Have you noticed something different about CRG this year? Maybe that we’re looking a little leaner, a lot stronger, and more confident? In order to stay competitive as a league these days you have to do more than just practice on eight wheels. Lately, many leagues have begun to focus on cross-training and CRG is no exception. To take it to the next level, we turned to Raleigh CrossFit, our sponsor of the month and the official CrossFit affiliate of the Carolina Rollergirls.

Q: What is CrossFit?
A: Basically, CrossFit is broken down into three parts. 1. Constantly varied workouts and 2. Functional movements 3. Performed at high intensity.  This basically means that we do not use isolated movements such as a bicep curl or leg press. Instead, we would perform hang power cleans (an Olympic lift) and squats. These are functional movements because we apply them to life outside of the gym. Translated to an everyday movement, a hang power clean is similar to picking
something up from the ground and putting in your shoulder, like your book bag. We perform these movements at the greatest level of intensity we can to elicit various central nervous system responses from the body.  Simply put, that means we want to move heavy things as efficiently and fast as possible.

Q: Words of advice for those thinking about starting a CrossFit program?
A: You don’t have to have any level of fitness to start doing CrossFit. One of the first things we do with someone new to CrossFit is teach them fundamental movements. All workouts are scalable and modifiable to meet your current fitness and skill level, and challenging enough that you definitely know you are gassed after the workout. It is important to every coach at Raleigh CrossFit that you are proficient with movements before adding weight or intensity because safety is the number one goal; preventing injury keeps you training and happy. You don’t have to take my word for it though, read our Raleigh CrossFit Athlete Profiles on www.raleigh-crossfit.com.

Q: What are the advantages of CrossFit workouts versus going to the gym or a group class?
A: Our workouts are programmed by me and each day is a different workout. In addition, our coaches have a combined 30 certifications in multiple disciplines, including endurance training, kettlebell training, USA Weightlifting, Mobility,  CrossFit Kids and USA Triathlon certifications. Our goal as coaches is to be the most trained, experienced and knowledgeable coaches out there and we want to pass that knowledge to our athletes.  While you train right alongside others, the coach instructs the class, and provides feedback by walking around the room and assessing your movements to ensure you are continuing to progress and push yourself to your potential.  This is direct one-on-one attention from skilled coaches and you are under their guidance throughout the entire workout.
We also help people with their nutrition. Training, nutrition and overall wellness impact one another and all are equally important. That said, one of the greatest aspects of Raleigh CrossFit is the community.  We are family.  We all train together – yes the coaches train right alongside the athletes when they aren’t coaching. When you train at Raleigh CrossFit, you come for the workout, but you also come to see your friends and relish in their achievements.  We set goals and we reach them.  It may be learning do a first pull-up or how to run properly, in any case, all of our goals are met and achieved together. We are very supportive and encouraging and everyone benefits from that. But don’t take my word for it, check out our schedule and come try a class for free.

Q: Describe your facilities and the daily WODs at Raleigh CrossFit.
A: Our facility is located in downtown Raleigh and is just around the corner from Glenwood South.  We have a nice parking lot on-site, so no parking meters! For training, we utilize just over 5,000 square feet on a daily basis with the other 5,000 square feet used to house our showers, changing rooms, restrooms, game and lounge area and our CrossFit Kids program. Yes, the kids have their very own workout area!
The workouts vary from day-to-day. This is one of the draws of CrossFit. We always changing up the workout, so you won’t expect what is coming from one day to the next. CrossFitters are known for being uncommonly good at uncommon things. We do Olympic Lifts, gymnastics, body weight movements, kettlebell movements and endurance training. And yes, everyone can learn and do all of these movements. We have folks who are 50 years old and folks who are 18 years old (not counting our CrossFit Kids who range from the ages of 5-12.). Men and women and all fitness levels train, motivate and dominate workouts right alongside one another. It is just as competitive as it is a camaraderie, a family and a community-built atmosphere.

