The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.
Disclaimer: This post is about my 6 week challenge with my local CrossFit 190 and I couldn’t have completed this without God and lots of calling out to Jesus. So there is that. If you don’t want to read about who God is in my life and what CrossFit did for my life, check out now.
“It’s actually pretty simple. Either you do it, or you don’t.”
Backstory – I will try to sum this up as short as possible and protecting privacy as much as possible. This 2018 year did not get off to a good start (health wise). After Christmas vacation in Oklahoma and New Year celebrations at home, there really was no motivation on my part to be active, eat smarter, healthier, etc. It was a cold winter and I kept saying that once it gets warmer I will start up my exercising again and watch my calorie intake. Allow me to step up to the plate and be the first to call bull-shit on that. I have been carrying the weight I gained during my recovery time in a drug rehabilitation program I completed years ago. When you’re sober, you eat. You eat EVERYTHING. Spring came, nothing. Florida vacation came, nothing. Wedding season came, nothing. Summer came, nothing. None of my clothes fit me comfortably. I would run out of breath just getting out of bed. It was extremely painful to do mundane things like, laundry, dishes, picking something off the floor, tying my shoes (I don’t remember the last time I was able to actually tie my shoes once they were on my feet), shaving my legs, walking to the mailbox. You get it. I was FAT. I was DIABETIC. I was UNHEALTHY. I was DYING.
“Don’t be afraid of being a beginner.”
The CALL TO ACTION
One sweet day, as I sit in our home office. I was hardly working and scrolling Facebook, when all of the sudden I came across a video. It showed some woman swinging from a rope across the view of the camera and I thought it was funny. So, being the nosey person I am, I proceeded to click on the video to see the whole thing with sound. Hands down, best thing I ever did this past July! Anyhow, I honestly could not tell you what was said in the video, but it did peak my interest and I filled out the “I am interested form, so that someone would contact me about taking one of the few spots left in the upcoming 6 week challenge”. Something like that. Not an hour later, my cell phone rings. “Good afternoon, this is Jess” (that is how I answer my cell during work hours, even at home) The God-sent voice that comes through the ear piece is none other than, Austin Townsend. We spoke briefly, and even in the short conversation, he can confirm the transparency I had about my current health and goals. We set an appointment to meet the next day at 1630 hours.
“Sore. The most satisfying pain.”
The woman. The bike. The meeting.
Friday, July 20, 2018. That was the day. I didn’t have a vehicle that day and it was hot as fish grease. I easily said to myself, “it is too hot to put your big ass on that bike and peddle yourself to that appointment. Just block the number and don’t even bother.” Then I said to myself, “self, its hotter in hell. go.” I barely arrived in one piece. My heart rate was dangerously high, I felt like I was going to fall out. I had the hardest time securing it to a tree close by. I attempted to “look” composed and “not out of breath”. I was nervous, sweaty and huffing and puffing as I walked through the door of CrossFit 190 <— check out the Facebook Page. I walked in with a smile and lucky for me, Corry (Owner) was in the center of the floor. He greeted me and I said, ” I am here to meet with Austin.” Shook hands and that was that. Austin and I went to the office and I started with nothing less that my trademark honesty. I was like, “Sir, give me a minute to catch my breath. I was crazy and rode my bike here in the 100 plus degree weather. -chugs water-” Basically our conversation went as follows:
Me: Thanks for calling me so quickly. I’m going to be honest and transparent. I am dying. I need to get healthy. This is my only option and I need to start now. I have treated my body like shit and that is precisely how I feel. So, what is this 6 week challenge?
Austin: something, something 6 week challenge. something, something, something. Meal plan, something, something. Weekly weigh in, something, something. Lose 25 pounds, something, something.
Me: yep, sounds good. Lets skip all the sales pitch. What are all, if any costs associated, and when does it start?
Austin: Sooo, there is a buy in. Something, something. If you don’t invest in yourself, something, something. We’ve seen that people show up more if there is an investment, something, something.
Me: I work in sales. I just rode a bike in this Texas heat. Give it to me straight. (Austin: $$$) Ok, how do I pay? Where do I sign. When do I show up. (Austin: we can charge half now and … something, something) Do it all now. I am ready to go.
That people, is how I ‘signed up’ for the 6 week challenge. (I will soon question my mental state after this)
“70% of people that start a fitness plan quit. Except you. Not this time.”
