Athlete Profile: Jodie Fleming
Occupation: Breast Cancer Research
When did you first start CrossFitting?:
When I moved to Durham 2.5 years ago
What is your favorite movement? Favorite workout?
Snatch is my favorite because it is so dynamic and challenging. It is a continual adventure trying to learn that move. Favorite workout is “Diane” (21-15-9 Deadlifts and Handstand Pushups) or anything that involves Handstand Pushups because for some reason I can do them fast.
What is your least favorite movement? Least favorite workout?
Least favorite movement is Back Squat, that is where I need the most work. Least favorite workout is “Elizabeth” (21-15-9 Cleans and Ring Dips) because I really want to do it at Rx but I’m just not there yet.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background:
Growing up and continuing into college I was a competitive horseback rider and, as an energy-packed petite blonde, you can guess I was always a cheerleader. Cheerleading and the complex aerial moves led perfectly into swing dancing which I competed in during my graduate studies when I had the time. Then one Saturday morning a friend of mine convinced me to try this “Tough Mudder” race. She described it to me as recess for adults. I am always out to try anything so I said “why not!” Ten miles of running later, with electricity, mud, ice baths, giant walls and cargo nets to climb, I was exhausted, beat up, and completely hooked. I fell in love with competitive obstacle course racing and wanted to train to be one of the nations best. I surveyed the local training facilities and found CrossFit was the perfect venue for someone looking to become a hybrid athlete – both faster and stronger – using functional movements.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Do you remember your first WOD? How did it go?
I just happen to pass CrossFit Durham when I first moved to town on my way to dinner, and couldn’t help but notice one guy slamming a sledgehammer into a tire and another dragging a tire up a hill. Perfect! That was the first word that popped into my head. Each of the movements could easily relate to what I need to get better at obstacle racing. I went home and joined immediately.
My first WOD was the Community Workout. It was quite intimidating looking at all the strong men and women inside, seemingly experts at all the complex moves. But I was there and was going to do this, even if I couldn’t do one pull-up. The WOD was several rounds of sit-ups, pull-ups, squats, and pushups. I don’t remember how much I got through, but I do remember being totally sore for days after. Painful, but in a good way. It was like my body was telling me this is what it needed to become a better athlete.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit? (before / after)
When I began CrossFit Durham, I couldn’t run a 5K without being exhausted, couldn’t do an unassisted pull-up, and never attempted an Olympic lift. After 2.5 years, words can not describe the improvements. I have noticeable and functional muscles and feel great. I started running competitive obstacle course races in the open waves, finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack for my age group. Now, I compete in the elite waves against national champions and professional athletes, and finish top ten overall for females. I can climb a rope, do pull-ups, carry a log, drag a tire, and scale a 10 ft wall with ease – and do all of this while running five to thirteen miles up a mountain or on a forrest trail. Improvement? Yeah, you can say that!
What is your favorite CrossFit/CFD moment?
My favorite moment was during an Endurance Workout with Rich. It involved an inhuman number of rounds of goblet squats, running and sit-ups (it was a lot!). I didn’t notice that Rx was 52 pounds and thought he was joking. When I found out he was not joking and told me to grab a 52 lb kettlebell because I was doing Rx, I thought he was crazy. I went along with it and I remember somewhere in the middle being like “I can’t believe I’m doing this” and in the end being like “I can’t believe I was able to do that” It was such a great feeling of accomplishment and I was so appreciative that the coach had complete confidence in my ability to do it.
What is your advice for people just getting started or thinking about starting CrossFit?
Never let what you see intimidate you. I felt so small, weak and out of shape when I walked through that door and everyone looked so professional and strong. What you will find out if you give it a chance, is that everyone is always learning and there to support and help you when you need it.
What are your hobbies, interests, and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
Sadly most of my time is spent at work (good thing I love my work). But I do love to read and pretty much do anything outside.