Don't See Progress? Look Closer

by Admin | December 31, 1969 | BLOGS | 0 Comment

Written by: Colette Wheeler

We often read or hear of the people that started CrossFit and suddenly changed their lives around and became amazing and healthy and never ate pizza or candy again. Their journeys are fast and furious; their lives are made amazing and sustainable; they cure their diseases, improve their relationships, become President of Everything; grow wings and fly. Their stories are incredible. They’re inspiring and hopeful, full of grit and determination.

Well, my story doesn’t go like that. I began CrossFitting in December 2010. I was 24. I was only weeks out from a year-long string of surgeries and hospital stays. I was horribly depressed. I was weak and lost. I had a shaved head, fresh scars, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. In short, I was completely, utterly broken.

My first year, I was amazed that people could even do pull-ups. I could never remember the difference between a clean and a snatch. I always got the strict press, push press, and push jerk mixed up (they probably all looked the same when I did them anyway). I was terrified of being upside-down. Overhead squats were a definite NO. One thing I had learned to do was drink, so when someone said that “100 pull-ups and 100 shots of beer” was a thing, I thought that would be a pretty cool goal.

As years went by, I went in for almost any athletic opportunity offered by the gym. I decided to try out their powerlifting program because I really wanted to be able to squat like..100 pounds. So I did that and got strong. I got a pull-up, too. Then, I took my newfound strength and plugged it back into CrossFit, and I did a round of custom personal training with a specific competition in mind. That was fun. Then I did some olympic lifting training. That was cool, too. Then I wanted to learn to coach. I ended up at a different gym, and coached there for a few years.


Through all of this, I didn’t make massive nutritional or skill gains.  True, every once in awhile I accidentally did something that resembled a new skill, but not really on purpose, and not with much (if any) fanfare. Nutritionally, I cut out processed carbs somewhere in 2012 because I was curious to see what that would be like. That didn’t have much direction, and I still consumed plenty--if not more--processed carbs via booze. It was like playing darts upside down with a blindfold on. I tried some nutrition challenges, but they always started on a weekend and lasted about two hours until I went out to the bars with my friends.

It really wasn’t until 2017 (SEVEN YEARS LATER) that I got a handle on like, how I well I could eat and how great it could make me feel. I was eating great, and suddenly my workouts were great, and heyo I got a dang ring muscle-up. And some cool lifting PRs. And my anxiety and depressive states became more manageable. So that’s how I eat now. Not because I decided to drink the Kool-aid and take a blind leap of faith, but because I’d literally done everything I possibly could to avoid eating well. It is just abundantly clear that eating “dirty” is unsustainable to the life I want to lead.  

So those of you trying out this whole lifestyle change thing -- you have to make it your own. You have to want it; you have to need it. You have to be patient with yourself, and you have to acknowledge your weaknesses with an open heart. You gotta own it past the 28-day prescription. Whatever you do, don’t be lured into the idea that everyone gets it on their first try. There’s no magic bullet. Even when you get a handle on your nutrition, there are ups, downs, turnarounds, and dead-stops. But that’s ok. Read, listen to, and be inspired by other people’s journeys, but don’t compare them with your own. You do YOU, and you can be successful.

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