Growing up I did not ever consider myself to be athletic. I was the dorky, home schooled, violin chick who would rather be going to orchestra camps in the summer instead of playing any kind of organized sport. Even as a young child, I can remember asking to play goalie so I wouldn’t have to run around as much. Throughout my late teens and early twenties I struggled pretty heavily with anorexia, depression and anxiety. This sparked an interest in running as an outlet to channel my issues.
Eventually I began to get involved in local 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons and training for these led to healthier eating habits, better self-esteem and more routine visits to the gym: I felt like my journey to athleticism had finally begun and I liked it. Once I began mixing in other forms of exercise with my running regimen, I quickly found that the ones that involved weightlifting were my favorite. It wasn’t until the guys at my gym started telling me that I “shouldn’t lift such heavy weights” and that I should focus more on repetitions to develop tone instead of bulk that I realized the next step in my athletic development needed to be in a totally new direction.
This past August I took that next step and joined CrossFit Wilmington. I started out doing CrossFit because it seemed challenging, I had friends that were doing it (and always talking about it), and because let’s face it; CrossFit chicks have THE best bodies. I quickly understood how much more it would mean to me than that as I began to notice almost immediate changes. The changes weren’t only in my physical appearance, but in my mental, emotional and spiritual health as well. I started eating clean, sleeping better and completely got off all my daily medications. I had more energy and felt like I could tackle my challenges head-on. I can see the changes even in my every day routines, as I’ve become the go-to person at work for lifting the heavy water cooler or loosening stuck equipment.
Now my life basically revolves around CrossFit. There’s an exhilarating anticipation for every new WOD that’s posted, and no matter how bad of a mood I’m in I always feel better after going. Each WOD is a new challenge with new goals to pursue and personal records to annihilate. I’m not going to lie, the workouts are intense and push me to my limits every time. But that’s also one of the best things about CrossFit; you battle yourself every day, and test your resolve to give in and you are the one who ends up winning Every time.
Since starting CrossFit, I have completed my first full marathon. Tony has shown me how to find the balance between strength and endurance training and how both can easily be incorporated into your workouts. I have learned I can do kipping pull-ups, hand-stand push-ups and countless lifts at weights I had no idea I was capable of, and I can feel the improvements every day. It’s not only the workouts that have impacted me though. The CrossFit community is like no other I’ve experienced before. Everybody seemed so intimidating when I showed up for the first intro class, but I couldn’t have been more welcomed. CrossFit, and specifically CrossFit Wilmington, is like a family. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. I’ve made so many friends, all of whom have different and specific reasons for why they do what they do at Crossfit, and what they want to accomplish. Every single person in that class with you, or anywhere in the gym, is supportive and encouraging. The coaches have all been awesome, making sure to focus on improved form to help you get stronger without getting injured, while still pushing you to your limits. (Not to mention you never know when one of the coaches is going to catch you on camera and put you on the website… talk about extra incentive!). I still have so much left to learn but I feel it will be a life-long journey for me and that’s the whole point.
So what’s on my horizon? This next year will be full of growth and improvements. I’d like to get into doing competitions in the future but for short-term I plan to master double unders, gain some muscle weight, and increase my lifts across the board while still keeping up with the occasional half marathon or two. I want to keep learning all I can about preventing injury, increasing recovery, and improving diet and lifestyle so I can continue to treat my body like the athlete I know I have become.