Saturday Weigh-ins/Nutrition class
This was easy peachy. We came in as a group. I was dressed for my first work-out and water bottle in hand (I thought we were working out that day.) I “kind” of met some people. Just tried to get a feel of what others were about. We did some introductions like name, what we do for work and favorite animal. (I secretly don’t trust those who don’t like any animals, but I am working on that) Corry, went through the meal plan. What the color codes mean, Grocery list, tips, recipes and stressed how important it is to “stick to your plan”. We all received a folder customize for us individually. We were called out to the hallway one by one for our before picture. After scanning the room of the other challengers, I think it was safe to say that I was the fattest women there. That did not stop me from taking my tank top off and posing in my sports bra and leggings for my photo. [shrug] That was the easy part. I went home and cheated (even though we were technically starting the meal plan that Saturday.)
“Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.”
DEATH. Lets start with that word. So, Sunday before my first class, I couldn’t sleep. I was so excited; like it was my first day of school or something. I probably had like 2.5 hours of sleep. I thought I would be slick and attend the 0530 class (thinking no one would be there) WRONG. Everyone and their momma was there. I was like, really?!?
“Train insane or remain the same.”
*side note – at this time, I was not aware of the dynamics of a full class*
So, there I am. Sitting in my SUV, praying and singing worship. Preparing as much as possible mentally. Like a lamb about to be slain by the lions known as squats, sit ups, rowing, push-ups and ring rows. I don’t have the words to describe the sensations my body was feeling during these activities. I felt my heartbeat in my neck and behind my eyeballs. I was sweating in places on my body that had never been explored. I called on the Lord God THE. WHOLE. TIME. The only thing that didn’t suck, was the rower. I hadn’t shared with them, that I used to row the Withlacoochee river and always placed first in the canoe races during my time as a Youth Counselor for the Department of Juvenile Justice system in Florida. I did my best, I gave my all that morning. I wasn’t even there the whole hour. I knew I was doing something different that the rest of the class, but I wouldn’t know hoooow different until week 2. I was dismissed to go home and I did just that. I threw myself on my bed after peeling off my clothes which were drenched. I slept until around noon, when I had to use the restroom. That is when it went all downhill for the next few days. I couldn’t move. My body was failing me. My muscles were in a violent protest. I yelled for James to help me out of bed. I could hardly put any weight on my thighs to lift me up. It felt like FIRE running through my veins. I pissed all over the floor, toilet seat and my legs. I had nothing left by the time I fully sat on the toilet. This would continue for days. Say what you will, it won’t bother me the least bit. When my dog took a shit on the floor, it stayed there. I resorted to rolling out of bed straight to the carpet, crawling to the bathroom and using my arms to prop myself up using the sink. I looked up remedies to aide in my recovery. I drank tumeric teas, gave myself massages with menthol lotions, electric heating pads, salt baths and I didn’t return until Thursday, for my second day. (Challengers should be going into the box 3 times per week) Walking for my second workout solidified the whole challenge for me. I mean if you go back after the pain threshold Day 1 put you through, its safe to say, “you’re in”. I met the lovely ladies called Wall-Balls. If our arms are Lucy and Ethel, the chaos that surrounds them would be the wall-walls. Umm, imagine for a moment a welding torch being held to the muscules in your upper arms while throwing a 10 pound ball up a wall and catching it, the cherry on top is the squat you do in between throws. That day was a 21-15-9 format. My brain could not keep count and stay present in the activity. It was overload. I was like, 1,2,3,3,3,Oh,My,GOD,4,7,7,7,7,7,8,9,Jesus, Please, Help, Me, 12, 13…why, am, I, doing, this, voluntarily, 19, 20, 21. Yeah, that was just part of day 2. Now, we are part of a private Facebook group for accountability and encouragement. I met some wonderful people there and they have been critical in me not giving up. So, I mentioned doing my 3rd class on Saturday. How naive of me to do that. I will say I was given a caution, but I went anyways. Let me tell you, Saturdays are in my opinion for the LOCOS. The competitors. I call them the ‘professionals’ now. The only memories I have of that day are of my face down, eyes burning with sweat, yelling at the ground as if it had offended me. I wish I could have footage of me attempting this movement called the Spider-man, HA! I can not make this stuff up! The most un-natural movements in a 300 pound body that is already sore?!?! AFV would have paid for that video. That will be my last Saturday class until the last class in the challenge.
“Definition of a really good workout: when you hate doing it, but you love finishing it.”
