Written by Jana Leveritt, of Rockwall, TX
My first exposure to CrossFit had to have been watching the CrossFit Games on TV. There was a rope climb in the workout and I remember watching those athletes climb to within inches of the top of the rope and then not be able to muster the strength to get all the way to the top. No rep. I was astounded by the physical exhaustion that they must have felt to have made it that far but not be able to get to the top in order to complete the rep. Then, they would come down take a few breaths and try AGAIN! I was blown away!
As I was approaching 40, I came to the realization that fitness is the closest thing that we have to the fountain of youth! I had been active all my life but never with a real plan. I dabbled in mountain biking, yoga, pilates etc. but never took fitness too seriously. I finally decided to join a local gym. I started “working out” but was really just mostly doing cardio. Then, I decided that I wanted MUSCLES! I hired a personal trainer because all that equipment was scary and intimidating. I worked hard and I got stronger! I’ll never forget seeing the first evidence of a bicep in my arms! Flash forward, 4 trainers and several years later and I felt like I had hit a wall. I was spending at least 1 ½ -2 hours in the gym each day (plus active time outside) but I didn’t feel like I was progressing anymore! I was tired of lifting weights for an hour and then being told to do cardio! Who has the time for that? Not me! I wanted to train smarter not harder.
Enter CrossFit. I had seen the CrossFit Games on TV. “Mud Mike” Shanks had worked out at the same gym I was at and left for CrossFit and I had another friend who owned a CrossFit. Summer was over and my kids were about to start school. I decided to try something new. The first day back at school I went to a CrossFit box (not CFR) to try it for a week. YIKES! It was loud and hot and people were slamming their weights down. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling too great about it. I was worried about all the things I had heard about people getting hurt and it sure looked dangerous to me! A guy at my gym had crushed his pelvis and was almost paralyzed while he was doing back squats. I was keenly aware of the need for proper coaching and safety and I just wasn’t feeling it. I talked to Mike and to my other CrossFit friend and they talked me into trying out their boxes.
I signed up for a Saturday morning free workout at CrossFit Rockwall and coaxed a friend to join me. I immediately had a much better feeling. Everyone was really nice and took the time to explain the movements in the workout and to help scale them as needed. Ryan “Leffy” was there and he knew my friend. He had just done a Saturday morning workout but stayed to do the free workout with us just to be supportive! I never made it to try out the third box, I knew Crossfit Rockwall was the right fit for me.
While there are so many awesome things to point out about CFR, there are three aspects to training there that make it really special. First, and at the top is the ownership! Mary & Mike go out of their way in so many ways to make CFR the best. The All-Star program, the Happy Hours, the Christmas Party, the Summer Party, the website and social media are just a small sampling of the many ways that they say, “thank you” every day to their athletes. CFR would not be the same without their unique style of leadership, personal engagement and encouragement.
Second, and under the direction of Mary & Mike, are the CFR coaches. I have complete confidence in all of the coaches at CFR. Each one of them has a unique style and brings something different to each session. While they all push you to do your best and encourage growth they never make you feel uncomfortable.
Last, and one of the most important aspects of CFR, is the people. I have made so many friends since starting to train at CFR and their individual support and encouragement is one of the things that keeps me coming back day after day.
OK, so yes CFR has great ownership, coaches and people but I’m really there for results! Right? I have seen so much improvement in my strength and endurance since starting CrossFit. What I noticed right away wasn’t physical, however. It was a sense of accomplishment at reaching a new level or achieving a new skill. You feel as if you are making strides at furthering yourself both physically and mentally. You learn how to do double-unders. You finally do a pull-up. You climb a rope! You are constantly learning and improving. There is always a way to push yourself harder and there is always a supportive group around you cheering you on.
CrossFit has pushed me out of my training comfort zone. It’s helped me to push myself harder outside of the box too. I’ve started hiking quite a bit and have done some 3rd class rock scrambling, which was quite a physical and mental challenge. I’m in the process of planning a 3-day, 30+ mile remote backpacking trip across Big Bend National Park to celebrate my 47th birthday. I also just finished “competing” in the CrossFit Open, which was completely outside of my comfort zone, but I did it!
When I think back on my first exposure to CrossFit with the rope climb and I consider my own experiences, I understand now what CrossFit means to me. It means that you keep going. You try new things. You keep working and you never give up. You give it your ALL…then you fall on the ground out of breath and hear the sound of your friends and coaches applauding your success.