Athlete Profile-Kristina B.

SO! My favorite part of telling my story is why you guys trust me enough to tell yours. There is nothing greater to me than to get to share stories about people from all over who are doing the damn thing.

So starting this week, I’m bringing back Athlete Profiles. I hope to feature one athlete every week and I’m kicking it off by featuring Kristina!

That chick is smokin’ if you ask me.

Stuff:

Name: Kristina Burkey

Favorite Nicknames: KB!
Hometown: HOME-home: Ashland, Massachusetts. Where I grew up and where my heart is? Boston.
Age: 32

Occupation: Owner of Crumple + Toss, my stationery biz. 


Maxes:
Strict Press: 90#
Back Squat: 185#
Deadlift: 185# (a back injury made me fall behind on this…I don’t know why I felt the need to say that..)
Clean: 105#
Overhead Squat: 85#

Bench Press: 70# (don’t judge)


Favorite WOD:

Good Lord I can’t even think of one! By “favorite”, do you mean “Oooo I can’t wait!” or “Welp…that might not be the biggest suckfest…” ?

I guess I would have to say it is one called “Big Boss Man”. It’s 30/25/20/15/10/5 wallballs and burpees. I did it as my birthday WoD (Ace’s note: This sounds EXCITING. I want to do this. Immediately.)

Least Favorite WOD:
Ok this is easy: SAME WOD. Here’s why (and I’ll try to keep it short): I did BBM in December 2012, about a month after I started CrossFit. It was the single most humiliating moment (Maybe. I do a lot of stupid shit) of my life. There’s the New Fat Girl huffing and puffing through all those burpees. I couldn’t even get my feet anywhere NEAR my hands on the way up. And wallballs? I did a 10# med ball with an 8-foot shot. I took so long to finish that everyone else was done. I wanted to cry and quit and barf and then cry in my quitter barf. Then, one girl came over and started doing my last burpees with me, telling me to rest on the bottom and just get back up. And I finished in 23:13.
When I did it again this past December, I did it in 20:26 Rx. 14# med ball and 10’ shot. And actually it was more because they started the reps at my age, 32, so it was 32/27/22/17/12/7. Which is why it’s also kind of my favorite. I killed the beast in my head and moved on. It conquered me a year ago, and then I came back and kicked its ass.
Describe your sports and fitness background:
LOLOL. I have almost NONE. I started running in like, 2007? All I did was run until 2012 including seven 5ks, one 4-miler, three 5-milers, three 10ks, four half marathons and one full marathon. I ran to lose weight. When my weight completely plateau-ed I switched the CrossFit.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit:
A friend of mine did it and I saw her pictures on Facebook. My husband once wanted to try it and I was like “Oh HELL naw that is WAY too expensive!” and I would just hear about it from time to time so I looked into it and found there was a box only 2 miles away from my house. The more I read, the more I wanted to try it. And I was so frustrated with my weight I would try anything.
In the beginning…
What was your first WOD like:
OH GAWD.
I went to a trial class at the aforementioned box. They were doing “Striking Helen”. It’s Helen (21-15-9 Pull-Ups and KB swings plus a 400m run) with striking instead of the pull-ups. The coach took us through all the striking, how to move your feet, etc. Then they started the WOD. I was there with a friend. I went first and when I got back from the run, I went to take off my striking gloves so she could go next and they were like “NO NO all three rounds all at once!!” I was like “WHAT. THE. F*CK.”
As I went out for my second run I thought was going to die. When it was all done, we were chatting with one of the owner’s wives and I could feel my legs were already turning to jelly from all the striking footwork. This was on a Tuesday and my legs still hurt for the half-marathon I had the following Saturday and I signed up for Foundations which started 2 days after the Half.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body since starting CrossFit (before and after): 
Well besides losing over 50 pounds and going from a 20 to almost a 10 (depends on the store)? I remember the first time I noticed my shoulders had really gotten some definition. I pretty much avoided looking in the mirror (especially *ahem* NUDE) but this one day I was just kinda checking out the landscape and saw that my armpits were, like, CONCAVE and my boobs were finally pointed in the right direction! I was like “Hey now! That’s awesome!”
 

Such a badass.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like Crossfit? Expected or unexpected:
I really never thought I would lose all the weight. I have tried (either half-assed or whole-assed) to lose weight my entire life. I’ve been fat since I was a kid. I thought running would do it but after about 30 pounds, my weight loss would grind to a halt, still so far away from my goal. When I started CrossFit, I scoured the internets for before and afters (I call it results porn) looking for someone who kinda looked like me. Seeing if someone else already did what I was hoping to do. It took a full commitment to the Paleo diet to really drive home a whole-life change and it finally started to happen!!! Some days I still don’t believe I have made it so far. And sometimes I still have The Fat Girl in my head but I am trying to evict her. I also do weird things like introduce myself to strangers which I guess is…confidence! My husband and I were at The East Coast Championships and the guy who owns the “Funning” Instagram feed was there. I spotted him and just went up to him and started chatting. That’s not something The Fat Girl would have done. She would have thought “I can’t go talk to him. He won’t want to be seen talking to The Fat Girl!”

