“It is so much more than health and fitness. It’s being around good people who help others and push you to be better every day.”
If you asked me five years ago if I would ever love something to do with fitness, I would have laughed in your face. I was comfortable in the body I was in. I had no intentions of losing any weight or living a healthier lifestyle.
But in the summer of 2016, a good friend of mine had just finished a boot camp at a local CrossFit gym. She had lost some weight and really enjoyed the program. She was beginning another six-week session, and after talking to her about it, I thought, Hey, I have nothing better to do. Why not? I signed up and dragged my sister along for the ride.
After doing the boot camp, it was time to decide what was next. I still wasn’t totally onboard (I made fun of people who would post videos of their lifting PRs). Yet, I made friends, was feeling pretty good about myself and found out in that short time that my body can do some pretty awesome things.
I ended up coming to NEPA CrossFit because my boyfriend (now husband) worked in the Pittston area. He went there because it was close to work, and he really enjoyed it. I would drop in with him from time to time and loved the coaches, the programming and the atmosphere. In 2018, NEPA CrossFit ran an online contest, and the winners received a free membership for a full year. As luck would have it, I won.
The only thing was, I live in the Moscow area. But free is free, so yes, I began driving 45 minutes to go to the gym. I found out quickly that it was true what some NEPA CrossFit members said about the place: “It is worth the drive.”
Since I started CrossFit, I’ve lost over 50 pounds of fat and gained muscle. I’ve also learned so much about nutrition and how it’s more than just losing fat. It’s about fueling your body to do what you want it to do (and enjoying a donut or some ice cream from time to time).
I have run races and competed in CrossFit competitions. One of my favorites was a team competition at NEPA CrossFit. We were getting to the end of the WOD, and our teammate had to complete handstand push-ups (they are exactly what they sound like). She was really struggling with the movement. Some girls had already finished the workout and noticed her. Instead of just sipping their recovery drinks and waiting for the clock to run out, they went over to cheer her on and give her instruction on how she could get a few reps in. The energy in the room was astounding. This moment is what CrossFit is all about for me: getting out of your comfort zone and never quitting while others encourage and help you. That’s where the community comes into play. That’s why we keep coming back.
Another reason to love CrossFit is because it is for everyone. I volunteered at Wodapalooza, one of the biggest fitness competitions in the world, where I devoted a weekend to moving weights for all types of athletes. As much as I loved watching the elites compete, the true highlight of that weekend was seeing what the adaptive athletes were able to do. It gave me a whole new outlook on this awesome sport. Functional fitness truly is for everyone, and CrossFit gives all people the confidence to do things most people would think were impossible.
Speaking of doing the impossible, I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in March. If anything, CrossFit made giving birth a lot easier. I even used the idea of a Tabata for contractions: “You can do anything for 20 seconds.”
I go to the gym between 4-6 days a week. That’s a lot of driving, but my membership makes it totally worth it. The gym is basically open all the time, and you can come and go when you please. The programming and coaching are top-notch. Even if you aren’t there doing a scheduled class, any coach will give you their time and attention. There is so much encouragement, not only from the coaches, but also from the other members too. Even during the lockdowns last year, Brennan, the owner of NEPA CrossFit, gave out all of his equipment—every weight, rower, bike and all—for free so we could keep up with our fitness. Not a lot of gyms would do that.
This is what people mean when they talk about the CrossFit community. It is so much more than health and fitness. It’s being around good people who help others and push you to be better every day. It’s about doing things you never thought you were capable of. And it’s so much fun doing something that’s hard with a group of people who also love to embrace the challenge. I drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid, and I am so proud to say that my gym is NEPA CrossFit.