FEBRUARY ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – LORI PADGETT

  1. In general, what is your background? Age, Occupation?

I will be 50 years old next month.  Currently I am a Special Education Supervisor for Loudoun County Public schools and have been in this role for 8+ years.  Prior to this I spent 12 years teaching Early Childhood Special Education for Loudoun County Public Schools.

2. How did you get to know about Catoctin CrossFit and why did you start?

My friend Lori Orndorff had been doing CrossFit for a couple years and I saw the tremendous progress she made.  I wasn’t sure if it was for me, but I knew I was ready for something different.  I had belonged to several gyms in the past, I had tried and was still trying every diet imaginable, and even started dietary supplements (which did the job for the place I was in), started walking and even began riding my mountain bike again on a regular basis.  All of this was great but I needed more and so I decided to give Catoctin CrossFit a try.

3. What has Catoctin CrossFit changed about your life other than a new workout routine?

Almost 8 years ago I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic. I was overweight, tired all the time, irritable and this diagnosis was the NOT what I wanted to hear.  Diet changes, exercise (I had never been one to exercise at all), check your blood sugar 4x a day was all I kept hearing over and over.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  I decided I was going to ignore this whole diabetes thing until my son who was not yet a teenager made a comment about my eating.  He stated to his sister “If mommy doesn’t want to live to see us become adults then that’s her choice and we can’t make her.”  At that point I knew I needed to make some huge life changes.  Over the last several years I was put on medications, started seeing an endocrinologist regularly and it seemed as though my blood sugar was better but I kept having to add medicine to my daily routine.  I even had to buy a pill organizer!  In time I started walking more and more, incorporated my bike riding more and more and started seeing a difference in how I felt but the medication level remained the same.  So, the next big challenge was losing weight and modifying my diet.  I started weight watchers and lost 37 lbs. and felt even better.  I was able to stop one medication for cholesterol but was still on 3 other ones.  This was the point I wanted more and knew there had to be something out there for me.  In January 2020 I walked into Catoctin CrossFit feeling out of shape, old, and lacked any amount of self confidence physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I had no idea what to expect but as soon as I walked through the door, I knew I was where I needed to be.  I immediately felt welcomed, encouraged, and motivated to do my best.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t even lifting an empty bar yet, or couldn’t jump rope to save my life, and jump up on a box was the most ridiculous thing I could ever imagine me being able to do.  One year later…… My blood sugar levels (A1C) is 5.9 which is the lowest it has ever been!  It should be under 6.5 when you are a diabetic.  In addition to no longer needing cholesterol medication, I have been able to come off my kidney medication, one of the diabetes medications (a weekly shot) and cut the remaining diabetes med in half!  My goal is to be med free one day and I owe all of this to the dedication, support, and encouragement from all the coaches and everyone at Catoctin, who show up each day, make no judgements, and whether vocally or silently help me find the courage and strength to just keep going.

4. What motivates you and keep you coming back to Catoctin every day?

The physical results I see in my body, how good I feel after a workout, the ability to leave all of my stress, frustrations, anxiety and any other negative feelings I have on the gym floor, the increase in self-confidence and just the overall feeling of being healthier are just a few of the reasons I keep coming back.  Even when we had to close during the pandemic; I was determined to do what I could at home in order to maintain the progress I had made.  I know my personality; I am an all or nothing kind of person so if I stopped while being at home I would’ve quit, and I knew I couldn’t quit.

5. What advice would you give someone thinking about trying a class at Catoctin CrossFit?

Come give it a try. Don’t be discouraged, get rid of the negative self-talk that includes “I’m too old, I’m no where near strong enough, I am embarrassed with how I look”.  None of that matters inside the gym.  Everyone is welcomed and treated with respect.  We are all working towards the same goals and we all support and help each other get there.

6. What Goals have you set for yourself in 2021?

My goal is to be med free.  Whether that happens in 2021 remains to be seen.  However, I have several.  I want to continue my journey to be as physically fit as I can. I want to continue to develop my muscles and definition.  What’s most important for me and I think others is to always remember that reaching a goal doesn’t mean you are done.  The improvement in my mental health can’t be dismissed; continuing to release stress and anxiety will be a forever goal.  So, meeting your goals doesn’t mean you are done. It means you are ready to set a new goal and continue to strive to be your best.

7. Favorite CrossFit moment so far?  I have two.  The first was when I did my first successful box jump.  It was at home during the closure, but it didn’t matter.  I was beyond proud of myself and I emailed my coaches immediately!  The second was when I was able to kick up into a handstand without help.  I never thought I would be doing anything upside down!!

8. Favorite and least favorite type or workout or movement? Favorite is anything involving the barbell.  I could do barbells all day long every day.  Least favorite is the BURPEE!!  I’d rather have a root canal than do burpees!

9. If you had to teach a class on one thing, what would it be and why? I would teach a class on self-perseverance. This is one trait that will get you through the toughest times.  When you have it, you don’t give up, you may get knocked down, but you get right back up and keep going.  CrossFit can be a metaphor to life.  It’s not always easy and in fact there are times it’s hard as hell.  With perseverance you keep trying, keep striving and you are and will continue to be rewarded.  The tough times make the successful times that much sweeter.

10. If you could be on a reality TV show, what would it be and why? Hmmmm this is a tough one, but I think Survivor would be my choice.  The competitions, the physical requirements and mental strength needed would be something I would like to experience.

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Staying active and healthy has always been important to me. I was a dancer, a swimmer, I worked at a gym in College, trained in boxing, jumped into running and sprint triathlon. My fitness ADD settled on the perfect balance of CrossFit and Yoga.
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