Articles in Category: Member Spotlight

This category will highlight the success story of various crossfitter individuals, with a new featured crossfitter approximately every month

JJ and Samantha Copeland

on Thursday, 05 February 2015. Posted in Member Spotlight

February Member Spotlight - 2015

JJ and Samantha Copeland

Meet JJ and Samantha


 -Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have a family? Where are you from, where do you work? Aside from CF, what do you enjoy doing?

JJ: I just celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary with Samantha.  We don’t have any children but we are the proud owners of 2 very spoiled little dogs.  I’m an Arkansas native and I graduated from UCA in Conway where I met Samantha.  I now work as a web programmer for Nucor Steel.  Outside of crossfit I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, and pretty much anything that keeps me outside and active.

Sam: I’m from central AR and I graduated with my degree in business management from UCA. I’ve been in the insurance business since 2002, and am currently working with Bob Nichols Agency, Nationwide. I’ve been blessed to be married to JJ for the past ten years. My absolute favorite thing to do right now is taking our crazy little dogs to the park and let them act like big dogs and explore.

-When did you start at crossfit870? What made you start?

JJ: I started crossfit in July of 2012.  I had been reading a lot about crossfit online and thought it looked like a really fun way to workout.  A co-worker told me about crossfit870 so I decided to check it out.

 Sam: I also started CrossFit in July of 2012. I always joke that it’s JJ’s fault that I showed up to on ramp. I came to be supportive… little did I know that I would fall in love with it.

 -What did you used to do for fitness/sport before CrossFit?

 JJ: I never consistently followed any training program before finding crossfit.

Sam: I did absolutely nothing physical before crossfit. No sports in high school or college. NOTHING.

-What’s your favorite crossfit move/lift/WOD? What’s your least favorite?

JJ: I really love the clean & jerk and anything with rope climbs.  It took me a long time to get a rope climb so now I like to do them any chance I get.

My least favorite moves are probably double unders and anything on the rowing machine.  Anytime double unders come up in a WoD I know it’s going to be a challenge and I’m probably going to have rope scars on my arms for a few days.

 Sam: My favorite crossfit move is double unders. I’m lucky that they come natural to me, and I love the challenge of trying to get ‘just one more’.

My least favorite move is the power clean. There’s a skill and technique that I haven’t mastered just yet, and I still get frustrated with it.

 -What is your favorite memory of CrossFit?

 JJ: Competing at the Crossfitters for Kids fundraiser for St. Jude.  This was my first “competition” and I was pretty nervous about working out in front of such a crowd. My favorite part was getting to compete on a team with Samantha.  Our team (Paleo Cupcake Party) did not top the leaderboards that day, but we had a great time and raised money for a great cause. When we started crossfit I never imagined we’d be able to participate in something like that.  It was a huge accomplishment for us both and a reminder of how far we had come together.

Sam:  My favorite memory of CrossFit was participating in A Gift for Gavin. It was shortly after we started crossfit, and it was just amazing to me to be part of a group that came together for such a good cause. There’s nothing that can match that!

 -What would you say to someone who is just starting crossfit?

JJ: Just keep walking through the door.  If you keep showing up every day and putting the work in, it’s amazing what is possible over time.

Sam: Be patient. Changes take time, just don’t give up! And, listen to your coaches!

 -What do you like most about Crossfit870?

 JJ: The culture at our gym.  Every crossfit box can be so different.  We’re very lucky at 870 to have such an amazing community of coaches and athletes that are always so positive and supportive of each other.  It really is like a family.  From the very beginning we’ve been taught how to train safely and how to make healthier choices.  I’m very grateful to be part of such an awesome community.

Sam: When we first started at Crossfit870, I was truly surprised at how everyone made me feel like part of the group. I still haven’t met anyone at our gym who isn’t encouraging! When I’m the last coming in from a run, there’s a group waiting for me to bring me in. I’m also very grateful for our coaching staff at 870. We’re very lucky to have people who are so knowledgeable and truly care about our health and well being.


Words from Coach Christy

“As a coach, you can’t be anything but proud of Samantha and JJ and how much progress they have made over the last few years. This is a couple who really decided to take charge of their health and fitness and stuck with it. I know it hasn’t been an easy road for either of them. Samantha and I always joke about that first month of On Ramp when she was doing burpee step ups onto a 6” box and she thought she was going to die, and part of me thought “OMG this woman will never come back,” but they kept coming back for more, every week, and it’s been totally worth it!


The Copelands, to my knowledge, have absolutely no prior athletic background, which makes their success even that much sweeter. It has also worked to their advantage, and makes them a great inspiration for anyone looking to try CrossFit. Both of them came into the gym with absolutely no ego, making them two individuals just hungry for knowledge. They are constantly asking questions about technique, strategy, food, supplements, you know name it. In additional, they continue to impress on their ability to do their own research. They don’t just spend an hour at the gym every day expecting results, they know to be the best possible version of themselves it’s much more than that!”