June 2020 Athlete of the Month
Stephanie Parish
This is your SECOND time winning the AOM honor. Anything different this time around? This time, I am 9 month postpartum, so I’m really just focusing on consistency! It has helped me get back into the gym without a bunch of pressure to perform like I did before.
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? The people! It’s like a big family, and it’s so much more fun working out with friends.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Ummm…Getting second place with Dylan at Halloweenapalooza was awesome. And Brittney Jones and I came back from like 16th place one time and got 5th! That was super fun. Also, pretty much any time I finally nail a movement that I’ve been working on!
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Y’all know me…I love to lift heavy, so probably deadlift. Running and wall balls are my least favorite.
Now that you’re a busy Mom, how do you manage to make it to the gym consistently? I make it a priority. I look at my schedule and figure out when I can go to the gym, and then I do it.
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?  Natty State has been great for meeting awesome people, building my confidence, and keeping me fit pre and post partum!
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?  Try it!! Unlike popular belief, it is for everyone, and you can do it. You don’t have to be fit to start crossfit!
Final Comments: Thanks for picking me! You guys are too sweet!!
May 2020 Athlete of the Month
Kalob Welch

What Made You Start CrossFit? I started CrossFit because Aaron bought the gym and said “ I want you to be a part of this”. I had already done a few misfit workouts with him and Dylan.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? My thoughts after the first wod were that I wanted to keep doing this.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? The thing I enjoy most about crossfit is that feeling you get when you beat someone at a wod that you didn’t think you would

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? My proudest CrossFit moment is when Andy lung tricked me into thinking I was lifting less weight on a clean during the open

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Favorite movement is the bowl movement . But seriously muscle ups.

Least Favorite? My least favorite is back squats/deadlifts

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? My current CrossFit goal is to be a better athlete. I’m getting close to my goal of weight loss which will help with that goal

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Honestly the Natural State people have become my extended family and closest friends.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? If I had to give a tip to anyone starting out is to learn how to breathe correctly lol. My

Final Comments: Final comment is to say thank you for allowing this stray dog into the gym and for not ever kicking me out.

 

April 2020 Athlete of the Month
Brittany Rocha

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m a crazy, fun loving girl! I enjoy everything dog, staying at home, and hanging out with William.

What Made You Start CrossFit? Had been working out for a little over 2 years and just wasn’t getting the progress I wanted. William and Dylan were really good friends so I started coming up on the weekends with them. Then thought, hey I bet this could get me to where I want.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Dang, I’m not in as great of shape as I thought I was.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Man, my noon crew. Something about them gives me life. I don’t feel judged and I love dying at the box with them.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? PR’d my clean recently.

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Bar muscle ups Least Favorite? Echo bike (it can burn in hell)

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? Currently, I want a ring muscle up so bad! How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I’m pretty darn close

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? In the gym it made me realize that I can push just a little bit harder. Outside of the gym I now have friends with the same passion and goals as me.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just do it. Yeah that first work out is going to suck but what comes after that is not anything you’ll experience anywhere else.

Final Comments: After a week at CFNS I knew I wanted to be the Athlete of the Month, 8 months later I got it! Hard work pays off.

March 2020 Athlete of the Month
Cody Prater

What Made You Start CrossFit? I was inspired by my girlfriend, Julie Whitaker, to start doing CrossFit. There were changes that took place in life, and I knew that CrossFit would be something that could help me both physically and mentally.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? I enjoyed the first WOD mainly because of how welcoming everyone was and because of how challenging the workout was. 

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I enjoy the challenge of CrossFit and the community of people. Each workout provides a new stimulus and the people are welcoming to new members.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? My proudest moment took place when I was able to get a ring muscle up during Dylan’s gymnastic seminar.

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? I enjoy doing squats but strongly dislike snatches.

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I would like to be in better shape and be able to complete a memorial WOD Rx that involves pull-ups, cleans, and handstand walks. I still need to improve the efficiency of pull-ups, and I’m a long way away from being able to do a handstand walk.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Since joining Natural State, I feel like I’ve improved my conditioning and my mental clarity has improved as well. 

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? I would strongly encourage anyone to start doing CrossFit. The coaches are great and the people never let anyone feel excluded. Every movement can be scaled to suit where your physical ability is at. CrossFit is about doing the best you can so that you improve gradually and safely in the process of improving your overall wellbeing.

February 2020 Athlete of the Month
Courtney Brown
 What Made You Start CrossFit? I watched Savannah do the Halloweenapalooza competition one year, & decided I wanted to join right then.
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? “Pretty sure I have a collapsed lung….”
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? The people!! Everyone is super encouraging & always motivating me to push myself.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? When I was able to string together toes2bar
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Double unders
Least Favorite? Handstand push-ups
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I want to be able to snatch heavy & with good, consistent form….got a long way to go
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? I just feel better overall! I work as a physical therapist assistant, which is pretty physically demanding sometimes. CFNS has helped me build a solid strength foundation to be able to do my job safely!
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Never say never. Most of the movements like pull-ups, double unders, and the Olympic lifting basically seemed like magic or just so out of reach for me in the beginning. But after several months of consistency, I can do most of them!
Final Comments: I couldn’t have achieved any of the improvements in my fitness without the support of the awesome people at CFNS!
January 2020 Athlete of the Month
Gennaro Estrada

Tell us a little about yourself: Fun,working hard guy.

What Made You Start CrossFit?  Honestly, I tried a regular gym, but it didn’t work, so I decided try Crossfit.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Why I’m here?! Lol all my body hurts, but when time passed I felt my body getting different.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Definitely the people! People made the work out fun and I find in CFNS a new family.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? When I lose height! And of course when my numbers moves up!

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Squat clean

Least Favorite? Long wods!

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? Get in shape.

How Close are you to reaching them? Yes, sometimes I feel like no,but I do.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Honestly,I meet grate people here and I look much better

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just do it, no doubt.

Final Comments: Doing CrossFit definitely changed my life, #1 I feel like I’m in a family, #2 my body and mind feels great!!

November Athlete of the Month
Latosha Robinson

What Made You Start CrossFit? Lea Blair. She was my biggest influencer. Every one of my excuses, she had the perfect answer. 3 years later and I’m STILL so grateful for her.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Considering my first WOD was at 5:30 am, I decided I am NOT meant to be up that early. However, it was so miserably wonderful that I had to go back for more (in the afternoon, of course).

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Enduring the pain with such a wonderful, encouraging fit family. Also, seeing constant improvement.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Every deadlift PR. I get so excited that I jump, yell, and dance. The good part is that my CrossFit fam cheers with and for me which makes it 10 times better!

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Deadlifts, HSPU’s, and bench press!

Least Favorite? SNATCHING!

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? Honestly, to just get better and stronger every single workout… and to get some muscle-ups, of course!

How Close Are You To Reaching Them? Well, I still haven’t perfected C2B pull-ups, so maybe a while longer! I’ll get there though!

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? It’s truly indescribable, but I’ll do my best. Natural State isn’t just a place I go to workout and leave. CFNS is a home to me and the community is my family. We push each other to be our best in and out of the gym.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? JUST DO IT (Thank Nike for the best slogan)… but seriously, stop questioning it and come to a class. Our coaches know what they’re doing and our athletes are also there to give you a warm welcome. We will make sure you do not feel out of place. We will encourage you throughout your journey. Trust me, you won’t regret it. The human body is capable of so so so much and CrossFit will show you just how amazing your body is!

