Sue Young

I was always an active kid, trying every activity out there to see what fit me best. I never made a single goal in soccer, struck out in softball, and didn’t get too much playing time on the basketball court. It was all those dance classes my mom enrolled me in that kept me moving. I had rhythm, coordination, balance and a competitive edge. I threw myself into cheerleading and gymnastics and every other weekend I was in a different city competing. There was nothing like the feeling of doing back flips, throwing girls in the air and dancing your heart out in front of thousands of people. There was a whole lot of training involved for an intense 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I left all my competing out on the floor when I started college and focused more on academics. I channeled my love for competitive cheerleading towards coaching, while earning my degree at the same time. I then taught aspiring athletes, like myself, to give everything they had on that gymnastics floor, and was able to satisfy my love for the sport. Needless to say, I never had to go to the gym to “workout”. I stayed so active all my life, I didn’t know how to hit the gym.

After graduation, I was a little lost when it came to staying in shape on my own. Next thing I know, I am moving from Ohio to Miami, Florida to begin my dream career as a Marine Mammal Trainer. I love animals, but little did I know that a lot of the skills used during my cheerleading days would be utilized standing and balancing on dolphins! I was back in front of an audience! Being that this career is an active one, joining a gym wasn’t a priority on my list. I thought I was getting enough exercise swimming with dolphins and carrying scuba tanks; but with that came long hours at work and bad eating habits. I tried different exercises outside of work like running or riding my bike, but I fell off those wagons shortly after I started.

My career brought me to Clearwater in 2012. I had advanced in my career; however, this position was a little less active then what I was used to. It was time to get on another bandwagon. After failed attempts at local gyms where I was left to my own devices and a lot of wasted money, I needed to find something else to fit my life. I had heard of CrossFit gyms and of this thing called Paleo. I began eating Paleo with a co-worker and found that it wasn’t that hard and I felt great. I even shed some pounds, which helps when you wear a wetsuit everyday. That same co-worker talked me into getting the Groupon to try Evolve Fitness Clearwater. For all of you reading this right now, you know what I mean when I say… I was hooked! The workouts were challenging, they promoted Paleo and there were even handstands! It was right up my alley. The Groupon ended quickly and I knew I had to make it work. What could I cut out of my life to make money and time for CrossFit!? Cable TV. Who needs TV anyway? I couldn’t wait to see what the next workout was and to enter my time to see if I made the leaderboard. The best was actually seeing the results; increasing weight on my lifts, getting stronger and mastering skills that I couldn’t do when I started. It was addicting. I fell in love with the competitiveness, the athleticism and the community that is CrossFit.

Starting a gym membership at any level can be intimidating, but EFC’s coaches and positive environment are welcoming to any athlete. Just like training dolphins, positive reinforcement is a powerful thing. Our coaches are reinforcing, as well as the results. CrossFit has even helped me to better understand my animals. How do you get a dolphin to be more active in training sessions and increase the amount of exercise prescribed by the veterinarian? Well, they have to start somewhere. I didn’t start with a lot of weight, nor could I do a pull-up without several bands; but with dedication and motivation, I got better. Animal training is about small steps, variability and positive reinforcement. Variety is the spice of life! I have to make things new and different to keep the animals on their toes and excited about what they are learning. CrossFit is no different. Every day is something new; a new WOD, a new skill and we all keep coming back for more. Keeping that in mind, we will create WOD’s for Dolphins! Nicholas is an RX guy while Winter and Hope might be scaled. It’s all based on abilities and the individual. Winter’s disability and her physical therapy is a great example of how exercise can be tailored to anyone and how important being active is to maintain our overall health and well being.

Almost 8 months later of killer WODs, sweet results and even a few competitions, I have managed to motivate several other co-workers to join the “cult” and even brought Evolve Fitness Clearwater to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for an off-site WOD. I found something that utilizes my gymnastics skills, fills my craving for competitiveness, teaches me how to live healthier and makes me happy. I have always thrived in a team environment and this team we call EFC is the best group of people I know. I feel that it has truly come full circle for me and I am proud to be a member of Evolve Fitness Clearwater. – See more at: