It’s been one year since I signed up for Crossfit. One year since I wrote an angry letter to my gym because I felt like they had advertised falsely and were discriminating against my fat-self.
I threw a pretty good fit feeling lied to and offended based on assumptions that were a direct result of my own insecurities. So when the head coach called me into his office one morning as I was aimlessly wondering around the non-crossfit part of the gym I was pretty hot. I don’t mean sweaty or sexy I mean my blood was boiling. I was ready to throw down.
I don’t remember the words of that conversation but I do remember that he made me a deal. I don’t remember what that deal was either BUT I DO know that whatever it was it got my ass into a Crossfit class the next day.
At that point my goal was to complete a Spartan Race- it was what I considered my “Ultimate Fitness Goal” though I had no idea what that would actually entail. All I knew was that one of the obstacles at the Spartan Races is a rope climb- I had seen ropes hanging from the ceiling in the Crossfit Box and…that’s about as much as I knew– Ceiling + Ropes= Spartan. Logic.
Keep in mind, when I started Crossfit I had NEVER stuck with any fitness plan more than two weeks in my ENTIRE life. Sure I’d had gym memberships. I’d go here and there…sometimes 10 out of 14 days but come day 15 I was over it. I would lose interest, find excuses or feel like it wasn’t helping and give up. But this time something was different…actually everything was different.
First of all I had a goal- to complete a Spartan Race. Secondly, I had made a big stink about the gym’s business practices which probably made me look like a complete ass so I had something to prove- nothing like a little extra motivation! And third, I was instantly welcomed by a community of others who were there struggling through the WODs (workout of the day) just like me– yeah, not as much as me but they were struggling nonetheless.
In those early days the WODS that were posted on the white board for everyone to follow where often made up of movements and weights that I was unable to do. There were the RX (standard) versions of the WODs, the Modified versions and then there was the Andrea version. I couldn’t do an air squat, couldn’t do a single lunge, couldn’t run 100 meters, couldn’t deadlift 65lbs, could barely do 3 ring rows. I certainly couldn’t do a pullup or a burpee or jump rope. Just getting through the warm up each day was a huge feat. My body was still quite large (228lbs) and though I was down 100lbs from my heaviest just nine months prior, I was WEAK and had absolutely no endurance whatsoever.
I was the slowest and the weakest in my class but I was never made to feel less-than by my coach or classmates. Everyone was extremely supportive and helpful. They never left before I finished my own modified workout even though they were done often-times SEVERAL minutes before me. They would cheer me on and never let me give up. I truly believe that it was them, those who I now call friends, who held me accountable so I’d show up, helped me find the confidence I needed to realize I was capable and the courage to not give up.
At three months in I was already seeing major improvements. Not only was I a little faster and quite a bit stronger my state-of-mind had done a complete 180.
Even on my worst period-days, I went to Crossfit. I worked through the cramps even when it felt like my uterus was going to fall out. When I went to San Francisco for 11 days I sought out a box so I could work out while I was on vacation! My favorite shopping sprees became buying new compression pants, sports bras and shoes for Crossfit, road running and trail running. (I have quite the collection of purposeful shoes). I was evolving into a fitness-minded person, something that I always thought I had deep down but couldn’t figure out how to uncover and the improvements, changes and victories just kept on coming!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you already know most, if not all of them, but in case you’re new here are some quick highlights…
1) I have lost over 55lbs since starting Crossfit (155lbs total) and gained who-knows how much muscle. A lot. Like A LOT, A LOT!
2) I am able to do the WODs as they are written on the board with very few modifications if any…and only rarely.
3) I can squat with heavy weight and do lunges holding a dumbbell over my head.
4) I have successfully jumped rope more than 150 times without stopping
5) I can run more than two miles without walking
6) I can do mother effing burpee! AND pull-ups with an assistance band –no more ring rows for me!
7) I completed that Spartan Race, and three more since.
8) I’ve actually completed 16 races ranging from 3 miles to 13 miles so far this year including a few triathlon sprints, OCRs, road and trail runs.
9) I am now a certified personal trainer– WHAT?!
10) That coach, the one who made my blood boil that morning in his office? He is now one of my favorite people in the world. He is someone I am lucky enough to call a coach, mentor and friend.
Who knew that 365 days of something so basic would change not just my body, but my entire life?
This is why I Crossfit.