Solcana blog

I remember last October when Coach Hannah had asked me to lunch to talk about plans for my future with Solcana CrossFit. I thought it would be, like, thoughts about future blog posts, feedback on my previous posts…you know…stuff like that.

So, when the words “CrossFit Level 1 Certification Course” came out of her mouth, you can imagine just exactly how surprised, shocked, excited and terrified I was. This was a thing she actually thought I would be capable of doing more than 6 months ago. I kind of took it in stride outwardly (though inside I was like OHMYGAH I LOVE THIS I WANT TO DO THIS!) and let it lie as I continued on my CrossFit journey. Maybe it was just a fluke that she had planted that bug in my ear? Could be. I’ve had lots of people tell me things they didn’t really intend (cue most romantic relationships) so I operate from the relative playing field of low expectations just to stay sane.

Fast forward a few months and I was sitting at dinner with a bunch of my coaches and gymmates (aka FRANDS) celebrating a lifting accompishment while eating meat (duh!) and Coach Morgen brought up coaching to me once again. It’s pretty cool to be around people who see potential in you and share those thoughts directly with you. Empowering, really. She told me a lot about her own story which made me even more interested in the possibility, yet at that time I still kind of minimized it considering where I was on my own CrossFit journey at the time. New. I was still pretty new. Hell, I am still PRETTY NEW.

That brings us to this spring when I got an email from Coach Hannah – it was relatively simple. A URL with a subject line of “I’m just saying”. I wasn’t sure at first what it was about until I clicked the link and was taken directly to the CrossFit Level 1 Certificiation Training Course registration page.

Everything got real.

Though I couldn’t register for the particular weekend that was being offered at CrossFit St. Louis Park then, I did start having the conversations with Coach Hannah about next steps and keeping my options open for the next time the course would be offered in Minnesota. I thought, at the time, it would be maybe one other time this year….you know, like…fall. Imagine my surprise when I saw the July date on the calendar and immediately put a down payment on it to mark my spot as registered.



I chose to not think about it for sometime because, oh my god what am I doing? And, I’m still new to CrossFit. And, I can’t yet do a pull up! And, who am I to help teach anyone else what I am still learning? And, you know, all of the usual mind numbing self-doubt that finds a way to creep in. Until I had to, that is. Last week I cracked open my CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide in between comedy shows at Mystic Lake and read and studied. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be in for when I showed up for Day 1 of my L1 Certification training program at 8:30am this past Saturday morning. All I knew is that it was going to be a lot of information and that I was going to have to work out with people I was unfamilar with. Cool. And terrifying for someone who was already kind of feeling like I had no business being there.


I give myself credit for showing up. If there’s one thing I’ve consistently learned over this past year with Solcana CrossFit, it’s that showing up is 95%. Show up. Do the work. Get results. It’s that easy. I walked in to a room of some of the most fit people I’ve seen in my lifetime. And then there was me. Thank goodness my pal Ryan was also going through the program with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made incredible changes and have had incredible accomplishments over the course of 59 weeks in the CrossFit program. What I’m saying is that an experience like this took me right back to the very first day I walked into Solcana – unsure, timid, and terrified. And then I remembered how I’ve blossomed there and knew, in the end, this training was going to be okay, too. Deep breaths.





We spent most of Day 1 focused on the definintion of CrossFit (constantly varied, funtional movement at high intensity), fitness, various fitness models, as well as learning to recognize and teach proper form of:

  • air squat
  • front squat
  • over head squat
  • strict press
  • push press
  • push jerk

The trainers effecitvely broke down form and how to teach progressions of the movements to athletes at our gym, partnered with cues we can use to correct form. These were especially helpful when we split into small groups to work on our own forms and could use the skills we were being taught to help each other correct and become more conscious of our own lifitng techniques. I learned that I don’t send my hips back far enough in my squats, making me carry more weight than I should on my knees. Guess what sticks in my mind now? Yep. HIPS BACK JENN! HIPS BACK!

