Competing Against The Self

Growing up, I was always into sports but food and eating well was really a big part of my life. I spent my almost my entire academic life dedicated to varsity football and played softball occasionally as well. When I was younger, the big appetite and sports kind of balanced each other out but when I started working and couldn’t find a team to regularly train with, that’s when the pounds started piling on.
Before CrossFit as a working adult, I was playing tennis twice a week and would go surfing at the beach occasionally. I never really watched what I ate and in terms of fitness, I thought I was alright. I felt good enough at tennis to join friendly tournaments but with surfing, the growth was pretty stunted – I couldn’t get the paddle strength I needed to catch most waves. My endurance in the water wasn’t ideal as well. I was a beginner at the sport for over a year.
I discovered CFMNL through a Groupon deal. I don’t remember how I learned about the deal itself, probably a Facebook post? It was a discounted month pass for Bootcamp sessions.
I wasn’t happy with how my body was and I wanted to lose some weight so I signed up with a best friend of mine who felt the same way. Coincidentally, we were both going through break ups at the time so it pushed us further and motivated us to keep working out.
The first few sessions were such a killer. I remember going through Bootcamp sessions always ending short of breath. Burpees were my weakness and I always felt like puking in the beginning. My coaches and classmates were always so motivating during the sessions and I’d see #fitspos everywhere so I kept coming back.
After about two months of Bootcamp, I signed up for WOD and the rest is history. I’ve been going for over a year now and I’m still not sick of it.
I’m 27 now and I think this is the strongest and possibly even fittest I’ve ever felt in my life. Any sport or physical activity after CrossFit is all easy peasy. I used to look at the WODs on the whiteboard and think “How the fuck am I going to do that?” but at the end of the session, when I finish or even get close to finishing, I always feel like a winner.
There’s still a lot I have to learn in the CrossFit world since I still scale a lot of the workouts but everything I’ve done thus far has helped. The burpees I used to dread? They make me a better surfer. I pop up with ease now and finally, I can catch waves while paddling on my own. I’m still working on getting my squat lower but I remember when I first started, I could barely even perform the movement. There’s still so much for me to improve as an athlete but I’m glad to see and feel the progress on a weekly basis.
My endurance has greatly improved in all aspects. This helps me so much when I’m directing and filming my travel shows (Overnight with Erwan Heussaff, Hungry with Chef JP Anglo). I can walk further distances for longer periods of time and not a lot of everyday activities get me as tired anymore. I don’t cower at big flights of stairs. I find myself more open to trying new things and enjoying more physical activities. I recently even went wall climbing despite my fear of heights.
The best thing about CrossFit is that it gave me the strength, endurance and confidence to keep challenging myself and to constantly keep pushing. Now, I’m okay with being sore and uncomfortable. Working out is such a part of my routine now that my week feels so incomplete when I don’t hit the gym. When I think the WOD is crazy, I just remind myself to finish strong. It’s true, a lot of it is mind over matter. And to quote my favorite Nike ad, “everything you need is already inside.”
I hope people who want to get fit don’t get intimidated by CrossFit. I was never really a gym person – it was always sports. At CrossFit, you get that team sport feel, training with everyone, doing the same movements, cheering your boxmates on but at the end of the day, you’re really just competing with yourself. That’s the beauty of it.
-Sarie Cruz, CFMNL Fort BGC