There are few people I have met throughout my 17 years as an athletic trainer who have made the type of transformation that Brittany has. Brittany is one of the silent leader board predators of the 6am, she is always lurking, always grinding and it is never a surprise to see her put up big numbers on her lifts or PR a metcon.  She is an incredible self starter, I never know when she is going to pop up in the members page looking to hit a competition or just get out of her element.  She does more than just workout, she trains and she uses her training to get out there and do new things, I personally am a big fan of her work ethic an accomplishments. So without further ado… take a look at what she has to say about CrossFit, Arsenal and the community. – Coach Jason

Enter Brittany Shepard-

It was 2015 and I was sitting in a bar. I glanced up at a TV just in time to see Camille Leblanc-Bazinet lift an atlas stone up to her shoulder. It reminded me of all the times I used to watch World’s Strongest Man growing up. Except it was different. It was, by my judgement, a tiny little Canadian woman gripping and ripping.

At the time, I had no idea who CLB was. I also had no idea that in a few moments she’d be doing totally different movements from strongman. But thankfully, I managed to notice the logo in the top left corner, and learned that what I was watching was called CrossFit.

A lot happened between December 6, 2015 and May 23, 2016. But the itch to try that cool sport I saw in the bar once grew exponentially. I finally got sick of wondering “what if”, threw caution to the wind, and walked into CrossFit Arsenal, entirely alone.

I learned really quick that I was not “fit”. As a competitive person, that normally would have been devastating to me. But that wasn’t the case at all. All my life, other, fitter people had no problem leaving me in the dust. Yet at CFA, every single person I passed by did their best to push me forward, even when I was clearly behind. I had never seen these humans before, they had no idea if they would ever see me again, and yet they still found words of encouragement every time they lapped me during “Eva”.

The next month at the gym, every instance there was a workout for time, I swear I came in last place. Those are actually some of my favorite memories at the gym. At CFA the cheers don’t stop until everyone is done. And being in a room with 10 other people cheering for you, specifically: that’s something special.

It’s those experiences that made me realize CrossFit is a lot bigger than the 16 elite athletes I saw on TV that day. Bigger than all the athletes that make it to regionals. Bigger than all those athletes who seem cool and fit on Instagram. And to be honest, as much as I love to see that, I find it so much more empowering to watch what the athletes at CFA can push themselves to do.

That’s what keeps me going during those times when I want to quit. Lucy getting her first muscle-up. Christine throwing her body weight above her head. Leslie squatting her body weight AND Christine’s. Literally anyone ever who’s done a 2K.

And then there’s what they push me to do. Emily telling me to add more weight on my bar, even when I look at her with wide eyes and tell her “that’s my 1RM…”. Germaine and Andrea who convinced me to do 18.2 RX…and then 18.3. Zach, Linda, and Jess who have pushed me to continue in incredibly tough competitions.

More than the numbers and more than the results, the members at CFA have given me the mental fortitude in anything I do. That extends far behind the walls of the gym. They are the reason I’m in a boat on the Charles and that I’ve started competing in triathlons. They are the reason why waking up at 5:15 isn’t a chore and why competition class is the number one reason I look forward to the weekends. They are the reason why, after two years of trying, I finally feel like I’ve figured out who I am, but also who I can become.

No feelings. Just facts.