Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from Simone, whose story is shockingly similar to my own. Simone finally puts words to the same struggle I felt during high school when I was envious of my athletic friends, not because they were “skinny” but because they seemed to have something that I couldn’t access. And I was very excited to read this and find out that I wasn’t the only one who made dandelion crowns on the soccer field instead of giving a crap about the game…
I may not be Annie Thorisdottir or Lindsey Valenzuela. I’m not an Iron Man or a pro athlete. But it might be safe to say that I’m becoming a bit of a fitness enthusiast.
If you had told me when I was 10 that I’d become a crazy CrossFitter, you would have had to interrupt me picking dandelions on the soccer field – or, more likely, at home reading a book, as far removed from sports as possible. While never overweight, I’ve also never been fit. I looked at high school athletes with envy; as a quiet, non-athletic girl with mild asthma, I was certain I’d never have their physique. All of my friends would scold me for my despair, telling me I didn’t need to lose weight. What I couldn’t articulate to them was that it wasn’t the number on the scale that bothered me – it was the desire for the confidence and strength that came with an athlete’s physical capability.
My first step towards change was at age 16 when I joined a traditional kung fu studio. That community became my family, and though it took awhile for my shyness to wear off, it wasn’t long before I looked forward to the soreness that followed classes. I still might not have been able to climb the rope in gym, but I was developing real muscles! No way!
Three years of college out-of-state slowed my progress, but when I returned home, my life changed again: I became a CrossFitter.
In the past year and a half of CrossFit, I have gone from the girl who watches on the sidelines and says “I can’t!” to a girl who can deadlift 1.5x her bodyweight. Through blogs like Nerd Fitness and Strong Inside Out, I discovered the Paleo diet, started reading about habit change, and – most importantly – began to change my attitude towards physical activity. I’ve gotten a taste of what it feels like to give a workout everything you’ve got – and I finally understand why working out can be so addicting.
I’m still working towards getting an unassisted pull-up (so close!) and altering my body composition, and though I often look at where I’m not instead of how far I’ve come, I’m realizing that the changes I’ve made already are astonishing. I cook Paleo dinners at home, I’ve signed up for parkour classes, and I’m even pondering the possibilities of being a personal trainer and CrossFit coach someday. ME. The introverted bookworm-turned-fitness enthusiast who hates sports. I’ve even signed up for the Tough Mudder this fall. Inconceivable!
I’m still not where I want to be, but I am so much closer than I ever dreamed possible – all thanks to my kung fu family, CrossFit community, and blogs like Nerd Fitness, Strong Inside Out and the Ascent Blog: I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. It is directly because of their encouragement, support and side-by-side struggles that I’ve become who I am now – and it feels every bit as good as my shy, un-athletic self imagined it would back in high school.
Our kung fu school’s motto speaks of dedication to helping its members live “longer, healthier, and happier lives.” Though I would never have imagined it as a child, my fitness communities have indeed done just that for me. And if this is how far I’ve come in just over a year, I can’t wait to see where I am in another one!