Congrats to our September Athlete/Coach of the month, Andrea Duer! We are fortunate enough to have this lady in our community!

What makes you, you?

You guys!  Can you actually believe that someone, (thanks Craig and Cara, ya’ll are swell) let me have a platform for your undivided attention for the next 1,922 words?! This is the best thing ever! (Let’s be honest, you’re probably on the toilet at work with nothing better to do, so you’re going to read it.  I’ll take any captive audience I can get.) Let’s get started, shall we?

Diving right into the big question…  What makes me, me?  It’s that I’m different.  Or, as my mother lovingly puts it, I’m “weird”. I’m sure she means that as a total compliment, but she is correct. I’ve always been different.  I have never fit neatly into a little box that society said I should fit into.  Many have tried; all have failed (myself included). There was a time in my younger days where I thought if I took up less space, had fewer opinions, and forced myself into being someone I wasn’t, then I would be worthy.  But something magical happens on your life’s journey.  You slowly realize that the best thing you could possibly do for this world and for yourself, is to embrace your own weirdness, your own body, your own style, your own moral code, and your own sense of self.  I don’t want to be small, or quiet. I don’t want to live my life just checking off all the boxes I was told I was supposed to.  I want to live in a way that is unapologetically me. I embrace the fact that I’m an introvert.  I allow myself the space I need, even when it may mean not being a part of the social scene.  I know that I can, and will, change my mind over and over again every time I gain a new piece of information.  I know that I will continue to change along the way, and that is empowering and exciting to me.

Describe your experience at CFNC.

Oh man.  My experience at CFNC sure has been a ride. The transition was nerve racking. I was at my previous gym for 4 years, and all of those people had been my family. Then one day, I was leaving all that behind and was walking into a brand new family.  I didn’t know what to expect.  If I said I wasn’t worried coming into a new community that was so established and close, I’d be lying. Right off the bat, the community was very different from anything else I had experienced.  There was no divide between some athletes, there was no unhealthy competition, there was just love and support.  To say that CFNC’s community is unlike any other is an understatement. You guys make CFNC what it is.  There is no denying that.

What are your major life goals?

My goals in life have changed somewhere along the way.  It went from more of material things, things that are easily quantifiable to things that are a bit more abstract.  Sure, the job, the car, and the house are great, but that doesn’t make my life meaningful.  My real goal in life is to live a balanced, happy, fulfilling, healthy life. One in which I can be of service to others, and give back in some way. I think the goal is to go to bed every night feeling a sense of purpose accomplished, and a full and grateful heart.  I want to create deep, meaningful connections and experience everything I can cram in.  I want to push the boundaries and live with wild abandon.  All while following the rules and mitigating unnecessary risk, of course.  J

What are your 3 major CrossFit goals?

My number one CrossFit goal has been the same for almost this entire journey, and that is to be the best possible coach and ambassador I can be. If you want to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. So I intentionally designed my life to do just that. My goal has always been to be a better coach than I am an athlete.  I’m not sure if I am accomplishing that, but I continue to work toward that goal. Day in and day out, I see athletes break barriers they never thought they could, and I’ve seen athletes stand there in self-doubt.  I want to celebrate the victories, and be the one to believe in them when they can’t seem to believe in themselves just yet.  I want to be part of the process for them to learn, and grow, and become the best possible version of themselves that they can be.

I believe that all great coaches never stop learning and absorbing knowledge. It definitely doesn’t end with your level 1. My desire to learn more and more started in the gym, but has taken me well beyond. It started with just working out, the movements, the basics.  It then led to nutrition.  Then to mental health and stress management, then to things that create a healthy life outside the gym.  That includes all the products (read; chemicals) in your home, to personal products, to safe cookware, plastics, parabens, pesticides, etc.  This all started with CrossFit and I want to be able to help people transform not only their bodies, but their overall health.

My second goal is to continue down this path of health and fitness for the rest of my life. In order to do that, it has to be something that is a priority in my life. You either find the time, or find excuses.  Competition is great, but longevity is the end goal.

My third goal is to use my fitness outside the gym more.  I tend to believe that anything worth doing is worth over doing, and sometimes I find it hard to give myself the space to actually apply my fitness.  More adventures coming up!

What has been your favorite CrossFit moment so far?

