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Member Spotlight - Keara S.

How long have you been a member of Fountain City (/BKS)? Almost 4 years now!

What's your 30 second elevator pitch about yourself? (What do you do, tell us about your family/hobbies) Oh boy. So, I work as a psychologist, and I also teach a few classes from time to time to undergrad and grad students. I grew up in KC, but moved to Memphis for undergrad, then up to Boston for grad school and to work for a bit. Keep coming back to KC though! I'm currently engaged, and have 3 very spoiled dogs/children. I have a bunch of siblings and nieces and nephews that I love playing with. When I am not working out a couple times a day, I like to garden, read, cook, and do anything outdoors. I'm also weirdly into magicians (shout out to "Magic for Humans" on'll blow your mind). I also collect coins and have since I was in elementary school, which trust me, made me a super cool kid. I absolutely did not get teased about that. I love documentaries, fishing, and spending time with my parents, who are actually pretty cool now that I'm older (they sucked when I was younger...obviously).

What initially brought you into FCF? Way back when, I was in physical therapy for my knees (for about the 10th time!), and my PT told me I needed to strengthen my quads, hips, glutes, and hammies, so to try CrossFit to build up some muscle. Did some research, and it turned out that there was a box right by my house! I bought a Groupon, showed up, sucked at everything, but loved it! And everyone was so encouraging, it never felt like I was some newbie who couldn't do anything. People were quick to point out strengths and help show me ways I could grow. I think that's the kind of environment that fosters long-lasting growth and community that we see daily at FCF.

Tell us about you fitness/health background? (Did you play sports growing up? Try other gyms/work out at home?) I played every sport imaginable growing up. My folks told me I was a born runner, because I never learned to walk, I learned to run as a baby (big head, little body, just leaned forward and had to keep up!). I did basketball, soccer, volleyball, track, softball, and swimming from the time I was in elementary school. Dabbled in tennis, but apparently you're not supposed to just hit the ball as hard as you can every time, so that relationship ended. Played basketball, cross country, track, and swimming throughout high school. Started college running but blew out my knees so had to quit. Ever since I've continued running (all my physical therapists love me, I've paid for them to go on so many vacations since I won't stop running). I box on occasion, and my fiance and I love to play pickleball. I still play pick up basketball with family or friends when I can. I love to hike 14ers in Colorado when able, and will take any opportunity I can get to move my body. I have a home "gym" - it's a totally creepy, unfinished basement with cracked walls and water leaks, but there's a barbell and a plyo box so it's home! I also go to Kansas City Barbell Club a few times a week to work on my form for lifting and to build some extra strength (have you seen my jerk? My dog could do better). When it comes to being active, I've always been told I have one speed, and I have learned to appreciate that about myself, even if my knees disagree.

What are some changes you've noticed in yourself during your time here at FCF? (Physically, mentally, capabilities, daily life, etc.) Man, I have gained so much strength and muscle! When I first started CrossFit, I noticed a little lump in one shoulder, and legitimately thought I had a growth, and went down a Web MD spiral thinking I was dying. Turns out, I had one on the other side and they were just new muscles - so that's normal; but it was wicked cool to realize I was getting ripped! But beyond that, when quarantine hit in Spring 2020, I set the goal of making sure I did CrossFit everyday (I was doing like 3 days per week prior). FCF via Zoom was a serious godsend, and in a world suddenly thrust into so little control, that became my "controllable". I decided not matter how unmotivated I felt or how sore I got, I was going to show up, and do so for myself. Altogether in the last 4 years, I have noticed that I can always push a little harder, and that I can do things that I never thought I could (305 deadlift? No effing way I thought I could do that). I've trained in performance/sports psychology, which has come in really handy when doing WODs, but I've also been happily surprised at how I can translate what I learn at the gym into my life as a therapist, and in general. On days when I may feel overwhelmed by a task or a client, or feel a challenge is daunting or intimidating, I think to myself that no matter what, my 6:30 workout was hard and I did it, so I can do this task too. I've learned to really appreciate my body for what it can do, and my mind for what it can help me through.

What kinds of things can you do now, that you were not able to do when you first started CrossFit? (inside or outside of the gym) Lift more than the trainer bar! I couldn't do a pull-up or push-up to save my life prior to CrossFit. Get up early on a Saturday so I won't miss a workout (my fiancé loves that one). I still remember Cory teaching me to do a handstand hold. And I can recall one day Tyler telling me to stop using a band with a pull-up because he believed I could do them without - and he was right.

What motivates you to keep coming back for more week after week? So many things!!! Where I will be in 1 year - I have been able to see so much progress when I've applied myself, and so thinking about what I will be able to do in 1 year if I stay consistent keeps me going. You've gotta be in it for the long game! The people - I genuinely have fun each day with all my fellow 6:30-ers and the whole community feels like a family. I'm also incredibly stubborn (I prefer "determined"? But my fiancé would disagree), so knowing that there will be a new challenge every day to meet and do my best at is really appealing to me. I think giving your all every day builds character, and how you enter into a challenge says so much about who you are. Some days I have nothing to give, but my motivation is to just give it all I'm able to and if I can say that I accomplished that, regardless of time or score, then I leave happy.

In your opinion, what is the most valuable aspect of Fountain City Fitness? The community, 100%. We have members who really care about one another, and we have coaches who are very invested in our lives, health, and growth.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future here at FCF? I've been working diligently on my gymnastics, so that's my goal for this year! HSPU, muscle ups, butterfly pull-ups! And pistols...holy hell those have been the bane of my existence. I hope to continue to foster positive relationships with other FCF-ers, and to keep having fun with our community. Really, I just want to improve as a person and to be healthier at 35 and 40 than I am now at 34. I'd love to compete at the master's level someday too. Oh and beat Travis by a bigger margin at next year's open. I also look forward to the day when Stu forgets to actually match his clothes at the gym.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone that is considering joining a CrossFit gym? Don't be afraid to try, and maybe be bad at, something new. You'll learn a lot; be patient with yourself and you'll improve. Don't compare yourself with others; just compare yourself with the person you were yesterday. One of my favorite mantras is "you can do anything for 1 minute/10 reps/etc", so just try to remember that the pain is temporary. Oh, and cursing always helps.

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