Claire’s Story

testimonial_claireSo I wasn’t going to do this. And I REALLY wasn’t going to post photos. But I want people to know that they can do it too. So if you are a random person searching the internet for Crossfit and/or Paleo before and after photos (like I was 3 months ago!), here you have it!

Today marks 90 days, the end of the beginning of my journey into Crossfit. 91 days ago, if you had told me that I would be doing the things that I can do today, I would have laughed at you. If you told me that I would stop eating bread, I would have laughed even harder. If you told me that I would be wearing clothes I have not worn since before Ollie was born, I would have told you to shut the front door. But I am doing it!

Let’s start at the beginning…

I first discovered Crossfit by trolling a women’s workout page on Facebook. There was a post looking for women who do Crossfit that would like to try out for American Ninja Warrior. I LOVE that show! Those normal, everyday people, are amazing athletes! If there is some form of exercise that would get me into that type of shape, I would do it! I forgot all about it until I saw a photo on Facebook of a friend from high school (Casie P!) at her Crossfit gym. She was on gymnast rings, and it looked fun! So I started digging around online and discovered a CF gym (or box, as they are called) right around the corner from me! After reading about CF online and some of the before/after testimonies, I knew without a doubt that this is what I wanted to do. I would gladly give up my beautiful globo-gym membership with it’s spin classes, Zumba, “weight training” classes, Pilates studio, shiny mirrors, army of elliptical machines, hot tubs, spa, and even watersides to “become a Ninja Warrior” (ok, that’s a little dramatic, I’m not REALLY going to be a Ninja Warrior. Or will I?….)

I was completely intimidated by everyone and everything the first time I walked into The Garage. However I was shocked to discover how friendly and down-to-earth every was! Every single person came to shake my hand and welcome me. I could immediately get the sense of a team atmosphere. Bruce was my coach and I as the only person at the 7:00pm class. As he took me through my first warm up, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself in to. 1/4 mile run, bear crawls, mountain climbers, squats, push ups, and burpee broad jumps. And that was just the warm up?!?! The WOD (workout of the day) was scaled down to accommodate to my fitness level. It was 12 minutes for time: 50 wall ball shots (squatting low, then throwing a 12 pound medicine ball to a 9ft mark on the wall, catch, squat, throw, repeat), 100 single jumps with a jump rope, 10 pull ups. Repeat if time is not up. About 3 minutes into it, I wanted to quit so bad. I needed water so bad. I thought I was going to vomit and faint at the same time. Bruce, Simon, and Tim kept telling me I was doing great. Keep moving, even if it is slow, just keep moving. When I couldn’t get my chin up over the pull up bar anymore, Bruce physically pushed me up over the bar. He would not let me stop. I suffered through 1 round + 13 more wall balls. When it was finally over I was delirious. I took a spot flat on my back on the floor. I can’t tell you how long I laid there trying to catch my breath and stop my flailing legs. When I finally was still, I felt…different. I have had many exercise induced “endorphin highs” before, but this was different. The only way I can accurately describe it was sort of euphoric. And it lasted the next few hours. I was hooked!

That same day, I began “The Paleo Diet” (but it truly is a Paleo lifestyle). The prospect of it was horrifying. Before, I used to drink 4-5 diet cokes a day, cookies every night after dinner, a giant dessert once a week, and my family still lovingly (yet truthfully) calls me “Biscuit Butt” because I LOVE biscuits, bread, and pretty much anything with a carb. Seriously, if I can give up grains, ANYONE can give up grains. I expected to feel awful for a few weeks, especially since I was starting Cold Turkey, however it was just the opposite. I felt amazing from the very beginning! I had tons of energy, I was not hungry, no headaches, and very few cravings. I lost 7 lbs the first week. I then began to research the diet, and I decided to eliminate all gluten from my diet. Let me tell you, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I have always been what my mom calls “a worry wort.” And when I was 18, I began suffering from panic attacks and severe anxiety. I have never accepted prescribed medication at multiple doctors’ advice, but rather I have tried to manage it on my own. Since I have been eating Paleo, I have had ZERO anxiety. And that was even through weathering the storm of unexpectedly losing my brother-in-law. I absolutely will eat this way for the rest of my life. (Don’t get me wrong, I do allow myself 2 treats a week, just to keep my taste-buds happy!) All of the work I do in the gym is fueled by my food choices. And now, 3 months later, junk food makes me literally sick! MAJOR lifestyle change for me!

I can not talk about my experience with Crossfit and not talk about the people at The Garage. There are so many characters who effect me in different ways. Some keep me laughing, some keep me going, and some and just plain inspirational. There are a few in particular that I want to note, just in case they happen to read this: My #1 coach, Travis, for having confidence in me and making me “lift that grown woman weight.” My lifting partner Susan, for calling me on my B.S., constantly reminding me of my goals, and never, ever, ever letting me sandbag. And so many other women who celebrate my victories and serve as daily inspiration. I hope that one day I can lift like Jennifer, do pull ups like Angel, be fast like Laura, explain things like Aubrey, and be an all-around bad ass like Jamie. After I’ve had 4 kids, I hope I look like Verity. Then when I “grow up,” I want to be just like Renee, still Crossfitting! (I didn’t mention the guys here, but they are awesome too!) Those are just a few, but seriously, I could not have my rear in the gym and keep going every day without the Crossfit community. So if you are reading this, thank you for being you!!

So that brings me to the big evaluation. How awesome did I really get in 90 days? Pretty dang awesome from where I began! My goal for the year (which I reached in 2 months!) is to do 1 unassisted pull up.. check, I can string together 12 in a row! I can front squat 165 lbs. (started at 70 lbs). Back squat 185 lbs (started at 135) I can easily run 3 miles (0 before). I can do toes-to-bar. I can hang squat clean 110 lbs. I can do real chest-to-ground push ups. I am no longer afraid of box jumps. I can do 50 1.5 pood unbroken kettle bell swings. The word “tabata” no longer makes me weak in the knees. I have discovered that I love rowing. I LOVE olympic lifting. Most importantly, I have learned to *RESPECT* this one body that God gave me by filling it with nutritious food and using it how it was meant to be used so I can live a full life in all areas of my life. It is funny how when I sit down to write my accomplishments, I begin with my working gains. The weight loss is truly secondary, in my mind. But just for the record, I have actually only lost a total of 16 lbs, but I have lost MAJOR fat! I went from approximately 34% body fat down to 27%. I have gone from a size 12 to a size 6 (in my favorite brand). And for the first time since I was 22, I am very happy about my body. Sure, there are still changes I want to make, improvements that will happen, things that will never be the same after having 2 babies (helloooo falling center of gravity!) but I now value my body not for what it looks like, but for what it can do! That is priceless.

I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. I can only imagine what I will be able to do 6 months from now! And one year from now! Muscle ups. Yes, mark it down, in one year, June 14, 2013, I want to be able to do a muscle up.

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