Drinking the Kool-Aid: Tales of a CrossFit Convert

A great friend and former roller derby teammate (that’s a post for another day) told me I needed to look into CrossFit because I’d really love it.  I’d been a little bored since quitting derby: a step aerobics class doesn’t quite compare to be knocked around by other women on skates.

CrossFit Central Austin

I dutifully googled “CrossFit Austin” and lots of results popped up!  I chose one, clicked some links and looked at some schedules. Then I chose another link to see about different days/times but the two sites looked totally different.  Wait, wasn’t this a chain?  I clicked around the websites but I didn’t “get it” – my frame of mind was a traditional gym and nothing about CrossFit really falls into that mold.  I got confused and mentally set it aside.

A few weeks later I was again whining about lame gym classes, and my girlfriend directed me (again) to check out CrossFit.  I left work early one day and stopped by the one near my house: CrossFit Central.  I was lucky enough to come on a day when all the coaches were working out: it was awe-inspiring.  I saw beautiful, powerful women lifting some serious weight and having a great time!  It’s a pretty simple concept: the workout is posted on the website each morning, you just show up and do it with your class.  The coaches are there the entire time to instruct and motivate.  I signed up that day for three classes a week.

After my first few I worried I’d made a mistake.  Let me remind you that I’m 40 years old, in a class with people mostly in their 20s or early 30s.  That alone was intimidating.  Then there’s the CrossFit-specific lingo, like “WOD” (Work Out of the Day) or “AMRAP” (As Many Rounds As Possible).  And finally there was the enthusiasm: CrossFitters LOVE CrossFit.  I was wondering if I’d stumbled into a cult.

I kept at it half-heartedly for the first month, sometimes only making it once a week.  Work was stressful, I was remodeling my kitchen, AND going through a breakup.  CrossFit was just one more thing on my list of reasons to feel like a failure: I couldn’t match the number of reps other CrossFitters did and I couldn’t do the prescribed weight on anything.

I kept waiting for someone to tell me I didn’t belong there, but no one ever did.  In fact it was the opposite: everyone was unfailingly supportive and encouraging.  Not just the coaches, but the other people in my class who were virtual strangers.  At around 6 weeks I had a revelation: I’m not competing with anyone else in the class, I’m just competing with me.  I know that sounds hokey but it’s true.

CrossFit Central Austin

I now understand the enthusiasm I saw when I started the classes, because I feel it too.  I’ve signed up for an additional Saturday morning class, and I’m always looking for more that work with my schedule.  I still can’t do the prescribed weights or as many reps as others in class but that’s okay, I’m working towards it.  Someday I WILL do an unassisted pull-up!  My class coaches, David DeLeon and John Del Peral, are very knowledgeable and great motivators: they challenge you to challenge yourself. They keep me honest when I try to go too light or take my time, so I’ve learned I’m capable of more than I thought!

In four months I’ve lost approximately 10 pounds and dropped my body fat by 4%, while gaining muscle and noticeable definition.  I’ve received unsolicited compliments on my arms and I think I might actually see the beginnings of abs.  More importantly the workouts have actually improved my form on fundamental activities of daily living, like lifting heavy things.

I don’t think it will ever get easier, but I’m okay with that now because it isn’t supposed to: if it’s easy I’m not doing it right!  If you’re bored with your workout routine and want to challenge yourself I can’t say enough positive things about this program.  Give yourself six weeks and you’ll be hooked too!

Photographs by CrossFit Central

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5 thoughts on “Drinking the Kool-Aid: Tales of a CrossFit Convert

  1. David de Leon

    Wendy,

    Thank you for your kind words! You may not know, but I think you had another revelation yesterday during deadlifts! You are a strong woman and can do things far greater than you think. Keep up the excellent work!

    Coach David de Leon

    Reply
  2. PaleoBetty

    Wendy – it’s a blast working out with you and the Nighttime Ninjas! So, so glad you stuck with it – our class wouldn’t be the same without you. Congrats on your success so far… you look fantastic!

    Reply
  3. jakestown

    Wendy, this is a great read as you wrote exactly how I felt when i started! It has been a great pleasure meeting you. Thanks for the encouraging words said as I am struggling during the WODs.

    Reply
    1. Wendy

      Thanks for reading, Jake! We’re all struggling right there with you! 😉 I still look forward to the day I can do Rx on anything! You’re looking great during the WODs, even if you don’t feel like it!

      Reply
  4. Jo Welch

    It was a pleasure to meet you and I’m glad we had a chance to chat, albeit sporadically while sucking wind, tonight at the endurance WOD. You have such a bright personality and I look forward to more workouts and, dare I say, competitions in the future!

    I love the blog!
    -Jo

    Reply

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