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SHEs in Sports: Katelyn Haynes

SHEs in Sports: Katelyn Haynes
SHEs in Sports: Katelyn Haynes

Next up in SHEs in Sports is Katelyn Haynes: I am Katelyn Ivie, and I have red hair. What are the odds? (Poison Ivie) If you didn’t laugh, neither do my middle school students when I make the joke. I forgive you. I am a lover of Jesus, my husband of three years, my two baby girls, and my 500 middle school students. When I am not in the house wiping butts, cleaning noses and cooking dinner, I am probably in the gym or watching a good Netflix series with my husband! Being a full time Physical Education teacher at a middle school, I find myself living for the weekends full of family, church, a couple good gym sessions, and wine…or tequila…depending on my week. I am black and white…no gray with me. Like, the temp in the car is either 90 or 69. I love my friends, and when you’re in with me…you get me forever. Loyal, determined, and passionate are the three words I would use to describe myself. I love like, and I truly feel like, everything we are dealt in life is God given…even those days where we hit every single red light and train. 

My mom skipped aerobics the day she went into labor with me. She was having contractions and decided while tying her shoe maybe she should sit this one out. It’s a good thing because just three hours later I graced them with my presence. This was the rarity for my mom to skip a day at the gym. Fitness/ exercise has always been a priority. Fitness/ exercise has always been a priority. It was second nature to me growing up. That’s what you were supposed to do.

I played all kinds of sports. My parents signed me up for everything from ballet, tap, and jazz to recreational softball, basketball, and soccer. I enjoyed it all. Like most, the older I got I found a couple of activities I enjoyed more than the others and focused on them. Throughout middle school I played for my school basketball and softball team. However, I am going to be 100% honest: I was a bench warmer. I was not a natural. I worked hard and played harder, but it didn’t come easy. There were other girls that were simply just better than me.

My freshman year of high school I stopped playing organized sports all together. I was realistic. I wasn’t going to play. However, I did not stop exercising. After school, I would run the track and once I got my license I went to the YMCA and used their facilities. I was blessed to have active parents who prioritized fitness. Unfortunately, most students and young adults feel that if they are not athletically gifted or, like myself, they stop playing sports that there is no longer a need or desire to exercise. That boils down to our physical education…I’ll rant about that in just a minute.

At the end of my senior year of high school, my parents took a huge leap of faith and opened a CrossFit gym. It was unheard of. It was intense exercise. It was intimidating. I had no choice but to try it. There were barbells, kettle bells, pull-up rigs, rings and ropes hanging from the ceiling.“NO WAY!! I am not doing this. This is ridiculous. Please, just give me back the treadmill, elliptical, and weight machines.” “NO WAY!! I am not doing this. This is ridiculous. Please, just give me back the treadmill, elliptical, and weight machines.”

I tried it. I loved it. I was not good, but it was different. It challenged me. As a child, I was always competitive, but I lost that edge when I quit playing sports. Never in a million years did I think I would be Olympic lifting, power lifting, doing multiple unassisted pull-ups, handstand push-ups, or be able to walk on my hands. What I thought was so out of reach wasn’t.

I am not a natural athlete at all. It took YEARS for me to do these things confidently. In college, my only responsibilities were my grades and a part time job. The rest of the time I spent at my parents’ CrossFit gym. I definitely didn’t miss out on the college experience. Ya feel me? However, I was dialed in. I wanted to take care of myself. I saw so many changes physically, mentally and emotionally. I gave myself no limits. Everyday I had new goals. This mindset transferred over into how I carried myself as a woman.

One battle I faced on this CrossFit journey was the changes in my body. I am brick $H!T house. Always have been. Learning to embrace this was very difficult. I would walk into bars and guys would say, “Oh please don’t beat me up.” My favorite was when they would ask one of my friends if I was their security guard. I would laugh and brush it off, but it hurt. I questioned myself. I questioned what I was doing. I wanted to be viewed as a female. I wanted to be viewed as a female. I wanted to buy shirts that fit around my arms and my back. I wanted to wear shorts and not get asked how much I squatted. It took a long time for me to okay with how I looked. (Still struggle from time to time!) Now, not only am I okay, but I freaking love the way I look. It takes discipline and self motivation to look the way I do. It’s HARD work, and people that make comments about the way females should look are only making comments because they don’t have the heart and guts to to get dialed in themselves.

