<<WARNING – SUPER LONG POST!>>
One year ago my husband, Scott, came to me and said, “Angie, there is this gym I want to try out. They offer 2 free classes and I want to see what it is about.” A person he follows on twitter would share her workouts and he felt it would be something he would want to try. This is where our story begins. Our ending is yet to come but our success and struggles are what we share here.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 – Scott walked into Crossfit Lake Mary to collect on his 2 free classes and to see what this “Crossfit” stuff was all about. He was met by Greg Sheppard, the gym owner who put Scott on a basic workout to perform while the other lady in the class flew around the gym during her workout as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Scott came home that day saying “Angie, there’s something to this. I’m going back”.
We spoke about the expense. While it was a little more than a “globo gym” membership yet cheaper than a personal trainer, Scott truly felt this is something he would commit to and want to keep going back. I agree to the expense with some reservations and Scott continued to go.
After just a week and half of Scott joining – our gym had a friends and family day, one of our friends was interested in checking it out and went with him. Our friend felt as if he really needed to lose some weight on his own before starting however seemed to like the concept. Scott continued his endeavor irregardless of what others say and think.
Scott asked me after a few weeks to go to a Saturday class to watch. I was very hesitant as I was still suffering from a great deal of post pardum depression and never wanted to go anywhere. We packed up our 4 kids on a Saturday morning and I watched the class. The class seemed intimidating to me. I felt Scott, nor I, really belonged in a place where so many fit people were just lifting heavy things and running around with such ease. Then I watched just Scott. Everything he did was scaled. Running was rowing and weights weren’t as heavy as what was on the white board. I did not realize that Crossfit allowed you to scale until that visit. See pictures below:
Prior to my own attempt to this Crossfit way of life; I had emailed the gym and asked some simple questions. I was provided some links to review and even a follow up email to see if I had reviewed them. It wasn’t until 6 weeks after Scott started that I went to collect on my 2 free classes as well. It was Scott’s success that encouraged me to at least try. Still reluctant and not in the right frame of mind I began on April 27, 2011.
Just 8 days after I started Crossfit, our gym began a “Paleo Challenge”. For non crossfitters – Paleo is a hunter/gather way of eating that excludes modern/processed foods such as pasta, dairy, beans, legumes and other items loaded with gluten and sugar.
Remember I had said I wasn’t in the right frame of mind? Just 8 days into Crossfit I had actually gained 2lbs. However, I wasn’t eating to support weight loss either. Our Crossfit gym gave us plenty of links, books to pick up to read and encouragement to begin the Paleo Challenge.
Gearing up for the Paleo challenge and being a competitive person by nature, Scott and I studied up on this Paleo way of eating and worked hard to implement it in our lives for the 30 day challenge that began on May 5, 2011. This is when our momentum started to pick up a bit. It became part of our life to not make excuses. We worked hard to support each other to make sure we each could make class, maintain our home, 2 jobs, 4 kids and 2 pets. I documented our Paleo challenge on my personal blog. It became clear that if we could make it work – surely anyone could?
The challenge, nor effort, was ever easy. I struggled with many additional challenges. Suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and having insulin resistance added an addition concern as we planned our diet. There were also temptations. During the Paleo Challenge our box had a friendly box competition. After the competition there was an after party. We attended and used one of our cheat days allowed on the Paleo Challenge.
The post pardum depression was a struggle for me to just get dressed in the morning. Imagine putting yourself in a social situation with so many fit/good looking individuals. Then finding a picture of you on facebook looking like this! That was additional encouragement to get the weight off!
We each lost a decent amount of weight during the challenge. Scott even won 2nd place! He lost 20lbs and I lost 11lbs (5%bodyfat). Scott was beginning to see changes to his size. Perhaps this is working? So we continued on our weight loss endeavor.
