About a year ago, I bought a ten class pack at CrossFit Metric and started CrossFit. Why? Because I was so weak it was pathetic and I wanted to do something about it. All I was doing was running and I lost all of my muscle. Yes, I used to be kinda strong: in college, I lifted four times a week out of season and three times in season for basketball. At first I really enjoyed it and thought I was pretty strong for a little thing. I could bench my body weight and throw down a pretty nice squat. Cool.
But then my weight started to creep up and I thought I was “big.” I felt bulky and gross. So what did I do? I stopped lifting. I totally fell into the trap that most women fall into: we are scared of lifting (and lifting heavy) because we think we will get “big.” I now know that my physique was largely a result of my less than stellar diet, not the dumb-bells.
So I heard a lot about this CrossFit thing and thought it could work for me: a supportive team environment yet competitive atmosphere? Perfect.
At first, I went every once and awhile… and didn’t even like it that much! I was shy and timid – and yes a bit intimidated but I did my best to just suck it up. I thought it seemed obsessive and I didn’t understand the movements. Why am I “cleaning” a barbell from the floor? And paleo seems whack. I was also ashamed of my ability because I was “only using the bar” when everyone else was moving heavy weights.
But I stuck with it because I started to bond with the people in my class, the trainers, the staff at the box. Once my knee was fully recovered after my first half marathon, I started going to CrossFit more regularly. It was as much social as it was a workout. I loved the feeling of improving and getting stronger and making friends. Yay me!
In March, Michelle convinced me to sign up for the CrossFit Open. I had no idea what “the Open” even was. Well, it’s just a series of workouts (five) that are completed by anyone who wants to do them (the more competitive athletes get selected for regionals this way). I was so nervous. I didn’t know if I could even complete the workouts. But that was the point: participating in the Open opened my eyes to my abilities (and weaknesses). It gave me a sense of confidence and taught me to start believing in myself because I am capable of a lot more than I think.
After the Open, I think I got hooked. I wasn’t nervous or scared anymore – I owned both my strengths and weaknesses. I loved the feeling of lifting – I felt strong. I loved the competitive environment – I felt motivated. But I mostly loved the sense of community – I felt a part of a team again. Everyone pushes each other and cheers each other on at CrossFit – that must be why so many ex-athletes are now CrossFit athletes. I have met so many amazing people who encourage and motive me everyday – they even call me the Little Honey Beast (and want me to change the blog name).
CrossFit has opened my eyes to focus on how my body feels and what it can do rather than what it looks like. No, it hasn’t always been easy feeling like my jeans are going to rip down the seam. But it has been worth it. I so badly want to lift “heavier” but I know I need to focus on the technique of the olympic lifts. I want to compete in a competition. I want to do all workouts “Rx”. I am constantly learning, improving, failing and getting right back up to succeed again. I sometimes get really frustrated, annoyed (and even cry) but I love it.
We track our progress using Wodify – and my weekly workouts posts help to illuminate my improvements, strengths and weaknesses. I can deadlift 185lbs, back squat 135lbs, row 500m in about 2 minutes, overhead squat 85lbs, string together toes to bar and use a 14lb wall ball. I’m getting my double-unders and working on my pull-ups. I couldn’t say any of that a year ago. But those numbers are just the added bonus.
Strength. Confidence. Community. Determination. Loving yourself. Being proud. Pushing your limits. Happiness.
I don’t care if you do CrossFit, hate it or think it is the stupidest thing ever. That’s cool. Find what makes you feel awesome and do it. Simple as that. I didn’t start CrossFit-ing to hop on the bandwagon or be a part of a fad. I started CrossFit because I wanted to get mentally and physically stronger. I’ve accomplished both and I’m not stopping now.
And with that, I’m off to run 14 miles this weekend. I’ve never run 14 miles before. I’m slightly terrified but reminding myself of the Open: that I am capable of more than I know. I may be “obsessed” with CrossFit but it doesn’t need to be all or nothing: running can make me feel awesome too :)
Questions of the day…
What makes you feel awesome?
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