Women Crushing Wednesday - Jelena
For this week's edition of #WomenCrushingWednesday I wanted to feature a friend of mine who has been seriously impressing me over the past few months and I feel like a lot of women can relate to her. Jelena and I have been CrossFitting together for a few years now and while she may have started off as timid and new to the world of strength training, she has grown into this confident and strong woman who doesn't let fear stand in her way. She is one of the women at the box who is truly committed to the sport and doing whatever it takes to perfect her technique and improve on her strength - and it absolutely shows!
Roots: Whitestone, NY
Pin Drop: Whitestone, NY
New Yorker Status: Born and Bred!
Occupation: Speech Language Pathologist
How long have you been seriously working out and where do you train? I started CrossFit about 4 years ago at CrossFit Sanctuary in New Hyde Park, NY.
Was there anything in particular that inspired or motivated you to start working out? What keeps you motivated to stay dedicated to this lifestyle? My best friend and I started CrossFit through a Living Social deal. At the time, I was only doing Zumba classes and had never touched a weight before in my life. It was becoming too routine for me and I knew I wanted something different, although I wasn't sure yet what that was. I had no idea what CrossFit was and thought I would go once and never come back. Yet here I am 4 years later! I was intimated at the very start and would only go to classes 2x a week. I would avoid any movements or exercises that I didn’t like or didn’t think I was strong enough to do. After making more friends and getting more comfortable I started going more often. CrossFit keeps me motivated because there is always some goal to achieve, whether it’s getting your first pull-up or putting more weight on that barbell. It’s the sense of accomplishment, and doing what you never thought you could do before.
Obviously gaining muscle is a major benefit of lifting weights, but have you received any other types of benefits that maybe you didn’t expect to happen? Yes. Confidence. Pushing yourself mentally and physically. It taught me a lot about myself. Getting through a tough workout or PRing a lift is more than just physical strength. Our limits exist only in our minds. It took me a long time to realize this, and I still struggle with it. I think we all do in some aspects of our lives. Believing in yourself is everything!
Women tend to stay away from strength training due to the stigma that women who lift weights get too big and look like men. Did you ever feel that way prior to starting CrossFit? What advice would you give women who do believe that? I think I did think that to some extent, but worrying about getting “too big” just seemed silly to me. It’s very hard to build muscle. I would say to not be afraid of putting weight on that barbell. It was the best thing I have done for myself, both mentally and physically.
Do you have any short term or long term goals you would like to accomplish in regards to fitness? So many! Setting a new PR for my clean and getting my first muscle up are two big ones!
What advice would you give a fellow female who is just getting started at the gym? I would say to not be intimated and to keep going! We all have to start somewhere. Focus on yourself, and knowing that giving your 100% is always good enough.