November Athlete of the Month: Michele McLendon

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Michele McLendon (don’t have a nickname)

Words to live by?
Never let ’em see ya sweat? Wait, no, that doesn’t really work for CFA athletes… “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is something I try to live by.

What is your fitness background?
I don’t have a fitness background, I’ve always been the “fat kid” in the room. In high school, I wanted to be a cheerleader (what girl didn’t?!), but was too big and embarrassed to try. After I didn’t make the basketball team, I joined high school band (nerd alert!) to avoid P.E. class. Back in the 80’s I took step aerobic classes – leg warmers and all (hey, it WAS the 80’s and we all did it!). I did do treadmill walking and elliptical machines at Golds for a while, but that didn’t stick. It wasn’t fun. 🙂

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Since June 2011.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
I did one-on-one coaching with Rob instead of group on-ramp, as I didn’t want to slow down the class. Rob was oh-so-patient with me, even when I thought I was going to throw up on him (it was June, hot, and only my second workout). But he taught me that I could do it. Yes, it was modified, but I could do it. Every coach and every class since, has shown me patience and care and taught me that I can do it, even when I thought I couldn’t. They’ve even taught me that I can do more than I thought. Before CrossFit, I never would have imagined working out like this, lifting what I do, or running! The coaches and the classes are what keeps me coming back to CFA.

What are your training goals?
I’d really like to be able to run 1 mile non-stop. Isn’t that crazy? Just 1 stupid mile. Then a 5k. Double-unders and pull ups are also on my list. Losing weight is, of course, priority number one. I still have +/-50 pounds to go, but feel the rest of my fitness and training goals will fall in place with that. I was paleo when I joined CFA, and had already lost about 70 pounds before (half on Jenny Craig, half on my own with paleo). Then I fell off the paleo wagon, the wagon ran over my a$$, and I started old junk food habits and regained 30 pounds, all while going to CFA. Pssst, it’s true: exercise alone doesn’t keep you from gaining weight when you eat whatever you want.

This summer, I started working with Tristy and went back to paleo. Since June 25, I’ve lost 32 pounds, gained some muscle (you can’t see all of them yet, but I can feel them!), and feel better than ever.

This is me at my heaviest, before CrossFit & paleo. I was 289# and I share this horrible before pic to solidify that I will NEVER go back to that!

This was right before I started working with Tristy, at 243#...

And me, now, at 211#!

I’m not afraid to tell you my numbers, because they are in my past.

Favorite sport or activity?
Scuba diving in the Caribbean. If you’ve never done it, go. Do it. It’s an amazing world underwater. You can breathe under water! Amazing!!

Recent adventure you’re planning?
Nothing in the works. I was diving in Hawaii in May, so it’s going to be a while yet before I have another adventure.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I wanted to be a cop – a detective, really. I even applied to APD! But after doing nails for a few years, I decided it was a better fit. My clients are always happy to see me (not always the case with cops), I get paid more (sadly, since they certainly deserve more than they make), and I don’t get shot at. I lived on East Riverside for 5 years and rode often with a couple of different cops. It was intense at times, but fun.

Longhorns or Aggies?
Hmmmm…neither?? I’m no sports fan.

As a nail artist extraordinaire, animal-lover, and Irish maiden, what would you say contributes most to your success, in and out of the gym?
I think I’m lazy by nature, but when I flip that switch in my head and decide to do something, it gets done. Opening my own salon, joining crossfit, losing weight: switch ON.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
I follow Strong Lola on Facebook. Here’s something they posted recently that really struck home for me:

We all go through ups and downs… times we feel sure we can do it, and times we feel defeated. Success is lasting when we realize that it doesn’t just take one decision or one commitment. We have to KEEP deciding that we want to be healthy and fit. We have to KEEP working hard…day after day after day. And most importantly, we have to KEEP BELIEVING that we can accomplish our goals. Keep looking up. Keep working hard. Keep believing you can.