Final Comments: I absolutely love CFNS and everything about it. They accept me for the loud, crazy, awkward person that I am. Come on in and join in on the fun! We don’t judge, we encourage. Also, shoes and shirt are optional 😁

 

October Athlete of the Month
Drew Brinkley

Tell us a little about yourself: My wife and I relocated to Jonesboro from North Carolina 2 years ago.  In my spare time I enjoy watching college football and basketball (Go Heels!), hanging out with our two dogs, and getting outdoors.
What Made You Start CrossFit? I went a couple years without regular exercising after a couple job changes and the move.  I had to choose to work on my fitness or buy new clothes to accommodate an expanding waistline.  I did CrossFit a few times before and knew it would challenge me more than a standard gym membership.
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? I don’t recall the specifics of the WOD, but I do remember feeling sore, out of gas, and out of shape a lot during that first class.  It definitely reinforced that I needed to be back in the gym.
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I really like that you don’t have to think about what to do at the gym – you just show up for a CrossFit class and do the WOD.  Also, CrossFit takes me outside of my comfort zone and forces me to do movements that I honestly would not otherwise do.  This may not be “enjoyable” at the time, but my fitness is certainly better for it.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? It was pretty cool to hit that first muscle up on the rings.
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Favorite:  dips, cleans (I’m still not great at them, but it’s fun to move the bar around)
Least favorite:  bike, thrusters (they don’t agree with the beard)
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I still consider myself a beginner, so my primary goal is to continue to gain comfort and proficiency with all of the movements and lifts we do in CrossFit.  Other than that, I would also like to hit a bar muscle up and get better at double unders and kipping movements (PU, T2B, etc) so I can put together more than 1-2 reps at a time.
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Natural State is a fantastic way to blow off some steam after a day at the office.  Whatever stress you may have been dealing with during the day inevitably falls away when you’re in the middle of a WOD.
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? My advice would be to not think of “scaled” as being a bad thing.  Get in the gym, listen to the coaches, do what you can, and try to be a little bit better the next time you come back.
Final Comments: It’s been great being a member of the Natural State community, and I am flattered to be selected as an athlete of the month.  All the people are great, and the coaches really seem to care about helping you improve.  In closing, the 6:30 class is the best class!
September Athletes of the Month
Michael & Kellie Holmes

Michael’s Interview:
What Made You Start CrossFit? I was looking for a way to push my fitness goals and I knew several CFNS members who recommended giving it a try. Almost 6 years later, it’s still pushing me.
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? It’s sort of like someone hitting you in the gut, but if you wanted them to do it again. 
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Working out alongside my wife. She pushes me every time to do my best 
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Being named AOTM alongside my wife 
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Nothing beats putting weight on a barbell. Running sucks 
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I don’t think you ever reach your goals. They just keep getting higher as you go 
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Its helping us provide an example of a healthy lifestyle to our kids and look like bad asses at the same time 
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Don’t be intimidated. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. 
Kellie’s Interview:
What Made You Start CrossFit? Peer pressure…all of our friends were doing it at the time and ALL they wanted to talk about constantly was CrossFit (Especially Sara Jane!).  We decided we wanted to be cool too so we drank the juice and joined and almost 6 years later we still love it!

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?  I thought, what have we gotten ourselves in to!?  These people are so serious about their rules and their workouts and I am just here to look good in a bikini this summer!

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I love doing CrossFit as a married couple! It’s like a mini date for us every workout! We get to see each other, motivate each other, cheer for each other, and sometimes be competitive with each other.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?  My favorite Crossfit moment was when I was learning to handstand walk and I kept falling down, try after try…I could not get more than 2 to 3 paces forward before I would fall.  So I decided to chalk my hands to see if that helped.  Well Andy saw me put chalk on my hands and started giving me a hard time and said it wasn’t going to help….I have video proof I handstand walked halfway across the gym right after that!  CHALK HELPS EVERYTHING!

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?  Fav: Anything with a bar…except snatching, we still don’t get along!   Least fav: Cardio- Biking, Rowing, Running….GROSS

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I just want my kids to see their mom as bad ass!

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? We have found a real sense of friendship here and that keeps us coming coming back day after day, year after year.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?It’s going to take time to figure out what the heck you are doing since there are so many things to learn but the one thing to keep in mind is always try to get better and by doing so you WILL get stronger and fitter!

August Athlete of the Month
Chamy Kelley

What Made You Start CrossFit? I started CrossFit with my family. My uncle wanted a way for my cousin, Hallie and I to stay in shape and have a fun way to connect with each other so he brought us to Natural State. I am so thankful he took that initiative because it revolutionized my workout routine. 

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? The first WOD was a workout experience I had never been a part of before. I enjoyed being in an encouraging class and jumping out of my comfort zone. The group setting and knowing that this would push me to be better is what brought me back and continues to do so. 

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? My favorite thing is that literally anyone can be a part of it. I love being in a diverse group of people that are all working to achieve similar goals!

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? There are literally so many. From the first time that I RX’d a workout, when I hit a backsquat over 200lbs, stringing together double unders, there are just so many moments that I have been so proud of the cool new things my body has been able to do. 

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Squat cleans are my favorite by far! I just feel really confident in them and always make the WOD more interesting. Snatches are the worst because in my head I know the technique but when I step up to the bar my body literally does the opposite. One day I know it will all connect, and I am looking forward to that!

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I want to continue to get better and push my body to new limits. Staying consistent in the gym and continuing to push myself to do things I am not 100% comfortable with are two ways that are guaranteed to help get me there. 

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Natural State has brought some of the best people into my life. It also is a great place to have a support system. The cool thing is that this community not only wants to push me to be better in the gym, but they are there to support me in my goals and pursuits outside of the gym. 

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just do it. There will never be an ideal time. You will never be in shape enough. Come as you are, join us, and lets all crush our goals together. 

Final Comments: I love having such a positive hobby. Even when my days suck, I can go into Natural State, crush a workout and walk away from it with an awesome feeling of accomplishment. 

 

July Athlete of the Month
Jaguar (Alex) Aguirre

 

What Made You Start CrossFit? After graduating from A-State I spent most of my time working to prepare for the birth of my daughter, and didn’t put any consistent effort into my physical fitness. I was in great shape from my collegiate Rugby career but over time that slowly faded and I wasn’t happy with where I was physically or mentally. I made the decision to invest in my physical well-being and it was about that time I found Natural State.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? I was hooked. It was similar to the workouts we would do during “fitness” days while playing Rugby in college, which I needed. I could see that it was something I would be able to do every day and not get burnt out.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I love not having to plan my own workouts. Every day I show up there’s a new workout to do and a whole group of people to do it with. Everyone is encouraging and brings out the best in each other. It’s been really easy to get into a habit of going at least 3 times a week, but I love it so much I try to go every day.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? I’m most proud of the new movements I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been a part of the gym. I completed my first Ring Muscle Ups a few weeks ago and I thought it would take me a lot longer to do so.

 

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? My favorite movement has always been any variation of the clean, going back to high school. It’s a movement that I believe transfers well into sports because it develops full-body power and coordination. My least favorite would have to be rowing or biking because of how quickly they can wear you out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it!

