February Female Athlete of the Month – Jennifer O’Brien!

Jennifer O'Brien!!

An exemplar of taking one's CrossFit game to the next level on all fronts, without further adieu…


1.  How did you get started with CrossFit, and then with CFNH?

I got started with Crossfit when I was looking for something to help me build strength and endurance for roller derby. At the time I was bouncing around between different gyms, and training with friends. However, I still wanted something more consistent. I remember seeing the CFNH letters off 91-N and eventually looked into what it was all about. I even convinced my teammate Roxanne to check it out with me. We both started Onramp in the Fall of 2012.

2.  Humble-brag time.  What are some of your recent accomplishments of which you're most proud?
I recently started to get CTB pull-ups, and I’m pretty excited about those. Never in my life could I do a single pull up until last year and now I’m pretty pumped to string a few along. I’m also proud of myself when I reach the top of the rope on rope climbs because I have to turn all the negative thoughts in my brain off to accomplish that single climb. I tend to envision myself falling off the rope from the top because my brain is twisted.

3.  You have noticeably stepped up your training game in recent months.  What's been the motivation/inspiration?  What are some of your short-term and long-term goals for 2016?
One of the reasons I’ve stepped up my training, is to prepare for the 2016 derby season that is upon us. I find myself jamming often for derby and need to be able to take a lot of hits, and have the endurance to keep going. So that is a huge motivator for me. I also strive to just be better than I was yesterday. One of my short-term goals is to run my first half-marathon in May. I’ve never been much of a runner, but in the close of 2015, I was inspired to start running. I ran my first 5k in December, and then ran 2 more. I was encouraged and persuaded by friends that a half-marathon would be fun. Let’s hope so. My other short-term goal is to tighten up my kip swings to improve my pull-ups, CTB, and TTB (I really don’t have much rhyme when it comes to TTB). Some long-term goals for 2016 are to increase my clean and jerk weight, get one muscle up, and strengthen my knees so they don’t want to cave inwards while squatting.

4.  Do you follow any specific diet or regimen to fuel your Athlete of the Month-level CrossFit performance?  What does your dream cheat meal/day look like?
I have been focusing on the Eat More Be Fit lifestyle since September 2015, and I think it’s going really well. Prior to this I never really knew how much my body needed to perform well, so having Coach Frank and Virginia break everything down for me has helped me a lot. Just in these few months I’ve noticed a change in my body and my energy levels. I absolutely suggest everyone talk to them if you are looking for support and direction on fueling your body.
I’m not sure I really have a dream cheat meal, however I’d LOVE to have a cheat dessert and end any meal with a cupcake! My sister has me hooked on cupcakes from Nora’s up in Middletown; they are so good, it’s dangerous. 

5. Design 2 WODs:  1 that is your bread & butter, filled with your movement strengths; 1 that is all goats (movement weaknesses you feel you need to improve). 
I LOVE doing footwork & agility stuff, so, if I’m making my perfect WOD, I’d include some agility ladder and sprint work in the strength and skill work. And then the perfect WOD would look something like this:
15 burpee buy in:
5 Rounds for Time
10 Pull-ups
10 Back Squats
6 – 10 meter line touches
10 Slam Balls
Finish with:
15 burpee Buy-Out
The ‘all goats’ WOD, which would probably kill me since it’s filled with all of my weaknesses, would probably called ‘the devil’.
10 Cal. AB
15 Thrusters
10 Wall Balls
50 Double Unders

6. How do you spend your time when you're away from CFNH?
When I’m not at CFNH you’ll find me on roller skates, playing roller derby with the CT RollerGirls. We practice 3 times a week and work on endurance, agility, and strategies. And when I’m not playing derby or at CF, I can be found hanging out with my family, friends, or crazy puppy Huey!

7. What is one fun fact people may not know about you?
I have been vegetarian for 20 years. I gave up meat as a teenager after being the pickiest eater growing up. I was vegan for roughly 10 years until I recently added eggs back into my diet. Eggs are currently the only dairy product in my diet.

8.  Do you have any motivational thoughts or suggestions to folks just getting started at CFNH?
My suggestions would be to never let your brain talk you out of going to get a good work out in. Do whatever you need to do to create a consistent schedule that works for you. Don’t look at a WOD and then decide if you want to go or not. Go in, get it done, and feel great afterwards.


Congratulations, Jen!

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