December Athlete of the Month - Karlie Smith

Published December 1, 2019

I'm Karlie, I'm 32, and I have a master's degree in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis. I first came to Oceanside Crossfit in April of 2017 when my husband received orders to Camp Pendleton. I chose OCF at the recommendation of the previous owner of Crossfit Black Diamond. My husband knew him, and when I called, he said the gym had closed, but he recommended OCF.
I'd been a member of several boxes since starting Crossfit in September 2014, and I immediately felt at home at OCF. Prior to Crossfit, most of my physical activity was in dance and gymnastics--mostly dance. I had always been fairly strong (to my knowledge, I still hold the record for most chin-ups in my elementary school, (a record I stole from my older brother), but I had never had any formal weightlifting training. I was just a college student trying to stay thin, so I mostly spent my time at the gym on an elliptical. Then, I met this hunky guy in my literature class, a Marine, who did Crossfit. He introduced me to the Crossfit games, and I watched Rich Froning win again, and decided I would NEVER be able to do what those athletes were doing. But, then I went to a CF competition with him and met some of the people he worked out with. I started the following Monday morning, at 5 am. My first coach, Mic, told me to come four days in a row to work through the soreness. I fell in love with CF immediately. I gained 20 pounds of muscle in my first 18 months (I started CF as a skinny-fat, 110-pound girl with no endurance and terrible joint pain). Those first months of Crossfit were so fun; PR after PR and learning so many new skills! The workouts were always fun, and I was getting fit, but the people I met were the main reason I kept coming back.
The Marine Corps moved us to Virginia, where I found Ardent Crossfit and met even more incredible people. I competed at Crossfit Krypton in their annual fundraiser for St. Jude's and met Ben Smith, who is probably the most genuine human I've ever met. Then I moved to Oceanside. I worked out at OCF consistently for about 6 months; then I took some time off from the gym to write my graduate thesis. I got a job as a case supervisor for a behavioral therapy company, with clients from Fallbrook to Chula Vista, and spent several hours a day driving, and not working out at all. I lost muscle mass, and all that sitting down led to a torn herniated disc in my lumbar spine. I did doctor-prescribed physical therapy (which was basically just stretching) for 6 months, continuing to get worse. My doctors tried steroid injections, which came with some lovely side effects. They told me to just rest and let the disc heal, that exercising would make things worse; but I realized all my pain started when I quit working out. So I came back to OCF; however, the umbilical hernia I'd had for years got worse and started hurting, so I had surgery. I was back in the gym exactly 6 weeks after my surgery, scaling workouts and modifying all kinds of things, but determined to at least get close to where I'd been before hurting my back. I was doing great, until I got clumsy and dropped a metal pole on my foot, fracturing it in two places. That wasn't going to stop me, though. I came to the gym in a walking boot, kept modifying things, slowly building up my strength while my foot healed. Since then, I've not only gotten back the strength I had, but I'm the strongest and fittest I've ever been. Crossfit did for me what months of physical therapy couldn't: heal my injuries and alleviate the pain from various health problems (including scoliosis and spondylosis; a curved spine and an intervertebral cartilage degeneration disease).
My favorite thing about OCF is the community, and my favorite thing about Crossfit is it increased my confidence, endurance, strength, and overall health. Short term goals include muscle ups and handstand walks; long term goals are to stay as fit and healthy as possible because I love my life!
LIFTS – past/ current/ goals:
deadlift 225/245/275
back squat 200/220/250
snatch 115/125/140
clean and jerk 145/160/175
front squat 175/190/215

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