Natalie McLain has always loved sports and has difficulty remembering a time she wasn’t involved in some type of athletic endeavor. Some of her favorites are soccer, dirt biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, cross-country running, and rock climbing. Rock climbing is a passion she shares with her father and husband and even led to her introduction to CrossFit.
Natalie stumbled upon CrossFit at a local indoor rock climbing gym in July 2009. She was getting married in August and wanted to get more “fit and toned.” Intimidated at first, following a 10 minute “Cindy,” she was hooked. CrossFit quickly became her new fix; it was challenging, exciting, competitive, and rewarding all at the same time. She was sold on CrossFit and committed to the sport, making time to schedule CrossFit into her busy life.
At first, she used CrossFit to build mental and physical strength for the physical challenges she faced at work as a Hydrologic Technician with U.S. Geological Survey. Usually the sole female on a team of 15 to 20, she held her own and enjoyed her career. She frequently was required to snowshoe deep into the woods to break through the ice for stream samples while taking measurements. She loved the challenge of the work and the opportunity it gave her to work outdoors. She could never see herself stuck in an office.
In April 2011, she decided to take her CrossFit passion to the next level, getting a Level 1 certificate and became a CrossFit trainer. Then in July, she quit her job with the U.S. Geological Survey and opened up, CrossFit Venture, in the Vail Valley of Colorado.
CrossFit has a tendency to bring out your competitive nature and the physical challenge wasn’t enough. She began competing in 2010, participating in the 2010 Rocky Mountain Sectionals, 2010 Colorado Open, 2011 South West CrossFit Games Sectionals (5th place in region), 2011 Colorado Open (7th place), Fitness Elevated Competition (4th place), as well as various smaller events. In 2011, she planned on attending the Games as part of a team and sprained her ankle the week of Regionals.
At 5’1” and 115 pounds, she is very comfortable with body weight exercises. When she saw the first workout of the Open this year, she was excited and confident she would do well. She follows a “one and done” philosophy and does each workout only once. She believes she paced her effort this week just a bit more than she needed to. But with 132 reps and 1st place in the South West Region, she is well paced for an excellent performance in the Open.
McLain says she finds it rewarding to be able to make a difference in one’s life by teaching and sharing a world-class fitness program that is unlike any other. Now she truly lives and breathes CrossFit. “It is the best job in the world.”