First, let me give you a little background on my fitness experience. In grade school, I was a theatre/yearbook geek and I never played team sports outside of P.E (which I sometimes dreaded). I never thought I would be opening a gym (although I’m
secretly excited about designing a regular charity ninja-warrior style obstacle course).
Aside from the occasional hip-hop dance class, fitness wasn’t a regular part of my life until I was 25, when I randomly decided to compete in a bodybuilding competition within 6 months as a New Year’s resolution (because I tend to overwhelm myself).
I hired a personal trainer and for the first time in my life, I felt motivated at the gym because I had a goal, I was actually training for something (vs. wandering into a conventional gym from time to time wondering what I should do that day).
I also learned about nutrition and as I saw results, I started to crave and appreciate fitness. I ended up winning the bodybuilding competition, but it came at a cost to my mental health. The final month of depleted prep before the show, I was crazy fatigued and just plain crazy. My “stage” body wasn’t sustainable. I can only speak from my personal experience and for that particular fitness goal, it was about what I looked like and not how I felt or how my performance increased.
After the competition, I struggled with binge eating and regular fitness became obsolete in my life for several years….until I met Adam! We were acquainted quite randomly but that’s another story :).
Before meeting him, I didn’t know anything about CrossFit and when he told me that he did Olympic weightlifting, I thought that meant that he went to the Olympics!
My first CrossFit class, I was pretty nervous. I was worried that I would be the least fit person there and also felt intimidated. And that’s after Adam had already been training me for awhile one on one (the benefits of dating a personal trainer! He says I’m his whiniest client).
Also, I struggled with my ego because I didn’t want to try something that I wasn’t naturally good at. I would be lying if I said that I’ve completely overcome this! Sometimes when lifting a barbell, it’s not just the weight on the bar – it’s the weight/pressure that we put on ourselves or from our day that we are also lifting. It might be because I don’t have a sports background (seasoned athletes I’m sure can relate to this) but my experience in CrossFit has taught me so much about myself and the unnecessary pressures that I tend to self-inflict. This newfound self-awareness has helped me to up my mental game, self-love and not to take anything too seriously!
Top 3 reasons why I love Crossfit
1. That being said, I realized the more obvious benefits of CrossFit immediately, the first traits I fell for was that only a small portion of the 1-hour class was the bulk of the workout (10-15 min of high intensity) and I could get the same results as a full hour of intensity like in a conventional boot camp class. Coming from a background of 60 min runs on a treadmill or stair climber, this was music to my ears.
2. Secondly, unlike the boring circuit training workouts I meandered through at conventional gyms, CrossFit was fun, it was interesting and it was different every day. I felt like I was working on skills, learning new gymnastics movements and lifting techniques and suddenly the goal wasn’t about what I looked like at all – it was about my performance and I chased those challenges.
I got into amazing shape but this was just a bonus.
This was the most important breakthrough that I experienced in relation to my fitness, and I didn’t realize it until one day a friend of mine asked what my fitness goals were. I said “right now I’m just trying to get a muscle-up and improve my cardio endurance”. Then she said, “wait, you mean you don’t have a goal weight or want to get a six pack?”.
I smiled in surprise knowing that simply because of my mindset shift, just like that I was an athlete now. I could trust my body to respond in the aesthetically pleasing ways that is biologically guaranteed and focus instead on having fun and being committed. I love the competitive nature and the fact that there is always a new goal to chase after and celebrate.
3. Aside from my newfound healthy relationship-with-self and health benefits, I love the community. I’ve made lifelong friends at the gym who share similar goals and outlooks as me and having gym buddies makes showing up everyday that much easier. In a class, people encourage and cheer for each other, everybody gets a high five, we all suffer together, compete against each other (or just with ourselves) and just have a lot of fun. We are all there for the same or similar reasons and certainly have very similar struggles! Having a community to share fitness with changes the game. Friends, accountability, community, support, coaches, programming, all these things kept me coming back.
I don’t think CrossFit is the end all to be all when it comes to fitness and I know it’s not for everybody. But I do think CrossFit can be an incredible and enjoyable fitness journey, or a valuable supplement to an already solid fitness routine. When it comes to fitness, I think you should do whatever you enjoy and whatever you’ll actually do day after day. If it’s CrossFit, that’s awesome!
The above is a video of when I got my first PR (Personal Record) snatch (this is the unfortunate yet hilarious name for the lift above). It’s been 9 months and I’ve only added 2 pounds to this and I’m practicing the necessary expansion of my patience.
Also, I can’t believe Adam finally convinced me to wear booty shorts when working out (I told him I can only worry about one snatch at a time) but to be honest, I got used to it and there’s something powerful about embracing my cellulite and finally appreciating my thick legs for how capable and strong they are. Definitely maybe a side effect from my leftover Daenerys Targaryen hair.