August 2018 Athlete of the Month - Jo Cecil

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Congratulations Jo on all your hard work. As I told you when I announced that we are honoring you with August Athlete of the Month, hard work does not go unnoticed. You have such a contagious positive energy that fills the gym. You have been on the radar for athlete of the month and your consistent drive throughout this summer solidified my decision to honor you. Jo is an OG member of this community which has changed a few times since it's opening. Of recent, Jo made some serious decisions to take better take of herself and became noticeably driven to attain her goals. As she will explain below, she decided to do 50 burpees a day for 50 days. This streak was one that kept her on a positive path to success. She is one of the most enjoyable people to coach. She responds well to cuing and feedback. She has some of the best form for olympic lifts in the gym. Also what many of you may not know, Jo completes the round or more of the workout after the time is up. She continues until the job is done. I hope this honor fuels you to continue towards more goals and inspire others to create better habits too. 

Written by: Coach Rob Moloney

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"Okay, so instead of just doing a Q and A, I wrote a little story"
The year was 2010, and I was walking down Beech Street when I noticed a new sign was up over a store front- “Crossfit King of the Beach” (KOB). It had these boxes stacked up in the window and barbells on the wall.  I said, what is this place?
A few nights later we saw a group of people sprinting up and down Beech Street, coming out of the crossfit storefront and my then boyfriend, (Jeremy and now husband) recognized one of them as his friend Rob Santoro.  So Jeremy texted Rob asking him what crossfit was all about. A few weeks later we started our first elements class. 
I was never an athlete so I was very nervous and very self conscious.  But I was so bored doing the same 3 machines (and avoiding eye contact with everyone) at the “regular” gym.
So we joined and I will never forget, I couldn’t jump up and hold on to the rig.  It was so embarrassing, but to my surprise no one made fun of me, only encouraged me and shared their own struggles and success.

Then in October of 2012, like most of you reading this, Superstorm Sandy altered the course of our lives- our crossfit lives too.  KOB closed, never to re-open.
They relocated to a warehouse and rebranded to Crossfit Island Park (CIP) and opened in early 2013.  I didn’t join immediately because there wasn’t enough time to go to 6am class, drive back to the West End, shower, change for work and make my train.  And I wasn’t a fan of going after work- It gave me all day to make up an excuse not to go.
But I missed it so much, I tried showering after class and going straight to work from there. The timing worked perfectly so we joined CIP.  The 6am crew was full of genuine, positive people who quickly became my closest friends. They say friends who sweat together, stay together.  My best friends today were made in that 6am class. 
So I’ve been a cross fitter for years now, but i didn’t really consistently attended.  In April of 2018, I saw a picture of myself and was horrified.  I made the decision that I needed to seriously commit to the gym and re-evaluate my eating and drinking habits.

In June, I could feel myself getting sucked into summer laziness and decided to copy my classmate Pat Mullany and do a burpee challenge -  50 a day for 50 days- to keep me focused.  Even if I couldn’t make it to the gym I made sure I did my burpees- on the beach, on the bedroom floor, at friends houses, and anywhere from 7am to 1130pm when I was in bed and remembered I didn’t do them.   68 days and 3,400 burpees later I decided that was enough.  But it worked- kept me focused on my ultimate goal of feeling comfortable in my own skin again.  

And it made me so much better at other movements too; rope climbs, push-ups and  jumping up and holding onto the rig.  I still need my first pull up, but I know it’s not far off, especially after I hit my next goal of losing another 20 lbs.

I would tell someone considering crossfit my own struggle and journey and then tell them
not to be scared! It’s not a cult and it’s judgement free!  Everyone is friendly and will root for you.  Just try ONE class ... then one week... one month.  The worst excuse in the world is “I’m not in good enough shape to go to crossfit.”  It’s not true-  there are scaling options for everyone, at every age and level, injured or not.  It’s a decision you need to do for you. Give yourself one hour -  put aside the significant other, the kids, the job, the errands. And do it for you. No one else will do it for you.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy-  it requires patience and some sacrifices- getting up when that alarm goes off at 520am, getting a salad instead of a cheesesteak.  But damn it feels good when you come out on t:he other side. 

I was truly shocked when Coach Rob announced in Tuesday’s 6am class that I was August Athlete of the Month-  that him and Dr Jeremy and all the other coaches noticed my renewed commitment and effort has truly touched me and inspired me to keep going. It’s just what I needed to reach my next goal.  Thank you to all my former and current coaches- I’ve learned something from every one of you and appreciate all the tips and encouragement.

To my fellow crossfitters everywhere -  thank you- for your positive energy and always cheering me on when I’m (usually) the last one still working out.  See you on the other side of the pull up bar!

Written by: Jo Cecil