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June Athlete of the Month

Congratulations to Laura Van Deusen for being named Athlete of the Month for June. Laura always shows up with a positive attitude that is contagious, she consistently works hard, and is always focusing on good movement. We appreciate her and our lucky to have her at our gym.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in New Jersey and raised in Delaware. I was a nomad for most of my 20s and into my 30s and lived in Port Townsend, WA; Chicago; Portland, OR and even some time in Barcelona during that time. It wasn’t until I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and met my wonderful husband, Bob, that I settled down. We moved to Rifle from Florida in 2011 when he was hired as English faculty at CMC. I teach 7th grade math at Rifle Middle. We don’t have any children, but instead have dedicated ourselves to running a retirement home for cats. We adopt cats who are “super seniors”, have lost their homes and give them a loving home until their days are over. (And some of them have lived for many more years than we ever expected!)

2. When did you become a member at Defiance West?

I think I became a member shortly after Defiance West opened and after school was out for the summer.

3. What made you join Defiance West and why do you do it now?

I started doing CrossFit in September 2012, and I was addicted (and still am!) It is the only exercise I have ever done consistently. I knew Cory was an expert trainer and would attract great people to Defiance West, so I joined. I am still addicted, and while I took a brief hiatus due to some life situations, I had to come back! While I love how CF has changed my body shape and health, I also love the mental aspect of it and how it makes me push myself to constantly get better. This is something I’ve applied to other aspects of my life, as well.

4. What were your thoughts after your first workout?

“Will I ever be able to lift my arms again?”

5. What is your athletic background?

I did not develop any sort of competitive spirit until my 40s, but I swam competitively in high school and dabbled in a couple of other high school sports just for the social aspect. I did aerobics during the Jane Fonda era, and I’ve completed a number of marathons and half marathons as a walker. I couldn’t physically stand running any distance until I started CrossFit.

6. What is your favorite movement or workout?

I love so many that I can’t say exactly, but I love a workout with a lot of different movements in it and long ones that really become mental challenges to keep chipping away. That is when I have to dig in and find my inner David Goggins.

7. What is your least favorite?

I just realized this recently - squat cleans! Overhead squats are a close second.

8. What has been your favorite or proudest moment since joining?

Getting my first strict pull up felt pretty darn good.

9. How has Defiance West changed your life, lifestyle, and level of fitness?

I am the healthiest and fittest I have ever been in my life because of Defiance West. I’m doing movements I never in my wildest dreams imagined I could - or would - do in my life. Olympic weightlifting movements - are you kidding me?! I feel better at 50 than I did at 30. Who would have thought? That’s in part to Defiance West. (The other part is because my eating habits improved.)

10.What are your fitness goals for this year?

After 7 years of CF, I just got my first strict pull up. Now I want to get 2 in a row!

11. What is something most people don’t know about you?

I traveled for a year with the group “Up With People” when I was 20 years old.

12.What advice would you give to people looking to get started at our gym?

Please try it! This is like no other gym you have been to. There is no judging going on. You will only find the most supportive, encouraging people to help you along your way. Cory, Cierra and all of the coaches are amazing at helping you learn how to do all of the movements correctly and at your level. And if you are not athletic (like myself), you can never imagine the self-confidence, strength and pride you will develop from working out at Defiance West. Just do it!

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