Central Athlete Feature: Tara Hawthorne


If you remember your first CrossFit workout, it is most likely that you did not Rx it.

Tara Hawthorne did.

“My first workout was CC Flyers. I guess my coaches thought I was in good shape because they encouraged me to go Rx. Half an overhead squat into the workout, they made me take ALL the weight off the bar. I completed two rounds and everyone else in my class finished the whole thing. I asked if I was supposed to keep going, to which they replied, ‘No, you’re done.’ I thought I was going to die,” Tara said.

Tara, 29, first stumbled through the doors of CrossFit Central about three years ago when a friend of hers invited her to check out the box alongside her.

“She saw Jeremy Thiel out and about and asked him what he did to get in such great shape. He told her about CrossFit Central. She asked me if I would try it out with her and I said that I would. I signed up for Elements and told her the times and dates. She said she changed her mind and decided to do Pole Fitness instead, but I ended up going!” Tara said.

And she stuck with it. Tara now consistently attends her MWF class at 7 a.m. with Coaches Carey and Jess.

Over the past few years, Tara said she’s experienced change—both physically and mentally.

“(I’ll be honest, when I first started CrossFit, I jumped in full force). I came regularly and loved it, but also began to get pretty into my diet, and ended up struggling a little bit with the balance of it,” she said.

Tara recalls, “I immediately went 100% Paleo on day one and noticed quick results as far as weight loss and energy.  I lost about 10 pounds in 2 weeks, which I later learned was probably mostly water. But the diet wasn’t hard for me to stick to and I absolutely loved Paleo cooking. After a few months though, I think I was eating a little too strict and I started having some trouble. I had constant digestive problems that I’d never had before, my energy was gone, I gained about 8 pounds in fat and actually lost muscle mass, there were signs of some major hormonal problems, and I was having a hard time remembering things,” she said.

Knowing she needed to make a few changes to start to feel better, Tara began to tweak her diet — some of these changes were counter-intuitive to typical CrossFit culture.

“I started adding grains back into my diet and most of the physical problems quickly resolved. But mentally, I was a mess. What can I eat? What are the new rules? Is that even true? Are the vegans right about everything? All in all, it took about a year and a half to come full circle to the way I eat today. I generally eat a high protein diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, grains (including bread and pasta), legumes and dairy. My body tends to do better with more carbs and less fat but I don’t monitor these closely. I rarely eat foods that are fried or high in sugar. I have remained conscious of where my meat comes from and go out of my way to avoid factory farmed animal products, primarily for ethical and environmental reasons. I’ve finally noticed positive changes in my body and ironically it only happened when I stopped worrying so much about it!” she said.

Through it all, she said CrossFit has been a constant that has helped keep her sane.

“The CrossFit Kool-Aid comes infused with positivity and motivation that seep into all other aspects of your life!” she said.

Get to Know Tara:

Q. What is your favorite workout or movement?
A. Mary! Although I do have barbell withdrawal symptoms if too many days go by without one.

Q. Favorite food or meal?
A. I’m obsessed with Chipotle
Q. What are your goals for the remainder of the year? What do you want to achieve?
A. At the beginning of the year, my goal was to do Fran Rx in under 30 minutes. In July, I did it in 11:34! My goals right now are all about raw strength. I’m doing a bit of powerlifting on the side.

Q. What do you do outside CF (work, fun, school)? What are you passionate about?
A. I am a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist for a home-health agency. I also recently remodeled my condo. I love hanging out with my boyfriend and pups and taking in all Austin has to offer from concerts to water activities to art to nightlife!

Q. 3 fun, random facts we probably wouldn’t know about you
A. 1. I was awarded “Miss High Kick” my senior year
2. My first job was serving ice cream at Dairy Queen
3. Eventually, I want to be a professor

Nicole Hughes