CF definitionAt the end of Day 1, we had a group WOD (workout of the day) which I was dreading ALL FREAKING DAY because if there is one thing I cannot get excited about it is working out with beastly people in an unfamiliar setting where I already feel put at a disadvantage. But you know what? That’s me. That’s my problem. And even not knowing what the workout was going to be, I still showed up and was ready to do it. We were grouped into 3s and told that we’d each be completing 3 rounds for time of 15 65# thrusters and 15 burpees. Somehow, I ended up being the last of the 3 in my group in th rotation, which I knew ultimately was a bad decision as I could tell our group was probably going to be the slowest. The trainers also told us that as our group finished the workout, to find another team that was still working and cheer them on. So, imagine my worst nightmare when every single team completed the workout before mine and I still had to finish my 3rd round. Yeah. I was dying inside. Suddenly, there were 60 amazingly strong and fit athletes circled around me while I completed the most brutal 15 thrusters and 15 burpees of my life – all the while chanting my name telling me I COULD DO THIS. I appreciate the sentiment. I really do. And had it been my Solcana Homies, I would have loved every minute of their support. But considering how I had already felt walking into this experience I was terribly embarrassed and mortified and at one point even tried to wave them all away from me. Of course that didn’t work and only made them cheer louder for me. Looking back, it means a lot that they would do this for me though I have a terrible knack for not wanting to be center of attention in situations like this. But I lived through it and I can tell you the story. I get it. When I get people talking to me about being scared of CrossFit. I get it. I live it. I do it. We can do it. We’re doing it. I can so very much relate.

Sorting through all of my feelings Saturday night in between comedy shows again, there was never a doubt that I’d return for Sunday’s training and testing. I think it’s pretty damn cool that someone like me – someone that is just a reguar person – has people behind me, believing in me to complete this Level 1 Certificiation program because they think I AM CAPABLE OF HELPING OTHER PEOPLE ACHIEVE. That’s the thing, you guys. That’s what I want. I know how much this year at Solcana CrossFit has helped me and impacted so many aspects of my life, that I can’t wait to be part of a similar meaningful experience for someone else.

If there’s one thing I learned – and one thing that was exemplified – this weekend, it’s that CrossFit is truly FOR EVERYONE. Think about it: your needs and the Olympic athlete’s differ by degree not kind. Increased power, speed, strength, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, stamina, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy are each important to the world’s best athletes and to our grandparents. Did you know that squatting is essential to maintaining functional independence and improving fitness?!  Squatting is just one example of a movement that is universally valuable and essential yet rarely taught to any but the most advanced of athletes. This is a tragedy. Through painstakingly thorough coaching and incremental load assignment CrossFit has been able to teach everyone who can care for themselves to perform safely and with maximum efficacy the same movements typically utilized by professional coaches in elite and certainly exclusive environments. It’s for everyone! Truly the sport of fitness.

Sunday’s training focused on nutrition, deadlift, medicine ball cleans, the glute-hamstring developer (GHD) sit-up, and programming guidelines. The Sunday workout was done nearly first thing, partnered up (thanks, Ryan!) with more of a focus on coaching rather than the athlete. We needed to complete as many rounds for time of:

  • 8 pushups
  • 10 medicine ball cleans (14lb/20lb)
  • 12 sit ups (full extension)
me, post test. waiting.
me, post test. waiting.

It was really comfortable to work with Ryan in this exercise and he and I are both from Solcana and have a great rapport with eachother. I know we’ll be able to lean on one another as we navigate coach training together and it was cool to witness him stepping up to correct some of my movements to help me be successful. Plus, I didn’t feel so awful when I shot him looks of death in between cleans and pushups. He knows me well enough to know that I really do love him.

The test came at the end of the day 2, and you guys…I don’t know what to say. I know that I have learned so much, and it’s only just begun as Coach Hannah continues to work with Ryan and I on a 1:1 basis in coach traning. As we progress, he and I will beging shadowing and co-coaching with the current coaching staff for quite some time before taking on full classes of our own. Rest assured, we will both be ready and prepared for that when the time comes. But first, we need to find out if we passed our L1 Certification exam. There were parts I felt great about, and parts I was unsure about, so I’m not really sure what I can say about how I think I may have done.  I should find out sometime this week what the results are. I’m hopeful. I’m nervous.

And regardless, I’ll have another opportunity to take the test in August if it happens that I don’t pass.

Just be gentle with me either way, okay?!





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