My journey began not too long ago, September 2017. I have had weight issues my entire life and I would never describe myself as athletic. Ever since I can remember I’ve been averse to any sort of physical activity. I used to get doctor’s excuses for PE in grade school. I played a short stint on a basketball team in grade school, but the uniform shorts didn’t fit my “thunder thighs” so I made up an excuse to quit. I constantly hid my body behind oversized clothes. Although there was a period of time when I first started college that the fad diet pills miraculously worked and suddenly I found myself smaller than I’d ever been in my entire life! But of course I couldn’t maintain it because I was basically starving myself. Since then my sporadic exercise routine consisted of walking on a treadmill or the elliptical at any cheap gym. I even went through the whole personal trainer bit, but it just wasn’t enough. I dreaded going to the gym and made every excuse not to. It wasn’t fun and felt like a job I wasn’t get paid to do so why do it. I counted calories and even got on the bandwagon and gave up gluten for a period of time and still nothing changed. I slowly noticed I had a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit me. I didn’t even know what size I was anymore and weighing myself was just depressing. I had convinced myself that my family genes had dealt me this body and there was no way I could change genetics. Plus I was battling debilitating back pain and I blamed that for not being able to work out regularly. I had hit rock bottom: physically, mentally and emotionally. Then my husband mentioned CrossFit.
I thought of every excuse not to try CrossFit: I wasn’t strong enough, I didn’t want to bulk up, CrossFit was too hard, I would hurt myself, I had back issues, etc. So he suggested trying the boot camp classes that were offered at his gym. Eventually I took my husband’s advice and started with boot camp classes, but the only issue was they were only offered at 5:15 am! I remember calculating how early I would have to get up just to get to the class on time and I almost gave up right then and there. But I told him I would try it, so I got up at 4:30 am and dragged my butt in the dark to the gym. I remember walking into that first class with knots in my stomach, fear in my eyes and old gym shoes on my feet. The warm up nearly killed me! I had no idea what the coach was talking about…EMOM? AMRAP? And I wanted to cry halfway through the workout. How do people do this every day? I left that first class a little shaky, sweaty and deflated. How did I get to be this out of shape? There were people at least 10 years older than me in that class and they whooped my butt! Maybe this wasn’t for me. Every negative emotion, doubt and excuse slowly crept back in and I found myself dreading class every morning. I would claim that my alarm didn’t go off or that my back was acting up just to get out of going to boot camp. I wanted to give up and every day became a mental challenge just to get out of bed. My confidence was definitely lacking and I felt like I was not cut out for this type of workout. But I knew that giving up on this meant I was giving up on myself. So I continued to get up early and drag myself into the gym. After a few weeks I got to know everyone in the class and whenever I didn’t show up they wanted to know where I was and the excuse that I was too lazy to get out of bed didn’t go over so well. So not only did the coach hold me accountable, but so did the others in the boot camp class. I had never been to a gym where people cheered you on and encouraged you to keep going. It was embarrassing at first because I was always the last to finish, but then it became encouraging. They believed in me so I needed to start believing in myself.
Then my husband bought me CrossFit shoes for Christmas and I switched from the boot camp classes to CrossFit classes after work. Boot camp was a great introductory to CrossFit so I wasn’t completely lost that first class, but I was still nervous and scared. I started with minimal weights and everything was scaled. I remember I couldn’t even do kettle bell swings because my back was so weak. And an empty training barbell was all I could lift. I would spend most of the class in awe of what everyone could physically do and how hard they pushed themselves. I have never been competitive so I didn’t understand the whole motivation behind getting the fastest time or lifting the heaviest weight. I did everything at my own pace and I wasn’t too concerned at how many reps I got or how heavy my dumb bell was, but I was sweating just as much as everyone else. I was literally sore all day, every day!
Then somehow I was convinced, or possibly forced by my husband, into signing up for my very first CrossFit Open. I had no clue what it was all about, but I was assured that it would be fun. Plus everyone in the gym was signed up and we would be doing the weekly workout anyway, so why not sign up and see how I ranked word wide.
