Despite spending three to four days a week in the gym throughout most of my 20s, I never considered myself to be strong. I worked out pretty aimlessly, never really having a plan or a goal. When I eventually took up cycling and running, it gave me that extra push to work harder and go faster. I still had no idea what I was doing in the weight room at the gym, but I kept chugging along.
It was actually my bike that first brought me to CrossFit. My husband and I were out for an afternoon ride when we passed our local CrossFit gym. Contrary to my perceptions about CrossFit, there were people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness abilities working out in there. They didn't all have the finely chiseled bodies of Greek gods, as I had imagined. We talked to one of the coaches for a few minutes and found out that they offer a free beginner class to introduce you to some of the fundamentals of CrossFit. There was nothing to lose, so we decided to give it a try. Four years later, I can honestly say that CrossFit is the best thing to happen for my health and fitness.
I'm the strongest I've ever been.
Because I never had much of a plan when I showed up at the gym, I never really got stronger or saw more defined muscles. Now that I have the guidance of professionally trained CrossFit coaches, I have watched my weightlifting numbers increase month after month. They take the time to write out weekly programming with the goal of helping me be a better athlete. It's not only the programming, though, that is turning me into one strong mama (at the age of 35); it is the one-on-one attention that I receive during class to make sure I am using proper form and staying safe while I go for heavier and heavier weights.
I can do things I never thought possible.
I spent most of my time in gym class playing badminton. Needless to say, I never developed the strength or confidence to do even a single pull-up or successfully complete a rope climb. Once I graduated, there was nobody forcing me to try these things, so I resigned myself to the fact that such badassery just wasn't in the cards for me. Even after starting CrossFit, I was too scared to try a rope climb. The top of the rope just looked so far away. One day, after a few practice attempts, I just decided to go for it. And right up the rope I went! Yes, I had to get over my fear to do it, but after I got that first one out of the way, it felt like no big deal. Pull-ups were a little more difficult. With the help of my coaches, I practiced for months and now I can jump right up to the bar and do real pull-ups.
I am more brave in other areas of my life.
Accomplishing some of the physical feats that I have since starting CrossFit has made me more adventurous in other areas of my life, as well. I've jumped off scary cliffs, mountain biked on vacation, and backpacked through rugged terrain and tall mountains. These might not seem like such a big deal, but they are all activities I would have shied away from in the past. Learning to push my physical and mental limits in the gym has helped me to overcome fears in other parts of my life, too. I am much more apt to try something new and exciting than I was a few years ago.
I've learned how to listen to my body.
I hear it all the time: "CrossFit is dangerous and everyone gets injured." This can be true of any workout if you don't perform the movements safely and correctly. That being said, I'm only human and a competitive one at that, so I have pushed myself a little too hard a few times and I've had to teach myself how to know my limits and be smart with the weights I choose. Good CrossFit coaches do everything they can to keep us safe, but we are all adults here and I have to take responsibility and pull back when I know it's the smart thing to do. It's an ongoing lesson but one that I know I need to learn.
CrossFit really is for everyone.
I am beyond proud to be part of such a diverse community of athletes. In just our little Southern Indiana gym, we have teenagers, seniors, and everything in between. We have CrossFit Games athletes, doctors, stay-at-home moms, college professors, and, again, everything in between. It doesn't matter your age or fitness ability, your fellow CrossFitters will be there to cheer you on and push you to the finish. Still don't think CrossFit is for everyone? Check out this lady!