When I started this CrossFit journey I never thought it would turn into what it is now. All I have to say, it has exceeded all expectations of what I thought it could be.
I came to CrossFit Flight my freshman year of college after swim season and was very hesitant because I hadn’t ever learned how to move correctly. I had been a competitive swimmer all my life so anything involving a barbell was completely foreign. I knew I had a long way to go but yet I continued to come to class because the sport was so fun and new and like nothing I had ever done before. I was hooked and became a coach in 2014.
My parents thought I was crazy at the time. Since then I’ve convinced 7 of my family members that while I may be crazy, so are they!
Chris, my dad, was the first I convinced. We participated in triathlons and 5Ks for a few summers which was always fun. He had always been a runner but had been quoted to say that he hated it. Running was what he could do after work, on his own, and it was his way to stay in shape. When I finally couldn’t stop talking about CrossFit he decided to come to the gym with me and give it a shot! Just like everyone’s first day, you realize how out of shape you are, and weirdly, how that amount of pain wants to make you come back tomorrow. My dad became a regular the summer of 2013 and is a part of the 5am Breakfast Club. This past November he suffered a back injury that had him out of the gym for around 3 months. Once you have a physical lifestyle, to have a setback like that, can be very devastating. On his way back to the gym it was very hard for him to take it slow, but if anything, the injury taught him that he never wanted to go through that again. One of my favorite things about my dad being at the gym is our 5am Friday Open Gym sessions when we put in a workout which is followed by bagels and coffee at Big Apple Bagel.
My mom and grandma were the next ones to join the Crew. After a full summer of CrossFit training, it was time to try out for the swim team at Grand Valley for my second year. It was a very stressful week of tryouts with school and getting sick. When I found out I hadn’t made the team I was completely distraught. I had been a swimmer all my life and couldn’t imagine life without it. My mom was there to comfort me and remind me how much I had loved CrossFit and how I was sad that I would’ve had to put it on hold for duration of the swim season. I remember our conversation vividly as she told me that maybe ‘someday I’ll go to the gym with you’. To which I replied, “how about Monday?”
My mom, Brandee, told my grandma that she was planning on coming to the gym that Monday to support me and my grandma decided to jump on the bandwagon! They moved through the On-Ramp classes together which were followed with texts to me almost every night saying how sore they were and how I had convinced them this was fun.
My grandma, who is quite a few people’s favorite Crew member, has always been the life of class but also works her butt off. When she first started she told me her goal with CrossFit was to be able to know that if she fell, she could get up. To me that was the best answer she could have ever given. You can always look to grandma for a laugh and for that lighthearted spirit in the gym, and to also always have snacks and paper towels 😉 She competed in her first competition this summer and she brought tears to many member’s eyes because she is 65 years old and was doing something she never thought was possible!
My momma, who is very near and dear to my heart, is also my best friend. It is very scary how similar we are. Those similarities include, but are not limited to, our sass, our hatred of running and our love for the barbell. My mom progressed very quickly through her first few months of CrossFit because she was a natural when it came to strength. We would often compare scores to see if we could beat each other by one rep or five pounds. Last year my mom broke her elbow and it took a lot from her. She had been taken down when she was getting her stride and was one of the strongest individuals at our gym. What this taught her was that this was her new normal and she wasn’t going to quit because her arm can no longer be as straight as her other one. Today she is gaining her strength back as well as a different mentality about training. Just last week I was able to PR my squat clean and she came in that afternoon and tied me! is in this for the long haul! My mom can also be found to always have gum, just ask coach John.
My mom and I convinced my brother to come to open gym one weekend and we continue to hate him to this day because he got his first ring muscle up. My brother has always been a natural to anything athletic and it was really great to train together (even though he would almost always win). While he went off to Ferris this year, he will be back this summer to kick my butt for sure.
The next three people are my cousin Abbey, cousin Logan and my aunt Rhonda. Abbey started coming to the gym this summer and is the fittest 14 year-old girl I know! She has made such strides from coming everyday and always wanting to go to open gym on Sunday’s to work on her weaknesses. I see such bright things in her CrossFit future, I only wish I discovered this sport when I was 14. Rhonda, Abbey’s mom started recently this fall and the difference in her abilities is almost night and day. We were just rejoicing over the fact that she did 40 some med ball sit ups this week when she couldn’t even do a body weight sit up three months ago. Logan, the most recent victim! Logan just turned 14 as well and started about 3 weeks ago. While he hates overhead squats now, I can’t wait to see where he is in a year; 6 months even! My favorite thing about Logan is his persistence to be better, he’s always looking to challenge himself.
The Open is upon us and guess who is participating? All 8 of us! The Open is such a great way to see how we stack up against people our age and I’m most excited to see where my 14 year-old cousins end up. The thing I love the most about my family coming to the gym is we are doing something that makes us feel good. (Also our Saturday morning workouts that are followed by breakfast at IHOP). We have all found out a lot about ourselves and each other through CrossFit. I am so fortunate to have a group of individuals that believed I was onto something. I think it goes without saying that I have the most incredible people in my life and I have been able to make a extended family with the other members and coaches of our gym. My Crew members are my brothers and sisters in the battle we call fitness and I couldn’t ask for anything better!