Shit, one favorite?! (Am I allowed to say that on here?) I seriously have favorite moments ever single week because of you guys!  Every time I see an athlete accomplish something that they have been working so hard on, it’s my favorite moment.  Any time I see a light bulb go on for someone, it’s my favorite moment.  Anytime someone hits a new PR, it’s my favorite moment.  Anytime someone stops and thanks me for the help, it’s my favorite moment.

What has been your favorite CrossFit WOD and why?

4 rounds, 400 m run, 7 hang squat cleans (225/155)

I use to do this workout maybe every 6 months.  It combines cardio and strength in a great way. It always crushed me!  I love lifting heavy shit.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Where do I see myself in 5 years?  I don’t even know where I will be in 5 days!?  I have no idea really, but I hope its someplace epic like the top of a mountain, climbing a canyon somewhere, sleeping under the stars….  There is so much adventure out there, and life always has a way of getting you exactly where you need to be.  I’m looking forward to the journey!

Share a recipe for a favorite clean meal.

Hang on… *googles for clean recipes*

You guys know I don’t cook elaborate meals, but if someone wants to make this, let me know what time dinner is.  (I have had this and it is AMAZING). So, who’s cooking?


Protein (About 60 Blocks)

• 4 lb. ground grass-fed beef

• 12 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Carbohydrates (About 60 Blocks)

• 8 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform cubes of 2-3 in.

• 1 large onion, small dice

• ¼ c. fresh garlic, minced

• 2 28-oz. cans tomato product (crushed, purée or sauce)

• 2 cups raisins

Fat (About 60 Blocks)

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 18.5-oz. can sliced green olives

Other Ingredients

• Kosher salt, to taste

• Black pepper, to taste

• ¼ c. Italian seasoning

For the meat mixture

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Once oil shimmers, add garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds, then add onion and continue to stir.

2. Season beef with salt and pepper and add it to onion/garlic mixture. Break up meat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and cook until browned and well chopped, approximately 15-20 minutes.

3. Add tomato product, olives and raisins and stir until uniform, then gently fold in eggs. Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning to your liking

4. Boil sweet potatoes, mash and spread on top

This makes 12 servings.  Boom!  I generally keep things real simple.  Protein, fat, and carb for every meal.  Basically I roast veggies, and cook some meat for meal prep.  Super boring. Which is why I’m so excited you guys are making me dinner!

What is your favorite cheat meal?

Jazzy pizza from Dellz.  Poke bowl from Beech.  Also, Momo, the new restaurant in Goose Creek is delicious!!  (If you don’t cook, you can always take me to dinner.  I’m easy like that.)

What is the most challenging aspect of CrossFit?

It’s definitely the mental side of it.  It’s also the side that people tend to pay the least amount of attention to.  What are you saying to yourself during a workout?  Are you telling yourself you suck because you needed a break, or are you saying, ok, no biggie, three breaths and I’ll start again? When you approach a heavy barbell, are you saying you can or you can’t?  Learning to quiet the doubts in your head and have positive self-talk are by far the hardest thing about CrossFit.  If you put in the time, the physical stuff comes.  It’s the mental side that takes more time and more work. I’m still working on that every single day I’m in the gym.  Especially on that death trap device… I think it’s called the assault bike.

What advice would you give to someone new to CrossFit?

The first thing you have to do is just show up.  After that, allow yourself to be a part of it.  The community will welcome you, you will make friends, and they will hold you accountable.  It’s all a part of the process.  Realize that there isn’t a single person in the gym that is judging you, or thinking that you suck, or making fun of you behind your back.  You are judged merely on showing up and doing the best that YOU can do. CrossFit has a way of changing lives, so show up and allow it to do that for you.  Maybe the physical changes won’t come right away, but other changes will.  One day, you’ll be able to add just 5 more pounds to the bar, and you’ll realize that you are walking just a little bit taller out in life.  You’ll be faced with a situation outside of the gym, and you will realize that you are capable of handling it, because, damnit, you CrossFit! You do things every day you never thought you could!  You’ll slowly make a few decisions that are better than what you use to make, because you won’t want to lose any of the progress you are making.  You’ll become an athlete, even if you never considered yourself to be one.  Allow the process to work, give yourself plenty of grace, be patient and enjoy the journey. Oh, and make some great friends in the process.

What is your personal “walkout song” or anthem?

32 Flavors, Ani DiFranco (Why was this the hardest question?)