Spotlight Athlete: Thereasa Rich

Elevation athlete, Thereasa Rich, is our Summer Spotlight Athlete, and we couldn't be more proud. Not only does T. Rich bring a radiant energy to the gym, her tenacity and dedication to wellness and optimal performance is both admirable and inspiring. Humble in her approach to becoming a more efficient and effective athlete, Thereasa continues to make steady and progressive strides in her form and function. She takes her "gainz" with her out in the world, beating her personal records as a competitive runner, embarking on new adventures as a mountain biker, and communing with nature every chance she gets.

Thank you, Thereasa, for your contributions to the Elevation family. We're so lucky to have you!

Hometown: Brockport, NY
Profession and educational background: Genetic Counselor/Regional Medical Specialist with Myriad Genetic Laboratories; MS in Human Genetics from University of Michigan; BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State
Sports participated in: Cross Country, Track and Field in high school; dabbled with rec league rugby, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee in college (yes, I was the worst person on the rugby team).
Time in CrossFit: about a year and a half.

What got you started in CrossFit: was looking for high-intensity group fitness as a new transplant to Denver, and had some friends who recommended CrossFit and had gotten great results.

What is your biggest accomplishment in CrossFit, thus far?
PULL-UPS!!!! I just really focused on them for about 2 months and finally they happened. They're not pretty, but they're a thing :)

You've recently made tremendous strides with your athletic performance and nutrition. What do you attribute that success to? In other words, how are you doing it?
I never make excuses for not working out. If I've scheduled it in my day, I don't allow myself to not go if i'm tired or not feeling well unless it's infectious. I give myself a lot of space and forgiveness to modify the workout on days I'm not feeling 100% (going lighter, and not beating myself up if I don't go as fast as I normally do). 100% effort is ideal, but 50% effort is better than 0%'re still getting something!  I also plan ahead; I make fitness a priority and carve time out of every day to do something active and make sure at least 4 days are legit hard work outs. The other three days can be light workouts (a run, yoga, hiking etc). There are days that are so jam-packed with work stuff that sometimes it's only 20 minutes of yoga in my hotel room, but I still do it. I also am blessed with Irish, Polish and Austrian alcohol/aldehyde dehydrogenase capabilities in my liver.

I also give a LOT of credit to CFE for creating such a safe and welcoming environment to work out in. It has a 100% positive atmosphere - from the coaches to the members; and I feel pushed but not beyond my comfort zone. This makes going to work out so so much more enjoyable.

Do you follow a particular diet?
I try to track macros; the increased protein intake has made a big difference. I'm stronger and have less muscle soreness. I'm definitely not perfect, but it has made me more aware of how inconsistent I was even eating relatively healthy foods, how much protein I need to eat to support athletic performance and how much fat is in certain things that I always thought were healthy (salads and nuts....I'm looking at you). I also almost never drink soda or eat processed foods, and make a  conscious effort to minimize sugar intake without completely eliminating things like ice cream where the happiness-to-fat ratio is favorable and worth it (when eaten in moderation...put the pint back in the freezer).

What are you most proud of since starting CrossFit?
Definitely an improvement in strength. I've learned different things from different people, including myself, about all of the ways we can be strong (physically, mentally, emotionally) and the variety of ways strong can look. I'm not afraid of being "too muscular for a woman" anymore :). We have the most amazing group of men and women with strength at CFE; I admire every one of them!!!

What is your biggest challenge?
I travel a LOT for my job, and a huge part is socializing over meals with clients I work with. I almost never get to pick what type of place we eat at and it's hard to form social bonds with people if you're obsessing over food choices all the time or not matching the culture of others at the table. I just do my best, try to focus on the small differences I can make to be healthier, but the stress from very long work days and the poor food quality from most restaurants sets me back every time I travel. I have to make up for it on the days I'm home. It's frustrating to take two steps forward and one (or two or three or four) steps back every week that I travel. I also like beer and wine and whiskey a lot. I focus on safety instead of abstinence...... ;)

Do you have any recommendations/advice for your Elevation Nation teammates?
Yes; a lot of things have helped me over the years, but if I have to narrow it down I'd choose the following three:

  1. is focusing on what you can control and can do and making the most of those things. This is a lesson from genetics.
  2. is finding the balance between tenacity and forgiveness. We need to push ourselves to do new things and not give up too soon; but we need to give ourselves space to fail and recognize failure as a learning opportunity and not as a deficiency. You can't progress without failing, and if we beat ourselves up every time we fail, we'll shy away from trying. I am not good at following this advice, but I am trying to get better!
  3. is finding humor in most things....even Donald Trump. #OrangeBetterNotBeTheNewBlack

What is your ultimate goal as an athlete?
Continuing to do things like half-marathons and CrossFIt into my twilight years.

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Listen and ask more questions before you talk or do or judge. I don't always do this well, but I've found that the more I really listen and ask questions to try to understand a person or situation, the better. This approach to life has some major limitations, for example, it probably doesn't work well in emergency situations, like when you need to outrun a bear.

From whom or where do you draw your inspiration?
There's not one person in particular. I pay attention to positive people that I meet and try to learn something from them.

Burning desires?
Seeing the world and experiencing new cultures.

Whitney's Birthday WOD!
3 Rounds
8 Power Snatches 155/105#
38 Burpees
8 Front squats 155/105#
38 Box jump overs 24/20"

*Every 3 minutes: 38 Lateral hops over the bar