October Female Athlete of the Month: Kara Becker

Congrats to Kara Becker on being chosen as our October female Athlete of the Month at CFNH! Kara's been KILLING IT with her progress in her olympic weightlifting, her pull up game, and you know, just casually earning 90# PRs on her deadlifts…
Throw any challenge at her, and she'll happily take it on [as long as it doesn't include birds of any kind!]

1.  When and where did you start CrossFitting?
I began Crossfit this past January 2017 at CFNH after I won the on-ramp class at an auction. I've been doing this less than a year, but I love it!

2.  You’ve been a member here for about 10 months now, and have been spending some extra time with the NHWLC lately! How have your goals and/or motivations changed in the last year? 
Since we're mostly through 2017, what are some of your goals for the rest of the year? 

When I first started, my goals were just to get through the classes and learn the movements at whatever weight I could manage at the time without dying haha. Once I felt more comfortable with the lifts and movements, I began to challenge myself with building weight in pushing myself slightly out of my comfort zone every class. I always try to pick a weight that is slightly higher than what I know I can feasibly do, but have the ability to easily reduce if it is too much. My goal is to be able to do the workouts at an Rx weight, even though this still doesn't happen every class. I know that if I challenge myself every time, eventually I will get there.

As far as my other goals throughout my time at CFNH, I have spent a handful of extra time after classes working on building up my skills like double unders, pull ups, and push ups because I had absolutely no upper body strength before I started. Back in April, my school director challenged our program to a 30 day challenge to understand what it is like to learn to take a new medication or start a new diet/exercise program. For my 30 day challenge, I chose to take 5 minutes/day to work on DU practice and push-ups. By the end of the month, I went from not being able to do any DU or push ups to stringing together 5-10 DU at a time and 10 consecutive push ups.  Seeing visible results like that proved to myself that I was more than capable of doing any movement in Crossfit if I put my mind to it. After my 30 day challenge ended, I asked Mike Haggerty to put together a small accessory work program for me to be able to do 3 strict pull ups by the end of the summer. I started working on pull-ups in the beginning of June where I could barely do a 2 banded pull up and by the beginning of August, I did 3 strict pull ups!

My current goals for myself are revolving mostly around building weight which is why I joined the NHWLC. I just recently completed the on-ramp program and have already seen many improvements in my lifting form that have positively affected my Crossfit workouts. I quickly realized weightlifting is so much more about correct body mechanics and form than anything, and I have spent a lot of time recently trying to perfect my form. My other main goal for right now is to work on kipping pull-ups. I can string a few together, but maintaining them can be pretty difficult for me so that is what my accessory time is going towards right now. I think my ultimate goal of Crossfit though is to do a bar muscle up. Once I can do one of those, I know I will have made it haha.

3.  What are some of your recent accomplishments of which you're most proud?
I think my biggest accomplishment to date was doing a 90# PR Sumo Deadlift at the end of the summer at 265#. I don't think I have ever been more excited about anything in Crossfit compared to that. I remember at the beginning of the summer I hit 175 and was so upset because I felt like I could have done better. Once I realized that it was a movement that the classes were focused around during the summer, I challenged myself every time a sumo DL came around to push my weight a bit more, try do the workouts Rx even if it was difficult, and focus on making all of my sets working sets in the strength portion. When I hit 265 on the re-test, I was so proud of myself, and again proved to myself that I am more than capable of accomplishing my goals in Crossfit.

Also, getting the 3 strict pull-ups was pretty awesome too haha. I remember after the pull-up day in on-ramp, I was sore for 6 days and swore to myself that I would never be able to do one of those, but I did!

4.  Do you adhere to any form of daily/weekly diet regimen to power your workouts?  What does your dream cheat meal/day look like?
Haha about that………

Well being that I am still a grad student and my friends and I all love to eat and drink, I am really bad about adhering to any diet regimen. This is definitely one of my future goals, but like wayyyyy in the future. I try and eat fairly healthy in the meals that I make for myself at home and during the week, but what can I say, I just love food and beer way too much. Don't judge me.

Dream meal (because I cheat a lot):
Part 1: Mac and cheese or tacos or tikka fries from House of Naan or all 3 of them
Part 2: My grandma's cream peas and biscuits
Dessert: Coconut cream cake made by my aunt (my family makes great food) or anything that has chocolate in it

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).
WOD 1: Bread & Butter- I love squats and cardio

15 min AMRAP
5 Power Cleans 85#
10 Front Squats
20 DU
200m Run (Yes, I actually like to run haha)

WOD 2: Movement weaknesses
8 Overhead Squats 55# (the overhead position is still very difficult for me)
10 Pull Ups
10 Burpees
10 Hollow Rocks (I literally cannot figure these out at all. Are your feet supposed to touch the ground every rep or not? How far do I rock? Where do I put my hands? if you know plz help me)

6. How do you spend your time when you're away from CFNH?
I am currently a second year student at Yale's Physician Associate program. I just started my clinical rotations which means I am in the clinic and the hospital for pretty much my entire day now, and I am currently on my surgery rotation (aka I can't go to 5:30am class this month šŸ™ I miss you guys!!)

When I am not in school, my friends and I love to take day trips around the East Coast, go to concerts and breweries (like I said, I love beer), and spend time outdoors whether that is hiking, kayaking, or going to the beach. I also love to travel, and I am going to Thailand this coming January for a month! If anyone has been there, give me suggestions of where to go!

7. What is one fact that other CFNHers may not know about you?
I am terrified of birds, mainly seagulls and pigeons. I had a traumatizing experience one time in California where a flock of seagulls dodged at me when I was eating a hamburger. I literally sprinted away from them, jumped over a fence and almost broke my ankle, threw my burger as far away from me as possible, and hid behind a car for my life. I have never looked at a bird the same since then.

8.  Do you have any motivational thoughts or suggestions to folks just getting started at CFNH?
My best advice for someone just starting out is to not get intimidated and be confident in yourself that you can do this. Everyone starts out somewhere, and although it may seem intimidating seeing everyone put on a bunch of weight, just ignore it, focus on yourself, focus on correct form, and the weight and movements will come. I remember being so intimidated at the beginning (and sometimes I still am), but the good thing about CFNH is that no one is judging you and their goal is not for you to put up the top numbers on the board, but for you to push yourself, do the movements correctly, and be better than you were the day before (shout out to Dags for that one).

My two best pieces of advice that I have learned throughout my time at CFNH are to set goals for yourself and push yourself in at least 1 way every workout. Goal setting has truly improved my skills, and without my accessory work practice and challenging myself in 1 way every workout, I would not be where I am right now. I am always the most disappointed walking out of a workout where I knew I could have stepped it up a notch, so I try to always challenge myself in one way. Whether that means doing as many pull ups as I can before switching to SVPU, or choosing a higher weight than I am comfortable with, by doing so, I have seen visible progress. In coordination with that, I take 15-20 mins after 3 classes/week to work on my current skill goal
​ which has allowed me to take my workouts from fitness to Rx. This is seriously the best thing I can suggest for anyone looking to up their performance.

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