Christmas Abbott: Finding Her Purpose with CrossFit

CrossFit, Front Page, Interview — By on January 11, 2012 6:21 am

Are you living the life you meant to live?  Are you doing the thing that makes you happy?  Are you having a positive impact on others?

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with Christmas Abbott, owner and coach at CrossFit Invoke in downtown Raleigh, and I am 100% confident her answers to the above are “Yes, Yes, and Yes!”  In fact, I am not sure I have ever met anyone with a more infectious enthusiasm for what they are doing.  She has found her place and her purpose.

Christmas Abbott competing in CrossFit

“I’m basically a happy person.  What’s not to be happy about?” she told me.

That said, it is pretty clear her happiness is well earned and not likely to be taken for granted.

You are an underachiever, an Underachiever, an UNDERACHIEVER

How would you feel if this is what you were told growing up?  But what if it were true?  Would it have motivated you to try harder?

This is exactly what a teacher told Christmas.  “I was drifting, unmotivated and looking for my purpose, and at age 13, I started smoking, and not just casually – it was an addiction.”  As for sports, Christmas said, “My only athletic experience was cheerleading and playing baseball in middle school.”

After graduating from high school she attended Virginia Commonwealth University, but ended up leaving school to pursue a job with a military contractor in Iraq.

Only 23 years old, Christmas was living in a war zone and not taking care of herself.

“I had been smoking for a decade, but I decided to quit cold turkey.  To celebrate, I ran a mile – it took me a week to recover, but I was committed to getting healthy.  I started a bodybuilding program, and one year later I discovered CrossFit.”

While CrossFit resonated with Christmas, it didn’t come easily.

“I am not what you would call naturally coordinated.  The first time I tried a double under, I rolled my ankle so bad it took several weeks to heal.  It took me several years to string together 7 or 8.”

However, with determination over the past 6 years, the physical and mental transformation has been amazing.   Self-described as “weighing a buck fifteen,” Christmas has some striking gym stats:

  • Fran – 3:58
  • Clean and Jerk – 160 lbs.
  • Max Strict Pull-Ups – 21

“In 2010 I competed in the CrossFit sectionals and regionals, and my goals were simple.  I wanted to finish every workout, and I wanted to finish in the top 50%.  Out of 63 female contestants in the regionals, I placed 20th.  And last year I was a member of the 16th place team at the finals.  In 2012 I plan to run my first marathon and participate again in the CrossFit Games team competition.  However, for 2013 my plan is to focus on strength, and I will compete as an individual.

CrossFit made me an athlete.  It changed my life.”

And with her success, Christmas has caught the attention of a number of sponsors. According to Peter Villa, the owner of ReDefine:Fit,

“Christmas is without a doubt a true representation of ReDefine:Fit. Our brand has attitude, and says everything with as little words as possible, and we identify with her that way. At first glance, you’ll probably think her small physique won’t be able to hang in there, but she will defy every single odd.  Her motivation, dedication to the sport, and relentless heart are just a few of the reasons we are happy to be associated with Christmas.  We’re honored to have her as part of the team.”

Christmas Abbott Teaching CrossFit

Clearly CrossFit has made a big difference in her own life, so Christmas is paying it forward with others at her gym.  CrossFit Invoke was born out of the success of several boot camps that Christmas taught to a few girlfriends.  She believes in setting challenging goals, and rewarding success.

“I have to have my reward.  If I eat well all week, I get my cupcake on Friday.  That is how I operate.”

In addition to her coaching responsibilities at CrossFit Invoke, Christmas also spends time on the road as a trainer for CrossFit HQ helping with coaching seminars.  “I still remember my CrossFit seminar weekend like it was yesterday, and it has been five years.  I love being part of that motivation and energy for each and every group of new coaches.”

That underachieving young girl has long since been left behind, but I detect some regret from Christmas.  Not the type of regret that eats away at you, but they type that makes you introspective.

This is where Christmas Abbott hopes to make the biggest impact.  Her plans are to work with and inspire kids to go beyond their perceived limitations, and help them reach their potential.  She wants to give them the motivation and the mentor she was looking for as a teen.  Success will come one double under, one box jump and one muscle-up at a time.

Related Posts:  

CrossFit Training – Getting Fit for Life

A CrossFit Business – Chris Spealler Says 321Go




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Tim Huntley , the former CEO of Ganymede Software, spends his time advising high tech start-ups, serving on the board for the Track and Field Athletes Association, and writing on his blog, An Entrepreneurial Life. Circle me on Google+.

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  1. Loved this article Christmas was one of the coaches when I got my CF Level 1 cert, and she was delightful to learn from!

  2. Ba Nichols829 says:

    Thank you for that article. I am Christmas’s mother and I remember those ‘unmotivated’ and challenging days of her youth and to see her transform, is just gratifying.
    Thank you again for those kind words.

    • Tim Huntley says:

      It was my pleasure to interview Christmas and to write this post – she is an amazing woman.

    • Jen says:

      Did you guys live in/near Fairfax, VA during those years? I knew a girl named Christmas back then…and it’s not a common name! I have a similar background and her story gives me such hope for what I can achieve! :)

    • Squash111376 says:

      Hey. The best advice that you can pass on to your daughter at this point in her life is to buy a juicer and drink dark green vegetable juice (Kale, cucumber, green pepper, etc) daily. It prevents cancer. In fact, please tell her.

  3. Crystal says:

    Just had Christmas as our seminar coach. She was so smiley and helpful and just inspirational! I didnt know her before but I started reading her story and know that she wasnt just ‘born’ physically strong. I quit cold turkey 2 years ago after 10 years of smoking too! She is so relatable to so many people! hero!

    • Tim Huntley says:

      And so willing to take the time to help anyone and everyone!

      Congrats on kicking the smoking habit.

    • Christmas Abbott says:

      Congrats on quitting smoking Crystal! Im glad that you had a great seminar. I am very fortunate to be able to get my story out there. I believe there are many others that have similar stories!

  4. Mrago2513 says:

    watching the news about Christmas gave me instent feelins about getting me back, im 41 but in my early years i was strong in all ways but now i smoke and very weak , mentally and phisiclly. i want to be that strong women that others will look up too

    • Tim Huntley says:

      She is certainly an inspiration. Hopefully in your case, you can eliminate the smoking, and that will speed up the process of working your way back.

    • Christmas Abbott says:

      Mrago2513 – you can do anything you put your heart and mind to. My mother quit smoking in her 40′s after smoking most of her adult life. She also started eating better and working out. You CAN do it! If you mess up, start again and again and again. Eventually you will have a good streak going and you will be in control. :)

  5. Jassman7 says:

    Sending Xmas a hello from a former co-worker from Baghdad…You deserve all your success…God Bless!

  6. Jason Holland says:

    Great article. I’ve wanted to know more about Christmas for awhile. My wife, introduced me to who she is a few months ago. I’ve been on a fitness drive for the last year and a half and battling some medical problems but I’m getting in better shape all the time. I must say, Christmas is quite the inspiration even for a man.

  7. Guest says:

    She has an amazing motivation which she carries with herself and spreads everywhere..I have seen her videos at youtube and Christmas you are quite a personality. Would like to know more about her eating habits..

  8. Kashish Jain says:

    She has an amazing motivation
    which she carries with herself and spreads everywhere..I have seen her
    videos at youtube and Christmas you are quite a personality. Would like
    to know more about her eating habits and her workout schedule..