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Jessica Pinkall – Deadlifting The Stress Away & Inspiring Us All With Her Strength

What brought you to CrossFit Oshkosh?

It started out as an activity my husband and I could do together.  We both work full time jobs and have four children, plus a Goldendoodle puppy, and two bunnies and various things we do as a family and individually, but we both felt this was something we could experience and learn together as a couple.  I personally wanted to lose some unwanted pounds but also gain some muscle- both of which I have already accomplished, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Your first impression of CrossFit Oshkosh?

One thing that has really impressed me is the feeling of belonging.  All of the coaches are sincere, the other members are welcoming and supportive, and the environment is fun and challenging at the same time.  I really feel like I belong, and even on my worst day, I can come to the box and forget about the stresses of daily life.  The coaches expect a lot, but no pain, no gain, right?

What has been your biggest hurdle since starting?

Right now, at this point in time, it is trying to find the energy to get to the box.  I was recently diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and it came as a complete shock- I am 37.  It was not on my radar in any way, so now that I have started chemotherapy, I am trying to figure out when I can make it in and still heal from therapy.  CrossFit has become therapy for me the past couple of weeks so missing my weekly evening classes has been a struggle. Plus, I just got brand new Reebok Nano 2.0’s that I have worn only once- they need to get worn in!

And PSA:  Ladies AND gentlemen- make sure to check your breasts- it can save your life!  

An overall hurdle has been dealing with my competitiveness with myself.  It is humbling when I try a new lift and do not do as well as I thought I would, but the coaches are always supportive and providing modifications or things to practice so I can perform the lift properly.  Current hurdles:  overhead squats, low box squats, pull ups, handstands…. just to name a few 😉

What is your favorite aspect of CrossFit?

Just one?  I love coming in and just getting away from it all.  I have made so many friends that only want the best for you and are supportive every step of the way.  You build a camaraderie with those who are going through the same joyous hell – you suffer together, but you also grow together.  Anyone can walk into a gym, but this is the first time in a long time that I have been pushed as hard and walked away still smiling after.

What are your current goals in CrossFit? 

A basic goal:  continue getting in as much as my health allows.  CrossFit has been good for my soul and people that started off as strangers are now friends and family.

Specific goals:  overhead squat with more than an empty barbell, completing a pull up unassisted, and doing a handstand with the assistance of the wall.  I also have to mention my favorite thing to do: deadlifts.  They are my absolute favorite. By far. I love’m.

What is something we don’t know about you?

A couple of random facts about me:  I have two older sisters and I’m the shortest sister (I’m 5’10”).  In 2nd grade I won the City Wide Free Throw Contest.  I love dinosaurs and zombies.  My favorite color is red.  I’ll read books any day.  My senior year of high school, I won Best Supporting Actress in Drama Club.  I teach 5th Grade at Merrill Elementary.  It took 10 years of bow hunting and gun hunting before I shot my first buck last gun season, still waiting for my first bow buck…

That’s about it.  I’m just a hometown girl who loves CrossFit.

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What’s Your “Why”?

Did you start CrossFit to lose weight? Meet new friends? Mix up your workout routine? Get back to doing something competitive?

Whatever it may be, it’s important that you never forget why you started. We all have days where we feel like we aren’t progressing, we’re tired, or we’ve just lost all  motivation. These are the days that, more than ever, you need to take a step back and remember your “why”.

I always thought my why was to mix things up. I had always been an avid gym go-er, and thought CrossFit would be a fun change of pace (and something to completely kick my ass!). But, when I take a step back and really think about it, my real “why” is without a doubt my mom.

When I was in 6th grade, my mom was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer, and since then has had more medical experiences than anyone else I know. Some of her medical issues we are unsure if they would have happened if she never got cancer, but we will never know.

I started going to the gym to let out stress and take a step away from reality.When I think of all my mom has been through, I realize that you can’t plan for these types of things, but you can help prevent them. The gym became not only a place for me to let stress out, but it also became a way for me to give myself and my body the love it needs, and help prevent any medical issues I can on my own time.

Every year around this time, when talk and action for Cancer Awareness becomes more prevalent, I’m always reminded to put my health in my own hands.

Remember, you started this journey for your own reason. So, whatever that is, make sure you don’t forget it. Fitness is an investment into your own health – in whatever way that means to you. So let’s go out there and put ourselves first. Your “why” is different than mine, but we all are in this because we want to make ourselves better. Even when you are having a bad day, take a step back and think of why you’re here. You may not have lifted your goal weight for the day, or beat your time on the WOD, but you’re out there doing the damn thing, and that’s pretty awesome!

-Coach Ali