Athlete Perspective – Amanda
What brought you to Crusher CrossFit in the first place?
I have Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive or GI tract. What that really means is that my immune system is malfunctioning and overactive and that causes it to attack healthy cells in my digestive tract. This for me caused (what I called) ulcers in my ileum (where the large and small intestines meet) I had emergency surgery to remove a foot of my intestines when the ulcers formed an abscess. Then 2 Years ago I had surgery for the opposite of an abscess. This time it was a bowel obstruction. My intestinal wall was scared and narrow causing blockages. Treatments for this, steroids and just the fatigue that goes along with Crohn’s disease caused me to gain 60 lbs in 6 months. The surgery for this removed another foot of my intestine. I felt better after the surgery but still felt fatigued. The Ileum is where nutrient absorption takes place. When some of the ileum is removed this caused issues, including malabsorption of vitamins and nutrients for me mostly including Iron, Protein, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. I tried taking high doses of Vitamins and even Iron injections, but nothing that helped. I had gained 60 lbs, Was fatigued, and unfit. Sleeping all the time, not able to get through the day at work, no energy after work to play or spend time with the kids. And on top of that, I was on immune suppressants to stop my immune system from attacking my body. I had to do something.
Working out was what we came up with, we were planning on trying to get pregnant, and I knew that pregnancy would be difficult if I didn’t change the path I was on. I tried the gym next to my office building but quickly realized that indoor running on a treadmill was not something I would enjoy enough to keep me going back to the gym or that it would be something I would want to do long-term (I really hated it). I wasn’t sure where to start with the weights at the gym, so I tried a free hour with a personal trainer. It was not what I expected, and after that session, I could not walk, get up from bed or sit down for 5 days after, so I quit. One day I was buying groceries and checking out when this gentleman in line behind me commented on all the food I was buying and asked me If I had kids, I responded with yes I have 4, he looked and me and said: “and one on the way, congratulations.” I was not pregnant. Because of my recent surgery, I carried most of my weight gain in my middle so I will admit maybe did look a little pregnant.
After I got home from grocery shopping, I was on facebook and saw a check in at Crusher Crossfit. I had never heard of Crossfit, so I looked at the website, and I remember it saying something about working for people that never have worked out. It sounded good to me, so spurred by the gentleman at the grocery store, not having any idea of what Crossfit was, besides fitness, I signed up for the Bootcamp starting 2 days later.
Bootcamp was HARD for me. I was a little discouraged because I was the slowest and weakest in the class, but after the first day I wanted to come back, I wanted to keep working and learning. Once Bootcamp was over, I started coming to class every day, and even though I was still the slowest and weakest, I really didn’t care anymore. I was doing the movements, I was working on me, I was gaining confidence, I was motivated to keep going by how I started feeling. I was tired after the workouts, but I wasn’t exhausted all day. I felt better. I could tell on days that I did not work out as I did not feel the best. I was 36, pregnant, working full time, taking care of 4 kids and was for the first time in a long time able to get through the day without the issues that followed me with Crohn’s disease. I was feeling great. I credit my fantastic pregnancy to keeping active and doing Crossfit. Even after baby, I can see the benefits Crossfit has given me in my day to day life.
What was your first impression? How has that changed?
I started at Crusher Crossfit in late September 2016. It was a nice day, and the garage doors were open for the class that was before boot camp class. As I walked up to the box, my view was of men and women back squatting what looked like to be massive amounts of weights. My first thought was oh my goodness, what did I sign up for? My first impression was wow these people are amazing. That view was very intimidating for me. As time went on that first impression didn’t change, the men and women that come to class and do this are amazing. The change from that first impression is that I see myself in that group now.
What has been your most proud moment at Crusher?
I have so many moments. The first time I ran a mile or rowed a 5K. Every PR. The first time I did 5 rounds with 24 box jumps, (It was to a small box, but that was a big deal for me.). The first time getting up into and holding a handstand. Going from the wall to a box pushup (I remember the workout and who was coaching for this one). Participating in Oktoberfest 5 weeks after baby and one week after coming back. Getting up every time after falling down. Working out every day during my pregnancy past my due date. Not giving up, ever.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on general fitness. While I was pregnant I felt like I could do any workout, Run or row any distance or do as many reps as needed of any movement (scaled for the pregnancy of course) after baby I feel like I am back in Boot camp again… Once I feel ready to work on specific movements I want to work on Pushups and Box Jumps.
What’s your favorite Crusher memory?
Doing Friday Night Lights and Oktoberfest. I enjoyed cheering for my fellow athletes and being cheered on. The atmosphere made me what to try harder and be better I really enjoyed competing.
Do you have advice for someone who might be a bit nervous to give CrossFit a try?
Don’t be intimidated by it. Everyone has had a first day where everyone else looked Awesome. They all had to start somewhere, Everyone has things they are good at and things they need to work on. We are all there working toward a goal and supporting each other.
Picture Above: “This is one of my favorite pictures taken on my due date. I don’t look really pregnant in this picture, but you should see the side of view.”