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Chardonnay’s Empowerment Story

I was introduced to CrossFit when I moved to Austin from Southern California in July 2009. I didn’t know anybody – I moved out here for an internship and I had only one connection. He introduced me to the idea of CrossFit as a new way of working out and also a good way for me to meet some people. One weekend he dragged me out to a free community workout. To be honest, I had no intention of joining because I used to have a HUGE bias about paying to workout when I could work out on my own for free. We ended up chatting with some of the coaches after the workout and I was really impressed by many of the results they have seen and everyone was so down to earth.

Being an athlete and competitor my whole life, I thought I was pretty fit and was capable of doing whatever was put on front of me. I grew up playing soccer, softball, and volleyball. In High School I played varsity in all sports all 4 years and played soccer for a Division 1 school.  But man, my first CrossFit workout, I was dying! Being a competitor, it kind of made me angry, but also inspired me to want to conquer those workouts. I was instantly drawn to CrossFit due to the competitive nature of the sport.


CrossFit makes me feel like I’m back on the soccer field and once again competing for the National Title. Since joining the CrossFit community, I have found a renewed sense of passion for fitness. Not only have I learned to empower myself to look forward to being at the gym, but through CrossFit, I feel I am in the driver’s seat again. Additionally, being in a profession where I work 10-12 hour days, CrossFit naturally fits into my schedule with the limited amount of time the workout takes.

Physically I have lost a total of 8% body fat and several inches, but most of my results have been psychological barriers that I have broken through. It’s funny, being a Forensic Psychologist, you would think I would be able to move past these barriers on my own, just like I teach all my kids to do! But, I couldn’t.

CrossFit has changed the way I think about a health body and a healthy mind. To me, CrossFit is less about my physical health and more about my psychological health. CrossFit empowered me to see beyond what I can do physically, and it reminded me why I love fitness to begin with – mental toughness. My body will do what my mind tells it to do, BUT my body will also NOT DO what my mind convinces me that I CANNOT do. CrossFit allowed me to throw away the ‘not enough time’ or ‘too much to do’ excuses in order to create my own path to success. Some of my famous excuses were: ” I don’t have time to cook” and “As long as I work out I can eat whatever I want.” Yup, I was that McDonald’s girl! Since learning more about nutrition during the I AM CROSSFIT E.P.O.C. Challenge, I have completely changed the way I look at food. And, I never thought I’d say it,  but I enjoy cooking! I even had to go out and buy cooking appliances during the challenge! I’ve gained such great knowledge about fueling my body with food in order to compete at the highest level.

Untitled from CrossFit Central on Vimeo.

Went from 22% Body Fat to 15% Body Fat

Working with at-risk youth, or juveniles in detention can be a very stressful situation. In a way, I invite others to tell me their most traumatizing experiences, all along thinking that I am going to be capable of being the ‘rock’ they need. Balancing compassion and interests with outside activities that focus on my own physical health and mental health is what keeps me going. Healthy body, healthy mind, and physical fitness create an outlet that I need. Learning to separate myself from unfortunate and stressful situations is a must in the in my career. I think by being aware of my own physical, psychological, and emotional well-being, I am more available to provide services to at risk populations.

So many times during my drive home I think about the workouts that I have had in the morning. I remember the pain I was feeling. I remember wanting to give up and stop. All these feelings remind me of the kids that I work with on daily basis. They all have felt pain, hurt, shame and guilt. They all want to give up. Some do. I remember that the pain and the desire to give up is voluntary on my part. But for them, most of it is not. I remember that I am only suffering for 15-20 minutes, yet some of them have suffered all their lives. I feel that I am ‘strong’, but would I really be able to survive what they have been through? CrossFit helps me keep things in perspective and it has empowered me to truly teach these kids that stepping outside of your comfort zone can be helpful.


In my family life and relationships, CrossFit has been a common passion that has brought us together. It is kind of the cohesive piece that opened up a whole new box of passion. Not only can we talk about the WOD’s, we can talk about how it has empowered us in many areas of our lives. If I can get through this WOD, I can get through anything. I can break any misconceptions and excuses that I have made. My family life and relationships has only started to be affected by CrossFit, but I can’t wait to see what happens in the future. My 59 year old mom will now be able to play with her grandkids because she started CrossFitting and has the ability to do more functional movements than she has ever done before!

My goals now are to continue my training at the SICFIT Austin gym, building on my technique and skills. I’ve been able to muscle and power through most of the WOD’s, and so far have been competitive; however, while competing for the CrossFit Regional competition this year, my lack of experience and technique was exposed. I have been focusing on my Olympic lifting techniques and gymnastics movements. Personally and professionally, my goals are to continue my passion for working with at risk youth by setting up a private practice here in Austin, while also working for Travis County Juvenile Probation.

@ the photo shoot

Chardonnay Poole – Photoshoot from CrossFit Central on Vimeo.

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