Hannah’s Fitness Journey
My journey to a fit life is not over. It’s simply that, a journey. Here’s my story. In a later post, I will expand on the sport of Crossfit.
I can remember asking my grandparents if I could do “the workout video” almost every time I stayed at their house. It was a typical 1990s style video that featured women in leotards, tight lycra pants, sweat bands and those weird rumpled socks. I’m pretty sure the video was designed for a middle aged woman, not a child, but I loved to do it anyway. My favorite move was the facial wakeup exercises where the host had everyone doing exaggerated E’s and O’s. To this day, I still do them if I think my face looks tired. Throughout my childhood, I maintained an active lifestyle. There were times where I’d embark on a 26 mile bicycle trip to my grandparent’s house just because. I was not content to sit around and do nothing.
When I entered middle school, the opportunity to participate in school sports presented itself. I tried track & field, soccer, and softball. I don’t know where I got this idea, but I decided I wasn’t any good and never played sports again after that. No one told me that practice makes perfect. Because I wanted to exercise but not play sports, I decided to take the elective called ‘Advanced Sport’ my junior year of high school. In this class, I was doing yoga once or twice a week, lifting weights about 3 times a week and running. It was easily my favorite class of the year. One thing that’s stuck with me all these years is how I could easily do lunges from one end of the gym to the other with 15 pound dumbbells. You could see the outline of my thigh muscle above my knee. I want those cut muscles back!
After high school, I visited various gyms with a basic game plan in mind; warm up for 20+ on a machine (usually the elliptical), do 40 minutes of weight training using machines, stretch. I really didn’t have a clear idea about what my fitness goals were at that point in my life. All I wanted to do was stay healthy and be skinny. I had a female gym buddy for awhile. She was stick thin and terrified of gaining weight. Looking back, I think she probably had some sort of body image disorder. Anyway, I was simply following what I had learned in PE class. As a result, I was very flexible because I never neglected to stretch.
A few years later and fifteen pounds heavier, I was going through a divorce. The stress really took a toll on my body. Frustrated with the gym because it didn’t seem like I was getting any stronger or skinnier, I decided to find a hardcore gym buddy. I was lucky enough to find a male gym buddy who was very committed to a living a fit life. Not only did he push my limits in the gym, he encouraged me to eat healthy foods. He had been following a Crossfit style workout plan before I met him so I jumped right in. I fell in love with Crossfit. Who knew I could get a solid workout in in just 20 minutes? I was impressed with how fast my body changed. I was building muscle, burning fat and becoming stronger with each passing day. I knew I’d found a fitness plan I could live with.
As life would have it, I stopped working out with my gym buddy and tried to go it alone. I couldn’t find the motivation on my own that I had with him so I gained weight again, and became frustrated with myself. It seemed easy to keep a reasonable weight when I was younger. Seven years after high school my metabolism had indeed slowed down, which didn’t mix well with the frequent eating out and high calorie desserts I was accustomed to eating.
When I met my second husband, I did not like my body. With his consistent positive attitude, I found the motivation to work out and stay healthy. We recently relocated to a new city and I found a group of ladies who were doing Crossfit together three times per week. I was elated! Finally, I didn’t have to work out alone anymore! When I started working out with these ladies, I was about five pounds away from my goal weight. Before long though, the muscle I was building started to pay off. I am burning more calories than ever, which is making my extra weight melt off. It didn’t happen overnight, but when my body started to change, my husband started showering me with praise.
Crossfit is all about fitness you can use. It makes me feel stronger to my core. We don’t isolate vanity muscles like the bicep. We use power lifts and intensity to create a strength you didn’t know you had.
I am planning to earn my Crossfit certification so that I can train other athletes to be their best. Drawing from my past, I believe I can be a real blessing to those people who don’t think they have it in them, are frustrated with their current fitness plan or are otherwise bored with exercise.