From burpees, to true love, to a new baby bump, founding member Caitlin Holland tells us how her life has been deeply intertwined with Humble Beast.
Tell us about being a DC native and what you currently do for a living.
I’m from the Washington, DC area originally! I was born in Silver Spring, MD and grew up in North Potomac. I went to school in New Orleans, lived abroad, and then in Philadelphia for a while. I returned to the DC area for the foreseeable future in 2012, living in Arlington, VA for two years, then DC for four years. My husband and I just bought a house on Halloween back where it all began for me, Silver Spring. I currently do marketing and communications for a large international relief and development non-profit association that is headquartered in DC, but works globally.
What is your fitness background?
I played field hockey and ran track in middle and high school. After that, I kept up with running. I did 5K, 10K, half marathons, and one full marathon. I also got into Tough Mudders, which is when I realized I was weak and needed to work on strength and not just cardio. In addition to solo gym workouts, I went through phases with spin, yoga, and boxing classes. There has never been a time I haven't been active, even though partying in college definitely took precedence over fitness. With that said, I never had a really regular "home" for my fitness until finding CrossFit.
When did you join HB and what brought you here?
I started working out at Jeff's CrossFit Glover Park class in 2013 and was instantly hooked. I had tried a couple other CrossFit boxes in Arlington for one-off classes, but truly found a home for CrossFit at Glover Park. It was such an out-going and welcoming crew of people. Jeff was such an engaging coach. I fell in love with the people as much as the workouts. Without realizing it, I think I'd been looking for something to replace field hockey and team sports I grew up with. I always liked high intensity classes at the gym, and tried something my final summer in Philadelphia called WeFit, the poor man's CrossFit, before moving back home. It got me into great shape and was challenging, so I was ready to try the real deal after that. Nothing I was doing on my own kept me motivated or delivered results like Jeff's programming. When Jeff left CrossFit Glover Park to open his own gym, there was no question that I (and several others) would follow him to Humble Beast CrossFit as founding members.
What have you gotten out of your experience at HB?
Joining CrossFit changed my life. In lots of little ways and one very big way… I met my now husband at Jeff's class in Glover Park! I met Russ a few months before he moved to California, when he and I were both part of that original tight knit crew. We were hanging out as friends and he asked me out, but I was with someone else at the time. He moved, but we stayed in touch. He sent me postcards on his road trip out there from every city. He ended up moving back a few months later so we could be together, and also joined HB when he returned! I'd like to say I'm sure we would have met another way if it weren't for CrossFit, because we are meant to be together, but who knows? It's hard to say how much of life is destiny versus chance, and I'm so grateful that the activity I became so passionate about also brought me the person I'm so passionate about.
Strength wise, CrossFit has been second to nothing. You start to see the effects of your training in everyday life, and it's an incredible feeling to just know you're generally more capable in the world. Jeff taught me how to lift for the first time in my life. I never used a barbell in my workouts prior to doing CrossFit. I learned proper form starting out, which is a huge benefit to me now, five years later (and five years older).
I remember when I first back squatted 100lbs. I got caught under the bar and Jeff had to rescue me. Now I can squat almost double that! I never thought I could be so strong.
There's something to be said for achieving goals in physical fitness and the confidence that gives you reverberating out into other areas of your life. In my first year at HB, I could never do a strict pull-up, but desperately wanted to. It took a year of working up to it with Jeff's Tuesday/Thursday workouts. Then I finally did one and it felt great!
Achieving something that takes time and dedication makes you feel like you can do anything - in or outside the gym. I think CrossFit is uniquely geared towards goal setting and goal achieving. Plus, you have a strong supportive community behind you!
What has being a part of the HB community meant to you?
The HB community means a lot to me. I've made great friends over the last several years! It has also expanded my circle in a really positive way at a time when I needed it. When I came over with Jeff to his new gym, it felt like we were helping build something exciting. The new members that have joined over the years keep growing the community and making it better. The plus side of DC being a transient city for many is that they come and find a crew in the gym and leave their mark when they go. It takes a lot of hard work on Jeff and Lindsay's part to establish and maintain such a fun and uplifting place.
What is one thing the other HB members don’t know about you?
I come from a big family! With my step-siblings included, I'm one of 9 kids!
The most exciting fact that people will know now is that Russ and I are embarking on a new adventure: parenthood. I’m 17 weeks pregnant! While the first trimester kept me largely out of the gym due to some not-so-fun nausea, I’ve been feeling well enough to attend more often in the last couple weeks, and really missed it! I was even having dreams about working out - something that’s never happened to me before. Everything I’ve been reading talks about the importance of strengthening your pelvic floor and inner abs, and getting ready for delivery by doing lots of deep squats. Needless to say, the HB programming already has that covered. I just need to come in whenever I’m feeling up to it and stay as active in the program as possible. I always feel just as good or better after a workout as I did coming in - so far so good! I love that through all these life milestones, HB has been my second home.
Also, Tiffany helped me realize that our baby will be the first Humble Beast baby. Born to two people who actually met while training with Jeff at the gym! So, bring on the HB onesie come October!