Ep 126a – Nicole Christensen on Growing a Thriving CrossFit Affiliate

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“I think I talked about nutrition so much, and I talked about functional movements, and I talked about scaling and intensity so many times in blog posts that I was just like, “Yeah, people get it now.”  And you forget that it has to be a constant message.  Because, while you and I might live and breathe CrossFit daily… medicine, you know, whatever it is. This is three hours of someone’s week.  So, we do have to give them more tools to ingrain it into why it’s important.  So, the education piece is huge.” – Nicole Christensen

Nicole Christensen started CrossFit Roots out of her one-car garage in 2008. Since that time, she and her husband Eric have grown Roots into a 10,000 square foot facility with an accomplished team of full-time coaches and staff. She got her coaching start as a swim coach in the Northern Virginia Swim League. 10 years later when she found CrossFit, she knew that it combined her passion for coaching with her belief in a lifelong pursuit of fitness and health.

In 2009 she was hired to the CrossFit Seminar Staff, and for more than ten years Nicole has traveled around the world to teach and coach the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Courses.

Nicole has an extensive competitive background and competed in five CrossFit Games Regionals, placing in the top ten four times. She is a well-known resource for women interested in continuing CrossFit throughout their pregnancies, drawing on her own personal experiences of training and competing while pregnant alongside her experiences coaching Roots athletes through own their pregnancies.

Nicole and I had the opportunity to chat at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and our conversation ran the gamut. In part a, we talk about her background, how her education as city planner influences the processes and systems that have helped grow CrossFit Roots into a thriving affiliate, and why she loves the community aspect of CrossFit. In part b, we do a deep dive on best practices for training while pregnant, to how she maintains her fire and love for CrossFit after 11 years in the business.

*Bio adapted from crossfitroots.com

In Part A of this episode we discuss:

  • Nicole’s background as a swimmer, softball player and hiker, and how she developed from being a poor swimmer to becoming a collegiate athlete
  • How our physical environment impacts our health
  • How Nicole got into CrossFit
  • The factors that led her to open an affiliate, and the process for opening CrossFit Roots
  • The practices that have led CrossFit Roots to become a thriving affiliate
  • How Nicole uses education to communicate with her athletes
  • How she creates a culture that recognizes the importance of modifying workouts
  • The most important qualities that she looks for in coaches
  • What drove her to be a competitive athlete, and how she motivates herself to perform beyond competition

You can follow Nicole on Instagram, and you can follow CrossFit Roots on Facebook and Instagram.

Links:

Related Episodes:

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 #PursuingHealth. 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.


Ep 125 – Bridging the Gap Between the Hospital and the CrossFit Affiliate

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We are trying to reach the populations that would otherwise never consider walking into a CrossFit gym.  That was goal #1 was, when we first put this out to people, if you’re the least likely person to go to a CrossFit gym, we want you.  And it was followed pretty closely after that with, we will meet you wherever you’re at.  And, got a pretty good response just from that.  We have targeted two primary populations.  One we call special populations, and that covers everything from the severely overweight to chronic disease: diabetes, COPD, you name it, we’ve got it.  And, that was our primary target was a special populations class, and then reaching seniors, and the people who didn’t have exposure to any kind of physical activity, let alone CrossFit, and teaching them some of the skills that would be necessary to keep them living independently.– Michele Mootz

When it comes to helping seniors and other “unlikely exercisers” become active and functionally fit for a lifetime of health, Dustin Jones and Michele Mootz are leading the charge.

As a home health physical therapist, Dustin Jones works to keep older adults resilient and independent at home.  He is also the founder of Geros Health and the Geros Health podcast, where he connects thousands of clinicians to share information and education about caring for older adults.

Michele Mootz is a true CrossFit original, getting her start in Santa Cruz back in 2004.  An experienced physical therapist, she fell in love with CrossFit methodologies and ultimately left her formal work as a physical therapist to become a full-time coach.  Michelle has worked on the CrossFit Seminar Staff member for 10 years, currently serving as a Flowmaster.  Most recently she has taken over the CrossFit Heath program at CrossFit HQ where she works with older adults as well as those struggling with obesity and chronic disease in an effort to help them regain their health and independence.

Michele, Dustin and I met up at a recent CFMDL1 seminar to share a discussion on how we can bridge the gap from the hospital to the affiliate.  In this episode, we discuss the considerations that go along with working with these special populations, how affiliate owners can get start their own senior and special populations programs, and how healthcare providers can get involved with their local affiliates.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The stereotypes surrounding CrossFit, and the initiative CrossFit HQ is undertaking to reach populations who would never consider trying CrossFit, including obese populations, those with chronic disease, and seniors
  • How a box owner or a dedicated coach can create an inviting environment for those who need CrossFit the most so they feel welcomed
  • The criteria CrossFit HQ uses in allowing those interested to join their CrossFit Health program
  • Scheduling and programming considerations for special populations
  • What primary care physicians should look for in an affiliate in order to feel comfortable referring patients
  • How healthcare providers can get involved with their local affiliates
  • The Derelict Doctors Club or “DDC”
  • The trickle-down theory: why the MDL1 is not open to all healthcare providers
  • How HQ is working towards a directory of doctors who CrossFit
  • The reasoning behind CrossFit HQ’s decision to track quality of life over other health data markers
  • Michelle’s action steps for box owners and coaches who would like to get started helping special populations
  • Julie’s action steps for medical providers who would like to consider using functional movement to help their patients
  • Dustin’s thoughts on why functional movement is so important for rehabilitation patients

You can follow Dustin and Geros Health on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and via his podcast.  You can contact Michele Mootz via email.

Links:

Related Episodes:

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 #PursuingHealth. 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.