37 – Steph Hammerman on overcoming obstacles, teaching CrossFit, and crushing cancer

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Steph Hammerman was born 3 months premature and has been defying the odds of what it looks like to live with cerebral palsy ever since. With a background in hand cycling, she started CrossFit in 2012 at CrossFit Hardcore. It wasn’t long before she became the first female adaptive athlete to earn her CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate and began coaching at CrossFit Rubicon. I watched Steph compete for the first time at the Crush Games in 2013, and since then she has worked with others including Kevin Ogar to advocate for opportunities for adaptive athletes to compete at large events including the first ever adaptive athlete division at Wodapalooza in 2015. A few months ago, Steph was diagnosed with lymphoma and is currently living at home in New York undergoing chemotherapy treatments. I caught up with Steph to discuss her journey and how her positive outlook and refusal to take “no” for an answer have led her to become such a great example for others, as well as how she continues to adapt and approach her current battle with cancer.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Growing up with cerebral palsy
  • Her start with CrossFit at CrossFit Hardcore
  • Her first competition in 2013
  • Being a role model
  • How she started coaching and has evolved
  • Strategies she uses to earn the trust of her athletes as a coach
  • Her inspiration for competing and how opportunities for adaptive athletes to compete have evolved
  • The Wheelchair Gang and Wheel WOD
  • Her recent diagnosis of lymphoma
  • How she incorporates training between chemo treatments
  • How CrossFit prepared her to fight cancer
  • What it means to her to have the support of the CrossFit community
  • How she uses the #1MoreRepForTheHammer to stay motivated during her chemo treatments
  • Three things that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles with that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to her

You can follow Steph on her blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #JFHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.
Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

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