Athlete(s) of the Month – Special Edition

(Kim on the left, Kristina on the right)

Why did you join CrossFit CrownTown?


My husband had been doing CrossFit for a year and a half. I was really interested but afraid; I was completely out of shape, unhappy with my weight, and wanted to be healthier and happier. Seeing the extreme changes in my husband’s life made me see I needed to do the same. We moved to Riverside, which forced my husband to leave his previous CrossFit gym. Needing a new place, he asked for a recommendation from his previous gym who then suggested CrossFit CrownTown. My husband called that week, took me in to check it out, and the following week I began the On Ramp classes.


In January of 2012 I made a New Year’s Resolution to start going back to LA Fitness. I’ve had a membership there for about 18 years and had fallen out of going to the gym. Five months later I still hadn’t stepped a foot in the gym. I would start the day planning to go, but by the time I came home from work, I had talked myself out of going. I knew I wanted to change, but I just couldn’t get myself to the gym. Then I started seeing Facebook posts by one of my former students, Kristina LaRochelle. She was one of my favorite students from my very first year teaching fifth grade. She began posting comments about something called On Ramp. I knew her husband, Matt, had been doing CrossFit and had amazing results. A couple of weeks went by and I was intrigued by her posts and by the fact that the place she was going to was in Corona. Finally I decided to send her about CrossFit. I told her I was out of shape and hadn’t exercised in about a year, but she assured me that she was no athlete and that if she could do it, so could I. She gave me CrownTown’s phone
number and the website and encouraged me to sign up. I wasn’t sure what CrossFit was, but this place was 3 miles from my house and Kristina was there!

(Kristina with her husband, Matt, prior to CrossFit)

What was your life like before CFCT?  How did you feel emotionally? Physically? Mentally?


Prior to joining CFCT, I was physically out of shape.  I was not happy with my weight or the way I looked.  Weight had been something I struggled with pretty much since graduating high school.  I had lost a lot of weight prior to having my son, but then gained most of it back.  After he was born, I honestly did not do anything to watch my diet or exercise until joining CFCT.  I was emotionally and mentally stressed out and tired all of the time. I desperately needed to change some things.

(Kim right at the beginning of CrossFit)


Prior to starting CrossFit, I was overweight, and unhappy with my appearance.  About a year and a half before CrossFit, I stumbled on to the Belly Fat Cure and learned about hidden sugar in foods.  I started cutting out sugar and lost weight.  But eventually, my eating wasn’t as good and my weight started to creep up.  I would watch the Biggest Loser and wish I could make a change like that.  I was basically unmotivated to exercise. Part of that came from the fact that even when I did exercise regularly I didn’t see huge results.  The scale would fluctuate 5-10 pounds and I’d firm up a little but nothing really worth all the work.  So it became easy to do nothing.  The less I did, physically, the more tired I was. I had pretty much given up on the idea that I could get my body back. After all, I was 46!

What results have you seen since starting CrossFit?


The first night of on ramp was the scariest thing I had ever done.  I have never been an athlete, and never have liked to exercise until now.  I could not even run 400 meters without walking and being completely out of breath.  I was so scared and not confident in myself at all.  I felt like the weakest, slowest, out of shape person, and was embarrassed to be there.  I went home crying thinking it was too hard and I couldn’t do it.  I went back, however, and by the third class felt like I could do this the rest of my life.  It was extremely hard mentally and physically.  I immediately started following the diet and lost weight.  I have lost 41 pounds, and 5 dress sizes.  I have muscles for the first time in my life. I know that my husband and I are setting a good example for our son to live a healthy and active life.  I still stress about everything, but I handle it much better now that I am healthier and working out.  I am addicted to CrossFit and can’t stop talking about it everywhere I go.


I am amazed by the changes I have seen in myself, physically, mentally, and emotionally since starting CrossFit and eating Paleo.  I’ve lost 32 pounds of fat and cut my body fat percentage in half!  In August 2012 I was at 36.5% body fat.  In June 2013 my body fat was 18.9%.  I also gained 12 pounds of lean mass and dropped 4 dress sizes.  This past summer I even bought my first bikini in over 20 years!  I have gained so much physical strength!  When I first started I had to do jumping pull-ups.  Now I can do them unassisted.  In the beginning, I had to walk up the hill on our runs.  Now I can run up and down that hill multiple times without stopping.  I can do handstand pushups, climb up and down the ropes, do double unders, and jump on a 30” box.  I continue to lift heavier weights.

How has pushing yourself  and challenging yourself in your daily workouts translated to your career?


Pushing myself has made me stronger mentally and physically.  I am getting better in my workouts all of the time.  I still have a long way to go, but I have come so far.  I am also able to push through circumstances at work that seem impossible because I have more energy and confidence.  I am a much more active mom than I probably ever would have been had I not started CrossFit.  I will work all day, workout at CFCT, then go home and go on bike rides, walks, play baseball, and many other activities with my son, which I may not have done if I was out of shape like I used to be.

