I was a competitive swimmer all the way through my freshman year of college at the University of Utah. It had been the only sport I had ever known and after being in the same routine for years I felt emotionally, physically and mentally drained. I became accustomed to waking up before 5 o’ clock and working out 20+ hours a week at a very young age. Swimming was something I loved but my life was very unbalanced and my whole world was centered around my swimming career.
For about five years prior to moving to Austin, I was in a very toxic and emotionally stressful relationship. I was extremely codependent and allowed the negativity of this relationship to take a debilitating toll on my health. This unhealthy situation paired with an unfortunate struggle with mental illness was easily the most difficult challenge I have ever had to face. My anxiety and depression took over my life completely and I slipped into a dark place. I resorted to self-harm in order to cope with my feelings and felt completely hopeless. For a very long time it was a struggle just to wake up in the morning. I lost sight of my faith, was disconnected from my family and completely put my own goals and aspirations to the side. I gained at least 15 pounds and lost the motivation to do any sort of exercise.
The summer before my sophomore year was when I actively started to make changes. I applied to transfer to the University of Texas, and removed myself completely from the horrible mental state I had been in. I made a conscious effort to rid my life of harmful situations, relationships and thoughts. I realized that I was the only person who was standing in the way of my own happiness. When I moved to Austin, I made it a priority to put my health first and slowly learn how to treat myself the way I deserved.
It was during my freshman year of college that I became very interested in trying CrossFit. After I quit swimming, I longed for something that would challenge me. I had never done any super intensive weightlifting before and was curious to see if CrossFit would be a good fit for me. When I moved to Austin a year and a half ago, I researched the best CrossFit gyms in the area and found CrossFit Central. I planned on trying out several gyms to find a good fit for me, but after I did a drop a class with Coach Megan Miller, I was hooked. CrossFit Central was the first and only CrossFit gym I tested out and instantly felt like it was the place for me.
Lost 10 lbs. of fat, gained 5 lbs. of muscle
Since joining CrossFit Central I have learned skills and accomplished goals that I never thought I could. I have lost about 10 pounds of fat and have gained 5 pounds of muscle. I have significantly increased weight in my squat, deadlift, and snatch and continue to improve my gymnastics skills. My progress has been slow and steady, but extremely rewarding.
CrossFit Central has helped me overcome many obstacles. I have become a much more confident human being and have allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone. I am much less insecure than when I started doing CrossFit and feel far less anxious when I step into the gym. For the first couple months I was very quiet and kept to myself during the workout. I would show up maybe 5 minutes before class started and leave right when it was over. After about three months or so I stopped being so afraid of what everyone may or may not think about me. We all show up to better ourselves and cheer one another on, which is something that motivates me to continue to grow as an athlete.
I have learned how to manage overwhelming stress and anxiety through the power of breath work, and bring my thoughts back to a calm and relaxed headspace. Targeting foreign emotions and acknowledging them has allowed me to be able to move past negative thoughts. Gaining a more positive attitude has helped me abandon unhealthy tendencies, and as of July of this year I am one year free of self-harm. This is something I am extremely proud of. For nearly 7 years I fought with an awful obsession, and I believe that being in a community where I feel loved and welcome has helped me to push past the adverse situations in my life. My love for myself has grown immensely, out of something that was once nonexistent.
Learning how to challenge myself in the gym has allowed me to apply the same principles to my life outside of CrossFit. Working hard at the gym has provided me with the dedication to put 100% effort into other aspects of my life. My relationship with my parents and sisters has strengthened greatly, and I am so immensely thankful for them. I tackle a heavy work load with my classes but have learned how to be a diligent student and prioritize my studies. I have also developed very meaningful and lasting relationships with people I have met at CrossFit Central. I work as hard as I can to channel love and appreciation into all of my friendships and try to spread love whenever I get the chance. Pushing my body to new limits had allowed me to push my mind further as well, showing myself that I can do anything I set my mind to!