March 11, 2013
Fun In the Midst of Intensity: Jayme Bowles
By Elizabeth Naum

Jayme Bowles has mastered the balance of work and family, all while improving herself as a fierce competitor in the Mid Atlantic.


You’ve seen her before. Poised for competition with a stoic game face and silent intensity.

Ultimate CrossFit’s, Jayme Bowles, is a fierce competitor and, at the age of 41, she continues to push her limits in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open. Bowles has been a regular at the Mid Atlantic Regional for the past three years, and makes her presence known at all local competitions.

But as amazing of an athlete as she is, Bowles is so much more than a competitor. At Ultimate CrossFit, she is known as Mama Bear. Spend a few minutes with her and it becomes very apparent how she earned the nickname.  

A mother of two teenage boys with a full-time job, in addition to training herself and others, Bowles’ alarm sounds at 4 a.m. to make it all happen. Between work, coaching and her son’s football games, Bowles is also able to focus on the athlete’s she coaches at the gym.

Trying to meet the needs of everyone, Bowles has worked to help many attain their goals ranging from muscle-ups, to losing a few pounds, to gaining some confidence. And when Bowles is around, people want to achieve their goals — she won’t let them quit.

Bowles also initiated the gym’s competition programming three years ago for those athletes who wanted to compete at a higher level. Since then, Bowles has prepared athletes through building skills, strengths and strategies leading up to competition season. She tries to make sure it’s fun in the midst of brutal intensity. To do this, she’ll tell jokes and cheer on other athletes between reps.

What sets her apart, however, is that while some question their abilities, Bowles has the drive to make the seemingly impossible happen. What’s more, she has the expectation that those she trains will do the same.  

In their moments of doubt, she encourages her fellow CrossFitters and believes in them until finally they believe in themselves – until they, too, can make the impossible happen.  

Bowles put up an impressive 175 reps on Open Workout 13.1. Reflecting back on the time she spent judging Ultimate CrossFit athletes over the weekend, one moment stood apart, she says.

With just one athlete left to judge, Bowles programmed the clock for the last 17 minutes of the day.  As the athlete worked her way through the first round of burpees and snatches, Bowles fought alongside her with words of encouragement and strategy until at last, the athlete was back to the bar loaded with 75 lb. — what would be a new snatch PR. 

Energy depleted, the athlete kept trying and failing to get the bar overhead.

With less than a minute left, this athlete got one snatch at 75 lb.  Both she and Bowles were ecstatic.

“These are the moments that make everything worth it,” she says. “This is what the Open is about.”