After building up the courage, I walked into CrossFit RDU and met Steve, the owner. He sat down with me and explained to me how I could do the workouts scaled, at my own level and that there would be coaches there to help me understand the workouts. I came to the Foundations classes and I was very comfortable and realized that the fear I had in my mind, was only put there by me. I became a member at CrossFit RDU in February 2012, every time I finish a workout here I feel stronger both mentally and physically (just what I need). When I make progress and I am able to set personal records there are few greater feelings. Knowing that I am doing something I was told I can’t or won’t be able to do is far more gratifying than living in fear. I always tell my co-workers, family and friends that if I can do this as a single parent with two kids and work full time, then absolutely anyone can. The coaches and members here are all very positive and knowledgeable. I am truly thankful and amazed at how much guidance I get from both coaching staff and members who come here. I don’t think I could have found a more accepting group of people.
It was in college that I tried to make a change (the first time) and I picked up running. I spent a few days in the gym each week, but never really accomplished much beyond saying I was there. I continued to run, and eventually trained for a marathon. Like a lot of runners, overuse and overtraining led to injury and I completely stopped training and slowly began to resume my old habits.
I was dropping off my dry cleaning one day, when I saw a class at Crossfit RDU warming up. Curious, I decided to check it out. I didn’t know what I expected, but when I arrived for my first class I was more than a little nervous. Everyone (not just the coach) was warm and welcoming. And although I had no background in CrossFit, and didn’t understand the movements, I was made to feel at home and like it mattered that I had decided to be there.
Everyday was as new challenge, but I kept coming back. I was admittedly terrible at it, but I received great coaching and more encouragement than I could have imagined. It was the first time I had other people checking on me and holding me accountable for consistency, and it was the push I needed to devote the time and effort that it would take to get better. Although I knew I wasn’t an athlete in the traditional sense of the word, it still wasn’t easy to admit that I wasn’t good at exercising. It was even harder sometimes to keep doing it while looking for incremental improvement. It turns out, however, that incremental improvement and small successes were happening day after day, week after week. I didn’t always notice, but my coaches and classmates sure did! They both congratulated me on my achievements and helped me understand how to improve next time. From the workout, to nutrition, to recovery, the instruction and coaching were always there. Slowly I was able to work harder, do new things, and accomplish goal after goal.
It has been 5 years since my first day at CrossFit RDU. In that time I’ve made some of the best friends I could imagine. I’m more fit today at 42 years old than I have been in my entire life and get better every single time I walk into the door. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned about consistency and dedication and apply it to my everyday life and the success in the gym has bled into success at home and at work. Most importantly, however, I’ve been able to share my story with others and see them succeed as well. I took a chance and stepped out of my comfort zone when I hesitantly walked in the door the first time. Now, I can’t wait to get there to see what improvements I’ll get to make each day, which friends I’ll get to see accomplish their goals, and who may be there making that first step—just like I did.
One might think the last thing on my mind lately would be the gym… but that couldn’t be more wrong. Crossfit RDU has been one of my biggest positive influences, helping me navigate these life changes and strengthening my character every step of the way.
Crossfit RDU has given me an outlet for a variety of emotions and levels of stress. It has been a place where I can pour my heart and soul into demanding workouts, which require all my energy and attention, providing me a distraction from anything else going on in life in those moments.
The workouts are challenging, the athletes are encouraging, and the coaches are empowering. The camaraderie experienced in any workout at RDU, and even more so in the midst of grueling hero workouts, is truly unmatched. Having been a member at multiple Crossfit gyms in the past, I have never worked out around so many individuals that are constantly encouraging each other, both with words of support and by working out hard right next to one another. And it is incredibly motivating to see so many pregnant women in this gym performing the workouts and never complaining.
Not only does Crossfit RDU offer an outlet, but it also provides a community of care and compassion. I have never walked in the gym and not had multiple people say hello and ask how I was doing. Most days, many people will even ask more personal questions, like how school or work is going, how some recent injury is doing, or how something I’ve been working on in the gym is going. When I was recently hospitalized, the outpouring of texts, calls, messages, and visits was incredible. I feel like this gym has not only given me a wonderful network of friends, but it has also led me to a group of people who genuinely care about me.
Each person that walks in the gym carries their own life situations with them that many others never know about. Some people come in after a stressful day of work, or a fight with a spouse/child, or receiving distressing news about their health or a loved one. But regardless of what each person is going through, it continuously amazes me how hard each and every athlete works in this place. These people don’t let life bring them down; instead, they put their head down and go to work, while encouraging others around them and even cracking a few jokes from time to time. None of the baggage that we all carry matters when you walk through the doors at RDU, because you walk into a loving, caring community of people that strengthen you not only as an athlete, but also support you as a person.
Overall, Crossfit RDU has provided me an outlet from some crazy life changes, led me to a truly amazing group of people, and strengthened my character in ways I never would have imagined. As a student and a professional, I have been able to better handle stressful situations by having an outlet for stress and negative emotions. As a friend, I have formed solid relationships with many people, and I continue to meet new faces all the time.
As an athlete, I have improved across the board in strength, endurance, gymnastic skills, and, especially, mental stamina and drive. As a human, my mental and physical health have drastically improved while pushing through the challenging workouts and having so much FUN here at the gym. But the greatest thing is that I believe the best is still coming. I will continue to progress as an athlete, and this community will continue to get stronger in not only what it can physically do, but also in its support for one another. I am truly blessed to be a part of Crossfit RDU, and I thank God that He led me to this place and surrounded me with so many incredible individuals.