Fearless athletes, I have something to tell you…

I really, really, really {heart} you all. A whole stinkin’ lot! I’d like to send a virtual shout out to each and every one of you. Thank you for the daily dose of good ‘ol motivation and inspiration. Lord knows I need it ;)

My fitness journey is nowhere near unique (or even complete), in fact there are hundreds more out there just like it. But let me tell you, I am one hundred kinds of excited that I was asked to share it with you.

Tiffany Before

I have always been overweight. For as long as I can remember I was the big-boned best friend, the girl with the “great personality.”  I never really thought about fitness or nutrition. I could practically smell “Mickey D’s” and gain weight, so why the hell not eat it?  I blamed my Dad’s German genetics. To me, dieting meant eating nothing but lettuce until I felt faint and exercise meant putting on spandex and watching “Buns of Steel” from the couch.

I was never really interested in sports. A little gymnastics here, a little softball there, but I wasn’t very good at either of them. When things got hard I gave up and moved on. By the time I was in high school, I was too afraid to try out for anything. I was scared that I wasn’t cool enough and I had no desire to publicly squeeze my sizeable rear into anything spandex anyway.

During college, life was all about Natty Lite, jungle juice, drunken bingeing, and hung-over eating; rinse, wash, repeat. Happy hours were a social necessity. And we all know this girl love, love, loves to socialize!

After graduation my weight was at an all time high. I remember sitting at a wings restaurant thinking . . .really!?! It was time to get my shit together.

Shortly after that incident, I joined Weight Watchers and watched myself lose 50 pounds. Whoo hoo!!  Unfortunately, when I stopped Weight Watchers I watched myself gain those 50 pounds back plus 10!  Then I joined a gym, trained for a half marathon, and lost 40 pounds.  During the planning of my wedding, 10 pounds decided to reunite with me.  OMG!! Clearly, my shit was not yet together.

Luckily, I was developing a love of exercise-induced endorphins that would rival Anastasia’s obsession with Mr. Grey. (50 Shades of Grey reference for all you ladies out there!) I began doing doubles at the gym several days a week and lost a few pounds initially. But I got comfortable. I knew exactly how hard to push myself without stepping outside of my comfort zone. I became complacent and eventually plopped my behind on a spin bike that initiated the longest weight-loss plateau in the history of the universe.

One day, Mr. Spouse came home talking about this thing called CrossFit. His cousin was a coach inCalifornia and insisted that it would be a game changer. I reminded him that CrossFitters were straight up crazy!

We had seen some running in a local 5K. As I struggled to finish the race, I watched them do sit-ups, squats, and hella strange jumping push-ups, and they still finished before me. Apparently running 3.2 miles wasn’t challenging enough for them!?!  WTF?!! The hubinator went to an intro session without me and quickly began drinking the kool-aid. He was all “WOD this” and “AMRAP that”. I couldn’t figure out whose perfect snatch he kept talking about!!

It was clear that I had to figure out this CrossFit thing for myself. I decided to join Mr. Spouse during one of the Saturday community workouts and ya’ll…I ‘bout freaked the heck out.

We got to the box early and watched as CFI’s most elite athletes participated in the Crossfit Open. There was A. LOT. of grunting and everyone kept throwing their weights to the floor. I told Mr. Spouse that there was “no way in hell” I was going to join. CrossFit was NOT for me. I convinced myself that the weights I lifted in Body Sculpt were enough. HAHA! The only reason that I didn’t run out the door after watching the Open was pride. I wanted to impress my well-intentioned hubby. So I put on my big girl panties and gave it my all.

The workout was grueling. Among other things, they made us run and do push-ups. Outside. In-the-Rain! W.T.F?  Surprisingly, I didn’t melt. After Mr. Spouse fork-lifted me off of the ground, I secretly felt a little badass. Maybe CrossFit was for me. Maybe some day, I would grunt and throw weights to the ground too! Though I wasn’t ready to admit it then, I think that was my first sip of the kool-aid and I decided to join.

After a week and a half at CFI, my husband and I joined the Whole Life Challenge. I’m not sure I believed the coaches when they talked about the positive impact that this competition would have on our health. Initially we were motivated by the prizes. We already ate fairly clean so the transition to Paleo wasn’t that difficult. I craved sugar and had a carb flu like headache for a few days, no big deal. We started cooking a ton more, exploring Paleo blogs, and had a blast experimenting with new foods. As it turns out the physical, mental, and emotional takeaways from this challenge were much more rewarding than the prizes.

Throughout the WLC my energy was boundless. I no longer needed my second cup of coffee in order to stave off my mid afternoon crash. Detoxing my body of simple carbs and sugar helped me to wake up easier, workout, enjoy my job and feel stinkin’ awesome! I also noticed my body ridding itself of bloat and inflammation.

The few muscles I had became easier to see. I was going to the box 5 days a week and by the end of the challenge I think I spotted an ab!! The scale and I had our differences but by the time the challenge was over I had lost 23 pounds and reached the lowest weight of my adult life.

I also learned that listening to my body is essential. I have been trying to focus on how certain foods make me feel and not how they make me look so that I can maintain my motivation. Feelings are instantaneous and thus my good choices can be immediately gratified.

Tiffany After!!

To say that I have a love hate relationship with the scale is an understatement. I’m a perfectionist in the worst way and have a bad habit of using the numbers on a scale to and immediately assessment my progress.

A huge Thank You to Coach Steph for helping me realize that there are so many reasons the numbers may not be moving (although they eventually will). Measurements and pictures speak volumes people!

Just like our cousin the coach told us, CrossFit was a game changer.

Suddenly I was held responsible for my actions. My previous gym lacked any sort of accountability. If I wanted to take it easy I could cover up my spin bike gauges with a towel and pretend to ramp up the resistance. I had no way to monitor my progress and thus didn’t think twice about slacking off.  Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale and the numbers weren’t moving!

CrossFit keeps me honest. The perfectionist in me loves that my progress is vastly measurable, but I am grateful that the pressure has been taken off of the scale. I now have the freedom to evaluate my progress in many different ways; how many, how long, how fast, how heavy. I also love how CrossFit celebrates accomplishments. At CFI the last person to finish gets as much recognition, if not more, than the first.

Here’s the bottom line. We need to do scary things because we are stronger than we think we are! The Whole Life Challenge and CrossFit are exactly that, challenging. If I told you that my heart doesn’t race before each WOD, I’d be lying. Though I absolutely LOVE IT!!

I’ve learned that we have to put ourselves in difficult situations in order to build confidence and strength. Each time we fight through pain, fear, and exhaustion to overcome something that was once thought impossible we build up a reserve from which to pull in times where life doesn’t go as planned.

Harness your fear and let it motivate you. You are stronger than you think, but unless you try, you’ll never know what you can accomplish.

And with that,  I challenge you, like it says on my Lululemon shopping bag, DO ONE THING A DAY THAT SCARES YOU.