Inspiration Talk: Chennelle Miller (Raleigh Crossfit )

I moved to Raleigh, NC back in January and needed a new Crossfit to join after leaving my old box. I reached out to Raleigh Crossfit and sat down with owner Chennelle Miller to discuss my goals. She really listened to what I had to say and was super awesome. I was a full time member soon after.

Going to a gym where the owner is very active in the community and truly cares about their members is very important when you need motivation to walk back through those doors on a daily basis.

Below you will find how minimizing stress is key, being a Mother of twins is more exhausting then being a Police Officer, how Christmas music can be motivating, and to spell “Sesquipedalian” you first have to learn the alphabet one letter at a time.

Give us a little background.

Name: Chennelle

Hometown: Fenton, MI, moved to California for 2 years, then to Raleigh then to Connecticut then back to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Certifications: A lot. And not enough. They range from nutrition, to goals, to weightlifting, to CrossFit, USA Weightlifting, Powerlifting and more. Nearly 20 total certifications and a ton more seminars and classes all related to the sport of weightlifting and CrossFit.

Occupation: Owner and Coach at Raleigh CrossFit, Mother of twin boys. My background was communications and sports media relations (collegiate and professional) prior to working for the Raleigh Police Department as an officer and then I changed careers again to own Raleigh CrossFit.

Athletic Life: I have been involved in sports my entire life. I can’t recall a time I have not done some sort of physical fitness activity.  It began with team sports in my youth, then my own training beyond college. Team sports were the original involvement until I decided to train for the San Francisco marathon. Then I started running – had never run a race, ever, until I began training for that. I’ve done a ton more since then of various lengths. I still love to run and now I have fun with it while pushing my sons in their double stroller. Beyond running, I started doing CrossFit as an athlete (before owning Raleigh CrossFit) because I heard it was going to help me be physically fit and prepared for the Police Academy. It did the job!

Why did you start working out?

See above. To continue from the above, I ended up finishing top of my police academy class not just as a female, but overall, which was a sense of pride. I took it seriously that as a female police officer, I would need to work extra hard to be ready for the physical aspects of the job – running, wrestling with suspects, wearing all of the gear (vest, belt – YEAH, that stuff is heavy), being ready at any moment to chase, subdue a person and more, so much more and to do it the cold, the rain, the heat.  Then I loved CrossFit so much, that I wanted to own an affiliate, so I quit my work as a police officer and opened Raleigh CrossFit in December 2010. Since then I have not stopped loving CrossFit and weightlifting, as well as coaching and providing the opportunity for others to enjoy and appreciate this sport.

Define healthy.

Healthy- For me, healthy involves every aspect of life. Self-confidence, being involved in self-improvement (continuing education), loving others, being loved, doing things that you love to do, that bring you joy, nutrition, sleep, minimizing stress (as much as possible), knowing and addressing the stress triggers, surrounding yourself with others who are positive-minded, driven, goal-oriented people (people that make you happy and that you can also be a source of happiness for), physical fitness.

What is your mindset throughout the day?

Not sure how to answer this, but I always want to be busy and whatever is keeping me busy, I want to do it the best I can. This could mean ensuring I am being an engaging parent, or it can mean I have to write programming that is responsible for the well-being and success of the athletes at Raleigh CrossFit. It varies for the entire 24 hours.

What foods do you eat and stay away from? 

I eat everything. Ha. To be honest, I find a balance. Fresh is best – vegetables, proteins and it depends on what my training and schedule are like.

How do you stay motivated to stay in shape?

I do not like missing a training day. Rest days are hard, but necessary. I stay motivated because I love training. I really do. It’s not just about how it affects me physically, but mentally, it gives me a chance to reset and get that mindset you asked about earlier, in check. I usually train in the morning and this because I feel at my best at that time, plus I never know how my day will go after that. I like knowing I have engaged in something physical before all of the mental aspects of my schedule take over. I also want to set an example for Raleigh CrossFit as the owner and as a coach. Additionally, I want my kids to see the importance of physical activities, as well as education. They love to read and they also love to Snatch! And most of all, I am happier when I train, so that helps everyone!

Do you feel that you have a lot of energy throughout the day?

Yes- with the exception of the first year of the twins sleeping schedule… that was hard! I have never, never felt the level of tired that I felt then. However, I still trained and did what needed to be done. As you can tell, I am still here and kicking! I had no idea how tired one could be. I had been in the police academy, the training, the studying, the shift work as an officer (12-16 hour days – day and night), but never have I ever felt one person could exist and accomplish so much with so little sleep. If you know a parent of a young child, don’t give them a hard time about being tired. Ha.

Do you surround yourself with healthy friends?

Based on what I said above, the answer is ABSOLUTELY!

Alcohol. Yay or Nay?

Yes. It happens. Socially. I will add, that it is not something I do in large quantities because frankly, I want to be able to wake up and train the next day and libations inhibit that a great deal.

What do you tell yourself when your mind tells you to give up?

That is not an option. Find a way.

Who inspires you and what inspires you about them?

My parents have always been a source of inspiration. They set an example of excellence. Coach Yow, whom I worked with for 4 years (basketball coach at NC State), my wife, my sons. Additionally, I am truly inspired by everyone I know and work with at Raleigh CrossFit, from the coaches to the athletes who are there presently but who have come and gone. It is truly a special opportunity to know each person who has walked through the doors at Raleigh CrossFit since 2010! Each person impacts me differently.

What books/blogs/movies inspire you?

I can’t name one really. I don’t read much unless it’s related to a certification or raising kids. Ha.  I will say there are some sites that I keep an eye on regarding programming for training, learning new things about technique and coaching, so in a way those would be considered inspiring.

Best strength move in your opinion and why?

The squat. It is truly one of the most fundamental movements. This is a common fundamental movement for most of our population. But really, the strength is in the mind. You have to really believe in yourself that you can do something. And then once you begin doing that something, your mind has to be on board to continue to become better at it with all the ups and downs that go with everything in life.  To stay the course in pursuit of your goals begins with the mind and extends to the body.

Fav song to workout to?

It depends on what I am doing. When I train at home, I listen to Howard Stern. I really don’t pay attention to the music, because that is not what motivates me (see above). You can ask anyone about that. However, when Christmas comes around and I am training with my friends, I do like to train to Christmas music, particularly Maria Carey. You can ask them about that too.

Favorite quote?

“Don’t wallow in self-pity. Swish your feet and get out.” – Kay Yow.  We all have struggles, every single person. How you handle those determines how you move forward. You can’t let things hold you back.


Best advice to anyone struggling to get in shape.

The phrase “get in shape” is not my favorite thing to read or hear.  What does that even mean? I will say, my best advice for someone who wants to make a change in his or her lives, start small. You didn’t learn to spell all at once. You had to learn the letters first. Get through A, B then C, etc. before deciding to spell “Sesquipedalian”. If you look that up, you may sense the irony of the definition.

Starting small means – do one thing that is a bigger part of the goal. If your goal is to start CrossFit for example, send an email to the coach. Ask questions to learn. Then show up for a free trial. If your goal is to run a 5k but you have never run for more than 50 feet, set a goal to run/walk for 10 minutes. Your body will adapt, just like it did when you learned your ABC’s.

You can learn more about Raleigh Crossfit by CLICKING HERE