Hustle & Soul is a lifestyle blog offering practical advice about food, fitness & wellness. And I'm Diana, the one offering advice. I'm super pumped you're here - thanks for stopping by!



It’s been a minute slash a few months since my last blog post. Thanks for bearing with me. I’ve been M.I.A. for good reasons though! Chris was interviewing for residency jobs, I was finishing up planning our wedding and work at lululemon during the holidays tends to get a bit hectic. I also started a new job just last week and we learned that we’ll be staying in Memphis for Chris’s residency. Oh yea, and we got married in there, too. The past couple months have been eventful, to say the least!

As much fun as it’s been (our wedding was a freaking blast!) I am excited to be falling back into the normal flow of life again, which means back to blogging on the reg! I wanted to kick off my first blog post back in action with a little bit more about my story. I LOVE featuring others on the blog, but get a lot of questions about my journey with CrossFit.

And, the timing of this post feels very fitting to me since it just so happens that I celebrated my 6-year CrossFit-versary earlier this month (January 9th). I also just married the love of my life, who I met at that very first CrossFit class I attended. I have made many friends and even jobs along the way because of CrossFit. And CrossFitters love to talk about CrossFit, so here we go!

6 years ago, I walked into a CrossFit gym.


I was still in design school at the University of Cincinnati, but I had just moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, for a 6-month internship where I worked for Scripps Networks in their HGTV division. Previously, I had been working out at our school rec center when I wasn’t playing club soccer.

When I moved to Knoxville, I asked a friend who was familiar with the city about recommendations for a gym. Knowing my competitive sports background, he told me to see if there were any CrossFit gyms nearby. I googled “CrossFit gyms in Knoxville” and the search resulted in only 2 locations at the time. I laugh when I think about this because if I were to do the same search today, there are more than a dozen gyms that pop up. I emailed both of the gyms asking for more information and heard back right away from CrossFit Knoxville. The owner, Johnny (a good friend of ours now!), let me know I could come in that day for a free class.

After work I hustled over to the gym and wasn’t quite sure what I had walked into. Thankfully a familiar face rescued me as a girl I had just met that day at work walked in behind me. After signing a waiver at the door, I made my way to the back of the gym to change my clothes. On my way, I noticed a guy my age sitting in the back watching the class; I remember thinking he was cute but my thought-bubble was quickly burst by the sound of multiple barbells crashing to the ground, a sound that would soon become very familiar to me.

Some people say their first day was a blur, however every time I recall my first day at CrossFit, it is a crystal clear memory in my mind. I remember we did Bear Complex and I partnered with the girl I knew from work; her name is Lindsay. I couldn’t wait to come back the next day. Day 2 we did Nancy and I quickly learned that squatting was one of my true loves. That cute boy in the back that I saw the day before introduced himself to me. His name is Chris and we talked about music. I later found out that he was really impressed I could do overhead squats on my second day. I signed up for the 5-week intro deal on my second day and I remember telling my mom that I was going to learn as much as I could during that time and then go do the workouts on my own at the local Gold’s Gym down the road because it was cheaper. That’s funny to think about now.

As I learned all of the movements I also made new friends. I couldn’t wait to look up the workouts each morning and talk to my new gym friends all day at work about the workout we would be doing that night. In a city where I knew nobody and for the first time in my life I didn’t have competitive sports as a way to stay in shape, I found many loves of my life in CrossFit.



Fast-forward to now, 6 years later, and I am now married to that cute boy I noticed on the first day. MARRIED to him. That’s a big deal. And some days I still can’t believe it. CrossFit and our resulting lifestyle laid an amazing foundation for our relationship and our life together. We have the same values and same goals and we’re not afraid to push each other to be our best selves. He challenges me in and out of the gym and supports me in everything I do.

We have made so many, AMAZING friends and some of the best relationships through the CrossFit community. That girl Lindsay that I met at work who I partnered with on Day 1 ended up becoming one of my dearest friends and was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. Any time I have moved or whenever we travel, I know that CrossFit is what makes a new place feel like home. And that’s also been my experience here in Memphis. Chris and I were sad to leave Knoxville three and a half years ago because that’s where we started our story together. But Memphis has been so good to us. Our friends from the CrossFit community here are like family now. And we’re so excited to extend our stay another 5 years here while Chris completes his residency.

A lot of my non-CrossFit friends and even our families sometimes think we’re crazy or a little extreme because of how our lives have been shaped around CrossFit. My brother thinks I’m part of a cult and my friends don’t understand why I voluntarily and repeatedly choose to suffer through workouts. But for us, it’s so much more than working out (even though we do a lot of that). We do it because it’s fun. Because we have some of the best relationships. And the side-effects of eating well and big muscles aren’t too bad, either. Sometimes people ask if we’ll ever stop doing it and to be honest, I can pretty confidently say no. Of course it will be different as we get older, however, CrossFit has helped us build such an amazing life together that I think life without it just wouldn’t be as good and I don’t think we’ll ever take the time to find out.

The Soulful Life Project is a series of posts featuring different people in the community. Each will be sharing a little bit about their story & why they do what they do. These posts will be publish the last week of every month.

Interested in sharing your story and being featured on the blog, I would love to chat with you! Shoot me an email: diana@hustle-and-soul.com