April Athlete of the Month || Heather Zdancewicz!!

Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.

Our April Athlete of the Month is Heather Zdancewicz! Heather joined CFA in August of 2021, beginning with Fundamentals and then found her spot with the 6:30/7:30 am sunrise crew. Although she may seem quiet (or stealthy as we see it 😎) we know she’s always watching and listening and soaking up every bit of good stuff the coaches have to offer. She puts in the work and is very coachable. She’s one of the many who’ve made CFA a family affair by getting her son onboard as well! We’ve loved being part of the journey with her so far and celebrating the wins along the way! Heather, we are honored to have you as our March Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!



State your Name and/or Nickname please: Heather Z


Words to live by? Be kind to everyone.


What is your fitness background? I swam on the Middle school swim team. Mostly I’ve been an active adult, but not one to exercise.  I started running about 10 years ago, which I continued through the first year of the pandemic.  


How long have you been CrossFitting? During the summer of 2021, I faced the fact that I needed to be accountable to someone(s) to really stay fit. I had noticed cross fit gyms around town, so just looked online to find a close gym.  So how long – coming up on two years.


Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today? I did the essentials classes with Heidi.  I felt exhausted, even just learning a few skills.  But it was always a good exhaustion. 


What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin? No two days are the same – or at least the rotation of workouts is so far apart, every day seems different.  That is a big difference from running or swimming.  The first time I walked in and saw the ropes down, I was terrified.  But now I get excited when there is a day of climbing. 


Current Training Goals/PRs? I just recently hit a goal – finally I was able to complete a proper push up.  Doesn’t sound very impressive, but at 58, it feels great.  I can feel other PR’s are close.  I wonder how long it will take to get a pull-up.  

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit? Don’t get discouraged by plateaus.  Sometimes they seem to last forever.  But if you keep working it, that skill will finally fall into place. Also, be diligent about foam rolling.  It really does make a huge difference in how you feel tomorrow.


How do you balance staying focused in your training when life gets busy? I primarily work out in the morning.  I feel more energized in the morning, and there is a less of a chance of something else getting in the way of a workout.


What is your cheat meal go-to? Cereal or a fruit smoothie.  I really like to cook, and normally cook from scratch.  So when I am just not in the mood, a bowl of Cheerios will do – or possibly a fruit smoothie.  I always have some frozen bags of fruit that I can pull out and pulverize in a hurry.  And always chocolate. The darker the better.


How do you use your fitness outside of the gym? I sleep better. I have better posture, am more flexible, and generally feel good.


What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey? Comparing myself to people half my age.  I started cross fit late in life and need to keep that in perspective.  I can find myself trying to “keep up” with others around me and have to mentally let go and just worry about keeping up with me. What is fantastic about CrossFit Austin, is all the encouragement and friendliness of all those around. 


Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout. The first time I maxed out on deadlifts.  Coach Heidi kept encouraging me to add more weight, exceeding what I thought I would be able to achieve.  When I exceeded 3 digits, I was exhilarated. 


If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be? 800 M run buy-in, then 4 rounds of 21 Russian kettlebell swing, 15 front rack lunges, 9 sit-ups.


What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Since moving to Austin in 2017, I’ve been taking sign language classes.  I hate to work in the yard, and much prefer to work on building shelving in the garage or painting the house. 


Tell us something we don’t know about you…I’ve never seen a Rocky movie.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…Invest in your 401(K), drink good scotch, send a letter to friend.