Written by Mary Woodruff (Rigney) or Rockwall, TX
Everyone always wants to know how I got started with CrossFit. Like many others, I used to think I was in good shape. But, I was far from it. I've always been active - I've played sports, lifted weights or done some other sort of pointless "cardio" nearly my entire life. But, that never made me "fit". It wasn't until I tried CrossFit that I realized that I had never really been in good shape at all. And that was just a few years ago.
After dabbling in multiple sports and activities throughout the first 17 years of my life, I went off to college. I was slated to join the Marine Corps when I was through, and began training hard. Hard, not smart. Our training consisted of running, running in boots, and running with rifles. Throw a few weak, assisted pull-ups, some half range of motion push-ups and sit-ups and you can imagine how boring it was. Every day at 5am that's what I did. I thought it was right. But I got slower, weaker, and discouraged. I was tired, sick, or injured 100% of the time. But I pushed through, because, hey, I was tough. Then, I started tipping the scales at the upper end of the weight limit for the military height to weight chart. How was that even possible? I was running 5-10 miles every day, and eating rice cakes for lunch. It made no sense...at the time.
I went through 4 years of that - chronically ill, fatigued and more often in a bad mood than not. But, that's what you get for doing "chronic cardio" and eating a high-carb, low-fat diet. Well, I didn't get that memo. Not until I found CrossFit during my last semester of college. By that time, I had just discontinued my contract with the Marine Corps, and was now on my own to do what I wanted to do for training. Still mostly brainwashed with the running and more running mentality, I lifted some weights and kept pounding the pavement. Just for kicks, and because I kept getting joint pain from the long runs, I'd get on the elliptical machine once in a while (I cannot believe I just admitted that...don't spread that around). Finally, I slowly started adding in a few CrossFit workouts. The very first one I tried was pull-ups and burpees. It was rounds of 30-25-20-15-10 and 5. I tried to do just the even sets of 30-20 and 10 and I still don't think I even finished. The next day, I could barely move. So, I decided to do another one. I did the workouts I could do at my apartment or at the track for about a year before I moved to Texas. I wasn't even that consistent, but I started feeling better.
In Texas, I was stuck in a cubicle most of the week, working out on and off, and beginning to feel crummy again. That's when I decided to abandon everything I had ever learned about fitness and commit to CrossFit. If only I would have had that revelation sooner. I started struggling through the workouts one day at a time. I took a bunch of extra rest days because I was kicking my ass pretty bad. But, man, was it worth it.
By the end of my second year of CrossFit I was doing the workout almost every day. My recovery was getting better, I was getting stronger, and even my 5k run time dropped by minutes. If only I could have retaken that damn PFT (the Marine Corps fitness test), I would have shown them I wasn't the slowest one anymore. But, best of all it was fun! I found someone to start doing the workouts with me (that would be Mike) and the transition of working out on my own to working out with someone was like running in sand vs. running on one of those moving walkways at the airport. I was getting so much better so fast...and it seemed effortless! I pushed myself much harder, was more consistent, and was having a lot of fun.
Now, with over three years of CrossFit under my belt, it has completely changed my life. I am at my ideal bodyweight, and I don't even have to think about it anymore. It just happens. I have gone from barely being able to do pull-ups to being able to do 46 in a row. My deadlift has increased from nothing (literally) to 250 lbs. I've learned new skills, gotten stronger, and feel awesome all the time. No more injuries, no more getting sick, no more loathing my workouts. I've always just been an average Jane like everyone else...and really, I still am. I just have a secret weapon now...and that's CrossFit.