Have you ever heard of “Biceps Like Briggs”? The quote refers to one of the highest ranked CrossFit athletes in the world, Samantha Briggs. @bicepslikebriggs is the name of her Instagram account and it refers to the massive size of, well, her biceps. And while Samantha Briggs may have some of the most amazing biceps on Earth, around here in Dallas, and especially here at CrossFit Odyssey, we all talk about “Shoulders Like JJ”. Because, wow, this girl has developed some sexy-as-can-be-shoulders! But the story behind those shoulders is the part that makes JJ October’s Extraordinary Athlete.

JJ was never the skinny girl growing up. Never the active girl, never the athlete. On the contrary, she was rather overweight – obese to be exact. She refers to her former self as Bertha. That is a different discussion, so, for now, I will focus on the girl we currently see before us. This girl is skinny, but more importantly, she is muscular and fit and active and healthy. She is an athlete, an achiever, a go-getter and an inspiration to so many others. JJ started her Journey to Extraordinary several years ago with her dear friend, Shannon Chollman, who had lost a lot of weight on a weight loss program called Medifast. Shannon helped JJ with her diet and she lost about 60 lbs. One of the most amazing parts of her nutrition and weight loss journey is the fact that she cooks and styles food for photographs for a living!!! That’s right – she is surrounded all day every day with beautiful, aromatic and delectable food!!! However, she has trained herself to fight the urge to taste and pick and she has managed to lose all the weight she wanted to lose. All in all, JJ has lost 110 lbs – almost the amount she currently weighs!

After JJ lost the initial 60 lbs, another friend, Richard Neal, who had been doing CrossFit, offered to help her with her journey by getting her in shape. She worked with Richerd in her driveway for months before she was willing to try a real CrossFit class. JJ came to us at CrossFit Odyssey in October of 2016. She wanted a smaller gym with more coaching and attention. She had a great foundation, but she needed some help with some movements and general strength work and she needed a community of people who could understand her struggle. JJ primarily works out at 5:30 am and her best workout buddy is Lisa Prather, an incredible athlete in her own right. Lisa and JJ have inspired each other through all kinds of life struggles. The early morning dads often joke that someday they want to be as strong and proficient as these girls are! Since she began with us, JJ has run a half marathon, gained muscle, lost fat, recovered from an injured wrist, and participated in 3 CrossFit masters competitions culminating this year in a FIRST PLACE for scaled women 45-49 years of age!

What is even more extraordinary about JJ is that she wants to pay it forward. She knows that her journey was dependant on the people around her and their support and she wants to do the same for others. So, if you ever want some help with your diet or your workout or inspiration or a swift kick in the booty, she will be there happy to help you become your best version of you!