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How a UB alumna found her drive through CrossFit

Morgan Dressler uses CrossFit to maintain active lifestyle

/ Courtesy of Morgan Dressler |

Morgan Dressler climbs up a rope as a part of her CrossFit regimen. Dressler first started doing CrossFit more than a year ago and since then feels as if her life has changed for the better.

Morgan Dressler used to just go to a “normal gym.”

She said she’d spend maybe 40 minutes on an elliptical or treadmill. She didn’t know how to lift and she wasn’t interested in a personal trainer.

Now she does exercises like rope climbing, handstand pushups and Olympic lifts in a strength and conditioning program often used by professional athletes, military special operations units and police academies.

She uses CrossFit.

Dressler, who graduated last May from UB with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences, said that although she always considered herself to be “somewhat active,” it wasn’t until she started CrossFit that she truly started her now active lifestyle.

She first discovered CrossFit after a friend of hers recommended it to her as a new workout regimen. After she went to check out what the gym was like, she thought it was perfect way for her to exercise.

While the first gym specific to CrossFit opened in Santa Cruz, California in the early 2000s, there are now more than 10,000 CrossFit gyms worldwide and more than 10 in the Western New York area. Since 2007, the CrossFit Games have been a televised competition in which athletes compete in different workouts in order to determine who is the “fittest on Earth.” The CrossFit Games are split according to gender and the male and female winners are awarded prize money.

CrossFit has also received criticism for causing injuries and not being adequate for sports performance, including from some research journals and accreditation groups.

But the regime is ideal for Dressler.

“CrossFit is designed to target every type of athlete, whether starting as a housewife or a Navy SEAL. From day-to-day, no workout is identical,” Dressler said.

One of the things Dressler said she likes about CrossFit is how unique the workouts are. A typical day for her involves strength training as well as gymnastic exercises.

Each day there is a selected “workout of the day” (WOD) that is incorporated into the workout routine. Dressler said the WOD could range from five minutes to sometimes 30 minutes or more depending on the exercise.

High intensity interval training – short, intense anaerobic exercises – are typically involved during the WOD.

Liz Wolf and Dressler have been friends since attending high school together. The two used to go to the gym together frequently after school. Wolf, a senior psychology major, said Dressler has always been fit and used to participate in athletic activities in high school and at UB.

“Since [Dressler] started CrossFit I’ve noticed she’s more conscientious and disciplined in many aspects of her life, including school, diet and nutrition and all over health and wellness,” Wolf said.

When the CrossFit gym Dressler attends held a class dedicated to bringing a friend along, Dressler brought Wolf with her. Wolf said although the class was an easier version than the typical workouts, it was still difficult.

Dressler said she has noticed a huge difference in her strength since she started CrossFit. She said she went from not knowing how to lift weights to being able to now “lift more than [she] ever imagined.”

Dressler’s sister Courtney said Dressler has always been very dedicated in everything she does and CrossFit is not an exception. Courtney said while Dressler has always worked out in some way, once she started doing CrossFit it was noticeable she found something that she liked doing.

“She doesn’t miss a day,” Courtney said. “I can tell that it’s something she really loves and I’m happy she found it.”

Marlee Tuskes is a news desk editor and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @marleetuskes5. 

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