Happy New Year! I have a special blog post for you today…a guest post from my sister, Jackie! My twin sister, Lauren, posted the touching post 5 Life Lessons for a Healthier Life some time ago. Lauren discussed her journey with Lupus in the last few months. Today, Jackie is sharing with you her CrossFit journey and how it has changed her life. I’ve encouraged my sisters to share their thoughts and any blog write-ups with me to share with you. Who really wants to hear what I have to say anyways? I know you…you just come for the peanut butter.
I don’t blame you.
Without further a duo…
A Year Later: How CrossFit Changed My Life
January 8th, 2013. I’ll remember that date for a long time – maybe forever. It was a day that my world changed – although, I didn’t know how it would at the time.
It was the first time I attended a CrossFit class.
Now, the day itself wasn’t perfect. In fact, many might describe it as a terrible day. Let’s just say it wasn’t a good day at work. Not at all.
However, at the end of the day, I had to get to my first CrossFit training session – something I planned a few weeks in advance. I arrived, a few minutes late, ready to work. I shook off the negativity and decided to do what I came to do – learn to lift heavy stuff and get in shape.
And you know what? It sucked. It was a little frustrating and it extremely challenging. But, I got into my car afterwards and said to myself, “That was EXACTLY what I needed.” For one hour, I had forgotten about the day’s events.
That’s how my CrossFit journey started and a year later, I’m still hooked.
Looking back on my journey, there are a few life lessons that I learned that I hope I can pass on to you.
1.) Stop wishing and start doing. CrossFit involves a lot of lifting and *gasp* running. I knew it was going to be difficult and I kept putting it off because I was worried that I needed to be “in shape” to start getting “in shape”. Sometimes, you just need to jump in. Do what scares you. Don’t keep putting something off that you really want to try. What’s the worst that could happen?
2.) It is okay to put yourself first. When I drank the CrossFit kool-aid, it required a pretty big commitment. It was expensive and I had to work it into my schedule. But, at the same time, I knew that if I went to the gym – even at 5:00 am – it was an hour for me. For some reason, I needed to give myself permission to do that. It’s taken me many years to realize it, but it’s okay to give yourself permission! Whether it’s trying a new workout or taking a time to go to a movie by yourself once a month – it’s okay. We all need some “me time”!
3.) Turn negatives into positives. Life is difficult. Even in the best of circumstances, there is negativity and usually from outside sources. When I started CrossFit, I was surrounded by a lot of negativity. People told me what I couldn’t do over and over again. However, when I got to the CrossFit box and worked out, it was all about what I could do. My coaches were encouraging me to lift heavier, run faster and be healthier. It was extremely refreshing. That attitude started to change my perspective on life outside of the box. It doesn’t matter what other people say. The negativity will be there, but you need to decide what you’re going to do with it. You can listen to it, ignore it or use it to your advantage. Personally, I was able to use the negativity in my life to push me harder at the gym. (Seriously, if you really want to get that PR, just picture someone you hate. It helps, a lot!)
4.) Sometimes you just need to yell. Loud. During a CrossFit workout, you lift heavy stuff. And, when people lift heavy stuff, they tend to make strange noises. Why? Because it helps! When life gets hard, it doesn’t hurt to yell. Loudly. I’m not sure why it helps, but it does. Now, I’m not saying you should yell at a co-worker or your boss. (Don’t do that!) But, going outside and yelling or even yelling into a pillow could work. Find a (healthy) way to release stress. No matter how silly it is, if it helps, do it. Heck, I would even encourage a little swearing if that helps. (Again, I will make sure to mention that you shouldn’t do this at a co-worker or boss, or anyone else that might take it the wrong way.)
5.) Change how you think about your body. I’ve struggled with poor body image for as long as I can remember. I think we all can admit to struggling with it at some point in our lives. My thoughts would center around losing weight so I would look a certain way or be a certain size. With CrossFit, perhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned is changing that toxic way of thinking. Yes, I need to lose weight. But, now it’s not to look a certain way, it’s to do certain things and be healthy. I want to lose weight because I want to be able to do a strict pull up. I want to be able to do 50 strict push-ups in a row. Handstand pushups? Muscle ups? Yes and yes. I want to do all of the CrossFit movements. But, being on the heavier side makes it a lot more difficult. I still work on them as much as possible, with modifications, but there are some limitations that I face because of my weight. Don’t get me wrong, there are still days that I want to look good in skinny jeans above everything else, but those days are now limited. It’s not a driving force anymore. And that is the biggest, most important gift CrossFit has given me.
In the end, the past year has changed my life. CrossFit changed my outlook on life and changed my attitude. At lot of things have changed in my life over the past year. However, one thing has remained the same – CrossFit.
I hope that you can find something that will change your life the way CrossFit changed mine. That is my wish for you during 2014.
Happy New Year!