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I would like to be able to knock out movements on the bar in greater sets (toes to bar, muscle ups, chest to bar, muscle ups). Right now I can do about 5 to 7 without needing to break. If I could get up to 10/15 at a time I would be happy.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? I’m not from Jonesboro, and most of my Rugby teammates weren’t either. When I found out I would be living here for a while I didn’t have a very big local friend group to lean on. Since joining the gym I’ve made great friends and formed relationships that I hope will last a long time. (Also my abs look the nicest they’ve been in forever.)

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just go for it. Working out becomes something your body almost craves after a few short months and you’ll never want to go back to your old routine. The mental benefits alone are worth it, but the physical changes are obviously nice too.

Final Comments: Every day we make decisions that will effect the future versions of ourselves. Give your future-self the gift of mental and physical health through physical fitness, and you’ll see improvements in other areas of life that will amaze you.

 

June Athlete of the Month
Brittney Jones

Tell us a little about yourself: My name is Brittney, I’m a COTA/L for Cynergy Rehab group. I work at Jackson County School and Craighead Nursing Center. I get to hang out with kids and the elderly on the daily and I love every minute of it. I love kids, (shocker I know) but there is something special about working with the elderly and helping them become independent again. I don’t really have a lot of hobbies because I’m lame, but I enjoy working out, cleaning, and chilling with my cat.

What Made You Start CrossFit?: I was a typical Crossfit hater, but one of my co-workers convinced me to try a class out and I have been hooked ever since. I’m a former college athlete and have always enjoyed competition, and CF brings me back to my glory days. I love showing up to class knowing no matter what I’m going to give it my all.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?: I don’t remember my first WOD, but I am pretty sure I died a little and loved every minute of it. If you know me, you know I love a good metcon that takes a little piece of my soul.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?: I love that I have met some amazing friends that enjoy “fitnessing” as much as I do. Andy is going to disagree with my reason for why I enjoy CF so much, but I enjoy the competitive side of it. I love knowing that if I’m doing a workout next to SJ, she is going to be giving it her all and so am I and that one of us is going to beat the other. I live for those moments and it makes both of us better athletes.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?: I would say getting my first bar MU last year at a competition. I don’t show a lot emotion, but I was pretty pumped for that one.

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?: My favorite movement would have to be wall balls or thrusters. They both suck and hurt, but that’s why I love them. My favorite lift would be cleans, probable because it’s the only lift I’m half way decent at, minus my tiny hitch lol. I don’t really have a least favorite movement. I have been working on ring MU and have yet to get one, but I have a feeling I will soon. Every lift besides cleans is my least favorite. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Can we please just metcon every day!!!!

 

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?: My goal is just to continue to show up and get better. Oh and to beat Andy every single day.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?: Natural State has pushed me to become a better athlete and go a little harder each day I show up. I came from another CF gym where I would just go through the motions and never really pushed myself to become better. The environment at CFNS is like no other, I know that each time I step into the gym, I’m going to challenge myself, along with challenging others. I also met a pretty cool dude that has made a huge impact on my life.

 

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking about Starting Crossfit or Just Started?: Crossfit is for everyone, I promise. It’s going to suck and you’re going to want to quit, but we won’t let you.

Final Comments:I love Crossfit Natural State!! Thanks for picking me as AOM. I’m sure Andy knew I would love the spotlight. Do I get my own parking spot this month?

 

April Athlete of the Month
Logan Techmer
What Made You Start CrossFit?
•I initially started CrossFit to up my physical fitness level. My goal was to gain strength and continue cage fighting. But I discovered a new culture all it’s own. I still say taking a punch to the face is better/easier some days. But who wants the easy way out.
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?
•My first WOD…Humm…(during the wod) What the Fuck….that’s it I’m dropping the weight…this is the real deal….I don’t deserve to be here…What the hell is wrong with my body…(after) It challenged me and lit a fire under my ass. Made me want to conquer and over come movements that I’ve never done before. But definitely kicked my ass.
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?
•I enjoy watching people express theirselves. For me watching someone hit a PR or figuring out a movement and then seeing that glow about them drives me. Because that’s a feeling of accomplishment. When some hits that high you know good things are in the air. To be apart of someone’s achievement is an honor because you get to ride that good vibe with them. After all we are in this together, never alone.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?
•It has to be my first CrossFit competition. Being able to compete with athletes that share the same passion as you is a feeling all it’s own. You get to lift heavy shit with the people you love. You share that death experience in a workout and know that the person next to you is pushing their body to its limits.
How are we suppose to achieve greatness if we are not uncomfortable?
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?
•so I have two favorites
1) Thrusters. I love squats and I love over head press. It’s a full body motion that sucks so bad but gives me that challenge I seek.
2)box jumps are like life….when Life knocks you down how high can you Jump?
I don’t have a least favorite because I believe we should be well rounded human beings. And with that you should always do shit you hate to keep not only a balance but to achieve goals in an uncomfortable environment. After all that’s how we grow into better individuals.
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?
•my goals are to help those around me. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally. I will always hold myself to a high standard so I can lift those around me up. Love yourself so you can spread that same love to others and kick a little ass along the way. If we do not think highly of ourselves; how are we suppose to lift those up to the same standard.
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?
•It’s gave me a sense of life again. Believe it or not I was struggling with depression. After all, we are human. We all go through hard times. The WODs would knock me down. Once I realized how to keep going, it made me realize that know matter how hard the challenge; it’s not going to kill me. Put your big boy pants on and rip that shit. With that said the gym has brought many connections into my life. I would not be in the position I am today with out CrossFit. That’s including my Job and level of fitness.
A person is a fool if they think they can take on the world alone. So create an army.
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?
Close your eyes….it’ll all be over soon.
Haha but on a serious note. It’s going to be tough. It’s meant to be tough. After all when you’re at rock bottom that’s when you find yourself. Just remember if it’s challenging you, it’s changing you. We are not meant to live in a world of comfort. If we did….well we’d live in a perfect world. Which we don’t….so why not lift some heavy weights and do it with people who share the same passion. And don’t forget the whiskey….trust me it takes the edge off.
Final Comments: Crossfit means a lot to me. Fitness as a whole does. I’ve done a lot of things from cage fighting, jiu jitsu tournaments, sports in general, and I’m here to say none of it compares to what I’ve found at Natural State. Natty State is more than a gym, it’s a community. Never in my life have I witnessed people with not only similar views as me but a place with guidance. I’m a better person and strive to be because of Natural State. You never know who’s watching or looking for guidance. So always strive to be the best Version of yourself.

March Athlete Of The Month

Bill Skinner

Tell us a little about yourself: Happily Married (40 years on May 12) to Kathy, we have two children. We are proud “Papa B and Mama Kate” to four granddaughters. Project manager for a commercial construction company here in Jonesboro. Work hard for our church and members of St. Bernard’s Advocates and Rotary. Play golf, and ride bikes, spend time at the beach. Enjoy great food, dark coffee, dark beer and life in general. I am a “sock-o-holic”.

What Made You Start CrossFit?: My son Hal, got me started! Went to the first orientation class, and saw Finis Kelso, someone I already knew, was the instructor. I was in! Aaron, the coaches, and other athletes keep me coming back.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?: Positive! I enjoy the people and the workouts! I felt it would allow me to be more fit!

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?: The people and team WODs

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? THIS! Being picked as AOM! WHO would’ve thought

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?: Favorite is “Deadlift” or Back squat. Least favorite is “front squat”

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?: My CF goals are to improve EACH day. I think I do that very consistently. Long term is to get a better handle on the “Olympic Lifts”, be able to do DU and pull ups!

