27 Oct Member Spotlight: Kelsea Guckin
As an ex-college athlete, Kelsea had been told by friends and colleagues to try crossfit for years, but it wasn’t until she moved to Baltimore in November 2017 that she finally walked into a box.
“I’m ashamed to say it now, but I fought the crossfit ‘craze’ at first. Luckily, curiosity got the better of me and I found myself trying to do the crossfit.com WODs in an LA fitness. One of the first things I did when I moved to Baltimore was join a box and the obsession was immediate. I’ve never been stronger and the community around this sport made Baltimore feel like home immediately.”
Kelsea’s athletic background set her up for success in crossfit workouts, but focusing on nutrition was a whole new ball game.
“It was a sad, sad day when I realized I was no longer a college athlete who could eat whatever she wanted. But the changes I was seeing in myself from crossfit was the motivation I needed to clean up my nutrition and now I can’t even imagine putting the things into my body that I use to (so many sweets, so many).”
Some of you may have noticed Kelsea helping with the Community of Strength Project at IA’s Fed Hill location on Thursday afternoons.
“Nicole happened to mention that Geo ran a nonprofit that allowed high schoolers from the community to come in and workout, and in a matter of minutes I was emailing Geo to see if I could help with the program. I feel very strongly about the role physical activity plays in the lives of kids. I have volunteered with ‘Girls on the Run’ in other cities I’ve lived in and got involved with a mentoring program called ‘Sisters Circle’ here in Baltimore. Through programs like these and Community of Strength, I’ve seen firsthand how developing kid’s strength translates to confidence, pride, and a healthier sense of self-worth, especially in young girls. That is my ‘why’. My ‘why’ for crossfit, my ‘why’ for keeping a healthy diet, my ‘why’ for how I conduct myself inside and outside of the gym. When I’m coaching and mentoring kids through my volunteer work I want to be the best possible example I can be. I want my mentee with Sister’s Circle, a young elementary school girl, and the young adults in Community of Strength to look at me and think that they can do anything and everything I can do because they are strong.”
Sister’s Circle is an after-school program in Baltimore City public elementary schools. If the girls stay in the program through 6th grade, they can then opt to be matched with a mentor. As a mentor, Kelsea acts as a resource, confidant, and pseudo sister to her mentee. Girls on the Run is also an after-school program that helps elementary school girls train for a 5k while employing lesson plans that teach problem solving, teamwork, and leadership. Kelsea has coached teams in Reading, PA and Arlington, VA.
“Coaching Girls on the Run in Reading was the first time I saw what programs like these do to empower young girls. My lacrosse team was volunteering to run with the girls in the program one day; I was running beside a third grade girl, who suddenly began to open up to me about her home life. She wasn’t in any sort of danger, but my heart still ached for her circumstances and as a young college student I wasn’t sure how to respond. I told her to keep running. I told her to stay in the Girls on the Run program. I knew what sports, weight training in particular, had done for my confidence and sense of self. I had this overwhelming feeling that if she could see what she was capable of, find her strength through this program, she could accomplish anything. I’ve been volunteering for organizations with similar missions ever since. I also just applied to be on the Young Professionals Board for PlayWorks Maryland, so keep your fingers crossed for me! That’s another great organization.”
Kelsea bounces back and forth between both Industry Athletics locations, so when you see her in the gym give her a high-five (or a hug, she approves hugs) and consider sharing your why with her.