At their No Sweat Intro, Alena let us know that the goal was to build strength. But the focus wasn’t to look strong, it was to BE strong so that they could feel capable in life and enjoy more physical activities.
“At my intro appointment, I told coach Jess a story about having gone whitewater rafting in the mid-2010s. We were on the New River in West Virgina, and it was a beautiful experience. However, I wasn’t in good shape at the time, and when I fell out of the raft I couldn’t pull myself back in. That was a really scary moment for me.
I’ve never been particularly athletic – in fact, as a kid I came to dislike sports because I was teased about my lack of coordination and athletic ability – but have always loved being outdoors. I wanted to be able to continue participating in higher-intensity recreational activities while knowing I’d be able to take care of myself. I started exercising regularly on my own around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but wasn’t building the strength I needed to achieve my goals.
When I started CrossFit I was also on the verge of having high blood pressure. I’m only 38, which (to me) seems too young for that. There’s a definite genetic component in terms of my family’s history of heart health concerns. Still, I wanted to be able to stay healthy without taking medication for as long as possible. “
A year later?
“I absolutely achieved my original goals (feeling strong and addressing concerns about blood pressure). I’ve built so much strength as the result of coming to CrossFit; it’s enabled me to continue doing the things I enjoy and then some. I’ve come to feel very confident in my body’s abilities. I’m also happy to report that my blood pressure is now perfect, with no pharmacological intervention needed for the time being. I expected and am pleased with these outcomes.
What I didn’t expect was the positive impact that CrossFit has had on my mental health and professional development. I’m a therapist of almost 15 years, with many of those years spent employed in high-stress, high-conflict (mostly forensic) practice settings. I recently shared with my coaches that much of what I’ve experienced at CrossFit has started to translate to my clinical practice, in terms of resilience, perseverance, and knowing my limits/when to tap out. Of course, I already had a professional awareness of these issues; but, I’ve been surprised at the intensity of the mind-body connection, and how my time in the gym leads to me feeling more confident and capable at work. Observing these changes within myself has been a powerful motivator to continue with CrossFit.
I also didn’t expect that doing CrossFit would lead me to start taking better care of my body in other ways. I began stretching regularly, taking hot baths, and eating better food – all so that I could do great workouts”
What excites Alena about the future?
“So many things! I had the opportunity this past spring to take an Olympic weightlifting course with coach Rob (spoiler alert: it was awesome), and I’m really looking forward to getting more familiar with weightlifting. There’s something about those movements that feels very intuitive to me, and I’m excited to explore that further.
I spent this summer doing a lot with my legs to give my arms a bit of a break. As a result, I started to kind of crave the peace I feel when I’m running. So, getting faster and building more endurance are new goals for me.
I’d say I feel excited about the future in general, as it relates to my body and movement. My partner is looking to get back into rock climbing as a hobby, and I’m so happy that I’ll have the ability to share in that with her. I love being able to say yes to invitations for outdoor activities knowing that I’ll have the strength to fully participate.”
We asked Alena what was holding them back before joining CrossFit Renaissance. And their response is one we hear often.
“I think the only thing holding me back was myself!
I had myself convinced that it would be “too much” and that I’d never be able to succeed.
Trust me when I say, though: if I can do this stuff, anybody can.
I had really never exercised regularly in my life before 2020. The coaches at CFR have been there to push me in all the right ways, and to help me modify workouts when necessary.”
Alena’s message – “Just do it! Every day will not be your best day, and every workout will not be your best workout. It doesn’t need to be perfect. All you have to do is show up and the rest will take care of itself.”
Congratulations Alena!! We are inspired by your dedication to training, your willingness to learn and be coached, and the incredible changes you have seen as a result. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.