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? People! You can never know too many people! I am lucky in that I sometimes go at 5am, and sometimes to one of the afternoon classes, so I know most of the folks there to some extent! The are ALL supportive and encouraging!

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?: Forget what you THINK you know about CF! Come in with an open mind and start from scratch!

Final Comments: I enjoy what we do! I enjoy the people and the coaching is positive and productive! Everything we do, can be “scaled” to anyone’s abilities! Check your ego at the door and work to make yourself better than you were yesterday

February Athlete Of The Month

Courtney Lowe

What Made You Start CrossFit?: One of my favorite things about being an athlete in college was working out with my team and pushing one another in the weight room. After I graduated, that was lost, so I turned to CrossFit for that team environment.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?: “Why did you stop working out?” After taking a several months off, the first day back felt nearly impossible. Luckily, I had some great people to push me through.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?: The team environment and accountability. Even in a competitive atmosphere, everyone is supportive of one another.  It’s easy to quit when you’re alone, but nearly impossible to quit when you’re surrounded by great people all working towards a common goal.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?: After working on them nearly every day for several months, I finally got the hang of double unders.

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?: I love cleans and pretty much all Olympic lifts. Not such a fan of biking/running/rowing….

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?: My goal is just to stay consistent and continue to improve. I never want to have to ask myself  “why did you stop working out” ever again.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?: At Natural State, I’m pushed every single day to be better and have met some incredible people in the process. Outside the gym, CrossFit has not only improved my physical health, but has played a key role in improving my mental and emotional health as well.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?: CrossFit is for everyone and there’s no time like the present to get started. You’ll see improvements not only in the gym, but in nearly every aspect of your life.

Thanks again!

January Athlete Of The Month

Kelsey Keller

What Made You Start CrossFit? It looked like something that wouldn’t get stagnant.  Something different every day!
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? ”Well I didn’t die may as well come back tomorrow.”
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Always changing moves.  Even if it’s the same muscle group there seems to be never ending ways to accomplish the same workout.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? My first and only bar muscle up.lol
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? I’d have to say head stand push ups. I can always tell I’ve worked out the next day!/Hands Down 100% thrusters
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? Look like Rich Froning jr./Probably about 15% body fat to go 😂
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? I get up a lot earlier and at first it was hard but now I’ve got the energy to do it with out issue.  I feel so much better and can’t imagine going back.
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Don’t be intimidated!  It takes a lot of guts to walk in there but once you give it a try you’ll love it.
Final Comments:  I’ve always had trouble self motivating myself to workout.  With Natural state CF I don’t have to worry about it.  Now  I look forward to going to the gym.  I’ve made a lot of friends and all you have to do is ask for help and it’s there.

December Athlete Of The Month

Stephanie Parish

What Made You Start CrossFit? I wanted to be around other women who are lifting big weights!! (and not being judged for doing so!) I wanted to push myself beyond what I could do when I workout alone.
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? I think it was a combination of “I can’t breathe” “Is my heart supposed to beat that fast???” and “Yeah, I have a long ways to go.” Lol
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I love the class environment and that we are all in it together during a WOD. I love that the coaches push you to do more and be better and work hard every time. And I love all of the encouragement!! You definitely don’t get any of that when you go workout by yourself at a regular gym.
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Oh man, I have so many. Every PR I’ve hit since joining the gym. Finally getting my deadlift back up to where it was a few years ago.  But mainly every time I finish a tough WOD, I feel proud. This stuff is not easy, so when I stick with it and see it through, even though my mind tried to tell me to quit in the middle, it’s the best feeling in the world. Oh, and getting second place with Dylan at the Halloweenapalooza!!
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? All the big lifts!! Deadlifts, squats, cleans, snatches.  I love them allllll 😍 Least favorite = cardio anything
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I just want to keep getting better, faster, and stronger. I have specific goals written down, but once I reach those I will just write some more. I want to always be improving!
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? I’ve met a lot of awesome people, and it has given me back my passion for the working out. I lost it for a while, and was just going through the motions, but now I get truly excited about going and seeing what my body can accomplish each day!
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?
Ummm…try it out!! It’s going to suck, and you’re going to want to quit, but don’t. Stick with it and I promise you will surprise yourself. You might even fall in love with it!
Final Comments:
I Love Natural State!
Thanks for picking me to be the athlete of the month!!

November Athlete Of The Month

Hal Skinner

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m 34, Operations Manager at Lansing Building Products, former athlete, enjoying lifting weights

What Made You Start CrossFit?:  I was given a gift of 3 months at Natural State. I toyed with the idea previously but my wife gave me a gift that will now hopefully be a forever investment into my health

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?:  Initial thoughts after my first WOD was HOLY COW, this is miserable. Then the sense of achievement and the other athletes encouragement was amazing.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?:  I enjoy the camaraderie. The workouts are hard but the accountability and encouragement is like nothing I’ve seen since my college athlete days.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?:  Proudest moment so far is first HSPU (hand stand pushup).

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?  Favorite movements – Weightlifting (Bench/Squat) Least favorite – pistols or burpees

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?:  My goals are to become more fit, lose weight, and “feel better”. Those are all 3 long term goals and will be works in progress for a long time. More short term is to do DU’s and Kipping Pull UPS….they are still a way off.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?: In the gym, it has given me an accountability group. When you don’t show up, people check on you and care what the answer is and a new set of friends. Outside of the gym, it’s helped with my everyday life, sleeping, eating, it has also given me something to look forward to almost every day.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting CrossFit Or Just Started?:  I know it’s been said before, but get off your butt and come join us. You will work harder than you’ve ever worked before but at the end, you’ll have some new friends and a hell of a good time!

Final Comments: Thank you to all of the coaches for believing in me. It’s truly an honor to be chosen as AOM. Total surprise but very grateful! I look forward to continuing to grow in CrossFit, get in better shape, and get to know each of you better. Thanks again.

October Athlete Of The Month

Sarah Dulaney

Tell us a little about yourself:  I am the Risk Manager and NEA Baptist Hospital. I am also currently in the Masters of Science in Nursing program at ASU for Clinical Nurse Specialist (APN). I can be a little reserved in large groups but I am pretty nice and don’t bite! I am the dog mom to Wig!
What Made You Start CrossFit?: Way back when, I was attending a boxing gym. I was looking for something that incorporated lifting heavy, boy did I find it!
 
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?: Obviously went in rapid phases within 5 minutes, “That was horrible! I am so out of shape! When’s the next class?!?”
 
What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?:  The continual strive for improvement. It doesn’t matter where you are before the workout the goal is to be better by the end, even if just by a smidgen.
           
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?:  It’s funny you would think it would be one of the WODs I ‘scored’ well in. It was some WOD with a lot of running; I can’t even remember the exact WOD. I don’t even know how I did compared to others, but I did my absolute best and finished it before the time cap.
 
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?: Love- Mostly anything with barbell, definitely a S2O. Does running count as a movement? (Yuck)
 
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?:  Overall, just get healthier and be able to do this for a long time. Also, I want to look like I do CrossFit… pretty far but getting there.
 
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?:  I am stronger, mentally. Completing a workout you didn’t think you could do empowers a spark you didn’t know you had. This overflows into my home and work life every day.
 
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?: Stop hiding, stop being afraid, stop saying you can’t or you aren’t ready. Stop with the excuses and just walk in the door.
The day you walk through the door, correct your nutrition! If you don’t know how, ASK!

