*Trigger Warning- I’ll be talking about my body, mental health and insecurities. If these could possibly trigger a bad feeling or set you back on your mental health journey, please skip this post. I’ll be back next week with (FINALLY) a post about the house.*
This is me at what I would consider my best shape. My body did whatever I wanted it to. I was hitting PR’s, and I couldn’t walk past a mirror without flexing and LOVING what I saw. My body was transforming, and so was my mind. I was kicking the former “Michele’s” ass and taking names. I was at the gym 4 times a week, and I never missed a Monday. And then one day, everything came tumbling down. Depression set in and I hated stepping foot in the gym. I was hitting a plateau (something I was warned would happen) and I started second guessing myself. I would just sit and cry and I never fully understood why. A dark cloud hung over me, and I couldn’t explain what was happening. Family would tell me I had so much to be thankful for, and I needed to see that. *FYI* WORST thing to say to someone that is suffering from depression. We aren’t ungrateful, we are lost. I started slacking at the gym and eventually decided, maybe I just needed time away. I was burned out and needed a break. Well that was 10 months ago, and I’ve only been back to a gym maybe 15 times. I am nowhere near where I used to be, and I HATE what I see in the mirror. Kyle and I went to Braves Opening Day and I cropped our first Opening Day photo (2011) next to this one and I was horrified. I didn’t even look like me. It’s not that I’m fat. I have fat without a doubt, but it’s that I’m just not “me” anymore. I have always been athletic and when I looked at myself, I knew I could do anything. I could lift anything. I could run without issue. But this week, I ran on Monday afternoon and my hips STILL hurt. I’ve let myself go, and I am so disappointed. I see people that used to work out with me and would ask ME for advice, and they are now KILLING it in the gym. I am so incredibly proud of them, but I can’t help but be jealous. I feel uncomfortable and insecure in the gym. Yeah, my belly is (mostly) flat, but I can barely squat what I used to warm up with. My traps are nearly gone, and the only reason my shoulders still exist is because I was blessed with them genetically. I have no one to blame for this backslide but myself. I’m not posting this because I want pity or someone to tell me I look great! Because it honestly has nothing to do with anyone else. Kyle tells me daily how beautiful I am and how much he loves my body, and I am so appreciative of that. But I don’t see it, and I need to change that. I’m putting this here for accountability. I found a local old-school gym that I want to try out. Their prices are reasonable and they have great reviews. I’m determined to get back to the mental and physical state that I was. I want to bust out of my jeans because my quads are jacked. I want to need new t-shirts because my arms don’t fit. I have my goals, and I WILL reach them. No more excuses.
Good morning, everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and enjoying yourselves! I just wanted to stop through and share a quick thought that has been weighing on me a little bit lately.
The hardest part for me about getting back to the gym is seeing how much strength I have lost in the down time. I go to throw up some weight that I used to warm up with, and I can barely get under it. Mentally that is the hardest thing to overcome, and today I really had to grit my teeth and remind myself where I started before, and what I went through to make it to where I was at my peak.
I walked into the gym this morning and started my cardio. I despise running and anything cardio related, so I take that as an indication that I should probably do it more often. Anyways, after I finished I walked over to the free weights and started working shoulders. I noticed next to me was a girl shoulder pressing a weight that I really hadn’t tried in a while. It used to be a “warm up” weight for me so I thought (foolishly), “She’s significantly smaller than me (I know, it was an asshole thought) and I can easily do that.” So I grabbed the dumbbells, pushed them to my shoulders and repped out… nothing. Yep. ZERO REPS. I snorted, quickly put the weights back in their rightful place, and grabbed a lighter pair. Did I want to crawl in a hole and die? Most definitely. Did I want to go to the bathroom and cry, because I was quickly reminded of what I am no longer able to do? No doubt. But I didn’t. I complimented her on her awesome body (She was long and lean but very strong), put my headphones back in, and sucked it the eff up.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and damn was he spot on.
