Athlete Feature: Shannon VanDyke

Shannon VanDyke, a veterinarian by night, has only been CrossFitting at CrossFit Central for six months, but has already made a huge impact in our community.

“I joined CrossFit Central in August 2014. I originally began CrossFit in NC about 3 years ago and continued when I moved here to Austin at different boxes, but I never attended regularly due to my strange work schedule (I work night shifts). Therefore, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. Regardless, I felt strongly in the power of CrossFit workouts and I wanted to devote more time to it, so I began researching different boxes all around town, their reviews, and class times that would better fit my schedule so that I could attend regularly.”

Shannon quickly found CrossFit Central and a class time that would work with her schedule.

“A coworker of mine attends CrossFit Central and loves it, and when researching, I found that they had an afternoon class that worked well with my schedule, so I went to check it out and then later joined. I have no excuses for why I can’t attend the 3:45 pm class (I’m not sleeping and I don’t start work until 6pm!) so it keeps me accountable. Additionally, CrossFit Central has a great accountability policy; if you can’t attend class, you need to email or text your coach as to why and make it up on a different day! No other box I have attended had this policy.”

Prior to joining CrossFit Central, Shannon had an established athletic background as a collegiate Cross-Country and Track and Field runner.

“I ran competitively for 11 years, including varsity Cross-Country and Track and Field at Penn State University. Being part of an athletic team with a strict regimen, training program, and support team, I had a very hard time adjusting to “post-college athlete” life. I wanted to eat they way I ate when I was running 50 miles a week while also enjoying the perks of not having to workout! (Funny how that doesn’t work). I was burnt out from running and tried some other exercise programs, but eventually the stress of veterinary school and lack of team support caught up to me, and I had gained about 25 pounds without realizing it.”

“Without the team support, coaching, and schedule of college athletics, I felt like I lost a part of my identity. I missed my teammates and competitions, and part of me “gave up” on sports, so to speak. I didn’t see myself competing again. Therefore, I became lazy, inactive, and generally unhealthy. That in turn led to increased stress (from lack of exercise and because I didn’t like the way I looked or felt after gaining weight).”

Since then Shannon has found CrossFit Central as an outlet to provide accountability, just like her collegiate days, and has since seen several changes in the last six months!

“Since I’ve joined CrossFit Central in August 2014, I’ve lost 10 pounds and 9% body fat! And I don’t plan to stop there; I still haven’t met my goal, but I’m well on track. I’ve PR’d my clean by over 30 pounds, as well as PR’d all of my other lifts.

I can now do pull-ups, which I was previously unable to do!”

“I’m working out at CrossFit Central 3 – 5 days a week, I now do almost all workouts at the prescribed weight, and I feel better than ever. I’m actually considering participating in some future small CrossFit competitions. The community is so amazing and supportive. I actually enjoy and look forward to attending class and working out because of the fun and inspiring people. The outside-of-class activities that CrossFit Central hosts are wonderful as well.”

“What’s most important in CrossFit is achieving your personal goals, redefining them, and having fun! The entire community is so supportive, and everyone wants everyone else to succeed.”

More than achieving physical success and goals, Shannon has experienced a boost in confidence.

“The most important trait I have taken away from CrossFit is renewed confidence. When my trainer pushes me to lift a weight I’ve never lifted, perform a new gymnastics movement, or beat a previous best time, and I succeed, it make’s me feel like I can tackle the rest of the day’s challenges as well. I have a fast-paced and sometimes high stress job in an ER, and CrossFit absolutely helps prepare me physically and mentally to face new challenges by forcing me to push myself through workouts, especially when doubt starts creeping in. I’ve also re-trained myself to function on a set schedule which helps me get the appropriate amount of sleep and eat healthier to fuel my body thanks to the guidance of my coaches. ”

Nicole Hughes