Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Strong Is My New Skinny: My Journey to Kickass

I've never been fat.  I figure I should say that right off the bat before some reader thinks I'm making false claims.  When I was a child, I was painfully skinny.  I actually grew to hate the word skinny because I thought it was a synonym for weak, frail, breakable and insignificant. No matter how much I ate (and I ate alot), I could not put meat on my bones.  I looked sick all the time, I got dizzy when I stood up and I couldn't sit on people's laps because my bony butt would put their legs to sleep.  I know there were people who hadn't seen me eat and were sure I was anorexic.  Exhibit A: Prom:

I was also super active with 2-3 different dance classes a week, musicals and field hockey.  But I always just looked like a stiff breeze would knock me over.  It got a little better in college. I put on enough meat to look like a girl instead of a skinny boy.  I was still super thin, but I didn't look sick. 

When I moved to Chicago, I got curvy-er.  I now have a tendency towards a more solid lower half and definitely have a butt.  Without really acknowledging it, I spent most of the last 6 odd years trying to get back to where I was when I was 22. BUT, like a frighteningly large portion of the population, I wasn't really interested in working that hard to get there.  I wanted to eat what I wanted and maybe grace the elliptical machine with my presence for less than an hour a week. I'd make the trek with Sean to the gym and while he was downstairs with the huge, scary dudes lifting weights, I'd do a pretty half-assed job of "working out" upstairs.  It wasn't really working.  I saw little-to-no change in my body.  So I began reading female fitness droll like Self magazine and eating half a grapefruit for breakfast, a salad the size of my fist for lunch and a regular Sean-cooked meal for dinner.  I even, eventually,  picked up the brightly colored weights designated for my gender with the intention of toning.  I got close to my 22 year-old weight, but it looked completely different on me than it had.  My skin wasn't hugging my nonexistent muscles.  It looked weird.  

And I wasn't having fun. I was constantly hungry and always whining about going to the gym.  I made the terrifying decision to move downstairs with Sean to where the huge, scary dudes were lifting weights.  I began seeing more satisfying changes.  But I still whined about it.  My heart wasn't in it.  

Then I began taking group classes at lunch on workdays.  And interest began stirring.  I found that I liked working out with a group of people instead of on my own.  I liked sharing the experience with other people. I liked having someone else lay out a workout for me and that those workouts varied.  They stayed interesting.  But planning a wedding put an end to these classes.  I had too many things to get done in that lunch hour and the responsibility to cut out excess spending.  

We got married.  It was awesome. And Sean decided that it was time for a new physical adventure.

Enter CrossFit.  I was skeptical. I actually told a friend that I was going to try it out only because Sean wanted me to, but that I was sure I was going to hate it.  We visited our local "box" to check it out and I was TERRIFIED.  There were guys and gals grunting, thrusting heavy weights above their heads and then dropping them with a loud clang.  But...there were also cheers of "Come on, so-n-so! You've got this! One more!"  And so, with great trepidation, I took the leap...

And I love it.  LOVE IT.  We're nearing month 4 of our CrossFit experience and I can't stop talking about it. I'm sure it's annoying.  But I love it, so who the frak cares. I love the ever-changing WODs (workouts of the day), the milestones, the times/reps to beat. I love cheering others on and being part of a group of people who love what they're doing. And everyone wants you to succeed.  Everyone wants to help you succeed. It's awesome.  And my body?  It's on its way to kick ass.  I'm beginning to look like an athlete.  And that skinny girl up at the top of the page?  She's not my ideal anymore.  This girl wants to be strong, not skinny:


  1. Terrifying and awesome. Very kick ass! Go Chelsea!

  2. Very awesome! I've heard mixed reviews of CrossFit but I am very glad that it's working for you! You look great!

  3. Hell yeah!
    -It's Leanne

  4. Strong Is Beautiful! (Don't let anyone waste your time telling you otherwise!) Congrats on finding what works for you. Sooo many people give up far too soon.