Q: What is your coaching background?
A: I have been involved in athletics my entire life.  I was an athlete growing up and then I made it a career. From 2000 through 2006, I worked in media and public relations for the WNBA, the Fresno State Bulldogs, the US Tennis Association and the NC State Athletics Department, where I had the privilege of working alongside Coach Kay Yow as her media director.
In 2006, I realized I wanted to pursue my other career goal of working with Criminal Justice. So, I went back to school (I have a 4-year degree from The University of Michigan-Flint) to start a new degree and applied to be a police officer with the City of Raleigh.  Back in school, I decided to become a personal trainer (at a big gym) and did that for a year until I was hired by the Raleigh Police Department.
While working as a trainer, I started CrossFitting on my own to take my training to a new place. I have never looked back. I realized then that owning my own CrossFit facility would be an awesome new goal.  I continued to use CrossFit as my training prep for the Police Academy. I was the top  in our physical fitness model and was President of the Class.  I worked for the department for two years, one as a sworn police officer. While policing, the opportunity to open a CrossFit affiliate came up and my partner Kim and I took advantage.  I decided I wanted to pursue owning my own affiliate on a full-time basis. I have never once thought twice about changing careers. I absolutely love being able to train and coach every day.  I have a huge family – all of the athletes at Raleigh CrossFit are my family and we are all very close. This is, without a doubt, the best part of owning Raleigh CrossFit.  You won’t find that a big globo-gym.  We all (that means everyone at Raleigh CrossFit) care about each other. We know the name of every athlete and we know more than that about them. We help everyone set goals and reach them.  There is nothing greater than helping someone realize their own potential in life – healthy, happy.

Q: What makes roller derby and CrossFit such a good fit?
A: Most people do not realize the extent of training that takes place leading up to a bout.  Derby athletes train and train and train. In fact, as a CrossFit coach, I want to be sure that when CRG rolls up into Raleigh CrossFit that they are injury-free and rested.  During season, this is challenging.  Derby athletes and CrossFitters train hard and are very dedicated and committed to constant improvement. Both groups want to be at their best, always, so they are great listeners and learners.  CrossFit requires constant learning. CrossFitters and Derby athletes are trying to learn the best techniques to reach maximize their potential.  In CrossFit we train full body movements, like the Olympic Lifts (Snatch and Clean and Jerk). These movements require the mind and body to work as one and require a great deal of practice.  They work all of your muscles. Derby requires athletes to think on the move and to make quick decisions under stress.  CrossFit workouts are aimed to build stronger bodies to perform functional movements.  So if, for example, the workout is pull-ups, push-ups and deadlifts, we are training for real life movements, like picking up a child, pushing a heavy cart or picking up something off the ground.  In Derby, the athletes are pushed and they need to push back. They must stay balanced while in motion on movable objects (wheels) and if they lose their  balance, they fall. First, we want to make them stronger and more agile to avoid the falling part, but if they do, they must be able to either push back against the other player or be able to push themselves up from the floor to get back into the game action.

Q: Do you have a roller derby name? If so, what?
A: Chennelle: The Rollergirls call me “#5” (like the perfume – self-explanatory). . Coach Kim is Quadzilla (If you see her strong quads, you will know why 🙂 )

Q: The CrossFit family often attends bouts. What has been your most memorable CRG moment?
A: Coach Kim wearing the bacon costume and representing CRG and Raleigh CrossFit.  Fairy Brutal asked her to wear it and be the mascot for the day and Kim jumped right in and helped Evil Ed throw out t-shirts.
Additionally, the season opener this year was just awesome.  We had the largest group of Raleigh CrossFitters there that I have ever been a part of.  That makes my heart happy.  CRG is a huge part of our Raleigh CrossFit family and we appreciate the opportunity to see the Rollergirls in action, putting all of their hard work out there for everyone to enjoy. And … we most definitely do every time.
Contributed by Sheeza Freak

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