Athlete of the MonthFebruary

Liane Veenema

Career: Nonprofit Fundraising

Years at CrossFit Kennett Square: 1

"After starting CrossFit and getting better at it, I love that I feel stronger and it always challenges me."

Hometown: Originally Seattle area, now Avondale PA

Age: 36

Occupation: Nonprofit fundraising

When did you first start training at CFKSQ? Spring 2019

Favorite WOD: 12 Days of Christmas Barbell or anything with cleans and rowing

Least Favorite WOD: WODS with lots of overhead squats

Tell us about your sports & fitness background: In high school I dabbled with sports and was on the golf and track team, but got more participation recognition than anything. Over the years going into adulthood, I would go to the gym on and off without sticking to a routine. My husband and I lived in the mountains for awhile so we did tons of hiking.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? Take us back to your first WOD… what was it, and how did it feel? In 2014 when we were living in LA, we got invited to go to the CrossFit Games at the last minute. I had never considered joining CrossFit and I was joking that we were going to get kicked out because we did not match the crowd! Then in 2016 our friend started a functional fitness gym out of his garage and I got to see for myself what this crazy sport is about. I don’t remember the first WOD (blocked it from my memory?) but I somehow kept coming back. It was refreshing to learn new skills and not just run on the treadmill and do machine circuits.

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CF (before/after)? I always felt skinny and awkward and was nominally athletic but didn’t stick with anything. After starting CrossFit and getting better at it, I love that I feel stronger and it always challenges me. I have muscle definition—I can see my traps! I have quads! I can lift really heavy things! There is always something to work on with CrossFit. I like that I can take on large or small goals to keep improving and stay engaged mentally. And I’ve appreciated learning more about eating well to fuel results, not just trying to eat a salad once in awhile because “you should”.

What sort of changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit that were totally unexpected? There are so many! Having to size up my clothes because of strength gains was an interesting moment. Last year, with gyms shut down, I started to build my garage gym. Thinking back to my 2014 self at the CrossFit Games, I would never have predicted that I would be dedicated enough to be researching barbells and driving all over to get random equipment. I also appreciate the confidence in other areas of my life that I’ve gained because of CrossFit. It’s funny how challenging yourself and pushing yourself with fitness also opens up your ability to speak up, hold space, and accept more of who you are in other places. And, I have never been a morning person but somehow I have become a 6 am regular. If I can do it, anyone can.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit / CFKSQ moments: I had just joined CFKSQ and Everett kindly invited me to take part in Suns Out Guns Out. I thought I was too new, but it goes to show what kind of community we have! Everyone was so friendly and welcomed me and it was a great time. Last year the Zoom WODs kept me going too.

Any advice for people just getting started? We are so happy to see new people and we’re cheering you on! Ask lots of questions, don’t be afraid to fail a lift or to drop down the weight to work on your form. This is a lifelong endeavor so take your time to learn to do it right.

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit? Currently in my free time I’m exploring lots of parks with my daughter. I’m also a Master Gardener with Chester County and enjoy many different forms of outdoor activities as well as traveling to see nature and new places. When I have a little more free time, I love making a mess in the kitchen with elaborate recipes.