Happy Thursday everyone!!! Everyone getting excited/nervous for the Open to kick off today!? If you’re trying to bet on what workouts you think we’re gonna see this year – you can stop guessing lol. People always ask me what I think we have in store and I tell them the exact same thing each time, “We could probably sit here all day and try to figure it out but we’ll still have no idea.” Whatever comes our way comes our way! But before we get that started, we have some important business to take care of. The crowning of January’s MVP here at Villains Strength & Conditioning goes out to – Ashley Smith!!! Proud of you Ash, finally putting those sweet weightlifting shoes to good use 😉

Ashley came in around July of last year already having some previous experience with CrossFit. I could tell because, A) she told me so, and B) you can tell if you watch her move. Her form was bang on with all her squats, presses and deadlifts, we didn’t dive too far into the olympic lifts when she first started coming in but we did have a few sessions working on the split jerk and she sure made my job easy. Despite the fact that I always thought she was capable of much more than she gave herself credit for, she did have one hell of a weakness when she first came in – no glute or hamstring strength what so ever. It’s actually pretty common for people to be avid gym goers but still not feel the proper muscle engagement in certain lifts, in Ashleys case she had never felt her glutes or hamstrings engage. So we worked on it. Then we worked on it some more. Then we continued to work on it. And then BAM. She started to feel it. Not long after that she started trusting her legs, hitting new squat PR’s, doing some more olympic weightlifting, overall just having more fun. It was a rough road getting there that’s for sure. I could tell a lot of days just by looking at her that she was frustrated beyond belief and could’ve thrown in the towel at any point – but she persisted. She made some exceptional steps over the summer/fall of 2016 – and then she went off travelling to Burma for a few weeks. I have to be honest, I was a little scared as to what it was going to be like when she got back. Not scared about knowing she won’t be as strong as she was currently after the trip, but how it would affect her mentally. All too often I see people get caught up in their own thoughts about how “good” or “strong” they used to be and it gets the better of them. They get demotivated and end up stopping all together putting them in an even worse spot than they were before. Not Ashley. Granted she came back and was obviously not able to lift the same weights she did when she left, or survive a 9 minute metcon like she used to, but again – she persisted. Fast forward to 2017 and she’s made the jump in our program from the health & fitness model to performance. She’s making leaps and bounds with her weightlifting technique and still adding weight to the bar on a handful of other lifts. But what’s even more exciting that that is you can LITERALLY see it on her face when she comes in. She’s always laughing, smiling, having a good time. Yes there’s times that she can be frustrated, but she puts her head down and gets the work done. But to come in everyday and truly enjoy what you’re doing. I mean, that’s the overall goal right? To appreciate what you have in life and enjoy your time as best as you possibly can? Hats off to you Ash. I don’t think I could get rid of you if I tried. Congrats on the MVP, now let’s back to the squat rack. We got some more work to do.

Ashley Smith
Favorite WOD: Anything with heavy barbell cycling.
Least Favorite WOD: “Fight Gone Bad”
Why CrossFit?
I’ve been playing sports competitively year round since I was about three. I grew up in an extremely small community and there wasn’t much of a choice of whether you wanted to play the school sports or not, you just had to otherwise there wouldn’t be a enough players for a team. I’ve always loved the competitive team environment; it’s what fuels my want to always improve and be the best that I can. When I started university I would try to go to the gym on my own and played some intramural sports here and there but I was never consistent with any of it. I found CrossFit in my fourth year at university and for me it’s the same as being back on a team. There’s the team camaraderie in the box, everyone wants to see you succeed and will push you to do your best, even if it’s just finishing the WOD. It also fills the competitive component I had been missing; competing against myself, the scores on the board, and the other members during the WODs. I also love that it’s always challenging and varied… basically I just love all aspects of it.
One Word That Best Describes You: Independent