Athlete Profile: Fit, Healthy, & Fun - Suzette Spinden

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As we get ready for week 2 of the CrossFit Games Open and the upcoming announcement of WOD 19.2, we are going to showcase several of the WildFire athletes who are participating in this annual competition. Some of them are relatively new to the WildFire community, and this is their first year competing in the Open. Others have participated every year since they joined the WildFire Family.

We are lucky to have so many incredible members to choose from who are dedicated to making WildFire the incredible community that it is and who make fitness part of their lifestyle, inspiring others to be their best self, every day. There’s no shortage of inspiration when we look at this first athlete, who has been part of the WildFire Community for almost 4 years and is competing in her 4th Open event.

Born and raised in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest town of Portland Oregon, Suzette Spinden went to college at the University of Oregon in Eugene, just a couple hours from home. She moved to Phoenix almost 18 years ago and is Claims Branch Manager for Progressive Insurance where she will be celebrating her 23rd year with the company in less than a week.

As a former cheerleader for the Ducks, she is excited to put those skills to work when her daughter, Jordan (18), attends the University of Oklahoma to play soccer in the fall. Suzette has participated in several half marathons and even ran a full marathon, so it’s no surprise that both her daughter and son, Conner (15) run track in High School.

To say they are an active family is an understatement, and as many of you know, her partner of almost 11 years, David Folmer is one of the top athletes at WildFire too. They often drop in to other CrossFit gyms when they are on vacation.

According to Suzette, before she found CrossFit, she “was a runner and a gym rat”, often participating in classes such as spin, step, & circuit training. She says she “always enjoyed a class atmosphere to push [her] to do workouts [she] wouldn’t normally do on [her] own”. It’s no wonder CrossFit has been such a good fit for her.

It was actually Suzette’s sister who told her about CrossFit as she said “it was a fun way to work out and [Suzette] would love it!” And there’s no doubt that she does! Suzette is a staple in the 5:15am Express class, the Tuesday Olympic Lifting class at 7pm, and even the 7am Saturday Endurance class. She also often attends the 9am Friends & Family class on Saturday morning.

As a member for almost 4 years, Suzette has seen the Express class grow from a few days a week and 30 minutes to the current format of 5 days a week and 45+ minutes. For those who think less time means less work, it’s just not the case. The 5:15 crew does an incredible job showing up early and ready to get after it right away. While they may skip the intros, they are still getting everything in, staying on point and being prepared for whatever we throw their way.

When I asked Suzette what her was her main reason for starting CrossFit, she told me “not only do I love the workouts and challenges, I feel like I get better results with the training we do at WildFire. I am in the best shape of my life”. She also does an incredible job of keeping her nutrition on point, crushing the Nutrition Challenge we did in January at WildFire CrossFit.

Not only does Suzette participate in the classes and the Open Competition, one of her favorite memories was being a part of a team for the 3rd Annual Fire & Ice Competition at WildFire CrossFit with her partner David, fellow 5:15 athlete, Wheaton McCLanathan., and former member, Tiffany Vacca. According to Suzette, they “practiced as a team several times each week” leading up to the event, “and just had so much fun the day of the event.” And I’m sure being one of only four teams to make it to the final event and ending up in 2nd place, made it even more fun, and all the hard work they did to get there totally worth it.

I asked Suzette what she likes most about being a part of the WildFire Family, and she explained, “I love the community!  Everyone at WildFire is so friendly and inviting. It can be fun competing in a workout as it is always friendly. Everyone is always supportive no matter what your level of fitness is. This has always been encouraging to me as you don’t find that at a Globo gym” where it can be “intimidating to do any barbell or free weights.”

Like any athlete, Suzette has her strengths and weaknesses. In fact, her favorite CrossFit workout is “Cindy”, 20 minutes of as many rounds as possible of 5 pull ups, 10 sit ups, and 15 air squats. She likes “doing pull ups as [she has] worked hard learning” them. Anyone who has seen her train outside of class has seen her train her weakness, and her least favorite movement, double unders (two spins of the jump rope to one jump). While according to her, she is “not there yet”, and we know her persistence will pay off and she will get them down.

Like any athlete, Suzette has goals, and her main one is “just to be fit and healthy” and she “enjoys working out and challenging” herself. Her advice for anyone who is just getting started is to “go in with an open mind. It seems intimidating watching some of the athletes, but everything can be modified and it’s okay to modify. It’s about having fun and being fit and healthy”. I couldn’t have said it any better myself!!

Finally, I asked Suzette what her favorite thing about participating in the Open has been, and she explained that she loves “the energy it brings”. Like any athlete going into a competition they have been training for, she “gets nervous doing the workouts,” and she likes “to compare [her] rankings each year to see how [she has] improved over the years. So far, each year [she has] moved up in the rankings. It’s the best way for [her] to see how” she is doing, instead of comparing herself to others.

Thanks, Suzette, for being such an incredible part of the WildFire CrossFit Family, and for continuing to inspire others to be their best! Good Luck in the Open and keep having fun doing what you do best, staying fit and healthy and being the best, you can be!


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