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As a child I disliked gym class. I dreaded not being picked when we played dodge ball or tripping when we ran a relay. I was clumsy, awkward, uncoordinated and had no confidence when it came to athletics. I feared pull ups, running a mile and being tested and then compared to my peers for national fitness awards.

In middle school the locker room was horrible! Undressing in front of your peers during puberty with under and over developers is nothing short of a teen nightmare – in my humble opinion. Girls compared bras, sizes, height, weight and clothing size all with glances and some whispers.  Personally, it was appalling and as an emotional eater it sent me right to the vending machine and feeling full of self doubt.

Gym class caused me a great deal of anxiety but I wanted to “fit in” and after all it was a required class. I attempted to play volleyball and basketball because when someone sees a 5’11’’ girl they assume she will be coordinated and especially good at these particular sports. Unfortunately this was not the case.

An Easy Out

The older I got the better I became at getting out of these activities with excuses or even alternative options for credit such as papers

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or helping the elementary school gym teacher with activities. This “out” never really helped me succeed with my own personal fitness abilities. I never learned to strengthen my weak muscles or learn lifelong fitness skills to help me live a longer and better life.

Like most women I struggle with body image and being awkwardly tall has never helped.  I’ve tried numerous times to attend structured fitness classes and found it very similar to my nightmare gym classes where now grown women size each other up. A treadmill sat in my basement for almost 8 years. Workout videos line my entertainment center and now Wii workout video games accompany them – mostly collecting dust.

Limitations Now Become a Disability Later

At 34 years old I’ve come to the realization that I have to bend down, pick things up, walk and do everyday movements and actions for many, many, many more years to come. Daily movements that in 30 years might cause me pain and discomfort or be impossible!  If running after my children or climbing stairs makes me out of breathe now what will it be like when I have grandchildren? Getting onto my knees to pull weeds hurts my back at 34 years of age but what about when I am 50 years old and plant a flower garden because it becomes a new hobby?

I was not fully aware of this when I walked through the doors of our local CrossFit center because my sister insisted that this was what I needed to really change my life and be healthier. I have lost a great deal of weight but I’m not in shape and there is nothing tone or muscular about me, which is what I want to change but not just for vanity reasons.  I really had no true comprehension of how out of shape I was or how my everyday physical movements were compromised and would become a hindrance to my life in the future.

Step in the Right Direction

My two one-on-one sessions with a coach helped me gain insight of my own weaknesses and strengths.  Through education, examples, encouragement, practicing and testing my baseline I recognized where I needed to improve but also the importance of gaining strength and muscle for the longevity and well-being of my life. Discovering how few push-ups or sit-ups I could do in one minute and how terrible sore my body felt after just one day was humbling enough to give me the ambition to make a change and not take the easy road like I had done in the pass with excuses.

My apprehension and anxiety still exist but the mental and physical competition to better myself for the long term is winning. I’ve signed up for a month. I’ve taken the first step and though sore and tired I walked through the doors with a smile {a nervous and scared one} ready to push myself and make improvements.

Wish me luck.

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