Before I started at CrossFit Central, I exercised, but not consistently. My husband and I like to hike, and we’ve enjoyed many wonderful trips to various destinations in the Desert Southwest. Primarily my daily exercise consisted of an occasional bike ride, 3 mile walk, or rowing on Lady Bird Lake. I’m “retired” from a long career as a technical writer here in Austin, and I’m grateful for this phase now in my life where I can explore and learn new things. For example, I’m two years in to learning to play the violin, and recently I’ve learned to weld with oxyacetalene to make metal sculptures.

So learning new things is in my nature, but I must admit I was a bit intimidated by the CrossFit scene at first. I’d never really done any kind of weight-lifting before, for one thing, and for another, I was carrying quite a few extra pounds of weight with very little muscle strength.

I’m 56 years old and was beginning to feel my age and I had been carrying more weight than I wanted to for a long time. A friend of mine who is only a year younger has been doing CrossFit for over two years. I decided that if she could do it, then so could I. When CrossFit Central Downtown opened, which is only two blocks from where I live, it seemed it was time to get started. Since March 2013, working out at CrossFit Central 3 times a week, I’ve lost 27 inches, 27 pounds, and reduced my body fat from 31% to 21%. Also, my posture has improved such that I no longer have the typical “dowager’s” hump at the base of my neck/top of my spine that I had noticed forming as far back as 10 years ago. I weighed 168 lbs last March, and now I’m down to 141. I have learned so much about nutrition, especially about proper ratios of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. My clothing size has changed from Size 14 to Size 8.

Lost 27 lbs, 27 inches, 10% body fat and went from a size 14 to a size 8

I never saw myself as a “body builder”, lifting weights, and so on. I did not even know what a kettlebell was, or the difference between a barbell and a dumbbell. Now I know about deadlifts and power cleans.

The coaches at CrossFit Central are superb. I started with Nicole Helmcamp, and her encouragement and enthusiastic coaching is probably what kept me coming back. She always made me feel like I could succeed at the workout, even when I did not think I could. At first, I was so exhausted after the workouts, I’d have to rest and recover for about 45 minutes before I could even walk to my car. Sometimes, I’d feel sick to my stomach or dizzy. Many times I would feel like I just could not go on. But working with Nicole in several personal training sessions, I gradually got stronger and more confident about the moves with the equipment. I’m especially grateful to Nicole for her cheerful encouragement. Now I’m working with Ingrid Kantola, and she is also a great coach. She and Nicole both help me push myself but still stay safe and use my body correctly so that I won’t injure myself during the workouts.