Everyone has a why…. and here is mine from Coach Jenn
I can already feel the eye rolls from the title. If you Google Crossfit success stories you will find so many articles and stories about how Crossfit has changed or saved peoples lives. It’s true it seriously does and this is a little insight into my Crossfit journey so far, its far from over, but I wanted to share this first part of my journey. Be warned this is a long read so grab a cuppa and get settled!
Throw back to me in 2013 – Just got married and overweight. Coming in at close to 80kg. I always vowed to lose weight for my wedding and instead put it on to the point my wedding dress was too snug a fit on the day. I did no exercise apart from playing a netball game every week and ate like food was in short supply. About 6 months after getting married my marriage was on the rocks with my ex-husband playing away from home A LOT! It killed me when I found out especially when most of the girls were younger, skinner and prettier than me. To say my confidence took a hit is an understatment. So instead of dieting and being sensible, I took to staying out drinking most nights, rocking home at 1am off the last London train usually drunk as a skunk. I look back and think what the hell were you thinking. At this point my ex-husband had moved back to the Midlands and I was basically holding out hope that my marriage could be saved while living 2 hours apart. Sounds dumb right!
I did however wake up one day in summer of 2014 and decide enough was enough I would lose weight and get fit. I actually stupidly thought it would save my marriage, so I signed up to the gym near work in London and started Spinning classes, Boxing and pole dancing classes. Weight was flying off. I however was still out drinking and generally not living well. A really good friend of mine one day was watching the Crossfit games on his laptop… we didn’t do much at work so it wasn’t unusual. I remember him telling me I would love this and I should sign up to Crossfit.
I saw those women, ripped and doing crazy stuff like pull ups, barbell lifts and I laughed and basically told him to do one, I wasn’t crazy and couldn’t do any of that stuff ever.
Fast forward a few month to September 2015 and an American, Scott Dodson had joined the company and was totally into Crossfit. I remember him telling me all about how amazing it was in the pub one night. He was so excited by how much he was getting from Crossfit, he even dropped the floor doing burpees there and then in the pub. I mean who does that (apart from a cross fitter).
On the train home I made the decision to see if there was a box in Basingstoke. Sure enough there was, I sent an email to enquiry about it, drunk and all. The next morning my ex husband called me to see how I was. I mentioned I was debating seeing what Crossfit was about. Cutting a long story short, he told me I was lazy and never cut out for it and I would never be able to do it. That was it…. I was in 100% committed just to prove him wrong. Never tell me I can’t do something, I will go out of my way to make damn sure I can.
I remember my first session and fundamentals with Chris, luckily it was at 5am on a Saturday morning. I was hungover and rocked up in a taxi. He took me through deadlifts and a few other bits then made me run 200m! I actually thought I would die but agreed on the next few sessions. 3 sessions later I was ready to be let lose in classes. I was excited but also scared to show up. I had seen a lot of the guys working out, girls were crazy strong, doing pull ups, running crazy speeds and then there was me; liked a drink, usually hungover and sooo unfit.
I kept at it though and I remember the first Open 2015. I had no idea what it was but signed up. I got my first pull up. I actually got a pull up! Something I would never have dreamed of doing in my life. Thing is after that I got this new bug and feeling. I wanted to be stronger, I wanted more pull ups. So cue Coach Robby and getting PT with him every week. I am sure he loved the 5:30am PT sessions. After close to 2 years I had doubled my deadlift, I was hitting pull ups and started to RX the odd work out. I felt amazing and a side effect of Crossfit I had trimmed down and was constantly at the 62kg mark. The husband was long gone and for the first time I focused on me. I was at the gym every day and it was, and still is, my favourite place in the world.
My whole outlook on life had changed. No longer were things impossible, I literally could do anything I wanted. Being at Crossfit Basingstoke gave me that empowerment. I was leaving London at 4pm on a Friday to head to strongman training instead of staying for the free bar at work. I was more excited about working out and having a laugh with the Friday night strongman crew.
Fast forward to September 2016. I had been doing Crossfit for a fair while and life was gym, work, gym (literally in that order). I had done my level 1 Crossfit Cert to get some info on my own training and also attended the Crossfit Gymnastics course. I was offered a job in Malta. Now I have been offered many jobs overseas in my old corporate life, many of which I said no to as I just didn’t have the confidence to move and do something on my own.
This time I decided I would do it. Even if for a year or two. So October 2016 I waved goodbye to the UK and me and my trusty hound Dooney jumped on a flight to move to Malta, for a very healthy pay check and a chilled sunny life all year round. You know life has changed when you search for an apartment that will firstly allow dogs, but secondly the gym is within a 10 minute walk.
I was too lucky, I found an amazing penthouse, with a massive terrace 2 minutes away from The PIT. An unaffiliated Crossfit gym. Those guys were amazing, true athletes and competitors and they were amazing to train with. I learnt so much from those guys, and competed in some amazing competitions across the South of Europe with them.
The crazy thing is I was always late for work and leaving early because I was more concerned about hitting the
gym. They say do what you love but at that point I was earning some big bucks and a 70k pay cut wasn’t really an option, but I was introduced to a Crossfit Affiliate Crossfit F15 who were after a coach for gymnastics. After a chat with the guys I was signed up, and I loved that class. I coached 2 – 3 times a week and it was the best part of my week. I literally loved the guys, seeing their progress and their faces when they did something they never thought possible. That was the moment I knew I needed to leave the corporate rat race.
I had many chats with my better half and we both agreed it was financially feasible for both of us, if I quit office work all together and coached full time, if it was what I truly wanted. We set the date and planned for me to move back to the UK in December 2017. Lucky for me we were going back to Basingstoke. Home for me. I still had my old Crossfit Basingstoke Membership and after speaking with Chris and Nigel, looked at coming on board to coach. I had my qualifications (not just Crossfit but level 2 and 3 fitness instructor). I came back to UK on December 2nd and I was coaching in the gym on December 5th.
So whats changed……. Well everything. I am doing something I love. The morning crew at Crossfit Basingstoke make my days. No one wants to get up at 4:30am but I look forward to hitting the gym at 5:15 having breakfast with Chris discussing what the work out is, and then seeing the crew rock up sleepy but smashing their workouts. Progressing every day, and having fun with it. The banter is strong in the mornings and I love that!
Personally I push my limits every day, I have travelled the South of Europe to compete in Crossfit. I have met amazing people who I am proud to call my friends from across the world. I have fun at work every day. I wouldn’t even call it work, its not, its just fun. I am inspired every day by each and every member that walks through the gym doors to get their sweat on and give it their all for every class. Most importantly for me, I no longer worry about how I look, am I too big, too skinny, too much muscle. None of that bothers me all I care about is what can I do today. Am I better than yesterday!
If you would of asked me 5 years ago where will you be in 5 years I would of said the CEO of a company, making a 6 figure salary. Ask me today where will I be in 5 years and I will tell you, at the box, making peoples lives fitter, healthier and better. Call my Crossfit culty but I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I have to say a special thanks though to Jon Rance and Scott Dodson. Without you guys I wouldn’t even know what Crossfit is, but even more so to Chris and Nigel at Crossfit
Basingstoke (yes they are my bosses but I mean this) without you guys and CFB I would probably still be drinking in pubs in London, overweight, getting the 1am train home. You helped changed my life beyond what you will ever know, from helping me be fit to the opportunity to work along side you as a coach!
All I can say is if you haven’t tried Crossfit, why not? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! It literally changed my life for the better and with out it I wouldn’t be who I am today. Just get out, move and get fit, it is amazing the difference it will make to your life and your mindset! Nothing can stop you except you!!