Athlete of the MonthJuly

Jess Osterloh

Career: Attorney

Years at FireTower Athletics: 1

I do CrossFit because the strength you gain bleeds over to all aspects of life. You push for one more rep in the gym and you push for the respect you deserve at work, it goes hand in hand.

I was a gymnast, that is why I don’t wear shoes.

Quick Facts:

Age: 27

Favorite Lift: Push Jerk

Favorite Workout: Most recently Holleyman in Hero Month

Favorite Cross Fit mantra: “You can do anything X times!”

Cat’s Name: Murph…

I started CrossFit when I was a freshman in college (2013). Before that I was a gymnast for 15 years. Virginia Tech did not have a collegiate team so I tried club gymnastics. One day, I walked in and noticed every girl had a brace on some part of their body and I decided that I no longer had reason to flip on or off things. A friend then showed me a YouTube video of strong women doing Cross Fit and I randomly just looked up a gym to try it. Best choice of my life! Murph was my first WOD… I thought “you are all crazy and I AM IN.”

What I loved most about my first few years in CrossFit is the constant improvement and learning new skills. When I first saw women ripping out pull ups it motivated me to do pull ups and then muscle ups. I still LOVE when I can learn a new movement.

Most people think that being a gymnast made CrossFit physically easier and in some ways that is true. I have good body awareness and balance but the truth is I am way stronger now than I was as a gymnast. In gymnastics I was known as the girl “who would throw anything.” I was an all- around gymnast, meaning I competed on every apparatus, but I was way better at floor and beam than bars. I do not think I could do 2 strict pull ups!

*You can tell I was a gymnast because I use an absurd amount of chalk and hate to wear shoes… Shoes add weight, they are hot, and my feet since I was a kid have been trained to grip the ground; I hate wearing shoes!

I have always been very competitive; I have two older brothers and I never won any game or task as a kid and I had to make a pretty good argument as to why they should even “let me play” (that’s probably why I’m an attorney). Of course, when I was able to play, we would be playing something ridiculous like dodgeball with lacrosse balls… You can say that from a young age I would be opting in to play a sport where I knew with a good amount of certainty I would leave either crying or wanting to. I attribute my mental toughness to my older brothers and still love them even though they were the cause of many bruises (on my body and ego). This transfers to the gym and because I am not used to winning it does not matter to me if I “win” I just like the chance to leave it all on the mat!

I competed in CrossFit a lot in college and I had a short summer stint as a “gymnastics specialist” in a semi-pro Grid league (Grid went bankrupt…). Once I became a real adult though, competitions were much more difficult. I still enjoyed them but CrossFit became more about being fit and stress relief. I had tried to make a run for regionals for a couple of years and never made it (it was miserable I would do the open work outs 2x) and decided- that was ok. I stopped with the open (thanks Nick Fish for bringing me back to it because it is a fun team building event) and enjoyed not tracking my numbers but just doing WODs for fun again.

After doing CrossFit for 5 years I got my L1 and coached CrossFit in law school but soon realized, even though I love to be at the gym and support my friends, my favorite part of CrossFit is that you don’t have to be at the gym for over an hour. I stopped coaching and decided selfishly CrossFit is just for me. However, I still love coaching gymnastics clinics or helping friends understand the mechanics of more technical movements.

The bottom line:

I do CrossFit because the strength you gain bleeds over to all aspects of life. You push for one more rep in the gym and you push for the respect you deserve at work (as an example), it goes hand in hand. I do not care if someone highlights me as a “typical CrossFitter,” that is a complement. A typical CrossFitter has confidence, they work hard, and they are not afraid to stand out and be passionate about their health. As a woman, it is important for my mental health to have a safe place where I work through all my stress and scream if I want to! Also, there are not many other ways where you meet people who have very similar life mindset as you do and everyone is from a different job and age group.

I have been to 5 other CrossFit gyms for over a year and FireTower stands out as the most well rounded and wholesome gym. All coaches bring a positive attitude and care about their athletes and Judy’s nutrition class has framed everyone’s mindset to focus on how we feel instead of obsessing over how we look. I feel very lucky to be a member at Jay and Juli’s gym. Thanks to all the FireTower athletes for being awesome team mates!

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