Altum Cooper, Jessica

Jessica Altum Cooper

Trenton

After growing up super involved with team sports, I graduated college and felt a void that I wasn’t able to fill with regular classes at my local gym or individual workouts. I found my self heavier than I had ever been, completely unhappy with the amount of energy I had each day, and disappointed with my level of fitness. I had recently moved to Jacksonville to start my career within Extension, and knew that I needed to find something new and exciting to restart my routine of daily fitness. I tried HIIT classes, a running group, and spinning and none of these were enjoyable for me. I decided to try a local crossfit gym that my program assistant at the time invited me to. My first workout was medicine ball cleans, burpees, and push ups and although I struggled through the workout I really enjoyed having the challenge and an uplifting group atmosphere. I decided to try it a few times a week to see if this feeling continued. The community was so accepting and encouraging, the coaches were knowledgeable, and they all pushed me to be at my best. Over the course of about a year and a half I went to attending 5-6 times a week, and changing my nutrition to help me accomplish my goals. I needed better fuel for the workouts and a lifestyle change that would help me to get more energy and sustain the weekly work that I was putting my body through. I lost almost 50 pounds during that amount of time, and was in some of the best shape of my life. I then decided to apply for a different position, closer to my hometown and accepted the job. The move was to Gilchrist County, and I spent 4 months trying to figure out a way to balance my fitness and nutrition goals with being in a smaller town that did not have a gym or a long list of healthy restaurants like Jacksonville did. I gained about 20 pounds back during that time, and then I was disappointed again for allowing myself to go back to some poor habits and a lack of routine when it came to workouts. I decided to make the commitment to drive to Gainesville to the nearest Crossfit gyms and try each of them out so that I could find a community that I could fit in to, and be successful in like before. After another month of searching, I decided that Dynasty Crossfit was the right fit for me. I began working out there about 8 months ago, and I am well on my way to establishing a good relationship with nutrition again. I am lifting heavier than ever, and competing as often as possible to keep me focused on my goals. I know from experience that working out gives me stress relief, allows me to be independent and strong so that I can do strenuous tasks at work, and it gives me the confidence that I need to be happy with myself. Everyone needs to find an activity that makes them feel this way, and I am so thankful to have found Crossfit so that I can continue this journey.

I graduated from Animal Science at UF with an emphasis on the beef industry. During this time, I spent all four years in Block and Bridle as well as Gator Collegiate CattleWomen, I held many leadership roles including president. I have been very active with the local and state FCA, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with them on events and beef education/outreach days. I believe in the power that beef can add to workouts, and the impact that lean beef can have on nutrition. In addition, I am so proud to be a part of an industry that has so much integrity, and such a positive impact on the environment through proper stewardship of state of Florida. Now within my career in Extension, I have the opportunity to work with youth through 4-H and I want to be an example for them to choose the right fuel for their bodies and use their body to the best of their abilities. I want to show them that it is possible to set goals, reach them, and be a better version of ourselves.