Fashlete™ of the Month

I Choose Strength

January 2013

Name: Courtney Norman

n: Media Buy Coordinator & Executive Assistant of a Natural Health Publishing Company, Blogger - Journey of a Dreamer

Many people make resolutions to "get fit", but don't really know where to start.  Weight plates and pull up bars are intimidating and everyone in the room looks more experienced.  I decided to share Courtney's story because when it comes to getting fit, so many people share her insecurities and inhibitions.  If you have ever been terrified of a workout, if you have every looked at someone else in the gym and thought "I can't do that", if you have ever wanted more from yourself... you will love this blog and you will love Courtney.  

One of our goals with Fashlete of the Month is to remind "fitness newbies" that they are not alone!  Take it from Courtney... leave your self doubt at the door, face your fears, and change your life.  CHOOSE STRENGTH.  Without further ado, I give you Courtney Norman....

I still remember the day I first walked into CrossFit O’Fallon. It was buzzing with some kind of energy I couldn’t explain. People laughing and joking while going through their “warm up” (which I thought should be considered it’s own workout!) and they all looked like they were having fun. As I looked around the place seemed so foreign. Rowers were the only “machines” found in the small industrial space. “Learn to never quit” was the quote plastered on the wall, conveniently placed right above the pull up station. I remember being terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I thought I wouldn’t be strong enough, fast enough, or good enough. It wasn’t long before I was making a list of things that I would never be able to do. I spotted the wooden boxes scattered throughout the room. They jump on to those? No way I’m getting this chunky butt to do that. Pull ups? Even with those crazy bands I’d never be able to. Forget about that tumbling mat against the wall, there was no way I was getting into a handstand. As I watched the normal class start adding weight to their barbells I thought there is no way… I’m just not strong enough. The first time I picked up one of the 35lb bars I didn’t think I’d even get used to using that. Adding on those intimidating bumper plates was out of the question. I just wasn’t strong enough. I have always been the chunky, out of shape girl… even after training for a marathon. Why would this be any different?

Thing is… It was. Somewhere in between those 5am workouts, protein shakes, and callouses something awakened on the inside of me. It wasn’t overnight. For the first several weeks I couldn’t even get my foot into the bands for pull ups on my own. Then I started to realize that I may have been scaling down some of the movements… but I was finishing every workout. I wasn’t the fastest, most of the time I finished last. Even if I was last I always had the support and encouragement of the others in the class with me. They were quick to tell me I did a great job (even if I was on the verge of puke… or tears… or both). A spark of hope erupted in my soul. At first I was afraid to embrace it, because I was always disappointed before. This time felt different though. Maybe this time I could be enough. Fast enough. Strong Enough. Good enough.

And suddenly it just clicked.

I had been literally working for months to try to get a box jump. I would tell myself to jump and always psych myself out at the last second. The box jump began to be about so much more than just a box jump. It was everyone who ever told me I couldn’t. It was everything I told myself I could never do. It was the “chubby girl can’t jump” mindset I’ve had since my pre-teen years. It was every fitting room I’ve run out of crying because nothing fit. Every fat joke I made because laughing was easier than crying. It was all of my fears, insecurities and doubts all nailed together in a measly 18″ wooden box. And several times a week for months I would stare it down. Tell myself I was going to do it…. and miss. People were watching me struggle. They saw me try and told me I could do it. I had heard those words before, but this time I started to believe them. I stacked up some bumper plates the same height as the box. and I jumped. and I nailed it. I put the pile of bumper plates next to the box… jumped again. nailed it. I went for the box. It was the same height I just jumped. I knew it. I am good enough to do this. I jumped…. and nailed it. 

That day I conquered the box jump was more than just another physical accomplishment. It was an absolute mental turning point for me. I was enough the whole time. CrossFit just helped me believe that. It made me think of other areas of my life that I was holding myself back in. What else am I missing out on because I believed the lies I had been told (or had told myself) for years? Suddenly instead of just brushing things off saying “Oh I could never…” I began to seek out opportunities to try new things… because Why Couldn’t I?

I still struggle. Just last week we did the “Victoria” Hero WOD in memory of Victoria Soto, one of the teachers killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy. I knew it was going to be a tough one just looking at it.

There was a 40 Minute time cap, which seemed reasonable until the hubs and his bestie (both complete beasts) finished in 30 and 32 minutes. Immediately I began telling myself it was ok to hit the time cap, since their times were so close to it. After the 3rd round I had come to terms with the fact that I would just hit the cap. That voice told me I couldn’t. And I started to believe it. The large 9am class had mostly finished, it was me and 2 others left working as we approached the time cap… I had burpees and kettlebell swings left, and was at around 37 minutes. The large group of people that had finished were cheering me on. And at that moment, I believed I could. I dropped myself to the ground and peeled myself back up 12 times for some of the ugliest burpees you’d probably ever seen. It was still before 39:00… I could do this. I’m not sure if the cheering got louder or if every part of my body was on edge because of exhaustion… but I grabbed the kettlebell and started to swing. My palms were sweaty, my body tired. Up and down up and down… 27 times. I finished that WOD in 39:27, just under the time cap. I totally believe that I finished that WOD because my CrossFit family believed I could. Had they not cheered me on, I would have listened to that voice that told me I couldn’t.

So when people ask me why I get up at 4am to workout, this is why.
When people ask me what it is about CrossFit that I love, this is it.
Because it taught me to believe in myself.
Because it reminds me every day that I am enough.  

As our Fashlete of the Month Courtney will be receiving a free Pep Talk Charm of her choice from our CrossFIt Jewelry collection.  Courtney has chosen the "I Choose Strength" charm. Thank you for sharing your story Courtney, we hope this charm will remind you to continue to face your fears and overcome obstacles!

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    Sarah Wilson
  • CrossFitWeight LossWomen's Fitness

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