Q&A with CrossFit Trainer Laurel Brewer

CrossFit in the past few years has been gaining popularity in the growing culture of health and fitness. Our Ambassador, Laurel Brewer, explains what CrossFit means to her and what her favorite exercises are. Q: For those who don’t know, can you explain what CrossFit is? A: CrossFit is everything all the time. We run, bike, row, swim, walk on our hands, lift weights, swing kettle bells -- you name it. Traditionally, you see gym work outs that concentrate on specific muscle groups during various days of the week but, when you walk into a CrossFit class it is very likely to see a squat workout mixed with push-ups and/or pull ups. But, more than just a constantly varied, intense workout, CrossFit is a community. It's a bond that you share with other people regardless of outside life experience. The people you meet, train with and coach become your family and support system to some degree. You do things you didn't think were possible, you develop the best version of yourself alongside others who are doing the same.
Laurel_Brewer_ultima_crossfitQ: Before CrossFit, did you take part in any regimented workouts or sports?
A: As a child, my parents wanted me to try every sport -- tennis, swimming, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, karate; I'm fairly certain I did it all. In high school, I stuck with volleyball, softball and cross country running. Through college though I was very dedicated to distance running -- usually about 5 miles or so a day.
Q: CrossFit is often considered a lifestyle, and not just a workout. How has CrossFit changed your lifestyle?
A: CrossFit has changed my lifestyle in a lot of ways. I changed my whole career path because of it. When I first started, I was skeptical and thought it was silly. As I got going, I realized how much I loved the sport. When my current employer, The Union/Bust a Move CrossFit, asked me to coach I was sold. I quit my corporate job in July 2014 and dedicated my life to training and coaching. My daily routine is so different than the normal 9-5 and I wouldn't change it for the world. I also feel more empowered and confident than ever before. I can honestly say I found myself in CrossFit. Being an athlete and a coach is a large part of my identity.
Q: What types of competition do you take part in?

Competing is my favorite thing to do. At this time, I am out for the season trying to come back from a labrum and bicep tendon repair, but before surgery I did CrossFit competitions. Incredible things happen when you're out on the competition floor -- the energy, the excitement, the adrenaline -- you can't replicate it.

Q: What is your favorite CrossFit ‘move’ or exercise? A: My favorite lift in CrossFit is power cleans/hang cleans -- they are fast and furious movements -- moving weight fast makes my heart sing. Gymnastics wise - I like deficit handstand push ups and bar muscle ups; those are two movements I never thought I would be able to do in my wildest dreams. When I'm on top of the rig for a bar muscle up it feels like I'm on top of the world.
Q: Who can do CrossFit, and why should they try it?
A: Everyone should try CrossFit! There is a huge difference in recreational CrossFit and competitive CrossFit that I'm not sure the general population sees. The competition side is amazing but it's not a must and it's definitely a small part of the population. Some of my greatest moments have been watching my clients progress and do things they couldn't before on a Tuesday at 7 a.m. We have such a variety of people at my box and I love it - a few teenagers, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s as well as more senior clientele -- We have cancer survivors, people working through and coming back from injuries in addition to former athletes. The things you learn in CrossFit prepare you for life and most importantly help you age well and gracefully.
Q: What type of diet do you like to stick to? Does nutrition play a big part in your training?
A: My diet is high fat and high protein. I no longer eat bread or processed sugar. Diet is such an integral part of my training and being new to the sport (I am just over a year in competitively), I feel that I am still perfecting the science. I never count calories or anything for that matter - just eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I will admit though that I probably consume more Quest Bars than one should in a day haha. I have also found that with my output, my hydration needed to be tweaked as well. Though we have a climate controlled facility - I prefer to train in the heat; any chance I get, especially on the hot summer days, the system gets shut down and I just keep the doors open for air flow. Ultima Replenisher, as well as other supplements, have been key to keeping me healthy and in the game.
Q: What’s next for you in 2016?
A: 2016 is all about coming back from this injury. Having shoulder surgery and not being able to train the way I prefer has shown me a lot about myself -- how hard I am willing to work no matter the circumstances. What I am willing to do to get to where I want to be. But most importantly, how much this sport and community mean to me. Injury is an opportunity to prove yourself and get creative. It's a time to buckle down on weaknesses that may have been overlooked and help others see that when there is a will there's a way. I will be back stronger than ever; here's to Regionals 2017!
-------------------------------------------------- Laurel BrewerLaurel has been involved with the CrossFit world since August 2013. After 6 months of recreational training she received her Level 1 certification. At almost 1 year to the date of her first WOD, she competed for the first time. Laurel’s passion for competition and coaching lead her out of the 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. world at Apple and into a full-time coaching position at Bust A Move in San Antonio, Texas.