My whole life I have been pretty invested in athletics.
I grew up being outside, to our backyard, to the gymnastics rings, to the pool, to to the basketball court, to my yoga mat, to the track, to the farm and competing with my horse. These activities were part of my life, everyday.
As I shifted to college and away from formal group athletics and owning my own horse and competing for years (two of the best things I could have had for leadership and growth growing up) I found myself struggling to find a workout “regime”.
Sometimes I went to our college gym. I even worked there one Summer while I stayed in Vermont, but it was sporadic. College definitely ensued four years of the most unstructured time (except for class schedules per semester of course) for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I worked hard. I graduated with almost a 4.0 and I had a lot of internships and jobs. But being active? Kind of fell short. I definitely gained weight (thank you kegs of beer and booze) but I wasn’t wildly unhealthy, I was just enjoying my time and being a bit more carefree than I am now. Studying abroad in Italy and eating gelato or pasta almost daily didn’t help. Oops.
As I graduated college and moved to the land of everyone runs marathons, hikes 14,000 feet in the mountains or skis all weekend, every weekend in the winter (aka Boulder) I was hit right in the face with why I was so attracted to move here in the first place. I love being healthy and pumping my body with endorphins. We always ate organic and healthy growing up, it was just a reminder of what I remembered.
I immediately joined a yoga studio, got my snowboard pass, hiked out my backyard and was stoked about getting back to my roots and feeling healthy.
After my fourth year in Boulder, I couldn’t ignore my brother or some of my closest friends poking me about Crossfit this, Crossfit that. Even with my background of being active, I don’t feel like a bad-ass. Compared to most Boulderites, I’m not as hardcore (my mom would tell me this is self-defeating belief, and she’s probably right), but it’s how I feel.
I’m also okay with admitting I was intimidated. I was scared. I also knew it was a monetary and serious time investment so I had to be totally committed.
In September last year, I was in LA with some of my closest girlfriends for a weekend getaway and also seeing my little brother who lives there. He brought me to a Crossfit class at his gym so I could get a feel for it. He will tell you that he and my other Crossfit girlfriend asked me 20 times that weekend before I agreed to join them. I hadn’t brought the right clothes or shoes and wasn’t planning on a workout on my weekend getaway.
As soon as we began, my nerves dissolved and even if I didn’t know what we were doing the whole time, I was guided and could scale to my own needs. During the WOD (workout of the day) I felt on fire. It was surely intense but while you’re in it, you’re just focused and digging in to something deeper.
The next day I couldn’t walk, I was so sore.
I laughed to myself but realized I got out of it alive and actually, enjoyed most of it.
Next month, in October I said fuck it. I believe in doing things that scare you and getting outside your comfort zone. That’s when you really grow. Always. So I joined a Crossfit gym here in Boulder and took the month-long intro, Foundations course.
After our first class, I came home and cried. I didn’t think I was that out of shape. I’ve worked out most of my life! I felt pathetic and ashamed. It was so difficult I didn’t know if I could go back.
But I did. Each day. Each class.
For the first month or so, I got knots in my stomach I was so nervous about walking into class. I spoke to my friend Tara who has been doing Crossfit for 3+ years at the gym and her stories and support helped me realize I wasn’t alone in my plight or nervousness.
Now, it’s February. I’m just a few months in, but I find I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before and I know that I’m growing and learning rapidly. Some days I still am so confused or I’m doing something I’ve never done before and I’m scared, but the community is fantastic, the coaches are fun and supportive and I’m compelled to keep growing and pushing.
It’s not as if it gets easier. You just get more used to it.
The intensity level is always high. But one of the things I appreciate the most is my mental sharpness that has evolved. It’s like one big psychological lesson. Crossfit is almost more mental than physical for me because I think in my head, “There is no way I can finish that,” or “100 push-ups just to start the workout, no way,” but then you do it.
You just do it.
You may take longer than anyone else, but I always finish. Maybe I scaled and next time I’ll try more weight or what’s actually prescribed.
I don’t believe that Crossfit is superior to other forms of working out but I do know that the cult-like following is for a reason. It works. It’s powerful. And for now, for me, I’m totally digging it and proud of my consistency to working out more than almost ever.
I’m also a testament that anyone can do it. People of all ages and sizes go to Crossfit and like I said, I’m no marathon-goer-crazy-workout-freak. Hardly. But I’ve been physically and mentally pushed more than ever and it’s the best feeling. It doesn’t hurt to see your body toning up and muscle in places you didn’t know muscle existed before either. Right?
Thanks Crossfit Roots. I heart you longtime for kicking my ass and showing me the ways.
But this doesn’t mean I like burpees. At all.