September Athletes Of The Month

Brett Black & Whitley Curtis

Interview with Brett: 
Tell us a little about yourself: -I am a “Death Care Profession” or Funeral Director/Embalmer. I love working out & watching football.
 
What Made You Start CrossFit? -It was the summer of 2013 I stumbled on the CrossFit Games on ESPN & thought it was so cool & looked fun. So I thought I’d try it out here locally.
 
What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? -My first WOD was in an On Ramp class, KB swings & burpees. I was so tired but I felt so proud & was already excited for the next day.
 
What do you like about working out with your GF/BF? -She definitely knows how to push me. I may be sidelined at the moment but she’s always willing to do whatever it takes to push me, even if it’s a bit aggressive

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? -I love the group atmosphere. It makes you push yourself without even realizing it
 
What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? -My proudest CrossFit moment would definitely have to be when I got engaged but my second proudest would have to be when I busted out a 30 foot handstand walk PR after practicing handstand walks all summer
 
What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? -My favorite lift is by far the Olympic lifts. The snatch & clean & jerk. They’re so complex that it feels great when I know I’ve done it efficiently.
 
What Are Your CrossFit Goals? -My specific CrossFit goals are to be able to double under consistently, do muscle-up & squat snatch my body weight
 
How Close Are You To Reaching Them? -We’ll at the moment I’m pretty far away but before being sidelined, I was extremely close to “snatching” up some of my goals.
 
What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? -Natural State has put me in the best shape of my life two different times now, about to be a third & it has helped me focus & more energized at work.
What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? -Go ahead & get outside that comfort zone. That’s how you grow in & out of the gym.
 
 Final Comments-I can’t see myself ever going back to a traditional gym. I’ve been able to achieve athletic feets that I never thought I’d be able to do & I’ve made tons of friends in the process
Interview with Whitley:

Tell us a little about yourself –I love art! If there was a way to paint and CrossFit at the same time, I would. I think it would take my mind off of dying during the workout!

What Made You Start CrossFit? Brett. I would never in a million years think Crossfit would be fun, but after I started, I loved it!

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?  My first WOD was burpees for 7mins. I thought it wasn’t so bad, it was the days to follow that killed me!

What do you like about working out with your GF/BF? The extra boost of motivation. Even after he had hip surgery, he’s still by my side pushing me every morning at 5AM.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? The friends and family you make. Plus you can eat that cupcake and not even feel guilty!

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Rampage on the Ridge II. Even though I didn’t compete in that one, that was by far the happiest day of my life. Brett asked me to be his wife.


What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Squat snatching, I get all giddy when I can drop under that weight perfectly without hitting my face! Least Favorite? Tough one..wall balls or burpee box jumps. As if box jumps weren’t terrible enough.

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? My goals right now is to finish every workout. I may not make it under the cap all the time but I keep going and finish my reps!

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? It has greatly impacted my life. I feel better not only physically but mentally. The hardest part is getting out of bed in the morning, after that, it’s easy!

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just do it! Don’t over think it or you’ll miss out. It is so much more than just working out.

 Final Comments: When I smile during workouts, it’s not because I’m happy, I’m just concentrating on that next rep. 😅

August Athlete Of The Month

Mariah Gibson

Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 26 with an incredible husband and 3 year old, foodie, Netflix junkie who really loves naps.

What Made You Start CrossFit?
My best friend Meredith told me to go and that it would be one of the best decisions of my life.. she was right.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?
I was impressed at how fun it was and how I walked in and everyone in the gym said hi to me.

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?
When you feel like quitting, you’re hot, and tired there are people there who tell you you can do it or go an extra round because they care about you and want you to succeed.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?
It’s hard to pick one because every workout I finish is a victory.

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?
I love back squats, cleans, and deadlifts/Box Junps

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?
I came into it trying to lose weight. I’ve lost some but now I’m more interested in seeing what my body was meant to do.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym?
Its given me more self confidence and a new respect for my body. I’m actually wearing clothes that fit instead of clothes sizes larger than I need so I can hide.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?
If its something you’re interested in just jump in and try it. Standing on the sidelines won’t help you achieve your dreams.

July Athlete Of The Month:

Tanner Parish

What Made You Start CrossFit? I ran into a friend of mine, Jeremy Smith who used to go to CFNS, he told me “what’s the worse that could happen, you lose weight and get fit.” So I walked in the door, went through the on ramp and fell in love with the sport and training.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Oh my god my lungs! AHH MY LEGS!

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? There are so many movements, and workouts that you can do or make up and get an amazing workout from. Also, yes its cliche, but the community. Doesn’t matter who you are, your size, fitness level, experience you are always being encouraged.

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit moment? Hitting a 205 Snatch

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? The Clean Least Favorite? Double Unders

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? My goal is to just be fitter than I was the day before. I improve everyday I show up and put the work in.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? It has gotten me off my lazy butt and got me active, and has kept me wanting to be active.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Every time some one talks to me about thinking about joining Crossfit I give them the Greg Glassman response…”Just show up and try it.” Once someone new has started I usually ask what they think so far, then I tell them, just give it a chance. You’re not going to see quick results, you have to put the time in.

June Athlete Of The Month:

Ladetra Spicer

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m a optimistic wife & mother. I like to find the positive in every situation or person no matter how difficult they may seem.

What Made You Start CrossFit? I had been wanting to do crossfit for a couple of years  but seemed far fetched for my skill level. As those couple of years went by there had been several people in my crossing bragging about crossfit and kept encouraging me to try it out. So one day as the courage hit me I sweet talked a friend to try it with me and now GAME ON.

What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Jesus probably got tired of me calling him that first nite..lol

What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Working as a group and the motivation given from everyone that is there

What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? Team WOD Fireman Tribute

What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Favorite lift is deadlift. Makes me feel good adding on the weight. / absolutely with question burpees are my least favorite EVER!!!

What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? My crossfit goals are to lose weight and tone up. I’m just getting warmed up. I look forward to the days, months, and the years to come to reach and exceed my goal.

What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? Crossfit has impacted me at home because after a workout I am conscience of what I’m eating and I’m encouraged to workout more outside the gym.

What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? First step is getting started. Don’t let fear keep you from your destination.

Final Comments: Grace, determination, & lots of sweat is what it takes to succeed. Thank You Crossfit Team

May Athletes Of The Month:

Paul & Chelsea Preston

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Paul: My name is Paul, I’m 23, my wife is Chelsea and we have a fur baby goldendoodle named Ellie.

Chelsea: I’m a Christian, Wife, and Dental assistant. I love to plant flowers, cook, and spend time with my family.

2. What Made You Start CrossFit?  

Paul: After college football,  I got lazy and noticed myself starting to get a little heavy and needed to do something about it. I wanted a rigorous way to stay active that mimicked football workouts and Crossfit is pretty close.

Chelsea: Paul kept asking me to join! Finally gave it a try, now I love it!

3. What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? 

Paul: I was a little embarrassed cause all we did was an AMRAP for 7 minutes of slam balls and burpees and I threw up and thought to myself, “this sucks.”

Chelsea: Holy cow, this is intense!!!

4. What do you like about working out with your husband/wife?

Paul: I love how we can push each other and just watch each other get better at lifts or movements that we weren’t previously good at or not able to do.

Chelsea: So fun to be able to workout with each other. Knowing he’s there watching makes me push myself even harder.

5. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?

Paul: I love the community, the fellowship that you get, and the friendships you build. There becomes a special, good-kind of accountability that keeps you coming back.

Chelsea: Love the working out but mainly the people. The encouragement they shout as you’re finishing a wod is clutch.

6. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? 

Paul: Wasn’t exactly my moment, but I love watching Chelsea string together pullups or Toes-to-Bar because she wasn’t able to do that when we first started but now she does them no problem.

Chelsea: When I finally got pull-ups and toes to bar! Took me forever to get the swing down!

7. What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?

Paul: My favorite movement by far are powercleans. My least favorite movement by far is running and I think just about everyone knows that.

Chelsea: Power cleans/BURPEES

8. What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?

Paul: I honestly don’t have a specific goal, I just try to get better at everything every time I go, except for running or handstand pushups.

Chelsea: Would love to get a hand stand push up and a strict pull up. Closer to the strict pull-up. Tying to work a little everyday to improve.

9. What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? 

Paul: Crossfit, no matter how good you are at it, will bring optimism. Through the friends you make, you lifts you accomplish, or the WoDs you complete, you’ll never leave the gym unhappy and you’ll carry that optimism with you.

Chelsea: Honestly, it’s become a core part of who I am. God, Family, and CrossFit.

10. What is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?

Paul: Don’t be intimidated, just be yourself. No one in that gym is judging you for what you can or can’t do, you’re in there trying to get better and that is all that matters to them.

Chelsea: Do not be intimidated. Everyone has started at day 1. What you do after that, is what’s important.

11. Final Comments:

Paul: Crossfit, to me, is worth every penny. Not only will you see yourself become stronger but you will join an amazing family that will take in anyone and be your friend and help you become a better you.

Chelsea: Crossfit is so much fun! Love coming and working out with a group. You’re not alone when you come to the gym. Always someone to partner up with and get the job done. Always leave feeling like I’ve accomplished a total body workout.

________________________________________________

April Athlete Of The Month:

Preston Hinrichs

  1. Tell us about yourself: I grew up for the most part in Russellville, Arkansas.  I graduated college at Arkansas Tech   University in 1991 with a B.S in P.E/Health and Wellness Management.  I originally thought of pursuing a career in the fitness industry.  Directly out of college I served as Director of Health Promotions for Baptist Health Systems, in Little Rock.  I left Health Promotion in 1996 to work in pharmaceutical and medical sales with Abbott Labs and Covidien Healthcare.  Since 1996 I have always been in sales in some capacity, recently working in marketing and advertising.  I have lived in Arkansas for most of my life.  Since 1991 I lived in either Little Rock or Fayetteville.  I didn’t move to Jonesboro until 2015 but had been visiting here my entire life.  My Dad met my Mom here in 1966, while playing football at Arkansas State.   I have a sixteen, year old son, Parker, who attends Haas Hall Academy in Bentonville.

I was drawn to fitness at a young age.  I wanted badly to play College Football like my Dad.  I realized I didn’t have his natural talent, so I knew I had to work at it.  I started isolation weight lifting in my garage at 13.  Reading every weight training magazine, I could get my hands on. I was excited with the gains I made and it allowed me to have a modest level of success in High School Football and Track.  Thinking I didn’t have the size or talent to play college football, I just kept lifting weights when I entered college.  I quickly went from 165 to 190lbs my freshman year. I worked at a local gym some in college and did some personal training and taught aerobic classes. This lead to Bodybuilding.  I competed at the Arkansas State level 3 times.  I earned a 1st place Middleweight/Novice title in 1993.  Although I never competed in Bodybuilding again, I continued weight training all through my adult life. Sometimes in pretty good shape, some periods…not so much.  I have weighed as much as 232.  I was still lifting hard and the strength was there, I just didn’t have it clicking on all cylinders.

  1. What made you start CrossFit: Well I had toyed with the idea for quite some time.  I remember talking with a person about it.  She said “Preston, your too competitive and will get hurt.” Well that made me want to try it even more.  I was tired of the same, age old way I had been training and was looking for something different.  Lifting heavy and walking 30 to 45 minutes for cardio was my routine for many years.  This kept me in decent shape, but only for what I was doing. Which was, lifting heavy weights and walking. Nothing else. I was humiliated when I bought my Son a Wii and got winded playing one of the games.  Having trained like this for years my body seemed to have adapted and my development had hit a plateau. I would cut the fat in my diet at times and show increased leanness and vascularity. My training was consistent, but it was way too repetitive.  I really had no high intensity or extreme variation in my weekly training routine.  Yes, I left everything I had on the squat rack twice a week. Yes, I benched heavy and did variations of movements, descending repetitions, pyramids, supersets, drop sets etc.  But my body had grown very accustomed to this and my mind was screaming for something different.  My sister, Sara Jane Nichols, had started doing CrossFit in West Plains, MO.  She was all of the sudden more into fitness than I was.  I couldn’t get her to shut up about it!!  LOL.  I thought to myself, if my sister is this into a workout program, they must be water boarding her or something?  CrossFit must be a cult!!!  Then when I saw her for the first time in a few months. I could not believe the transformation. She was in incredible shape.  Living in Fayetteville at the time, I went to my first WOD in Springdale.  This was 2013 I think.
  1. What Were Your Thoughts after Your First WOD? Well I walked in.  I saw many familiar faces.  Not close friends, but just the people I had seen in my previous gym consistently over the years.  Their faces looked familiar but their bodies had changed.  They were much leaner and more muscular.  Then I saw a couple of guys who knew me pretty well and were familiar with how I had been training over the years.  They were grinning from ear to ear as if to say, “Welcome!  Get ready for some pain.”  They knew I was not use to training at this level of intensity but knew I wouldn’t quit. I don’t remember the name of the first WOD.  I just know it had 50 wall balls somewhere in the middle of it.  I think the wall ball hit me in the face more than it hit my hands.  20 minutes later, I was flat on my back in a pool of sweat.  I quickly realized that I was only conditioned for two things.  Lifting heavy weights and walking.  If I wanted to take my level of conditioning to a new level, CrossFit was where I needed to be.
  1. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? I love the fact that I don’t have to think about or plan a workout.  I know this sounds lazy, but I have been in, or around the fitness business a long time. I have seen so many things come and go.  Planning a routine for myself everyday just doesn’t excite me anymore.  I roll out of bed or leave work, drive to CrossFit and the workout is on the board.  Most times I don’t even check to see what the WOD is going to be. I just show up, it is there and I have to do it.  Not having to focus on planning a workout for myself, allows me to focus strictly on performance, therefore pushing myself harder.
  1. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment: I would have to say getting picked Athlete of the Month at CrossFit Natural State.  But, that is way to on the nose, and you are dealing with me, so I will give a couple more.

Rampage on the Ridge 2016.  It opened with a 1-mile run.  I finished that part in 5:54. Our team finished 3rd out of twenty-something teams that day.  That was my first team WOD.

Open workout 17.1 is a painful but awesome memory.  I had the top time in the box at 17.04.  2nd in state for my age division. Jody Hendrix a classmate and lifelong friend of mine was first in state.

  1. What is your favorite CrossFit Movement/Lift? Least Favorite. My favorite CrossFit lift is also absolutely my worst.  Squat snatch.  I have a lot of trouble with it, but I love working on it.  I’m getting better as my upper body mobility improves.  It is just not a lift that was taught when I started training.  Or at least not in the circles I ran in.  It is truly a remarkable skill and I enjoy trying to get better at it.

