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Alexis Kumasaka

What brought you to CrossFit Renaissance?

“I’m not sure if there was any one thing that happened. I had been aware of CrossFit for a while, but didn’t really have a good idea of what it was. I think what really got me to finally pull the trigger and check it out was how many coworkers I kept meeting that were active members. They would talk about their workouts and share accomplishments every morning in the office and it made me really want to be involved, too.

I think I was also starting to feel really disheartened and unhappy with myself and always feeling like a lump. I have never been athletic, but over the years I’ve tried every which way to be more active and in shape – soccer, running, going to gyms, using workout videos, taking regular gym classes.

Nothing has ever really been able to hold my attention for very long and it was hard to find something I felt like I could stick with. CrossFit was one thing I hadn’t given a chance yet, and the idea of having such a variety in the classes seemed like just the thing I needed.”

What was your first impression?

“At first, I felt very self-conscious and awkward trying to learn a lot of the lifts and movements. From the beginning – when I started the On Ramp sessions with Bill, Ed, and Ray – to my first group classes, I have always felt welcomed and accepted. It’s not hard to notice the care and attention the coaches put into teaching techniques and how invested they are in your progress. It went a long way towards making me feel more comfortable.

The support you get from everyone else is also really motivating and helped me feel like I fit in. No matter your skill level, the people that work out alongside you will cheer you on, push you and make sure you don’t go through the really tough moments alone.

I also realized very quickly that I was hellishly out of shape. I don’t think it had ever really occurred to me before. Recognizing where I was and seeing where I could get to by watching other people workout had a big impact on me and I think it is one of the reasons I kept at it. Seeing someone do something that I can’t yet makes me all the more determined to be able to do it some day.”

Has that changed?

“I am definitely still trying to get the hang of some of the more complicated movements, but I don’t care one bit about how I look or how others see me. I am much more focused on myself and mastering whatever I’m working on.

I can say there isn’t much shame left in me when I’m at CFR. If I’m trying to learn a movement or technique that feels awkward or makes me look silly, who cares?!? If I’m trying something new in front of the group and I don’t do it right or can’t do it, I’m not embarrassed. I can’t say I’m always that fearless outside the gym (yet!), but I feel very comfortable and at home when I’m there, and it has helped out my overall confidence for sure.”

What are you currently working on?

“I am determined to get an unassisted pull-up soon. I’ve recently been able to start using some of the resistance bands and I think I’m still a little surprised at the progress I’ve already made. I have never in my life done a pull-up and never expected to be able to, so it will be a really big milestone for me when I can.

I also really want to get to 3 digits on an overhead lift – Push Press or Clean and Jerk. I’m VERY close, I think my last 1 rep max was 85 or 90 pounds.

Getting on the leaderboard for something would also be awesome!”

What is the toughest part of CrossFit for you?

“I think sometimes I am still my own worst enemy. It can be hard to get out of my own head, especially when it comes to what I think I can handle weight-wise. The hardest part can be not listening to that little voice in your head that tells you there is no way you can do something. Or fighting the urge to stop when you are really trying to push yourself. So much of CrossFit to me is the mental challenge and I feel like every workout tests my mettle as much as it does my physical capabilities.

As difficult as the mental challenge can be in the moment, I think it is also something that keeps me coming back again and again. I look forward to going up against myself and seeing how far I can get every time.”

What is your favorite memory at CrossFit Renaissance?

“It’s hard to pick just one thing, but I think one that definitely stands out is one of the “Sunday Fun Day” partner workouts Kevin put together a little while ago. Sunday Fun Days are totally optional and sometimes not for the faint of heart, yet a bunch of us weirdos end up volunteering to do some crazy things every Sunday.

The one that stands out is a workout I did with a group of 4. We spent a little over 3 hours doing 400 meter runs, 1000 squats, 1000 sit-ups, 1000 pull-ups, and 1000 push-ups together. I still can’t believe I kept going through the entire thing and I’m really proud of myself for it. I also had a great time participating in the CFR CrossFit Games competition and I always have a blast at the barbecues and other events held at the gym.”

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

“The middle of September 2016 will be one year for me. I hope this will mark the first year of many more!”

What kind of results have you seen, both physically and mentally?

“Physically, I have lost some weight and inches from my measurements. The biggest difference to other times I’ve lost weight is how slow and subtle it has been. I’m much happier with progress that way because I think it will be more permanent and I’ll be better for it in the long run.

I also actually have some guns! I get teased for showing them off too much, but it’s a huge deal for someone who has never had even the tiniest definition in their arms and I think it’s pretty impressive!

I’ve gained a lot of confidence outside of the gym. The other week I gave a presentation on something to a group of people in my industry and I was blown away by all the positive feedback people had after. If I had been asked to present a year ago, I think I would have been too nervous. I feel more prepared and capable to take things on that I would have never considered before.

It’s really satisfying to see how CrossFit has enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The only thing I regret is not getting involved sooner!”

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