A few weeks ago, my coach Ryan Hansen asked me if I would write a testimonial after we had had a discussion about where I saw myself going and more importantly, where I had come from. He asked me to include some before and after pictures from my first year and those pictures are what kept me from writing this for several weeks.
Here is the story of my journey that is only just beginning...
In the fall of 2014 I was 46 years old, very happily married, working at a job I have a great passion for, raising kids that were getting to a point in their lives where they didn't require so much of my time anymore, and adjusting to my son, a Marine, being far away from home. Life was good for sure but I was missing something; something just for me, something different to challenge me. I had very occasional bouts of anxiety and I was always afraid to try new adventures. I also had a tendency to feel nervous for no good reason. I belonged to a gym and thought I worked out pretty hard and that I was in somewhat good shape. My son was constantly talking about CrossFit and for some reason, I kept thinking about surprising myself (and everyone that knows me) by trying something completely out of my comfort zone and so I contacted Intrepid and set up an appointment to check it out.
I told no one that I was going and at my first personal training session I thought I would die of embarrassment. I had never done a burpee (one of many things I had never done) and when I had do them, by myself, in front of my trainer, I just wanted to cry. I had no idea that Olympic weightlifting was involved in CrossFit; I had never done an Oly lift in my life and words like, "snatch'', "clean & jerk", "hang clean", "thruster", were all foreign to me just as muscle up, hand stand push up, kettle bell swings and wall ball left me shaking my head.
I cried on the way home from that first session and then I signed up for a full membership and drove to my first two months worth of WODs with a knot in my stomach and feeling like I would vomit for sure before I got in the parking lot. And then something amazing happened....I realized that I was in the company of the most amazing people I had ever met. I was working out next to people that, in my mind, could be in the CrossFit games, and they were encouraging me, teaching me, cheering me on when I was the last one in the door during a running WOD. My coaches weren't screaming in my face and then throwing their hands up because I couln't do something; they were patient and they taught me what I needed to learn.
As the months went on, I got a little better and learned so much. I started to feel less nervous and more excited as I drove to the gym. My "CrossFit friends" become my friends and I started to feel like I had found something that was going to change my life. Somehow, 2014 became my YES year and I was signing on to do things that I never would have dreamed of. Aerial yoga, rock climbing, my first 5K (I loathe running!), the Open (could barely do any of it - can't wait for 2015 Open!), a partner competition to raise money for our Prom (yes, I said Prom!), my first competition in August 2014 - the MILF (Mothers Inspiring Lifelong Fitness) Competition, the Explosive Seminar with Ryan Moody (to work on my epic fear of box jumps), running the Tunnel To Towers 5K in NYC with my daughter and NOT stopping the entire time!!), competing in a masters competition with 2 other amazing athletes from my gym, raising money and participating in Barbells for Boobs and most recently competing in my third competition with my amazing daughter and holding my own even though I had a good 20 years on a lot of the women competing!
I'm still a beginner; I struggle with so many things and I have a list a mile long of things I hope to accomplish this next year. I'll never be the stongest or the fastest but that doesn't matter because I only have to compete with myself. It is so much fun to have goals, to have something to work toward; to push my body beyond limits that I never imagined.
Everything I have learned and/or accomplished is because Intreptid Strength & Conditioning has the most amazing coaches. They have guided me in the right direction and never once, have they treated me differently because I started "later" in life and had no clue what I was doing. They look out for everyone, even telling us not to work out when they know we're not well for some reason or if we are hurt. The community at our gym is what it is because of our coaches. There is always something going on like fundraising or community outreach or social events. There is a feeling of family at Intrepid that is extremely heartwarming.
So that is my story and like I said, it's only just beginning. I strive to be stronger and fitter than I've ever been in my life and I'm having so much fun getting there. In my conversation with Coach Ryan that prompted this testimonial, he said to me "you have to start thinking like and athlete because that is what you are becoming". I've never thought of myself as an athlete but I do like the sound of it.
I’ve been a member at CrossFit Warwick for over 4 years, and have continually improved my strength, packed on lean muscle and enhanced my endurance. Working out and eating healthy has always been a big part of my life. When I first started, I was considered a “runner” by other members because I had good endurance but also because my strength was lacking. While maintaining a high level of endurance, I’ve gained a significant amount of strength and my body has changed significantly. Running and other activities feel easier because I’m stronger. The community of other members at classes makes the hard work fun to do, and leads to healthy and supportive competition that enhances results. When I walk out of the gym I feel accomplished and am ready to attack another busy day. If you think that you’d like to be any of these, then try CrossFit : stronger, faster, more flexible, have more energy, eat healthier, more motivated, make new friends, more confident, accepted, encouraged, or just have a good time. Commit to doing something good for yourself, and give it a shot.
Member since 2011
A little Q&A getting to know Joe!
He has been a member at ISC since January 2013. His first WOD was the day before his birthday, and he was hungover.
Q: What were your thoughts during your first WOD?
A: "What the hell did I get myself into?!"
Q: Favorite WOD/Movement
Q: Least Favorite WOD /Movement
A: Snatch, no pull ups... wait scratch that burpees. I try to block them from my mind.
Q: 6M Goal
A: Drop 25 lbs and add it to my Clean & Jerk.
Q: A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
A: He's obviously here to deliver my tequilla.
Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: I don't know if this counts but a dragon. I will breathe fire at people who irritate me. Also, I have a dragon I've been wearing around my neck as kind of a good luck charm for the last 25 years or so... I just don't wear it to the gym.