Name: Candace Avila
Hometown: Kingwood, Texas
Occupation: Stay at home mom
When did you first start CrossFitting? March 2017
When did you first start training at CrossFit Katy? March 2017
What class do you generally attend (morning/afternoon)? 8:30/9:30 is my normal class but I occasionally slip into 6:30PM
Favorite WOD: Any short AMRAP with a heavy barbell.
Least Favorite WOD: Any WOD with any variation of lunges. Call me crazy but I would rather do burpees or thrusters in a WOD than lunges!
Tell us about your sports & fitness background: I played softball from age 8 to around age 15. In middle school I played volleyball, basketball and I was on the track team. Age 15 is where my “fitness background” pretty much ends.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? My first day of crossfit, I couldn’t tie my own shoes to go to the gym. I walked into the box for my first WOD at 348 pounds on March 9th 2017. It was during the open on a Thursday and the only people there for class were me and my friend Alyssa. She had been trying to get me to do a trial class for three months before I actually agreed to go! Mike was the coach and boy did I feel sorry for him for having to coach me. We started the warm up, and I had been afraid of that 400 meter warm up run since the second I agreed to go to the gym. I was the person who would hover in the grocery store parking lot to save myself from having to walk a few extra steps. Now I’m supposed to run for 400 meters? Needless to say, it turned into a 400 meter warm up WALK. When I got back into the gym, there was more warming up to do. Stretches I had never done before. Poor Mike had to walk me through every movement. I specifically remember not being able to do a lunge step and having to do lunges while holding onto the rig. I was embarrassed, but Mike didn’t give up on me. He talked me through every movement. Once I was good and sweaty and even more out of breath, it was time for the workout. The WOD was 5 Rounds For Time of: 300m row, 30 Double Unders/90 Singles, 400 Meter Run. There was that run again! We scaled the WOD to 3 Rounds 250m row, 30 singles, and 200m run. I couldn’t begin to tell you how tired I was, or what my time was, but I finished. It was one of the most humbling and eye opening days of my life. I left there with just two thoughts in my head…What the hell am I doing and When can I come back? I became a member of Crossfit Katy that same night and it has been my second home ever since, with just one main goal…be better than you were yesterday.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? Oh wow, too many to even mention. I kick myself all the time because I never took my measurements from the beginning so I don’t know how many inches I’ve lost. I have lost 4 pants sizes, I went down a shoe size (I always had to buy a size up in shoes to make room for the width of my feet!) I used to be able to shop at ONLY plus size stores, now I can find clothes in “normal size” stores. There are so many changes, the list could go on and on. So many big and small changes. I don’t mind parking in the back of the parking lot now. I can tie my own shoes. In fact, I rarely walk into the box in regular shoes. I wear slides and change into my tennis shoes as a reminder of how I couldn’t tie my own shoes on the first day and of far I’ve come and where I never want to be again. I am not the type of person to toot my own horn or give myself credit, even when credit is due…but I have made some pretty huge accomplishments. When I first started, the list of things I couldn’t do was much longer than the list of things I COULD do. That has changed significantly. So many people tell me, well I can’t do a box jump so I can’t do crossfit. Or I can’t do a pull up, hand stand push ups, etc. When I first started, I was doing STEP UPS on a 45lb plate because I couldn’t even jump onto that. Now, I’m doing 16 inch box jumps when a WOD calls for box jumps. I couldn’t even hang from the bar to attempt a pull up when I first began crossfit. I use bands, but I can do a pull up now! I can’t do a hand stand push up, but I can throw my body into a handstand and hold it, and before I know it, I’ll get that HSPU. I couldn’t do an air squat at first, now I can throw 250+lbs on my back and squat it. The list never ends. Tomorrow there will be something new I can do. And it just never quits…because I never quit.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? I haven’t talked about this to many people, but I was on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication for years prior to starting crossfit. About three months into my crossfit journey, I was medication free. No joke, It’s been a year and a half since I’ve taken any pill to help with my mood. That was something I really was not expecting. I was used to living a certain way and I had accepted that was just how it was. I know my story and my experiences may not to apply to everyone, but crossfit gave ME my life back. It became more than “I want to lose weight.” it became, “I just want to feel okay.” And I kept feeling better and better until feeling okay became feeling good and then feeling good became feeling great. Which is something that I hadn’t felt in a long while. I don’t want to lie and say every day is rainbows and butterflies and crossfit is the solution to every problem. I still have hard days. I still have hard weeks, and sometimes the weeks turn to months. Crossfit has just given me the courage to live my life despite those hard days.
Name one goal you have reached since joining CFK and one goal you want to achieve (example: deadlift/squat/press pounds; do a pullup; do a WOD RX’d, etc.): One goal I reached that I was really proud of was a 300lb deadlift. I’m still working on it, but I’d love to work up to 348lb which was my starting weight when I joined crossfit. Another goal I want to reach is a handstand push up. My 2018 goal was to simply get upside down into a handstand. I’ve reached that goal and now I’d really love to do a handstand push up!
Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFK moments: There are so many great CFK moments. When I realized I could do knee raises which then led me to compete in the open. That was pretty cool. When Amber Briner MADE me attempt a 16inch box jump and I actually did it, that was a good feeling and I rode that high for days. The open party was one for the books. Volunteering at Bring the Heat. Wow, that was amazing. The friendship and second family I’ve gained from the members of CFK who have literally laid on the floor with me after a grueling WOD and cried because they were so proud of me. There are just so many moments. There are countless moments that happen in every day WODS that are just so important to me.
Any advice for people just getting started? People tell me they want to lose weight before they start crossfit or get a little more fit before they start. No. That defeats the purpose. Start from the bottom, earn your way to the top. No excuses, Just start. I used to think the hardest part was walking in the door that first day, and that IS hard, but the hardest part is when you CHOOSE to walk back through that door on the second day and every day after that.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? I have three kids so I love spending time with them and my husband. They keep me busy with their activities and hobbies, so I don’t really have much time for my own haha! When I do get a some time away, I love a good karaoke night.