Least Favorite….I would have to say pistols.  Leave our guns alone, just outlaw pistols!!!

  1. What are your CF goals? How close are you to reaching them? My CrossFit goals are to continue giving it everything I’ve got every day.  I like to motivate others. “Fit” is such a good lifestyle. I hope to keep improving each year in the Open and be competitive on the Masters level.  At 50, I am in much better all-around shape than I was at 40. I want to be able to say that 10 years from now.
  1. What impact has Natural State had on your life in and out of the gym. Well we are a big family.  We care about each other and are a tight group of people.  Don’t get me wrong, we love to watch each other suffer when the clock starts ticking, but at the end of the day it is great fellowship.  I have made so many friends since moving to Jonesboro thanks to Natural State.

About late May of last year, I was pretty sure I had life figured out. I have a tendency to do that when things are going well. I was in for a big surprise.  The Lord hit me with a little dose of reality and let me know who was boss.  I had regressed to doing a few too many things my way and not the Lord’s way. When my attendance at CrossFit began to decline, I got many calls from the other athletes.  Checking on me and letting me know they were there to help and offering many prayers.  We look after each other.  We have thick skin and we laugh a lot!

  1. When you’re not at Natural State, what are your favorite things to do? I enjoy time with my Son when he visits.  We just spent time in Nashville.  Went to a Predators game. I love to pretend I am a better guitar player than I actually am.  Playing relaxes me.  I love to spend time on or around moving water.  River, beach, I don’t care.  I enjoy anything competitive and I love summer.  Heat has never kept me from doing anything outside. I crossed an item off my bucket list last summer when I played Nathan Detroit in the musical Guys and Dolls.  It was a great experience but being in the basement of a theatre when it was pretty outside, and missing CrossFit was tough.  I enjoy my church family at Central Baptist.
  2. What is the one tip you would give someone who is thinking about starting CrossFit, or just started? You get three Vanna!!  Bonus!!!
  • Know your limitations, but don’t accept them as permanent. I turned 50 in March.  I realize that I have limitations due to age and a shoulder surgery in 2006.  However, I do not accept them as permanent.  Not being able to do a certain skill or movement does not have to be permanent.  Know your limitations.  Work through them, but DO NOT accept them as permanent.
  • Do the WOD that is on the board. DON’T CHERRY PICK!!!  Chances are, if you look at the board and don’t like what you see, you probably need to be doing it.  If the skill or weight is beyond your athletic level you will be given options to scale.  No shame in scaling.
  • Be coachable. Listen, watch and learn.  Everybody knows something you don’t. I had a strong background in fitness before I started CrossFit.  I have learned something from every single CrossFit coach.  Humble yourself. Try to take a piece of knowledge home with you every day.  It takes time to wrap your mind around the program and see the big picture. Listen, have patience and ask questions. 

Final Comments:

Haven’t you had enough? Vanna Headley asked me not to think about this too much.  She knows me much better than I thought. Well, you picked the wrong guy!!

It is never too late to be an athlete.  We spend hours of time and tons of money to “watch” people play sports.  We treat athletes as celebrities and are in awe of what they do. Yet, a huge percentage of the population becomes inactive after they get that last PE credit in high school.  Yes, some people have the genetic predisposition to be great athletes, but we are all athletic in some way. We all have the ability to get up, get out and get moving!!  Too busy?  You don’t have time to train every day?  You don’t have to. One hour a day, four days a week.  We spend twice that amount of time on social media. Not all people are interested in training at a level or intensity that pushes you to the limit.  Some may not want to compete at all.  But all of us are capable of keeping an adherence to the minimum amount of recommended physical activity. That minimum, will still yield medicinal benefits and an increased quality of life that go beyond what any diet or pill ever will.  For some, that is enough.  The minimum. Simply wanting the benefits of exercise and putting in the minimal amount of time and effort to get it.  That is very plausible and works for many. For others, it is just a start.  When the minimum becomes “not enough”, that is when you become an athlete. Come visit CFNS.  See what its all about.

March Athlete Of The Month:

Hannah Woolverton

1.Tell Us About Yourself: I’m Hannah, 30 year old fur mom and crazy aunt. I’m originally from Missouri but moved here for school at Arkansas State in 2008. Currently I am an Assistant Manager for At&t here in Jonesboro.

2. What Made You Start CrossFit? I went for a meeting with my advisor my senior year of college and after going up the steps to her office (just a few flights of stairs)I had to sit down for being so out of breath. After the meeting I immediately went home and contacted my cousin who was a member at the time and asked to join her the next day. I’m overly competitive and was active in high school so I was instantly hooked.

3. What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? The first day I showed up, I didn’t even do the WOD. All I know is that it involved squats, but Luke made me work on form and I think performed like 500 air squats that day 😂(probably slightly exaggerated). I really didn’t have any thoughts about it until I woke up the next day but couldn’t wait to go back. At that time on ramp was also only offered at 5am (to those of you who already know me could only imagine what that was like with me not being a morning person plus Sara Janes enthusiasm every day), it says a lot that I was happy to be going back before the sun was up.

4. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Community. No matter where I go for work or leisure, the Crossfit community is like no other support system. I can travel or move for work, walk in to another gym/box and feel welcomed

5. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? I think every day I finish another workout turns into my proudest moment. I want to be an example for my nieces to stay active in life and to grow up to be strong and confident women.

6. What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Favorite movement is wall-balls and cleans. EMOM Olympic lifting workouts are my favorite, especially when trying to PR. Least favorite is gymnastics of any sort, and burpee

7. What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? I’m chasing a 200 lb clean, currently at 180. I’m also setting my goal on running a full marathon at the end of 2018 with my main training being just CrossFit

8. What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out Of The Gym? I’ve made friendships at Natural State that will last a lifetime and it carries over outside of the gym. The people here will do anything possible to help you when you need it whether it’s an extra push or encouragement during the WOD, or helping with favors outside the gym, we have some of the best members I’ve ever encountered.

9. When You’re Not At Natural State, What Is Your Favorite Thing To Do? Hang out with my dog, Lexi or visit my nieces.

10. What Is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Stop waiting and don’t be scared. When you get here, do NOT compare yourself to others. Everybody has a different starting point and athletic background. Show up as often as possible, do NOT cherry pick. If you hate a movement and you see it posted as the workout the next day, those are the days you absolutely should not miss. We all have rough days, days where we don’t put up a PR, but if you put in the time and effort, you will absolutely be rewarded.

February Athlete Of The Month:

Mark Parsley

    1. Tell Us About Yourself:  My name is Mark Parsley, and I work as a student pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Jonesboro. I’m 29 and am married to my beautiful wife, Leah, and we have two boys: Oshen (6) and Joe (2).
    1. What Made You Start CrossFit? My co-worker and good friend Josh Moseley. Josh was invited by our mutual friend Zack Dunivan, and he convinced me to give on-ramp a try back in October of 2017.
    1. What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? Haha, well…you can imagine, right? I thought I was gonna die!
    1. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? Two things: 1. The community is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a fitness/gym envoirnment, and everyone is friendly and encouraging. 2. The Coaches. I’ve always had a bad experience with personal traning, but this is so much different than that, and SO much better!
    1. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? I’d have to say when I finished my first WOD before the timer ran out! That was a big day for me!
    1. What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? Favorite: Bench and Strict Press. Least: Front Squats and…BURPEES!
    1. What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?To continue to feel better and healthier than I have in a very long time.  I hope to continue to get better with movements and lifts, while loosing weight and getting stronger through the process.
    1. What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out OfThe Gym? I’ve really seen a change in my energy throughout the day, and I have a MUCH better day when I am at the gym for the 5am class with everyone! And most importantly, I enjoy going to the gym. I’ve NEVER felt that way about fitness!
  1. When You’re Not At Natural State, What Is Your Favorite Thing To Do? Love spending time with my family, and I enjoy my work too! Love to play music and when I can, go to the gun range to shoot!

