For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with being strong. When I was a child I never wanted to do push ups on my knees in Karate class (no matter how much I wanted to – I couldn’t let the boys see me as “weak!”) When I did cheerleading I was always the “base” lifting up my teammates overhead (and not because I was one of the “bigger” girls, but because I was strong.)
I had first heard about Crossfit when I was working at a store that sold high end fitness equipment. A guy came in looking for an Olympic bar and started telling me about this new workout he was doing. It sounded like all the things I loved to do already – lift heavy weights, run, gymnastics…but it was still so “new” at the time, that I forgot about it for a few years.
It wasn’t until my husband and I were ready to start trying for our first baby that I decided to join the local Crossfit box. You’re probably wondering, “Why would you sign up for Crossfit when you were trying to get pregnant?” Well, I was SOOOO stressed out by NOT getting pregnant month after month that a friend and client of mine suggested I continue to pursue my goals and when it was the right time I would get pregnant. So, I listened to her – And exactly 1 month after my first Crossfit competition, I found out I was pregnant!
So, while my experience with Crossfit may have happened BEFORE I became a mom, the Fit Mom Strong Mom community is FILLED with moms who do Crossfit…and I wanted to know why they chose that as their workout of choice when there are so many other things out there to do. Here is what they told me:
“I Crossfit because it makes me stronger all around in everyday life .. I found Crossfit 5 years ago and I am doing things ( push ups pull ups) that I never thought I could . It makes me confident in more ways than one. I am healthier for my 2 babies and I am more well rounded than I have ever been.. Crossfit changed my life!”
Keri, 37 year old mom of 3 – Florida
“My interest for CrossFit piqued a few years ago. I was about to turn 40 and had completed a year that included nine obstacle course races, a year of at home workouts, trail running, road running and pretty much blindly finding my way through fitness. My husband and I sold our home and were moving into a smaller one with not as much outdoor space. We had to pack up our small at home obstacle course, that the whole family played on every night. I found myself home alone a lot with the kids (since my husband was building our new home nights and weekends, and still is!), and little time or space for at home workouts. My commute time home tripled since our move and I knew I had to do something! I was gaining weight and driving myself crazy. My husband was the one that suggested I join our local CrossFit gym. I was so intimidated, everything I knew about CrossFit seemed impossible!! But, I knew I needed a change. I wanted a change and also a challenge. I wanted to get stronger, but wasn’t sure about the correct way to go about it. I will never forget my first “on-ramp” class. That was a HUGE eye opener and humbling experience. I knew I had a lot of work to do and was finally ready and willing to do it. This May will be my one year anniversary with my box. I plan to be there as long as my body lets me.
The main point I want to get across is this: I no longer care about that damn scale. It doesn’t mean shit. My body is already changing and molding so completely differently than it ever has. What matters is how much stronger I am getting. What matters is hitting PR’s for weight I never dreamed I could hit (with coaches and other athletes cheering me on telling me I can do it!). What matters is the sense of community that happens all around you. Having trained dedicated coaches right there with you through every workout is priceless. You are being watched like a hawk to make sure every move you make is SAFE for your body and skill level.
CrossFit is not for everyone, I thought it was crazy! Until I stepped in and experienced it for myself.”
Jaime, 40 year old mom of 2 – Maine
“I started CrossFit 3.5 years ago. I had gone to the doctor for being underweight. They did tests and nothing came up so his suggestion was to “eat more bread”. I wasn’t happy with that answer so I started researching myself. The only healthy method I came across over and over again was to put on muscle. Round about the same time, my cousin had posted on Facebook that a CrossFit class just kicked her butt. Super curious, I looked it up and was instantly intrigued. I had some weights and started following Main site with substitutions where I could and gathered more equipment. Worried about my form, I signed up for an OnRamp course. I finished the instruction but got sick before I could finish the intro weeks. Come to find out, I have a sensitivity to FODMAPs. I wasn’t able to join again between the cost and hiring a sitter at 5:15 in the morning. Instead my dad built me a squat rack and now I dutifully write my own WODs over two week periods following the template and added in Starting Strength to increase my strength even more. I went from 134 pounds to 156, healthy weight gain. It’s not a dramatic story of any kind, but it’s a top priority in my life and I don’t know what kind of person I’d be without it. I’ve simultaneously started a business and will pitch my plan to a bank within the year. I wouldn’t have the confidence to do that without making it through some of the mind shit you hit when you’re under a bar or 10 sprints in or 5 more rounds to go. It’s powerful.”
