Leslie Hsu

Leslie Hsu’s First Muscle Up from Jocelyn Forest on Vimeo.

The Tiger knows chest-to-bar.

Leslie Hsu is arguably one of the most athletic girls that has come through CrossFit West.  Nicknamed “the Tiger” Leslie came to us already having the work ethic and drive to succeed at anything she put her mind too.  Although she also came to us with no CrossFit experience and the same fear of trying it that almost everyone has when they first sign up.
Leslie climbed the CF West ranks quickly securing multiple spots on the record boards (including muscle ups!).  She also proudly represented West during various Affiliate Challenges.  Leslie rightfully earned her “firebreather” status.
Unfortunately for us, upon finishing grad school, Leslie has recently departed to the East Coast for a new job.  Her spirit and energy will be tough to match and we will miss her very much.  Good luck out there Tiger!
I started CrossFit at a time in my life when very little was inspiring to me (9 years of graduate school might do that to you), and it was just what I needed. At that time, I honestly thought that exercise might never be fun anymore, for the rest of my life. I was doing the same weightroom routine that I had done for years, I did some solitary and leisurely laps in the pool when I wasn’t too lazy, and I sat at home dreaming of finding enough people to play basketball with again (never happened). I was bored – very bored – with my options.
At the suggestion of a friend, I searched for a CrossFit gym when I moved to Santa Cruz. CFSCW was the closest one (thankfully!). I read all of the blog entries and looked at all of the photos and had a lot of questions: (1) Why do the guys have take off their shirts all the time? (2) Why do they look like they’re dying at the end of class, that can’t be fun? (3) Do I have to get a tattoo?
I dropped in on a class the first weekend after I moved into town. I remember almost everything from those first weeks, when I was anxious before each class. I was very timid and didn’t want to drop the bar, or use too much weight and injure myself. Luckily, the trainers and fellow CrossFitters were super helpful and knowledgeable and guided me along. I looked forward to every class, partly because for the rest of my waking hours I was sitting at home attempting to finish my thesis, but also because I had never had so much variety and fun in my workouts. I still, however, thought that everyone was a little crazy for pushing themselves so hard.
And then, probably four months after I started, Jocelyn told me, “You need to start increasing the weight,” and I listened to her because she always gives good advice. For me, that was a turning point that was very liberating. It took me a long time to become comfortable with the movements so that I wasn’t afraid to fail, to drop the weight, to go heavy but finish last. That’s one thing that I would never do in my life, but CrossFit finally persuaded me to do it. It’s led to a lot of incredibly sore mornings and some evil thoughts (only during the WOD itself), but other than that it’s been awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever been around such a supportive and positive community, somewhere I feel comfortable participating in a little healthy competition but at the same time I want to cheer others on. It DOES help when you hear someone calling you out to keep going, doesn’t it? Funny how that works.
A lot of my friends don’t understand why I would go to a gym like this. I don’t mind the skeptics, because I wasn’t convinced myself until I starting coming. But I was converted, and I do think that CrossFit was the one thing that kept me sane as I finished my thesis. Now I have to move away (thesis done, job finished, new job found) and I’m scared that I’ll never find a gym that lives up to CFSCW. (Note: doesn’t that stink, when you have it so good that everything else afterward is a disappointment?) Thank you to everyone, it was so fun training with you! Thanks especially to the coaches I have worked with, Joc, Kyle, Sam, Cliff, and Jason, you are my heroes for training us, and smiling while you watch us suffer. Whenever I think of Santa Cruz I will think of CFSCW!