10. What Is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Just give it a try. I PROMISE that if I can do it, you can do it. The coaches always offer scaling for the workouts, and any body, any size can come and get better each day.

11. Final Comments: THANK YOU COACHES FOR THE NOMINATION! I am truly honored and thankful for you all thinking of me!

January Athlete Of The Month:

Vidhi Patel

  1. Tell Us About Yourself:

 Name is Vidhi (ViThee), I’m from Ohio where my mom, dad and brother currently reside. I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2014, I bleed scarlet and gray! My job brought me to Jonesboro where I am an Engineer at Nestle.

  1. What Made You Start CrossFit?

I have been a runner for most of my life, after finishing my 6th half-marathon in October I needed something more challenging. I heard about Crossfit from my friends and decided to try it! 

  1. What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD?

Honestly, I can’t remember my first WOD. I just remember how sore I felt.

  1. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit?

The sense of community is hugely why I come back to this gym. You can be the slowest during the workout and the gym community is still encouraging you to keep going!  

  1. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment?

 I was able to do 1 double under with a bunch of single unders for the longest time. During one of our Max Rep double-unders, I got 12 in a row. This whole time I was doing double-unders and I didn’t know it. I was ecstatic. 

  1. What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite?

My favorite movement is running and least favorite is front squats, back squats, thrusters, wall-balls, burpees, jerks, snatches almost everything else right now. (It’ll change once I get better at these movements J)

  1. What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them?

I want to be able to do pull-ups. I’m not close at all, I still need to use the green band for assisted pull-ups, but I did start out with using multiple bands. Progress!!

  1. What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out OfThe Gym?

Natural State has made me a more patient person. I’ve learned that just because I suck at something right now doesn’t mean that that won’t change with hard work and consistency.

  1. When You’re Not At Natural State, What Is Your Favorite Thing To Do?

 I love watching Ohio State Football! I really enjoy baking, hiking and I’ll find any reason to travel!   

  1. What Is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started?

You don’t have to be an athlete to start! Show up, make friends, have some fun and you’ll see the results you desire.

December Athlete Of The Month:

Colin Teague

1. Tell Us About Yourself: My name is Colin and I am a full time student.  When not doing homework  or working, I do Crossfit or play frisbee with my friends. Even when it’s super cold outside.  That’s how much we love .

2. What Made You Start CrossFit?  When I turned 21 I realized that if I did not start a fitness regiment it would only be more difficult as time went on to get into the habit.  So I started working out on my own.  At 24 years old I found Crossfit and have never looked back

3. What Were Your Thoughts After Your 1st WOD? After my first WOD I was certain that I had found the best fitness model.  Crossfit’s ethos on constantly varied movements done at high intensity aligned perfectly with my own.

4. What Do You Enjoy Most About CrossFit? The community.  If it were not for them I don’t believe that I could stand the daily, arduous grind that Crossfit demands of people.  Plus everyone laughs at my jokes even when they’re super lame.

5. What Is Your Proudest CrossFit Moment? It might sound cheesy, but every end to the day’s workout is my new ‘proudest moment’.  That is because it is one more day that I have definitely pushed away obesity, chronic illness and an unfit life. 

6. What Is Your Favorite Movement/Lift? Least Favorite? My favorite lift is the squat snatch (I’ve learned not to say that in public).  And I don’t have a least favorite movement! Just kidding, it’s wallballs.7. What Are Your CrossFit Goals? How Close Are You To Reaching Them? My goal in Crossfit is simply to improve everyday.  I believe I am achieving that goal. 

8. What Impact Has Natural State Had On Your Life In And Out OfThe Gym? The impact that this gym has had on my life cannot be overstated.  It is a constant source of joy and a sense of achievement. 

9. When You’re Not At Natural State, What Is Your Favorite Thing To Do? Definitely playing Catan.  For those not familiar, it is a strategic, turn-based board game that turns friends into frienemies.

10. What Is One Tip You’d Give Someone Who Is Thinking About Starting Crossfit Or Just Started? Those barbells and that pull up rig is where aspirations meet reality. If you can will yourself through the pain that those chunks of steel inevitably bring, then the realization that any obstacle can be overcome is suddenly clear.

November Athlete Of The Month:

Emily Ledbetter

  1. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.

I am married to my husband, Logan, and I am a new mom to my sweet baby, Calvin. I think being a Mom is my best adventure yet! I am about to begin my career as a speech-language pathologist.

  1. WHAT MADE YOU START CROSSFIT? 

I was a junior in college and never made enough time for fitness like I had in high school. One of my best friends was a Level 1 trainer at Searcy CrossFit and invited me to try it. I was hooked after one week.

  1. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER YOUR 1st WOD?

I want to do this again tomorrow! I had never been so sore before.

This was the first picture ever taken of me doing CrossFit in 2015. 🏋️‍♀️

  1. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CROSSFIT? 

I feel like every hour I spend is an investment into my health and well being. I love how challenging the workouts are as well as the community we have in a CrossFit gym.

  1. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST CROSSFIT MOMENT?

One of my proudest moments was when I was finally able to snatch 130lbs. It was my goal for several months and I put a lot of time into practicing each position of the lift.

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVEMENT/LIFT? LEAST FAVORITE?

I love all Olympic lifts! My least favorite movement is wall balls.

  1. WHAT ARE YOUR CROSSFIT GOALS? HOW CLOSE ARE YOU TO REACHING THEM?

Right now my main goal is to get myself back to being active, working towards losing more baby weight, and lifting heavy! I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m excited for the challenge and appreciate the support of all the other Moms and members of our gym.

Welcome to the Gun Show- 2016. Haley Townsend & I one week before Rampage on the Ridge! 

  1. WHAT IMPACT HAS NATURAL STATE HAD ON YOUR LIFE IN AND OUT OF THE GYM?

Natural State has been my gym for two years now and I have achieved so many personal fitness goals while being a part of this family. I love knowing I can bring Calvin with me and one of my friends can watch him for me while I work out. Outside of the gym, I am inspired by other members to eat well and stay active even on our rest days.

  1. WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT CROSSFIT, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO?

I love visiting my parents in Searcy, going for walks at Craighead Forest, reading, watching sports with Logan, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls if my husband is at work! I also love cooking, especially recipes I find on Pinterest.

11. WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU’D GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT STARTING CROSSFIT OR JUST STARTED?

Don’t be intimated by the what you see others do, in the gym or social media. Give it at least a week before you decide it’s not for you, and STRETCH!!

FREEWRITE:

I can never go back to a “typical” gym again. Natural State has such a special place in my heart because of the incredible people I have met there. I would encourage anyone to try CrossFit, especially if they want to have FUN & get FIT!

Working out with the baby bump! 👶🏻💙Captured by Ashely Helliwell