackbird, and meeting new people at competitions and other boxes. I also enjoy feeling strong—not just when I’m at BBCF lifting, but on a day-to-day basis. I think every CF girl can relate to the proud feeling you get when a guy offers to pick something up for you and you’re like… “no, I’ve got it!” (insert strong arm emoji here ☺)
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL?
PIZZA!!! With Ranch dressing (try it—so good!) and beer(s).
7. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
My goals now are to clean 150 lbs and work on my overhead strength after breaking my wrist. I also REALLY want to get my toes-to-bar linked together. These are things I can do within the next few months if I work hard enough. Long (LONG) term, my goal is a ring muscle up and handstand walks!
I am much more aware of my body and what it needs now than I ever have been. I am also much more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve made some serious friends (yes—you are all stuck with me!!) and wouldn’t change that for the world. And I made them during a time when I was the most vulnerable (What if I can’t get that weight? What do I look like when I work out? What if I’m the last one to finish?). I know that these people are my friends because of who I am, and not because of what I can do. And I love that feeling.
10. WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING CROSSFIT OR NEW TO CROSSFIT?
There are two things that I cannot stress enough about CrossFit.
The first relates to mostly to girls. As a woman, I hate the stigma that so many women think they can’t lift heavy weights or they will get “big” and “bulky”. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! In two years of doing CrossFit, I have lost more body-fat than when I was a 17 year old soccer player, and feel the best about my body that I ever have.
The second is to people who feel that they have something holding them back (cough—my mom—cough). There are an infinite number of ways to scale a workout or lift to meet the needs of someone who has limited mobility. Why keep working out on the treadmill or elliptical by yourself when you can come to a box with a coach who genuinely cares about you and people who love watching you succeed in your goals?
THANK YOU!!! I cannot thank Matt and Rebekah enough for their continued support and dedication to making Blackbird what it is today. I also want to say thank you to the people that push me to try things I don’t think I can. I would be nowhere near where I am today if there wasn’t someone pushing me at each and every class. We’re really doing it guys!!!