Member of the Month February 2019: Trina Ruhland

Member Spotlight: Trina Ruhland

Trina’s been a member of CrossFit Sanitas now for 3 years. She’s a consistent force in the gym and often needs to pair up with the boys on bench day! Her and her husband Marc have two young kids, Yana and Brock, who are no doubt going to be strong athletes in their own right in no time. Since having her youngest child Brock nearly a year ago, Trina’s put in a lot of work to rebuild her core and retool her body to make it stronger and better than ever after coming back from two pregnancies. Read more below on her experience with CrossFit!

Member of the Month Questionnaire

1) How did you get started with CrossFit? What was the primary driving factor?

I started CrossFit in 2011 when there were only a handful of gyms in Denver. I had heard about CrossFit from multiple people during and after college who all told me I would “love it.” I thought they were crazy — perhaps because at first because I thought CrossFit and cyclocross were the same thing. Ha! It took several years of stalking and a break up with my boyfriend of the time (thanks Mat!) before I decided to pull the trigger. I went through an elements course at CrossFit Verve in Denver. I remember doing Fran as one of my very first CrossFit workouts. It took me nearly ten minutes to complete but I did it (Rx! – with some pretty atrocious attempts at kipping) and I was hooked.

In 2015, about 4 years into my CrossFit “career,” we moved to Boulder. I searched high and low, near far for the right gym to become my new home. After a lot of research and weeks of dropping in to various gyms in the area, I landed at CrossFit Sanitas and I’ve never looked back.

2) What are your goals for the upcoming 2019 CrossFit year? 

I’ll be one year postpartum with my second child on February 14. For this first year postpartum I have been solely focused on rehabbing my body from a second very rough pregnancy. My main focus has been correcting my breathing patterns and activation and coordination of my pelvic floor and core muscles. Taking the time to really rehab and correct my alignment and engagement has proven hugely rewarding — the byproduct of all of this work has been that my strength and my endurance have progressed well beyond what I would have expected up to this point, and I’m already exceeding where I was with my first child in my first year postpartum.

I’m looking forward to the Granite Games championship in late May that Jenna, Alex and I qualified for, so I’ll be training for that. I’ve also signed up for a powerlifting meet in early May. I’ve competed in powerlifting off and on for over 14 years, so I love adding data points to my collection.

Other than that, I want to continue to build on my postpartum rehab using the principles I learned from The Bloom Method to chip away at my weaknesses. For example, it’s amazing how much easier large sets of pull-ups, muscle ups, Wall balls, or even burpees become when you learn to efficiently breath through them.

3) What’s been your biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome since starting CrossFit?

My ego.

I’ve been a beginning crossfitter 3 times:

  1. In 2011 when I’d actually never done it before
  2. After the birth of my first child when I was recovering not only from birth and pregnancy, but also an invasive appendectomy at 32 weeks pregnant that cut through my core muscles (I like to say I have 7 pack now instead of 6)
  3. After the birth of my second child, which involved 4 months of bedrest and an intentional 35+ lb weight gain.

Each time the biggest thing standing between me and my progress/goals was my ego. It’s really hard to choose to scale (either in volume, intensity, weight, or movement) when other people don’t scale. But each time I’ve started CrossFit again, I’ve found that the more I let go of my ego and focus on what is best for me (intentionality of movement, proper progressions), regardless of the modifications that others choose, the faster my progress. Slow is fast. Don’t skip the basics, no matter how advanced you are.

4) What is your favorite CrossFit workout/movement?

I feel like I should say bench press because I’ve always been freakishly good at it (I have the state record at 235 lbs unequipped), but honestly I love lifting all heavy things (especially odd objects) and high-skill gymnastics work the most. I also love rowing. No idea why. When I was a sprinter in college (track and field), you couldn’t have paid me to sit on a rower.

5) What is your least Favorite CrossFit workout/movement?

I’ve always struggled with high rep scheme endurance WODs. Fight gone bad feels like its namesake. Also I don’t like GHD sit-ups. I had abdominal separation during both pregnancies (it’s all healed now) and while I’ve had two professionals (a physical therapist and a postpartum coach) observe and approve of my GHD sit-up form, I think they still think the movement really gets into my head because of that.

6) What advice can you give to those just starting out in CrossFit?

I think my biggest struggle— ego—is the same struggle for a lot of people, it just takes different forms. Remember that we all have our own stories and our own paths. Each of our paths look different. While comparison can be helpful for pushing ourselves, I think it can also be dangerous.

That applies especially for people starting CrossFit. No matter what level you are at walking in the door the first time there is a path forward for you with CrossFit: it just may look different from everyone else’s path. Embrace that. Ask about the intention of a workout and then trust the coaches to help guide you as to what modification is best for you.

7) What’s your most memorable moment in Crossfit?

One? Can I give you two?

  1. In 2013, I went to regionals with a team from Verve. One of the workouts involved just two athletes, myself and a male athlete. It was a sprint couplet— heavy deadlifts and high box jumps. We’d practiced the WOD beforehand probably 3-4 times and went in with a well-prepared game plan. We executed on that game plan and won our heat by over a minute (and I think placed top 3 in that WOD?) and jettisoned our team to take 7th overall. That was pretty cool.
  2. My second most memorable moment wasn’t in a CrossFit gym, but at home in 2015. As I mentioned above, I had an appendectomy at 32 weeks pregnant with my elder child. Around 35/36 weeks pregnant I was allowed to walk again (which is still crazy to me given I had a 7 inch scar in my abdomen with 15 staples holding it in so forget anything remotely CrossFit like— it would be months until I even attempted an air squat). But anyways, I walked once around the block. It was a short block. I woke up the next morning so incredibly sore I actually thought something was medically wrong. Just gave me an appreciation for how resilient our bodies are. And made me realize when I did get back to the gym I was going to have to go very slowly and rebuild those foundations piece by piece.


Member of the Month Workout

Strength: Max Effort Upper Body
1RM Close Grip Bench Press

11min AMRAP
3 Power Snatch at 185#/125#
7 Lateral Burpees over the Bar
13 Cal Row

Check out some of Trina’s guest posts!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.