I snuck up on our athlete of the month this time around and just told her, then asked to sit down with her. Brooklyn’s favorite Southern belle has been making an impression at CrossFit South Brooklyn for 3 years now and was a prefect fit for Athlete of the Month. Bethany caught our attention for the honor this month for a slew of reasons: Her dedication to move well (i.e., lift with proper mechanics), her knack for bringing both intensity and a friendly vibe to whatever barbell or rack she is grouped on, consistently getting in to the gym to work her own pre-hab, and beaming a bright smile in the gym on a regular basis. There was a lot more to learn about her though, which I found out when we sat down.
Fox – Thanks for coming in tonight, Bethany. I know you must have a million things to do. (Bethany came in on a planned “off night” for the interview. She was flying a red-eye the next morning to visit with family).
Bethany – No problem!
Fox – Congratulations on being February’s Athlete of the Month! We’re psyched to honor you this month. First things first, how did you find out about CrossFit?
Bethany – Well, I’m diabetic and about 5 years ago my doctor told me that I was going to start having to take insulin. That scared me enough to start looking into healthy alternatives like diet and exercise to manage my insulin. Somewhere in there I came across CrossFit and started stalking CrossFit Atlanta. I didn’t go in, I just kind of checked it out from afar.
Fox – CrossFit stalker, creepy. You never worked out there?
Bethany – No. My first time at a CrossFit gym was CFSBK in February of ’08. I remember it pretty well. I had recently moved to New York from Atlanta and met Allan (E.) through the music scene we were both in. They gym was in the basement of the Lyceum at the time and I’m pretty sure the workout was Grace. I remember one of the girls, Steph Paddock I think, banging herself in the chin on a clean and jerk and just continuing with the workout. That was baddass! I wanted to be tough like that. It was awesome to see these girls in there doing that stuff and I was instantly hooked. I did Foundations immediately after.
Fox – Nice. It’s so cool to hear many of our female athletes recall a moment of another female being baddass and refer to it as inspirational. What had you been doing up to that point, fitness-wise?
Bethany – (blushes?) I had been going to a regular gym and also following these exercise videos, Cathe’ and Tae-bo and the like. I’d grown bored though. Right away I like that CrossFit had variety. When I was younger I played sports a bit. I’d just found my calling as a catcher on a summer softball league when I joined the high school dance team. That took over from there, and I also was on the dance team in college (Go, Millsaps Majors!!!). We’d perform during halftimes of sporting events and stuff like that. I really liked to dance and dedicated a lot of time to it.
Fox – Cool. You mentioned the music scene before too. Tell me about that and what kind of stuff do you do in spare time?
Bethany – Well, I DJ a regular monthly party called, "Kiss and Tell" that is actually looking for a new venue after this month. I’ll be going to Boulder, Colorado to perform at the Community Festival this year too. Tal (G) and my friend Dang and I do a monthly DJ podcast called, "So Wrong, So Right". This past episodes theme was guilty pleasures. That was a lot of fun! Record shopping with friends is a regular pastime. I cook a lot too. I LOVE gumbo and am on the lookout for a paleo option. You can’t have a good gumbo without a good roux. I still dance and have taken dance lessons of all sorts but none of them holds my interest like CrossFit does.
Fox – What was your guiltiest pleasure on the podcast?
Bethany – Oh God…Ghost Town DJ's "My Boo"!!!
Fox – I remember when I first met you in summer of ‘09, you were training around a pretty significant injury. Talk a bit about that. What had happened?
Bethany – Knife through the foot. I was chopping green beans and knocked a chef’s knife clear off the cutting board. It fell on my leg and completely severed my anterior tibialis muscle. I didn’t know it and we actually stopped the bleeding so I thought I was ok so I went to sleep that night. The next morning my foot didn’t work…I was really bummed out for the first few weeks when I couldn’t go to the gym. After about 3 weeks though I started coming in and doing cast-friendly workouts that David and Shane would write up for me. Lots of pistols on the good leg, and lots of pull-ups and seated pushing stuff for the upper body. That was huge for me to get back into CFSBK.
Fox – I was really impressed at you and Allan, a.k.a. The Gimpy Duo (Allan E. had broken a foot around the same time) coming in and training around injuries. Now that you’re well past that what are some of your goals as an athlete?
Bethany – A big goal for me this year is to improve my posture. Working with Deb and Alec and reading some of the Esther Gokhale stuff has made me acutely aware that I can’t reach my potential if I’m not in good positions. I work at a desk all day and some of the bad posture that I develop there has set me up for recurring injuries. I also just completed 30 days with no alcohol for the Paleo Challenge and that was huge for me. It was actually not nearly as bad as I’d imagined it would be. It’s made me reassess how often I’ll drink, and if I’ll stay away from beer in general. So far Paleo Challenge has been great, I’m sleeping better and I’ve lost the beer belly I set out to lose.
Fox – You’re part of Coach Margie’s Tough Titsday. What’s that been like?
Bethany – It’s been great. We’re going over an in-depth philosophy of the lifts, learning how to approach a bar and set up the lift before having the weight on your back or in your hands. I had a great Press the other night and I’m looking forward to hitting 200 lbs on my deadlift!
Fox – So what’s your particular approach to a lift? Rage and angst (a.k.a. David O and Jeremy F) or quiet and focused (a.k.a Avi S or Pauly S)?
Bethany – Definitely quiet and focused, with a touch of aggression.
Fox – I like that. No wasted energy. What keeps you coming back to CFSBK?
Bethany – The community, the people and coaches. Sometimes when I’m at work and looking forward to coming in to the gym it’s as much for the time I spend with the people as it is for the physicality of it. This place is unique like that.
Fox – OK, Bethany. Last thing, what do you think we should look for in a future Athlete of the Month?
Bethany – Someone who pushed themselves and others and is supportive of the community inside and outside of the gym. And, they have to be nice.
Fox – The “No D-Bag rule” shines yet again! Congrats and have a safe trip home.
Congratulations and thanks again to Bethany for coming in on short notice and sitting with me the night before a 6am flight. We love having you in the gym and appreciate all that you bring to the community, especially the capacity to be yet another in a line of baddass ladies who inspire those around them. Get that 200 lb deadlift in the books!
Paleo Chicken and Andouille Gumbo Health Bent
Paleo Gumbo with Lotus Root Nutty Kitchen
Gumbo on a Rainy Day Paleo Kitchen
Paleo Gumbo Fit.Healthy.Whole