Kerry Cantwell

May 04, 2017
  • Hometown: Fairfax, VA, but after 18 years, I now claim Durham.
  • Age: 43
  • Occupation: College Instructor/Department Chair
  • When did you first start CrossFitting?: March 26, 2015
  • What is your favorite movement? Favorite workout?: Bench press and deadlifts are my favorite, but, as much as I whine, I do love anything where I can work on my goats.
  • What is your least favorite movement/workout?: Burpees, cleans, wallballs (the first five are awesome, but after that, why does the wall keep moving?)
  • Tell us about your sports & fitness background.: I was a competitive swimmer as a child (ages 5-15), but puberty and rock music shifted my gears and I decided fitness was for jerks. Then, from 2010-2014, I lost 85 pounds on Weight Watchers with no exercise and took up running. After finishing 4 half marathons at respectable paces, I lost the sense of challenge and started packing all of the pounds back on.
  • How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?: In Spring 2015, I was suffering from depression because of recent weight gain and general blech. My therapist recommended CrossFit because it was clear that I thrived in the face of challenge. At the same time, former BCCF coach K. Leigh Forell would train me for fun when we would travel to conferences around the country for work. That one WOD (Workout of the Day) would destroy me for about a week, and I loved it! K. Leigh encouraged me to get the Groupon that Jack was offering. I was scared at first because I was very overweight and a little older than a lot of the folks there. However, one class and I was hooked! (I’ll never forget it: mountain climbers, dips, ring rows and kettlebell swings.) Everyone introduced themselves to me and made me feel welcomed. They helped me learn the movements, explained what the heck a WOD is, and forgave me for being a total spaz. I’ve never looked back.
  • What sort of changes have you seen in your body?: What sort of changes have I NOT seen in my body? My weight is going down, my muscle mass is going up. I generally like the way my clothes fit me. Being in a band, we move a lot of heavy gear when we play shows, and I am now able to move all of the equipment on my own without exhausting, strenuous effort, where I used to need someone else to “grab one end.” No, I reach for the heaviest items first. It’s really liberating! No, thanks, bro. I don’t need your help. I got this.
  • What impact has CrossFit had on your life?: CrossFit has completely changed me. The changes are more mental and emotional than physical. I feel like I’m a part of something wonderful. I’ve made awesome friends whom I would not otherwise know, and they are the most amazing support group I could have asked for. They cheer me on when I’m struggling with a workout or a movement. They remind me that I deserve to be proud of myself. I welcome mental challenges now as well as physical challenges. I have started to forget how much older I am than most of these folks. They make me feel like I can be 23 again. CrossFit has also given me something that’s just for me. I don’t do it for anyone else. I don’t need m y non-CrossFit friends to know about it or participate with me. It’s for me, and it’s mine. I look forward to it every time, and I always feel like a superhero when I’m done.
  • What is your favorite Bull City CrossFit moment?: The CrossFit Total is always one of my favorite times at BCCF. Working alongside everyone else to do our heaviest lifts is so exciting. I love watching people get PRs! The electricity in the room is palpable. It’s so wonderful to see the fruits of the work we put in all year! Plus, I love cheering on the folks around me. I can’t help it!
  • What is your advice for people getting started?: Item #1: Scale, baby, scale! After two years, I am still working at the scaled level, but I’m in no hurry. I still have more weight to lose, muscle to build, and flexibility to gain. I’ll get to Rx at some point, but I realize that I need to listen to my body and do the best I can without being foolish. I injured my knee last year and had a slow recovery because of subsequent non-CrossFit incidents. Jack worked with me to create a series of workouts I could still do that didn’t involve putting weight on my knee. It kept me in the gym and pushing forward to still make progress in other areas. During that process, Jack taught me how to listen to my body and let it dictate how much or how little it can do. Item #2: To the “women of a certain age” who never thought fitness was for you: CrossFit is absolutely for you. You’ll never believe the amazing things your body can do! I never dreamed that I’d be doing bench presses and deadlifts when I was younger, let alone at 43! This is the place to know that you can leave it all on the field and be supported by the sweet, hilarious, fun, amazing family at Bull City CrossFit. They’re teachers, health care professionals, students, tech nerds, parents, kids, musicians, scientists, ministers, artists, but we’re all there for one purpose: self-improvement at our own pace.
  • What are your interests outside of CrossFit?: Music, volunteer work, cat memes, political curmudgeonry, activism, and reading books (read as: napping) on the beach.
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