I have a confession to make: If the universe bestowed upon me the perfect body, and I could have said perfect body without having to exercise or practice healthy eating habits, I would be a chocolate-filled couch potato 24/7.
Most of us would, right? Now, don’t be that person; you know the person I’m talking about…
“But, I love working out!”
You love working out because you have to exercise. It’s good for your heart…or something along those lines. I, personally, do love working out to an extent. It’s a great way to escape from the crazy shit-show that is my head on a daily basis. Would I work out less and eat a LOT more mozzarella sticks if I knew I could have killer abs and a glorious butt despite constant wine-fueled binges? Of course. I love working out because I have to work out. If I have to do something for my health, I should, at the very least, enjoy what I’m doing.
This section of Worried Wino revolves around how I make fitness fun for myself. I am not an Instagram fitness model. I’m not going to create workouts for you to do from the comfort of your own home. What I will do, however, is write about my experiences as I embark on a very niche, fitness-fueled journey (as I toss in some body-positivity posts along the way).
In order to understand why I am being transparent about this part of my life, I need to rewind a bit and talk about how this newfound passion of mine began…
“But, you just said you wouldn’t exercise if you had the perfect body…How can exercise be something you’re passionate about?”
Correct! If I could look like a VS model and eat chocolate cake every night with no negative side effects, it would be really hard to get my ass into the gym. However, no one has the “perfect” body and, while it would be awesome to bathe in queso every night, I enjoy the fact that being at your physical best takes work. It wouldn’t be as addicting and fun if it were easy.
Up until recently, CrossFit has been my everything. For the past four years, I have dedicated time, money, sweat, tears, and blood to the sport. I’ve basically earned my bachelor’s in CrossFit. I am a CrossFitter through and through.
Now, CrossFit is not for everyone, despite what HQ would like the general population to believe. Can you adapt and modify all of the exercises? Yes. Does that mean that every living and breathing human being should do CrossFit? No. For some, it’s not fun. It’s not their thingand that’s OKAY! One of my biggest issues with the CrossFit community is the elitism surrounding the fitness program itself. Just because someone chooses to do pilates instead of CrossFit, that doesn’t make them any less hardcore. If Orangetheory is your jam, awesome. If running is your go-to, sweet. Are you a StairMaster girl? Cool. Bodybuilding? #GetSwoll. As long as people are doing something fitness-related, more power to them.
While some may not be into CrossFit, others simply can’t do it; their minds might be into it, but their bodies aren’t. I am, as heartbreaking as it is to write, a part of that group. Over the years, I have fractured my foot, torn the labrum in my left shoulder (that photo above was my first set of wall balls post-injury), torn the labrum in my right hip, have been diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction, patellofemoral pain syndrome, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and have aggravated the two slipped discs (not caused by CrossFit) in my cervical spine. This is not CrossFit’s fault. It’s my body’s. It turns out, I am veryhypermobile; and not in the cool yogi way. My joints, in a nutshell, have finally decided that I am not allowed to do the one thing that I truly love to do. I have been advised, due to my SI joint dysfunction and the tear in my hip (that is, for now, inoperable), to never run again, engage in heavy lifting, or jump (cool…).
Close to one year ago, I officially stopped actual CrossFit. I blew out my back and, while I remained a member of my gym, I did my own thing while my peers ran, lifted, and jumped. As the months went on, my various joints began to tire. My hip followed my back. Shortly after, my elbows decided it was time to wave the white flag. Not long after that, my right shoulder threw in the towel.
As they say, bad habits die hard. When I injured myself, I became terrified that I would gain weight. I was a bride-to-be at the time and, in our culture, if you’re anything less than perfect on your wedding day, you’ve failed (at what, I have no idea). I began to eat very little, while still working out daily. Then, something happened. My period stopped. Hair started falling out. Every time I stood, a dizzy spell would ensue. By the time my bridal shower rolled around in July, I wasn’t just too thin, my body was shutting down.
I have had scans taken and blood work done to try to blame my joint issues on somethingother than the simple fact that this is just how my body is wired. I have stood in the mirror, looked at my body, and sobbed knowing that I will likely never be the athlete that I had always hoped to become. I have watched, with jealousy, as my friends snapped pictures of their morning runs or boasted about PRs in the weight room. I have hatedbeing me.
After my wedding in November, I knew that I had to make a change. There was no point in paying a high monthly fee for a fitness program that I physically cannot do and there was no point in starving myself. I decided to make small monthly changes. First, I upped my carb intake…by a lot. I had energy again. My period was back on track again. Second, I tossed daily HIIT/CrossFit workouts aside and spent more time focusing on building the muscles surrounding my unstable joints. The idea is: the more jacked I am, the less these suckers will be able to move around. Guess what? It’s working. For the first time in close to a year, my back doesn’t hurt. My ankles aren’t screaming. My elbows aren’t popping. Bonus: Daily HIIT, for me, was a downer on my immune system. Over the years, I have been sick so often that I thought I had a legitimate autoimmune disorder. Once I took a step back from daily HIIT workouts, I’ve barely had a sniffle.
CrossFit is the reason that I love physical fitness. I wouldn’t be where I am today, with the confidence that I have today, if it were not for me walking into a warehouse with a Groupon four years ago. That said, CrossFit isn’t the end-all-be-all. I want to prepare my body for what’s to come; for aging. I know that if I were to keep up the daily CF workouts, I would likely be in a wheelchair by 50. That is not the case for everyone, and I am not suggesting that CrossFit is a bad program. I am, however, saying that my body needs a long, solid break.
I am terrified of the journey ahead of me; but I am also incredibly excited. For the first time in four years, I’m on my own. Does this mean that I’ll never return to CrossFit? Of course not. The goal is to eventually find myself back in the box a few times a week. Daily HIIT just isn’t for me anymore and, as I said earlier, that’s okay. The thing that I love about the world of fitness is that it’s fluid and it evolves with you. What you enjoy today may not be the thing you enjoy a year from now. That used to scare me, but now it motivates me.
Let’s see what these joints are made of, shall we?
– The Worried Wino
I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I am not a certified trainer, dietician, or anything that requires actual time and dedication. Talk to your doctor before starting any fitness routine.