Pogo sticking, one-liners, and lots of wisdom in this one… read on to get to know the seriously cool Tamara Vos-Draper.
What do you do for a living?
I am an Occupational Therapist in a clinical/research role at Mayo Clinic and in the last stretch of the Rehabilitation Science PhD program at University of Minnesota. I work mostly with people who have spinal cord injuries.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the gym?
Spend time with my husband and daughter, research stuff, invent and build things. The entire family enjoys photography and we love to get outside and take photos.
What made you decide to try Progression?
Several reasons! Top two: 1.) Progression is next door to where my daughter dances every evening. I would sit in the studio or in my car watching people come and go, agonizing over the decision about whether I should try it. I finally googled “crossfit” and did my own research. Sending that first email to Progression caused so much anxiety! The day I met my coach for the first time, I sat in my car for a LONG TIME and almost backed out. I know some people, (like my husband) march right in and never get nervous. I still get a little nervous, but not like that first day. 2.) I love a good challenge and from the research I did, Progression would meet that need. Ok, I have a third. 3.) The workouts looked efficient, effective, and functional. Coming from a rehabilitation background, this met a lot of my criteria for training. I live for efficiency .
How long have you been at Progression?
Just over a year.
What was your experience with fitness like prior to Progression?
I ran track/CC in high school, ran on and off over the years, and completed the Twin Cities Marathon a few years ago. Kettle bells were introduced to me by a colleague a few years ago and I watched hundreds of videos and got pretty proficient, but lacked the expertise of a coach to guide me through the movements. After starting grad school in 2013, though, I basically did NOTHING physical for lack of time. Weight gain, general fatigue, and the muscular skeletal aches started creeping into my life. I knew I needed to stop that cycle quickly.
What was your biggest fear when you started?
That I would get hurt. Of course, in all the googling prior to starting, I read a lot about the risk for injury. I’ve since learned that with proper coaching, the risk is minimized significantly. I also know that I had significant aches and pains before I started Progression that mysteriously resolved about a month after I started…. so instead of causing injury, joining Progression has helped me move better overall and eliminated some pretty nasty neck/shoulder pain I had.
Favorite cheat day meal?
Real cream in my coffee, lava cakes, bacon, and anything cheesy.
What goal(s) are you currently chasing?
Strict pull-ups, double unders. I have lots of goals. Nice thing about crossfit is that you will continue to improve and change and always have something to work toward. I use Beyond the Whiteboard to track progress and it’s satisfying to see progress. As long as you show up and do the work, progress continues.
What’s the hardest part about your fitness journey at the moment?
Overhead lifting still scares me some because my shoulder and upper trunk mobility isn’t great. My upper body strength has always lagged behind the rest, so I need to force myself to come in on the nights that focus on overhead lifts or pull ups. Oh, and being over 45 means progress is a little slower than I’d like… that’s hard for me.
What’s one thing your fellow CFP’ers would be surprised to learn about you?
There was a time that I could pogo-stick all the way around the block without putting my feet down. If a WOD ever included pogo-sticking, I think I could Rx it.
What’s your favorite piece of advice you’ve gotten from a coach or member at Progression?
I get good advice every time I do a WOD. The most helpful? Activating my core/trunk before all lifts and squats. And “butt out” on the way down, “knees out” on the way up. It helps a lot. So much good coaching at Progression. From every coach. As a rehab professional, this is a high priority for me.
How has your outlook on health/fitness changed since starting at Progression?
I no longer look at exercise as a means to a single goal, like I did with the marathon. I also don’t think about weight loss or wearing a smaller size as primary or important goals anymore. Though, that has been a nice side effect of showing up 3-4 times/week. It’s the process and journey of health and fitness that I enjoy most now.
What has been your fondest memory during your time at Progression?
The camaraderie among the members and the coaches makes working out at Progression fun. I am not a typical group exerciser, (I was a runner!), so the group aspect was a little scary at first. I’ve learned that this is actually the best part.
Why do you think you’ve stuck with Progression?
My husband, (Brian) joined about a month after I did. Because we both go, and because the location is convenient to where our daughter has her activities, coming to Progression has become a family activity which is very satisfying on many levels. Our daughter has come to some classes, too! Also, results! I feel better than I have in at least two decades. I have also learned that I can endure a lot of other difficult things, like orthodontic work. I treat that like a WOD… “you can do anything for 10 minutes” mentality. And I realize I can hang in there through lots of uncomfortable things now without dying.
What would be your one piece of advice for someone who’s just joining Progression?
Use scaling and modify the exercises as much as you need to! If you look around, many of us modify as needed to do the workouts safely and to make steady forward progress. The coaches are nice and like to give you advice, so ask them questions. Also, for those considering joining: If you think you’re too busy, then you especially may benefit from Progression! I’ve learned I’m too busy NOT to make time do these workouts because they just help me move better, feel better, and that makes me more effective in EVERYTHING else I do.