Ana Taveira: Transformation
Like a lot of people, I had a reasonably affordable gym membership to the big-name-brand gyms you see conveniently located all over town. However, I would rarely go. At times I would find short bursts of motivation and go for a week or maybe even a month, but then slowly drop off in to the “maybe I’ll go tomorrow” wasteland of my mind. I could not motivate myself to go to the crowded fitness classes where beautiful young people wearing super cute outfits talked about how little calories they consumed that week. The people were nice enough, but I just didn’t fit in, and I felt miserable.
One day during a family dinner I was talking to my brother, who struggles with complex mental health issues, about the benefits that physical activity can have on his moods. I could feel the irony swelling in my throat. I was not exactly the best person to offer advice since I was hardly making an effort myself. So I began to do some research. All the information I could read about Crossfit basically said the same thing, about how functional fitness can be for anyone starting at any level. I pitched the idea to my brother as a new positive hobby we can try together. My brother lives in Mississauga so I knew I would have to find a gym conveniently located to make this accessible for him, and to be honest I didn’t mind driving from downtown if he was willing to try. I came across the Crossfit Select’s sleek and stylish website and was instantly drawn to it. I emailed the gym and received a quick response to come in and try a class.
My first class felt so weird, I walked in to the gym and had no idea what to expect. Greeted by coach, Chris Harrington, who kindly showed me the facility, made me sign a waiver, and explained the basic class format. My brother and I left that class sweating, but something changed in me that day, I couldn’t wait to do it again. I made a pact with my brother to try the promotional package for one month. I promised him that we would put in our best efforts together and if we didn’t like it after that month then we would try something else. In my first few classes I tried my best to keep up with not only the amount of exercise but also the new Crossfit lingo. Unfortunately, my brother was not quite ready for the challenge due to long work hours and mental state, and so he dropped out after a handful of classes. I was torn. I felt guilty about him dropping out, but I was actually enjoying it, and to my surprise able to make it to classes around my crazy work schedule. So, I stuck to my end of the deal and went to as many classes as possible, maybe even too many. One basics class, during introductions people mentioned how many classes they had done so far; the responses varied, 1, 2, 6, 4, 8, and then I mumbled 20 under my breath, I had done 20 basics classes, to which coach Holly smiled and encouraged me to move on to regular WODs. When I started doing the regular classes I realized they weren’t all that different and that I can still scale them to my own fitness level.
My promotional month was up, and I had to make a decision. Did I want to sign up to Crossfit Select and continue to drive outside the city to a gym that cost significantly more money than my big-name-brand gym that I wasn’t going to? YES!!!! In one month I started to notice that I really enjoyed going to this gym. The coaches were all so professional yet friendly and approachable, and the community of athletes were all so welcoming and encouraging; I had never experienced this in a gym before.
These workouts were hard. I had never sweat so much in my whole life. I remember my first 2000m row. I couldn’t differentiate my tears from sweat rolling down my face. It literally took me forever to finish that workout, but coach Tommy pushed me to the very end, even threatening that if I didn’t finish he would add 200m to the total. I poured my wet blob of a body off that rower and on to the floor, my thoughts oscillating between life and death unable to make sense of what had just happened. But it was over, and I had finished it. The endorphins released were euphoric. I was hooked.
My eating habits gradually started to change, I learned how to cook and eat clean whole foods. I was showing up to WODs regularly. I even began talking to people, although slowly, because I can be super awkward. The positive energy at this gym is infectious; the people are fun to workout with and make me feel part of the community. The coaches are elite athletes themselves and quick to offer helpful advice. Although working shift work is challenging, it does give me the opportunity to meet a wide range of people at the gym for I am able to make it to morning and evening classes depending on my schedule. I have made friendships with such inspiring people and look forward to strengthening these bonds over time.
In just one year I have seen a dramatic positive shift in my life by changing my approach to fitness and healthy living. Here is a list of some of the benefits I have experienced since joining Crossfit Select:
• I am building strength (I used to struggle carrying my groceries up the stairs, now I can back squat 215lbs);
• I have lost a bunch of weight; learned a lot about bodies, movement, patience and healthy eating;
• I have tons more energy, stable moods and overall more positive outlook on life;
• I have made some great new friends (look forward to making more, but I am awkward so it takes time);
• Pull Ups!!! Which took me about 9 months of intense training but I finally got them;
• I now have way more exercise gear than clothes in laundry;
But above all of these, I wake up everyday feeling grateful that I made a good choice to come here.