To the Ladies of CrossFit Forest

My CrossFit Transformation
Sandy Jones, co-owner, CrossFit Forest

I resisted CrossFit at first for a variety of reasons.  Not only were the heavy weight training and gymnastics rings intimidating, I was sure I would end up with a body-builder body. And when I said I feared I would get a body builder body, I mean it.  I am the daughter of a semi-professional bodybuilder, which means I spent a good portion of my childhood attending long and boring competitions where large men and women with brown stained skin would show off their muscular physiques in brightly colored bikinis and trunks set to the tune of Air Supply, Prince and Annie Lennox (It was the 80s, give them a break).  After each competition, my dad, his fellow competitors and I would go to Wendy's (because of the frostys) to either celebrate his win, or if he lost, debrief on how biased the judges were, that the winner was surely using steroids, and how that guy could have won with such such smooth quadriceps and disproportionally large upper body.  Sure, you may think this is strange, but as a kid this is just a typical family weekend for all I knew.

Then I grew up, graduated from my high school and college athletic programs, and had to figure out my own fitness plan.  While I was no stranger to the weight room, I never picked up a weight heavier than a 20 pound dumbbell.  I had been on the elliptical and was counting calories for eleven years doing the same thing and expecting different results.  It was not until my friend Katy Ehlers started training with CrossFit Forest that I became jealous of how excited she was about working out and I decided to try it.  I had been following Paleo nutrition for a few months and was enjoying the weight loss, and expected adding CrossFit would continue it.  What I experienced, in one word, was pain.  "How do you do this, Pete!" I exclaimed, "Some of us have to actually lift our arms after a work out!"  After a month or so of training, I was consistently swollen, sore, and worst of all, I saw no difference in my body.  I begged Pete to lower the weight, and he never acquiesced.  I stuck with it, mainly because my husband was starting a CrossFit gym and partly because I am stubborn and wanted to get good at it, and the nagging soreness subsided.  Pete said he saw a bicep muscle in my third or fourth month, but I assured him it was likely just the lighting or a bone spur or something because I wasn't seeing it.  After six months, I got more serious about Paleo, started lifting heavy weight, increased my intensity and began to see results.  I would get sore again --  although this time, not immobile.  This time, it was that "proud" kind of sore that reminds you that you got in a good workout.  It was right around this time when I started to like CrossFit (I know, I am a late bloomer).

I would love to end this story with an "after" photo of me with my perfect body and a fake tan with one of those conversation speech bubbles over my head saying, "I lost 15 pounds, have 10% body fat and my high school boyfriend wants me back," like those advertisements, but it wouldn't be true (well, at least the first two items, he he).  Instead, I found something through CrossFit that I didn't even know I wanted:  mental toughness, a community of fun like-minded people, and an activity that I do with my husband that makes me feel more connected to him than when I first fell in love with him.  I now value my body for what I can do with it and gained more confidence than I had when I weighed less than I do now.  Sure, you will lose weight with CrossFit.  But it will be much less than the weight of all of the baggage you gain from years of growing up wishing you had a body different than the one you have.  This is just my story, but everyone's is different.  Ladies, I encourage each of you to post your CrossFit Forest story or send it to Pete to put on the website.  We would love to hear what you have to say!

Postscript:  The weekend before my wedding, my dad came into town from Florida watched me do a heavy thruster-run work out where I beat the boys.  Somehow he was able to work in that I can "throw heavy weight around" in his wedding toast.  I like to think CrossFit has also become a way to connect with my dad, even though I have to keep convincing him that I will not be defending his USA-Russia lightweight master's title anytime soon.