The People of CrossFit®: My Untold Story #19

November 05, 2018

Photocredit: Kathleen Stogin photography

NAME: SHANNON PAWL DERBY
AGE: 40
BOX: CROSSFIT HORSEPOWER

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, hobbies, interests, etc.).

I am a personal trainer and the owner of Restore Fitness & Nutrition, based in Los Angeles, California. I am a wife and a mom to 3 girls, ages 8, 10 & 12. I love the beach, travel, watching my girls play sports, and anything related to fitness.

Which class time do you usually attend?

I am most often at the 5 am class.

When did you start doing CrossFit®?

I started doing CrossFit in February 2015

How did you hear about CrossFit and what was your first workout?

I'm not sure where I first heard about CrossFit®, but I recall meeting the owner of CrossFit® Horsepower, Dan Wells, at a mutual friend's child's birthday party sometime in 2014. At the time, I was knee-deep in training for a triathlon and told him that I didn't have time to fit CrossFit® into my schedule. I don't recall my first workout specifically, but I do recall that the CrossFit® Open started a few weeks after my first day at CrossFit® Horsepower and somehow I was convinced to participate.

What were you doing before CrossFit®?

I was running, biking, swimming, doing triathlons & lifting weights. I also played competitive soccer up until college. I was offered a soccer scholarship as a goalkeeper for a Division 1 school back East, but I didn't accept it, as I had already had two knee surgeries before at 18.

How has your approach to CrossFit® changed since first starting?

Since my early CrossFit® workouts where I focused on "just getting through," my focus has turned to the technical aspects of CrossFit®. I love learning the intricacies of various types of lifts & focusing on form & technique. I love seeing how focusing on form & technique can lead to more efficient & heavier lifts. I also have embraced the idea of training my weaknesses rather than wanting to default to continuing to work on my strengths.

Favorite WOD or movement / Least favorite?

I don't have a favorite WOD but, in general, I love chippers. In terms of movements, my favorites are squats, wall balls, thrusters & burpees. My least favorite movement is box jumps because I am not supposed to do them, due to old soccer injuries.

What types of changes have you seen (mentally, physically, and/or lifestyle) since starting CrossFit®?

CrossFit® has had tremendous impacts on me both physically & mentally. Physically, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. I don't mean just in terms of appearance, but more as an athlete. I am stronger & faster than I have ever been and can execute movements in workouts that I never even contemplated doing, even when I was much younger.

Mentally, CrossFit® has given me so many things. I love how it gives me the opportunity to learn the importance of the intricacies of human biomechanics. I love the challenge of trying to hit all the points of performance in a skill and the need to focus on precise details in order to maximize my potential in a movement. In addition, CrossFit® has given me an outlet for releasing stress, as well as an incredible group of friends who are part of the CrossFit® community.

What helps you get the most out of your CrossFit Workouts? 

My love of always giving my best effort to anything that I do is what helps me to get the most out of my CrossFit® workouts. I love how CrossFit® forces me to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and teaches me that only through failure can I grow & improve. I am inspired & motivated by the fact that I want to show my daughters the mental, emotional & physical benefits of fitness. Also, as a lifelong athlete and a competitive person, I love how CrossFit® gives me an opportunity to engage in friendly competition with members of the Horsepower community should I decide to try to top the whiteboard.

What would you say to someone starting CrossFit® for the first time?

Relax, have fun, don’t let your ego guide you, and listen to your coach. CrossFit® delivers some big challenges so push yourself, but within reason.

Something you might not know about me: 

I was very anti-CrossFit® for many years. I had concerns about safety. Given I had a lot of pre-existing injuries from years of soccer, I was reluctant to try it. But, I decided to give it a shot. I started CrossFit® during a very dark, stressful & difficult time in my life. I walked into CrossFit® Horsepower (of all things, in a medical boot, due to an injury that prevented me from running) not knowing a single person or anything at all about the movements of the WOD. But, the coach & community were welcoming & took the time to help me get through my first class. And, after my first class, I also realized how much better I felt about the issues I was facing in my personal life. Somehow the focus & intensity of the workout helped me to gain clarity in ways that nothing else did. Just 3 weeks into my CrossFit® career, I was convinced to register for the CrossFit® Open. I got swept up into the excitement of the Thursday night workout releases, even though I had no idea what most of the movements were. In the weeks & months that followed, not only did CrossFit® help me to get through tough times and, I also fell in love with the physical aspect of the sport -- and I haven't looked back.

 

Thanks for reading my untold story,

Shannon