Around the Whiteboard: Laura Mattison

Time to go Around the Whiteboard with Coach Laura…10491225_659088540837583_2439591002200363746_n(1)

Certifications: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Kids Trainer, NSCA-CSCS, USAW Sports Performance Coach  
Favorite WOD: Karen or Grace
Favorite Lift: Snatch
Deadlift: all time 330
Back Squat: all time 265
Snatch: all time 150
Clean and Jerk: all time 190?
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Movie: You’ve Got Mail
Favorite Athlete: CrossFit: Lindsey Valenzuela, otherwise: Pete Maravich or Larry Bird
Dream Job: Professional Athlete, Chef or Dolphin Trainer
Dream Vacation Destination: Hawaii   

How did you find CrossFit and what drew you to getting started?
“I moved to Savannah to start graduate school in the fall of 2010. I always knew that I wanted to be involved in coaching or athletic performance in some way (I was working on a Masters in Sports Medicine/Strength and Conditioning), and so I was just random Google searching gyms in the area (I think I typed “performance training in Savannah”) and came across CrossFit Hyperformance’s site. I watched the “what is CrossFit?” video and said “I HAVE TO DO THIS!” I loved how hard it looked. I went in for their free Saturday class and the rest is history. Hooked ever since.

How long have you been doing CrossFit?
“Since December 2010”

You started CrossFit in Savannah. How did you come to No Excuses?
“This is a good story. When I got into CrossFit I couldn’t stop talking about it. I would call my mom every day after my workout and say “listen to what I did today!! …You’ve gotta do this!” I came home on a break in January 2011 and No Excuses was the closest gym to our house, so I emailed to see if I could drop in. I said, “mom, you come watch me work out and then you can see it for yourself and then you can get started at No Excuses.” Reluctantly she came, and Blake (crazy, huh?) talked to my mom for the whole hour while I worked out with the class. He convinced her that she could do it and she signed up for Foundations. She’s been hooked since then too! Whenever I came home in the summer or on breaks from school I would drop in at No Excuses. It kind of became a “second home gym” to me. I got to know Ben, Brandon, Fischer, Blake, and Crowder and when I moved back to Duluth after graduation I asked Ben if they needed any coaches and low and behold they did! I’ve been at No Excuses since August of 2012 and it is such a special place. It has been such a blessing in my life.

How CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness?
“What hasn’t it changed?! I have been an athlete since I can remember, but finding CrossFit was like a light bulb going off for me. I thought I was “fit” or “in-shape” as a college basketball player, but I was wrong. I couldn’t do a pull-up when I started CrossFit. AT ALL. I am more fit than I have ever been, I have learned so much about myself. I have done things I thought I could never do. I have met some amazing people and have formed so many friendships. To top it all off, I met my husband Blake through CrossFit. Talk about life-changing! So again, I would say that CrossFit has been a huge blessing in my life.

How do you think CrossFit would have affected your college basketball career?
“I would have been a totally different athlete. I can’t even imagine what I would have been like. I would have been stronger, able to move better, and more powerful. I like to  think I would have gotten my teammates into it and we would have been ridiculously strong and fit.”

Have you always known that you wanted to be involved in training and coaching others?
Yes, I think I always have known that, at least since college. I have been involved in sports all my life, but honestly what I think I loved most was preparation for the season. I love training. I trained with Chip Smith Performance Systems (sport specific training) all through high school and college in the off season. Those were some hard workouts but I loved it! I think that is where I realized that I wanted to work with athletes and be a coach. When I found CrossFit, it was the perfect fit.”

What do you love most about coaching others?
“I enjoy encouraging others and love watching people do things they didn’t think they could do. I love seeing progress and smiles. I enjoy teaching and explaining things and when it clicks for someone in a movement or with a concept it’s a great feeling. On top of that, I really enjoy the relationships you develop when coaching. I love people. I like talking to people and learning about them. Seeing someone PR their deadlift is awesome, but getting to know someone and getting a bigger picture of why they are at the gym is really cool to me too.”

You coach the Kids and Teens class. Tell us a little bit about the program and why you enjoy working with kids.
“The Kids and Teens are awesome! The CrossFit Kids curriculum is based around the same movements that the adults do; after all they are just miniature humans. Their joints and muscles work the same (or better) than us adults! The main focus of the younger kids class is mechanics and consistency. We are trying to get them moving, and moving well. Every rep isn’t perfect, but if we get a few really awesome reps in, they are learning and getting better. They are laying down myelin over their nerves. Kids get better with repetition, not additional weight.

The teens are also working on mechanics and consistency of those mechanics. They have more motor control so we can load them to a small degree. If they are moving well and consistently we start adding in elements of intensity (go faster, use a little weight etc.). If a movement starts looking bad, I’ll take the weight from them.

Overall it is really fun. We play games, we act silly, we call push press the “oompa loompa press” and our front squat elbows are lasers. They say hilarious things, make me laugh and also help me develop and deepen my patience. They make me a better coach because you can’t just say “get tight in the bottom;” they have no idea what that means. You have to be super creative to get them to do what they need to do.”

Tell us about a CrossFit moment or achievement of which you are particularly proud.
“This is a tough one. I guess qualifying for Regionals and competing there in 2013 ranks pretty high up there. Mostly because I worked so hard leading up to it, and really didn’t think I would make it, but to my surprise every week of the Open I stayed in the top 48. It was an exciting time! Competing at Regionals was some of the most fun I have ever had in all my years of competing in sports.”

What is your funniest CrossFit moment?
“This isn’t about me, but I just remembered it. One time in the old gym I was coaching outside and Ben was back squatting inside with a class and I heard Ben say “hey Chris (Fischer) can you check my lumbar?” I died laughing. That is definitely one of those “things you will only hear in a CrossFit gym.”

What is one goal you have yet to achieve in CrossFit but are working hard towards?
“Right now I’m trying to get my strength numbers back up, so I’ll say eventually a 300# back squat would be pretty sweet.”

What are your hobbies and interests outside of CrossFit?
“I enjoy spending time with my husband, reading, working on my chalkboard art, decorating and working on our house, listening to music, cooking, playing outside, and spending time with my family.”

What is your advice for new members?
“Just keep coming. It is really hard sometimes when you are unsure of something, but you just have to keep putting yourself out there. You will be sore, but eventually not so much. You will always be a little nervous right before 3, 2, 1…go. I still am. That doesn’t go away. But you will get better and you will gain confidence in yourself if you just keep coming. You will see progress, we can’t predict when or how, but it will come. Be patient and give yourself some grace. Utilize the coaches and the other members. Ask questions, make friends and don’t be afraid to be silly sometimes.”

What do you love most about No Excuses CrossFit?
“The people that I get to see on almost a daily basis! Like I said earlier, the relationships and the people really make what we do worth it. I also love that my husband and my mom are there too!”