In Our Member’s Words: Why I joined CrossFit

brittany adamsIt’s been awhile since we have done one of “In our Member’s Words” pieces and as we round out the year and look to start fresh in 2014, its only fitting to look back and consider why we joined CrossFit in the first place.  We all have different reasons or stories that led us to CrossFit.
Prep member, Brittany Adams, takes us through her journey to finding CrossFit and how it has changed her both physically and mentally. 

Before-and-after pictures usually show what you lose, not what you gain.  They may show the proud emerging abs and quivers of quads, exposed for once after quitting Bluebell ice cream and killing yourself in Spin class, but do they show how you feel about yourself?

Last year I took a bloated “before” picture coming off of a summer where my job required me to eat out at ethnic restaurants every night, and no, salad was never on the menu.  I felt fat and lethargic; I was itching to get back in control of what I ate.  When my job was over, I began eating clean for the first time and the pounds shed off me.  Every day I was lighter on the scale and more motivated to kick butt in my triathlon class.  Friends were starting to notice the difference too, and not just because I gave them daily annoying updates on my progress.  brittant lifting

Every few weeks I would lock myself in my room and posed for awkward “selfies” in my skinnies to track my progress, which would then be shamefully edited to a before/during collage I kept hidden on my computer.  I tracked, measured, and calculated everything.  I could have told you how many quarter-pounds I would sweat out from a 16-mile bike ride.  My obsession with my food journal, my waist-to-hips measurements, and my weight led to an unhealthy thought-life full of comparisons and an unsatisfying path on my turbo-speed hedonistic treadmill.

I became consumed with becoming healthy and shining all the mirrors and magnifiers on the external, but if I measured my mind as rigorously as I did my body I would have seen that I was binging not on chips but on a gluttonous feast of self-hatred.  I wasn’t keeping my mind “clean”, but dining on comparisons of myself to other women.  I warred with womankind.  When I saw women at the gym, I’d scoff at them, but secretly I was afraid of not measuring up.

At last I became sick of my self-focus; I wanted to be healthy and active, but I needed my mind to be healthy too.  I decided to join CrossFit Fury.  I realized right away that I didn’t join a gym, I joined a community, and all that community cared about was making me a stronger woman.

My first workout at CrossFit Fury was a hellish set of box jumps, squats, and other forms of torture that had me running to the bathroom to dry-heave.  I was 15 minutes into the WOD and determined to finish.  Believe me, there was no time to compare my butt to someone else’s because it took all my mental concentration to continue.  Towards the end, I noticed a group of people around me cheering me on.  At first I was confused and embarrassed; I didn’t know people stayed until the last person finished and I was ashamed to have so many people watch me struggle to come in last.  But there was no time to think of being embarrassed either so I sucked it up and crunched out the WOD.  Afterwards, a girl came up to me with a genuine smile (not one of those typical condescending gym-smiles I was used to) and said, “Yeah, my first two weeks I was throwing up too.  Today was one of the harder workouts, and you did a great job!”  I wrote my time up on the whiteboard and made a promise that tomorrow I would be stronger.

I’ve been a part of CrossFit for three months now, and with the help of this community I have made good on that promise.  Not only has my body has become stronger, CrossFit has made my character stronger.  CrossFit taught me being proud of others’ achievements did not diminish my own, but rather made me a better person.  CrossFit showed me how I could actually have friends at the gym, and with their help I’ve been able to do more than alone.  CrossFit proved that my value came not from my physical appearance but from my determination.

I have continued to be active and healthy in body, but the biggest transformation Crossfit has had on me is my mind.  Instead of focusing on physical appearance goals, I have fitness goals like getting my kipping pull-ups down.  And as for the comparisons?  I don’t measure my body against anyone anymore; instead I find women at Crossfit to admire for their perseverance and try to emulate them.  At the end of the day, I love my body because my body allows me to work hard and never quit.  My body is a strong beautiful.

If I had a before-and-after picture from CrossFit, it would definitely show a physical transformation, but for me the true transformation hasn’t been what I have lost but what I have gained: confidence.  A picture can’t show you that.