July Member of the Month-Cara Sherrard Blesch

Coach Abbie
June 26, 2024
July Member of the Month-Cara Sherrard Blesch

Client Success Story Questionnaire  

Name: Cara Sherrard Blesch

Age: 51  

Occupation: Inn-keeper, chauffeur, manager of kids and chaos

What is your athletic background?  

I've never been sporty or athletic, but I've always enjoyed being active, especially outdoors. I love to hike, swim, paddleboard, kayak, and ride my bike.

What was your workout routine prior to CF Spero?  

Post-covid I hadn't found a routine that worked for me. Prior to that, I did yoga, pilates and took HIIT and Barre classes at the gym.

What was your first experience with CrossFit? 

I was going to buy my kid a record at Val's Halla and walked past the gym. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the set-up and equipment and the absence of mirrors. I also had a vague recollection of seeing people do crazy things with ropes and tires at a CF gym in our old neighborhood and thought it would be amazing if I could ever master anything that badass.

When did you start CrossFit?

In September 2022

Why did you choose CF Spero?  

I kept reading how important weight lifting is as we age, and it seemed like a friendly, easy place to give it a try.

What keeps you coming back?  

The coaches are incredibly kind and supportive and the community is friendly, welcoming, and super fun!

Why do you live in the Oak Park Area?

I started working in Oak Park ten years ago when we lived in the South Loop. I fell in love with the area and wanted my kids to be able to attend schools like the ones I was working in. We appreciated the proximity to the city, the public transit, the schools, the parks, the walkability, and the values of the community.

What do you do for a living?  

I'm going to steal Craig's answer and say mostly laundry! I'm a former High School Spanish teacher and when my position was eliminated a couple years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to take a work-pause and spend more time with my own kids.

How do you like to spend your free time?  

I enjoy hanging out with my husband, kids, and dogs. I love to garden, cook, and explore -- neighborhoods, the outdoors, and other faraway places.

What are one or two improvements you have seen in your life since starting CF?  

Prior to starting CF, I had difficulty managing high blood pressure. It’s something I'll always need to keep an eye on, but it's been shockingly well-controlled, with much less medication, since I started CF.  I also feel stronger and have better stamina for walks, hikes, bike rides, etc. When I joined I was also still recovering from surgery in four spots on my right foot. I couldn't run or jump at all. It's taken some time, and some days the progress still feels slow, but in the past two months I've started doing box jumps and double-unders.

What is the biggest change you have seen since starting CrossFit at Spero? 

I have muscles that I can see and feel and I don't always have to ask for help lifting and moving heavy things.  Overall I just feel much less limited -- even if I am sore most of the time!

What are your goals for 2024?  

I really want to get a pull-up!

What's your favorite and least favorite movement?  

Favorite: I like all the barbell stuff bc I don't think I ever even touched one before coming to Spero.

Least Favorite: Burpees (and all variations on that theme) still make me want to barf.

What's your favorite meal?  

Any kind of seafood, especially sushi.

What are three hobbies or things you love to do outside of the gym?

I love to cook, eat, and garden.

Where is one place you would love to visit but haven't been able to yet?

I would love to visit anywhere in Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia. Oops, that's three.

What would you say to someone thinking about starting CrossFit at Spero?  

I wasn't sure I would ever be able to learn and remember all the exercises and acronyms. Know that there are always folks to show, help, explain, modify, and explain again. It's a welcoming and supportive place that makes it super satisfying and fun to get your exercise!

Anything else you would like to share with the Spero family?

I appreciate how extraordinarily kind, patient, and supportive everyone is -- with me and all the rest of us who are new to this kind of fitness. I also love that no one here takes themselves too seriously and that everyone makes it fun to come work out.

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