I have partnered with Momentum Fitness this year to inspire others to build a healthier, happier life.
Before I even started working out at Momentum Fitness, I had a meeting with one of the coaches. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s standard for CrossFit. Your coaches want to know where you’re coming from, what your goals are, if there are any injuries or mobility issues they need to work around. They want to know your fears and ease you into the culture that is CrossFit.
When Karen asked what my biggest fear was, I told her it was that I would cry in the gym, that I would cry in front of people. The underlying fears were that I knew I couldn’t do box jumps and a bunch of other things CrossFitters do, and I didn’t know how this rigorous workout was going to serve me if I couldn’t do those things; I feared being laughed at or judged by the other athletes in the gym for my inabilities and my fat, I feared failure.
My fears were unfounded, because even as a fat girl who hadn’t worked out in 3 years, I was able to complete every workout. No, I didn’t start out doing box jumps, I jumped on stacked weights, about 2″ high. I wasn’t made to run as far as the other people in class. I wasn’t made to even attempt a pull up, instead I hang from rings and heft myself up. They started me out with very light weights to see what my abilities were. I didn’t even have to do squats when I first started – I did air squats onto a box because I couldn’t get low enough without muscle failure.
It has been 11 weeks – exactly 11 weeks today, actually – and I haven’t cried once. Until today.
And I didn’t cry because of what I couldn’t do, but because of what I could.
Nobody saw the two tears that fell, I kept them to myself, but I allowed two to escape because they were symbolic to me of fear leaving space for victory. They represented, to me, the strength that I contain that I thought I had lost.
Today wasn’t a particularly difficult workout, it was heavy day, my favorite. The last time I tried thrusters, I got 65#. I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do this time, but I was encouraged to try 85#, so I did.
On Round 4, I attempted an 85# thruster and I failed.
I knew I could do it, and I knew exactly what I had done wrong. I hadn’t had an explosive opening of the hip at the bottom of the squat that would thrust the bar above my head at the end of the movement. I let my partner go again while I was talking myself into the fact that I could do this thing.
When my turn came again, I took a few deep breaths, made sure my stance was correct, and visualized the movement before I took the bar into rack position.
I squatted and knew I had to come out of the squat faster than I had before.
Then I did it. I completed an 85# thruster.
I think I yelled, I heard clapping around me and some whoops of encouragement. As I racked the weight, I was completely overcome with pride for what I had just accomplished. Eleven weeks ago, I couldn’t even do an air squat. Today, I squatted and then thrust above my head, an 85# barbell.
And then I let the fear escape my tear ducts to make room for the pride I was feeling.
When I first started CrossFit 11 weeks ago, I asked other people why they had never tried it. I wanted to use it as material for an article – an article that never materialized because the answers I received promoted a new, different article.
One of those answers is that CrossFit doesn’t do anything but make you good at CrossFit.
While, on a certain level, that might be true, it’s also quite false. When I racked my bar, I was thinking of that. Why do I do this? What am I getting out of this?
I can tell you it’s not just bragging rights.
For me this is satisfaction. It is satisfying to me to know that if someone needs something that’s 85lbs put away, in a closet, that I can do it. It is satisfying to me to know I can pick my kids up. It is satisfying to me to know that I am freaking strong. It is satisfying to me to know that because of my strength, I am healthier, sleeping better, and have stronger bones. It is satisfying to me to know that the osteoporosis monster can’t catch me when I’m busy lifting stuff. It is satisfying to me to know that I have a place I can go where people will cheer me on and give me a fist bump even if I drop a weight, where I am celebrated for doing an air squat or for squatting 125#.
And above all, it’s satisfying to me that my kids are seeing this transformation, that they are seeing how strong I am, because it in turn raises their own expectations of themselves.
So that no tears in the gym thing? Screw it.
I cried, y’all. And I hope it’s not the last time.
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