Friday, September 28, 2012

SVG FIT interviews Kate "Killer" Rawlings from Coca CrossFit!

Kate "Killer" Rawlings, owner of Coca CrossFit
Kate "Killer" Rawlings

Hello all out there in SVG Land! Today we've caught up with the one and only Kate "Killer" Rawlings, owner of Coca CrossFit, CrossFit Games competitor and Athlete-extraordinaire! We're going to be talking with her about loving and loathing CrossFit as well as some spectacular events she has recently put on at her Box that really get her athletes pumped up and going at Coca CrossFit!

Matt - So, Kate, first thing's first – let’s find out a little bit more about how you came into CrossFit. How long have you been a CrossFitter and when did you know this was the lifestyle you wanted to follow? 

Kate Rawlings and Eric Gibbs pose for Wal-Mart WOD Wednesday
Wal-Mart WOD Wednesday at Coca CF
Kate - I started CrossFit almost 6 years ago when I weighed 60lbs more than I do right now.  I had always been an athlete, played college soccer and when I entered the ‘real world’ athletics took a back seat.  I went shopping for new work clothes and didn’t fit into a size 12, I knew then and there I was on a bad path. 

I stumbled upon CrossFit on a google search when I was looking for a gym.  After three weeks of lurking on the website I finally bucked up and went in.  After a year in I had lost a significant amount of weight and really loved the sport so I got certified.  Two years in I started competing, the third year I qualified for The Reebok CrossFit Games.  It was then that I decided to quit my job to do CrossFit full time.

Matt - How long have you been a certified CrossFit coach and where did you get certified?

Kate - I have been a certified CrossFit coach since November of 2007, and I got my certification at none other than Rogue Fitness.

Matt - I know during my certification weekend we managed to get a little carried away at the bar while catching up with old friends - making the WOD on Sunday just a wee bit more challenging that it should have been. Any interesting stories to tell about your certification weekend?

Kate - My certification weekend changed my life.  We completed Fran, as many level one courses do, and I had the fastest time.  Having always been competitive it got me thinking, maybe I could do this competitively.  I remember talking with Joe Degane and Todd (can’t remember his last name, but he’s from Montana) about when are you ready to compete.  They simply looked at me, and said ‘if you’re asking the question you’re ready’. 

That single statement started my competition career and I haven’t looked back.

Matt - Let's talk about Coca CrossFit! When did you decide you wanted to run a Box? How long have your doors been open at Coca CrossFit?

Kate - I never really had any intention of running my own affiliate, it just kind of happened.  After qualifying for The CrossFit Games I knew I wanted to train full time, so I quit my job to do just that. I was already a part-time coach at an affiliate but I realized that to train full time I’d have to really put in some work to build a client base.  When I really got into the nitty-gritty of it all I realized that I could spend hours building someone else’s name and brand or invest in myself.  It only seemed logical to do it on my own.

As of October 11, 2012 we’ll officially have two years under our belt and going strong.

A crowd of athletes at Coca CrossFit hold up a Reebok CrossFit sign

Matt - That is so awesome! Congratulations on your success thus far and we certainly wish you the best as your box continues to grow!

What is your training philosophy? Who (if anyone) do you follow the most?

Kate - Tough question.  My personal philosophy is focus on what I can control and leave it on the floor.  Not everyday will be a good training day, but as long as I do everything I can on any given day that’s a win to me.

I don’t really follow anyone, as it’s the wrong approach to take.  I can’t study everyone else’s numbers and training plans as I easily get distracted from what I’m doing or need to do. I can’t control what anyone else is doing.  I try and focus on what I can control which is me and my training.

Matt - What makes you and Coca CrossFit unique in the CF community?

Kate Rawlings accomplished her Level 1 CrossFit Certification at Rogue Fitness
Kate Rawlings earned her Level 1 CF Cert at Rogue Fitness
Kate - I think one pretty unique factor is that I am a solo owner and operator and a woman.  I’m a big believer in empowering women by setting a good example.  Being 30, owning my own business, training and competing at the highest level and sharing what I love with others everyday is pretty unique, at least I think so.

Matt - The pics I've seen of your box look pretty impressive and I've seen some very good PRs coming from your athletes (a 575lbs PR deadlift comes to mind); How do you motivate your crew to greatness?

Kate - I do my best to celebrate EVERY success regardless of how small.  It’s my job to provide them with an amazing experience from start to finish.  Making people feel good mentally and emotionally is just as important as the workout itself.

Matt - You have had two events in the month of August that sounded particularly awesome to me; mostly because they were sort of on the periphery of the "typical" events a CrossFit box owner would hold.

The first was the Coca Photo Shoot - this was focused on your female athletes and involved getting pictures taken at your box with and without equipment. This seems like a terrific opportunity to boost self-confidence and support your clients.

Tell us about this event, how you came up with the idea, and what you accomplished for your female athletes by doing this.

Kate Rawlings gets make-up done for the Coca CrossFit women's beauty shoot.
Kate - Long before Coca existed I’ve had a desire to show women how beautiful and strong they already are.  Too often women in today’s society were shown an unrealistic expectation of what beautiful is.  What’s beautiful is the diversity.  CrossFit women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  CrossFit is about being better than you were the day before, but it’s also important to love yourself exactly as you are. 

