Meet an Athlete of Merit: Cassi's Story

Cassi Hayden

Merit Member SincE February, 2017

Cassi is a 34 year old mother to three of the "raddest ladies around."  When she isn't "hanging" with the ladies and her husband, she is rockin' the photography/videography business. From time to time, Cassi indulges in her love of pho, pizza, and cookies... which she is pretty sure she could eat everyday for the rest of her life! Can you blame her?! 

Cassi, Jimmy, and their three children. 

Cassi, Jimmy, and their three children. 

How do you spend your time outside of Merit?  I am a full-time photographer and videographer, so most of my time is spent lugging around equipment and shooting or sitting in front of a screen editing.  I also do freelance work, so my time off is still often spent with a camera but when I am not shooting, I am hanging with the ladies.  We (my husband Jimmy and I) have three girls, Maxine (7), Lucy (6) and Willow (3).  I am not biased at all so you can believe me when I say they are the raddest ladies around. 

What were your goals when you originally joined Merit?

My goals were to... 1) Lose weight, 2) gain muscle and, 3) increase my overall energy.  Parenting (even with three rad ladies) is for me extremely taxing mentally and physically.  I needed something that was for and about me.

It’s exciting to see your body change as a result of your efforts, and it’s important to me that I set an example for our ladies that strength has more to do with beauty than your dress size.

Have you accomplished any of those goals so far? 

Partially...
1) I have been at Merit for just over a year and I have lost a total of 3 lbs. This cracks me up. This is when the coaches tell me “muscle weighs more” and “exercise is only a part of your health” and “stop eating pho and pizza.” But how am I supposed to give up the foods that I could eat for the rest of my life, and cookies? I need cookies.

2) I have gained muscle, and without a doubt, I am stronger and able to do more than I could a year ago. Do I flex in the mirror every time I pass one? Maybe. It’s exciting to see your body change as a result of your efforts, and it’s important to me that I set an example for our ladies that strength has more to do with beauty than your dress size.

3) I do have more energy.  I accomplish more in a day than I did a year ago.

Cassi during the Merit Winter Classic. 

Cassi during the Merit Winter Classic. 

What is your favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?  My favorite is mental toughness WODs with movements like box jumps, wall balls, and push-ups. I can get down on myself for not being able to work out with a ton of weight, so I think that’s why I enjoy longer workouts that usually utilize body weight movements. I get excited when I can keep my pace consistent for a long WOD.

What is your least favorite CrossFit movement/WOD?

Running. I’d like to blame my height and small stride but it goes deeper than that. I just don’t like it. 

What is your most memorable CrossFit moment so far?

I really had fun at the Winter Classic. Since I can typically only make it to the 5:30 am class, there are a lot of Merit athletes that I haven’t met or get to work out with. Watching and working out with everyone in such a positive and competitive space was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. 

I allow myself to be selfish when it comes to CrossFit. I go to the 5:30 am class and have fun. I start my day pushing myself physically and mentally, and maybe chatting and laughing too much...

What/Who is your biggest motivator?

I am. I allow myself to be selfish when it comes to CrossFit. I go to the 5:30 am class and have fun. I start my day pushing myself physically and mentally, and maybe chatting and laughing too much (sorry coaches!... its Jesi not me). I have made friends, and enjoy seeing the regulars and whoever else that wakes up before dawn to get it in. It’s not for my boss or for my family or for anyone else. It’s one hour a day that is mine.

What would you like to say to people on the fence about trying CrossFit?

Cassi-5.jpg

You deserve it. Think of all the time you spend on others, give yourself something that will make you feel like a better you. CrossFit Merit is full of awesome people that are trying to better themselves. The coaches are patient, kind, and remarkably skilled at gauging your ability to push you enough to make progress in a safe manner. They’re also good at seeing when you aren’t pushing yourself enough.  It’s cool when they tell you to do something at a heavier weight, or to go faster, and you find yourself doing something you didn’t know you could.