Recently I had the chance to sit down with a wonderfully spunky little ball of energy named Rachel Locker. This girl is both full of enthusiasm and spirit! Here’s what she had to say about coaching CrossFit and working with Tales of Reese.
First of all, Rachel, tell us a little about yourself and how you found yourself in the world of fitness.
I was born in Queens, NY but moved down to South Florida when I was ten years old. I am one of five children and all of my siblings are very active and played sports growing up. I was a girly girl and I never got into sports, but loved going to the gym to workout starting back when I was in high school. I always ate very healthy and trained in the gym before children, but after having two kids in three years, I decided to start CrossFit to get back to my pre baby weight. Once I took my first CrossFit class, I knew this was something I wanted to continue. I am pretty competitive, so trying to do one more rep, get a little faster or stronger, and pushing myself harder than I thought possible was what got me hooked. I received my level 1 cert a year later and shortly after that, I went for my CrossFit Kids certification.
I imagine CrossFit kids must present some extra challenges. What are some of the joys and challenges that come along with coaching?
As a coach, I get to personally help members reach their fitness goals. From teaching an Olympic lift, witnessing a client get a new PR, teaching a new gymnastics skill, assisting with their nutrition, and the list really goes on and on. The biggest challenge I have come across, is being a petite girl and telling a man who has just started CrossFit that they have to take the weight off their bar. I have worked hard to master the perfect delivery, but the guys don’t really take that news too well. Once they complete their first CrossFit workout, and realize they could not have finished with the weight they originally selected, there is never any hard feelings! CrossFit has an ability to humble us, even if we have been in the fitness world previously.
As a CrossFit kids coach, it is awesome to see young kids develop a passion for health and fitness. Our younger CrossFit kids enjoy the competitive games and relay races, while the tweens in our program get excited about seeing growth in their strength and speed. We educate the kids about nutrition, discuss goals in the gym and in school, and also teach good sportsmanship. I always said I wish I would have found CrossFit at a younger age, and now I am so fortunate to help be a part of their journey with this sport.
How did you first meet Sparkly Ray and become involved with the Tales of Reese organization?
I met Sparkly Ray at the Crush Games in 2015. I walked past The Tales of Reese booth, and was immediately drawn in to ask more about the organization and how the charity helped sick kids. Ray was so passionate about Reese and how he helped raise awareness about childhood illnesses, in addition to raise money for these beautiful kids and their family, that I bought three shirts, just so my purchase could help the child of the month! I told Ray that I coached at three CrossFit boxes and that each one would host a WOD with Reese event. I emailed Ray shortly after The Crush Games and scheduled the events. Once Ray sent me the background information about each one of the children we would be raising money for, it reconfirmed that I needed to somehow be a part of this organization.
Sounds like you were hooked! Shortly after meeting Ray you became an ambassador. What exactly does that entail?
An ambassador is passionate about the charity and helps raise awareness and spreads the word about Tales of Reese and Ray of Solace. As an ambassador, I wear my Reese tanks to all my competitions and I am always sending people to the site to learn more about Reese. An ambassador should also help plan events so that money can be raised for as many children as possible.
How has Tales of Reese impacted your life and what upcoming events do you have planned?
Reese has actually impacted my daughter’s life as well as mine. Jayden found out about my involvement with the TOR charity and was insistent on helping with all three WOD with Reese events. She is learning that there are kids less fortunate and battling illnesses, and this has helped her appreciate what she has and I am so proud she has stepped up to give back. Jayden has fallen in love with Reese. She collects all of his books, and even sleeps with him at night. I think aside from being adorable, she realizes that he helps give sick kids hope. He is not another one of her stuffed animals, Reese is real and helps inspire her to be better.
I am hoping to host another three WOD with Reese events later this year, so that we can have the privilege to help more families that have a sick child. There was an amazing energy within the CrossFit community during our Reese events and I can’t wait host more. I would also love to get Reese books in my school’s library. I teach first grade when I am not coaching and we have quite a few students in my elementary school that are battling some childhood illnesses. I think Reese has the ability to teach acceptance to the other students, while bringing comfort to the students that feel different due to their illness.
Tales of Reese has had a large impact on Rachel. But sitting down with Sparkly Ray, it’s clear Rachel has had an impact on Tales of Reese as well. Here’s what she had to say.
When I first met the pocket size Rachel Locker at the Crush games I had no idea someone so small could be carrying such a huge heart inside them. The excitement, passion and love that comes out of such a tiny human is inspiring. Her giving spirit is contagious and when you talk to her you immediately start smiling. The fact that she fell in love with our sweet mouse was a huge blessing for Reese and I and we are forever so thankful that we went to the Crush games that year and had the honor to come to know such a beautiful soul. Her family is just as beautiful as her and her daughter Jayden is our sweet mini ambassador who reflects many of the same qualities as her mother. We are so thankful to have Rachel on our team and helping us raise awareness for our cause and these sweet babies. She is one of a kind with a true heart of gold.