Let it be known that I have never been especially athletic. I was on the swim team in high school and post that, I did the typical gym membership heavily using treadmills, ellipticals and possibly attending a group class.
Fast forward – it’s May 2011 and I was looking for an exercise regimen to help me kick into a fitness frame of mind. After two years at a local health club, I was crazy bored and frankly, hated going to group classes. Skinny girls with revealing gym clothes dancing around to step aerobics while I clod-hopped in the back was just not doing it for me anymore, so I canceled my membership and proceeded to do nothing.
When I saw the groupon for CrossFit Chicago Women’s Only Class, I read the description and thought it would be like many of the other boot camp style classes they had been advertising at the time so I bought it. I figured that the only way to kick my butt in gear was to just buy it and be done. After I purchased the groupon I decided to go on CFC’s website and the first thing I saw was a picture of a woman doing a back squat at a heavy weight, and I just about died. “What have I done?!” was my first thought followed quickly by “I’ll just eat the money and not go.” However, after reading a few of the testimonials on the blog my conscience got the best of me and I attended my first class in June 2011.
The class was packed that first day and I received a warm welcome from coaches Kelly, Gina and Eileen. With the one-two punch of coaches Kelly and Gina demonstrating proper form, but being straightforward with their expectations of us, I felt I had no choice but to do the workout as best I could. Coach Eileen proved to be the single best supporter one could ever want in the room. She coaches you through each move, always believing that you can do it even when you don’t feel the same. I can honestly say that these three ladies are the only reason I came back. After that first month, I chose to become a member because of the workouts, but also because the sense of community was empowering. Even though I was continuously (and still am) the last person to complete the WOD I had a whole room cheering for me like I was defeating a world record. THAT’S what I love about CrossFit. When you feel like you’re about to keel over, a simple shout of encouragement can amp up your energy and get you across the finish line. I have never been made to feel bad for not being strong enough/fast enough/fit enough and for that I am forever thankful.
Looking back, I remember the first time I learned what a box jump was and wanting to run away. I started out jumping up on a 10 pound plate (1 1/2″) and am now successfully doing the WODs using a 16″ box. I started with jumping pullups and can now successfully do kipping pullups using support bands. My ability to lift heavier weights has also increased over time. I am proud of the advancements I’ve made over the last year. I’ve had several guy friends asking ME for advice on CrossFit and comparing stats on WODs when I was never known before as the “athletic” girl in the group. While I still have a long way to go I can honestly say that I am more fit than I ever have been, can run farther than ever before and am more physically able now that I am in my thirties than I ever was.