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Coach’s Profile: Buffy Shinn

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At any given day at Chalkbox Training in Salem, you’re likely to see Coach Buffy Shinn.  She’s hard to miss.  With her contagious smile and winsome personality, she’s like a magnet—you can’t help but be drawn to her.  And it’s hard not to admire her.  At five feet five inches, pound for pound she can out lift, out pull, out push just about anybody else her size.   And she can do kipping pull-ups like nobody else.  All this, it seems, without breaking a sweat.

I caught up with Buffy after one of her workouts to ask what her journey in fitness has been like.   Maybe, I thought, she is one of those lucky people who is naturally fit and doesn’t have to work hard to stay that way.  After a few minutes of chatting, Buffy was quick to set me straight.  “After I had children my fitness level was very poor.  I had never really worked out or played any organized sports.”

Like so many women who’ve had children, unwanted pounds made an unwelcome appearance.  “After I had my first child, I gained quite a bit of weight and was unhappy with myself.  When I got pregnant with my second, I knew that I needed to do something.  I couldn’t keep going down the road I was headed.  I was embarrassed and very uncomfortable in my own body; I felt like I was too fat and out of shape to go to the gym so I worked out at home with BeachBody videos.  I was able to lose some weight and it was nice to be able to work out in the convenience of my living room, but it was hard to stay motivated and push play every day.  After so many times of going through a program, I knew what the trainer was going to say next and what joke they would tell.”

The switch from at home videos to Crossfit in a gym began for Buffy in 2012 when she became interested in watching The Biggest Loser.  “Bob Harper used Crossfit to help his clients lose weight and get into shape and I just thought it looked challenging and fun.”  It’s been that and so much more for Buffy who comes back day after day not only for the workouts but also for “the camaraderie in the suffering and the competitive feel.   I love that Crossfit is constantly varied and there are so many things to work on.  Crossfit brings a sense of accomplishment and also the push and drive to do more. I want to continue to better myself.  Once you start to see yourself accomplish things and crush goals that you have set for yourself, it becomes addictive.  Now that I am a trainer and coach, my clients motivate me.  I want to set a good example for them.”

My final question; any parting advice for a busy mom who is thinking about trying Crossfit?  Buffy didn’t bat an eyelash: “Do it!  Don’t wait.  I know you might think you don’t’ have time, but you do.  Make time for yourself;  you won’t regret it.  It will be one hundred percent worth it!”   And she should know; she’s living proof!