The Fascinating Passion of a Fabulous Student

Before starting a heavy workout at the gym, she makes sure her blue Reebok Nano shoes are tied and her long black hair is up.  1. . . 2. . .3 . . . she begins to concentrate on her power cleans as she keeps in mind that anything is possible. 


Already known for her involvement at school as a marching band section leader, president of student council, access mentor, coordinator for Junior Achievement, reporter for morning announcements, peer leader, and within clubs such as National Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, National Technical Honors Society, FBLA, SADD, ecology club, munch bunch, jazz band, and also this year’s homecoming queen, Kiara Valenzuela still finds time to keep a healthy lifestyle after school through CrossFit. 


 “Physical and mental health is important because without it you can only go so far until you burnout” she affirms. 


CrossFit is a sport characterized by safe, effective exercise and nutrition. It can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to weight loss to better performance. This sport focuses on a high-intensity performance within different types of exercising movements. 


“I’ve definitely never heard of CrossFit, but it sounds like some kind of fashion club. I wasn’t aware that Kiara participates in a sport like that” remarked David Treto. 


 Leyden alumni recognize the exemplary student Kiara Valenzuela is, but don’t really know her attributes after school and what it takes to prepare for a long busy day. 


Every morning at 5:15 am Kiara is ready for the responsibilities that await her. Ordinary tasks such as organizing her supplies, backpack, schedule, and plans are vital. As well as taking her dog out and fresh morning showers. 


“I don’t like the feeling of being rushed in the morning. Taking time to prepare myself is important because the minute I wake up and feel rushed, it’s going to feel like that for the rest of the day. I’ll feel unprepared and I hate that” Kiara said. 


The most commonly reported source of stress for teenagers, taking up an astounding 80%, is school, and only 29% are likely to join extra-curricular clubs/activities. And even if the perfect schedule is set, sometimes things turn out to be chaotic. 


“I have a big bulky planner, that’s with me everywhere! If I don’t have it, it’s over. I feel stressed but I also have to understand that not everything is going to go as planned. As much as I love planning ahead, that’s not how life works. I try to have fallback plans and try to adjust and problem solve at that moment. But for sure I won’t let that ruin my day ” Kiara states. 


According to her friend Danielle De Garcia, “Kiara is immensely disciplined! She knows how to prioritize the important things in her life that she needs to accomplish”.


However, not everything is about work and school. Kiara deeply values family and friends and likes to socialize. Spending time alone and keeping up with her inner thoughts out of school is essential for her relaxation. 


“I used to focus on school and only school and never did exercise, never got enough sleep, stressed ate a lot, I mean you name it.” Kiara confessed. 


Now she prioritizes her health and has made drastic changes with her eating habits, sleeping hours, and active lifestyle by taking part in CrossFit. 


“This journey started out as a passion to focus more about my nutrition a year ago. Before my brother left to the military he did CrossFit, as well as my mother. I would accompany them and do my homework at the gym. One day the coach offered me to do a class and I thought he was crazy. So then we made a deal and in return he would help me with Chemistry homework. Eventually, I ended up doing it.” recounted Kiara. 


Being one of the youngest athletes at the gym is a lot to handle. Especially for someone who has very little experience with exercising. 


“The very first time it was extremely difficult. I felt like there was no way I could do this. Eventually, the more consistent I did it, I began to see improvements and I got stronger” said Kiara. 


The feeling of nervousness rushes throughout her body during stretches because, for Kiara, every workout is an opportunity to challenge herself. But after a good workout, the feeling of pride and confidence reassures her that all her effort pays off in the end. 


Like any other passion, motivation is the key to reaching goals. 


“My self-growth is the main factor towards my motivation. Others like doing sports and that’s their self-growth, but my self-growth is my mental health, and doing the things I love which is school, clubs, and CrossFit. “ said Kiara 


With a driven motivation and persistency Kiara was able to compete twice worldwide along with her team and as an individual. 


“I wanted to disappear, it was painful and mentally challenging, but afterwards I was proud of myself because I never thought I would be able to do this and be where I’m at right now” said Kiara


Coaches tell their learners what they don’t want to hear, their drive is to see them work hard, and see the potential within them. Without the help of a coach, Kiara wouldn’t have been the person she is today. 


She recalls that Coach John would say, “You’re very hard on yourself. Remember don’t overthink it, just go for it! It’s okay if you don’t get it the first time, it takes progression to get there”.


Just like an athlete learns from their coach, many alumni look up to Kiara the same way. 


“Kiara has big dreams and big goals and she strives for them, she pushes herself to be the best, to perform, and to pursue her dreams. Organization is one of the main things I learned from her, she’s always been such an organized student with time managing and that motivates me to follow her steps” commented Kimberly Celis. 


With more than 4 million CrossFit devotees, this sport has been growing internationally and ever since 2007, the CrossFit Games have been held every summer. 


“Yes, it’s not for everyone but you should try it. Everything that’s new is always going to be hard but the whole practice makes perfect is not fake, it’s a real thing! If you really want something, just do it!” said Kiara. 


Along with CrossFit and school activities, Kiara Valenzuela looks forward to trying new things and continuing to maintain a healthy lifestyle as she suggests everybody: “To do what you love and never give up”!