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Kanna Fitness’s June Member of the Month: Kirsten J.R.

Kirsten came to us having already dabbled in CrossFit, but still took on her experience at Kanna as building a new foundation. With a busy life of work as a graphic designer by day, leading the Wissahickon Robotics Team at night, and racing her car (Snow White) on weekends, it can be hard to make time for the gym, but Kirsten finds a way. Her physical, mental, and emotional growth over her two years at Kanna have been amazing to witness. This past Memorial weekend she completed half “Murph” – a well-known hero workout with a lot of running, pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats. Something tells us that this isn’t something Kirsten would have been apt to do two years ago, but she did it this past weekend!
Name

Kirsten Jahn Richardson

Occupation
UX/UI Design Director

When did you start CF?
2015

What are your favorite numbers and why?
12 because my birthday is 12/12; 3 because there are 3 people in my family

What CF movements do you like?
Cleans, push press, sit ups, deadlifts, ring rows

What CF movements do you dislike?
Wall balls, bike, running, jumping rope, box jumps

What sports or fitness things did you do before CF?
Mostly nothing, hiking locally and when on vacation. I’m too uncoordinated for sports.

How did you find CF? What was your first workout?
I found CF because the desk mates who sandwiched me at work started going together. They talked about it all the time and assured me that it was easy to get into and not just a bunch of really bulky guys being intimidating. I don’t remember my first workout but I remember the on-ramp process at CrossFit Generation, trying CrossFit for a time, and then stepping down to their CrossFitness classes.

What’s your favorite thing about CF?
I love CF in general because it’s something I can do without thinking. As long as I can get myself to the gym, the rest of it is cake. An awesome instructor tells me what to do and encourages me, so I feel good about myself when I leave. I’m not going to pretend to be a fitness expert and I don’t have time to become one; I’ll let the professionals program. Its never boring. While there are movements that I hate, I know that they won’t be part of the workout every day so I can churn through the occasional uncomfortable day knowing that there are going to be other fun things in the future. Outside of the gym, I feel like CrossFit has made me a more capable person. At robotics, we’re always moving heavy stuff around. From 120+ lb robots to tool chests, loading our trailer for competition, rearranging closets, all of this has become a lot easier thanks to CrossFit. I am also a bit more able-bodied when it comes to car maintenance as well. Mostly I just wanted to do *something* once I turned 30. What I like about Kanna it that its a really supportive atmosphere. I feel like a lot of people say that about places, but here its actually true. While there are people who are really into CrossFit and extremely capable, those people are approachable and awe-inspiring, not intimidating and above others. The community is great because you have grandmothers, moms, people who all come together with one goal: to improve themselves 1 hour at a time. Someone said to me recently that even if I’m not as good as others in class, I’m ahead of everyone who’s not even coming. This really resonated with me.

What are your hobbies?
Uh, where to start?
1) Head Coach of the Wissahickon HS FIRST Robotics Competition Team: this upcoming season will be my 20th season with the team; the team celebrated its 20th year this past season. I spent 3 years on the team as a student, an assistant coach after that, and head coach the last few years. I like giving others in my community the opportunity to be part of a team that made me who I am and taught me so many life skills. In 2010 we were inducted into the Hall of Fame and were invited to the White House to meet Barack Obama.

2) Automotive enthusiast: HPDE (high performance driving experience) days, time trial, car shows, cruises, etc. Started a car club last year for people who own my type of car in the Philly area. I schedule dinners and events for us to build up camaraderie and learn from each other. I like when we can come together as a family and appreciate each other’s builds. Everyone has a different story and a completely different background. I try to do some mods to my car myself but it causes me a bit of stress and I’m fortunate to have the means to mostly have others do the work for me. I also don’t have a garage for my baby *tear* so anything I do has to be completed in a day.

3) On the board of the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, a historical society focused on the railroads that hauled Anthracite coal. My father started it before I was born and the group owns historic railroad equipment that we mostly keep at Steamtown in Scranton, PA. My dad is the chief mechanical officer, founder, and magazine editor for the group and I help him where I can. I am currently their Secretary but mostly like our locomotives and restoration efforts, even if I haven’t physically made it up there in awhile now. My dad is really famous in the train world and so many people know and admire him (so many stories). I can only hope to be as respected as him one day.

4) Traveling, eating food, hiking, experiencing new things. From Alaska to Yosemite to Santa Fe to Chicago to Maine, from China to Germany to Russia to Australia. Going to Iceland in August/September.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
My life is kind of an open book. I’m driving cross-country to California in a few weeks and I’m really pumped about it. I’ve started a ridiculously meticulous itinerary that’s taken me hours, and I’m only halfway through. I’ve been to above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. My husband, Scott, and I took a special trip on a tiny plane up to Kaktovik, AK where we toured the town and took a boat out to watch polar bears feed off of the remains of a whale that the village is allowed to kill each year for sustenance. One year I traveled from the US to Germany to China. I wanted my flight home to go around the world so I could say I flew around but was sad to discover I’d have to fly through Russia and go back the way I came. I’m an only child. I’m mostly shy in the beginning but once I get comfortable I don’t really shut up. I lead a crazy independent life and can be a tactless straight shooter. :-X

What PRs or accomplishments are you most proud of?
Even though I hate double-unders, I have done a few in my lifetime. I feel like my cartwheels don’t suck, but I’ve never seen one recorded. I’ve become a little bit more comfortable with being upside down. Oh! I climbed a few ropes at CK, even if Dori said it was the slowest rope climb he’s ever seen, I *can* do it. I could never do that in elementary school… EVER. When I started CrossFit, my dream was to be able to do a shoulder press with the “big” plates on (the 10’s). I did this and more the other week! I did the Murph this week and have tried to be a bit more social lately.

What’s on your CF bucket list?
A handstand against a wall. 100 lb. deadlift (I was really close and I’m still mad about it) It would be cool to maybe do a pull up sometime.

What’s on your general bucket list?
Buy a Porsche Cayman (probs in a couple years) Travel the world Get to Yellowstone (next year) Drive cross country (in 4 weeks) Get to Italy and gorge myself on pasta and tour Italian auto manufacturers.

What advice do you have for new (or experienced!) CrossFitters?
Just show up. Go regularly! Taking a week or more off really does suck and sets you back; don’t do it! Scaling is a thing! Even if you look at the workout and know you can’t do any of it, go anyway. People will help you figure out something that you can do and you’ll feel more accomplished by the end of it. You’ll never regret going to CrossFit; you’ll always regret not going. You didn’t fill that hour with anything more important than your health or mood.

Anything else you’d like to mention?
This is going to be an awkward interview.

***Kanna members: Kirsten’s custom workout TBD***

How does one become Member of the Month? By embodying the mission of Kanna Fitness 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!

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