Most of you know Charlie as a member and coach at CrossFit GVA, but what you may not know is just how far she's come. Charlie recently told us the main reason she started CrossFit.
When did you start CrossFit?
I was about to turn 36 and start a new year as an overweight woman. My daughter was asking me why I didn't want to carry her, run around with her and, most embarrassingly, why I was fatter than the other moms.
I'd spent my entire adult life between 110 and 120 kg and my health was paying the price. Something had to change! I tried several gyms, did trendy exercises and went on numerous diets, but nothing worked. I'd lose a little weight and then systematically put it back on. I needed something different that would change my lifestyle once and for all.
While searching the Internet for different ideas that could help me, I came across CrossFit. What these people were doing with their bodies was simply incredible, but I thought it was totally impractical for someone like me. Until one day I came across a video of a WOD where members of all levels were participating at the same time and in the same way. At that moment, I decided to give it a try and signed up for a one-month trial.
Now, I'm not going to lie to you. What followed was probably one of the hardest and most painful months of my life. Not only did I go from sedentary to 4 workouts a week, but I also started measuring my food intake. Some evenings, I couldn't move because of aches and pains and I felt a constant pain linked to hunger but, to motivate me, every time I arrived at the box I received smiles and encouragement which helped me enormously.
What was your first experience like?
At first I was terrified of joining the normal classes. When the workouts were written on the blackboard, I would stare at the coach without understanding what I had to do, what equipment I had to take, what weights I had to use, but with the help of my fellow crossfitters and the support of the trainers, I soon began to understand the movements. I also quickly realized that nobody was watching my performance or judging me. On the contrary, they were all encouraging and motivating, and I didn't need to hide at the back of the class. By focusing on my training, without worrying about how others looked at me, results/progress came quickly. Every day I learned something new or tried something different.
What happened after the first month?
I realized that if I really wanted it to work, I had to make a commitment. So I signed up for a year. That was the beginning of the new me! Not only did I start to lose weight, but I also began to enjoy the physical and mental challenge of the workouts. After 4 months, a coach told me about the Open. I thought he was crazy to ask me to take part in a world competition, but he finally managed to convince me. Now I'm so happy I did it. I went all the way. I may have been last in the box, but looking at the world rankings I wasn't even in the bottom 40%. It was still quite a victory after only 4 months of CrossFit. I realized then that I could achieve feats I'd previously thought impossible.
After 8 months, I was well and truly "addicted" to CrossFit. I started doing a course at the box to try and learn everything I could. A year later, the head coach told me I was ready. I then signed up and passed my CrossFit Level 1, after which I was able to give a class to a small group under the guidance of a coach, while at the same time continuing to work on my own fitness.
What kind of progress have you made?
I've been practicing CrossFit for over 2 years and have already lost over 40 kg. I can now run, jump and throw my 6-year-old daughter around as if she weighed nothing. My quality of life has improved more than I could have imagined. I've learned so much about myself, both physically and mentally. I've learned to push myself, to get out of my comfort zone and find the place where the magic happens.
CrossFit is for everyone, whatever your age or fitness level. It can and will be tailored to your abilities. All you have to do is commit to coming to class regularly. Without achieving a PR at every class, give your best every time and you'll see, you'll be rewarded very quickly.