At New Years prior to all this Crossfit stuff, Scott had made a resolution to do a 5k a month for the entire year. He had thought that would spark his weight loss. While he had lost 20lbs prior to Crossfit; he did not see the body result changes until he added the additional efforts provided by Crossfit WODs. In July, I began to join him in his 5k challenge. We had done only one other 5k earlier in the year together. This was in February 2011, just 3 months after the baby was born and I thought it was going to kill me. Each one became a little easier.
The summer did not prove too difficult; we continued to eat Paleo as often as possible. We however did not keep a journal so our weight loss slowed. Even on vacation we did not gain a pound!
Consistency is what did work. We performed a WOD 5-6 days a week and ate Paleo 90% of the time. We allowed a cheat day every other week just for sanity.
After vacation in late July we pulled it back into high gear. Making sure yet again we were going to the gym 5-6 days a week and eating Paleo as much as possible.
Our gym had decided to participate in the Savage Race. August 27, 2011. Scott really wanted to participate and I felt I was not ready for such an endeavor. With the encouragement of our box and Scott – I signed up too. We may not have done every obstacle to the requirements of the race… but we did get through it! Scott continued to impress me with what he was able to do! Wall climbs!
School started back and of course the pressure of running a household increases once your kids activities increase! Our children are ages 13, 10, 5 and 1; 8th grade, 4th grade, Pre-K & daycare. Each child has their own interest and activities they participate in. This has in the past lead to a few nights of KFC or McDonald’s when food was not easy to prepare; however, our crockpot became our saving grace!
Life did not slow down for us; so we had to continue to make our efforts of weight loss, crossfit and Paleo work. Our routine at the time was 6am class for me, 8am class for Scott. We each worked an 8+ hour day. Afterwork for me I shuttle kids around to this or that. Then come home to cook paleo and do it all over again the next day. Scott has an hour commute each way – so much of his time driving includes listening to podcasts or videos about crossfit to improve his knowledge and performance.
In late September I was fortunate enough to participate in a Nutrition Seminar put on by Jeremy Mullins of Crossfit HQ. The seminar went over both Zone and Paleo diets. It also covered some science and basic principals of how to properly evaluate your food intake. What your personal needs are versus those of someone else. Diet and Exercise we have learned is very much a personal journey. Here I was able to gain valuable knowledge to dial in and tune our diet in such a way that we really began to see bdy changes like never before.
We kept up the effort regardless of stalls or hiccups along the way.
Another Paleo Challenge was on the horizon. I personally was determined to win this challenge. Not for the prize involved but to finally get my diet under control. I spoke to Scott and he was on board to bring the kids in 100% as well. This Paleo challenge would prove our most difficult yet. Preparing food for 6 to be 100% on Paleo and even constructing WODs at home for the kids to perform. We were focused and ready to make it a success.
Our oldest son was about 15lbs overweight. Our 4 year old daughter was at risk to being overweight. The possible changes paleo and crossfit kids scaled WODs could make was undeniably something we wanted to try to take advantage of. October 6, 2011 began our 2nd Paleo Challenge.
During the process of the Paleo Challenge, our 4 year old learned that McDonald’s is NOT good food. Our 10 year old took his lunch everyday knowing he was eating healthy even though classmates made fun of him and our 13 year old dropped 8 lbs and 2 pants sizes and has had many of his friends say he needs a new nickname that he’s not “stubby” anymore. The nickname was one his friends gave him because he’s so short and was stubby to boot. Over all our oldest has lost 12lbs and maintaining his size even with his height growth. Our 10 yr old 7lbs; leaned out – no pants size change and our 4 yr old – 2lbs; leaned out – no pants size change; milk belly reduced
The most heartwarming event from this Paleo Challenge was a conversation I had with our oldest. He said: “Mommy, I’m so glad Daddy found Crossfit. It really has changed all of us. Daddy isn’t angry anymore and you seem happier. I’m just really glad he found it.”
Our success was amazing. As it was said many times over – I really figured out how to dial it in. Results:
Not only at had I lost 65lbs at this point in our journey, but the symptoms of my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome were disappearing. My hair loss had stopped and hair was returning. Cyst issues were non-existent and my post pardum depression was a non issue. Scott was seeing more drops in size; so much that he had to purchase clothes – from wearing a 3XL to an XL or a large pending the cut of the shirt. Scott’s weight loss was approximately 90lbs at this point.
