In the summer of 2011, I retired from my first ever tennis match due to chest pains. Sure, I’ve turned an ankle or 3 that kept me from continuing multiple times in my life (I’ve played tennis since I was 4). But there I was, weighing in at 258 pounds, and I had to quit. OK, so in the grand scheme of things, tennis is not that important. But being only 31 with two young girls at home (and one on the way, unbeknownst at the time), obviously, this was the wake-up call to what was more important – my life in general.
Something had to change. I had what I thought was a “decent” diet and I “exercised” periodically, but business travel and accompanying meals can quickly KO all good intentions. I had heard of CrossFit previously, but never paid it much mind until this time. After all, if something had to change, why not try something completely new. So I pulled up the website for the local CrossFit 717 box, sent them a message, and maybe a week or so later, attended my first introductory class. Loud music and incredibly in-shape people where doing crazy things when I arrived. Yup, this was different, alright. After an initial “talk” with the coach, I explained my goals (to lose weight) and any limitations (no cartilage in the left knee). No problem… they can work with both. Then, I went through my first workout that evening, and I never knew how out of shape I had become.
At first, my body could stand 2 beginner classes in a week, at most. My knee never hurt like I would have expected it to. Why? They teach form, which I had never learnt previously. But I did throw up after most classes and “hurt” after every class, but something deep down told me this was a different “hurt”. I felt… better. Pretty soon, I was “talking the lingo”, refining my diet, and buying shoes that I didn’t even know existed. After graduating from the beginner classes, I talked myself into 3-day per week goal. The travel schedule limited how often I could actually attend M-W-F, but that was my goal nonetheless. A few months later, the goal was now 4-days per week (M-T-Th-F). My body was actually craving more work. Better yet, I started to see results, like using the medium band for my pull-ups in a WOD! And yes, that was a proud moment!
Beyond the training and WODs were the people. From the coaches to the friends, everyone is incredibly supportive. Not only do they not let you “go light” when you doubt yourself, they are actively cheering everyone on until the last person finishes, and I have been that last person numerous times.
Flash forward to spring 2013, and that 258 pound, out-of-shape, not-going-to-be-around-to-see-my-oldest-daughter’s-HS-graduation blob is now 195 pounds, and attending CrossFit classes 5 days a week when possible. Heck, I even search out boxes when travelling to get a WOD in… no more excuses! CrossFit has become a way of life for me. And it should. When those chest pains hit, I recognized my life would be short if I continued down the path I was on. My new life, with CrossFit in it, promises to be much longer and much more fulfilling.