Jeanna LeClaire

Jeanna LeClaire

I’d like to thank Nicole and Q so much for everything in the past year! Crossfit has really changed our lives for the better! I thought I would share my story…

On first glance, I may not seem like a Crossfit success story. In fact, my story is not one of transformation as much as it is conformation. To be honest, I am the heaviest weight I have ever been to date, which I am proud of.

I grew up defining myself as an athlete. My parents have always been supportive of my athletic endeavors and as an only child, I often think of myself as the son my dad never had. My dad was a big part of my childhood supporting me and coaching me while participating in basketball, softball, and most passionately in running.

I ran cross country, indoor and outdoor track during my high school years. My passion for sports and fitness helped me choose an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training and then complete my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. However, in my second year of PT school, I was faced with a major setback as an athlete. I was faced with the fact that I had to undergo open heart surgery to correct a heart defect I was born, which had never challenged me in the past.

Faced with the alternative outcomes, I knew I had no choice. In Dec. of 2009, during my winter break from physical therapy school, I underwent the scariest thing I have had to face to date. I knew that was not going to stop me. Less than 3 weeks after surgery, I battled my school to return to class and was back in the gym before my sternal precautions were cleared.

My first day back on the treadmill was eye opening. I realized how hard it would be to get back to my preoperative status. I remember signing up for my first 5K just 9 months after surgery. While I was very thankful to be participating, and was happy to finish the race, the extra minutes added to my previous PR were extremely frustrating. I knew I shouldn’t be disappointed and continued to train with running. I also started strength training/weight lifting for the first time in determination to get back to my previous abilities. I struggled with high heart rates, frustrations and overcautious health care professionals constantly advising me of precautionary limitations.

Test after test showed my heart was functioning fine but no one could explain my >200bpm heart rate status for what I used to think was an “easy 3 mile run.” Feeling like I had lost what had defined me as a person and as an athlete, I knew I needed to try something else. I had a few friends who loved this crazy workout program called Crossfit.

After more research, I discovered a lot of the workouts, while demanding as heck, are performed for time. I thought, “Ok, I can rest when I need to get my heartrate under control as needed.” Why not? My boyfriend, Chris, was also dealing with a knee injury that was affecting his marathon training, and agreed it may be the perfect alternative. We decided to give it a try and at that time I was less than 2 years post op.

I remember our first foundations class with Nicole was 10 minutes of “Cindy.” I wish I could explain in words how much Cindy kicked our asses that day!!!! But we were hooked… We signed up with a membership that day, and within a month, canceled out of the “average gym” membership. My only set back at that time was my restrictions of “not lifting more than 50% my body weight.” I thought, how will I ever be good at this?? Never the less, I listened to my body and did not feel limited.

I went in for my next annual cardiac check up and left with flying colors. After admitting I had been lifting, the cardiologist gave me the ok to continue with what I was doing because my testing came back with athletic showing.

I cannot explain how much Crossfit has changed my life. I have successfully completed a year at Crossfit iQ, with a heart stronger than ever. We have even completed our first competition with plans to continue competing. I can’t thank Crossfit IQ, Q himself and Nicole for helping us find this new passion. Strong is truly the new beautiful and I can’t see myself anywhere else than in the box that I consider the highlight of my day, everyday! Crossfit does a body and heart GOOD! No matter what your athletic abilities are to date, Crossfit will help you achieve goals you never thought possible! The Crossfit family at iQ is truly amazing!

-Jeanna