CrossFit Kanna would like to recognize Brande Plotnick as our Member of the Month for February! She may have been apprehensive when she first joined (see story below), but Brande fell right in, focusing on incremental improvement and growth. Surprising herself with some handstand push-ups and PRing several lifts like her most recent deadlift level (160# x 5 reps!), it’s been awesome to see her athletic progress. As someone who is always seeking feedback on form and coaching in general, Brande sets a great example for others in class. For all of those reasons and more, she is our February Member of the Month – Congratulations!
Marketing. I work a standard corporate gig with all the frustration it can bring, but the redeeming quality is that I get to market a product I truly believe in that’s better than any other in the diagnosis of heart disease. I am surrounded by smart people, including my colleagues who are the best people I’ve ever worked with.
When did you start CF?
What are your favorite numbers and why?
My favorite number is 10 because it represents my favorite month, October. It’s my birthday month and by far the most beautiful time of year where we live. Also, an odd number could never be my favorite, but I won’t go into that here!
What CF movements do you like?
My favorites include rowing, box jumps, bench press, handstands, back squats, KB swings, parallette pass through and thrusters (total body workout in one move!).
What CF movements do you dislike?
I dislike things I’m not good at or that just hurt such as the bike, running, snatches, power cleans, and wall balls.
What sports or fitness things did you do before CF?
As a young kid, I had asthma, so I was always the frail kid who had the doctor’s note to get out of gym class. I wanted to try things because the cool kids did them, so I once tried out for track in 8th grade. During the tryout, I had a severe bout of vertigo followed by an asthma attack. I got sick in front of my classmates and went straight home. Naturally, it was reinforcement in my mind that exerting myself physically was not in the cards for and worse, would result in embarrassing failure.
In college, I got into competitive powerlifting for a couple of years – as long as my relationship with my powerlifting boyfriend lasted. I liked the objectivity of it – you’re either lifting the weight or not – but I just didn’t keep it up.
As an adult, most of my fitness activity has been a reaction to something. For example, in my early 30s, I was working as a traveling sales rep. I quickly added 25 pounds onto my otherwise small body because I was taking customers out to dinner all the time and snacking in the car while I drove around three states. I hated that, and I joined Weight Watchers and a gym to get the weight off. The habits never stuck because for me, my looks have never been a strong motivator.
Several years ago, I got into preserving my good health and started to see the bigger picture. I was learning about the connection between physical activity and a healthy brain as we age. I want more than anything to be able to live independently and with dignity when I’m old. I want to hike and walk through cool cities in my leisure time. I also am prone to depression, and I’m grateful that for me, regular vigorous exercise keeps my moods in check. All of these things taken together are motivating, and they are why I show up for my workouts.
How did you find CF? What was your first workout?
I was working out at another gym in Ambler – a boot camp style place and doing pretty well, but the variety was lacking. I was intrigued by CrossFit, but intimidated as many people are. When I saw there was Kanna so close to home, I went in and talked with Chris. His down to earth style and approach to functional fitness resonated with me, and I signed up! I went through basecamp with Dori, but I don’t remember the specifics of my first WOD.
What’s your favorite thing about CF?
There is a magical combination of things that keeps me coming back to Kanna. I love the programming variety – my entire body is getting better because of it. The coaches are fantastic, and all are gifted teachers who really care about our progress and safety. I used to believe that workouts fell into two buckets: strength or cardio. But here, you get both nearly every day in the most efficient way possible. I’m an introvert who never believed group fitness would be for me, but I cannot emphasize how important that has become. It is so motivating to working through the WOD with everyone else.
What are your hobbies?
I am a gardener almost year-round. I grow all sorts of food, and particularly unusual varieties of things you can’t find in stores or even at the farmer’s market. I also garden for wildlife. Years ago, I read a lot about the plight of the monarch butterfly and how home gardeners can help. Now, I have devoted parts of my yard to monarchs, and I enjoy watching them through all stages of life. I am also an ambitious home cook, and I love great food. I read cookbooks cover to cover, like some people would read a novel. Then, I work my way through the recipes.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I am a Sixers fan. For some reason, this surprises people who cannot imagine me liking any sport.
What PRs or accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am most proud of running my first uninterrupted mile on my ENTIRE LIFE at age 47 right here at Kanna. I didn’t even die or have to go home right away! I am proud that I can hold a handstand for a good long time. I was too intimidated to participate in the Open right after I joined CF, but I did participate this last time, and may have even enjoyed myself.
What’s on your CF bucket list?
I want to be able to do strict pullups – I’m close, but not there yet. Also, I want to improve my power cleans and overhead squats. Those movements are so uncomfortable for me, which means I just need to get better at them.
What’s on your general bucket list?
I want to travel to Mexico to see the monarch butterfly overwintering sites, find the meaning of life, become a minimalist and be “work optional” when I’m still young enough to enjoy my leisure time.
What advice do you have for new (or experienced!) CrossFitters?
Just show up. The best goal you can have is to get to the gym, even on days you don’t feel like it. That one simple action multiplied over time will get you to your big goals which might seem too big sometimes. Also, listen to your body and work smart. Take advantage of the coaches and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They can help you learn more about your body and how to use it most effectively.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
I’m so proud of being the February member of the month! For me to have achieved anything related to fitness is particularly rewarding because I’ve never seen myself as an athlete. Thank you to the entire Kanna community for making it so fun to get in shape!
***Kanna members: Brande’s custom workout TBD***
How does one become Member of the Month? By embodying the Kanna ideals of Learning, Working Hard, and Having Fun. By contributing to the community and supporting others in and out of the workout. By being open to coaching and improving oneself for the sake of being better, not to “win” the workout. By just generally being a good person and having a positive attitude. And a lot more, but you get the idea!