Everyone has their own particular goals when it comes to health, and they face unique challenges on the road to achieving it. Let’s face it – building those habits that produce a healthy life is not necessarily easy, especially at first. One of the things I’d like to start doing here is celebrating each other’s victories in that regard by sharing success stories. It’s important to recognize your accomplishments, and it’s great to also help others to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. You never know who you might inspire or encourage with your journey. So in keeping with that spirit of celebrating each other, I’d like to share a little bit of my friend Stephanie’s story.
Steph is a CrossFitter. She’s been doing CrossFit for nearly 2 years, and she loves it. To someone who has never done CrossFit, that’s impressive. (Those workouts are as intimidating as Rich Froning is beautiful.) I asked Stephanie to tell us a little more about her journey with CrossFit, what she’s learned and how she’s changed over that time. Reading what she had to say, I was impressed, inspired, and even tempted to go visit a box and check it out for myself. Whether you’re a CrossFitter or not, I’m guessing you’ll feel the same way…
1. What inspired you to make a bigger commitment to fitness, and to do Crossfit in particular?
Well I originally started to kick myself into gear with the full intention of joining the Navy. I needed to get my butt in gear if I even had a prayer of making it through basic training. So I needed someone or something to help get me there because I definitely could not navigate my way around a gym on my own. So I’d been looking into classes at the campus gym and stuff like that (which I would honestly probably have done for a solid week and then quit). But one day at the beginning of my senior year I stumbled onto a crossfit YouTube video, and said that I was going to try it. School and work being what they were, it took me 6 months to actually try it and once I did I was hooked. I had people invested in helping me get stronger and who made sure my technique was right and I had a huge community of people who liked to sweat it out just as much. My aunt and uncle generously paid for a full year at the box and that’s when I knew that I had no excuse not to go. So I made the commitment to go 3 days a week. That turned into 4-5 pretty quickly and that routine has stuck with me now for almost 2 years. (It’ll be 2 in December.)
Getting out of your own way. You have to check your pride and ego at the door and be willing to learn and get better. When I started, I was nowhere near lifting anything close to heavy, and certainly was not doing the workouts the way they were prescribed. Most of the time I was just using the bar, but I was still working hard and making progress at my own capacity at the time.
Take my Snatch for example. (That’s the lift you see people going from ground straight to overhead with their arms in a wider grip) I couldn’t even get my brain to process that movement with a pvc pipe in my hands let alone do it with weight. My mobility in my hips was awful and I had to practice squatting pretty much every day. ESPECIALLY overhead squatting. It took me 3 months of skill practice to finally put weight on the bar and the most I could do was 55#. Then 5 months after that, I was able to stand up with 80# and I was ECSTATIC.
Everything is like that. Everything has taken time and practice and coaching for me. So after consistently practicing and working at it, I have made significant leaps in strength capabilities and I have a much wider skill set than I started with. We hear it all the time “there is no substitute to hard work.” So if you put in the work, the progress will come.
3. What has been the most rewarding part of this journey besides the physical changes?
The strength!! The physical stuff is kinda whatever. To be honest the scale hasn’t moved for me in 2 years. I have remained at a constant consistent weight for 2 years. Which I guess is kinda cool in and of itself, but the cool part is that I can see and feel myself getting stronger. Pretty much all of my lifts (with 2 glaring exceptions) are over 100# right now and I’m closing in on the 200s for squat and deadlifts. But that has been incremental progress along the way.
4. How has your body image/self-perception changed over the course of doing CrossFit?
I used to think that skinny was a goal. That skinny was this magical place that I had to be in order to feel adequate. And I’ll be straight up. There are still days I feel like that, and clothes shopping is still a disappointing and difficult experience (mostly because my arms and legs don’t fit in anything that isn’t athletic gear these days). That hasn’t changed, but I’m starting to realize that strong feels so much better. I feel more confident, energetic, and excited. I feel more capable of handling crazy things like rock climbing or stand up paddle boarding. While you may not see me shirtless in the gym anytime soon, I’m happy being stronger and I know that the rest will fall into place.
5. What are your fitness/CrossFit related goals going forward?
I set some killer goals for myself this year.
1. Get a pullup. (OF ANY KIND) And I did :). Kipping for now. And I am not at the point where I can successfully string them together, but they’re there.
2. JOIN THE 200 CLUB. (Get 200# on my back squat. I’m currently sitting at 160, so that may not be realistic in 4 months, but I will be there soon) I WANT TO BE IN THE 200 CLUB SO BAD.
3. Rx one girl. OK this one will take some explaining. The “girls” are our benchmarks. They are killer workouts that serve as a metric by which you can measure your progress. They NEVER get easier. Take Fran, Fran is 21-15-9 Thrusters at 65# (for women) and Pullups. For time. My Fran time is sitting right around 9 minutes (because of my sad pullups). But doing it at the weight of 65# and completing the pull ups would be considered Rx. Normally I would be scaling the weight back or using a band for pullups. BUT happy to say that I have completed this goal this year and right now have Rx times on more than one, which is pretty cool.
6. Any recommendations for someone who is considering getting into CrossFit?
Just stick it out for a little while. When you start it is hard. It’s hard physically, mentally, and emotionally. And I know it’s not for everyone. But if you are willing to work at it, and be the person that isn’t that strong YET or isn’t that coordinated YET, then it will come. One of the coolest parts to see is just how far you’ve come. But starting is the hardest part. So you have to be willing to sweat for it.
Thanks again for sharing, Steph! You’re a rockstar…maybe someday I’ll work up the courage to visit your box and give CrossFit a shot. Keep on smashing those workouts, and be sure to let us know when you hit the 200 Club so we can celebrate with you!
Do you do CrossFit? What’s the experience been like for you?
Do you have a fitness victory you’d like shared on the blog? Shoot me an email if you’d like to be featured or to nominate someone else!