From Couch Potato to Gymaholic: How Did That Happen?
If you told anyone who knew me before June of 2020 that I’ve added CrossFit to my list of hobbies, they would all give you the same answer: “Emily? Exercising? What happened?”
A little over a year ago, I had just survived the spring term of online classes (mostly in bed), and I was the laziest I had ever been in my life. It got to the point where, if my mom refused to buy iced tea at the convenience store five minutes down the street, I would decide it wasn’t worth the hassle to go myself. At the time, I was also struggling emotionally due to different stress factors in my life, so I was crying myself to sleep almost every night and hardly eating. I didn’t like the situation I was in, but because my sense of self-worth was so horrifically low, I was perfectly content with putting self-care on the back burner.
Things started to change when two of my childhood best friends said they wanted to try out CrossFit and asked if I wanted to join. The thing about CrossFit is that it targets your overall fitness, and at the time my overall fitness needed a lot of targeting. I don’t know why or how my friends and family got me to show up, but after the first workout my entire body felt like it would collapse. The workout that day involved 200-meter sprints on the manual treadmills, and by the time I had finished my butt was cramped (I didn’t even know this was possible) and I wanted to throw up. The second and third times were just as painful. That’s how out of shape I was. But slowly, to my surprise, I started going back each time feeling a little bit more motivated.
The reason for this was because I started to see results in a very short period of time. Each time I went to the gym I gave it my all. I began to see the improvements in the mirror, and I could feel myself getting stronger. The first time I succeeded at rope climbing, I could not stop talking about it for days. With practice, I went from hardly being able to squat clean with a 7kg bar to being able to do 17kg. Within two months I was up to 27kg. Best of all, the CrossFit community that I was training with began to feel like a family – full of support and encouragement, everyone was pushing each other to succeed. At the end of the workouts, when everyone gives each other a high five, I would feel proud of myself for doing my best that day. Once the CrossFit cart started rolling, it just would not stop.
Jun 30, 2021: Sit ups with a medicine ball on the GHD machine
Seeing these improvements helped my self-esteem and I began to have more faith in myself and my capabilities. Everything else followed from that – I started having more of an appetite, and I began to take control of the situations that were dragging me down. For the first time in a while I felt like I was starting to have control over my life. I began to bike (voluntarily!) to the gym at least three times a week, sometimes more. Despite my busy schedule, I resolutely made time to go to CrossFit. Before I knew it, a once proud and avid couch potato had transformed into a gymaholic!
It’s been a year since I began my CrossFit journey, and I’m writing to tell you, dear reader, that you should start too!
It doesn’t have to be CrossFit! Just start exercising, whatever it is you choose to do. I understand the temptation to stay at home and just pass your day by lounging on the couch, scrolling through Instagram (I did exactly that for a few months). But since I started going to the gym, not only have I become more fit, but my confidence has also skyrocketed and I’m also a lot more productive. I know we’re all so busy with school/work and trying to sustain a social life that going to the gym may not seem like a priority. Well, it should be. At the end of the day, to be able to succeed in whatever it is you want out of life you must be physically and mentally healthy. Exercise helps with both. Now I know that if I ever hit rock bottom again (touch wood), I can always rely on CrossFit to facilitate the recovery process.
Wall climb handstands roughly nine months apart
Search “CrossfFit” on Dianping to find some CrossFit gyms in your area! I’ve rounded up a few popular options to get you started:
CrossFit 86 (It’s the one I go to!)
Location (new): Jingmi Lu, Courtyard 52, Shunyi District, Beijing
Location: B1/F, Hilong Petroleum Building, Courtyard 13, Gongrentiyuchang Beilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Location: B1/F, Bldg 7, Wanda Plaza, 93 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Location: 1/F, Bldg 8, 13 Huayuan Lu, Haidian District, Beijing
Images: Emily Hellqvist, Pexels
New Mom Relaxes into Her Familiar Look with a Twist!
Camel, Cow, and Oat: What Do These Things Have in Common?
A Perfectionist’s Guide to (Slightly) Imperfect Bullet Journaling