I am over 40, overweight, have a knee injury – and I CrossFit.  Nine months ago, I was looking for an exercise program that would support my weight loss efforts.  I knew about CrossFit.  My sister was addicted.  I endured hours of conversations revolving around the WOD, her latest PR, her new Olympic lifters, etc.

She encouraged me to check it out so I googled CrosFfit affiliates in Madison.  CrossFit Recursive (CFR) popped up as the closest affiliate.  As I poked around their website, I saw they had a New You: Six Week Challenge program that was geared towards beginners.  I signed up. It was a no brainer.

Of course, the day of the first session I was questioning the ‘no brainer’ part of my decision.  When I showed up to CFR, there was a group of women sitting in the waiting area nervously making small talk.  What I loved immediately about the group was that it was composed of women all ages and all sizes. We were all stepping outside our comfort zone.

Over the course of six weeks, we were introduced to the various CrossFit movements, a nutrition program and, most importantly, the lingo. I remember the first time we did sit-ups I couldn’t believe how bad my abs hurt – they hurt for days!  But each week I kept going back and I wasn’t alone.  Slowly but surely friendships developed. We supported and encouraged each other as we entered the unknown.  “She wants us to do what?!?”  By the time the six weeks were over, I had dropped 10 more pounds, developed muscles I didn’t know I had and made new friends.

The 6 week challenge was over.  Now what?  Do I dare consider attending the regular CrossFit classes?  There was a group of us who really wanted to continue CrossFit but were nervous about attending the “Big girl” classes.  They seemed so intimidating anytime we entered the main room during a WOD – barbells being dropped, music blasting, people were chalking their hands (why would we need chalk?), etc.

Our answer was to pick a class time we could all attend so we had each other to lean on during the class.  During our first class, everyone was so welcoming and encouraging.   The coaches were awesome.

I remember one day my CrossFit partner-in-crime and I were staring nervously at the bars we were expected to hang on to.  The coach came up to us – clearly aware we were ready to dart out of the building the first moment we could – and talked us through the WOD and gave us options to scale the movements.  Lo and behold, we actually were able to hang off the bar and lift our knees at the same time – who knew?

Every time I finished a workout, I amazed myself at what I could do.  I would get so nervous before a WOD but then I did it.  What a great feeling!  Even though I had to scale almost everything we did, I quickly learned that no matter your fitness level the WODs are still hard for everyone – scaled or not.

The other thing I learned is to get over myself.  It is my body and my workout.  I simply cannot compare myself to anyone else.

Now that I was hooked, my sister suggested I do a CF competition because it would be a “good fitness goal”.  I signed up for Festivus, a competition geared to the novice and intermediate CrossFitter.  As I signed up, I thought “What am I doing?”  Then I looked at the workouts and thought “I can’t even do some of the moves! Seriously!  What am I doing?”

Box step ups were my nemesis.  I couldn’t step up on a 20 inch box to save my life and now I was going to do a competition that had them in one of the workouts.  It was then I decided I needed to get a one-on-one training.

I started working with Coach Aaron in January.  The competition was in April.  Four months to get ready.  Initially, Aaron did a base line assessment and determined a week by week training plan that would build my strength and increase my mobility.

I still didn’t believe I would ever be able to do box steps ups but then I did them – and I did them after only a handful of sessions.  I couldn’t believe it!  The best part was the excitement from Coach Aaron.  He immediately said ‘We need to share this with everyone’.

At first, I was embarrassed to share it.  It was such a basic move for most people.  The support I received from CFR was overwhelming and speaks to what I love the most about CrossFit – the community! The community at Recursive is what keeps me motivated to continue to show up.

The week leading up to the competition, I kept thinking about the workouts and I would get nervous and question my sanity.  However, the day of the competition I was surprisingly calm.  I was there to celebrate my accomplishments from the past four months.  I was now able to physically do all the movements.

The energy of that day was amazing.  It was exciting to watch people all shapes, sizes and ages compete.  There were five of us from CFR participating in the competition.  I loved that we were there to support and encourage each other.  It made the day so rewarding to watch each of us give it our all.  Participating in Festivus turned out to be a really good decision – and I even PR’d my clean.  (Yes, I speak the CrossFit lingo now.)

I am amazed at what my body can do now that I wouldn’t have been able to consider doing this time last year.  CrossFit has been life changing for me.  I can’t wait to see what I will be able to do this time next year!