Karla pressing some weight overhead!
ATHLETE PROFILE: Karla Rodriguez
Hometown: La Mirada, CA
Occupation: Marriage and Family Therapist
When did you first start training at Walnut CrossFit?:
I`m coming up on the year mark.
Favorite WOD: Partner WODs! You have a partner in crime right there with you (sweating it out, counting your reps, cheering you on!). I feel like I have to “step up my game” during partner WODS.
Least Favorite WOD: Partner WODs! They’re usually really intense work outs and I`m usually pretty sore for the next couple of days.
Tell us about your sports & fitness background:
I`ve always enjoyed being physically active but most of my “adventures in physical activity” probably began in college. While I was dorming at UCI (Zot! Zot!) during my freshman year, I took full advantage of the classes they offered at the ARC (Anteater Recreation Center). I tried everything I could sign up for ranging from tai-chi to capoeira. This is probably where I lessened the fear of taking on new physical challenges and normalizing the process of feeling completely awkward and being outside my comfort zone when taking on something new.
How did you first get exposed to Walnut CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel?
I came to a point where I was beyond bored of the gym and was looking for something new and challenging. I Googled the closest CrossFit to my area- I called and made an appointment with Rob and the rest is history.
I would be lying if I said that my first WOD was anything short of AWK and intimidating. I remember we were doing bench presses that day and I was paired up with Elena. I had no idea as to how to place clips on my bar- obviously ZERO experience with weights up to this point. I told her that it was my first day and her entire demeanor changed to one that was completely accommodating and friendly. Elena was extremely helpful in showing the ropes that day.
What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting Walnut CrossFit (before/after)?
The most noticeable change for me has been how much stronger I have become. To see how much weight I can take on now versus when I began and is pretty awesome! I have more muscle definition in my body, which in never a bad thing. Another big change that I made was involving my diet. Thanks to Rob and his nutrition counseling, I began incorporating more lean proteins into my diet (good-bye anemia!) and almost completely eliminated dairy (good-bye acne and indigestion!) from my diet.
What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected?
I joined Walnut CrossFit a couple of months after my aunt, who I was very close to lost her battle with cancer. My grandmother, who raised me, also lost her battle with cancer four years prior. I experienced a tremendous feeling of helplessness over witnessing the decline of their physical bodies and not being able to do anything about it. I did not know it at the time, but the physical strength that I was cultivating during my work outs poured over onto other areas of my life where I was feeling very vulnerable. As a mental health professional, I try to educate my clients about the powerful connection between body, mind, and spirit and the use of positive coping skills. Joining Walnut CrossFit has been a tremendous coping tool for me in healing from grief. I continue to amaze myself by how strong I can be in all areas of my life.
Any advice for people just getting started?
I like to think of the WODs as my “adult recess time”.(Who doesn’t like recess?!) You begin looking forward to working out, catching up on life and giggling with the friends that you make in class.
What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of Walnut CrossFit?!
Last year, I decided to train my dog Penelope to go paddle boarding with me. We started on a boogie board in my pool, but she was a puppy still so she was a hot mess all around. This year will be the year!…hopefully.
Favorite Cheat Meal? Beer and Chicken wings!