While the Open is fun and challenging, let’s not forget why we all do this “CrossFit” thing in the first place. We do it because along with good nutrition it can transform our bodies, improve our lives and make us happier, stronger, and more energetic people!
Jessica Markham just hit her CrossFit one year anniversary and was generous enough to share the details of her journey to a better self! We can all learn from her great example of dedication and hard work!
Jessica then and now…..
My journey to better health began 3 years ago, in January 2013. My daughter was 1 1/2 and we had just celebrated Christmas. After looking back at myself in the photos from Christmas Day, I decided that I did not like what I saw and I was going to make a change. That change began immediately! Over the course of the next three years, my weight loss was accomplished in multiple stages. I can’t stress enough that it’s not an overnight process to lose weight and make a healthy change in your body, it does take time and you must be patient. Good things can happen! I want to share with you my journey and my lessons learned, so here it goes.
After seeing those fateful Christmas photos, I immediately replaced both my breakfasts and lunches with a ‘protein’ shake. It was supposed to be a good, balanced meal replacement shake, but I abused them and did not prepare them properly, thus essentially starving myself. Looking back, I can’t imagine how I made it day to day without passing out or strangling someone because I was ‘hangry’. My breakfasts and lunches were less than 150 calories each. DON’T DO THAT TO YOURSELF! Yes, I lost a lot of weight and quickly, but at the expense of my health. It all came to a stop one morning when one of my co-workers had to rush me to the doctor because I was experiencing symptoms of extremely low blood sugar, it was very scary and it was clear I needed to make a change. On to the next phase!! I started eating real food again and became a happier person!
That January, I had also started attending a local Zumba class and that was my first experience with exercise (I am not kidding). I was always the first person to try to find a way out of anything that made me sweat, breath hard, or required me to wear tennis shoes. I loved it! (And I still love Zumba to this day….they really taught me how to ‘shake it’). Since that day, I have made exercise part of my lifestyle and I started adding in various other activities, such as hot power yoga classes, tabata classes and HIIT workouts that I found on the internet. At this point I was working out 2-3 times a week. That was a huge change for me. The rest of that year and all of 2014 went by relatively uneventful, except for my constant war with food. I thought I was eating healthy, but I couldn’t understand why my weight wasn’t going down any more and why I wasn’t really seeing a good change in my body.
Next phase! My dear friend, Nicole Lehning, finally convinced me that I needed to try CrossFit. My husband had tried to talk me into it and I strictly remember using the words “over my dead body” with him multiple times. I guess I needed to hear it from a girl, so I signed up! I completed Foundations in February 2015 and started attending the 5AM class a few times a week. Over the next few months, I noticed I was getting stronger and I felt great!
Then came the 2015 Fall Nutrition Challenge….Flexible Dieting. I am always up for a challenge, so I read and listened to all the information our trainers gave us and then researched some more on my own and at the end of the 6 weeks, I was astonished to find out that I won! It was one of the most exciting moments in my life, because I knew that I had worked hard and I remained disciplined with my diet to finish that challenge.
The nutrition challenge was a real eye opener for me. The past year I thought I was eating healthy, but I realized during the 6 weeks of the challenge that I had a lot to learn and many food habits to change. The biggest thing I learned was that a balanced, healthy diet is the KEY to success in the gym. You can come in and work your butt off every day, but if you don’t have a solid, healthy nutritional base, you are not going to see the changes you desire. I am now seeing incredible changes in my body, including increased strength and visible muscle tone and sometimes I’m so giddy about it, I find myself flexing in the mirror. Don’t judge, I know you all do it, too. I’ve also earned the nickname “Macro Manager”, from my husband, because I live and breathe by counting my macros and its led me to success. I now find myself in the gym 5-6 days a week, and I look forward to seeing the 5AM crew every day. They encourage and inspire me and we just flat out have a great time. I couldn’t be happier!
So, to make a long story short. Be patient with yourself and don’t jump on board with fad diets. Eat good, balanced meals, it really makes a difference. Fill your plate with healthy natural foods and look up how to count your macros! Also, enjoy your time in the gym. Don’t look at it as work, look at it as fun! Every day is a new day to work on your health and your body, please enjoy it!