An Unusual Schedule
The elite CrossFit athletes understand weakness-based programming. Andrew Killion says the greatest weakness of his best female athlete is her sleep patterns. Jenn Jones is a nurse – on a rotation schedule. She doesn’t have the comfort of planning a regular gym, sleep, work, eat schedule. At 9 a.m., she had been up since 4:30 p.m., the previous day. Her next nap won’t come until 12:30 p.m. before she needs to be back at Georgetown Hospital for her next shift.
A Division 1 gymnast out of Western Michigan University, Jones knows all about putting in work at the gym. As a walk-on freshman before, earning a full ride her sophomore through senior year, she understands what it takes to work her way to the top.
A Sport After Gymnastics
Upon graduation, she lost something important. “For a gymnast after college that's pretty much it, you don't really do gymnastics anymore,” she says. “I went from a super high, competitive gymnast to working full time and running on a treadmill as much as possible to stay in shape. I had a really hard time ending my sport.”
Luckily for her, she found a sport that also included a lot of gymnastics. Another sport she would have to work hard at to earn her way.
February 5, 2011 was her first CrossFit competition, a local competition that included veteran Christy Phillips and rising star, Becky Conzelman. The same two women, along with Gretchen Kittleberger, would be the only three to outperform Jones at the Mid Atlantic Regional in 2011.
Right around the same time of the Open, a chronic back problem that had been bothering her since her gymnastics days began reoccurring. Heading into the Open she was playing it safe and rehabbing back into it. This year, she is going into the Open injury free, which she says makes her feel more prepared and confident.
Even though a trip to the Games narrowly eluded her, she was able to grasp the essence of this sport. Camaraderie. "I met a lot of really awesome girls at Regionals, and I've been able to stay in touch with them.”
Since then Jones received her L-1 certificate and has been coaching, taking her community involvement to an even greater level. “It's just so fun. I can't stop talking about it when I go to work. All the nurses I work with talk to me about it all the time,” she says. “I mean, we're doing squats in the hallway on night shifts. I enjoy the group atmosphere of motivation, and everything is always changing. People get challenged, then accomplish something. Just watching people do that is so rewarding.
“Being in this atmosphere fulfills me as a person. My day isn't complete if I'm not in here sweating, with chalk, and loud music. To find people who don’t care that you’re gross and sweaty is awesome.”
A Coach at District CrossFit, full time nurse, wife, and dog owner, Jones certainly has every excuse not to be an elite athlete. Training her weakness will come. Sleep will have its place. But as she’s proven, nothing produces more energy than passion.