When did you start at CrossFit Bangor?
I started Tiffany’s on-ramp class in early April, 2018. It’s been eight months, which doesn’t seem possible!
Proudest CrossFit accomplishment:
Every day I’m reminded of how different my life is today than it was before. I remember feeling so intimidated the first time I walked through that door, and then again, the first time I took a class on my own. At first, I got through that with my on-ramp buddy, Destiny. We’d plan to attend the same classes so we didn’t have to face it alone. Quickly I got comfortable with my evening classmates and coaches, and the intimidation faded. And most importantly, I gained confidence as I really began to feel the difference in my daily life.
I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to become fit for the first time in my 40’s. I’d been overweight for as long as I can remember. I attended my first Weight Watchers class with my mother when I was in middle school. I’d gain and lose weight regularly, but never came close to meeting a goal. Honestly, I didn’t realize just how un-fit I was. My normal was what it was, I was able to go about life the way I wanted to, have professional fulfillment and take care of three kiddos. I wasn’t running marathons but I was getting by and doing an ok job of it.
A couple of years ago it became clear to me that an ok job wasn’t going to cut it anymore. After always feeling healthy, despite being significantly overweight, I started to experience some challenges. I struggled to recover from a minor surgery. I was winded and increasingly sedentary. I knew I wasn’t setting a good example for my children, and I knew that I had to value my health more than I had been. Permanent change was in order.
In August 2016, I began my journey. I committed to completely changing the way I looked at wellness, and I’ve truly embraced a new life. The weight loss is not irrelevant, I did lose 110 pounds; but that really isn’t where I acknowledge success. The success comes from finally finishing something I started, setting a better example for my children than I once did, and from not letting fear hold me back from things. It also comes from being able to move freely and do absolutely anything I want to do. That is where CrossFit comes in.
It took a lot to get me to come to that first trial class. Although I had already accomplished so much in my wellness journey, I had not focused on physical fitness. In on-ramp, Tiffany referred to the members as athletes, and can remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine ever describing myself that way. I had never played sports, my hobbies certainly didn’t involve great exertion, and competition really wasn’t my thing. To me, athleticism meant commitment, proficiency and skill, and I certainly didn’t feel I had that walking into the on-ramp class.
Before CrossFit my exercise consisted of erratic bouts of walking, short term gym memberships where I used the treadmill and elliptical machines, and home videos like yoga and Zumba. I’d start something new every few months (maybe), focus for a week or two, and then allow anything and everything to pull me away from the routine. The irony was that in most other aspects of my life, I was able to put my mind to something and make it come to fruition. Nothing that I tried for fitness sparked enough of a fire to keep me going. I was bored and frustrated because I understood the importance of an active lifestyle.
On-ramp was a great preview of movements and a taste of what was to come at CrossFit Bangor. Those first few regular classes were scary. I was overwhelmed and also completely enamored. If not for my friends that were supporting me, I’m not sure that my experience would be the same. After just a few days, I was determined to change my opinion about being an athlete. I thought I might actually be able to do this! Yes, I was S-L-O-W and (in my mind) awkward, certainly in need of guidance; but CrossFit was exciting.
I soon started to build my schedule around CrossFit class. There have been some classes where I asked myself, “what on earth am I doing?” Even the nights when I feel like I’ve struggled through every moment of class, the experience is still rewarding. I know I’m making progress and becoming more proficient.
The first WOD we had to run was torture. I am no runner, I said to myself. I barely made it through a 200m jog. But soon 400m rounds felt alright. One day at home I decided to give a mile a try, because… why not? Soon after, one mile became 3 miles. While running still isn’t my strength, the experience reminded me that my limits are most often in my mind.
I understand eight months isn’t that long. However, in these eight months I have learned so much about finding success in small details. Each time I do better in a WOD than I planned, or notice changes in the mirror, or get positive feedback from a coach, I am motivated to do more. When my 17-year-old son and I talk about the WOD and how we each tackled it, I happily acknowledge that this conversation wouldn’t have happened a year ago. Eight months is plenty of time to figure out that I do have an athlete hiding inside me after all!
This is a really long description that leads to my answer: my proudest accomplishment has been the commitment to my own fitness, this place and this community. In just a few months, CrossFit Bangor became my second home. When I am away, I know it, and I can’t wait to get back. I’m so excited to have come this far already, and I can’t wait to see what I can do in the future.
Favorite lift, metcon, or both:
This is a tough question! I would say I don’t have favorites quite yet. I’m enthusiastic about each of the movements and WODs as an opportunity for improvement. Each time I’m able to reach a new PR or complete something I never thought I would, I’m super excited. However, my favorite workouts are those in which my slow and steady approach is actually a benefit!
A movement or workout you’re hoping to improve this year:
All of them? Probably the snatch is the most intimidating lift for me at the moment, so I definitely want to work on that. There are a few basic things I want to master in the coming months too, like doing more than a single regular pushup at a time, and the ability to do a pull-up. Oh, and the slow thing from the last question, that’s on the list too.
Biggest surprise since starting at CrossFit Bangor:
I’d say I’ve had two major surprises since starting here. The first is how much I love coming to the gym and interacting with everyone here. The second is the sense of accomplishment I feel about my progress. In the past I’ve always been discouraged when I wasn’t able to master something immediately.
Advice for new members or friends who have yet to try CrossFit:
Do not be intimidated. This place is great! People will help you through, and you can make it absolutely anything you want it to be. I love that what I want from CrossFit is entirely my measure.
Favorite Maine place to recommend to other members or visitors:
Everyone always thinks of the oceanside towns, but Western Maine has some of the most beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor adventures. We had a great trip with extended family to Sunday River during the early fall; enjoyed hiking, plenty to do at the resort, and lots of day trip opportunities.
I love to travel. I try to take a couple of trips a year, with at least one of them to someplace much warmer than Maine. My goal is to venture further than the Caribbean in the near future, and finally cross the Atlantic.
Otherwise, my first choice for spending my non-work time is with family and friends.
Additional thoughts you’d like to share!
I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for the support of the coaches and other members. Also, a big thank you to Jess Chubbuck for convincing me that if I just give this place a try, I’d love it. She was so right!
The first is my “before” picture. I keep it close as a motivator. The second is with two of my sisters after hiking Table Rock in Grafton Notch State Park. The third is the pic of Riley and I that Connor took. Super proud mom moment to see her so excited to work along with me.