10 Lessons Learned from 1 Year of CrossFit

  • You have no idea how really out of shape you are until you start CrossFit. I remember doing 90 burpees on my first day and thinking I was going to never make it off the floor by the end. You know what? I did and kept coming back for more.
  • You’ll have sore muscles where you didn’t know you even had muscles every day for the first 2 months and then you either don’t realize you’re sore anymore or it goes away. I’m still not sure which is true.
  • Your goals will change. I started at No Risk CrossFit with the very specific goal of training for a Spartan Sprint and learning how to climb a rope. I quickly realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to quit after finishing my first Spartan Race. I kept adding and achieving goals: climb the rope, handstands, handstand pushups, pull ups, toes to bar, ring dips, and I don’t think the list will ever stop (thankfully).
  • If you’re a girl, you’re not going to get “bulky” by CrossFitting. During my first week, I told my coach that I was nervous about getting bulky and he told me that it takes a lot of work to look like a female bodybuilder, that kind of body doesn’t happen by accident. Looking back, it’s a little embarrassing that I thought my body could transform into a hulk by simply going to CrossFit. I have more muscles now than a year ago and weigh 10 pounds more than I started, but I have way less body fat and my clothes fit a million times better. My scale has stayed in the closet for the past year– no more obsession with pounds (except for how many I can overhead squat). Strong is beautiful.
  • You’ll meet some great people. I work out with other moms, grandmas, students, firefighters, cops, business people- you name it. People I wouldn’t normally meet in my life as a mom but I am SO glad I have met these people I am proud to call my friends.
  • You’ll become part of an amazing community. Not only at your own “box” (CrossFit terminology for gym), but nationwide. If you’re ever traveling and want to drop in at another box, chances are the folks there will welcome you with open arms. Try that at a Planet Fitness and I doubt you’d get the same results. Ever heard of Kevin Ogar? He’s a CrossFit athlete who had a tragic accident at a competition in January. Seeing CrossFit athletes across the world join forces to support him was truly heart-warming.
  • If you’re a parent, you’re setting a good example for your kids. Seeing my kids care about their fitness and health is one of the greatest gifts I can give them as a parent. I love that my kids will do burpees for time and tell me they look forward to “working out.” My husband and I even hire babysitters so we can occasionally go to a WOD together.
  • You will likely develop an obsession with workout clothes, in my case it’s Reebok CrossFit gear and shoes. Some like Lululemon and Athleta, but Reebok fits me best. I’ve actually had to cut myself off from buying any more workout clothes because I can’t fit them in my closet anymore.

I always keep things real, so there are some things that I’ve learned that aren’t all puppies and rainbows but I’ll share anyway.

  • Some friends and family members will think you’re part of a cult and constantly share articles about how dangerous CrossFit is for you. I don’t engage in arguments with them because it’s not worth it, but I know that it is far more dangerous for *me* to sit on my butt eating crap than it is to lift heavy weights in a safe, supervised environment. Who cares if I’m addicted to it? It’s a healthy one and I’m never going to apologize for my enthusiasm.
  • You may lose touch with people in your life. This is a tough one, but it’s a life lesson. Misery loves company and there are some people who would rather complain about needing to lose weight than do anything about it. I used to be a complainer too. “I need to lose 10 pounds” or “I really need to get to the gym.” I was never doing anything about it though until I started CrossFit. When I started going, I found myself fitting into clothes from 10 years ago, and was stronger and happier. I don’t need to complain anymore and have  found myself distanced from the negativity. Friendships come and go, not everyone is happy for you when you transform. That’s life! On the bright side, I’ve had friendships grow even stronger because of CrossFit. My best friend Heather joined and one of the best parts of my day is working out together while our kids play in the “pen.”

A year later and 148 finished WODs later, I’m grateful for this life-changer called CrossFit. If you are thinking about starting any fitness routine: DO IT, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Your turn: are there any lessons you would like to add?

Ways I’ve Changed Since Becoming a Mother

Doing a lot of laying around & recovering!

Next week, I will have been a mother for 4 years.

The best 4 years of my life have transformed me in ways I’ve never imagined, here are a few of the more memorable ways:

  • Sleep. I never appreciated sleep before becoming a mother. I could now bury my head under my pillow and sleep for days if my kids wouldn’t rip the covers off me and demand chocolate milk and an iPad. I wish I could time travel back to my 14-year-old self. The one who slept until 1pm on weekends and didn’t appreciate it. I would shake 14-year-old Joanna and say ENJOY EVERY FREAKING SECOND!
  • Never say never. This is a big one. I remember being grossed out by my Aunt’s car when she had 2 little kids (Sorry Aunt Nan). I swore I would never have a car littered with Cheerios and Goldfish crackers. Today, I ate those words as I humbly tried to scrape the jelly filling from a munchkin off my minivan’s carpeting before taking it to the car wash. That’s right,my van is so filthy from the creatures that inhabit the back I have to clean it before getting it washed. I really knew I’d hit rock bottom when my 2-year-old found a Tootsie Pop (pretty sure it was unwrapped) while we were in the parking lot of my doctor’s office. Instead of immediately throwing it away and sanitizing her hands (like I would have done with my oldest when he was little), I shrugged my shoulders and let her have it while a wave of relief washed over me since she would now be occupied during my 45 minute appointment. At least she wouldn’t randomly steal the doctor’s apple and eat it in another room (true story, happened 2 weeks ago).
  • Food. I also swore my kids would eat exactly what I ate for each meal and it would be healthy and organic. Somehow, I’ve turned into a short order cook with a very limited menu for 2 demanding customers: pasta and cheese, chicken nuggets and meatballs. So gross, but it’s better than them starving themselves on a hunger strike.
  • Housekeeping. Once I quit my full-time job as a pharmaceutical sales rep when my oldest was born, I just knew I would keep an immaculate home and have a hot meal on the table for my husband every night. I think that has happened for a few days out of the past thousand or so, but HOLY CRAP it is hard! Keeping a clean house with a pre-schooler and a toddler is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself, but it’s a constant juggling act to be a good mother/housekeeper/wife/cook/friend/family member. Sometimes you have to let a ball (or 2) drop.
  • Judging others. I was the best mother before I actually became a mother. Then I realized that every single one of us face our own challenges daily. I honestly believe we moms are doing our best, so remember that next time you roll your eyes at the 3-year-old who freaks out in bakery while his mom tried to order his birthday cake (this may or may not have happened to me last week). I could have really used a hand carrying my groceries when my 2 and almost 4 year olds were throwing themselves on the ground in the parking lot.
  • Priorities change. I used to be obsessed with my career before staying home with my kids. Having children and losing a close friend put everything into perspective for me. Life is about family and friends. Do your best every day and I believe everything else will fall into place.
  • Love. The amount of love your heart is capable of is incredible. I vividly remember holding Jackson when he was only hours old, choking back tears when I realized this is how much my mom loved me. My love and appreciation for my husband and family has grown leaps and bounds in these short 4 years.

How have you changed since becoming a parent?