Getting the “Hang” of it
In the weeks to follow, I can safely say that I learned something new in every class I attended. Week 1 to 3 were the toughest. Some part of my body was sore at all times. One part would recover and then we would work out another part of my body and BOOM, soreness again. I will also mentioned I learned the difference between pain and soreness. It is expected to be sore, pain from an injury is not the aim. When week 2 came, I can still remember exactly what I felt in terms of coming to the realization that I would be doing the full class work out. This is where they dynamics of a class come in. So here I am, still nervous before every class beginning. Austin is up by the whiteboard going through what I thought was the workout. We must have done something like a 200 meter run, burpees, push-ups, inching across the floor with my hands and legs. I don’t recall everything that day, but it was like 10 minutes going on an hour it felt like to me. He called “time” and I thought, “Ok, I did it. I am alive.” Austin then swivels the whiteboard around to reveal what the strength training and WOD would be for that day – Running Elizabeth. I audibly and with a look of confusion said, “wait, what?!?! that wasn’t the workout we just did?” Someone replied, “girl, that was the warm-up.” I almost walked out that day. No lie. That was the first time I cried in class after the WOD. I had a Jesus moment. I had a spiritual revelation. I just kept getting so real, how unhealthy I was. I wanted to vomit. I asked for forgiveness for every bad thing I did in my life. Even through the pain, fear and wanting to quit during the workouts, I never felt ‘less than’. Everyone encouraged me. Everyone pushed me to do just ‘one more’. I was taught how to execute every movement to prevent injury. I was monitored. Every workout was scaled to that I could complete it at my level. God provided instructors, encourage-ers and strength that I had not asked for. I never felt ashamed in a room full of people, athletes in amazing shape. I can not begin to thank God for that in itself.
“Suck it up. And one day you won’t have to suck it in.”
Honestly, I never felt like going to go workout. I dreaded walking in those doors to the unknown WOD. The pain, uncomfortable, difficult and intimidating tasks I knew faced me when I arrived. I had to encourage myself. I would tell myself, “Jess, you are here in this condition because you allowed your feelings to dictate your actions. You are strong. You can do this. It will be worth it. It is worth it.” I made sure that this time I did this for me. I have been encouraged by things and people I love to consider getting healthy, but I have to do this. I have to sweat. I have to eat healthier. I have to keep going. Me, Myself and I.
“I will beat her. I will train harder. I will eat cleaner. I know her strengths. I’ve lost to her before but not this time. She is going down. I have the advantage because I know her well. She is the old me.”
I wrote a letter to myself and shared it with the Facebook Group, I’ll share the link to the document here.
“The hardest lift of all is lifting your butt off the couch.”
The Weigh-ins. The Weight off. The What if. The Why not.
My first weigh in was for obvious reasons, nerve wrecking. I started at 311.6 pounds. I stepped on the scale, held my hands out and waited. The numbers blinked 306.4 Yup, you read that correct. 5, FIVE, CINCO pounds, gone! In 7 days, I had burned, removed 5 pounds. I won’t say “lost”, because I know where they are and they are not lost. They are in the McDonald’s french fries I said NO! to. In the pepperoni and extra cheese pizza from Sali’s I said NO! to. They are in the whole bag of Hot Cheetos, Rocky Road ice cream, Coconut Cream Pie shake from Sonic and the late night cereal for no other reason that to just eat. I felt so powerful. I had to go to the grocery store to find a 5 pound bag of potatoes, just to “feel” what the weight was like. It put it into perspective. I had started my fitness journey and it feels amazing. We all have some “What ifs” in our lives. Don’t let those what-ifs write out what your life will be like. Change those what-ifs to why-nots. Everyone around me was vacationing, flying to destinations, sun bathing on the beach, running around with their dogs, enjoying outdoor activities, why not me? Why not do all those things too? Why not have a quality life? If you don’t get anything from this post, get this. If you find yourself in a place that you are not happy with, change it. If you are unhealthy, it doesn’t matter what the scale screams back at you. Start somewhere. Start moving. Start making better eating decisions that ultimately turn into habits. You have to make the tangible shift to a better you. Stop giving full blame to other people for your situation. You decided at some point to stay in your pit of pain, pit of pity, pit of contentment, pit of insecurity, pit of anger, pit of un-forgiveness, pit of defeat. We were not created to stay in any of those places. WE are conquerors in Christ. WE are strong through him. WE are powerful. You have a purpose. You have a place in his plan. You have a table that God set just for you full of provision, abundance, blessing, joy, healing, anointing and love. All this is before you and in the presence of your enemies, your struggles, your tribulations, your failures. They are all before you and they are forced to see you succeed. We don’t just have an RSVP seat at the table, we get to sit with the King of Kings. Remember that when you think about giving up or giving in.
“When you feel like quitting think about why you started.”
Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more on my Fitness Journey. I’ll share my stories, tips, food, remedies and truth. Join in on my groups for discussions on today’s topics, woman faith-focused content or Let’s talk about it with Jess. Ill be releasing Podcasts soon on SoundCloud.