200 pounds…. two hund-o! That’s what the scale said before I started CrossFit. How did I let this happen to myself? Before kids (ah… right, I used pregnancy as an excuse to clean out the ice cream aisle of my grocery store…. daily!) I was “thin”, didn’t eat and ran between 7 and 10 miles every day. After kids I didn’t think I had time to take care of myself, I was uncomfortable in my body, I hated clothes shopping and I felt weak, tired and struggled to get through a day of child rearing. My husband kept telling me to try CrossFit. That it was a fun workout with great people and was scalable so anyone could do it (did he just call me fat and out of shape?) No, no I’d think. I’m not strong enough to go to your gym. What I clearly meant was I was too uncomfortable with myself to go to your gym. There was no way I was going to make an ass of myself in front of all these in-shape strong people. I wasn’t going to give them someone to make fun of.
When I finally got the last kid to preschool I joined Lifetime Fitness where I spent hours on the elliptical trainer reading People Magazine or on the treadmill watching the “Real Housewives of Dysfunctional County.” You can imagine where this got me… nowhere. No weight loss, no energy gain, no new clothes ‘cause the same old fat-clothes still fit just fine.
With nothing but rolls of fat to lose I joined the On-Ramp class at my local CrossFit. I can’t actually tell you what I learned in the first class but that first WOD is seared into my memory. Three rounds (for time) of ten wall balls, ten front squats and ten burpees. It was a freaking nightmare. It took me forever to finish (I’m pretty sure my coach had to cancel her lunch plans that day!) My heart was beating out of my chest and every muscle of my body was on fire. But I was hooked. I’d found my home. This was my place and these were my people. In 10 minutes I had worked to the point of exhaustion (seriously, my coach had to hold a mirror up to my nose to make sure I was still breathing) and could wring the sweat out of my shirt into a bucket. We finished the On-Ramp class three weeks later and did the same hellish workout we started with. This time it only took me 7 minutes.
I met my first WOD in “general population” with a lot of apprehension (and a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach). I don’t remember what we did, but I remember I finished dead last. My worst nightmare, now people were actually standing around watching me work out. But they weren’t laughing. They were cheering! They actually stuck around after (long, long, long after) their workout to help me finish. They counted my reps, they cheered my name and they high fived me when I was done! This wasn’t the judgey, in-shape, muscle-beach place I thought it was. These cool people were a supportive community. I went back the next day and the next. I was welcomed, people knew my name and they cheered for me when I improved (or when I didn’t drop the barbell on my head…if you’ve ever worked out with me you know this is success.)
So now, several years later, I stand before you weighing 40 pounds less than when I started, several clothing sizes smaller, able to lift my crazy kids over my head, run after them until they’re the first to tire, and DO A PULL-UP. I love the people that I work out with at the 9:00am class. On the rare occasion I finish a workout before someone else, I’m the one on the sidelines cheering and am genuinely happy when someone lifts more than they lifted the day before or finishes faster than they did last week.
CrossFit has given me the gift of life, literally. While I doubt my story would have ended with me being trapped in my house and having to be lifted out by a crane to be buried in a piano box, my story was being uncomfortable in my skin, not keeping up with my active kids, hating to be photographed and not being my usually confident or social self. I’m in much better shape than I was in when I ran everyday and starved myself. And, I feel way better about myself then I ever have.