(Kim in the present)


CrossFit has helped me become a better teacher. One of the things that fuels me during a workout is the encouraging words from other members and the coaches, especially when I’m really struggling.  It reminded me that my students need this same type of encouragement in the classroom.  Learning new skills in CrossFit has helped me remember what it is like to be a student.  I also have lots of energy now. I’ve taught many students over the last 24 years.  They are all important, but some hold a special place in my heart. When Kristina was in my fifth grade class, she was very shy. She was new to the school and was so very sweet.  I wanted to take care of her! It has been great to get to know Kristina as an adult and to see what a wonderful, competent, caring teacher she has become as well as a loving mother and wife.  I’m thankful to call her my friend.

What is the benefit for the both of you to do CrossFit together? How has it changed your relationship?


She was my all time favorite teacher, and the reason I wanted to grow up to be a teacher. As a child, I felt that I had a special bond with her.  Years later, I was a substitute teacher at my elementary school where she worked.  I remember her walking into the teachers lounge, and me asking her if she remembered me. Of course she did. When I left she wrote me a long card that I still have encouraging me to be a great teacher.  Eight years later, we found each other on Facebook and she messaged me asking what CrossFit was all about.  I told her I was only in the on ramp classes but that it was already changing my life.  She then told me there was one right down the street from her house.  Ironically it was CrossFit CrownTown.  Although we are not able to workout in the same class daily, we do find time when we can.  I now consider her a friend, and am so thankful that I still get to have a relationship with someone I have looked up to since I was 10 years old

(Kristina and Matt in the present)

What are you going to achieve over the next year?


My goal is to get stronger and faster in all my WODS.  I want to be at the point where I am physically able to do some WODS prescribed.  I look forward to sharing my CrossFit story with more people I come in contact with, in the hopes that they can make the change too!


This next year I will celebrate my 48th birthday stronger than ever.  I’m competing in my second “friendly” competition in November.  I will do ring dips without a band and will get a muscle up.  I will do more WODs Rx’d.  I will continue to eat clean.  I hope to be an inspiration to others who are considering making a change in their lives.

Some words from the Owner and Head Coach Wayne Willette:

I met Kristina first, and before I met Kristina, I had already been training her husband, Matt. He came from another CrossFit gym where he had started his journey. Then he moved to the area and the drive to his old gym was becoming a burden, so he asked his gym at the time for a recommendation. Fortunately, CrownTown was referred to Matt and that’s how he started. Matt had been trying to convince Kristina to start CrossFit for awhile. She realized the benefit, since she saw first hand how it changed Matt’s life. She was interested, but based on the schedule we had at the time it wasn’t going to work for both of them. Well, then we added another class and that is exactly when Kristina started. As you read, she has never really been into exercising or eating right. She was completely unconditioned and lacked even the smallest amount of strength and endurance.

The good news is CrossFit, if taught correctly, is modifiable and scalable for all levels of fitness, even somebody new to it like Kristina. Plus, I knew when she came to the gym that she would get the support from the coaching staff and community that she needed to stay motivated. Although, I think a huge factor in the equation is compliments to her husband. She only spent 3-4 hours per week with us at the gym.

Due to Matt’s willingness to help his wife, his dedication to the program, how well he listened to the coaches and how consistently he showed up and worked hard, I was very confident Kristina was going to have a life changing experience, too. Fast forward to today and look how much she has changed. She’s got plenty of strength and endurance. She’s also got some mental toughness and fortitude that gives her a positive attitude to overcome even the hardest of workouts. Thankfully, they have both made their health and fitness a priority in their life.

Their son Kolby who is a future CrownTown CrossFitter will only know how to be healthy and fit. I’m proud of the LaRochelle’s, especially Kristina, for working her butt off (literally and figuratively) over the past year and I look forward to continuing to help her and her family reach all of their goals. Furthermore, this is a special version of our Athlete of the Month. This time it’s Athlete(s) of the Month. By now you’ve recognized how Kristina and Kim tie together.  And, to me, it makes complete sense. Kim was referred to us by Kristina shortly after she had started our program. Kim was a hard one to read, since she was rather quiet. Although, I noticed one thing quickly. She showed up consistently early, worked hard and listened to exactly what the coaches told her. For lack of a better phrase, she was a perfect candidate to have a life changing experience. Before she started she had the motivation, but just didn’t have the right plan. She needed the structure that we offered. We took the guessing and the thinking out of it for her.

She was excited about the opportunity at CrownTown and her positive attitude fueled her to work hard day in and day out. It’s funny, Kim and Kristina have many things in common. The obvious ones are they are both teachers, Kim taught Kristina and inspired Kristina to become a teacher, they both CrossFit, eat Paleo and enjoy everything the do. The similarities that not everybody sees are the reasons they are successful in life. They are positive, like-minded, women with tons of work ethic. They only need to be told one time
what to do. They both never miss a class (I can count on both hands how many classes they have missed between both of them), they work really hard and they push their limits daily. I think since they are teachers themselves it makes them really good listeners and learners. They listen to the coaches very well and because of those main three reasons they are very successful.

I’m proud to have been trusted with such an important part of their life. These are the stories that fuel CrownTown to continue to provide the highest level of quality coaching in the area.  So, I want to end by thanking Kim and Kristina for being model members and following the plan. They are evidence that we can all be successful, if we just do the small things over and over and over again. We are very proud of the both of you. Congrats on being Athlete(s) of the Month.

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