Just because the Paleo Challenge was over didn’t mean we were done. We weren’t done by a long shot!
Next challenge – our gym decided they were going to do a 12 WODs of Christmas. 12 WODs – over 12 hours; the buy in went to charity. Those that completed all 12 WODs got a t-shirt.
Scott was amazing during the WODs – he completed every one of them; and yes got his t-shirt. I had the kids with me that day but was still able to complete 7 of the WODs including the 120 burpees that our oldest completed too.
Holiday weren’t without struggle of course. After coming off a hard core Paleo Challenge – we just wanted a rest. Still ate Paleo and worked out but not with the same consistency as before. Our results of course suffered. While we did not gain weight – we did not see the results as when we were consistent with our efforts.
During the month of December I attended the Crossfit Goals Setting Seminar. Very informative and made my knowledge for Crossfit things even greater; all those times of making fun of Scott for watching the Crossfit games over and over – had to end… because I finally had drank the Kool-aid too.
Scott and I try to encourage each other to do thing we want to do and try to excel at them. One of those things for me is half marathons. 2 years prior I had lost weight and completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida. I was just thrilled to complete it. Afterwards we had baby number 4 and I gained all the weight I lost back plus some. I had asked Scott if I could travel to complete the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Disneyland California.
January 28, 2012 I completed the Tinkerbell Half Marathon – I beat my previous half marathon time by 18 minutes. This was a wonderful accomplishment and my box back home continued to send me notes and messages of encouragement. As if that PR was not enough – 4 weeks later on February 26, 2012 I completed once again the Disney Princess Half Marathon and beat my previous PR just earned 4 week prior by 14 minutes. I know Crossfit prepared me for those PRs far better than training on my own.
By completing a half marathon in the same calendar year at each Disney location; I earned the coveted Coast to Coast Medal.
Our gym held a WOD in the park where we brought Scott’s brother and the kids along. The WOD was a wonderful team building event that ended with a tug of war. Here you see Scott and our Coach Greg. February 2012
2012 is here. Scott’s one year anniversary is approaching. We’ve worked to dial back in on his journey and he is back on the weight loss train. He is poised to lose 100bs since Crossfit; 120lbs over all. His journey has inspired so many. First with me, then it spread to the kids. We’ve inspired family members, friends and even strangers. (I’ve still got 6 weeks till my year anniversary :-P)
Personally I have had people that I haven’t spoken to in years contact me to ask what am I doing and how have I done it. My mother has even spoken to me about her own diet and exercise which means more to me than she’ll ever know. Scott’s brother has begun his crossfit journey and paleo efforts. People reach out to us that we had no idea we even inspired or touched. We truly feel we must pay this journey forward.
I have asked others what their memories or impact we have had on them were. The most moving was one of our member that said her most memorable moment was “Scott telling a group of us(tears in his eyes) about 6 months in how he made a conscious decision to “Stop the cycle” of poor health/obesity/illness that spanned generations in the family. He said “It stops with Angie and I…life will change drastically starting with us for our children and grandchildren.””
Where do we go from here? Our weight loss journey is still not over. Scott will have approximately another 20-30lbs to lose and myself 40-50lbs. We have our children to mold into health conscious/healthy individuals that will make good choices even when we’re not around. Both Scott and I are signed up for our Crossfit level 1 certifications and I hope to take the Crossfit Kids course as well. We have begun to open our own business to provide paleo style food to others that struggle or do not have time to make it on their own. All this plus 4 kids, 2 jobs (now our own business too), pets and trying to complete our journey.
Scott is too modest to toot his own horn about his success – so I hope after reading this post you will join me in celebrating with Scott his one year at Crossfit, 100lbs lost since Crossfit and 120lbs over all since January 1, 2011 and inspiring his family, friends and strangers to make changes and grow to be healthy for a long time to come.