July Athlete Spotlight: Dana Van Nostrand


Tell us something about your life outside of CrossFit (career, family, hobbies, etc). My husband Buddy and I have two kids, Aiden (4) and Marleigh (1), and our dog Hank. I am an accounting nerd and I work in budget and accounting at The College of New Jersey. I grew up in the Boyertown area in PA, went to Rider University, met Buddy, and haven’t left this area since. We love going to the beach in Florida a couple times a year. I am master LEGO finder for Aiden. I love a good stout or porter, crossword puzzles, and all kinds of music.


My favorite book or movie: Dirty Dancing


My favorite local restaurant: Cosmos


Tell us something that we don’t know or would be surprised to learn about you: I play handbells at my church.


How I was introduced to CrossFit:  Buddy and I tried it together in November 2012 and I was hooked immediately.


My fitness routine before CrossFit:  I was a dancer and cheerleader growing up through college. In high school I took Strength & Conditioning as my gym class to learn Olympic lifting, increase my strength, and learn proper lifting technique for cheerleading (it is useful whether it is a barbell, kettlebell or person!). I wasn’t used to having to make an effort to work out; it was just built in to the things I loved to do. After college I didn’t work out with any regularity. Buddy and I tried some video programs together, like Insanity, but nothing stuck for us. Shawn T got annoying after awhile, I felt like I just kept doing the same thing over and over, and I missed lifting.


My thoughts after my first CrossFit workout:  I loved the variety of movements (I get bored easily), the Olympic lifting, and the community of people that made me feel accountable to be there and work hard (I am not disciplined enough to work out on my own and I am competitive so I push myself harder with others around).


My proudest CrossFit accomplishment is:  Doing CrossFit during my entire second pregnancy. Big thank you to Coach Mike for helping me modify!


My favorite WOD is:  It’s a good thing there isn’t a test on CrossFit knowledge to be a member. I can never remember any of the benchmark WODs and I don’t have a favorite.


My Favorite Lift is:  Snatches or any complex movement


My next goal is:  Improve my cardio and endurance; run and row faster. I’m so dang slow!


How has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym? It has been very empowering. For me, physical strength and fitness makes me feel more confident and stronger in other ways. I am able to endure the mental and emotional stress of life better than before. I find myself thinking, “If I can push myself through that workout or PR that lift, I can get through this.” The grind of every workout builds a little grit. It makes life as a mom easier too when you can hold a toddler, three lunch bags, a bag of groceries, and walk with a 4 year old hanging on your leg and not struggle too much!


Since CrossFit has always been something Buddy and I have done together (even though we rarely get to take classes together anymore), it has strengthened our relationship. We support and encourage each other. If it weren’t for Buddy I would have kept making excuses not to come back to CrossFit after having each of our kids. I’m so thankful that he pushed me and made it a priority for me!


CFN has also introduced me to a group of people who have become great friends to us.


What I love most about CrossFit Newtown:  The coaches are so helpful and understand that everyone is working at a different level and working toward different goals. There are also great people here that are supportive of each other and make it fun to suffer together. They always get me laughing at 6am! I also appreciate that they recognize the effort of the common athlete.

Take advantage of the great coaches here to help you scale appropriately. Focus on good technique and have fun with it! And don’t forget to stretch!
Do you have any diet/nutritional advice? Ha! I am no poster child for good nutrition. I love a lot of healthy foods and I love a lot of bad foods (especially ice cream and donuts) and until recently I never denied myself anything. I started minimizing sugar in my diet in support of Buddy and in a few short weeks I have really noticed a difference. I feel stronger, have more energy, and just feel better overall. And I’m very surprised that I don’t miss my sweets and junk food too much!

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