1. What brought you to Xtra Mile Fitness in the first place?
10 years ago, I was working a tough job with really hard hours, about 50 lbs overweight, and in what felt like a constant state of imbalance. When it came to working out, nutrition, and mental health, I was not in the greatest of places. I also think that deep down and maybe unknowingly, I also was looking for a place to feel like I might belong. I think that as adults, we have jobs and families and busy schedules and it’s often easy to lose sight of our own health and wellness and we can lose a sense of community that we grow up in through family and school and friendships.
2. What was your first impression? How has that changed?
I walked into the Xtra Mile doors pretty terrified, but I was met with the incomparable, joyful energy of Corey Lewis. Have you ever met someone and felt welcomed immediately? That is the vibe with Corey – and all of the coaches he hires. So my first impression was that I was welcome there, and that was a feeling I hold very close to me, and I hope to give that same energy to people that I meet as well.
Has my first impression changed? I left Xtra Mile for a few years when I moved to IL with a loved one, and I came back worried that it might be different. It wasn’t. It was like walking into a family reunion without the anxiety of having to bring a side dish or impress Uncle Albert. I remember coming back and Christa was a coach I had not trained under, and I was so impressed by her coaching style and ability to listen. She is like Corey – she cares in a genuine way, and she has a love and strength and deep humility that surrounds her at all times. I am here for that energy. All of the coaches – Marco with his compelling positivity, Melissa with her genuine love of the sport and ability to transfer that love into her classes, Candiace who is an elite athlete herself and how she can train someone like me and get to the level of each athlete, Brendan’s scientific and practical approach to crossfit, Abe’s love of the craft and people, etc – I could go on and on.
I always tell people that the coaches and community are what makes me want to stay at Xtra Mile. I love crossfit, sure – but if Xtra Mile was a dance studio and Corey was the head dancer (which he would not be because I’ve seen him on the dance floor and he doesn’t have much rhythm – kidding kidding!) I would still be here 10 years later.
3. What was your first “brightspot”?
I think that my first bright spot was not a specific moment, but more of a general feeling that started to develop deep inside of me. That feeling was that I felt seen and that I had something to bring to the table. Life brings extreme highs and lows and all of the places in between – and in moments of hardships, sometimes we feel that we don’t deserve to be seen or valued or loved or heard. Just by showing up for an hour and pushing myself surrounded by good people has helped me in that way.
Also, winning first place on the Men’s Scaled team this past month with my buddy Sam (who I also met through crossfit) was really cool! I had a “rock bottom” moment several months before and had lost my grandmother and someone else I held very close to me, and working towards this competition was a lifeline in so many ways.
4. What are you working on now?
My goals at 36 are definitely different than they were at 26; however, I want to be stronger physically and mentally and continue to push myself. I want to help people around me in the way that Corey and the coaching staff at XM has helped me – I want everyone to realize that we are all given specific and different powers on this earth, and it’s important to develop those and be who we are meant to be in the little time we are given here.
I also want to be safe. Another incredible thing about Xtra Mile is that they take safety so seriously. I feel like I can become stronger and smarter without putting my own personal safety on the backburner. The stretches and scalability throughout the workouts has been so nice.
5. What’s your favorite Xtra Mile memory?
There are so many memories for me that it would be really hard to choose a favorite memory. I feel like every workout unlocks a new favorite memory. I remember when I saw an athlete, Paige, get her first muscle up a month or so ago – something she had been fighting for a while. I love seeing friends and loved ones work towards something and achieve them and realize they are amazing human beings. Personally, working out with Corey and friends on my birthday meant a lot to me.