Alright, y’all.. For the past few months on NTTC, I’ve been passing the mic to a few of my favorite blogger friends to tell their fitness story, asking them to highlight their passion for working out… and this month, I have quite the treat for you.
I met Roni for the first time at Fitbloggin 2012 in Baltimore.
She not only authors multiple blogs (wow!), but she is also the founder and organizer of Fitbloggin and a fellow “loser” herself… and she just co-wrote a book!
As though that weren’t enough, Roni is also a fierce Crossfitter. You heard me, FIERCE. Now, be sure to read her story carefully because you’re going to hear how she went from Reluctant to Fierce… We all need a little more FIERCE in our lives.
Hi, everyone! I’m Roni and I’m going to go WAY back to 1988 before I get into my current love of CrossFit because my journey is so crazy, I don’t even believe it.
In this photo I was 11 going on 12. It was the first time I remember seeing an image of myself and “feeling” fat.
From that moment on, my relationship with my body and food were never the same.
For the next 15 or so years I would go through cycles of deprivation and overeating. My weight would fluctuate as much as 50 pounds a year by the time I was in college. I tried every diet available regardless of how silly, unhealthy or unrealistic it was.
I truly believed that if I was skinnier, life would be easier. I would be happier. Everything would just fall into place.
During this time I didn’t play sports. I wasn’t active. Every attempt at joining a gym or starting a workout routine lasted mere weeks, if not days.
I self-identified as an inactive, unlucky, chubby girl and, honestly, made fun of people who ran, worked out or went to the gym.
It was a defense mechanism for sure.
The first major and positive turn in my story comes with the birth of my first son, Ryan.
I had an epiphany.
Even though I was, again, at my heaviest, I realized my life and my relationship with my son were dependent on me — how shall I put this? — getting over myself. I couldn’t let my weight, bad body image or lack of confidence affect my child.
I joined Weight Watchers when he was exactly 2 weeks old and I never, EVER, looked back.
For the first time in my life dieting wasn’t “dieting.” I was overhauling my lifestyle. I was learning how to eat and find balance. I stopped worrying about how much weight I wanted to lose and what I may or may not look like if I ever actually lost it. Instead, I focused on small changes and took things pretty slowly.
So slow, in fact, I didn’t even join a gym! I hated the gym. I had zero interest in working out. If I was to lose the weight it had to be on my terms and my terms did NOT include spending hours in a gym.
Eight months later I lost 70 pounds and I was, honestly, shocked. I weighed less than I did in high school!
For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like I was fighting with myself. It’s hard to explain, really, but I was dealing with the internal struggles that kept me in a yo-yo dieting cycle for years, and this was working. No longer was I my own worst enemy. The changes I made were coming from a place of self-acceptance and love instead of hate, guilt and unhappiness.
During this time I was more active than ever but I still didn’t “workout” in the traditional sense. I walked a lot, played with my son and started to do the typical things like parking far away and taking the stairs. However, after about a year at my goal weight I actually WANTED to join a gym.
It was a weird feeling for me.
I started with step classes and kickboxing at a local Y. I found I really enjoyed group fitness classes. There was a social aspect to them and I was having so much fun I didn’t even realize I was moving for an hour.
The Y also had Nautilus machines and I would follow the instructions listed on them always with my eye on the free weight room. Something seemed appealing about free weights but I was too scared to give them a try. I didn’t know what to do or how they worked.
That’s when I decided to invest in some personal training and I ended up befriending a female trainer. She and I started working out together. The free weights didn’t seem as scary with a friend, especially a friend who knew what she was doing.
After a few weeks my trainer friend asked if I wanted to run a 5k. I nearly laughed in her face.
Me? Run? She must be confusing me with a crazy person. I don’t run, I make fun of runners!
I, however, reluctantly accepted her challenge and in 2008 I ran my first-ever 5k.
After crossing that finish line with tears steaming down my face I saw my 2-year-old on the sideline cheering me on.
I was hooked.
Within the next year and half I ran my first 6-mile relay, 10 miler, half and full marathon.
Running really became an outlet for me. I loved it so much I challenged myself to run an event a month and I did for 2 years even while pregnant with my second son!
I was loving my new active life and I simply couldn’t believe I was doing all this amazing stuff. I felt like a completely different person.
Then in 2011 a friend challenged me to run a Tough Mudder. We trained together by running and doing crazy stuff like sled pulling and tire flipping.
I was also still taking classes at the gym. A few people mentioned CrossFit to me but I wasn’t interested. I didn’t know what it was and there were no gyms in my area anyway.
In 2012 I ran my first Tough Mudder.
It was by far the craziest, wildest thing I’ve ever did! But you know what? I loved it. I loved it so much I did 6 more over the next year and half. I even did 2 in one weekend!
During this time a CrossFit gym opened up in my area. I noticed a billboard while driving.
Not knowing what to expect, I went in for a free trial class.
I fell in love.
Free weights, kettlebells, Olympic lifting, all this stuff scared the crap out of me! But it was fun and challenging and different. The atmosphere was competitive and supportive in the best possible ways.
In 2013 I quit my regular gym membership, joined CrossFit and never looked back.
Within a year I started competing in local competitions.
Me? In a COMPETITION? An ATHLETIC competition?
It still blows my mind.
I’m so glad Kelly asked me to share my story because it has really reminded me how far I’ve come.
A few months after I started CrossFit I wrote a post listing all the reasons I fell in love with it but there are 3 I things I’d like to share for those who may be considering it. Maybe these will convince you to take the leap.
1. CrossFit doesn’t focus on how it will make you look. Rather the goal is to build strong, fit people. Sure, your body will change but (at my gym anyway) it’s never about how we look. It’s about how we feel and the progress we are making on our own personal fitness goals. As someone who struggles with body image issues, this is a huge advantage for me.
2. Variety is the spice of life. If you get bored at the gym with the machines and classes, CrossFit may be for you. We rarely do they same thing twice and if we do it’s only to compare our results and see our progress. Every day I walk into the gym not knowing what to expect and I love that!
3. Supportive community. CrossFitters are quite possibly the most supportive people I know. We challenge each other in the best possible way. Everyone works at their own level yet we are all on equal footing. It’s an amazing environment.
CrossFit is everything I need it to be. It helps nudge me out of my comfort zone, builds my confidence and reminds me daily that life isn’t about what my body looks like, it’s about what it can do.
Don’t let the CrossFit Games and super-athletes intimidate you. Anyone can do it. All you need is a desire to get fit and a willingness to try something new.
Want to follow Roni and continue to be inspired by her story? Here’s a few ways that you can keep up with this super busy lady: Roni’s Weigh blog, Green Lite Bites blog, The Unworldly Travelers blog, join us for Fitbloggin, and don’t forget to buy her new book – What You Can When You Can.
WANT TO READ MORE IN THIS SERIES?
Why You Don’t Need a Gym Membership featuring Brooke from Brooke Not on a Diet
Motivation Tips for New Runners featuring Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile
Learning to Love Spin featuring Ashley from Coffee Cake and Cardio
Conquering 60 Miles for a Cause featuring Alyssa from Double Chin Diary and LaLaLyssa
Yoga for Beginners featuring Jess from Racing to Zen