Athlete of the Month - Debbie Cotterall

Congratulations Debbie!! First, can you start by telling us about yourself? 

Thank you!! I am a proud Mommy to 2 lovely little girls, Anna (3 1/2) and Regina "Gina" (10 months). I've been married to my husband, John for a little over 4 years and we live in Springfield. I was proudly born and raised here in Delco! I work part-time as a music therapist in a psychiatric hospital and I run a small studio teaching adaptive music lessons for kids and adults on the autism spectrum. 


Share with us your Crossfit journey. How did you end up at CFDV, how long have you been here and what is your motivation to keep continue coming back?

I got into CrossFit in February 2015 after attending a "Friends & Family Day" at my brother and sister-in-law's CrossFit gym. They had been on me for a while to try it out so I pretty much went just they would stop asking! For some reason, even though that first workout brought me to tears, I decided to sign up 2 days later! I decided to try to look for another gym closer to my house a few months later and I had heard good things about CFDV. After my trial class, I thought it was awesome so I joined that night. I think what keeps me coming back is that feeling of accomplishment each and every time I am there. I know that every time I walk in the gym, there will be something that makes me nervous or at least a little unsure but I also know that every time I will get through it in some way and that is an amazing feeling! It has really carried into other areas of my life and being willing to try and do things that I feel unsure about.


You were with us through your second pregnancy. Can you tell us about that experience? 

It was definitely a very interesting experience for me while being pregnant and trying to continue working out. I was definitely scared at first but I really felt like all the coaches were great about checking in with me and helping me scale things appropriately. Even though it was tough to get there sometimes, whether I was feeling tired or sick, what motivated me was that working out helped me to feel like myself. Pregnancy can be such a weird time with ups and downs, I mean you are growing a person inside of you!!! But by the time I got pregnant, CrossFit had been a part of my life for over a year and trying to get there helped me feel more like me and more in control and I definitely enjoyed that! 


We know that over the past few months you have been working closely with Jacki to dial in on your nutrition. Can you share with us what made you want to seek out guidance and what you are experiencing now after having participated in our Nutrition Challenges?

I can honestly say I kind of stumbled into working on my nutrition. The story is I returned to working out as soon as my doctor gave me the ok, at about 3 or 4 months postpartum. When I came back, I was really feeling like things were more difficult (understandably so) but I found myself not saying anything. One day, I was attempting a workout that I remember doing a long time ago, with no issues but this time I couldn't keep up at the weight I expected and the burpees felt like death (more than usual). Jacki was coaching and she could see I was upset. Right in the middle of the wod, she took me aside and we went for a walk. I cried and said that maybe Crossfit wasn't for me anymore. She listened, gave me a hug, and asked me to come in to talk with her the next day. I came in and we discussed my goals and a lot of them revolved around weight loss and being more healthy, specifically lowering my blood pressure which has been an issue for me over the past few years. That was the day when everything changed! I committed to trying it out for 8 weeks and I ended up losing over 20 pounds and over 8 inches! Even more importantly, I began sleeping better, had SO much more energy with my girls, could work out much harder, and I was just happier! It was an amazing transformation!! I kept up with it over the summer but knew I needed a reset after my vacation. I just finished another 6 weeks and I'm down 33.9 pounds and 12 inches total. And MOST IMPORTANTLY, my blood pressure is doing great!! I've said it before, but I can never thank Jacki enough for all of her encouragement from the very beginning!! :) 


We saw you crushing the Girls On Girls workouts this past weekend at our bi-annual competition! Has being in a Crossfit competition always been a goal of yours? How were you feeling leading up to the competition, during it and after? 

Thanks! This weekend was so much fun!! This was my 2nd competition, I had competed in CF West Chester's New Year Novice Competition in February 2016. My partner for both competitions, my cousin, Dina talked me into the first one which terrified me! It was such an exciting experience so when Rob asked a few weeks ago if I signed up for Girls on Girls, I gave my cousin a call and she said she was in! I was definitely nervous again but as soon as the first wod started, my nerves turned to excitement. It was so much more fun competing at my home gym with so many familiar faces :) After practicing the first wod, I was definitely worried about going from the row to the thrusters so that was really my focus leading up to the competition. I committed to sets of 10 thrusters, even though I wasn't sure if I could but I think the excitement and adrenaline kicked in and I was able to get through all 5 sets! I've never felt so sore and happy as I did on Monday, haha!


Help us get to know you a little better!
What is your favorite Crossfit movement and why?

Hmm...I would have to say that I love to deadlift! Ever since I started CrossFit, I just thought it was so cool to see how heavy I could get the bar and pick it up!


What is a short term goal you recently achieved and a long term goal you have?

Over the summer I got double unders and then I got them consistently! I'm still working on stringing them together. My long term goal is definitely pull-ups...I think I'm going to throw a party the day I get my first pull-up!


Any memories stand out for you from the 9:30 classes?
I can't think of any specific memories but my absolute FAVORITE thing about 9:30 and my experience since having my second baby is being able to bring the kids to the gym with me. I think it so cool getting the family involved and showing them how important health and fitness is from a young age. And it's super cute seeing them play with their little gym buddies :)


Something we don’t know about you..

I'm an opera singer! That's what I studied in college and it's always been a dream of mine. I recently sang a solo recital as part of a benefit which I had not done in years. It definitely got me excited again about the possibilities so my next goal is to audition for Opera Philadelphia and Opera Delaware's opera choruses. I also sing at weddings and funerals regularly.


Fill in the blanks:
My favorite singer is .... going with my last answer, Luciano Pavarotti (he can bring anyone to tears!)
The last movie I watched was... probably Frozen (thanks, Anna)
If I could meet a famous person (dead or alive) it would be ... Elvis Presley! As a kid, I loved his music so much, my parents had an Elvis impersonator come to my First Communion party (true story) and he also sang my wedding song :)
My best friend is... my husband, John (cheesy, I know) but he is the nicest guy you could ever meet! I'm working on getting him into the gym soon.
If I could go anywhere in the world it would be to... Vienna, Austria because there is so much classical music history there and in surrounding areas.


Any extra comments: 

THANK YOU!!!! Thank you so so much to everyone who has helped me during my time at CFDV. There are so many wonderful and kind and fun people who make up this community and I'm proud to be a part of it! A very special shoutout to all the coaches, you are all rockstars!