Felicia sat in the CrossFit West Nashville parking lot and cried. She had just watched a small, blonde woman enter the gym with a full grocery bag in one arm and a squirming child in the other arm…all without breaking a sweat. Functional fitness, Felicia reminded herself. Her introductory CrossFit class was scheduled to start in a few minutes, but she just couldn’t make herself get out of the car. She called her husband Eric.
“I’m not going in there.”
“Why not?” Eric asked.
“The women will be so much stronger than I am.”
“That’s why you’re there. To get strong.”
Eric had joined CrossFit over three months ago as a way to regain his mobility after a severely herniated disc had nearly crippled him. Felicia had been wary of his decision. Everything she had read about CrossFit mentioned injury, cults and kool aid. But she couldn’t help seeing his progress as he moved easier and started losing weight.
Felicia was an emotional eater – something she was able to keep in check until after her second pregnancy. “After a couple of years, I had to admit that it was no longer baby weight. It was just weight,” she said. Her demanding and sedentary desk job made eating regular and healthy meals difficult, and she soon slipped into a cycle of skipping meals completely then later binging on high-fat, processed foods.
When a stranger asked a not-expecting Felicia when she was due, she knew she needed to make a change. Despite having bad knees from her time in the service, Felicia started getting up at 4:45am three days a week to work out with a personal trainer and became more mindful of her diet. But three months later she was frustrated at the lack of progress her efforts were producing.
The next time Eric suggested she should try a class at CrossFit West Nashville, she agreed.
The first class was hard. Her body was unaccustomed to the movements, and she felt awkward and self-conscious. Even the warm welcome she received from the other CrossFitters didn’t calm her nerves. But she kept trying, and she kept smiling, and she kept coming back.
“After a few weeks, I wasn’t as sore. My clothes fit better. I was sleeping better. My knees were better,” Felicia said. “But now I had to do something about my diet.”
Together Eric and Felicia decided to do the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. She lost 15 lbs during that first challenge, but more importantly, it helped her establish good eating habits. “I’ve stopped stepping on the scale,” she said. “I’ve gone from a size 18 to a size 10. I don’t know how many pounds that is. I eat for my health now.”
But one of Felicia’s proudest CrossFit moments didn’t happen in the box. While shopping at a local Reebok store, another CrossFitter talked Felicia into buying a purple racer-back tank. When she modeled the tank for Eric, he took a picture of her back. “Muscles! I have back muscles!” Felicia said.
It’s been nearly nine months since Felicia made the decision to get out of her car and join her first class at CrossFit West Nashville. She is strong and lean. She can do Karen – 150 wall balls – without being sore. She has also realized her potential in other areas of her life. Personal goals she had abandoned long ago have become important again. “I have good health – physical and emotional health – and I’m going to keep it.”