Introducing JB: CFSBK’s New Coach!
David here! Please join me in welcoming Jessie Brown, better known as “JB,” our new coach, to CFSBK’s staff. JB reached out to me a few months ago and said she was moving to New York and was interested in continuing to work at a gym, since she had been working at CrossFit East Bay since 2011. As many of you know, I’ve never hired a coach from outside CFSBK, but if someone has a great resume, expresses interest, and seems friendly, I’m always open to chatting. When I met JB, I was instantly impressed by her warmth and how well our interview went. She was genuine, engaged, and had a great personality.
After that, I gave her a few free classes at the gym and encouraged her to shop around, to ensure CFSBK would be a good fit for both sides. I observed her in class, engaging other members and embodying the qualities I value not just in coaches, but people in general. I had a great feeling about her and offered her a part-time position with CFSBK.
I’m excited to bring another strong female athlete onto our staff and look forward to getting to know JB even better in the coming months. For starters, her first interview with Kate is below…
CFSBK: Welcome, JB! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, and what are some interesting things we should know about you?
JB: I grew up in Oakland, CA and just moved to Brooklyn from Oakland at the beginning of July! I went to UC Berkeley for undergrad and graduate school (where I studied American Studies and Urban/Architectural History, respectively) and somehow managed to spend an inordinate amount of time at the gym—both working out and instructing—while earning both degrees. If you ever want to nerd out about American popular culture, nineteenth-century history, urban design, or the proper usage of over vs. more than, I’m your gal.
When I’m not at the gym, I like to be outdoors (hiking and camping especially—which seem slightly less accessible here than in Northern California), trying new beers (other than that I eat pretty healthy, I promise!), writing (when I have time), and reading (though, admittedly, I usually get half-way through New Yorker articles before I lose focus, decide I’ve gotten the point, and then move onto the next one.) I can sometime take myself seriously and be a bit hard on myself (especially when competing), but, other than that, I’m usually always smiling. Seriously, I’ve seen pictures of myself smiling while doing burpees.
CFSBK: What’s your athletic background?
JB: I swam competitively from the time I was eight until I was 18, but I was never great. In college, I became a bit of a gym rat, but spent most of my time doing cardio. I also briefly joined the Triathlon team, but couldn’t get used to the idea of getting kicked in the face during an open water swim, so never competed. Still, I spent a lot of time on my bike, in the pool, and running. I also dabbled in yoga and rock climbing, but gave up on almost all of these pursuits up when I started CrossFit.
CFSBK: How did you find CrossFit?
JB: Back when I was living in Oakland, I would rock climb at a gym that ran a CrossFit program in (what I think was) its garage (CrossFit East Bay). I spent months watching all of these fit people lift weights and do pull-ups while I belayed my climbing partner, but was hesitant to try CrossFit for myself. It was actually my boyfriend at the time who signed us up for an on-ramp in December 2012. I joined reluctantly, but after my first workout, I was hooked. He stopped doing CrossFit after the on-ramp. Clearly, I’m still at it.
CFSBK: What was it about CrossFit that compelled you so much?
JB: There were two things about CrossFit that really drew me to it. The first was the physical challenge of it. Certainly, I’d been super active in the years before I started CrossFit (or, really, for my entire life), but, since I’d stopped swimming, I’d struggled to find something that gave me the same high I used to feel after races or hard workouts in the pool. CrossFit provided me with that intensity.
The second thing that compelled me to stick with CrossFit was the community. I was in grad school when I started CrossFit and desperately needed to make friends who weren’t constantly plagued by the stress of their imminent dissertations. CrossFit introduced me to so many amazing people—all from different backgrounds–each of whom was dedicated to living healthfully (usually) and improving upon themselves. I felt very embraced by the community immediately upon joining my box back in California, and, by the time I left, truly felt as if I’d developed an entirely new family.
CFSBK: When did you start coaching? Were you already competing at that point?
JB: I got my L1 Certification in January of 2013 and began a coaching internship at CrossFit East Bay immediately after that. At that point, I’d competed in the Open immediately after starting CrossFit, and participated in a couple of local comps as well. I think I knew immediately upon starting CrossFit that both competing and coaching were things I eventually wanted to try!
CFSBK: Tell us about your move to Brooklyn? How’s it going so far? Need any recommendations for the best place to creep on cool architecture?
JB: So far, my move to Brooklyn has been great! Besides spending a couple of months in Providence and Washington, D.C., this is my first time living outside of the Bay Area, so it’s pretty exciting! I’m still getting settled and definitely trying to explore as much as I can, so yes, recommendations for cool architecture, museums, restaurants, bars, and other activities are all welcome!
CFSBK: Any hidden talents, weird things, or bizarre parts of your life history we should know? Since we’re going to be family now and all.
JB: Hmm. Nothing too crazy. I am left-handed, have an identical twin (she lives in Oakland and doesn’t CrossFit), and have webbed toes. I’ve also never had a growth spurt. That’s about it.
Please join us all in welcoming JB to the CFSBK family, and give her some good NYC recommendations in the comments!
Check out this hilarious (and true!) article that JB wrote for Bustle: “Is Crossfit Worth It? You Bet Your Fine Glutes It Is: 37 Things Only Crossfitters Understand.”
Also, serious props to Asta for yet another stunning photo!
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