Almost two years ago, Jenn Jones walked into District CrossFit’s free introductory class. The workout was 15-12-9 reps of: air squats, ring rows and burpees. It was a busy class and all the rings were in use mid-workout. Andrew Killion, coach and affiliate owner, offered to show Jones how to use a band to do real pull-ups instead. Jones informed Killion that wouldn’t be necessary.
About a minute and 10 seconds later she was done, while everyone else was finishing up their first round of air squats. “That was fun, I’ll let you know if I’m interested,” Jones politely said as she gathered her things and was on her way.
Having been a collegiate Division 1 gymnast at Western Michigan University, Jones had a physical advantage that made the transition to CrossFit very easy for her. "We are ahead of the game in upper body strength ... everything else falls into place," Jones says.
Couple this strength with an acute physical awareness and a knack for complex movements, and it’s no wonder Jones took to CrossFit so quickly. And with the tremendous competitive drive typical of elite gymnasts, it wasn’t long before Jones was ready to get involved in competitive CrossFit.
Nine months later, despite the reappearance of a crippling back injury from her gymnastics days, Jones decided to sign up for the 2011 Open. She placed in the mid 30s, qualifying for the Mid Atlantic Regional competition three months later to make her run for a spot at the Games.
Jones began to make her mark after a 1,000-meter run and 30 handstand push-ups set her up to attack a 1,000-meter row all by herself in her heat. Some blood, tears and torn skin later, she sat in fourth place, only one spot away from Carson, Calif., and the Games.
Since then, Jones completed the Level I Seminar and began coaching at District CrossFit. She has focused on staying healthy and injury free in the offseason. When asked about her diet, Jones wasn’t too concerned. “I try to eat good things, but plan on not driving myself crazy with paleo,” she says. “A little ice cream now and again never hurt anyone.”
Jones also put an emphasis on improving her barbell strength and technique. Her world record (later taken by Kristan Clever and Annie Thorisdottir) and personal best Diane time at this year’s Regional competition was evidence of the hard work she put in over the last year. She says it’s about always keeping a leg up, improving her weaknesses and not becoming too comfortable with the level she’s at.
With a first-place finish at the 2012 Mid Atlantic Regional behind her, Jones is still sticking to her established training regimen, which consists of a met-con and two strength pieces or one strength piece surrounded by two met-cons. “I try to keep the volume and intensity levels high to maximize the time I have to actually train when I'm in the gym,” she explains.
Jones is working hard, both in the gym as a coach and athlete, and at her job as a full-time nurse. She credits the tremendous support of her family for giving her the opportunity to train as hard as she does while still balancing her obligations outside the gym.