A few weeks ago I mentioned how I do not really discuss my fitness life on here, I don’t talk very much about it because I do not want to be known as “Annie the gym rat”. Not that I see anything wrong with being associated with the fitness world, it’s just once upon a time fitness was my identity, and now when I hear someone introduce me as, “This is Annie, she’s a crossfitter”…it bothers me. So when I started this blog, I did not want it to be all day every day fitness and healthy eating. I mean, check out 90% of my recipes, they are nowhere NEAR healthy. I create these delicious treats because I love to bake, I love to watch people enjoy my desserts, when I am baking and decorating decadent desserts, I’m in my happy place, AND what better way to have community than over dessert.
I have been working out and eating healthy for going on eight years now, the first few years were not easy, because prior to a healthier lifestyle, I ate and drank what I wanted when I wanted, which is probably why I felt like garbage ALL.THE.TIME. So like any life change, it was not an overnight process. My change to a healthier lifestyle took time and discipline. There was not a magic pill, instant fix, or a 30 day detox, it was time, dedication, and a mindset that I wanted to do this for myself and my well-being. Enter the world of weight lifting and Crossfit. For those of you who do not workout in a Crossfit gym, I know what you’re already thinking, ”geez another crossfitter trying to change our minds”, and I’m here to tell you this is not the case. I am here to tell you how fitness has carried over to other areas of my life. My husband and I started Crossfit between 6-7 months ago. Let me be the first to admit, this is a very humbling sport, it is not easy and everyone starts at the bottom. Fast forward to the last six weeks, and I participated in the Crossfit Open for the first time. The Open lasts for 5 weeks, anyone can sign up for it, and every week a new workout is released for you to do, and you can track where you fall among your peers in the state, region, country and world. I have competed in Figure, Strongman, and Powerlifting, and each sport has a very tight nit community, Crossfit is no different. What’s pretty cool about the open is, for the last five weeks, almost every person involved in Crossfit from all over the world, participated. It’s fun to tune into the live feed each week and see 33,000 plus viewers watching to see what the workout will be. I set a small goal for myself with each weekly workout, and you know what….I did not meet any of those goals, and at the same time achieved things that were not related to the goals I set for myself. Isn’t that awesome! I say it’s awesome because by not achieving every goal I set for myself, just shows I have a lot of room for growth and to learn even more. That is truly exciting, and I am looking forward to working on my weaknesses.
During the open I started to think about how fitness has affected me. I thought about a few take-aways that I have gained over the last eight plus years of this journey.
- Being in the gym has built self-confidence.
Prior to starting the health and fitness journey, I struggled with low self-esteem for years. Over time the more I became confident with my health and in the gym, the more confident I became in other areas of life. Now I am more open to the idea of trying new ventures in life, even if they still scare me.
- I can push myself farther mentally than I imagined possible
The human body is truly amazing. When you think that you cannot take another step, jump, lift, etc., as soon as your mind decides “you’re gonna do this”, the body responds and takes that last rep. You know why that is? Belief. Because you and I believe in our self and our ability, and we make that decision to just “go”, the body is going to follow what the mind tells it to. The same goes in our everyday life: faith, marriage, family, work, relationships…nobody ever said life would be easy. There will be times when we are run down from life, however, it’s the daily decision to believe and work that keeps us moving forward.
- Never give up attitude
In the gym, I’m going to fail. Every time I am there, I will fail at something. Every day is not going to be a “personal record”, but just because I fail at something over and over again, does not mean I need to give up. I remember I went through one of the Crossfit open workouts where I literally fell on my butt. I failed at this particular lift repeatedly, but I kept getting back up, going for it, and still couldn’t quite get it. Afterward, my judge pulled me aside and gave me some pointers to help. The next morning, I went to the gym and worked the same lift, while remembering the pointers my judge gave me. Monday rolled around, and I decided I would attack this workout again, and you know what…not only did I hit this lift repeatedly, but I also beat my time from three days prior. My point of this story is, I am going to fail at things that go far beyond the gym. Rarely does anyone “nail it” the first go round, however, it’s during the process of “falling” that we learn more about ourselves, and we grow as an individual.
- Watching others succeed is more rewarding
I love to encourage and help others. Especially when I hear, “I can’t do that” come out of someone’s mouth. Before one of the open work outs, one part of it consisted of Toes To Bar, my friend Gabby literally told me, “I can’t do those, I’ve never been able to”. Luckily I was also her judge, because I came back with, “if you believe you can, then you can, and you will…just try”. I may have also threatened to not judge her if she didn’t at least attempt. During the workout…she did not hit one toes to bar…she hit 32 toes to bar! I completely geeked out, and almost didn’t count all of the reps because I was so excited for her.
Another occurrence that made my heart so happy during this same workout, was watching my husband get his first bar muscle up, not once, but three times! A bar muscle up is a gymnastics move that is not an easy one to accomplish in the beginning. One reason why I also geeked out over this, four and half years ago my husband had a tumor removed from his spine, and doctors said he will never lift heavy, much less do any gymnastics move, again. To watch him continue to beat the odds physically and emotionally from his surgery, fills my heart with so much joy.
Those are just two of many stories of members from our gym that achieved goals they did not believe they could. To help and encourage others to achieve any goal of any size is something that I feel is more rewarding than accomplishing any of my personal goals. One more reason why I have this blog, to hopefully encourage others, not just in health and fitness, but in all areas of life.
For me, going to the gym goes far beyond just being in shape, it’s an ability and passion that God has blessed me with to grow me as a person, build character, and most importantly, to help others and build community with each other.