June’s Member of the Month, Alison Griffin!
I am sure that everyone who has had an interaction with Alison in the gym over the past 2.5 years is nodding right along with our choice for Member of the Month this June. Alison is the best, period. You couldn’t ask for a better friend, classmate, athlete or ambassador for your business than someone like Alison. Alison is incredibly friendly, outgoing and compassionate to everyone who walks through the door. She makes a point to introduce herself to new members and simply say welcome. She even does this before we get a chance to introduce the new individual to the rest of the group sometimes! Over the past few years, I have heard from many, many people remark how meeting or working out with Alison has made them either feel more comfortable in the gym or has motivated/inspired them to get to the gym consistently.
We could have easily given the Member of the Month accolade to Alison on any other month over the past year, however over the past month, it seems that Alison is even more deserving as she has been as she has been getting herself out of her comfort zone and challenging herself to improve more than ever. She has been putting in hard work on the nutritional side of things and has made excellent progress. She has also been challenging herself to pick the blue options in most classes, while encouraging other members to do so, right Mark!?She has also been staying after class each day to focus on her weaker lifts and remain committed to the goals she writes up on our Goals Board.
On top of all this, in case you didn’t notice, Alison is an incredible athlete. Not only is she strong, (she recently won the female crown at GBCF’s 2015 Body weighted competition) and fit, but she is modest as hell about it! This last piece is why we value a person like Alison so much. She puts in the hard work for herself and her own inner motivation and she is quick to turn a compliment about her athletic prowess right back at the person with a thoughtful observation about how they have improved as well.
Did we mention that Alison is also incredibly thoughtful? Well, she routinely arrives at the 5:00am with a bag full of goodies. Whether she is bringing in handmade soap for someone to try, baked goodies made from scratch, some magical fermented concoction or any number of other things, Alison always has everyone’s best interest in mind.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Alison for sure, as she has dealt with a few nagging injuries over the past few years, however the way Alison has dealt with these issues has been truly admirable. She has listened to her body, modified movements when things didn’t feel right, and gave herself time to recover and heal, all the while supporting her classmates every day.
Obviously we could go on and on about how special a person we think Alison is, but we will stop there and simply say thank you Alison for being you and congratulations for earning such a coveted award!!
Now for some Q&A!!
Congratulations Alison! You now officially join the elite ranks of M.O.M recipients! The first question we ask every M.O.M award winner is how did it feel to be named Member of the Month for June?
I was at work in front of a bunch of kids when my phone dinged. It was a text from Steph Brewer that said, “Congratulations MOM!” I responded immediately that I didn’t know what she meant and did she mean to send it to someone else (like her mom). After turning my attention back to my class, it dawned on me what it meant and a big smile spread across my face. I was so surprised.
Could you give us a brief background on what you have done for sports, exercise etc in the past before CrossFit?
I have always been an active person…playing basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, and soccer growing up but my main sport I excelled at was swimming–sprint freestyle and butterfly. I began doing sprint and Olympic distance triathlons in my early 30’s but just found the time to be too demanding and it wasn’t helping me achieve the level of fitness I wanted (not to mention that triathlons involve running…in which I suck, a lot!). I found Crossfit about 5 years ago and it has given me everything I was looking for and much more.
What has been your favorite activity outside of the gym?
Just hanging out with John and Grace is my favorite activity. However, going to the beach and participating in any activity that involves water (swimming, snorkeling, surfing) is up there too!
Just in case you didn’t notice, you are an inspiration to a lot of people not only at GBCF, but I am sure plenty of others outside of our walls. Are there people around you that inspire you? If so, who are they and why?
My husband, John and daughter, Grace inspire me to be happy and enjoy life every day.
The friends I’ve made through CrossFit will be lifelong friends and they inspire me inside and outside the gym. Of course, I am partial to my 5am group—the best group at the gym!
-I am inspired by fellow crossfitters who show up to push themselves beyond their comfort zone to finish a terrible WOD, cheering on each other and giving high fives when its over. That is why I come everyday. The gym is not about the workout; it is about being in the company of other people who push you to be better than you would be if you were doing the workout alone. I would have quit long ago without you!
– I am inspired (and so jealous) by
-Steph Brewer’s unfailing engine that just goes and goes and goes. Not to mention that she is the most thoughtful person I know, always quietly doing things for others.
-Tricia’s outgoing personality—in and out of the gym… she always has a smile. Just when you need it she has something funny to say , a sly smile or that beastly yell!
-Jamie Gosselin who has been quietly and secretly dialing in her workouts and nutrition and crushing all her goals.
-Tess, who lifts 4 times the weight I do (if not more) and makes it looks easy. I will never lift anywhere near what she lifts. I am always in awe as she just keeps adding the plates. My body hurts just to look at the weight on her bar sometimes!
-And I cannot forget Eric, the most knowledgeable trainer! I am inspired to keep working hard by you everyday.
Next a two part question; as mentioned in our Member of the Month write up, you have been dealing with a few nagging injuries over the last few years. What kind of injuries have you been dealing with and how did you go about fixing them?
I have always had to be careful of my lower back bothering me with deadlifts and, of course, other aggravating smaller injuries like ankle pain or wrist pain now and then. However, hurting my clavicle/ shoulder area a little over 2 years ago really stopped me in my tracks. Not knowing exactly how I did it (although I think it was yoga—grrr! I’ve always hated yoga!) and the fact that it was never completely diagnosed was concerning but some diagnosed partial tears in my shoulder meant modifying lots of movements. While frustrating at times, with Eric’s programming, I was able to strengthen areas of weakness that may have contributed to my injury. Two years later, I am almost 100% and I feel my body is more in balance than I was before the injury.
What kind of advice could you give others who are in a similar boat and dealing with nagging injuries?
I would say not to give up. Just keep coming to the gym, moving your body. There are always modifications to fit every need. While sometimes the exercises may feel remedial and less like a workout, you will be back feeling better in time- more balanced and more supple. Come to the gym, be part of the group, keep working!
You are always tinkering with something new on the nutrition side of things. Do you have anything you are doing / working on that has been helpful for you recently?
While I eat pretty healthy meals, I mindlessly snack and am a chocolate addict. I began working with Eric on my nutrition and he has helped me to tweak my eating so that I avoid those daily pitfalls. Being accountable to him and his measuring tape has been a huge motivator for me! In 2 months I have lost about 5% body fat, but am still working.
With that said, you are also known to make some dynamite baked goods! Could you tell us about some of your best creations and how you came up with them!?
Oh, Thanks! I really love to spend time in the kitchen. I like to make other people’s recipes (pinterest or FB posts) or create things of my own. I enjoy trying to make things that are healthy but that still taste and look good. However, I do find it very hard to bake and not eat a lot of it myself. So going back to the previous question…in order to hit my nutrition goals, I really need to lay off of the baking and keep the time in the kitchen to a minimum J
Switching gears, you are also known to spend a few minutes after the 5:00am to work on a few things. Do you mind sharing with us what you are currently working on/or towards?
I have been working on my monthly goals recently…front squats, deadlifts…not really trying to hit PR’s but just trying to feel better at a comfortable weight and working on doing the lifts correctly. Since I began CrossFit, I have had success with mastering a skill by working on it for just like 10 minutes after a class. My body is already warmed up and it is easy to just do a few sets of something—kipping pull-ups, handstand push-ups, double unders, etc.
Finally, if you were to give someone one piece of exercise/nutritional advice, what would it be?
Just have fun with it! Celebrate the things you are good at, keep working on the things that you aren’t.