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Athlete Profile: Abby C.

I know how much you guys love Athlete Profiles and I love them just as much! So today I'd like to introduce my fellow Texas transplant: Abby!

Name: Abigail Elizabeth Craanen           
Favorite Nicknames: Abs, Abster, Sniper Abby
Hometown: Beaumont, TX        
Age: 27
Occupation: Student

Maxes: I honestly haven't done a true max in quite awhile... but here are some of my bests over the last year
Strict Press: 75x5
Back Squat: 135x5
Deadlift: 225x2
Clean: 125
Overhead Squat 105x3
Bench Press 125x4
Photo by Mike Buck Photography
Favorite WOD: 
Grace. I love anytime I can get a barbell in my hands.
Least Favorite WOD: 
Fran. I've only ever done this once, but it sucked. Dropping down from my first set of pull-ups my legs totally gave out and I fell on my ass. And that was only after 21 thrusters and 5 pull-ups...so yeah. Not a fan of Fran.

Describe your sports and fitness background: 
I've always been a pretty active kid, playing soccer, softball, basketball, and tennis while I was growing up. I even had a brief stint as a figure skater. After youth sports, I found the weight room at the YMCA when I was 16, and have pretty much been in love with weights since then. I had a subscription to Muscle & Fitness and was all about working out to look good, not necessarily to be able to perform at a high level. Curls and skullcrushers? Yep, 3 sets of 12. I've also run a half marathon, which seriously sucks.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?: 
I first saw CrossFit on ESPN and thought it seemed cool, but wasn't willing to try it. I had a few friends who had started doing it, but it wasn't until my roommate wanted to try that I finally checked it out. He was looking to get back in shape (he played college soccer) and I offered to try it with him. I already knew a girl that went to Red Stick CrossFit, so we checked out the intro class, and well, apparently I liked it haha. I dove in head first and haven't looked back.  

What was your first WOD like?: 
All I could think was "shit, I thought I was in shape!"

What sort of changes have you seen in your body since starting CrossFit (before and after):  
Honestly, I've gained some weight, but I'm okay with that. I went from focusing on looking good naked, to focusing on performing and fueling my body. The strength and skills I've gained are way more important to me right now that being that skinny figure competitor (yes, I almost did a show).  

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like Crossfit? 
Expected or unexpected?: 
I've learned the importance of mindset and how your attitude affects everything else. If you attempt a lift with a negative mindset, you will probably miss it. If you walk into a test with a negative mindset, you will probably fail it. Have confidence in yourself and trust that the preparations you've done will see you through. 

What's your favorite lift and why?: 
I've really started to like snatches. I remember going to my first Oly class with Coach Will and just looking ridiculous with the 15lb training bar. The lift is slowly getting better, looking prettier, and I'm getting stronger every day.

Funniest experience related to CrossFit?: 
Uhhh, this is an impossible question to answer. My boxmates and coaches are all way too entertaining to pick just one funny experience. But really, I can tell you one of the most embarrassing/it's funny now that I look back experiences. Maybe two months into starting CrossFit, I was doing a WOD with pull-ups. I mayyy have lost my grip at the top of the pull-up, falling straight on my back. Yep, falls from a rig will put you out for like a week, just FYI.

Name one goal you have achieved since starting CrossFit and one goal you want to achieve: 
This might sound stupid, but being able to get into a better squat position has been a huge goal of mine. I've got a crappy lower back and things like heavy back squats below parallel are tough. My squats now look completely different than 5 years ago, and I can only thank the awesome coaches at Red Stick for helping me. One goal I want to achieve is snatching 100lbs. I've gotten under it, just can't seem to lock it in. Next week - it's happening.

Any advice for people just getting started with CrossFit?: 
Photo by Mike Buck Photography
Just go. Don't be afraid of the "hardcore" afternoon people, they all started somewhere and pretty much everyone is willing to help.

What do you tell yourself to keep motivated? 
I struggle with this one...I can be very negative and tend to focus on the things I can't do, rather than the things I can. Lately, every time I leave the box, I try to think of one positive thing I accomplished in that training session. It may be an improvement on a physical skill, or simply managing negative self-talk in the middle of a tough WOD. Looking at things this way keeps me motivated.

If you know anyone that you think would be a great featured athlete, please send me an email at eatpraywod@gmail.com!

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