Athlete(s) of the Month – November 2016

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Our Athlete(s) of the month for November are… drumroll please…. Katy Jaffee and Nick Litterst! The power couple of the morning classes, you’ll find them most frequently attending the 9:00AM (formerly the 8:30AM) class. Nick has been with us since 2012 and Katy was a bootcamp regular before FINALLY joining in 2014. Katy brings this cool Yogi vibe with her, but don’t be fooled, she can still deadlift 280lbs like a boss! Nick is one of the most down to earth dudes you’ll ever meet. He’s a friend to everyone and busts his ass in workouts! Whenever I see these two walk through the door, I know it’s going to be a good class (even if I have to occasionally remind Katy to stay on schedule). YOU GUYS ROCK and very much deserve this.


1) When did you start doing CrossFit? 

 Katy: December 2014

Nick: Late 2012

2) Favorite WOD?

 Katy: Holleyman

Nick: I am a big fan of partner workouts because I am forced to go a little faster in speed or heavier in weight than I would on my own. If burpees are involved, though, my partner likely takes the brunt.

3) Least Favorite WOD?

Katy: Anything that has rowing and thrusters in the same workout, and Whitten.

Nick: The July 4th burpee box jump workout absolutely annihilated me this year. It was so difficult to get over the mental challenge of that workout, not to mention it took close to 60 minutes for me.

4) Favorite Lift?

Katy: Deadlift.

Nick: I love doing any type of Clean and would like to grab a few PRs over the next 12 months.


5) Least Favorite Lift?

Katy: Back and front squats because long legs and tiny quads. 🙁

Nick: Probably Deadlift. Early on I really strained my back going for a 415# PR and I find I do not push myself through a lifting cycle to top that weight.

6) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 Katy: I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, went to University of Florida (go gators) and moved up here for graduate school in 2008. I’m a biostatistician for a contract research organization in Chapel Hill. I recently got married this past August to Nick, who is also a member here, and we live with our 2 dogs in Mordecai. I’m a rabid Florida fan (watch out) and I think my favorite thing to do (other than watch Florida football/basketball) is travel.

Nick: I was born outside of Rockford, Illinois about 1.5 hr north of Chicago. I grew up in an extremely small town in eastern NC but moved to Raleigh in 2001 for school and have never left. I love any type of travel domestic or international and luckily get to do a lot of that for work. I currently am the Real Estate Manager for Great Clips in the mid-Atlantic markets.

Most importantly, I married the Florida Gator loving, “take off my top whenever I can during a workout” Katy Jaffee on August 27th of this year.

7) What were you doing before CrossFit?

Katy: I was a full-time yogi before I joined CrossFit – I loved it so much I got certified to teach in 2014, then I started doing CrossFit and yoga took a backseat.

Nick: Like many people who eventually get burnt out on it, I did several rounds of P90X leading up to starting Crossfit. Following it strictly (which meant mostly cutting seriously calories in your diet), I got down to 169lbs which is probably 15-20lbs too light for my frame. Eventually I got tired of working out in my bedroom and wanted an alternative that was not a globo type gym.

8) What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout?

Katy: “Am I dying? I’m going to die.” Then I was so sore for 3 days, couldn’t walk up the stairs without clutching the handrail, but I was back the next day for more.

Nick: I started before Foundations was implemented so it was basically Steve working with me 1on1, giving me short body movement workouts to test my capability to go into the classes. Apparently, not going to full extension on pullups (thank you P90X) is not acceptable. I learned that day that I was not near as athletic or strong as my perception was about myself so I signed the contract and got ready for a proper ass kicking every day.


9) What were your goals when joining CrossFit?

Katy: Even though I was regularly working out/doing yoga, my cardio endurance was not great, so I really wanted to work on that aspect of my fitness. I also really wanted to learn how to do pull-ups.

