Erika Stetzer Aka Squab
I started CrossFit towards the end of my sophomore year in high school, and I would have started much sooner if I knew then how much it influences my life today. I was 16 years old when I started CrossFit and to most that’s pretty young, but when I tell you I can’t picture my life without it, it’s hard to imagine what my life was like before I started Cross fit. Flashback to when I started, I was a measly 108 pounds (Now a solid 150 pounds). At the time I was an avid runner. On both the cross country and track and field teams in high school, I could run for miles and miles without getting tired but had barely any strength or coordination what so ever.
I remember one of my first workouts at CrossFit, inevitably the harder workout known as “Fight Gone Bad”, and I remember I got to the push press part and struggled with 25 pounds. I remember going home to my mom the following day and telling her about my new coach Miki, and all the other girls in the gym that I had met who were strong and how I wanted to be strong too. From then on, the rest was history. I started spending more time in the gym and started setting goals for my lifts and movements. By junior year I had stopped doing cross country to have more time for Cross Fit to feel confident enough to start competing. As I started to improve, I was convinced by a couple of friends at GCF to do a competition, and quickly enough I had signed up for my first competition called “Banjo Beat down” in Melbourne and it only left me hungrier to continue to grow in this sport I was now so intrigued by.
At the end of my junior year I became “Squab”. For those of you who don’t know what a Squab is, it’s a baby pigeon and yes, it’s my nickname. The nickname was given to me by the one and only, Lee Arcure. This started the so called “summer of squab” where I basically spent my whole summer off from high school at GCF training with Miki and Lee and quickly grew stronger with their extra coaching and guidance. I still remember during this summer the day I did the workout called “DT” for the first time with Miki and she sat by me to cheer me on and coach me through my last 2 rounds until I finished all my reps. It felt good to have such a supportive and passionate coach, I had never had anything like it before. Not to mention that watching Miki lift all summer and being coached by GCF coaches makes you an awesome lifter! When I began CrossFit, my first clean PR was 85 pounds. I remember I was so stoked!
Today, I clean nearly 100 more pounds than that at a 180 pound clean. I never thought in my wildest dreams when I first started that I’d ever be capable of half the stuff I can do today. When “summer of squab” was over, I started senior year with a new goal in mind to make it to states for powerlifting. I had never made it to states for any other sport but Cross Country and when I qualified for states after winning my weight class at districts, I had never been so proud of how far I had come. It showed me what quality coaching, a strong work ethic, and hard work can do. Besides, lifting weights was WAY more fun than running a 5K as fast as you can. Although I’m so happy with where I am today with CrossFit, I only hope that as I get ready to leave for college I can take what Miki, Lee and all of GCF has shown me to continue to improve and be the healthiest, fittest, and happiest version of myself.