To be honest, it all started when I just happened to drive past the building and saw the Solstice sign. I work right down the street, so I Googled the name, found the website, and saw the option for CrossFit classes. I already had very little “me time” with a full-time job and a son in sports year-round, but being able to work out during my lunch break meant I could get a workout in and focus on myself without it affecting my schedule.

In the past, I had always been intimidated by weights—you know, those dumbbells and barbells—and I thought, “Why in the world would I want to do something called a burpee?” So I kept my physical activity to more cardio—like the treadmill, stationary bikes and ellipticals, and occasionally a smith machine.  Once I realized CrossFit has a scaled or modifiable version for every movement, a lightbulb went off! The fear was no longer there, so my time at the gym has become more of a mental challenge as I figure out when/what I’ll be able to accomplish without having to modify.  

One of the reasons I’ve been able to integrate CrossFit so well into my routine is because I am a numbers person and the program really does make it easy. I walk in, look at the board, and I’ve already figured out the total reps of each movement. Or if coach tells us how many reps we should achieve, I will always try to do just one or two more, and continue on with that mindset. Having a daily regimen works for me. Everything is already programmed for you, so you don’t have to figure out anything on your own. I used to joke that people drink the “CrossFit juice,” but if I miss a class, oh my God, I am freaking miserable! I may complain about the workout, but I always look forward to doing it.  Coming to Solstice is my time—I leave whatever I am going through at the door.

What keeps me coming back really is Jemma (our gym dog!)…but her humans aren’t so bad either. The class sizes are perfect—the coaches are able to pay attention to all of us and correct our movements and offer suggestions for better form. The bond within each class and each member is something you rarely see anymore. Everyone motivates and encourages each other. You can roll up in there with no makeup, hair a mess, mismatched clothes—and no one gives a shit! I call it the judge free zone.  Don’t compare yourself or your effort to anyone else. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t be surprised at how welcoming the groups of people are and how encouraging they can be. Everyone who has walked through that door has had to do it for the first time once too!

Eventually I added personal training to my routine, and it’s specifically designed for my goals. Coach Christie is a huge part of the reason that inspired me to do it. Prior to starting, I listed my goals and she questioned each one, encouraging me to dig deeper and ask myself, “Why is that a goal?” So it became less about trying to lose weight and get stronger and more about how it would improve my quality of life. There is also just something about her that puts you at complete ease. She always has that “you can do this mentality,” and it eventually rubs off on you. The training takes me out of my comfort zone at times, but that feeling after you completed it—I feel like one bad b*tch!

Even just sharing my story, I am out of my comfort zone, so thanks again Coach. At the beginning of my journey, I started losing more inches than weight. At first it was depressing and I was like, “What the hell scale? I am working my butt off!” But I’m learning so much about my body and the steps I need to take to be healthy. One of my biggest obstacles (and can still be at times) is eating enough calories for the day. I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to this, but with help from Coach Chris and other members, I am learning to EAT and eat the correct percentage of macros for the day. 

Before, I couldn’t do an overhead squat with a PVC pipe—now I can do it with a weighted barbell. I couldn’t even attempt a Bulgarian squat to save my life, but now I can do them with a weighted barbell as well (still hate them though). Jumping on the small box was out of the question, now I’m jumping on the RX height box (we just have to tango first). This year, I also PR’d my back squats and deadlifts. The numbers might not compare to others, but all of these are MY achievements—thanks to Christie, Ron, the other coaches, members, and my absolute favorite of all, Jemma.