Carolyn, 36 year old mom of 3- Nebraska
“I have been an athlete and a lover of fitness my entire life. High school and college athlete turned personal trainer and engulfed in a career in the industry. From machines. To kettlebells. To half marathons. To strength training. My phases and crazes within fitness have always changed.
A year of massive changes (Divorce. Moving. Career change) my fitness needed a change too. I needed more social interaction. Motivation. Fun. And a community. I was bored working out alone. Had no drive. Or goals.
I knew I would love crossfit but was nervous I wouldn’t go often enough or try. BOY WAS I WRONG. Since the day I joined I go a minimum of 5 days a week. Met some amazing friends. Learned so much. Gained strength. Opened my eyes to an endless amount of Goals to reach.
It has satisfied my need for change and busted through my plateaus. Encouraged me to set big goals. Allowed me to meet more woman. More moms. More single moms like myself. It’s an amazing community…. A FAMILY. that I wish I had been a part of sooner.”
Jaime, 36 year old mom of 1 – Massachusetts
“I am a 33 year old mother of 3 (Brandon 8, Natalie 6 & Derrick 4). My husband, Byron introduced me to Crossfit just over 2 years ago. I was looking for a different fitness program. I had previously belonged to a traditional gym with machines and free weights, but I often didn’t know what to do and it was difficult to get there regularly. I had also tried DVD programs at home which was great because I could do them almost anytime but I was bored easily. I also tried to run a few days a week but I have never found a love for running. So Byron invited me to a bring a friend fundraiser at Crossfit Apex where he had been attending classes and we completed a partner WOD together. I loved it! Crossfit has taught me to focus on what my body can do instead of how it looks. I am much less concerned about my body weight and more concerned about lifting more weight and learning more difficult skills. The sense of community at Apex is exceptional! There is support from all of the members and the last athlete to finish receives the loudest cheers. We all push one another to be better athletes. Our box also offers a family atmosphere. Byron & I can work out together while our children attend kids or tots class. I love tackling a WOD side by side with my husband. He always pushes me to improve and he reminds me of how much I’ve accomplished. In addition to Byron and I enjoying Crossfit, our kids love it too and they enjoy cheering us on. Being a positive example to them is so important to me. I’m especially proud to be raising a daughter who is learning the importance of finding her strength, building her skills and living a healthy lifestyle.”
Melissa, 33 year old mom of 3 – Pennsylvania
“I do CrossFit because it makes me feel more like myself. I am competitive by nature, hard-working, I love a challenge and am never satisfied if there is room for improvement. CrossFit allows me to take the time, in an hour or less, to feel all of those things and re-center myself. I come out less stressed and feel like I can be a better parent. It is only one hour- something I can justify I deserve away from my family and job- where improvement can happen physically if you work hard enough. I do CrossFit because I want my daughter to see that women can be what they want and who they want and don’t need to depend on anyone. I am strong enough to carry in all the groceries and my child. I am mentally stronger and more confident after what I have done in the gym. I wear my muscle and callused hands with pride. To be competitive in the sport it is a lifestyle- I love that she wants to help me in the kitchen and knows that food does not come from a box. I love that she wants to be “strong like mommy” and comments that she can tell boys from girls because “girls lift” breaking all the clichés and boundaries I don’t want placed on her. Even on my worst day looks at me like the greatest hero in the world and I don’t want her hero to ever quit.”
Ashley, 32 year old mom of 1 (and 1 on the way!) – Michigan
In late 2015, I was almost two years postpartum. I went to a friend’s wedding and felt glamorous. When my friend sent me the pictures from her wedding, I hardly recognized myself. I was at least twice as big as I thought I was and felt I was. It was the moment I decided to change my life. I started slowing with yoga to stretch out muscles that hadn’t been used in a long time and to try to get some core stability – something my c-section had taken away completely.
