I don’t really like dwelling on the past. What I can say about my diet and exercise attempts over the past 20 years is that I definitely know what doesn’t work. I am 42 years old and had secretly resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be 100 pounds overweight for the rest of my life. Things have changed recently, and these days, I prefer looking forward.
I started CrossFit one year ago on the advice of a friend. In that time, I have lost 50 pounds and three clothing sizes. My blood pressure and blood sugar levels have come down, and I have tons of energy. I am getting stronger, faster and leaner every day, and that makes me happy. Along the way, CrossFit has taught me some valuable lessons….
SHOWING UP REALLY IS HALF THE BATTLE
There’s no getting around it. My first day of CrossFit was very difficult for me. I have to admit that on that first day, I was walking from the car to the CrossFit gym thinking to myself, “Why did I sign up for this?!” I was NERVOUS! I suddenly felt unsure about my ability to do whatever it was they were going to ask me to do. I was about 100 pounds overweight and had only walked occasionally for exercise over the past 6 months. Day one at CrossFit meant doing Baseline, which is a workout designed to measure your level of basic fitness. The competitive side of me wanted to keep pace with everyone else, all of whom were in better shape than me. I went at it as hard as I could and finished in just under 11 minutes. I was so exhausted after those 11 minutes that I took myself home and crawled into bed in tears. How could I have let myself get this out of shape?! How can I not do sit ups without help?! I was embarrassed. But, after a much needed pep talk from my husband that night, I got my sore and stiff body up and finished those first two weeks of training. On the last day, we got to do Baseline again. My expectations weren’t very high. I told myself to go at my pace this time, and whatever my time is, it just is. To my surprise, I finished in 9:50. That felt great! While you perform this and every WOD with a whole group of people, you are only competing against yourself. But, you have to show up.
CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
There are no egos in CrossFit. You will come in last place sometimes. Your weaknesses will be exposed, and they will be different as time goes on. But the people you work out with are the most welcoming, humble and supportive people you will ever meet. They understand what it means to work hard because they are doing it alongside you. They want you to succeed so much that they are more than willing to “yell” at you. They will stand right by your side and see to it that you get through your biggest challenges. And thank goodness they do. There have been countless times that those voices yelling in my ear and cheering me on have drowned out the voice in my head that was telling me to quit. The coaches are the best at this. Whether they tell you when to put the bar down and breathe, or pick the bar up and go, they show you that you really can do it. The people in my CrossFit gym believed in me long before I had the con?dence to believe in myself. We all cheer each other on and congratulate each other every day for our efforts, our successes, and our failures because they only serve to prove how hard we are willing to try. There are no mirrors in a CrossFit gym…no mirrors, no egos.
YOU WILL HAVE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS
I would be lying if I said this was easy. I am sore a lot. But it does get better. I am taking the nutrition advice that many CrossFitters subscribe to and implementing it as a lifestyle change. Sometimes the weight loss can’t happen fast enough, and I get frustrated. But slower weight loss means permanent weight loss. And I am building muscle that will burn fat and make my bones healthier and body stronger. I have to remind myself to be patient. And when I have moments of doubt, there is always a coach ready to encourage and support me. That is the best feeling. I have celebrated a lot of achievements in the past year. I couldn’t do any sit ups by myself on the first day. Recently, I did 42 in one minute. I can do a handstand now and jump up on an 18” box. I can even do an inverted hang on gymnastics rings without help now. A couple of months ago I ran 5 miles for the first time ever. And my Baseline time is now 6:12. I could do none of these things when I started. While I haven’t mastered a pull-up, climbed a rope, or jumped up on a 20” box yet, I know that one day I will. I have come a long way, and I have a ways to go. The stronger and lighter I become, the more I am able to achieve. That’s a great motivator. It’s not always easy, but what great achievement is?”