Nick: I wanted to not be the skinny/lean version of myself but be stronger and more geared towards my body type. I have never had the goal to finish at the top of the pack in any given workout but use Crossfit as my vehicle for staying active and in fairly good shape. I have said that I always want to be no more than 2 months away from being in really great shape (~185lbs, <10% body fat) which helps me not get too far away from my personal version of being really fit.

10) Have you achieved any of those goals?

 Katy: Yes! I still struggle a lot with long workouts, but I am improving slowly but surely. I PR’ed my mile time and 500m & 2k row times recently! I am able to not only do a pull-up, but I’m able to do them consistently in workouts.

Nick: The most difficult thing for me is that I travel quite a bit for work so continuing to improve in Crossfit on a regular basis can be tough, especially with PRing lifts consistently. Overall, I am able to strike a balance between travel and fitness. I try to do travel workouts and drop-ins when I can but my main goal is to miss very few days from RDU when I am in town. Sometimes I feel like I am playing catch up with the rest of the members after being gone for a week but the community quickly pushes you to jump back in and work hard.

11) What made you come to CrossFit RDU and stay with CrossFit RDU?

Katy: Nick convinced me to try go through foundations after attending 8 million bootcamps like a freeloader. I decided I would take his advice and I’m so happy that I did for many reasons! I feel stronger, look stronger, and have made so many great friends at CF RDU…the community itself is one of the best I’ve encountered. I look forward to seeing my 9AM crew every morning!

Nick: I found Crossfit RDU through a Google search and a brief look at reviews. Katy and I have moved closed to downtown and we now drive past at least 3 gyms on our way to the gym everyday. Hands down, the community is the best there is. Everyone is supportive no matter what athletic level they are at. The programming, while I sometimes curse Steve’s name, is constantly evolving and is always challenging. As I drop in to other gyms, I realize that not only is the coaching at RDU top notch but we put in WAY more work than the average Crossfit gym.

12) Has CrossFit affected your life outside of the gym?

Katy: Definitely – I feel much healthier, which leads to me eating better and drinking less wine. The best impact it has made, though, is allowed me to meet some of my closest friends!

Nick: I have met people at RDU that will be friends for a lifetime. They will always be a positive influence outside of the gym and will not let me slide too much on my fitness.


13)  What are some of your best achievements in the gym?

Katy: Doing my first strict pull up, the day I FINALLY figured out toes to bar, and my 280# deadlift PR were a couple of the best achievements I’ve made in the gym. I’m hoping to hit 300# by next cycle!

Nick: Getting through “White” during Hero Week was a big one for me. Rope climbs are a huge weakness of mine so it felt good to get through that one. I am also happy with my double under progress, particularly in a barbell cycling workout that blows out my arms. I am hoping to get 100+ unbroken DUs in the next few months.

14) Do you have any other special memories/achievements during your time here?

Katy: When I hit my first big deadlift PR at 255# I had so many people cheering me on…that was an awesome feeling!

Nick: It has been a blast traveling down to Regionals the last couple of years and cheering on RDU as well as watching Steve compete at the Games. Any gym gathering, like the holiday party or Friday Night Lights, is always a good time.

15) What advice would you give a newbie trying out CrossFit for the first time?

Katy: Stick with it and ask for help/advice…and don’t be afraid to push yourself past your comfort zone. I still ask for advice before every workout.

Nick: It is not as intimidating as it can appear. Nearly everyone you will come in contact with at a Crossfit gym (either at your home gym or as a drop in) is extremely supportive no matter what. You can have a 2:15 Fran time or 8 minutes…it really does not matter. As long as you work hard, do every single rep, and support others you will be just fine. Just jump in and go for it!

16) Something you might not know about me is?

 Katy: My full name is Katy (not Kathryn) and I’m named after the Steely Dan album “Katy Lied.” I also used to bartend at Urban Meyer’s house parties…any Ohio State fans in the gym should appreciate that.

Nick: I beat the original Mario Bros. on NES in 6 minutes 7 seconds when I was a freshman at NC State.  This was before I knew about the “Bullet Bill” glitch which cuts significant time (among other tactics).  The current world record is 4:57.69.  Yikes.