Cheaper Than Therapy
A Crossfit Transformation Story
By: Angie Bryant a reformed athlete
“There’s something wrong with me”; I lashed out at my husband. After having what I would describe as a series of terrible, no good, very bad days, I finally broke down. I had come to realize that I was “off”. There was something not normal in my life, like something had died inside me. I flip-flopped between depression, melancholy, avoidance (also known as denial) and feelings of being overwhelmed. I was nearing my fortieth birthday and it was like a switch was flipped and my life went into chaos. I gave my husband a long speech about I either needed to see a doctor and get medication, or I needed a change of lifestyle and do something for myself like get back to the gym. So it was decided. I could try going back to the gym because it was cheaper than therapy. This is where my crossfit story began.
But first, here’s a little background about how I knew that the gym is what I was missing. I had always loved playing sports and competing. From elementary school on I had played in a variety of sports. I even lettered in three during my high school years: volleyball, basketball and track and field with Track being the first sport I loved and excelled. I was so dedicated to running and training that I even worked during my last two summers of high school to train for the Junior Olympics. I made it all the way to Nationals both years. I continued running and training in college and was able to get back to volleyball, as well, while I worked on my Art education degree. I loved everything about sports and competing. I enjoyed learning more and more from my coaches and was always trying to improve my results and myself for them. They motivated me to work harder and get stronger. Even as an elementary student I was always racing the boys at recess and could never sit still. I needed to be active, and when I was playing sports I felt whole. It kept me level headed (most of the time). I didn’t know what it did to me biologically just that it made me happy. Only as an adult had I figured out that exercising helped me mentally, physically, and emotionally. It kept me “sane”; it kept me goal-oriented; it kept me confident; it kept me healthy; it kept me focused; it kept me motivated; it built me. Sports and my faith carried me through some really hard times. It wasn’t until I started crossfit that I put this together.
Before I got back into the gym I had quit all exercising. As the real world hit and I had to go do adult things, I dropped the sports and activities because life was just too busy to fit it in. I finished college with my Bachelor’s degree in Art Education; I did try my hand at a couple of assistant coaching positions hoping that would keep me active. I loved being able to pour into my students and helping them reach their potential, but I wasn’t pouring into myself. Then life continued to roll on and change. Getting married and moving away from friends and family, I continued teaching and coaching a little here and there, but not making time for exercise myself. I knew it was important but didn’t make it a priority. Then before I knew it five years passed and we had our first child and I gained a significant amount of weight and my focus was yet again not on me but my newborn son. Then two years later came the second one, and I was no longer teaching big kids but preschoolers and toddlers. Still pouring myself out and not filling up. I soon added homeschooling and children’s ministry to my resume and stayed so busy that there was never any time for healthy living and exercise. After my kids had grown up some more I made a few more attempts at exercising and getting my weight off, and I did succeed for a little while, but as usual, it was me leading the group and I reached burn out pretty fast. I had been doing so much for everyone else that I had nothing left. That is when I had that midnight cry with my husband asking for some relief. I told him that I either needed a doctor or I needed the gym. So we decided that we could try the gym, and if in a few months nothing changes then we see a doctor. So I found a local CrossFit gym.
Why did I choose CrossFit and not a chain gym? I knew from my previous athletic background that I thrived on intense coaching and one on one instruction. And I also knew a friend and her husband had just opened a new box in our area and I wanted to give it a try. I came in for my first trial workout and thought I was going to die, but I walked out of there knowing I’d be back. I had found my people and I had found my thing. I may not always like the workouts, but I am never disappointed when I have finished them. The guidance and skill-building from the coaches helped me gain the confidence that I had lost. I stayed at that gym for over a year and half, and as life would have it we had to make a change. So we made a huge jump and moved our family away from all we had known for the last 15 years. And life happened and I took some time off from the gym, but I was going to get back into a box in our new town and this time I’d take my family with me. And as a mutual decision (as a result I think of the results I had had at my previous gym) my husband and I looked for a gym we could all join as a family.
And that is how we found CrossFit PTC. It was the only box in our area that had a character-driven, level-based training program for both of my boys and an excellent staff of coaches who could help my nonathletic husband gain the confidence and training he needed to get his fitness on track. We have gained so much more than muscles and PRs at this gym. We are learning about nutrition and healthier choices, and we are challenged all the time to try new things. I have even set new goals and worked on getting better at all the things that I was afraid to do before. I decided in 2018 I would compete in two competitions, and I did that. I made some great improvements in my form in many of the lifts and gymnastics movements, and I’ve set some new PRs. Life has now felt like it has settled down quite nicely, even my husband and my kids have gained confidence and healthy lifestyles as a result of joining this CrossFit journey with me.
I’ve been so impressed with the children and teens programming at our gym that I wanted to know more, and since I have a love and joy for teaching and coaching kids I decided that I’d like to get my level 1 certification (plus it would allow me to learn even more about CrossFit and help me improve my own skills at the same time). I want kids and teens to have the confidence and self-esteem that I had growing up as a result of the fine coaching I had. I want kids to know they can be successful and productive members of society. I want to further the reach of this great fitness program and help kids and their parents find ways of staying healthy and happy together. If our family was able to do it then they could too.
Why would anyone want me to be his or her coach? I’d hope they would see that I cared about them and wanted to help them succeed and improve their overall outlook on life. I would want them to see that anything is possible with a dream and a plan. We could reach their goals together. I would want them to feel as though I am right there with them fighting the fight of aging and battling with them against the negative self-talk that wants to defeat us. Am I going to be a perfect coach? Probably not. Will I be completely organized and efficient all the time? I will try my best. Will I be intimidated by some of the tasks that are required of me? Indeed I will, but any task worth doing is going to have its scary moments we have to fight through. Hopefully, I will have the knowledge and wisdom to know when to ask for help and tackle the issues and problems as they come. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I am always willing to try something new. I like the challenge. I will work hard at doing this job and work to make this fitness movement and my CrossFit PTC family proud.