The path that led me to CFCC is pretty typical: I finished college, started my first full-time job, worked long hours, travelled to conferences, ate out for lunch and dinner most days, attended countless happy hours… and in just a few short months I was 30lbs heavier than when I finished college. I decided something had to change in fall 2011, when I got home from an amazing end of summer road trip to Charleston and realized I had been too embarrassed to take a single picture.

This is one of the few pictures that I forced myself not to untag from that summer.

This is one of the few pictures that I forced myself not to untag from that summer.

I looked into a lot of different diet options, and was ultimately convinced by Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat to try cutting wheat gluten and grains. So in September 2011, I started eating paleo/primal. I quit Bagel Thursday at work, raided the produce section at Trader Joe’s twice a week, stocked up on thick-cut bacon, carried bags of almonds and beef jerky to my fall conferences, drank cider instead of beer on football Saturdays. I never went hungry or counted calories. I lost about 15 lbs. pretty quickly, and the nagging pain in my feet when I first woke up in the morning went away.

My First Primal Thanksgiving 2011

My First Primal Thanksgiving 2011

My resolution for 2012 was to add more physical activity to the mix. To give this decision some context, you have to understand that I was never an athletically gifted kid. My periodic attempts at sports and/or fitness have all fallen somewhere between lackluster and disastrous. My mom still likes to do impressions of my “most uncoordinated and bored ballerina” routine from elementary school. When I played coach pitch little league–the kind where no one ever strikes out–I once swung and missed 18 times before they threatened to bring out a tee. In middle school, I was the slowest runner to ever join the track and cross country teams. My biggest accomplishment in three years of running was finishing a 5k in 39:28. With any activity I considered “exercise”, I was doing it because I was supposed to in order to be healthy, not because I actually enjoyed it. The closest I got to a “runner’s high” was getting dizzy from being out of breath and almost passing out.

So, when I noticed that a lot of the food blogs I was following mentioned “CrossFit,” I looked it up but figured it was way out of my league. I decided to start small. My friends play in an indoor winter kickball league, so I signed up for the team.

I made it 2 games and 3 innings…and spent February and March recovering from an absurdly painful and expensive finger surgery. On the plus side, I gave at least 15 doctors, nurses, and physical therapists a great new dinner table anecdote by explaining that no, I’m not a teacher and yes, I broke my finger playing kickball with other fully grown people.

I was out of commission until April. I had my last appointment with my doctor on a Thursday. That Saturday…

I did get to fulfill my childhood dream of having all my friends sign my cast :)

I did get to fulfill my childhood dream of having all my friends sign my cast :)

I wrecked an ATV and broke my wrist. My doctor probably bought a new boat that summer. (Hi Dr. Leinberry! You and your staff are great!)
By my birthday, half the year was gone and I still didn’t have much to show for my resolution. I had been revisiting the CrossFit Center City site about once a month since I first looked up CrossFit. I read the testimonials page each time, with stories from members who started at square one like me and were able to succeed. Clearly, I was not going to get fit on my own without suffering serious bodily harm. So I decided to give the Elements class a try in July.

The first time I realized that CrossFit, and this gym in particular, was special came after my second Elements class. We did a simple workout with jumping rope and air squats, and everyone else in my class finished easily in about 5 minutes. It took me more than 12 minutes, and I felt embarrassed about making everyone else stand around and wait for me to finish. I mentioned this to Coach Tim after class, and he told me that in CrossFit, we always cheer the last athlete on. This supportive attitude is true of everyone I have encountered at CFCC.

Every single coach and staff member at CFCC has been unbelievably supportive of me. They are amazing athletes in their own right, but also great teachers. They never get annoyed when I ask lots of questions and need modifications to get through the metcon, and they always encourage me to push myself, even if it’s just doing a pull-up workout with one band instead of two or trying for a 5lb PR. They notice when I improve and go out of their way to tell me so. It makes even the most frustrating workouts something I look forward to.

The past year has been nothing short of life changing. I love going to CFCC. Walking through the door, even if I’m having a really tough day, makes me instantly feel better. When I forgot my workout clothes at home, I have gone to Macy’s next door and bought a new sports bra so that I didn’t miss the WOD at least twice. I leave work at a reasonable time to get to class, which has helped me to be less stressed.

But the biggest change over the past year has been my improved my self-confidence. I quit weighing myself and started gauging my progress by the weight I can lift. I stopped serially deleting and untagging every picture of myself. In fact, I even posted an awesome picture that Erin took of me in OLY class to my Facebook page:


Finally, I feel like I have really expanded my circle of friends at CFCC. It has been great getting to know everyone, to see the incredible gains they make in the gym, and to try the delicious recipes they share on the CFCC Eats page. This box is truly a community, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

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