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“What are you doing?” my friend Anna asked.
“Eating a cookie” I answered. Not that she could see me through the phone. I could have lied, said that I was cleaning or something more acceptable. I put the cookie down and started to listen to Anna’s tale of the new gym she had joined. She told me about this place called “PR Fitness” and a thing called “CrossFit” and how nice everyone was. I stared at the cookie.
“You should check it out” Anna prompted.
“Yeah, I should. I’ve got to do something different. I’m stuck and haven’t lost any weight for the past month.” (As though the cookie I’m mentally undressing has nothing to do with the lack of weight loss.)
And so it began. In the following hours I would have read every single blog post on the PR Fitness site. I traded facebook posts back and forth with Anna about how scary it all looked. *I* couldn’t do those things. *I’m* not one of those types of people. I’m a mom. I walk on the treadmill. My entire athletic career began and ended with the 4th grade track team (I did have a mean standing long jump though). Joining the gym would be selfish due to time and money requirements. And then Anna asked if I wanted to try out a class. And I swear to you in that moment I lost my ever loving mind and I heard “Yes” tumble from my mouth. I was hooked by the images of women dragging tires through a parking lot. And barbells and boxes that people were jumping up on. But the thing I saw shining through in every single image was what I wanted most, self confidence and happiness.
Like many women, I’ve spent my entire teen and adult years hating most of my body. Trying to will it in to a different shape, cursing my big thighs and calves, counting calories, thinking “if I only worked harder/ate less/had better genetics”. I was positive that true happiness and contentment were tied directly to 20 pounds less on the scale. This constant battle had worn me down. I was tired and the direction I had been going wasn’t working. PR Fitness seemed like as much of a turn in the opposite direction as I was going to find.
That night the trial workout darn near killed me. I can’t even remember everything we did. I just remember part of it was in the parking lot and it was starting to lightly drizzle. People were laughing, the breeze was blowing and it was such hard work but it felt so good. Afterwards, I couldn’t raise my arm high enough to blow dry my hair. I sat on the couch for the entire next day, sore as could be and then in another fit of temporary insanity, I called Richard and scheduled my first Foundations class. I was hooked.
I'm currently in my 10th month at PR. Now I obsess more with the weight on the barbell than the weight on my skeleton. I haven’t been on the scale for months and yet I’ve had to donate four bags of clothes that were too big. For the first time ever, I’m thankful for my hips, thighs and calves, they’re the expansive muscles that drive lifts. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I fall asleep running deadlift and power clean techniques through my head. I’ve found out that I love the physical sensation of lifting. I’m intoxicated by that moment where the barbell settles on you and you feel the drive of weight pinpoint down through your heels, tying you to the earth. I chase that moment every time a max weight session comes up. There’s not a number on the scale that can compete with knowing you can lift really, really heavy stuff and how incredibly alive you feel when you break your old personal record.
I thought I was being selfish by joining. I miss out on family dinner time and we have to budget more carefully to afford the membership. Starting out I felt guilty about doing this for me. Now I see that it’s not selfish at all and I’m not just doing this for me. My daughter makes up her own workouts, she talks about wanting to be stronger and faster, she even practices kipping pull-ups on her swing set. By joining the gym, I’ve become her living example of a healthy lifestyle and she’s happily following my lead. We’ve both benefited and as a mom I couldn’t ask for more. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 months bring.