Like a lot of people, I started running to lose weight. That was in 1998, when I was a junior in college, battling the 40-plus pounds I'd gained from my diet of pasta, french fries, and Sour Patch Kids. It took me over five years to lose the weight, but I never was able to get super lean and muscular like I had always wanted to be.
As a mom of two, I put the idea of my strong and chiseled body on hold for a bit. I have gone through two pregnancies, gaining 50-plus pounds during each, and always ran to lose that post-baby weight. Even running 45 minutes three to four times a week didn't help me lose those last 10 pounds. So I signed up for a half marathon, thinking training would kick my body into gear. But running an hour five times a week and doing long training runs on the weekend just made me super hungry, and I ended up gaining weight.
Running became a chore. I wasn't excited to do it anymore because it wasn't offering the results I thought it should. I decided to take the leap and sign up for a month-long "on-ramp program" for CrossFit. I had wanted to try CrossFit ever since giving birth to my second child, and now that he was almost four years old, it was time to stop making excuses and learn the basics.
I dove in head first, and started going five days a week. After one month of CrossFit, I was shocked at how my body had changed. And it wasn't just because I was working out—I had previously been doing hour-long runs 5-6 days a week along with yoga once a week. I also didn't change my diet at all. If anything, I was eating more. I'm convinced that it's because at CrossFit we do interval-style workouts and lift heavy weights. We also never plateau by doing the same thing over and over: in the first month I was there, we never repeated the same workout. It's also intense. Before trying CrossFit, I put in a lot of miles running, but my heart rate never got as high as it does doing five minutes of wall balls, box jumps, and burpees.
It's been three months since I started CrossFit, and I have yet to go on a single run. And you know what? I don't miss it one bit. I'm loving my new routine because I'm actually excited to go—when my alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m., I'm actually pumped! It's fun to try new exercises, I'm proud to see what I can accomplish (I climbed a rope!) and how strong I'm getting, and I also look forward to sweating alongside the same dedicated, supportive, and inspiring group of people who also like to work out at 5:45 in the morning.
Doing CrossFit made me realize that even though running was free and easy to fit into my schedule, I actually hated it because the harder I worked, the less I saw results. The harder I push myself in CrossFit, the better results I see, and that's how it should be. We write down the details of each workout and there is written proof that I'm getting stronger. And I can also see it in how my body looks different and how my clothes fit.
With this new full-on addiction, I can't say I've given up on running for good, but don't call me anytime soon to go on a run with you. If you need me, I'll be at CrossFit.
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