Christmas Abbott: Finding Her Purpose with CrossFit

Last Updated: July 25th, 2016.

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.

“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.

Christmas Abbott: You Are 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.”

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.

Tim is a former member of Track and Field Athletes Association Board of Directors.