What’s your favorite lift and why?
Probably the back squat because that’s where I feel strongest.
Funniest experience related to CrossFit?
OMG, SO I don’t know about you (that’s a lie, yes I do) but my box’s (boxes?) classes are pretty consistent and everyone at the 6:30 AM class are all tight because it’s always the same people. One morning, Coach John was showing us what to do if we couldn’t get out of a back squat. He goes “All you do is let go, shrug the weight off while jumping forward (he does it) and see? Just like that. Easy dump.”
And because I am five years old I go “Easy dump!!” and start dying laughing and one of the guys from the 5:30 class was taping his knee and said “Nothin’ like an easy dump, eh KB?” and another goes, “When it just comes right out!” all the guys started giggling. All morning people were saying “Easy dump!” and laughing. I still laugh about it. 
Like right now.

Name one goal you have achieved since starting CrossFit and one goal you want to achieve: 
I wanted to get under 200 pounds in my first year. It was close for a while but I made it! On November 1, 2013, the scale read 197. Score!
There’s so many things I wish I could do. I want an unassisted pull-up…I want to get over 100# in more of my lifts…really nail push-ups…I think one goal I will always have, that will get me to all those other goals, is to just make sure I give every workout my full effort. I get afraid a lot; afraid I’ll be last, afraid I won’t be able to do the weight I chose, but in the end, I’m happy as long as I sweated my face off and know I gave it my best effort. And I always want my coach to be proud.
My dad died recently and he was a shit dad to begin with so I always considered myself dad-less. I have a couple guys in my life that have kinda “filled in” and my coach has really been one of them. I hope that doesn’t sound too Creepy McCreepersons and I severely doubt he doesn’t know it already. He has encouraged me my ENTIRE way from the first day I started his class. He knows why I showed up that very first day and he routinely asks how I feel I’m doing and if I feel like I am moving toward my goal. I want to continue to improve, take his guidance and criticism, add weight, lose bands and get there faster all to get the pat on the head from my coach. I want to make him proud to have me in his box.

Any advice for people just getting started with CrossFit?
Never, never, never, not ever, sometimes? NO. Not EVER give up.
Have you ever heard anyone say “Yeah that was hard, so I gave up and I feel SO much better.”? If anyone is reading this and even hears a hintof their own story, I say unto you; go get started. Are you 5’10” and 280 pounds, rocking size 22 jeans? Then you can do it. I know for sure. Because I was you. Do you think you are too big? Too thin and weak? That you need to “get in shape before you can try”? You go and you go NOW and you do not give up.
Every CrossFit workout is a suckfest, but it gets better. It does not get easier but every workout where you PR your weight or slice seconds off your time, you will hate yourselfless. I hated myself. I hated the feeling of being the last to finish my burpees that day. I hated what I had done to myself, how I’d let it all happen. A year later I did that same workout and it was STILL HARD. I didn’t hate it less, I hated myself less. Instead of saying to myself, “You fat lard what the hell do you think you’re doing?? You are EMBARASSING YOURSELF. QUIT! QUIT! QUIT!  I was saying “Come on, you can do it, these were so much harder last time, just a couple more…” I encouraged myself. Every time you do not quit and you finish, you appreciate your body and learn to encourage yourself. So do. not. give. up. EVER.

What do you tell yourself to keep motivated?
I actually don’t need to stay motivated with CrossFit. It’s just part of my life now! It’s just what I do! I get up, I go to the box, I go to work. What I do continue to need help with and constantly battle is eating. Sticking to Paleo is tough and lately it’s just exhausting. I’m training for the Boston Marathon (and fundraising!! Hint hint hint!) and the long distance runs make me STARVING. It’s really frustrating to eat what I think is a good solid meal and to be hungry less than an hour later. Then I make bad decisions and feel like crap.
I just have to remember where I started, how far I’ve come and remind myself to not ruin my hopes of a bikini by May (HA!) with a stray piece of cake or French fries.
I fear eating will continue to be a struggle for me for some time.

I’d like to end this off by saying how much I seriously love this girl. She brightens my day EVERYDAY on the blog and the Facebook page. ESPECIALLY since I’ve been attempting to not suck at running. 

KB, thank you times a whole trillion for letting me tell your story. Just so you know, I’m making plans to come visit you and play with stationery and kettlebells allllll day. Not kidding. Even a little bit.

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