Featured Athlete – Beverly Mahan
Neal asked me if I’d consider being the Featured Athlete of the Month for Crossfit Beaumont. I wanted to turn and look over my shoulder to see if someone was standing behind me. I’ve never been called an athlete before. But then again, I’ve never swung kettle bells over my head or done over one hundred squats in one work out or ran a 800 M as a “cool down” before Crossfit either. And that was all in the same workout!
I have dieted my entire adult life. That’s because I had to keep losing the same 20 lbs over and over. I have even worked out at a fairly consistent rate. I’ve done aerobics, walked, used a treadmill, gone to spin classes, stair climbdr, and bow flexed. (Note all the equipment I have invested in.) I have always aspired to fitness: Fitness being defined by numbers on the scale. If the numbers didn’t fall the workouts fizzled out. But it wasn’t until I signed up for a Crossfit Boot Camp session at my job that I
truly embarked on a fitness journey.
Having turned 50 the year before, I was faced with my first health challenge. My routine blood work showed that my cholesterol numbers weren’t so great. I was so depressed. I was officially old. My Dr. told me to watch my diet (great!) and exercise and we would do blood work again in 6 months. So, I worried and did nothing for the first 3 months, typical, and then the Boot Camp was announced. I knew that I needed to do something because my time was running out so I thought the boot camp would at least get me moving and maybe inspire me to continue some kind of exercise after the 5 week session was over. 5 weeks, I could commit to that.
We were all so sore after the first workout we thought the next workout would surely have to be canceled. WRONG. Nothing like a few Spiderman Lunges to get your muscles loosened up! Every workout was more challenging than the last. I found that I could not even consider missing a class for fear of falling behind in my progress: My strength and endurance progress, not my weight loss progress. Wow. I had never worked out for anything other than weight loss before. Was the weight falling off? No, not really. In fact, one session all the ladies were complaining about the numbers on the scale and Neal told us to stop weighing. Weight loss will be a benefit, he told us, but it should not be the goal. Fitness should be the goal. But, in spite of not losing much weight, so many co workers and family members commented on my “weight loss.” My size was definitely changing. My body is still reshaping in front of my eyes. And people are still commenting. Although I have only lost about 15 lbs in 7 months I have gone down two sizes and I am still getting smaller. Weight is relative. I know I have gained a tremendous amount of muscle. In fact, thanks to my personal fitness progress my husband, my son, three nieces, a couple of nephews and two sisters have since joined Crossfit. I am witnessing the same addictive reaction to working out in many of them. They are each traveling their own road to progress which is a testament to the personal aspect of the program.
Co workers have also told me that they were impressed enough with my progress to sign up for a Boot Camp. I tell them all the same thing. I treat my workouts as appointments. I do not schedule anything for that time of my week. My son questioned my husband and I shortly before I started as to why we put our health, the most important thing, last in our busy schedules. I did not have a good answer. I do not put it last anymore. Three hours a week is so little to commit to so much benefit. I am stronger. If I am tired it is for good reason. I sleep better. I am less stressed. I am leaner. (I think I might be taller!) I am younger. I have friends that I work out with who inspire me to push harder and that I respect tremendously. It is the hardest thing I do in my week and nothing gives me such an immediate sense of accomplishment.
The workouts motivate me to watch what I eat. I need protein to build muscle. I limit my sugars rather than concentrating on calories and fats. Oh, and how was my blood work after three months? Lower levels for LDL (yea!). Higher levels for HDL, good. My triglycerides, very, very, low. Excellent results. I do still have control over my health. Age does not determine my fitness. I do.
Why does Crossfit work for me? Having a personal trainer makes all the difference. All I have to do is show up. He plans my workout. He knows my weaknesses and forces me to work on them. Heknows my strengths and expects me to push beyond comfort. He encourages me when I am working hard. I could never afford a personal trainer before Crossfit. Sharing a workout with a dedicated group also inspires me to endure. How can I stop when they keep running? If they increase the weight they
lift then so should I. You can lie to yourself but not to someone working right next to you. Not to someone counting for you. Not to someone you just counted for. And when you are pushing through that last round, or running that last lap, nothing else is on your mind. How’s that for stress relief? Someone asked me how long I would have to do this. I answered, “Forever, or at least as long as I possibly can. Why would I want to stop?” Wait, did I actually say that? Awesome! I guess that doesmake me an athlete.