Finding CrossFit in college gave me direction. I majored in health and wellness with a minor in education. I felt and still feel like physical education across the board needs a lot of work. I started teaching Health Education in 2015. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, I started a strength and conditioning program as an elective for middle school students. I truly loved my job. I started the program at a very large middle school in Shelbyville, TN, and the following year I moved to Rutherford County Schools in TN where I started a program there as well.

I practice what I preach so the students listened to me. I built relationships. I showed students who did not have an athletic bone in their body that they could learn to love to exercise just like I did. I showed young women they are capable of doing what men do, and that they are not the background noise in a PE class. I showed young women they are capable of doing what men do, and that they are not the background noise in a PE class.I showed students with behavior issues that exercise is a great therapy. I showed athletes the importance of work ethic outside of their sport.

Outside of teaching, I am now setting an example for my own children. I met my husband at a CrossFit competition back in 2014. I couldn’t take my eyes off the shirtless small town guy with camo Crocs and a cowboy hat. I am obsessed with my husband. We got married the year after we met, as well as welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world. We did things a little backwards, but God’s plan is always greater than our own. Being a new wife and mother, I still trained and competed within CrossFit. My priorities were very different, but I still made time for Mama in the gym. I was a teacher, wife, mother, and fierce CrossFit competitor. Nothing changed really until I decided we needed baby number 2. A big question I get is, “Did you workout when you were pregnant?” ABSOLUTELY. “Did you workout when you were pregnant?” ABSOLUTELY. I wasn’t maxing out on my lifts or hanging from the rings, but I broke a sweat almost every day. Why not?! I was pregnant, not broken. I wanted to take care of my body even more so being pregnant. I did not cave to all of my cravings. I ate when I was hungry and rested when fatigued, but I still pushed myself. I still challenged myself. I never lost sight of who I was and what I loved. Even after two, I am still in the gym. My time is limited, but an intense 30 minutes is better than a nothing.

After becoming a wife and or having children, I feel like a lot of women struggle with making time for themselves  Whether it is going to get your nails done, reading a good book, taking a bath or dripping sweat in the gym, WOMEN, we need it to stay strong mentally and physically. Ever heard the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”? SO MUCH TRUTH. What I see a lot in marriages is women not communicating their needs and not taking time to take care of themselves which leads to resentment towards your husband and babies.

I have been married for three years. In that time, I have  figured out how to be a southern wife (barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen), had two baby girls, moved jobs three times, relocated to my husband’s very small hometown (culture shock…I miss Sun Tan City spray tans) and experienced my parents getting a divorce after 26 years of marriage. My outlet and therapy was the gym. It allowed me to take care of myself. It allowed me to have an identity outside of being Jon’s wife and Janie-Kate and Eleanor’s mama!

It allowed me to have an identity outside of being Jon’s wife and Janie-Kate and Eleanor’s mama!I don’t have a lot of time, but I make time! I make time for

exercise and meal planning. Is it a pain? YEPP. I don’t always enjoy my time in the gym or the kitchen because neither are convenient, but I like the end result. I like how I feel, and, more importantly, I like the feeling of defeating the idea of what moms and wives are supposed to do. We are not slaves to our children. We are not slaves to our husbands. Are there days I feel like that? ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY. However, those days I

So with all of that being said, make time for you. Quit saying “yes” to everyone and putting yourself on the back burner. Our bodies are our temples. Take care of them. Take control of how you feel. WEAR THE DRESS AND BREAK NECKS DOING IT.conquer a workout, getting meals prepped, and/or both I am unstoppable. I am confident. I feel sexy even though 75% of the time I forget to brush my teeth or put on deodorant. I feel accomplished for no one other than myself. That is powerful.











ICYMI: Check out the other in our SHEs in Sports series Lauren Cox, Jillian Neal, and Anna Stout.

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