By Jeff Holt
Published April 22, 2021 in The Burg
To several people, she is just a mild-mannered teacher who helps coach volleyball. And if you know her a little better, you know that she is a former star athlete from Alexis who moved to Galesburg and is making her mark - statewide and nationally - in the sport of Crossfit.
Young trains regularly at Crossfit Wig Wag, located in Galesburg at 77 South Henderson Street.
Young took some time recently to talk about her successful journey with her Crossfit workouts and highs and lows of it all.
Q: Can you talk about how you got interested in the Crossfit competition?
A: I had my first Crossfit experience quite a few years back when there was a gym in the old Sandburg Mall. When they closed, I continued working out at a local gym, but didn’t get back into the actual Crossfit programming until January 2020. I rejoined and got back into working out due to a nutrition challenge within Crossfit WigWag (the name of our local Crossfit gym in Galesburg) that a friend mentioned to me. As a former high school and collegiate athlete, I love friendly competition - a huge bonus was gaining amazing friendships within this gym. This year, they (Crossfit WigWag - Aleks and Maverick Rasmussen) mentioned they would be scheduling “Friday Night Lights” where they would be running the Crossfit Open workouts. These workouts are open to ANYONE (starting at 14 years old to 60-plus) affiliated with a Crossfit gym around the world, so I figured I would sign up and join in on the experience.
Q: What is your driving force behind it all?
A: My driving force behind it is that you will always get in a great workout. Just being healthy is something that I have really tried to make a focus, especially when Covid hit. I love the variety of the workouts - strength, cardio/endurance, and gymnastics based. Every week, I am humbled. I enjoy that each workout can show you what you have improved upon, but also the areas where you need improvement. Also, Maverick (another owner of Crossfit WigWag) started a Barbell class where we work a lot on Olympic lifting, as well as some powerlifting movements and technique. There was a solid length of time where I was attending a Crossfit class then going across the hall and attending the barbell class to fine tune lifting technique. Lifting was something I started in the summer of 6th grade at school with Donn Damos and it became a passion of mine. I have really enjoyed the Barbell class that they added to the schedule!
Q: What has been the toughest part of it and why?
A: The toughest part is pushing through the mental block when you don’t always feel like going to a class/working out. I always feel better once I show up - even if it is at the 5:30 a.m. class.
Q: How have your coaches helped you out?
A: The coaches (Aleks, Mav, Shana, Travis, Melissa, Joe) play such a huge role in the experience - they are there to encourage and give you the tough love you need. It’s amazing to see them notice each person’s individual potential and capability! Each person’s journey/purpose is so different and they acknowledge that, but also encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone. Other than the coaching expertise -- sharing your journey with fellow members has made a difference, as well. There are so many people within the Crossfit WigWag family that you learn from that make attending classes each week worth it!
Q: What has it been like trying to handle the eating part of it?
A: Food is the foundation! If you ask anyone who really knows me - they know I love eating! When our gym does our challenges (around the beginning and middle of the year), I really try to be disciplined. I know that balanced nutrition is the most important aspect if you want to see changes, especially if you are working out daily so I have really tried to learn from the challenges that our gym (Aleks Rasmussen) has put on and incorporate it into my daily routine. Are there days where I completely eat off of the plan? Of course - and I don’t feel guilty because I know it’s not a day after day occurrence.
Q: If you could eat one thing on your day off and not worry about calories, what would it be and why?
A: That’s a tough question -- but since this has been the running joke with some people at the gym (and even at my job): Corn Dogs! Not sure if it came from the love of fairs when I was younger, but that is something that I could always eat!
Q: What future goals do you have?
A: I want to remain healthy and fit. That is the most important thing I have learned along this journey - being healthy and educated about nutrition has been the most eye opening part of this experience. You may not always be able to lift as much as you get older, but being educated about how to remain healthy will stay with you.
Q: Can you take me through your favorite volleyball match or play that you will always remember?
A: Oh wow - there’s not a specific volleyball match or play that truly sticks out, but the energy and intensity during the season was the best! It reminds me a lot of the energy that occurred this year during the Crossfit Open at Crossfit WigWag. So many members of the gym did movements or completed workouts that they never thought they would!
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out in crossfit competition?
A: A piece of advice I would say to someone that is thinking about or starting Crossfit is to have an open mind. The programming behind Crossfit is to push you outside your comfort zone. You rarely ever do the same workout twice. Trust the coaches, but also know and accept your limitations. People have this perception of Crossfit as this highly intense and insane workout regime -- but that’s what the elite Crossfit athletes fall under, not your day to day Crossfit member in your local gym. What’s great about Crossfit is that you have a program already created for you and a coach to help you through the process of understanding the movements and lifts. Trust me - you will always get a solid workout in and it’s only one hour of your day.
Coaching experience in volleyball: United JH Volleyball Coach (2 years) & United High School JV Volleyball Coach (5 years)
Teaching experience: 6th Grade Teacher at Central Intermediate (Monmouth-Roseville CUSD 238)
Hobbies outside of lifting weights: Coaching, Playing Recreational Sports, Staying Active
Category that you compete in for crossfit competition: Right now, I compete in the Individual 18-34 age range for Women
Current lifting marks for the crossfit competition: Back Squat (285 pounds), Front Squat (230 pounds), Overhead Squat (165 pounds), Power Clean (210 pounds), Squat Clean (215 pounds), Clean & Jerk (215 pounds), Split Jerk (220 pounds), Deadlift (335 pounds), Bench Press (175 pounds).
Current rankings locally and statewide: Crossfit Open (6,556th place in North America - to move on, top 6,594 women in N.A. move on to Quarterfinals), Crossfit Quarterfinals (1,292nd place out of 3,405 women in North America - top 120 women move on to Crossfit Semifinals)
Galesburg restaurant: Guacamole Grill
Movie: Not a huge movie fan -- will watch any comedy!
Actor: Matthew McConaughey
TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy
Type of music: 90’s or 2000’s Pop -- Coach’s Pumpkin Spice Playlist
Pro Team: Chicago Cubs/Bears. Jeff (Milroy, her boyfriend) hasn’t fully convinced me to become a Pittsburgh fan yet.
Pro Athlete: Any Female Athlete in the professional field!
Stadium to watch a sporting event: Heinz Field was a pretty great atmosphere (as much as it hurts me to say that as a Chicago fan)
Type of social media: Instagram