One year ago, I walked into CrossFit Hale in Richmond, CA and signed up. I have always been an athlete of some sort, however on this occasion, I signed up as a completely different person both mentally and physically.
For reference, I had delivered my baby-doll Jules two months prior. I didn't have a horrible pregnancy. I would consider it a fairly normal one, complete with all the ups and downs and physical stresses related to pregnancy. However, hitting the 41 week mark definitely messed with my psyche and the long duration of my labor was akin to being "hit by a car," as my Chiropractor lovingly put it. In all honesty, when I walked into the CrossFit gym, I completely believed I would NEVER be as strong as I once was, pre-pregnancy. I had consigned myself to the fact that I would NEVER be the same again.
To further expound this statement: I hate the pressure placed on women (by themselves and others) to lose their "baby-weight" and become "skinny again" after having a baby (particularly so quickly - this is a whole different topic.. we could discuss forever). Although I had a desire to "lose baby weight," what I truly struggled with internally was the absolute belief that I would not be STRONG again (i.e. physically able to run a 1/2 marathon again etc...). Even though I have soooo many examples of women/friends who had. I lacked the internal belief that I could.
So you may ask, Why did you start CrossFit? Well, it was many factors: convenience/location of the gym, I could bring Jules with me, I like challenges, I liked the people, Jake had started too... and in the far recesses of my mind I wondered IF I could be strong again... although I usually shut that down with the phrase - "IMPOSSIBLE." (I would like to think many women can relate to this mindset after pregnancy and those that don't... you are sooo lucky).
Nevertheless, I started CrossFit on Jan 14, 2014. Upon starting, something like a push-up seemed like a foreign-language and even someone mentioning that I could do it, left me laughing inside. I began with pushups on my knees with my arms up on the bench. I had a hard time running 200 meters (which is such a mental blow, considering I had once ran 13 miles). My squats consisted of 15 lb dumbbells and nothing more. I looked at the world of pull-ups with complete disbelief.
Interestingly, I have ALWAYS been athletic/active. Pre-pregancy, I had rarely allowed myself to say physical things are "impossible." But, over the last year as I lived my CrossFit journey, I realized that I HAD LIMITED MYSELF LOOOOONG BEFORE I DELIVERED MY BABY. You may ask Why? Good question; I had subliminally believed true athleticism was a thing of the past; push-ups and good mile-times belonged to the high-school years and would permanently be gone forever. Differently stated I NEVER HAD THE COURAGE TO TRAIN MY WEAKNESSES.
During the first few months of CrossFit, I didn't write anything down, because I thought it was pointless. However, approximately 5 months in, my coach Jay told me to do a 100 push-up workout, told me to do it on my toes (because I had the strength) and that he had no doubts I could finish it. I trusted and believed him and surprised myself when I finished it. This was the turning point. This lead to a pull-up within the same month as well. Over the last year I lost 19 lbs, a total of 14 inches of my waist and hips and > 4% BF. More importantly, I have done over 100 pushups in one setting and 50 pull-ups in one workout, I can back-squat my body weight and deadlift over 200 lbs. I ran my best 1/2 marathon time and many other great things that I am so proud of.
The reason I share these stats, is contrastingly over the weekend, I was at a CrossFit Coach Training Seminar in Milan, Italy. Part of course requires a ring dip break-out-session. I AVOID ring-dips (any dips really) like the plague. As part of the seminar I was obligated to practice them (along with only 5 other women and 26 men (who obviously have the upper hand when it comes to ring-dips). Unexpectedly, I became very overwhelmed with the dips and their extreme difficulty. At that moment the familiar self-doubt returned (after a short absence of a few months) and I questioned "why on earth am I doing this? Submitting myself to such failure in front of so many, with tasks that seem so meaningless." The answer came from the trainer later in the seminar, she said "THERE IS MORE BENEFIT PURSUING YOUR WEAKNESS, THEN TRAINING YOUR STRENGTHS."
Doesn't that sound familiar? I have always loved the following scripture: Ether 12: 27 - And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
This is why CrossFit is so meaningful to me (and the reason I shared this LONG story), because it has forced me to attack some of my physical weakness head-on, experiencing the tender and uncomfortable feelings of humility and insecurity, consequently I had to rely on the strength and advice of others (coaches and friends in this case). This opportunity to be humbled, has uncovered some of my greatest strengths. Although, I am only an intermediate cross-fitter today, I am addicted and plan to make more of my weaknesses strong (maybe a ring dip is in my future).
In conclusion, I CAN HONESTLY SAY I AM STRONGER AFTER HAVING A BABY -100%, BUT I AM NOT THE SAME. I am different, and honestly, I am OK with that. I am happy that I am NOT the same both emotionally AND physically. I believe that we came to this Earth seeking a physical experience through our bodies, AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK AFTER STRENGTH THROUGH MY BODY (vs. only sex appeal...etc. - which dominates female society) IS ONE OF MY GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN MY LIFE. It is my firm belief ALL women should experience physical strength in some form (However, I am biased toward CrossFit) and constantly physically challenge themselves.
Please, I encourage you to do things that are hard for you, because they will reveal your true potential, otherwise you may never know what your potential really is. I definitely didn't.
Much love, Kim