I was in the middle of training for my first degree black belt, the year was 2011. Training was going well but my endurance and perseverance was very low…almost none existent. The struggle to even get to this point in my training was hard physically and emotionally. My body wasn’t toned and I was overweight. People were wanting me to do things that I didn’t believe I was capable of physically or mentally. My parents had taught me to believe in myself, love myself, have confidence in myself, and know that God loved me no matter what but also that all of that was no excuse to be lazy, weak, or unhealthy. All of my struggle came from physical weakness and mental chatter that brought me down more than it built me up.
In June of 2011, my wonderful, amazing mother and I were sick of routine and needed a change. Chris and Laura Biles have been our family chiropractors and friends for years, so finding out about CrossFit and setting up an elements class was just a phone call away. It was extremely different from anything I had done before but even though my brain thought it was weird and stupid; my body and mind had no doubt that this was exactly what I needed. I can’t remember what my first ever workout was but my reaction was “You want us to do all that right now?!” Coach said yup and started the countdown… “3…2…1 GO!”
BAM! Nothing was the same after the first workout. I learned how strong I actually was and became stronger. Yes, my muscles were sore and I even got to meet a few that I didn’t even know existed but the physical side was the most noticeable change. I used to weigh 242 pounds and most of that was fat. It took a little while but I got down to around 215 then I started building muscle which added some good healthy pounds. I still carry a little fat on me (keeps me warm in the winter) but now I can run, I can deadlift over 200#, I can do a Turkish Get Up with a 50# sandbag it may not always look pretty but I can do it. I can row 500m in under 2 minutes and 1000m just under 4 minutes. My day to day life has become so much easier. Lifting things has become a no brainer! Every year at Christmas time, since I have been doing CrossFit, I have shocked many big guys at Home Depot and Lowes as I pick the Christmas tree up, toss it over my shoulder, and carry it to the truck. The first year I did it I shocked my Dad! 😀 Life has actually become happier since I started CrossFit because the words “I can’t” rarely if ever enter my brain anymore. I can lift, push, pull, and carry just about anything without any thought of “That’s too heavy”. Finding out how strong I actually was and realizing it has allowed me to break through physical barriers that used to hold me back. None of these and many more achievements would have been reached without failing a few times.
The emotional/mental change is the one I love the most. I have always been a positive and encouraging person for other people but for myself it was a little harder because like most people I was harder on myself than others. The first 6 months were difficult for me. Failing was always a negative term. If you failed you lost, were wrong, or you were stupid cause you didn’t get it right the first time. That was my definition of the word failure, but then I learned a new one: Failure is reaching the edge of yourself with where you are at a specific moment in time and building yourself up so that who you are knows no bounds. Sometimes you work alone and sometimes you need a cheering section to motivate you forward. The CFW people actually clap and cheer when you fail because they know you have reached your edge and you are about to start building and becoming more awesome than you were before. The emotional and mental support that is given freely is truly a treasure. All of this and more changed the way I pushed myself. It also gave me a greater understanding of how I treat myself and what needed to change. I used to take a week off from CrossFit here and there just because I was sore or didn’t feel like it. Now I plan my college classes around my CrossFit schedule! I realized that even if I have the “I don’t want to’s” by the time the warm up is over I am usually ready to GO and I always feel better after completing the workout.
By the time my black belt test arrived in October of 2011 I had been doing CrossFit for 4 months. In just 4 months, I was stronger and more confident then I had been in the 6 years that I had been doing Tae Kwon Do. My black belt test is the only one I didn’t cry at or feel frustrated with after it was over. CrossFit was a big part of finishing my Tae Kwon Do career strongly.
Now I have been in CrossFit for 4 years and 3 months. I competed in my first SVEN competition this year and even though my team came in 2nd to last I had a blast doing it. I had a recent 10# PR on The Bear Complex going from 73# to 83#. I used to hate running with a passion. Now I can run 90%-100% were I used to be able to only run 10% of a run and have to walk the rest of it. I still have to walk sometimes but it gets fewer and fewer as my training continues.
From the very beginning my super awesome amazing mother has been my number one supporter and without her to give me a loving push or a swift kick in the pants every once in a while I would not be where I am today. Coach Chris is always there to give encouragement, push, advice, friendly chats, dry humor, rare awkward group hugs… you name it Coach has got you covered. 😀 My 8:30 people (past and present) and so many others have been such an encouragement and I give credit to them for helping me learn how to build myself up rather than kicking myself for not being “perfect”.
The best thing about CrossFit aside from the people is the ever changing workouts. Even when a workout you have already done shows up again it is different because this time you have built yourself up and can go further, faster, and/or stronger. CrossFit helps you find who you are and how you work. That may sound silly but it is amazing when you find out how to go your own pace no matter what anyone else is doing. The competition in CrossFit for me at least is 90% against myself and so far I have won every time because I never stop trying. 😀