Interview with Lisa Thiel

Lisa Thiel

Ines Subashka:Introduce yourself.
Lisa Thiel:My name is Lisa Bender Thiel – athlete – coach – gym owner.  I”ve always been the active one in my family. I’ve played volleyball, ran track, dabbled in soccer, participated in triathlon and distance running but I didn’t find my sport until I found CrossFit.  I am from North Carolina and currently live in Austin, TX.  Together with my husband, Jeremy Thiel, and his sister, Carey Kepler, I own and operate CrossFit Central.

IS: How long have you being doing crossfit?
LT:I was introduced to CrossFit in 2005 but it took me until 2008 to really commit to CrossFit as a fitness program and even longer to commit  to CrossFit as a sport!

IS:Have you been involved in some other sports before that? 
LT:I grew up running 5k s with my mom.  I played volleyball and ran track in high school.  I didn’t play organized sports in college but was an avid weight lifter (or better said: gym rat) and runner. In the past 5 years I’ve participated in over 15 triathlon events, 10 half marathons, ran Boston Marathon, ran Hood to Coast Relay.

IS:How did people around you accept the fact that you are doing crossfit?Did they take a jaundiced view of it?
LT:I got the usual “you do pull ups?” or “what is CrossFit?” injuries but I wasn’t met with resistance.  If anything they thought it was just another “crazy” hobby of mine!  However, as many of us can attest to, results speak for themselves!  My body and abilities started changing and people started getting more and more interested in what I was doing.

Lisa Thiel doing a HSPU at the games 2011

IS:Do you have a nutrition plan that you follow? If yes, do you meet disapproval from you friends?Or do they understand why you eat the way you do? 
LT: I come from a history of anorexia and bulimia in high school so I was really hesitant to adopt the Zone Diet when I was first introduced in 2005.  Over time, I transited to Zone and saw terrific body composition and performance results.  Over the past two years, I have transitioned to 95% Paleo and during competition periods I eat Paleo/Zone with about 3-4x fat.  I am really dedicated to my diet AND to living!  I still enjoy wine, tortilla chips, sweets on occasion.  I am lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family who either eat the same way or support my choices.  I am never one to make a big deal about meals or what someone else is eating – I plan and choose my own nutrition.  If your choice is made in confidence, you’ll be surprised of the support you’ll receive.  Nutrition is 80% of how you look and perform and maybe up to 90% of your mental clarity – sleep – energy levels!  Fast or slow you decide but I suggest you make immediate changes towards a Paleo diet.

IS:What does crossfit mean to you and did it change your life in some way?
LT:CrossFit means PLAY – RECESS and GAMES as an adult!  I have said on many CrossFit occasions that I didn’t think “grown ups” could have this much fun!  It means freedom, competition, accomplishment, release, empowerment!  It means “yes, I can”!  It has given me community, team, challenge, and the opprotunity to feel alive!
My mom crossfits in Quito, Ecuador – my sister moved to TX and now works and crossfits with us at CrossFit Central – I get to work with my husband, Jeremy Thiel, my sister-in-law, Carey Kepler, and with a group of people who have changed my life – all possible because of the community and comrodery that CrossFit provides.

IS:What is your favorite WOD and which one do you hate the most?
LT:I love barbell WODs.  It’s not my best workout but I really enjoy the challenge of LINDA and GRACE.  While I can’t think of a WOD I hate – I am gymnastically challenged so workouts like Nate or Elizabeth are tough for me.

IS:Is it hard for you to combine your daily tasks with workouts? And have you ever used the excuse that you are too busy to workout?
LT:I often hear people say that they can’t be in the same shape as me or the other CrossFit Central coaches because they have ‘real jobs’.  I challenge that by asking about your priorities and your goals.  We all have time for things that are a priority for us.  We also all have different goals and if your goal is to simply make it to your CrossFit class 2 or 3 times a week then be realistic regarding the results or outcome you’ll get.  We are all ‘too busy’ to workout sometimes - it’s all about planning and knowing what you can control and what you can’t.  For me, workouts are the best time of day – a social time – a time of escape – a time I do everything I can, not to miss.

IS:What is your biggest accomplishment in crossfit so far? 
LT:I am constantly making strides in performance and setting new training goals.  I participated in the 2008 CrossFit Games coming in at 27th.  I competed on a team in the 2010 CrossFit Games placing 6th. I finished 32nd at the games in 2011.

Lisa Thiel and her teammates from Crossfit Central

IS:What advice would you give to the beginner crossfiters in Bulgaria?
LT:This is a great link to a blog that talks about crossfitting for the newbie.  My advice when starting anything new is to set specific goals.  During your first week at CrossFit Central each client meets with his/her coach to write 3 immediate and specific goals and get a body assessment.  Often people want to wait until they are ‘fit’ to get their body composition and weight.  BUT how can you celebrate your success if you don’t know where you started?  We also require our clients to keep workout logs and be responsible for knowing his/her PR’s and Max lifts, etc.  This is also a great way to track progress and keep your workouts safe.

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