After I lost 20 pounds, I needed more. I decided to try a local gym that did nothing for me. The day after my trial, a patient walked into my chiropractic office and told me she owned a CrossFit gym and to come check it out. I was PETRIFIED. I follow enough people on social media to see how hard and challenging CrossFit was. I eventually called her and went to my first class March 28, 2016. I WAS HOOKED.
Every workout is different. We work our entire bodies the whole workout. It incorporates weights and cardio – which is a great combination for weight loss and overall health. I also love that all workouts can be modified for whatever level of fitness you are at. Over time, all the people I envied as I watched them workout, became my friends. I love going to the gym and seeing my people – the ones that never make me feel less than, encourage me, and push me to do things I didn’t think my body could do any more.
Since I joined CrossFit, I have lost an additional 40+ pounds, gained muscle, made new friends, and most importantly made myself healthier to be a better mom and role model to my little girl.
Kerry, 35 year old mom of 1 – New Jersey
“I started attending the bootcamps at the Crossfit box because I liked the class atmosphere and having a coach to give me instruction and motivation. Then I got intrigued with the weightlifting part and decided to sign up for Crossfit. The workouts were extremely challenging in the beginning and it made me doubt if I can do them. But over time with the coaching and encouragement from my coach and friends I made at the box, I began to develop mental toughness and believe that I can. I never felt judged when I am unable to do certain movements. No one compares with each other because each one of us is putting out their best effort. I thrive on the high fives, the cheers, and the look of pride from my coach even when I am sometimes the last one still doing burpees or the last to arrive back from a 400m run. I feel a sense of accomplishment after completing the WOD and it’s great to achieve a new PR.
Crossfit challenged me and pushed me to surpass goals in fitness I never thought possible. It’s great to be in a positive environment where the motivation is to be better, healthier, and stronger for life.”
Rose, 53 year old mom of 2 – California
Last Friday night, as do many CrossFit boxes around the world, I gathered with my community of athletes to complete the 17.3 Open workout. I brought my two kids along, and they happily skipped off to the back room to play with the small group of other kids whose parents had also dragged them along to watch. As a coach, I spent the first half of the evening judging other athletes as they challenged themselves through the pull ups and snatches. I watched as two women who, before that night, had never snatched more than an empty 35 pound bar both achieve a 65 pound snatch. I reveled in the looks of joy and excitement on their faces, cheering them on. Out of the corner of my eye, I also watched my daughter, who had made her way to the front gym. But she wasn’t watching the athletes, absorbing this feat of female strength. She was stacking foam rollers and playing with a bucket of mobility balls.
I dream about going to a CrossFit competition or Open workout and having my kids enthralled by the action, watching me work out. I want us to be captured in that moment as I swing from the pull up bar and they are there behind me cheering. But by the time I was prepping to complete 17.3 myself, my son had found my cell phone and was off playing a video game, and my daughter was wandering around the gym looking like she might pass out from boredom. She did wander over to me as I completed my second round of pull ups, but quickly moved on when she discovered the whiteboards and dry erase markers on the wall behind her. I know the day will come once they grow a little older and slightly longer attention spans (they are only 6 and 4) when they will sit and watch me. But making sure they watch me workout is not really why I CrossFit. I CrossFit because of the daily work you have to put in. Because sometimes I fail miserably at it. Because it’s not easy. Because it makes me strong. Because it empowers me. Because it brings me self-confidence and self-efficacy for doing things I never thought I could do before. And those things, ultimately, are what I want to teach my children, even if they never actually watch me do it.
Heidi, 36 year old mom of 2 – Minnesota
If you are looking for an online community of fit moms, where there is no judgement, tons of encouragement, and a bunch of fitness professionals at your disposal to answer your health & fitness related questions I encourage you to join the private Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador group on Facebook. (Sorry…just moms and moms to be…no dudes!)