Jenna Sanders of CFD

January 09, 2018  •  1 Comment

Jan 9th 2018

Location: Crossfit Dilworth

Nikon D750  24-70mm Tamron G2 2.8 ... 70-200mm Tamron G2 2.8  and 2 Einstein 640's Paul C Buff



      Happy New Year Everyone!! To kick off the new year I wanted to start a project highlighting athletes from local boxes that show humility and continue to motivate others on a daily basis. We all fall in love with the community for that very reason. Regardless of skill level we all support and inspire one another. The point of this project was to have 1 athlete selected and to perform a photo shoot of them doing their favorite movements. I also included questions that each athlete would respond to, which in return gives a story about what drives them or brought them to Crossfit. Here are the questions...

1. How long have you been doing Crossfit?
2. What brought you to Crossfit?
3. What do you enjoy the most about being at CFD?
4. What would you tell others who are thinking about trying Crossfit?
5. What motivates you?


Crossfit Dilworth was first  up to participate. I would like to thank Brandon and Gracie of CFD for showing so much support this past year. The athlete selected was Jenna Sanders. I have not been fortunate enough to meet Jenna prior however from chatting with Gracie I knew she was a great pick. After reading her responses I became even more eager to work with her. Check her responses out below:

1. I’ve been doing CrossFit since December of 2015, so 3 years.

2. I was in the Army and was on a deployment and one of my Soldiers was Level 1 certified.  He would volunteer to coach classes at the make shift Crossfit gym we had set up.  I ran 6 days a week at the time and refused to lift weights after my days of college soccer, but he kept bugging me to come try one of his classes because I was always complaining about my body hurting somewhere from the constant running.  I gave in, went to one of his classes and was hooked.  Happy my running days are behind me :)

3. I’m continually amazed by the coaches at CFD.  Brandon and Gracie and the rest of the coaches are always so engaged with everyone in the gym no matter what level athlete they are working with. If you take one class at CFD you’ll immediately recognize they have created a special environment.  I also love that we have such a diverse/fun group of people.

4. Remember even the best athletes had to start somewhere. I thought I was in good shape when I started Crossfit and realized quickly that I needed to modify pretty much every exercise.  I hate when people tell me they need to get in better shape to try Crossfit.  Everyday you'll get better at something and its fun to look back at how far you’ve come.

5. Knowing life is short and nothing’s guaranteed so I want to give it everything I’ve got while I can.  A few years ago one of the senior officers I deployed with lost his leg in an explosion and I’ll never forget watching him workout.  He had a prosthetic leg and he would run laps around people who would walk because they didn’t want to put in the effort to run.  It’s like Dabo Swinney says “I will do what I can, when I can, so that when I can not, I will not, wish that I would have, when I could have.”



I am sure many athletes can relate to Jenna's responses. I especially love the mention of people saying they need to get in shape first. I hear that so often myself. Reading Jenna's responses gave me a pretty good idea as to what type of athlete I would be working with... HOWEVER.... Jenna was the REAL DEAL!!! Definitely from a sports background and Crossfit has been good to her!!! As you will see in these photos.


I arrived at CFD a bit early in order to get my lighting set up. I have shot there before so I already knew where to position everything.  We got started with some cleans, which didn't take long for her to warm up at all. We got right to it.




We then followed it up with some snatches. Talk about an aggressive pull!!!!!!

The great thing about working with Crossfit athletes is that they are typically pretty easy to talk to. Jenna and I spoke about where we were originally from and how the adjustment to Charlotte was. What I didn't know is that Jenna was leaving for Wodapalooza the next day to compete with a team from her previous residence. Not only that she then had to fly out of town for work a day or so after the competition. She was definitely staying busy. Well the shoot must go on....  

We moved into ring MU's and I only requested her to do a few kips at first. Then we changed to another set of rings to have her knock out some MU's.


Although a bar-muscle up would have been pretty cool I just wanted to capture a chest to bar pull from a high angle. I think it turned out well. Had to adjust my strobes a bit but still nailed it!!!


Gracie then kindly came over an notified me of some movements that Jenna was good at. We attacked them all.


AND WHO DOESN'T LOVE A DUMBELL SNATCH!!!!! Especially when someone is aggressive with it!!



The final option was between and bike or a rower. I chose the bike. So glad I did!!!


After working with Jenna I am so happy that I decided to start this project. Not only will I get some great images but will learn more about my community. Officially learning about Jenna's journey and her reason for becoming a Crossfit athlete shows the bond and similarities that we all share. Thank you Jenna for sharing your story and for allowing me to work with you. As always thank you to Gracie and Brandon of CFD for making me feel welcome and for the sticker swag and my new CFD baseball tee. To my supporters who took the time to read about this experience.. THANK YOU.  Stay tuned for my next athlete who represents Crossfit Jane.


GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!! 3..2..1..Shoot!!!


A.J. Ramey(non-registered)
Great article! A better candidate for this couldn’t have been found.
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