I was turning 40. I knew I was out of shape. Life was hectic. I had kids. ‘nuff said, I guess. But that wasn’t the real reason. I was just unmotivated. I didn’t want to go to the gym. It was too much work. I was too tired. It was too hot. It was too cold. I was too hungry. I ate too much. I was too early. I was running late. I needed new sneakers. New sneakers gave me blisters. I had every excuse in the book and even thought up some new ones. I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I decided to do something about it. I signed up for a Spartan Race, a brutal obstacle course race. I just knew that was what I needed. Surely one day of hiking four miles up and down a mountain, and climbing 10 ft walls in 90 degree weather is exactly what I needed to get me in shape. After the first mile, I found myself sitting on a big rock, having a colossal meltdown, both emotionally and literally – it was blazing hot! I kept looking for those guys on the ATV’s, so that I could fake an asthma attack and get a ride back down. No luck. My team finished in two hours; impressive, right? I finished in 4 hours, and before you say “Hey! At least you finished”, you should know that I cheated. I didn’t do ANY of the penalty burpees, at any of the obstacles that I didn’t complete, and there were many. I left that day saturated in mud and nursing a bruised ego. I needed help. Two months later, August 2013, I walked into Stroud Crossfit, East Stroudsburg PA, and I immediately knew I found my niche’. I knew Crossfit was going to save me. What I didn’t realize was how much saving I actually needed.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#e8e8e8″ txt_color=”#000000″]”There is something very fortifying about going through a tough workout. I face it one rep at a time with my coaches’ guidance and my peers’ support.”[/mks_pullquote]My Body: That’s the obvious answer. I am much stronger now! I also learned that as women age, our bones get weaker. Lifting weights actually helps build bone density! So grab a glass of milk in one hand and a dumbbell in the other! Another added benefit is increased mobility and flexibility. Crossfit is way more than just lifting weights. It focuses on total body health. My chronic back pain has eased substantially! When my back starts to get tight, I go straight to the gym. Crossfit workouts are scaled to fit your own personal ability. You need to be honest with yourself and your coach in order to remain injury free. I scale back all the time, and I leave just as sweaty and exhausted as the next person. I have gained a lot of muscle that you cant see under the layer of fat, but I assure you its there. I haven’t lost as much fat as I would have hoped, but that has more to do with my love of burgers and cupcakes than my love for Crossfit! But that’s another story. #absaremadeinthekitchen
My Mind: yeah, I know, #dramatic. Seriously, Crossfit saved my mind. If you didn’t already know: Crossfitters talk everything Crossfit! So that means when I am at the Box (Crossfit gym)I don’t have to think or talk about: bills, kids or Facebook.
We talk about WODs (workout of the day), nutrition, how to get better range of motion, and how to improve our performance. We encourage each other, we motivate each other, and we support each other. We joke a lot, which is refreshing, quite honestly. It is a positive environment that motivates you to leave your negativity at the door. #endorphins
There is something very fortifying about going through a tough workout. I face it one rep at a time with my coaches’ guidance and my peers’ support. Now, I am not so quick to give up or give in when things get tough in my everyday life. When I get overwhelmed, I face my obstacles one at a time, with God’s guidance.
My Inner Athlete: I have always loved to compete. After college, that all ends. You kind of end up on this invisible island of Athletic Misfits. Discarded, you grow lazy and lost, well at least I did. You try to suppress your urge to compete, but you can’t . You toss that can of beans down the grocery aisle into the cart for that game winning three- pointer or run the stairs in your house for your fastest time. Crossfit offers opportunities to compete for a wide range of athletes, with different levels of ability, even the oldest of athletes, in the Masters Division. I compete and I come in last most of the time (that cupcake/burger addiction catches up to me on these days) but it doesn’t take away the exhilaration and satisfaction I experience when I can compete against myself and others.
My Social Life: -At 30 years old I traded in my social life to become a stay at home mom. Then, we relocated to PA from NYC. I can sit here and say how “fulfilling it is” or how “the only thing that matters is pouring myself into those little lives” but that would be a LIE. My world shrunk faster than a cotton shirt in a high heat dryer. I was feeling confined and caged. I couldn’t breathe. #depressed.
When Crossfit entered my life, it opened up a door to another world of people and interests. A world of professionals, college students, moms and grandmothers! I am networking and building new friendships. I am surrounded by women who have similar goals and similar struggles : stiff joints and the loose bladders #truth. We don’t criticize or tear each other apart. In fact, we genuinely seek to encourage, and cheer each other on. Guess what? The guys are friendly too! These relaxed friendships are the norm in Crossfit, and I LOVE it. Everyone is SO approachable and willing to help or share what they have learned with me, and anyone else who will listen.
My Family: I have new-found strength and stamina. This means I can help my daughter tack a horse for her riding lessons. I have energy to practice soccer with my son. I even started skiing with my kids! I can carry multiple skis and boots, dress the kids, somehow snap my own boots, ski for hours, then do it all in reverse at the end of the day! (if you don’t ski- you have no clue how much stamina and strength this takes). Crossfit has given me the ability to participate in athletic activities WITH my kids, instead of playing spectator.
This means less time in front of the TV, and more time making memories. By the way- my kids Crossfit too!
My Marriage: Yup, that whole strength and stamina thing again, but not for what you think. #getyourmindoutofthegutter
My husband has said often that my Crossfit bill is going to be the first bill paid each month. Why? Because I no longer need him for help unloading groceries, or putting heavy objects on the top shelf of our garage, or help with throwing out the garbage.
Now before you go “ham” on me about how my husband should be doing these things, and he needs to be an active partner, or go on about how I am settling -blah blah blah- let me be clear- He is willing to help with everything. The problem is that I want everything done now! He wants me to give him a “sec”.
Crossfit is called the Sport of Functional Fitness, and I am here to testify, it is!
Here is a list of typical Crossfit exercises and how they help me in my everyday life:
- Farmers carry = carrying all the groceries from the car to the kitchen in one trip.
- Clean and Jerk/Thrusters = picking up boxes and putting them on the top shelf in the garage or closets.
- Snatches = lifting the garbage bags up and into the dumpster.
- Wall Balls = throwing my kids in the air when we are wrestling.
- Front Squat = getting my kids out of the bath.
- Back Squat = some more wrestling moves with the kids!
- Deadlift = moving heavy furniture without scratching the floors
- Burpees = getting out of bed every morning.
I am able do this stuff on my own, so that means I don’t have to give my husband the “sec” he needs to put his stuff down to help me. Crossfit has eliminated about 90% of our arguing. Now, if he can learn to drop the toilet seat we can have a marriage that is 100% conflict free!
Crossfit doesn’t have all the answers for life (it comes pretty close) but it has made life a lot more exciting!