What are your favorite hobbies, talents, skills outside of CrossFit?
Outside of crossfit, I run and cycle a lot. Running was my first love so I don’t think I can ever give that up.
What motto or phrase do you live by?
Mind is everything. Muscles- pieces of rubber. All that I am is because of my mind”. –Paavo Nurmi
What is something we might not know about you ?
I am bi-racial and a first-generation American. My mother is originally from Bolivia and my dad is from Pakistan.
What is your favorite music to listen to while WODing?
I am usually a fan of rap and r&b for working out, though I do love some alternative rock in there too.
What recent adventure are you planning?
My sanctuary apart from crossfit is backpacking. I really love being outdoors, leaving my phone behind and reconnecting with Mother Nature. My boyfriend Mike and I have so far done two backpacking trips together and want to plan a third next summer to Glacier National Park. We want to make it a 7 day trip.
Do any of your family members CrossFit? If so, where?
Ha, none of my family members are physically active period. They think I am insane when I tell them about crossfit and always tell me to slow down and not get hurt.
Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas.
What is your occupation?
Outside of crossfit, I am a PhD graduate student in Cellular and Molecular Biology at UW-Madison. As part of my graduate coursework, I work as a full-time research assistant in a lab. My lab studies how histones, or proteins that help maintain the structure and expression of DNA, become modified in the brain after a seizure. We are interested in determining the following: 1) what are these modifications and where do they come from?; 2) are these modifications to histone proteins enough to cause a person to develop epilepsy overtime?; and 3) how do we “shield” these modifications from occurring and progressing to a disease-like state? A lot of my work requires doing the traditional “test tube work” you might envision a scientist doing, but sometimes I get to do fancy recordings where I electrically stimulate a mouse brain slice and record what happens using a computer. In this setting, I am trying to mimic what happens during a seizure through electrical stimulation and sometimes test different drugs to see if I can alleviate seizing.
What is your athletic background?
My athletic background when I was really young consisted of soccer and gymnastics. When I got to middle school, I switched over to cross-country and track and continued both all the way through college. Since college, I picked up crossfit and dabbled in triathlons here and there.
How long have you been with CrossFit Connex?
I’ve been with Connex a little over a year now, but have been cross fitting for two years as of this August. I started crossfit in a small box in Carrboro, NC when I use to work at UNC-Chapel Hill as a research technician.
What is your favorite WOD?
My favorite WOD is probably Fran. Unlike most, I actually don’t mind thrusters that much. It’s all about setting a rhythm and keeping the momentum going in your legs.
What is your least favorite WOD?
Any WOD involving wall balls, toes-to-bar or heavy kettlebell swings.
What is your favorite lift?
My favorite lift is probably the snatch. I really love how challenging and technical the movement is. It always gives me something to look forward to and constantly improve on. The snatch is a work of art and I like to think of it sometimes as a painting. Every time I visit it, I am adding one more stroke to my masterpiece.
What is your least favorite lift?
My least favorite lift is probably the deadlift. My lower back is not nearly as strong as my core, so I really suffer doing deadlifts.
What is your favorite paleo meal/snack?
I don’t follow paleo nutrition simply because it does not work well for me and my body, but if I had to pick a snack, I would say anything with avocados.
What is your favorite cheat Food(s)?
Haha…cheat foods. I’ll be honest guys. I cheat A LOT. I have at least 1-2 pieces of chocolate a day. My co-workers are bad influences and we go out for beers and cheese curds about 2X a week. I am learning to wean myself off of potato chips. I am really not the best nutrition influence. I will say though when I’ve had a cheat meal/day, I hit it 10X harder in the gym the next day (admitting this makes me feel like eating a salad for the next 10 days).
What is one thing you have done at CFC that you never thought you would do?
One thing I’ve done at CFC that I never thought I would do is string kipping pull-ups! Oh man, it took me 1.5 years to get a single kipping pull-up, and then after that I am still improving on doing many in a row. It felt like eternity trying to pull my body weight above the bar. For my ladies out there, don’t lose hope. It is possible and will happen!!
