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September 27, 2014

Athlete Highlight - Ashley Valk

Name: Ashley ValkAge: 24Hometown: Mechanicsville, VA

ashley valk

When did you start training at CrossFit Lynchburg? Halloween, 2013 (Former Coach Jenny was dressed as Katniss from The Hunger Games)Sports & Fitness Background: I danced from 1993-2005, and I cheered from 2001-2004. I also had very brief childhood stints with gymnastics and swim team. Prior to CrossFit, I had no fitness background beyond the occasional visit to the "traditional gym" and working on the treadmill. First Exposure to CrossFit: I began CrossFit in January 2013 at CrossFit 1st Due in Farmville, VA. I was completely peer pressured by my coworkers, and was absolutely terrified. Immediately, I was hooked. The team dynamic of CrossFit drew me in. I felt instant accountability by my CrossFit peers, and began feeling guilty if I missed a workout. Having never lifted a weight before, I was surprised to find that the Olympic Weightlifting component of CrossFit was (and still is) my favorite piece! Upon moving to Lynchburg late Summer 2013, I knew I needed to find a CrossFit home, and I knew that home had to be at CrossFit Lynchburg. I couldn't believe the overwhelming welcome I received from the CrossFit Lynchburg community. The healthy competition that ensues every day at the box is unlike any other. The members of CrossFit Lynchburg are truly family to me, and I wouldn't want it any other way. The progress I've seen in myself since Halloween 2013 is unfathomable. I am so proud to be a part of the CrossFit Lynchburg family, and do not see myself slowing down any time soon! First Workout/How'd it Go? The first CrossFit workout I remember was Cindy (AMRAP 20: 5 pull-up's, 10 push-up's, 15 air squats). I did this on my 4th ever day of CrossFit. I only did 10 minutes of it, and it was scaled with jumping pull-up's, and I thought for sure I'd never be able to use my arms again. Two days later I had a big work event, and distinctly remember asking a colleague to pull my hair out of the back of my polo because I couldn't lift my arms that high. Despite this, I could not wait to get back in the box, and went back that night after my work event (and my arms worked)! Favorite Workout/Least Favorite Workout: Favorite: Annie; Least Favorite: Fran (the thrusters and pull-up combination will always be deadly, regardless of my level of athleticism)Body, health, and fitness changes: This is the strongest I've ever been, and the healthiest I've ever felt, for sure! Although cardio is still a huge weakness of mine, this is something I have improved in. My diet is a huge part of any gains (and lack there of) that I make! Diet is so important, people! This is about WAY more than working out! Physically, I am the most proud of my quads and traps, and cannot wait to continue "bulking them up" (and yes, women are allowed to say that!)Unexpected Changes: My changes in perspective of a healthy diet were something I did not expect, and I am so thankful for that change. Looking at "food as medicine" is something I have not mastered, but looking at "food as fuel for performance" is something I am very conscious of. The importance of lean meats and proteins is so critical in performance, and makes a significant difference in my daily life!Favorite CrossFit/CrossFit Lynchburg Moments:

  • When I got my first kipping pull-up, and then strict pull-up. The excitement I had, and the excitement those around me had, was totally unexplainable.
  • Watching Zack (my boyfriend and fellow CrossFit Lynchburg Athlete) complete in the 2014 CrossFit Open. Watching Zack push himself to his physical and mental limit made me so proud (not to mention, he did very well!). It is so great to know I have someone so dedicated on my team!
  • Watching CrossFit Lynchburg compete in the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Regionals. I cannot explain this feeling to anyone who wasn't there. The sense of pride I had for our team was through the roof, and it was so amazing to be in such good company with the best teams and individual athletes in the region!

Advice: Just take the plunge! I have never considered myself athletic, nor did I have ANY cardio ability prior to starting CrossFit. It does not matter how athletic you are... everything is individualized. Everything is scalable (down, or up!). And lastly, every single person in that box will cheer you on and be proud of you, regardless of what weight your using, and regardless of how long a workout takes you. It's truly You vs. You, and it is life-changing.

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