Muncie Crossfitter “Pistol” Dani Wasson Punches Workouts in the Face

One year before the birth of her daughter, Sonora, Dani Wasson felt like she was in great shape. She was running 12 to 15 miles per week, working with a personal trainer at LA fitness, and looking forward to a vacation in Hawaii.Dani Wasson

One year after Sonora was born, Dani entertained my odd question: Who would win in a fight between your before-baby self and your post-baby self?

“No question. I could totally take the old me in two punches.”

KER-POW! And the before-baby Dani goes down!

“Now I realize I wasn’t in shape then compared to now. It’s the marriage between the endurance and the cardio and the intensity. Before it was just five reps of curls and then go do some jumping jacks. Nothing was tied together. That’s for me what makes a difference.”

“I was like why did I pay a trainer so much money? She never got me anywhere close to this. I paid more for the trainer at LA Fitness. You have your membership fee, hourly rate, then you get locked into rates. It was personal training, but it wasn’t personal. The trainer was nice, but the culture was a bunch of guys looking at themselves in the mirrors grunting and doing two movements and calling it a day. There aren’t any mirrors at the arsenal. It’s not even part of the culture.”

BOOM! Take that LA Fitness!

Running has always been her thing. She tried her hand at softball growing up, but it didn’t go so well.

“I had no hand-eye coordination. My dad wouldn’t let us quit anything. But when I was in softball he pulled me out of the first practice. He brought me home, and told me that I was going to hurt someone.”

“It turns out I needed glasses!”

“His big joke after that was, ‘Put her on a track and tell her to keep turning left. ‘”

Dani was a hurdler, a gymnast, a cross-country runner, and a cheerleader. Dani is kind of a go-getter. I’ve never jumped a hurdle, but I imagine it’s one of those things to which you have to fully commit to succeed at. Failure can’t be on your radar. Or in the words of the legendary philosopher, Yoda: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Dani is a doer.

She had heard about CrossFit, but imagined it was a little too manly.

“I knew that women did it, but I considered it more of a man’s workout: flipping tires. Big guys with no shirts on and that kind of stuff.”

“The first few weeks I enjoyed it and I knew it was going to make me stronger, but I wasn’t sold. And then one Saturday workout I saw Coach Josh doing the coach’s challenge–the tire flip. Coach Hill caught me watching, and he said, ‘You want to do that don’t you?’”

“For some reason I needed to mentally know if I could flip that tire. And then I flipped it. That’s when I was sold. It was that challenge. Before I flipped that tire I never even would have looked at it and thought that I had a chance. And then I was like, “Okay, I just flipped a 450-lb tire over.”

THWAPP! Dear 450-lb tire, you just got flipped by a cheerleader!

Dani worked as a marketing director for several companies. She liked being on the road. It was sort of her consolation for staying in Muncie. Muncie or even Indiana was never in the plans. After she graduated Ball State in 2008 she figured she would leave and come back some day.

“But then Dan batted his eyes at me and then I was here.”

“What I love about Muncie is that it’s just big enough that you don’t have to know everyone you see, but small enough that you can have an impact.”

Her husband, Dan, also works out at the Arsenal. If the Wasson name sounds familiar it’s probably because the Wasson family business, Wasson’s Nursery, has been spiffying up landscapes and yards in the Muncie area for several decades.

Six months after Sonora was born, Dani left her marketing job to help out with the family business and to be at home.

One day Dan came home and told her, “I know you don’t want a job just to have a job, but I think you’re going to love CrossFit. It’s really competitive and it’ll help you blow off some steam.”

“We can’t go at the same time. He goes in the evening and I go in the morning. It’s not two minutes after the workout and he’ll call and ask, ‘What was the workout today? How did you do?’ And later he’ll call to ask me how I’m feeling.”

“We probably talk about CrossFit too much. He doesn’t tell me everything though. One day Coach Josh had a coach’s challenge where you had to walk on your hands. I made it 4 yards. Josh later told me that after Dan’s eighteenth time of trying he told him that he went 3.5 yards just to make him feel like he got close to me. “

POW! Dan takes one to the ego!

There’s this thought that CrossFit is uber-manly, but Dan isn’t alone in that he occasionally gets bested by his wife. My wife Annie bests me on a regular basis. (In my defense she’s totally on the juice.)

One day Dani topped everyone. The workout involved doing pistol squats (a squat on one leg). Coach Adam was trying to demonstrate and Dani just did it. First try. She was the only person in the entire gym to RX (complete the workout as prescribed) that day. She beat Dan and the rest of us, and earned the nickname of “Pistol” Dani Wasson.

“It’s fun for the two of us. He was always the weight lifter. I just ran. It’s nice that we can share something like CrossFit because we are very different in a lot of ways.”

“I’ve never found a workout that I feel bad if I don’t go. I go Monday through Saturday. Now I’m a workout junkie for the first time in my life.”

“When I started I said that I would do it until I looked the way I did before Sonora, but now I’m addicted and I’m like, ‘I’m going to look better than that! I’m in better shape than I was before having a baby.’

“Yep, two punches.”

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