Hello, my name is Brittany and I wanted to share my CrossFit adventure with you. I’m going to start way back before I ever heard of CrossFit. I was pretty much a ‘typical girl’. I played sports in high school but rarely worked out, other than practices. I was not a strong runner, and by not strong, I mean I could not run around the block without feeling like my lungs were on fire and wanting to cry. In fact when my boyfriend (now fiancee!) suggested we run as a nice thing to do as a couple, I did cry. I could not do it without panting and wheezing and I would get that awful side stitch pain, so I gave up on running. But we’ll talk about that a little later
For college, I went to Bloomsburg University and their rec center was very nice and quite large. I figured I might as well use it. Now, there were no signs on the different rooms indicating the “boys’ gym” and the “girls’ gym” but there was kind of an unwritten rule. If any girl ventured into the “boys gym” you would get stared at, and not in a nice way, but in the “can I help you? You must be lost and need help,” kinda way. So I stuck to the girls’ side and planted my butt on the elliptical for 45 mins a day. Then I would finish out my very boring and very stationary cardio workout and make my way around to all the weight lifting machines. However, I never kept track of the weight I used each time. My sets were all over the place and never consistent. Then I’d finish up with an ab workout, which mostly consisted of people watching, doing a couple crunches, and then leaving. This was my gym routine for years! I was happy at first because I was getting in there and working up a sweat. I soon found though, that I got bored, really bored. I started to lose motivation and drive. I would skip the gym because I didn’t feel like going. Soon I found that I was not going to the gym and I was gaining weight. When I was at my heaviest, and felt uncomfortable in my own skin, I knew something had to be done. I started to go back to the gym and again I fell right back into the same old boring routine. I found that not having anything or anyone to hold myself accountable to was the worst part. I would go to the gym and do the bare minimum and then just leave. So I was not losing weight and getting very discouraged. Then my boyfriend, I mentioned him earlier, asked if I wanted to do a Tough Mudder with him and some of his friends. I thought he was joking, but then I soon realized that he was not. I had watched him and his friends do a Tough Mudder the year before and it looked so cool and fun, but I never thought I could do it. I just chalked it up to a “guy thing.”
That is when my adventure changed. That very idea that it was a “guy thing” and that I couldn't do it, even though I watched hundreds of badass women run the Tough Mudder, pissed me the eff off! So I changed my mind set. I wanted to say that I ran a Tough Mudder. I knew there was no way in hell that I would have been able to survive it in the physical condition I was in at the time. I needed to change the way I was working out and I had a little less than a year to prepare. So I started to run, if you could even call it that in the beginning, but I was trying. I would run short, and I mean short, distances everyday. When that felt easier I would increase my distance and then I started to improve my pace. Slowly but surely, I became a runner. I ran my first Tough Mudder race and didn’t die! I was not good or fast and there were obstacles I couldn’t do, but I finished! I’m sure I pissed off my teammates because I was slow and whiny, but at the end of the day, I completed a challenge that I never thought I could! No matter how ugly it was, I still did it, and that was the best feeling. Sadly, that great feeling of accomplishment only lasted a short time. I started to get down on myself because I knew I could have done better. So I turned to my workouts which were still seriously lacking any actual “work.” This is what eventually led me to CrossFit.
I had researched CrossFit online and saw all these gorgeous women with amazing bodies doing it and thought, well shit I’ll never be able to do half of that, but I was intrigued. I was too afraid to go to a CrossFit box in the beginning, so I would look up workouts online and try to do them on my own at the gym. After doing a bunch of my own workouts, I started to be more interested in going to a box and that is exactly what I did. My boyfriend and I did a one week free trial at a local CrossFit box. I was absolutely terrified! I thought all kinds of dumb things like, “People are going to be mean and laugh if I can't do something or don't know what something is” or “People are going to think I don't belong there because I'm not strong or skinny enough.” That is exactly what those thoughts were, dumb thoughts. Everyone that we met at the first box we went to were so nice, not in a fake nice way, but genuinely nice and excited for us to be there trying it out. We ended up doing their fundamentals course and then did Cindy ( 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, and 15 Squats). I wanted to cry. I thought about skipping reps because everyone was going so much faster than me, but then the coach came right on over to little ole’ me and sat down and watched me do my “girl push ups,” so no cheating for this girl. Finally, I finished the workout and at first I was angry that he watched me do it, but then started to realize that that was what I was missing, that accountability to finish what you started. In that first week, I learned that in CrossFit it never matters who finishes first or last; it just matters that you tried your hardest and finished. I continued to do my own CrossFit workouts on my own because I couldn’t afford to go to a box just yet. Then we moved to Macungie, joined CrossFit 8541, and I fell deeper in love with the whole CrossFit community and atmosphere. Soon after, I ran my second Tough Mudder and killed it! I didn’t hold anybody up this time and was able to keep pace with my teammates. Not only that, I was so much stronger and able to complete more obstacles. I finished that Tough Mudder and felt great, I was so happy with my performance and I have to say it was all due to CrossFit. The vast difference in the two races was not only noticed by me, but by my teammates, which was amazing.
Fast forward to today. I have now been doing CrossFit for a little over a year and a half, Alex and I own CrossFit 8541, and I have never been happier with my overall physical condition, my endurance, and my strength. I started this whole adventure with CrossFit to lose weight and be skinny, but now I’m at the point where I just want to be stronger. This is the most surprising result for me. It is empowering and amazing to feel strong, and I never thought that would be my goal. It’s amazing to find out what your body can do, like flipping tires and shit! Lots of women are worried that this strength will make them look bulky. Strength doesn’t mean bulk. It's not a size 2, or a thigh gap, or big rippling muscles. It is a feeling and it is a wonderful feeling. Set aside your fears that you are going to to turn into a bulky muscle bound oaf. I still have noodle arms; they are stronger noodle arms, but they are still noodly. Unless CrossFit becomes your life, and you live and breathe it and count your Macros (I still don't really know what that is but apparently it's a CrossFit thing) and workout constantly, you will not turn into the Hulk.
I want to leave you with this last thought. The human body was not designed for a sedentary lifestyle. We were designed to walk 40 miles a day, hunt for our food, and take down sabretooth tigers. CrossFit may or may not make you able to do that. You’ll probably never end up going to the CrossFit games. Your biggest accomplishment may be doing a strict pull up, (which I am still working on). And you know what, that's enough. It is more, much more, than you ever did before.