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Her Sweat Story: Registered Nurse Charmaine Platon On Becoming An Obstacle Course Beast

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Before tackling obstacle courses like a boss, Southern California native Charmaine Platon solely got her workouts in by channeling her inner Serena Williams playing tennis throughout high school.

“The only thing I knew about fitness was tennis,” she tells her sweat. “I never did things like strength training or running. I never followed a plan. I just went to tennis lessons every weekend and played for my high school team. There was a whole world [of fitness] that was blind to me at the time.”

She then took a break from the fit life heading into nursing school.”I stopped playing tennis; in other words, I stopped exercising,” she admits. “I was sedentary and had more body fat than ever before. My boyfriend Michael remembers that when I was in nursing school, I absolutely hated working out and viewed exercise as a chore. I weighed the same in nursing school as I do now but was way chubbier.”

These days, the registered nurse with a specialty in psychiatric mental health embraces exercise and spends her free time obstacle course racing, smashing CrossFit and rock climbing. Platon became a workout junkie in 2013, tackling road races like half-marathons and 10ks mixed with yoga sessions. The following year, she left her comfort zone in the dust and ran obstacle courses before switching up her routines with CrossFit at the top of 2016.

While part of her wishes she had fallen in love with fitness earlier, she feels fortunate about her fit mentality now. “My career path would have totally been different than it is now, but I’m still grateful for the path I did take and how much I learned,” she says.

Here’s how the real-life shero became an obstacle course and CrossFit beast.

WHY I DOVE INTO OBSTACLE COURSE RACING: I started obstacle course racing (OCR) in September 2014 when I did my first Spartan Race (one of the most popular brands of obstacle course races). OCR was my gateway into other aspects of training, such as rock climbing and CrossFit. In order to do well in OCR, you have to be a very well-rounded athlete! In addition to being a runner, you must have adequate upper and lower body strength to climb, hang, pull, push, jump, and carry heavy and awkward objects like sandbags and logs.

WHY I BEGAN WORKING OUT: It was in 2013 that my cousin Chi invited my sisters and I to run a half marathon to raise money for our other cousin Cathy, who we were afraid was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was incredibly reluctant to sign up because I never believed I could finish a half marathon. In the end, I signed up for my family and realized how much I actually enjoyed running and enjoyed training. My family and I ended up raising about $3000 for my cousin, and we all finished the half marathon. Ever since, I have finished 13 half marathons, two full marathons, approximately 15 Spartan Races and participated in endurance events lasting more than 14 hours. The longest endurance event I have finished was the Spartan Agoge, which lasted 60 hours.

WHY I ENJOY CROSSFIT: I only started CrossFit in January of this year, so I still feel relatively new to the sport. Being 4’9″ and weighing about 100 lbs., I have always been afraid of lifting heavy so I wanted to be strong with bodyweight movements first before getting into CrossFit. I finally made the jump and signed up with a local box (which, at the time, was called Walnut CrossFit) to get strong and add more structure to my training. I was also training for the 60-hour Agoge event, which consisted of very heavy lifts and endurance (hiking 70-plus miles, lifting kayaks, logs, rocks). I needed CrossFit to guide me with my strength training and to be more comfortable with lifting. I’m so grateful I signed up with Walnut CrossFit. I am at the strongest I have ever been in my life and actually love lifting weights. I would highly recommend having adequate strength with bodyweight movements, such as squats, push-ups and pull-ups, however, before starting a CrossFit membership.

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