5 Year Alumni: Lissa Markwardt


I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  There’s so many reasons I love having my mom in every 8am class during the week.  

One: She has been our biggest supporter since day one.  She talked us through all the scary leaps we were taking to make this work.  Without her, none of this would be possible.  

Two: She’s a friggin badass.  At ___, she’s kicking more ass than most people half her age.  She’s an inspiration to me and what I hope to be able to achieve in my future.  Most people are stunned to find out that she is my mom and grandma (sorry mom) to our son.  

Three: She embodies the experience that I want for the people at this gym.  As you’ll find out in her answers below, when she started, she actually didn’t like it that much.  It was uncomfortable and challenging.  But she stuck with it and realized how much she actually liked that challenge and what it felt like to overcome those obstacles.  She has found that the journey is the way, and that though the obstacles never end, what you find along the path is the important part.  

Four: I get to hang out with my mom everyday and I think that’s awesome.  Not everyone has such a great relationship with their parents, so I realize how lucky I am. 


What brought you into CrossFit Sandpoint in the first place? 

Kenny was embarking on a dream career that encompassed so many of his passions and interests. I knew that with his attention to detail in the research he does, the effort he puts forth and the quality he expects, Crossfit would have to be something profound and, because I have a similar “addiction” for the benefits of exercise, I knew Crossfit would be something I would want to experience.  I had been doing the same ho-hum “30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weight machines” routine for decades. My body never changed because I never really did anything different. So starting Crossfit was a win-win for me…I got to support my son and get in better shape through a more interesting, effective and dynamic workout.

What do you remember about your first experience (class or other)? 

I didn’t like it!  Despite the fact that I pretty much have had an exercise routine my entire life, there were so many things in Crossfit that I had never done before… double unders, pull-ups, all the various lifts, box jumps, handstand push-ups, etc. I felt like I had stepped into a foreign arena with people who were significantly younger than me and, therefore, I felt somewhat intimidated. Part of me wanted to go back to my ho-humly predictable workout at SWAC!  But then, within the first week, we were doing pull-ups and ALL of us had a collection of colored bands dangling in front of us! I realized then that it wasn’t just me that didn’t know how to do everything or have everything mastered. This was particularly significant for me. I used to be a Physical Education teacher and I tested my students for the President’s Physical Fitness Award. The test included pull-ups. I had to have my students demonstrate because I could not do even one pull up!   As I continued with Crossfit, I discovered that I could kip over a 100 pull-ups in a single workout. If someone would have told me that when I was teaching in my 20’s, I never would have believed it. 

What’s your favorite memory over the last 5 years? 

The first time I did Murph. It was silently apparent that every single Crossfit athlete in the gym realized how minimal an effort a 1-mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats and another 1-mile run was in comparison to what Lt. Michael Murphy and other fallen soldiers have done us.  And despite the challenge of pounding out that much distance and completing that many reps, the feeling of mutual respect and contribution done in the company of others made it an incredibly rewarding experience.

What are you most proud of over the last 5 years? 

#1…I get to experience this every day I go to Crossfit.  Seeing my son live his dream.  Seeing how his passion for what he does continues to grow and enhance the lives of others in so many ways.  That he couldn’t have a better wife to support and compliment what he does.  That their collaborative efforts towards benefiting the Crossfit community allow them to live, and provide my grandson, an ideal life in an amazing town.

# 2…That I came in 14th in the Northwest and 202nd in the world for the 2014 Crossfit Games for my division. Two years prior I was contemplating sitting back down on my stationary bicycle at SWAC to listen to more podcasts and do more of the same boring weight machine workout because I didn’t think I could do a pullup.

What keeps you coming back? 

#1…The people.  Every day I get to play in the Crossfit playground with fellow athletes that have become the best of friends, shared light-hearted and heartbreaking moments, become treasured clients, given me game-changing pointers on how to enhance my performance, or balanced a brutal workout with gut-busting laughter. 

#2…I know I can roll out of bed, show up at the gym and get a well-rounded and challenging workout without having to think about what part of my body needs what. I know that is been strategically mapped out for me.  I just have to do the work. 

#3…That each class will be different every single time. My mind and my body love that aspect.  Nothing ho-hum about it.  

What is still on your list of things to achieve?  

Handstand walk for 15 feet, row 500m in less than 2:05 min, stretch 20 min minimum after every single workout.

Anything else miscellaneous you’d like to add?  

I find it amazing how many men and women tell me they could never do Crossfit because it intimidates them.  And although I may have experienced the same concern initially because of what I was telling myself, I have never experienced anything in Crossfit that was not completely counter to that.  There is so much support and connection in what happens here that I think it makes it hard for people to leave. And as much as Kenny will hate to read this, at Crossfit Sandpoint, everybody plays, everybody wins. It is an individual sport that we are all playing together.