Thank you! Thank you to Greg Glassman for transforming fitness into a fun and challenging sport. Thank you to my friend Jeff for showing off his HSPU, which intrigued me enough to checkout Crossfit. Thank you to John and Glen for fueling my confidence and pushing my limits. Thank you to the amazing CF family for their continual encouragement and praise.
How can I begin to explain how you’ve all changed my life these past 10 months? Many of you forget where I started. With my body fat at 29% I was 2 points away from the obese category. I had back problems and always felt tired. I had taken a bunch of tests but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I’ve always gone to the gym but never knew what the heck I was doing. I tried boot camps and personal trainers but nothing worked. I continued to gain weight and my pant size was embarrassing.
Last summer, my friend Jeff was visiting from London and (as most of us who CF) he couldn’t stop talking about how amazing CF was. On the way to a sox game, he stopped against a Fenway wall and started doing HSPU’s (I’d later realize he does this all over the world. I noticed a big transformation in him not just physically but also in his enthusiasm and confidence. How could I not be intrigued?
The next week I showed up for a free class and Glen blew me away. His passion for fitness and genuine desire to help people instantly impressed me. I struggled through Foundations (with the help of Meghan and Terry) and showed up for my first WOD…Fight Gone Bad!! To say that I was scared is an understatement; I was mortified! I wanted to quit so many times during that workout but my partner (Carlos) cheered me on and encouraged me to push through it. As that clock wound down..3,2,1 my body fell to the floor. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was lightheaded and every muscle in my body was aching. It was painful but I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so alive, so aware of myself and so accomplished. I was hooked.
Why I stuck with it:
1. The Community: I can’t stress the importance of the CF family enough. I will never forget the day I was taking a long rest from doing pull-ups during a brutal WOD and there was pain and defeat on my face. It was then that a fellow crossfitter looked over at me and said, “you are stronger than you think, get back on that bar”. Doubt and pain were erased from my mind and I jumped back on that bar and finished the WOD. I have many more examples but anyone who has participated in a throwdown understands the impact our community has on our individual results. They say there is strength in numbers and that’s never been truer than during my time at CF.
2. The Couches: John and Glen gave me a solid foundation for all things CF. They stressed the importance of safety in all movements and taught me to choose working on proper form over increasing weight at all times. We all tend to get competitive and lose sight of this lesson but I eventually realized that once you had proper form and learned how to be efficient you can make drastic gains in how much you can lift. The coaches took the time to get to know me as an individual and to understand my goals. They genuinely cared about my progress and knew how to motivate and challenge me at the right moments. They are remarkable athletes and I am grateful to them for the time and enthusiasm they gave me during this past year.
3. The Adrenaline rush: Nothing beats the feeling after you’ve accomplished what you initially thought was impossible. Like my first pull up or rope climb; my first full Murph; RXing my first workout; Snatching 75lbs when the previous PR had been only 45lbs (thanks Rob!). Surprising myself has been the biggest motivator for me.
4. Lessons learned carry over to everyday life: All parts of my life have improved because of what I’ve learned at CF. I’m more confident, I manage my time better and I set more goals. I know with consistency and hard work I can achieve positive results in any area that I want to commit to.
5. Recording my progress: Recording my results created a benchmark that I need to surpass each time. I couldn’t slack off. I’m competitive by nature so my numbers had to continue to improve and keeping a record of my workouts and my diet held me accountable for that progress.
6. It’s therapeutic: Sounds crazy, but for me it’s true. The box is the only place where I can escape the outside world and relieve the stress from my life. When I lift I focus on just the movement, gripping the bar, concentrating on my breathing, feet placement, keeping knees out, core tight. I don’t think about family or work, about bills or chores. It’s just me and that bar.
7. My results: Since my first day I’ve lost over 40 lbs, dropped 3 sizes, my body fat fell by 7% (the goal is 2% more so I can be in the ‘athlete’ category) and my push press has jumped from the 15lb bar I did in Fight Gone Bad to 95lbs. I’m faster, stronger and happier!
(July 2012 picture with July 2011 pants)
How it’s impacted my life:
1. I’m confident: Getting fit and healthy has been a huge confidence booster. I can now take a compliment and have shed the insecurities that I had felt for so long. I’ve hit the single digit sizes!! Woohoo!! I threw away ALL my clothes from last year. Who doesn’t love a shopping spree?! Now I can wear the gorgeous clothes I once admired on the racks.
2. I’m mentally stronger: There is no longer a challenge in life that I think I can’t accomplish. I have now surprised myself enough at CF to realize that I AM stronger than I once thought! I can achieve anything that I set my mind to; all that is necessary is a goal and the commitment. Now I understand why some have the perception that Crossfitters are arrogant. (Arrogance: Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities) While many may think we exaggerate our abilities all they have to do is come to a WOD and watch. We are accomplishing amazing things that to the outside world seem impossible. People underestimated what I was capable of (myself included) but I’m now proving everyone wrong. I’ve never had so much control over my body and my mind but now I have a good handle on what affects them (sleep, nutrition, workout, stress) and the results have been remarkable.
3. I am no longer tired: In fact I have continuous energy throughout the day to the point where people ask me, “What are you on?!!” to which I reply “Real food & CF”
4. I now strive to be fit, not skinny: I use to be obsessed with my scale and my stress was elevated as bikini season drew near. I’ve stopped looking at the scale and focus instead on getting faster, increasing my endurance and flexibility, on testing my fitness and pushing my limits. I work hard so I can look young 20 years from now, I lift heavy things so I can build muscle and have better longevity, I run because I hate it but I know its important, I eat real food because it’s what my body responds to and I may not be skinny, but I feel good enough to call myself (for the first time in my life) an athlete.
They say it takes a village to raise a Crossfitter and what an amazing village I’ve been raised in .. Well, maybe it’s not exactly what they say, but you get the point. I have realized that I can never repay everyone for his or her help in transforming my life, but what I can do is pay it forward. I strive to give encouraging words to those around me when they most need it to push forward, I tell my story to those that are unhealthy and are struggling in their lives, I try to inspire by working hard and growing as a person, as a friends and as a Crossfitter. I recently received the following message from a friend that is enlisted, “Hey Ang! I was looking at your page and I’ve been following all your achievements. You motivate me to push harder here and I’d love to get involved in your training. When I get home can I come see how you guys work out? I’m National Guard right now but I’d like to switch over to active once I’m done with school and reenlist as a medic. This would require a lot of strength. Seeing a female hold her own like you have me wanting to reach that goal even more!” Her message has pushed me to try harder and to continue to become a better version of myself. We don’t realize that we each have the opportunity to inspire people that we come into contact with and while that opportunity is most obvious in the box, it also carries over to our non-crossfit lives. I will never forget the people who have inspired me and have taught me amazing life lessons. Thank you all for the impact you’ve each had in my life and for your continued friendship and support.