I actually got the idea while on a road trip with two of my female coaches.  We were talking about a beauty shoot one of them had done for her 40th birthday, and it got us thinking.  How cool would it be do at Coca?  Other than senior pictures and weddings most women never get pampered for a photo shoot.  We figured….. why not!

The women that participated had a really fun time, and you could really see them flourish.  They felt a little awkward at first, but by the end they were working it.  The women that partook now have another shared experience further tightening our community. Based on the feedback we’ve gotten from it it’s an event we’re going to do again after the first of the year.

Matt - The second event you put on this month was "Eating for Dummies" - on your Facebook ( you said this would be covering the basics of three types of "diets" you recommend at Coca CrossFit. Specifically we're talking about Paleo, Zone, and intermittent fasting.

Can you explain a little bit about your philosophy on diet and nutrition and why you feel there is no one true fit for every person?

Kate Rawlings of Coca CrossFit combines Zone and Paleo Diets
Kate enjoys a mix of Zone and Paleo
Kate - The easiest way to sum up my philosophy on diet is ‘crap in crap out’. 

Meaning if you eat crap your performance and results will directly show that.  Of course you sometimes come across a genetic freak that doesn’t worry about diet, crushes WODs and get major results, but they’re so few and far between they’re not worth discussing.

I preach trial and error to all of my members.  I do not tell them how to eat or what to eat, I merely give them the basic knowledge they need to start their journey to personal health.  No one diet works for everyone.  I say that from personal experience and from 6 years of training other people and seeing the wide variety of results. 

There are several factors that need to be taken into account;
          Lifestyle (shift worker, corporate America, military, etc.)
          Age (14/28/68)
          Goal of diet (lose weight, add muscle, add endurance, etc.)
          Current Health Issues (diabetes or heart issues)
          Food Allergies
          Their current diet
          Their mental state (how much can you take away before they break)
          Their emotional state (are they ready to embrace change)

You have to look at every person and all the factors in their life to decide what’s going to work best for them. The diets I recommend aren’t the only options either.  The perfect diet isn’t going to work if the person doing it isn’t going to do it.  Figure out what works for them and hold them accountable to that.

Matt - From my perspective, it is hard to stay on track with any one program. Prior to my deployment this year I was strict on Paleo. When I made it out there, however, I was all but forced to abandon most of those principles simply based upon what food was actually available to me.

What sort of diet planning/programming do you follow and how do you fight through those cravings and the times when you're unable to eat like you want/should?

Kate - Right now I’m eating a paleo zone where I prepare my food a day or two in advance to help save time.  I’m also a big believer in juicing as I can get tons of vegetables, fruits and fats in a quick easy drink.

I did intermittent fasting for 6months to try and break my addiction to food.  Anyone that’s followed Zone like religion knows it’s easy to become consumed and obsessed with perfect portions timed perfectly.  I ventured into Zone after listening to Josh Bunch, owner of Practice CrossFit, discuss it at his seminar at our gym. 

It was difficult at first, but I soon realized that eating two meals a day still in zone portion gave me good results too.  I am back to 5 meals a day, but I don’t worry about timing nearly as much.  I try and eat in a similar time frame, but even if timing and rations aren't perfect all the time I realize life will be ok.

Matt - Kate, you are no stranger to competition, even before CrossFit - according to your website (http://katerawlings.comyou competed in Division 1 soccer for 18 years - do you think that competitive drive made CrossFit more appealing for you?

In other words, is the desire to compete an integral component to people interested in starting CrossFit?

Kate - I played soccer at the highest level possible for 18 years because it was fun and there was an amazing camaraderie between myself and my teammates.  I found that in CrossFit day one.  At the root of human nature we want to belong and be accepted.  Every shape, size, color, ability, age are all welcome and fit in at CrossFit.  I think that’s the most inviting part of CrossFit.  The challenge is getting the message out.  More often than not people google CrossFit, come across the games athlete videos and get scared away. 

Matt - Speaking of starting CrossFit - what is your 60 second "elevator speech" to people who show an interest?

Kate - CrossFit is the world’s hardest sport to explain. 

At its root it’s a strength and conditioning program.  We utilize running, rowing, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, ropes, stones, sandbags you name it we use it. 

Our ultimate goal is to create athletes that can run really fast for long distances with the ability to pick up heavy objects and everything in between.

Matt - OK, Kate - like I do with all my interviews and what people really like to see - let's talk about stats:

Kate Rawlings in 'Cause I'm a Fighter T-Shirt
'Cause I'm a Fighter; Kate Rawlings
Age / height / weight 30/145lbs/5’2”

What are your Top 3 Competitions?
CrossFit Games, Beast of the East, Fittest Games at CF Central

Favorite WOD & time?
Grace – 1:54

Least Favorite WOD?
5k row – really any distance row

Fran time?


CF Total?

I recently read you had a fun time with the Squat Clean and a 20# PR? What's your current PR?
175lbs – got under 185lbs, but didn’t stand up


Clean and Jerk?


Matt - Thank you so much Kate for taking time out of your VERY BUSY schedule to answer some questions for our viewers - I genuinely appreciate it and look forward to chatting with you more in the future!

Images borrowed with permission from - 
Videos borrowed with permission from -

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