Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Working Out: Why I Started CrossFit at 49 and Lived to Tell the Tale

For most of my life, I didn't work out. That means from infancy through my mid-30's, I didn't do any kind of purposeful exercise, except the kind I had to do in school. And for the most part, it all worked pretty well for me. I was blessed to inherit some good genes from my parents, and myself and my siblings were always skinny. Skinny for me meant slender but not overly slender; I had what someone once described as "chicken legs". I could eat what I wanted without a care in the world. It also helped that my parents weren't flush with money, so we didn't eat out, didn't have much junk food, and I don't think I drank much pop at all until my mid to late teens. It helped that the proliferation of crap food we have today didn't really exist much when I was growing up. 

All that: genes, the era in which I grew up, and my parents lack of money for "fun stuff" all helped me stay thin. But I did, of course, also suffer from feeling fat; after all, my sisters were all smaller than I was--95 pounds to my gigantic 105. I look back now and shudder at how dumb I was ever thinking less of myself. 

In my mid-30's I started running, mostly because I was tired of walking and I wanted to move faster. That lead to running races, and winning a free year's membership to the local YMCA. That started me on the path of having a personal coach help me with the machines and getting some muscle. But I didn't get very much muscle, actually. I went to the YMCA for about 7 years, all the while running on the side. I wasn't a fast runner, but I did all sorts of races, and actually challenged myself to complete a marathon when I was 42. It took me 5 1/2 hours, but I did it. The last big race I ran was a half-marathon in Savannah, Georgia in 2011. I trained hard and ran my best race. I was pretty proud of myself. All that running helped me lose some weight, because by then my metabolism had slowed down, and I was gaining weight. The weight creep--every year, another 5 pounds or so, until I was about 30 heavier.  Eek! 

Flash forward to 2016. By now, I'm 49...turning 50 in November. It's the summer. I've got a new job, regular hours, and I'm finally able to do something I've wanted to do for a few years: try CrossFit. Why CrossFit? Mostly because my niece and nephew had joined a CrossFit box in their city and had amazing results, and said how much they loved it. I had quit the YMCA- I needed something that had someone there to push me, help me, and encourage me. I didn't find that in random classes at the YMCA, and I always felt a bit lonely and unhappy by myself at the gym. 

In May of 2016, I got up the courage to sign up for a 6 week FitKamp. I was about to get my ass handed to me on a plate...

I'll continue this story in a few days!  Stay tuned...

In the meantime, tell me what your fitness journey has been-or if you've never even had one! Everyone is different, and everyone finds what works for them. Walking, biking, running, weight lifting, yoga. What works for you?


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