{I have learned that I am STRONG.}

Meet Lauren, the WINNER of the Summer Recharge!

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When Lauren started Elements in April 2014, she was excited to take on a new physical challenge and get out of a self-proclaimed “hopeless workout routine.” The workouts were unlike anything she’d tried before, but she was determined to jump in with both feet. 

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There’s Lauren in her Elements class, becoming BFFs with the side plank!

Lauren knew after her first few Elements sessions that she needed to do more to truly perform at her best.

“I was a smoker, and I was eating all kinds of processed foods (frozen meals and potato chips were my favorite). I drank several cans of Red Bull every day, wasn’t sleeping well, and was suffering from headaches constantly. I was always tired. I couldn’t breathe during workouts and that was tough,” she says. “I was in a horrible rut. My body was telling me I needed to change what I was putting in it. I wanted to feel good after a workout, not discouraged because I had to stop halfway through because I couldn’t breathe. So I decided to join Recharge and challenge myself to be healthier and stronger.” 

Despite the challenge of a hectic work schedule and an even more hectic commute, Lauren was able to make a major change in her eating habits. She went from eating frozen meals to cooking most of her food from scratch. Since she chose a one-on-one Recharge, we were able to meet weekly to address challenges as they occurred – making every less-than-optimal decision a learning experience.

“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what are seemingly small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.” – Dale Carnegie

I couldn’t get over Lauren’s boundless energy – she always had a smile on her face when we met, even after her two hour commute from work to CFCC during the evening rush hour. She was always curious to learn more about the “why” of what she was doing, which means that even though Recharge is over, she’s able to continue the work we did independently. She’s truly committed to overhauling her life – she even decided to quit smoking AND quit 95% of her caffeine intake as soon as Recharge began. 

Her results were spectacular.

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Besides a dramatic change in her body composition, Lauren’s performance in the 7 minute burpee test increased too – she went from 57 burpees in 7 minutes to 74!

Let’s hear a little more about Lauren’s experience from the lady herself!

What was the most challenging part about Recharge?

There were a few. Cutting out caffeine completely! I was consuming so much caffeine within one day it was actually a little ridiculous. I was known for always having a can of Red Bull in my hand and all over my office. Kind of gross when I think about it. Completely cutting out caffeine was definately a challenge at first with being tired throughout my work day.  Every once in awhile I get a black tea if needed, but I now carry around my pink water jug at work, not Red Bull! (In fact, I’m now known at work for being healthy and doing CrossFit, not the smoking, Red Bull drinker I once was.)

The MOST challenging part of the recharge was timing. I commute at least 2 hours a day to and from work. My days are at least 11 hours long. What my typical day looks like: I get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, get dressed, walk to the gym, work out, walk home, cook dinner and breakfast/lunch for the next day, shower, go to bed. Somehow I magically squeeze in 8 hours a sleep almost every night! I am only human and I can get very tired at night or I just want to relax. I have pushed myself after sitting in traffic for hours at times to make it to a CrossFit class, and on those days I’m always so glad I did.

What surprised you the most about your experience?

The biggest surprise was how much my body changed and how willing I was to do everything. I never gave up and I am still going strong weeks after Recharge is over. I always pushed myself through workouts, even when I wanted to stop to catch my breath. Whenever I craved something bad I didn’t eat it (the biggest help was not keeping anything bad in the house). When I had a tough day I didn’t smoke or come home and drink a huge glass of wine, I worked out instead. I can not believe how much my body has changed – I now enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing my progress instead of running past the mirror.

Do you think the one-on-one accountability was worth it?

OMG YES!!! The support from Meg was outstanding! With one on one sessions, I was able to talk through what my body was feeling, what I was eating and what I wasn’t eating. I learned about different foods/oils that are just not great for your body and surprisingly enough a lot of those bad oils are in everything. It really makes you think about what you are putting in your body. I’ll definitely do the Recharge again. It was a great experience and it was always a pleasure to meet with Meg every week and discuss my successes and challenges and to work through them.

What habit will you continue now that Recharge is over? How will your experience impact your life going forward?

I am taking everything from the challenge with me. I will continue to eat the way I was on the challenge and even try to do better. I am trying to challenge myself to go even further into the Paleo lifestyle.

I learned I can treat myself and I can still go out. Also, I have learned just because something says “organic” doesn’t necessarilymean it is good for you. Or just because it says “gluten free” that it is okay to eat and isn’t filled with chemicals. A lot of places put in unnecessary ingredients into their food and that was one of the biggest things I learned – read your labels!

I have learned that I am capable of doing the unthinkable! I have learned that I am strong!

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How did this impact your CrossFit experience? 

If I didn’t go through this Recharge and change what I was putting in my body I do not think I would see such progress in my fitness. I feel stronger and look stronger. I noticed an increase in my mobility very soon after I changed my eating habits. I can now do box jumps, I can do pull ups with bands (not only ring rows), I can run a 400m without stopping and I have increased the amount of burpees I can do by A LOT (editor’s note: YUP.) My body craves the food it needs to be stronger. I AM STRONGER!! It has been a positive experience from day one!

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Any favorite new foods? 

Favorite new food- Buffalo burgers, YUM YUM. I did re-introduce red meat into my life and bacon, well meat in general. I hardly ever ate red meat before. Just wasn’t something I craved or ever wanted. I now eat A LOT of red meat and a lot of bacon! It is amazing. I can eat steak every night for dinner and try different seasonings and not feel bad about it. I never feel disgustingly full or bloated from what I eat.

 

What advice/tips would you give to anyone considering participating in a Recharge in the future?

If you are serious about this I would strongly suggest doing one on ones with Meg. Push yourself even when you don’t want to! You will thank yourself later. And you CAN still socialize and go out while on the Recharge or after the Recharge. Just be cautious what you are eating when you go out. I always stick to meat. Get cookbooks and have fun with trying new things. If you can, find a partner to participate with. If you can’t, don’t be afraid to tell those around you of your lifestyle change. Meet people at the gym if you haven’t already and do all the Recharge events. It’s a great way to get to know people and it is so much fun!

This has been the best life changing experience ever! Even though I’ve only been a member of CrossFit Center City for a short period of time I cannot picture my life without it. I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me over the next few months and years to come!


 

Ready to take the plunge? The RECHARGE program (powered by CrossFit Center City) is an opportunity to develop better nutritional habits as they relate to our own individual journeys towards improved health, performance and body composition. It’s a multi-week structured challenge that’s an excellent way for everyone, no matter where they are in their quest for better health, to test the limits of their own experiences while getting tons of support from CFCC nutrition staff and their fellow participants. Eating well is important throughout the year, but we run this short, focused effort three times annually so our members can rededicate themselves to their best nutritional habits, with an eye towards improved performance, body composition and overall wellness with extra support from the community. Our next Recharge begins in September 2014. Keep an eye on our blog and Facebook page for more details, ask any coach for information, or email meg@crossfitcc.com to sign up!
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