“Today was a big day for me. Today I made the move I’ve been wanting to make for months. Today, I joined CrossFit. I did it nervous, excited and afraid because one day, not too far from now, I see myself as a champion of fitness, an inspiration, a record breaker and a dream maker. All of that began today, with me being daring enough to do it shaking, proving to myself and others that they can do the same. After a year and a half of building my body in anonymity and obscurity, at home, in the basement; primarily to stop drinking too much and to make sure I was committed to the cause, today was my next leap of bravery. Rows, deadlifts and step ups. I would say I did pretty well for day one. Today was the first day of the rest of my life and I am thrilled for tomorrow.”-An excerpt from my Instagram-August 14th, 2017
You know that thing that you really want to do but you haven’t done it yet for many reasons? Just do it. The excuses don’t matter as much as you think they do. If you want it, go for it. That’s what I finally did. I finally joined CrossFit after months of mentally talking myself into it, I finally stepped in the gym. After a year and a half of building my body in anonymity and obscurity by myself just to get better, feel better and look better. I knew this was my next leap of faith since my fitness role models, the ones that look like action figures, all do CrossFit.
In the last few months I felt like I stopped progressing, like the weights weren’t doing it for me anymore and I wasn’t being challenged rightly. I didn’t want to give up fitness altogether because it is my therapy but I did need to figure out my next steps. It has only been three weeks since I started CrossFit. 19 days, 9 workouts, 9 hours of high intensity, interval training (HIIT). I am millions of miles away from where I want to be. That being the case, I just keep reminding myself how far I’ve already come. I may be brand new to CrossFit but I am not a novice to fitness. The weight training I’ve been doing coupled with the ten pounds I put on have prepared me perfectly for this new season.
The workout of the day or WOD is different every time so I never really know what I’m in for. In truth, I usually can’t tell what’s the warm up and what’s the workout because it’s all hard. What I have learned so far-which is a lot-I absolutely love. How easy it is to absentmindedly mess up form and how important it is to warm up and hold the stretches.
Lessons of CrossFit
1. Patience is a virtue.
2. Plan the work, work the plan.
3. Respect the process.
4. Eat clean, train dirty.
5. Quality over quantity, every time.
6. We rise by lifting others.
7. Train to the best of my individual ability, I solemnly swear.
8. Yes you can.
9. Form shall not be sacrificed.
10. Trust your coaches not your ego.
11. Persistance is as important as patience.
When I train I hardly notice who is in the class with me, partly because I don’t want to be distracted with comparison and partly because training takes all of my focus. It is nice though, when a big dude drenched in sweat uses what little energy he has left from the WOD to walk over as I’m warming up, introduce himself and say; “I saw the video of you with the sled, you fucking rocked it.” CF is a supportive community, CFHG in particular. See lesson 6. Lesson number 10 is very real for a tenacious woman like me, here’s a slice on why I love my coaches so much: “Everyone meet Jena. She just joined @cfhomerglen. She came to us wanting to improve her overall fitness. Jena has already become one of our most motivating and hard working members. Jena will try anything I throw at her to see if she is capable of doing it. We had a 200 meter run with a weighted ball in class today so we replaced her run with a 100ft prowler push. When I told her we were going to try and push the prowler she didn’t laugh and say yeah right, she smiled real big, got excited and couldn’t wait to try it out. Jena isn’t using CP or anything as an excuse, she is using it to motivate her to work hard and improve her quality of life. It’s going to be awesome to she how hard she works and improves over time.” @bridgetahlfield @crossfit @crossfitgames #whatsyourexcuse
Somewhere around here is when I really started to feel it. I believe it was Day 5, a day in between my training, when DOMS hit me like a semi. Before the soreness though, I asked my coach to make it harder on me because I’m insane. My goals will not reach themselves. Tabata is 8 rounds of each exercise and it is no joke.
I thought would be funny to send a clip of me getting closer to air squats to my mom so I could say, look ma no hands! I didn’t know I was being filmed for this but I’m grateful for video proof because I can see exactly where I need to improve. This squat video was taken at the beginning of week 3, I have already gotten better since then. My coach thought of tying resistance bands to the bar so I could pull myself off the box and lower back down with minimal, adjustable, assistance. It’s amazing to nearly be able to do a squat with no support. Who would have ever thought I’d get there?
1) Better at cleans, so close to air squats.
2) Did handstand push-ups.
For this next phase of the fit life; Baby Beast Part II, I’m doing it all-the workouts, the recovery, the food and the sleep. How I trained before wasn’t so regimented when it came to the aspects outside the gym. I calculated my fitness hours in terms of training, food and sleep, concluding that in total, I spend around 94 hours per week doing things that specifically effect my physique. I have insanely high aspirations for my physical self. What’s more, is that I have to work harder than everyone since I have a disability. Cerebral Palsy has not stopped me before and it will not stop me now. All it means to be a CP athlete is to strategize differently. I live my whole life differently, I am constantly strategizing, the gym is no different. I just have to start slower and take a little longer. Starting behind the line where most Crossfitters begin does not mean I won’t catch up eventually. I might even be the winner at the end of the race. I am a CP athlete and I do CrossFit.