I’ve been pretty athletic my whole life, playing basketball in grammar and high school and soccer in high school. In college, I alternated running with lifting dumbbells and took the occasional spinning class at the gym. I always desired to be physically stronger and get a more toned look, but never found the right exercise or class that could accomplish that. I am pretty petite at 5’2” and a little shy of 115 lbs. and I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to get a more muscular or toned physique unless I spent hours in the gym, which I didn’t have time for. I was starting to get bored with my workout routine so I started dabbling in Groupon to see if any of the exercise classes sparked my interest. I tried out a couple classes, but nothing interested me, that is, until I was blessed to find the groupon to CrossFit Chicago.
My first class back in July 2011 was pretty nerve-wracking, especially going into the gym hearing weights crashing on the floor and seeing big muscular sweaty guys doing muscle-ups and hand stand pushups on the wall. Having the Women’s Only Class was comforting because it was a bunch of girls who had never done CrossFit before so we were all starting out at about the same place. I never in my life pictured myself lifting heavy weights or doing snatches or over-head squats, but the awkwardness of the movements got easier with practice. Looking back at where I started, I have come a long way. I feel stronger both physically, mentally and I have more confidence when I walk into a gym. I may not have the big muscles I wanted, but I feel stronger and have been happy with the progress I have made increasing my weights on movements.
Another benefit I found is that CrossFit has helped decrease my stress level. There are days when I come home so frustrated and stressed from work and I saw to myself, “I need to lift some heavy $hit” and there I go off to kill a workout. I have never experienced the adrenaline or “high” that I get after doing CrossFit workouts compared to anything else I have done in the past. I tried to mirror the movements and workouts at other globo gyms in order to save some money, but nothing compares to having the coaches guide you through the lifts or having your friends cheer you on during the workouts. Crossfit is definitely worth every penny and the sense of community here is priceless.
The main thing that compelled me to write this testimonial was my experience with my son last weekend. Crossfit preaches about how it helps with “functional movements for everyday life”, which sounded like a bunch of crap to me in the beginning. How is lifting a barbell over my head going to help me with my day-to-day routine? My 6 year old son unfortunately got really sick last weekend so I ended up in the emergency room on several occasions lugging him around on one shoulder with my heavy bag on the other. The walk from the car to the emergency room at 2 a.m. was not a short one and granted, he doesn’t weigh that much, but walking that distance with him and my bag was a workout. On our second trip to the emergency room, one woman was so concerned she offered to help me and reached to grab my bag. I almost blurted out, “it’s okay I do Crossfit” but then quickly realized she would have no idea what I was talking about. In instances like this (which I hope nobody has to go through) or even carrying groceries upstairs, I finally realize how Crossfit helps with functional movements for everyday life. If I hadn’t been doing Crossfit I know I wouldn’t have been able to carry him that distance or ended up really struggling.
I look forward to growing with this awesome community and pushing myself a little further every day. Everyone is so welcoming at the gym and I have made some life-long friendships. CrossFit Chicago is definitely like a second family for me and I have finally found something that I will definitely never get bored of.