Athlete Profile

Athlete: Katelyn Merrell

Katelyn Merrell's Profile Picture
135 lb


Filthy 500:00
Fight Gone Bad282
Sprint 400m1:47
Run 5k29:15
Clean & Jerk105 lb
Snatch80 lb
Deadlift215 lb
Back Squat155 lb
Max Pull-ups17


At 10 months old (1982) I suffered an infection in my left hip joint that nearly took my life. It required major surgery & left my hip joint severely deformed. I was in a body cast through the recovery & then had to learn to crawl & walk again. Ultimately, I was left with a severely arthritic hip joint & a significantly shorter leg. This posed an incredible challenge & chronic pain that I had to manage throughout my life. This experience surely shaped who I am today. Ironically, an innate passion for athletics has been a defining aspect of my character, while I participated in a variety of youth sports in light of my limitations. Soccer quickly became my sport of choice. I began playing in 3rd grade before all-girl teams existed, so I was one of two girls on the team & felt pretty cool about it. I continued to play until several knee dislocations (caused by the lack of mobility in my hip) forced me to finally quit in 9th grade, which was absolutely devastating. In the following years I tried to maintain activity, but struggled with finding fulfillment, & battled depression & overweight. I began swimming in my jr. college years, which improved my life in a big way & lead to weight loss & the beginnings of a significant lifestyle change. During this period I found a renewed passion for exercise & also became interested in nutrition & overall health, eventually leading to a 60 lb weight loss. In 2008, at age 27, it became clear that the condition of my hip had deteriorated to an unbearable state & I moved forward with a full hip replacement. My surgery & recovery were much more extensive then a typical hip replacement due to the severe deterioration of the joint as well as surgical complications. I required bone grafts in my pelvis, several screws in the joint and my femur fractured during the procedure, all resulting in 6 weeks in a walker 100% non-weight bearing & many more months of PT. After this long recovery though, for the first time ever I began to experience a daily life free of severe chronic pain, which ultimately allowed me to enjoy fitness in a new way. In the coming years I was exposed to CrossFit & thought there was no possibility of achieving this style or level of fitness in light of my hip. After many months of uncertainty I worked up the courage to give it a try & with a lot of support, encouragement & incredible coaching I was proven so very wrong. I've now been participating in CrossFit for about 2-1/2 years & I really can't imagine my life without it. I have experienced the rewards of athletic achievements that I never fathomed I could accomplish & returned to the "team environment" that I missed so much. I have become a stronger athlete & developed a much deeper understanding of nutrition & overall health. Through CrossFit I feel I have come to understand the true meaning of fitness & health, & have become a stronger more well-rounded individual in every aspect of my life. The note to end on here, the most meaningful piece to this full circle experience & the thing I am most grateful for is by far the incredible family that CrossFit has given me. Never have I experienced such a remarkable group of people that truly embody positivity, inspiration & unconditional support. For this I am most grateful & I am so lucky to say I have found a family in CrossFit.


How I Eat

I eat quality foods but don't measure the amount

My diet is heavily influenced by the Paleo approach, however I do include non-Paleo foods, some more frequently & others once in a while (i.e. cheese, goat milk yogurt, white rice, dark chocolate, wine). My primary focus is maintaining a diet free of Gluten and refined sugars.

How I Train

I workout mostly at a CrossFit Affiliate

I record my workouts

I CrossFit 3-4 days/wk. I swim 2400-2700 meters 1-2 days/wk.

My Athletic Background

I played youth or high school level sports

I played Soccer from 3rd-9th grade until several knee injuries forced me to stop.

My Experience With CrossFit

I began CrossFit with a coach (e.g. at an affiliate)

I have had a life changing experience due to CrossFit

My Work/Rest Schedule

I usually only do 1 workout a day

I typically rest 4 or more days per month

How long have you been doing CrossFit?

2-4 years