My husband had me watch some documentaries about past CrossFit Games winners and the grueling workouts that were involved. I remember watching these athletes in pure amazement and thinking to myself that this is not what I want to do or become, but I couldn’t help but be inspired though. I noticed the struggle and mental focus it took for them to push through those workouts and I realized it wasn’t just my mind that told me to quit every single moment, but their minds were also telling them to give up. That’s when I realized that everyone has those thoughts and it’s those that don’t give up that become stronger, mentally and physically. I needed to stop listening to that voice in my head that told me daily that I wasn’t good enough.
I started to actually look forward to doing the CrossFit Open. I really didn’t know what to expect, but slowly excitement replaced my anxiety. And then one week before the 2018 CrossFit Open started I found out I was pregnant! How was I going to continue this journey while growing a human? My first thought was, now I have a good excuse for not working out. But after a lot of research and consulting with my doctor, we decided I not only could continue doing CrossFit, but that I should continue.
The CrossFit Open was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I had zero energy during my first trimester and it took every ounce of me to do the workout each week. Even though I did the scaled version of every workout, I was still so new to CrossFit that a lot of the movements involved I was having to do for the first time. I vividly remember having to do thrusters in the CrossFit Open and almost quitting. It was definitely a mental challenge and I was constantly battling that damn voice in my head telling me to just give up. But I knew that I’d be failing not only myself, but my husband and everyone who was cheering me on so I just kept pushing through each workout. Soon that voice in my head was replaced with the voices of everyone around me telling me to pick it back up, do one more, keep going and you got this.
In the end the CrossFit Open really got me excited about CrossFit and the little progress I had already made. I surprised myself with what I was actually capable of doing even while being pregnant. It was like a little party at the gym every Friday with people cheering on one another, high fiving, crying and cursing. It was during the CrossFit Open that I realized what CrossFit was all about, the people. Everyone was in it together. Every personal record was celebrated, big or small; and every attempt or fail was followed by encouragement to try again. We all believed in each other and it helped me to start believing in myself. Maybe this is where my journey actually began.
Once my mind was on board, it was just a matter of getting my body in sync. But this whole pregnancy thing was going to hinder me, right?! As my belly grew, my workouts became more and more scaled. I soon realized that scaled does not mean easier in any way. My workouts were still tough and pushed me physically. I ended up losing weight during my first and second trimesters. And I even weighed less the day I gave birth than I actually weighed before becoming pregnant. But that’s just a number. The most important part was that I felt amazing during my pregnancy! I experienced minimal sickness, slept like a rock and actually had energy even with giving up caffeine. My pregnancy was easy and I believe it has everything to do with being active the entire time. I would wobble into class every day after work, my husband would help me tie my shoes and I would do as much as I could do. I definitely challenged my coaches with finding scaled versions of movements that I could perform. I worked out up until the week I gave birth and I was back in the gym three weeks after giving birth to a healthy baby boy.
CrossFit has not only changed my body, but it has changed how I perceive myself. I am much more confident and I am actually a little competitive now. I enjoy pushing myself during the workouts and I have a list of movements I plan to conquer in due time. I still do the majority of everything scaled and that is perfectly fine, after all, I am only competing against myself. As long as I continue to be a better me than the day before then I’m headed in the right direction.
After giving birth I struggled with trying to find a balance between caring for an infant, a husband, a home and maintaining a full-time job. I just told myself that working out is a priority and to make time for it just like all the other priorities in my life. CrossFit has become a part of me. I’ve settled into my new normal and I love it! Even with an infant and working full-time I have found time to do CrossFit every day because it actually gives me the energy to take on everything else in my life. Nothing has been easy during my journey and I actually have come to love the struggle. And post pregnancy workouts have definitely proven to be a whole new struggle. Simple movements like running or jumping rope are now some of the hardest for me to perform. Things jiggle that I’ve never noticed before and certain bodily functions have a mind of their own. I’ve learned to embrace these challenges and to not let them get in my way of completing a workout. Somedays will be harder than others, but for me it is about not giving up. And I’m not giving up on this journey.