I just wanted to remind everyone that sometimes you have to take a step back, and be realistic with yourself. It’s something you have to be conscious of every single time you walk into a gym. That girl’s journey is not my journey. Her goals are not my goals. Her future is not my future. And her body is NOT my body. To compare myself to her would not be fair to me or to her. She’s obviously worked hard to get where she is. Instead of trying to skip those steps and jump right back in where I left off, I have to earn that spot. I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again and better.
I have to start out by saying that Crossfit changed my life. I didn’t start Crossfit because I needed to lose weight or because I wasn’t active enough. I joined Crossfit because I loved the idea of having a community that would always be there to encourage me and cheer me on. Unfortunately, I am now at place in my life where it is just not an option for me to pursue Crossfit. I hope that one day in the future I will find myself back in a box doing what I enjoy.
Now on to our list:
If you walked into your local Crossfit affiliate and you did not feel welcome or a sense of community among the other members, LEAVE. That is not the box for you. The main thing that brought me to Crossfit was the sense of belonging. You should always feel like you are part of a family at your box.
If you do not benefit from people constantly encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and push beyond your limits, Crossfit might not be the place for you. This is something that comes from the community you surround yourself with at a box. These will be people that see you fail time and time again but want you to succeed just as much as you do. If you want to just put your headphones in and have a bro sesh at your local gym slinging weights around by yourself, that’s completely cool and totally understandable. Some people would rather lift that way. However, that is not what you get at a Crossfit box. Some people will claim that Crossfit is the end all be all workout regimen. They will tell you that if you’re not doing Crossfit, then you’re wasting your time. Do not let those people influence you. Do what is best for you.
You do not need to be an elite athlete to join a Crossfit box. What you see on TV during the Crossfit Games is a rarity among the Crossfit community. Do not think that because you have never stepped foot in a gym, you can’t be a crossfitter. I promise, you will meet some of the most diverse people at a Crossfit box, from high school track runners who just want to work on muscle gain to grandparents who want to ensure they see their grandkids grow up.
To build on number 3, you do not have to compete at all. Many people do not join Crossfit to compete. If you simply want to do a WOD (workout of the day) and head home, you will be a part of the majority.
You do not need the latest Crossfit gear to be good at Crossfit. I feel like this really includes all types of athletic activities. You can have the BEST lifters and the most expensive weight belt, but if you don’t know how to use them properly, it’s a waste of time. If you have a comfortable, stable pair of tennis shoes, some running shorts and a t-shirt, you have all you need to be a crossfitter.
If you cannot dedicate 4+ days per week to Crossfit, you probably want to look into other options. Crossfit is fairly pricey, and you don’t want to be wasting your money if you aren’t getting the results. Just like any workout regimen, it needs consistent dedication.
Be prepared to be made fun of when people find out you do Crossfit. People see all the videos online of “crossfitters” with crazy poor form while lifting or “cheating” while doing gymnastic movements. They will talk about the “Crossfit Kool-aid” and how you must be crazy for doing something like this. Unfortunately, people that have not stepped foot in a box or watched a competition do not know how beneficial a real coach can be. As with any gym, if you have a poor coach that is not teaching good form, then you will have clients with bad form. It is the same with Crossfit gyms. Good coaches= safe members
If you have any questions and you do not feel comfortable talking to your coach, this box is not the box for you. Coaches should be able to talk to you in “normal people” terms. If they are talking over your head, their ego will not allow them to be the best coach for you. When I started actually facing my depression, my coach pulled me to the side and had a long talk with me about mental health. He encouraged me to seek help and never made me feel discouraged because of it. Your coach should have your best interests at heart.
When doing a workout, you can adjust your weight and reps as you need. Please do not be intimidated by the WOD you see. If you have any kind of reservations about your ability, respect your body and check your ego at the door. Scale as needed. This is my favorite part about Crossfit. I have never had a workout where someone else there could not participate at all. There is always a modification or scaled option. Do not be embarrassed if you have to modify the workout. There is not a single person at the box that hasn’t had to modify a workout for one reason or another.
Your body will be pushed beyond its limits. You will be sore. Your body will hurt, but you will be amazed at what your body can really do. If you are looking for an easy routine to just say you go to the gym, do not join a Crossfit box, but if you want something different and a group of people to cheer you through every milestone, try Crossfit. You might be pleasantly surprised.