Kung Foolery and CrossFit Craziness: An Introvert’s Path to Fitness {by Simone Dietzler}

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…

PS, you can read more about Simone’s journey in her own blog right here or check her out on Twitter!

This photo is from 2009... but it was just too badass not to use.

This photo is from 2009… but it was just too badass not to use.

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!

A few of my

Just a few of my intrepid CrossFit companions after a run in 2*F weather this winter… I’m the stylish pair of eyes in the white vest – I promise I’m grinning under that scarf!

  • http://twitter.com/winetoweights Jennifer

    Love this, chica!
    It took me a bit longer than you to discover my place in the fitness world; I had never really worked out until I was about 28 and even then, would never even consider lifting weights. But it changes you – so much inside and out.
    Keep up the inspiring work!

  • http://twitter.com/StrongInsideOut Amy Clover

    You rock, girl. Keep up the awesomeness!


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