Without further ado, our August Athlete of the Month is Kristina Kullak. She takes over the reigns of Miss August from her good friend Jo Cecil. Seeing Kristina put in the work at the gym over the last few months has been great to watch firsthand. She is a 6am regular and if you have seen her at 7am open gym, an “engine wod” machine. It was clear a few months ago that she identified some habits she had and was looking to make some changes for the better. Kristina decided to sign up for Dr. Jeremy’s Saturday morning specialty class to learn more about how she can perform in the gym. Along with this, they had weekly check-ins to help hold Kristina accountable with being more conscious of her diet. Having to wake up for a 6:45am class will definitely make anyone second guess their plans for Friday night, even when it’s convenient to enjoy the perks of the west end. That class will be back after the Open.
It was interesting for me to learn that Kristina had initially been intimidated by CrossFit because of how I view her now. I sometimes forget that the name “CrossFit” still carries a dangerous aspect in the minds of outsiders. Knowing Kristina, her husband John and many other members who make up our great community, I forget how much more we as a gym know about how our bodies move, perform, adapt and evolve than most people. Our training methods are constantly evolving and are always hungry for a new challenge. I love seeing Kris come in to challenge herself with movements you wouldn’t think someone of her size would voluntarily choose to do at open gym. On more than a few occasions, I've seen her on the bike, rower or hitting sets of wall balls. Spending that extra time to work on weaknesses is something that catches my eye and solidifies my choice in Athlete of the Month. Keep up the hard work Kristina!
Also, I have asked for thoughts multiple times on apparel design from Kris because she does that for a living. A few summers ago, we used two of her designs. I also have one that we have yet to print, so look out for more of her input.
Written by: Coach Rob Moloney
Why you started Crossfit?
When we moved to Long Beach in 2012, my husband (John) joined KOB immediately. He got me to try one class with him and I’m pretty sure the WOD was “Karen” . Needless to say, I could barely walk for 2 weeks after and I swore I wasn’t going back EVER. I felt like I wasn’t in good enough shape to be there and would just embarrass myself. Thankfully, my super friendly (and pushy!) next-door neighbor, Jo Cecil, talked me into giving it another try. She had been a member of KOB for a year and explained people of all levels of fitness were there and that I had nothing to fear. Finally, in the Spring of 2013, I joined CrossFit Island Park and haven’t looked back since.
What’s your background? (Athletic)
Not much to report here . I played soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, but never excelled in any of them. I enjoy running and have done a few half marathons and small scale races, but that’s really it!
How long have you been a member and how long have you been doing CrossFit?
I’ve been a member for 6 years
What is your favorite thing about the gym?
The variety of workouts is my favorite thing about the gym . Prior to Crossfit, my workout regiment revolved around getting a treadmill during peak hours at a regular gym. If I was lucky enough to fight someone off a machine, I would then be in cardio purgatory staring at the clock. Now, I walk into class with a new routine and different set of challenges each day. It keeps me engaged and makes class fly by. I used to view working out as a chore and something on my daily check list, but now it’s become an integral part of my life and favorite part of the day.
What is the biggest challenge you have overcome since joining the gym?
I think my initial reservation of walking through the doors of a CrossFit gym was my biggest challenge that I quickly overcame. When I come to class, I walk into a room full of the friendliest and most supportive people you could ever meet, and coaches who are motivated and eager to teach you. There is absolutely no reason to hesitate!
What is your favorite moment at the gym so far?
It is hard to pin point a single moment that stands out. For me, my favorite moments are a collection of cheers during a workout, a friendly push when you feel like quitting, and the exchange of sweaty high fives when it's all over.
What's your favorite "cheat" food?
A White slice from West End Pizza OR Swingbellys
What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting?
I would tell them not be to intimidated by the stigma CrossFit has. Come in with an open mind and give it your best. You’ll probably be surprised how many strangers are instantly at your side cheering you on.
What drives you?
I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle that I can keep up with indefinitely. I think many of us are guilty of putting our personal health on the back burner for one reason or another. I want to keep up with the workouts and have a better grasp of proper nutrition so I can be the best version of myself. Besides the killer programming Rob dishes on the daily, Dr. Jeremy has given me other tips on how to improve some of my deficiencies. I have the tools for success, I just need to continue to put in the work and hold myself accountable.
What is you biggest fitness goal right now?
My goal is to crush every benchmark workout and get a better score than the last time. I am only in competition with myself, so improving is proof that I am getting better and stronger. Beating John on a more regular basis wouldn't suck either ;)