Nickname: C-mo (or, if you’re my high school BFFs: Remote C-mote)
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Member since: August 2016
What’s your athletic/fitness background?
Only five years ago I discovered I my inner athlete. I love weightlifting/powerlifting but had not gotten into it seriously until I joined the Movement.
What brought you to the Movement? Do you remember your first workout and what you thought of it?
I knew I wanted to try the Movement before I even arrived to Minnesota! A new job brought me from Pennsylvania to the Twin Cities and before I moved to the Twin Cities I googled “women, weightlifting and Twin Cities.” A profile on Jen Sinkler came up and it discussed her goals of getting more women into weightlifting (among other things). This sold me and I knew I had to come to the gym. A week after I had arrived, I e-mailed the gym and set up my first session with JVB. After my first conversation and workout with JVB, I knew the Movement was the place I wanted to be.
What’s been the biggest change for you since joining the Movement?
I don’t see exercise as punishment anymore.
What’s been your favorite Movement moment so far?
My first powerlifting meet. Truly, I was reticent about wearing the green adult onesie, but something about Team Green and hitting all nine of my lifts let me know that I am actually stronger than I had thought.
Tell us about your most memorable PR.
A memorable PR came recently, after the last training cycle before we began Million Pound November. I PRed my deadlift. Went from the 248lb to 260lbs!
Do you have a favorite exercise/workout/training style?
Picking up heavy things and moving them.
How about your least favorite exercise/workout?
Anything steady-state cardio-related makes me literally want to gag.
Do you prefer training solo or with a partner/team/class?
I prefer solo training in a class/group environment, so the structure of the Movement works really well for me!
What does being "strong" mean to you?
The courage to see and love yourself unconditionally.
How do you spend your days when you're not at the gym?
I am an assistant professor of African American History at Macalester College where I teach classes related to Black Women’s History, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Protest Music, among other things. I am also writing a book that explores the history of black women’s struggles for economic justice in the urban northern city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin after World War II.
Any secret/hidden talents?
I’m not sure if it’s a secret because sometimes I can’t help myself and I burst out into song at the gym — but I am singer. I sing on the Praise and Worship Team at my church (The Sanctuary, in North Minneapolis [sanctuarycov.org] ). In another life, I would have pursued a singing career!
What's your favorite post-workout meal?
Chocolate, banana, almond butter protein shake! Yum!
What are you training for/what's your next training goal?
My next training goal is to continue making gains with the big three: squat, bench and deadlift, with the hopes of competing once again in 2018.
How can people find/connect with you?
Connect with me on FB (although I am mostly a lurker) or on Instagram @crystalmariemoten (where I actually post/engage!).
Do you have any advice for people starting out?
Join the Powerlifting Team! This may not seem the most intuitive, especially if you are new, but trust me — do it. About a month after I joined the Movement, I signed up for my first meet and began the 12-week training cycle. This got me familiar with the barbell and comfortable with weightlifting. It also gave me a chance to actually get to know many of the trainers and other folks at the gym. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, for sure, but the training cycle also helped me lay a strong foundation and become more independent. Now, when I am unable to come to the Movement, because of my schedule or travel, I can enter any other gym and not feel like I have to just hop on a treadmill (see above for least favorite workout). I can pick up some weights and do my thing.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I really appreciate the culture of the Movement. It is really unlike any “gym,” I’ve been to. I am a big, black, bold woman living in Minnesota, one of the most homogeneous states in the country. I won’t say this state is the friendliest, most welcoming or most open, but what I will say is that the Movement is a model. It’s a model for the possibilities of what our world could be if we saw the humanity in each other and if we all focused on being the best version of ourselves. Every time I enter the Movement, I am challenged to be the best Crystal I can be in that moment. When I leave, I not only take that sentiment with me, I also take the smiles, the laughter, the encouragement, the sincere interest, and the strength (both inner and outer) with me into the world as I work to transform it into a place where everyone can experience love, justice and freedom. For me, the Movement is a space of radical possibility and I’m glad to call it home.