Jess Krezmien – Utility player for the Tampa Bay Brigade
What is a brief overview of your origin story. Where you grew up, early family situation, athletic background, school, early jobs, travel, etc?
I’m originally from Buffalo NY, and moved to Tampa in 2012. I tried T-ball for a sec when I was 4, got real bored. So I switched to soccer and played through college. I also ran track in high school, and played rugby in college, and played 1 year of semi pro soccer before I moved. I’ve coached soccer from ages 5 all the way to the collegiate level, did every job possible at Day Camp (includingake a mean boondoggle), and I also worked for a Verizon Wireless store for almost 5 years. I have stories.
What is your current occupation, family situation, and focus in life?
I originally moved to Florida because I got a job teaching high school Phys Ed and Health/Nutrition. That only took 6 years for me to leave before I lost all of my sanity. It was a ridiculously hard decision because I genuinely loved teaching those kids. But I wanted my experience and time better appreciated. Luckily I had other avenues of coaching kids/teens through my gym and Grid. So that led me to finally growing a pair and starting my own company, OPB Nutrition. I had always coached nutrition on the side, but only part time because I always thought I had to get a “big girl” 9-5 job. Thankfully I had a pretty good following and presence in the industry already, so it made the leap a little less terrifying.
As much as I miss teaching that many kids, I love helping people fight the fads and b.s. that the fitness and nutrition industry is saturated with. Because through school, teaching, and experience, I have found that the major thing missing in nutrition programs is nutrition education. So that is a major focus in my coaching.
What is something interesting that people would like to know about you?:
I don’t drink coffee. I was just made this way.
Describe the biggest hurdle or challenge you have overcome in your life.:
Fitness wise… Probably when I had to have shoulder surgery. In 2018 I had really felt like I was getting stronger and better at all of my weaknesses, with perfect timing for the CrossFit Games Open. Theeeen I tore my labrum from top to bottom 2 weeks before the Open started. I wasn’t even working out, I was just goofing off – and I had surgery 2 months later. When you pour so much if yourself into something every day, it’s hard to come to terms with it being taken away. It was really odd mentally, because I remember feeling like I should have been more pissed off than I was. Don’t get me wrong, I was LIVID at myself and at the world for a while. But once I had surgery and realized being mad was useless, I turned it into a game of how well could I recover to earn back the barbell. As I progressed, I found a new appreciation for little things I was able to do again each week. And I was determined to prove my surgeon’s assistant wrong when he told me I would never lift heavy overhead again. I have PR’d my push press, split jerk and overhead squat since.
How do you prepare to play on the GRID and other forms of competition. How do you think about nutrition, training, and other factors that contribute to your readiness?:
I try not to eat/do anything out of the ordinary that my body might not agree with. Make sure I’m eating enough, and drinking enough water and LMNT (electrolytes). For training, there’s usually a “deload” or tapering off a few days prior, finishing touches on assignments/wods, and extra mobility if I’m feeling frisky. If I’m traveling, I try to plan ahead the best I can to avoid any inconveniences in either nutrition or training.
Describe what is it like to play on your team?:
It’s like being a collegiate athlete again! Except better because you don’t have to go to class. We have a very laid back yet sarcastic relationship with each other, so there is never a shortage of jokes in our group chat. But at the same time, we are there for each other and work our butts off to show up on that grid.
How did you get involved in GRID? Did you come through the American Grid Trials? Tell us the story!:
It was kind of an accident. It was summer 2017 I had been visiting my friend’s gym for a few days, and one of those days Chris (the Brigade Coach) was there. He asked me if I was trying out for Grid and I was like, what the heck is that? He told me to go to the combine and I was like yeah ok sure thing guy! I figured there way no way I’d make it. I decided last minute to go, and now I’m really glad I did!
What is important for people to know about the sport of GRID? How does it compare to your other forms of competition?
It’s unique, it’s intense, it’s exciting, and it’s not CrossFit. Grid is unique in that guys and girls are on the same team, do the same movements, and even share the same weights! It’s intense because races come down to MILLISECONDS. It’s exciting because strategy is everything, and the lead can change multiple times within a race because of it. It’s not CrossFit in that you don’t have to be good at everything like you do in CrossFit. You get to shine at what you are good at, and avoid the stuff you suck at. Each player has a purpose, and each player is needed to win!