If you are a fan of Stay Fit Mom, by now you know my love for CrossFit is something fierce. A year and a half ago I walked into CrossFit Apollo sort of like my dog walks into the dog groomers. Incase you don’t have a dog, let me explain. As soon as we round the corner and pull into the parking place for the dog groomers, our golden retriever starts to quiver. We force her out of the car with as much strength as my 190 pound husband can muster. We open the door to the shop and she promptly puts on the brakes. All four paws remain on the tile as we slide her from one end of the shop to the other. This was me headed into CrossFit Apollo for the first time, wondering if I’d make it out alive. Except… the moment I stepped foot into the doors of Apollo, I knew I would love it. Much to my surprise, I wasn’t greeted by a military drill Sargent. I was greeted by a Mother and her son. You see, CrossFit Apollo is a family business and this week’s Mom Crush is none other than the Co-owner to CrossFit Apollo, Monica Cole. To say she’s had a significant impact on my CrossFit experience would be the understatement of the year.
Monica is the type of person I strive to be. She is kind. She is hardworking. And she will set you straight. I had the privilege of interviewing Monica and today we get to soak up a bit of her wisdom together!
SFM: How and when did you get started with CrossFit?
Monica: I had a personal trainer coming to my house. We did mostly kettle bells. She got jazzed about CrossFit and started implementing it into our workouts. To be honest, I loved the variety of movements but was not inclined to move very quickly until a few years later. Long story short I introduced it to my family and it went from there. That was around 2008. Chad was a senior in high school. He picked it up when he came home for Winter break his freshman year in college.
FYI, that trainer and her husband now own their own affiliate on the other side of town.
SFM: What do you enjoy most about being a CrossFit gym owner?
Monica: The people. I LOVE, love, love being a part of someone growing in their physical, mental and emotional strength. It’s an amazing thing to watch someone go from insecurity or uncertainty and doubt to totally capable and Badass! We are only limited by our belief in ourselves. I’ve seen CrossFit expand peoples vision of themselves. Being a part of and witnessing that evolution is amazing!
AND, I love that all walks of life (professions, personalities, gender, age, ability) come to Apollo and genuinely care about each other. It’s so inspiring to me to see everyone from a Games or Regional athlete to a person trying to lose 80 lbs or come back from having a baby or whatever, battle through a workout as they cheer each other on. That support and camaraderie is a beautiful thing.
SFM: What would you say to people that are intimidated by CrossFit or think that you have to be “in-shape” to try CrossFit?
Monica: The short answer is, there is absolutely no better way to get in shape. CrossFit covers every area of fitness and strength. You start slowly with lighter weight and easier movements, building on each as your ability increases.
While that is absolute fact, I tend to be more philosophical. I believe fear is an evil, debilitating thing that we should never allow place within us. If you are afraid of something you must face it and conquer it. It cannot be allowed to limit us. Please do not however, confuse fear with a healthy respect for danger. I will not be base jumping anytime soon.
SFM: I would kill to look like Monica cole right now, let alone when I become a grandma. What diet do you follow? What tips of advice do you have for women when it comes to health and fitness?
Monica: Strict diets (restrictions) don’t work well for me. I eat what I want. My saving grace is that I don’t eat very much of it. I do better with a more general approach. I work to eliminate the worst things (which can never include breads) and add those I tend to be missing (like protein). If you’re already one of those people that are driven and disciplined, awesome. Be sure you balance that with the things that really matter in life. If you have a mountain of responsibility and/or struggle in the motivation department I say this…
To feel healthy, to feel good about your body, to feel strong and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way… THAT is a freaking awesome feeling. And here’s the good news. Its easy!
Here’s the big complicated plan that will achieve that: Eliminate from your diet the worst thing you eat regularly. Add to your diet one or 2 things you are lacking. Do CrossFit 3 days a week. It really is that simple.
SFM: A huge CONGRATS is in order with your son, Chad Cole, making the 2015 CrossFit Games! How does it feel to see your son make it to The Games for the first time?
Monica: I have been blessed beyond measure in my children.
Chad is no exception. He has worked so hard for so long to get physically and mentally stronger, faster and more skilled. He constantly challenges his weaknesses. While he is doing all that, he works with me to run Apollo. It’s a difficult thing to do both. To be honest if he makes it to the games or doesn’t or even wins the whole thing is not what brings me joy (I wonder if I’m weird in this respect). Seeing him battle and strive continuously for a goal he has set for himself then to see him achieve that goal? There are no words. I am filled with pride and happiness for him in the thrill of such a great accomplishment. I am especially proud of the man he is, True, Honest, Humble, Kind, Fun…That he’s a legitimate BadAss is gravy and pretty stinkin cool.
Thank you Monica, for sharing your wisdom with us! You can Chad Cole’s journey to the 2015 CrossFit Games on Instagram @Chad_cole.
Stay tuned for our next Mom Crush Monday post! You can read about more ladies who are doing amazing things in health and fitness on our Mom Crush tab.
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Did you catch our last Mom Crush, Andie?