This past year has been a very difficult time in my life. I was involved in a car accident, had emergency surgery in February, which involved spending 10 days in the hospital, and experienced an abrupt end to my 25 year marriage. Back in September of 2011, when the downward spiral began, my weight was at the highest of my life, over 200 lbs on a 5’4″ body. I was hypertensive, had hypothyroidism and type II diabetes, heading for medication therapy for all of those. I had been going to a cheap ‘self-serve’ gym, but lacked any motivation, and instruction from staff was non-existent.
My nephew, Andrew, had been coming to CFS for about 10 months, and I had witnessed an extraordinarily positive change not only in his fitness level, but his attitude toward life. He encouraged me to attend a free class. I was immediately hooked.
I was extremely skeptical about starting such an intense workout at my age and weight. I was so afraid of being ‘judged’ and ridiculed because of my size and limited abilities. My very first official WOD after Foundations included several rounds of 200 M sandbag runs!! I remember struggling to keep my feet moving, my chest heaving with every breath, and casually joking (sort of) that “I am too old for this”. Needless to say, CFS has proven me wrong!!
These last 3 months have seen a dramatic change in me, both physically and emotionally. I’ve been able to avoid medication for diabetes, and am working with my doctor to reduce my blood pressure meds. I shudder to think in what condition I would be now had I not started CrossFit when I did. The feeling of accomplishment when I complete a WOD, or PR, is indescribable. What thrills me the most (yes, I said thrills) is the sincere excitement and pride I see on the faces of the incredible coaches and my fellow athletes when one of us exceeds our previous time or weight. I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere of true friendship and community, especially in a gym! CFS has helped me regain my long-lost self esteem, and I’ve met people here who truly care about one another’s progress and aren’t afraid to show it. I love the feeling of collapsing on the floor after a WOD, watching everyone fist pound and high five each other.
The coaching staff at CFS is amazing. I thrive on the challenges they set for me, yet they also have the instinct to know when I’ve reached my limit. Each and every WOD is a learning experience. I’m still scaling many things at this point, but no one makes me feel less important because of it.
I plan to continue being a CrossFit Athlete (yes, I consider myself an athlete) for as long as my body is able. Based on the improvements I’ve experienced these past few months: a 30+ lb. weight loss, progression through multiple scale levels, several increases in PR’s and my soaring self confidence– I won’t be stopping for a long, long time.
I wanted to pass along some news that I’m pretty excited about. My doctor and I recently decided to discontinue my blood pressure medication!!! Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes all run in my family. I started taking blood pressure meds about 15 years ago. I was able to cut the dosage in half about 6 months ago and at my recent physical, my doctor and I decided to totally stop the meds. My pressure readings since then have remained excellent. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes-having three or more abnormal A1C readings. I have been able to reduce those readings to below what is recommended for diabetics and to almost a level that can be termed normal for a ‘non-diabetic’. From labs taken about 6 months ago: my cholesterol total had dropped 15 points, LDL dropped 8 points and HDL gone up 10 points. My triglycerides had been cut almost in half to 76. I’m looking forward to seeing more improvements with the results of my latest round of labs. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know I am beating the odds of my inherited health problems. Both my parents died too young of preventable health issues. I don’t plan to follow that path.
I started at CFS in June 2012. Since then, I have made many other ‘measurable improvements’. The reduction of meds being only one. Since last year, I have lost 50+/- lbs (I’m human, it fluctuates a lb or two here and there), lost a total of 23″, gone down 3 pants sizes and am close to the fourth. I’ve changed my diet to where I’m eating ‘paleo clean’ about 90% of the time. It’s become a lifestyle that I can live with. I WOD 4-5 times per week and really look forward to my time at the box. I’m making slow and steady changes in the scales I use, and can see improvement in most moves. I still have a long way to go to be able to RX often, but I will get there!!! Box jumps still scare the hell out of me, but I’m trying. I’ve completed three ‘obstacle course events’ during the past year: Diva Dash (5k), Ruckus (5k) and recently actually finished my first Tough Mudder (12mi). I’ve already signed up for Spartan Race in August and am considering Rugged Mania in September. I can honestly say a year ago I never would have imagined participating in anything even remotely like those events.
The most important improvement has been the way I feel. Despite a number of difficulties and stressful personal roadblocks in my life, thanks to CFS and the amazingly positive people there, I am happier and healthier both physically and mentally than I have been in a very long time. It’s been said by many others, and it’s so very true- the community of Crossfit is it’s strength. The people of CFS are it’s biggest asset, from the owners to the staff to each and every individual member. Without these wonderful people, it’s just an empty box.
Thank you to everyone at CFS!!