Member Spotlight: Dana Kennedy

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We are back!! It is time to look at one of our amazing members and get to know them a little better. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting her, then you probably have felt the gorilla strength of her Roman hand shake, or had the pleasure of enjoying her great sense of humor. Dana Kennedy is as funny and sweet, as she is strong. She is is simply AWESOME.

1. Hey there!  Where are you from?


I've lived in Pittsburgh my whole life!  Born at Magee Women's Hospital, grew up in Upper St. Clair and still live in the South Hills area. 


2.  What do you do for a living?


I'm a registered dietitian/licensed nutritionist. I've been working for Community LIFE for the past 7.5 years. It's a PACE program (Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) where our mission is to keep nursing home eligible seniors living independently in their homes. I work closely with the participants, and also work with the staff as a member of our Employee Wellness committee. I obtained my Group Fitness Instructor certification about 4 years ago, and use it to lead group fitness classes for employees after work. It's been so much fun and rewarding watching them get stronger!  I also work part-time at Lifeline therapy, an outpatient  cardiopulmonary rehab facility where I educate and assess individuals who have chronic respiratory and/or cardiac issues- nutrition plays such a vital role in both. I enjoy working with these populations, but I also love doing private nutrition coaching and counseling for people who are trying to prevent these kinds of chronic conditions, lose/gain/maintain their weight, or just be healthier! 


3.  How long have you been doing CrossFit?


5 years!  


4.  Tell us about your athletic history…


I have always been athletic and loved playing sports growing up, but I was never quite good enough to make it on to any JV or varsity teams in school. I took dance early on, tennis lessons in 3rd grade (still love playing it today!); I played recreational basketball starting in 4th grade and volleyball in high school. 


5.  What brought you to CrossFit St. Clair?


I started at Integrated Fitness in Bethel Park in 2012. After some management changes I ended up migrating over to CFSC with most of our crew from IF. It was pretty devastating at first but it ended up all working out beautifully. I am especially grateful for the daycare benefit here!  


6.  What’s your favorite way to sweat?  


Since I started Crossfit, that's mostly what I've done for exercise. It's been my favorite for so long now for so many reasons-- as challenging as it is, it goes so fast and before you know it, you're done and feeling amazing!  Movement-wise, I've been known to love thrusters and burpees (haha!); I think I just might hate them less than most people :). I love most of the olympic lifts, especially cleans and snatches; I like to try to incorporate some POWL in there too!  



7.  Favorite food?  


EVERYTHING!!  This question can be broken down into so many categories for me- desserts, vegetables, comfort foods, snacks, favorite dessert would have to be a warm gooey chocolate chip cookie w/ ice cream; favorite vegetable is butternut squash...and asparagus...and mushrooms...and zucchini...; favorite snack is my home-made granola with Greek yogurt and banana slices....I could go on for days w/ food!  


8.  Favorite movie?


Another toughie... again, so many categories!  

Comedy:  I love all the Christopher Guest movies (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind..); anything with the classics-  John Candy, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Will Ferrell, Chris Farley.

Horror/thriller:  The Shining

Drama/Action:  Taken 

Animated:  Monster's Inc.

Chick Flick:  As Good As It Gets, Picture Perfect, Clueless, Blue Crush


9.  Favorite book?


I have a serious case of A.D.D when it comes to books!  It takes me forever to get through them because I always start a new one before I finish another one. I'm in the middle of 2 now:  Gone Girl and It All Starts With Food. I really enjoyed Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom and Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.


10.  Favorite music to work out to?


I love rap, particularly Eminem!  Also metal, 90s alternative, hip-hop, and boy band stuff too :) 


11.  When you aren’t working or working out, where can we find you?


Either at home or running around with my family!  I have a 5 1/2 year old daughter and 1-year old son, so we're typically at a birthday party or other family/friend social gathering on weekends. During the week if I'm home, you can typically find me in the kitchen where I spend a ton of time searching/trying different recipes and meal prepping... or chasing my kids through said kitchen. :) 



12.  How has CrossFit changed you?


It's hard to truly express in words how CrossFit has changed me (but I'm going to take a stab at it :)). 

CrossFit has done more for my physical fitness, my mental fitness, my self-confidence, and my social and professional networks than I could ever have dreamt of. The friendships and memories that I've made through this sport are invaluable to me! CrossFit helped me to discover that it is never too late for someone to find his or her strengths and passions in life. So many people think you have to be young or already in really good shape to do this stuff-- but the truth is, it keeps you young and gets you in really, really good shape.  When I realized over half of the fun of CrossFit is mastering skills that I never thought I could do, I was hooked. Like, me?  Do a pull-up?  Never had I ever!!  I had no idea when I walked into my first CrossFit class in September of 2012 that I was (finally!) about to embark on my passion in life. I was always passionate about working out and fitness, but this was so different in the best way. I was going-on 30 years old when I started and have never looked back, nor do I plan to. Another way I feel CrossFit has changed me, is it opened my eyes to the importance of always being encouraging and supportive, and never giving up. These workouts that we do are grueling, and there is no way I would be able to get through them without the support of my friends and coaches. There's something about hearing someone cheer your name, someone staying with you by your side as you move, as you push to get through those last reps, meters, and minutes. You somehow forget how tired you are, how out of breath you are, and instantly, you're forced to keep going, to go even harder, and not give up. So yes, CrossFit has gotten me into great shape-- probably the best shape of my life. But I couldn't have gotten nearly this far without all the "Keep going!!"s.... all the "All day!!"s....all the love.  :-D


13.  What do you love most about CrossFit St. Clair?


I love the people-- members, coaches, and staff alike. The encouraging atmosphere is so unique, and everyone accepts everyone, no matter what. People are always ready and willing to help each other. It's my happy place-  my home away from home :) 


14.  What 3 words would people use to describe you?


Positive, energetic, and strong.


15.  Any mantra, favorite quote, or words to live by?


"Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, we're taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there's no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness." -Brene Brown