Name: Sarah Swift
Hometown: Watertown, CT
Age: 34
Occupation: Autism Neuroscience Researcher
CrossFitting Since: October 2012

What’s your favorite WOD or movement?

Deadlift! I finally hit my goal 2x bodyweight deadlift last winter (just weeks before becoming pregnant and having to go lighter on weights).

And your least favorite?

Double unders are still inconsistent and frustrating for me. I can do single-double-single-double all day long, but stringing together more than a few doubles in a row still eludes me. And it is so frustrating when you whip yourself!

What’s your WOD music of choice?

Anything ‘90s.

What’s your CrossFit routine?

I am an evening WOD person, all the way. I always have a hearty snack 2-3 hours beforehand, walk the dog, jog to the gym, and drink lots of water.

Is CrossFit your main way of being active or do you combine it with other forms of exercise?

CrossFit is my main workout. In the past few years I have done a few road races, long distance bike rides, and a super sprint triathlon just from training through CrossFit. I also walk the dog 3 miles every other morning and have recently begun supplementing with prenatal yoga.

Your husband is a member of the gym, too. Can you talk a bit about working out as a couple?

Sam and I started CF together when we first moved to North Carolina and wanted a new hobby and to meet new people. We both loved it right away. It is a great thing to do as a couple, because it’s an additional hobby in our lives that we share and can talk about endlessly, as well as being able to meet new people there together. We love WODing together, but now that we have different schedules it’s still fun to talk about the day’s WOD even if we do it at different times. It was also very rewarding seeing our bodies change and get stronger together.

You’re also pregnant — congratulations! What’s it been like to keep up your WODs while expecting?

Exercise is very healthy during pregnancy, and my doctor supported my continuing CrossFit. I also have several friends at other gyms who WOD-ded during their pregnancies and felt healthy throughout. I think continuing to exercise has made me feel a lot better overall, keeping my energy up and my body strong, which makes a huge difference when you are carrying around an extra 20+ pounds! The coaches have been incredibly supportive from the very beginning. They have helped me throughout to modify movements as I can no longer do them. I have been slowly cutting out movements as they get too difficult or my belly is too much in the way. But the beauty of CrossFit is that it is infinitely scale-able, so I can always find a modification that works for me. Additionally, I always make sure to not get out of breath and to not overheat — hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I always take it easy and back off if anything doesn’t feel right.

What’s your fitness background? What were you doing before CrossFit?

I played many sports growing up, especially soccer. In college I did some weight training and a Carnegie Mellon sport called buggy. After college I occasionally dabbled in running and biking, but was never consistent with anything until I joined CrossFit.

How would you compare CFPH to prior gyms?

I love CrossFit! For me, working out in a class is so much fun. It allows you to learn from others and also get to socialize a bit. Having a coach advising all of your movements makes such an important difference. And CrossFit is the most efficient form of exercise I have ever tried. With just three one-hour classes a week I have seen huge changes in my body that I never saw before. And being able to see yourself improve in 1-rep maxes and WOD times is extremely rewarding. Not to mention being able to do a pull-up for the first time in my life! As for CFPH specifically, the coaches are incredibly knowledgeable and supportive, and the whole team (members) are all great people that are fun to hang out with outside of the gym as well!

How did you get into CrossFit? What did you think of CrossFit before? And now?

My best friend from home has been doing CrossFit for many years and now owns her own CF gym. I gave it a try whenever I visited her and she encouraged me to start at my local gym when I moved to NC. Before I joined a gym and did an Elements course, I thought it was too intense for me. But once I learned the movements, got past the initial soreness phase, and saw how encouraging and supportive the coaches and members are, I learned that Crossfit can be whatever you want it to be. All you have to do is show up, have an open mind, and give it your best. Now I can’t imagine my life without it!

What advice do you have for people just getting started?

Start with a full Foundations or Elements course at your gym and stick with CF for a month! A set of Elements classes is a great way to start CF. It teaches you the basic movements and also eases your muscles in. You will be sore for the first few weeks. But WOD’ing helps relieve the soreness, and after 3 weeks or so, your body will adjust and you will feel much better! From there on out, it’s a piece of cake! And especially early on you will see HUGE changes in your body and what it can do!

Anything else?

Shoutout to the coaches and community at CFPH! When we moved to Brooklyn from NC in Nov 2014, the first thing I did was find a new CF box. I feel so lucky to have found this community. CFPH is an awesome gym with terrific coaches and great people. Becoming a member here is what most made me feel at home in my new city. It has made a huge difference in my life!

Feeling inspired by Sarah? Learn more about what’s going on at CrossFit Prospect Heights on our Facebook page.