Kristy Parrish

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Name: Kristy Parrish
Age: 31
Crossfit Start Date: 9/14/09 at CrossFit Silicon Valley
Favorite movement or WOD: power cleans
Least favorite movement or WOD: anything that involves long runs…


What was your athletic background prior to CrossFit?
As a kid I played soccer, basketball, and volleyball, but volleyball was always my true love. In college and beyond, I played recreational volleyball and coached high school girls’ volleyball as well.
How did you hear about CrossFit? What convinced you to join, and why have you stayed?
I heard about CrossFit from one of my teacher friends, who had started CrossFit with his partner, and from one of my best friends/bridesmaids Cindy Lau, who knew about it from her cousin. He convinced me to do it because he said it would appeal to my competitive nature, and she convinced me to do it because she promised we would stick with it together.

I drank the Kool-Aid from the beginning – after finishing second to last in my first WOD ever (four rounds of 400m runs and 15 burpees), I never wanted to feel that out of shape – relative to others – and wanted to do better the next time I went to the box. Beyond becoming a healthier, stronger person because of CrossFit (inside and out), I have also loved just about every person I have ever met through CrossFit, and many of my fellow CrossFitters will be life-long friends.

How do you manage the mental and physical demands of CrossFit training?
The mental game is probably harder than the physical part, especially after the first few months of CrossFit when everything is new. Physically I do my best to rest accordingly, hydrate, eat decently, and listen to my body. I have learned what the difference is between pain that is a natural part of fatigue and/or learning a new movement vs. pain that screams “potential injury.”

Mentally, I try to stay in the moment of each WOD and even smile when it gets difficult. It’s really tough not to get overly competitive with myself and with other people’s stats, but if I think about the big picture – striving to be healthy for my entire life – then I remember why I get myself to the box in the first place.

What do you love about the people and/or place where you train?
Right now I’m a CrossFitter and a CrossFit coach at CrossFit Fairbanks. As a CrossFitter, I have really grown to appreciate our head coach’s programming that maintains a strength foundation. I was initially skeptical after coming from a box that programs a greater mixture of met-cons, but I have developed strength in my training here at a solid pace, and my numbers tell me so. Very rewarding.

As a coach, I absolutely love my 6am crew. They are willing to try new things and let me push them, and I truly enjoy watching them improve all the time. CrossFit demands that people are brave and let go of whatever sense of physical limits they think they have, and I see the people in my classes working to push past that.

What do you do in your everyday life? How has CrossFit impacted that role (or roles)?
When I started CrossFit, I was in my 6th year of teaching, and now I work in education with both students and teachers. I find that CrossFit in general is a huge stress relief on a daily basis and helps me prepare mentally for my day. I am a morning CrossFitter because I have the most energy then, and that carries over to me being at work.

I also have found that CrossFit has helped me understand the idea of how having a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. I am more balanced in my interactions with colleagues and loved ones alike and have been able to handle stress and new challenges more easily.

Looking back, what 2-3 things did you wish you knew when you started CrossFit?
1. Shoes matter – I would have found some kind of minimal/barefoot shoe from the get-go.

2. Emphasize strength – I never feared getting bulky, but I didn’t know that I could still maintain or improve my metcons even while making a concerted effort to squat and lift heavier. I enjoy lifting more than I knew I would.

3. Mobilize! – I didn’t know how much I could impact my efficiency by learning how to repair/recover different parts of my body consistently. My squat in particular has benefited greatly, and I no longer have shoulder pains because I know better how to utilize a stronger shoulder position.

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment?  What is your most embarrassing moment?
Most memorable – Last year during the 2011 CrossFit Games Open, one of the workouts called for max reps in five minutes of 110# clean and jerks. At the time my max effort clean and jerk was #115, so I was petrified. I managed to perform 11 reps and was absolutely exhilarated afterward.

Most embarrassing – Don’t have one, actually. Making mistakes is part of the process.

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