What is something you would say helped you within your first month of CrossFit?



Two things: the amazing atmosphere at Railroad, and the realization that CrossFit really is for everyone.



I was so hesitant about trying CrossFit, but I’m currently on an 18-month sabbatical from my job in the city, and I promised myself that I’d try something new during the time off.



Taking a deep breath and walking through Railroad’s doors that first time was the best thing I ever did.



I was honestly expecting the gym to be full of crazy meathead Alpha-types, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! By the end of my final On-Ramp session with Shawn, I was pretty much hooked. His enthusiasm and attention during those sessions were a real surprise, and I could tell that this wasn’t “just another gym”.



And the camaraderie during each class amazed me – I’ve honestly never met such a welcoming and inspiring group of people.



I lived in Manhattan for the last 10 years and regularly went to the Equinox gyms, but it’s often hard to even make eye contact with people there!



So the Railroad atmosphere was such a lovely change from all that. It’s what kept me coming back that first month, and it’s now a healthy habit. Can’t wait to return in January!



What do you get most excited about when going to the gym? 



Oh crikey! There are so many things I could say here! But the main thing is walking through Railroad’s doors each morning and feeling instantly inspired, every single time.



I don’t know what it is about that doorway, but I swear it’s like some kind of magic portal! And nothing beats opening the door and hearing Nolan boom out your name from across the room, or listening to Shawn do dreadful impersonations of your accent!



But I also get excited about the huge variation of workouts, and knowing that for at least 30 minutes I’ll push myself harder than if I were working out alone. Even on days when I dread the workout (burpees! wall balls!), I know it’ll be bearable and fun, especially when we partner-up (big shout-out to Laura for helping me get through 81 burpees!).



The patience and gentle encouragement of Shawn, Nolan and Abby (and Elena!) continually amazes me, and the ongoing support from everyone in class is a thing of wonder. I’ve never know anything like it.


And I love all the random conversations that happen while sprawled on the floor after Cool Down. I’ve chatted with Jimmy about trains, Freddie about cars, Julie about hawks, Judith about boats, Astrid about life… everyone’s happily exhausted and happy to chat.


I fly back to the UK this week for two months, and I’m genuinely gutted to be leaving Railroad for a short while! I’m gonna miss you guys so much. I’ll be in mourning every day at 10am while I’m gone!



What is something that you are most proud of that happened in the gym? 



It’s just a small thing, but it’s something that happened during 20.2 of the Open. I was doing the Scaled version, which meant that instead of doing toes-to-bars, I had to do a ton of hanging knee-raises.



But I honestly didn’t think I could do them, as my arms aren’t that strong. I’d resigned myself to failure even before I’d started, and I said to Nolan that I couldn’t do that part of the workout for so many reps.



He looked at the rig, looked at me, and in a really quiet and encouraging way, he said: “Just give it a go, Nina. You might surprise yourself.”



So, I gave it a go… and I did actually surprise myself! Ended up doing many rounds of hanging knee-raises. If Nolan hadn’t given me that encouragement, I’d never have done it.



My hands and arms were killing me afterwards, but it was so worth it. Thanks, Nolan! (And thanks BB for being my judge that day!)



What is something that we don’t know about you?


I lived and worked in Indonesia for five years with the United Nations. It was just after the 2004 tsunami, and the UN was there as part of the massive recovery effort.



I was sent to help with the media and communications.



I only expected to stay for a year or so, but ended up staying for five. Despite the devastation, it’s a beautiful part of the world and the locals are so resilient, even though many had lost almost everything.



It was one of those situations that really makes you realize how much we take things for granted.