What motivates you during a CrossFit WOD?
My stepmother is disabled due to a terrible car accident she was involved in before she married my dad. Because of the accident, she has metal plates holding together her bones in two different places- one begins at her right shoulder and ends at her elbow; the other begins at her right hip and ends at the top of her knee. Growing up I saw how physically impaired her injuries had made her. To this day, she has to limp when she walks and must be pushed in a wheelchair in places that require a lot of walking like the mall. Because of her accident, she can never think of running, biking, jumping or swimming ever again. During WODs, I think about how I am so lucky to be able to freely move and pick up weight. Sure my legs have scars and bruises I don’t particularly like, but I am so thankful they are functional, free of pain, and do not require a second person to help me move them. I am empowered by my stepmom’s struggles and think about great she would feel to move like this.
What do you eat pre/post WOD?
Before a WOD, I usually have 1-2 handful of peanuts or almonds. Because most of my WODs are in the mornings, afterwards I have two eggs with spinach and green peppers, three pieces of bacon, 1 apple, some easily edible vegetable like carrots and my usual coffee
What results have you seen so far in coming to CFC?
Since coming to CFC, I have seen soooo many improvements in myself, I don’t know where to begin! My grip strength has immensely improved, and as a result I can go for longer sets of reps during WODs. My cardio threshold is definitely way higher than it has ever been, even when I was running 50-60 miles a week for cross-country in college! I can go harder for longer on runs, burpees, and jump roping without being out of breath. Strength overall has greatly improved in all aspects, but especially for things overhead. I did not have strong shoulders before CFC.
What was you main reason for joining CFC?
I joined CFC because I wanted to keep my crossfit journey going after cross fitting for a year in North Carolina.
Give us some insight as to your thoughts after your first workout at CrossFit Connex?
After my first workout at Connex– “so you say you’ve been cross fitting for a year now…bullshit”.
Tell us a little about then VS now in regard to your performances as a CrossFit athlete.
Light years better! I am stronger, faster and lighter. Heavy lifts no longer scare me and I am not afraid to push the threshold during workouts.
Do you have any special or successful CrossFit Connex memories/moments?
My favorite CFC memories are: 1) when I got my first kipping pull-up, 2) doing Murph because it hurt so good, 3) doing any of the crossfit competitions with my fellow teammates and watching them crush it (Galt Games, Athena, the Fittest Farmhand Challenge).
What advice would you give to a newbie or someone just joining CrossFit Connex?
Two things: 1) Focus on getting form and technique down solid before you move up in weight. It will be very tempting to see how far you can push yourself weight-wise because you feel so good, but remember that as the weight gets heavier, proper form and technique must be there to stay safe and efficient. 2) All these big bad dogs you see around the gym lifting heavy sh** were not born lifting those weights. It takes hard work and dedication to get there! They have put in countless hours of WODs, open gym time, and competitions to get to that level, so don’t feel like you will never get there. Be patient, keep working hard, and the results will roll in.
What sort of life changes have you experienced because of CrossFit that you didn’t expect?
Life changes I never expected to take shape after joining CFC or crossfit in general is that I would prefer crossfit-style workouts over running. I’ve been a runner my whole life and thought the high I got from running was irreplaceable. Now I see I can get that high and even better through crossfit.
What does CrossFit mean to you?
Crossfit means to me a sense of community and camaraderie. I love that I can walk into the gym and connect with people from all different professions, backgrounds and ages through a workout. In a really tough WOD, we are all suffering together in the same room, under the same conditions, and all have one goal in mind: finish this workout to the best of our ability. In that moment, social barriers do not exist and we are simply thriving off each other’s energies to push our physical journeys to new heights.
25 Pull Ups
25 Hang Power Snatch (95/65)
50 OH lunges (45/25)
Run 800 meters
50 OH Lunges
25 Hang Power Snatch
25 Pull ups