For this blog post we hand the reigns over to member Mel Nunn. This is from an Ariston CrossFit member’s point of view. We love it! Take it away Mel.
I’ve been regularly coming to Ariston CrossFit to work out for almost 18 months and along the way I have experienced lots of changes within myself. Coming to class every day is a habit now, but what happened to me in those first few months to keep me coming back? How did I go from an overweight 36-year-old mum with an office job and no exercise experience, to a fit, strong and confident woman who can among other things, bust out a set of strict pull ups? I’ll explain.
My decision to join Ariston was fuelled mainly by the desire to lose weight. I knew that my attitude towards food would not allow me to lose weight on a diet alone. I had to exercise too. I’d researched fitness trends and tried group classes but they were tedious and impersonal. CrossFit kept popping up in my social media. Man, I thought to myself, those chicks look so fierce and strong… that’s goals right there.
So, what were they doing differently to those bikini body trainers also flooding my feed? My curiosity led me to google, to YouTube and to Instagram. From what I saw, CrossFit is so varied in all the different exercises, and you modify things to suit your fitness level. And everyone seemed to cheer the loudest for the people last to finish. Wait, people cheered you on? When you finished last? I needed to test that out.
So, that’s how I made my decision to give CrossFit a go.
Yes, it was hard in the beginning, I felt frustrated that my body couldn’t do what my mind wanted it to do, embarrassed that I had let myself get this way and wondered what everyone else in the room was thinking. But little by little, and with the help of my coaches and all the other members, these worries began to dissolve. I remember vividly a workout close to the beginning of my journey that was a slog. It was what the CrossFit people call a “chipper”. Basically, you get to do a lot of different movements and you chip away at the total as you just keep moving.
It was uncomfortable, long and it tested my boundaries. I was puffing pretty hard and it sucked. I had 10 box step ups while holding dumbbells and 10 bar hanging knee raises to go. 20 reps might as well be a thousand because I made the decision to stop. Everyone else was lying on the floor finished. Cool, I thought, I can get away with this, just lay down and play dumb. I had to step down of the box first. I heard a voice behind me… “how many more you got to go?” Startled and feeling busted, I blurted “10!” “Oh crap!” Now I had to finish, because I had a witness.
“Up you get then…” I didn’t even know this member’s name and here he was scraping himself up off the floor and getting stuck into me. I was a little confused. “What?” I said, a little huffy… “get up there, c’mon” he said crawling over. He then proceeded to count those 20 reps, slowly as I did single rest paused knee raises for the last 10. I sat on my box with my head down, exhausted. This member slapped me on the back and said “Good Job, Mel!”, and I looked up to the whole gym clapping. I was so proud I’d kept going when I so surely had quit in my mind.
Later I thought about that workout, and how it changed my whole way of thinking. Up until that point I saw exercise as a punishment for the way I’d treated my body and the food I’d eaten… Now I was beginning to see exercise as a way of celebrating what my body was capable of. So, I thought, if I just pushed through the desire to quit, and finished the workout, imagine what else I could do! I had just gotten an insight into mastering my own mind.
I treated every workout from there on as a personal challenge. It became more about me and what I was doing and less about anyone else. Every time things got hard or I was tired, or I thought it sucked, I remembered that I had beaten my mind before and I would do it again. It made me want to get better, go faster and lift more, all the while being cheered on by my workout buddies. And I loved to cheer them right back. That’s how CrossFit sucks you in… you begin to love your CrossFit family because they have your back. Endless words of encouragement, high fives and laughs.
Because you want to go and work out, and because you feel welcomed and valued by your coaches, you cannot help but improve your fitness. It comes with time. You get faster, stronger and more badass. You love how it makes you feel and how your body starts to change. Your mind becomes stronger and you start kicking goals in other aspects of your life.
And that’s how I walk through the doors of the gym every day because I know I will walk out a tiny bit better than yesterday. I’ll always encourage and cheer you on if you work out beside me, because I’d like to think that I might just be that person who inspires a change in someone else.
Written by Member Mel Nunn