I just moved to Austin this past spring for a semester abroad. Back home in England I have competed in competitive cheerleading, but knew I needed to keep up my fitness routine if I wanted to cheer back home. My cousin told me about CrossFit a couple of years ago and I knew I needed a more structured program to get the results I wanted. I went to a CrossFit Central free community workout and was hooked. I set a goal for myself this year abroad to try as many new things as possible. I’m quite certain I do something new every single class!
After moving to Austin I was really homesick and struggled to find the motivation to get up and be productive. I had no real goals and no direction apart from studying. I’d lost my routine that I had at home and really felt like I was going to spend my entire year going to class, studying, and going to my sorority events. I was really unprepared for how different day-to-day things were going to be here and I knew I needed to get back to working out, which was always how I de-stressed at home.
In my first seven weeks I lost 7% body fat, 5 lbs, 5 inches, and dropped a dress size. I’ve never seen so much change so fast in my life – even my abs are starting to peek through! My first week in class I couldn’t actually run 400m, I would get halfway done and have to walk back. But I’m now running 800m comfortably and am signed up for the Austin Half Marathon in February – something I never thought I’d even consider doing. I started just telling myself that no matter how slowly I went I had to run or jog or anything but walk what I was supposed to run, then it became a “you have to at least jog” and now I try to run and sprint the last 100m too. It’s not just running though, I’ve seen so much improvement in my lifting PRs, even before actually doing my 1RMs again – I know I’ve gotten stronger when I’m working solidly at a weight that’s actually pretty close to my 1RM. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m nowhere near done yet.
I went into a vicious cycle of setting goals and just never really getting there, letting myself off and starting over, telling myself “I’ll do better this time, I’ll work harder”. For example, six weeks before a holiday to Morocco at the start of this summer I wanted to just feel good wearing a bikini; I said that I was going to go to the gym four times a week and eat clean but little things would happen and I’d make excuses and never make any progress, to say the least those photos are great motivation now! The CC community, my class and my coaches keep me accountable and when I do mess up they pick me up and help me move past it. I’ve realized that everyone slips up occasionally and a cheat meal every now and again doesn’t mean you’ve undone all your hard work, you just have to get back on track and carry on.
I really have to give my coaches credit where it is due, they go above and beyond what I would ever expect of them. Without them I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today and I truly believe that they make such a difference in bringing the CC community together. They’re a big part of the reason I keep going. I always think about what I told Coach Taylor at my first body comp when we were discussing my goals: “I want people to say WOW when I go home”. I then proceeded to burst into tears at the end of my workout that day because I found some crazy drive to push myself harder than I ever have before. I realized that day that to get what I wanted I had to push through some mental barriers, to say to myself, “Okay, there’s 30 seconds left of this AMRAP, how far can I get?” The first time I Rx’d a WOD, and it was a benchmark at that, I was beaming for the entire day, it was something a part of me really never thought I’d manage.
I’m also really enjoying my early morning classes. They get me up in the morning and help me start my day positively. No matter what happens for the rest of the day, I’ve achieved one thing that morning. Prior to joining the gym I really struggled to get up and be productive when I didn’t have a class until noon. But now I’m awake and going every morning, even when I don’t have class, because I’ve found my routine again. For some reason, I find the warm-up really challenging some mornings. I think it’s just because I’ve just rolled out of bed and I’m not quite awake yet. But I do this crazy thing where I tell myself that if I can just finish the warm-up, then I know I can do the workout. I don’t think that makes any logical sense but it works for me!
I’m already sad about the fact that I have to leave in May to go home and finish my degree. But I’m so grateful for how I’ve been taken in and truly welcomed to Austin. My CC family will always have a special place in my heart and you won’t be getting rid of me that easily!