Featured Athlete – Sheree Pierce

I am a lifetime member of a very well-known weight loss program.  It wasn’t easy. I earned that status by losing 65 pounds back in 02-03.  As of August 2010, I had “found” all but 7 of them.  I was too embarrassed to return to try to lose it again.  The summer was miserable especially since I refused to wear shorts or anything sleeveless.

About two years earlier, my daughter had started these INSANE workouts where you worked a short time but as hard as you could for that time.  She also began to eat what I thought was terribly UNhealthy.  She ate lots of meat (even red) and refused things like whole wheat bread and rice.  I called it her “Keep Austin Weird Diet and Exercise.” WHAT was she doing to herself? I soon found out.  She was getting herself faster, leaner and healthier.  I began to pay attention.  Next think I know, she has become a coach of this insanity and soon she convinced her old high school friend, Clayton, to give it a try and I watched him transform.  They were like some kind of cult.

One August afternoon, I was hot, tired (from doing NOTHING SIGNIFICANT) and absolutely disgusted with myself so went to CFB’s website and started to look around.  Look at those people!  They’re in such great shape and doing things like pull-ups and throwing around heavy balls and jumping on boxes…things I could NEVER do.  I told my daughter about it and she introduced me to the concept of “scale.” I mentioned that I might go see Neal to see if he thought I was able to CrossFit.  Within 5 minutes she copied me on the email she sent him warning him I was interested.  I copied the page from the web site and highlighted the part about “scaling to any level” and walked into CFB holding that in front of me.  Neal promised me that I would be carefully monitored to keep me from hurting myself (like I’d work that hard, I thought) and I would NOT be ridiculed by ANYONE.  I signed up for On Ramp.

I started CrossFit on Labor Day 2010.  The morning after my first On Ramp class was painful.  I could hardly walk and sitting on the toilet required holding onto the door frame and window sill to slowly lower myself into position.  After the next day, my arms were in is as bad shape as my legs.  Interesting. I thought I was just going to DIE…but I went back on Thursday night. (At that time On Ramp was 3 nights a week for 2 weeks.) AND I went back the next week for the rest of the classes. I learned about scaling and proclaimed myself the “Queen of Scale.”  When they ran 200m, I ran 100 (and sometimes walked.) I did wall push-ups and ring rows.  I used a 4# med ball, my rower was set on about 5 and I jumped on ONE 45# bumper.  More often than not I lifted an empty bar and sometimes just a pvc bar.  My squat BARELY broke parallel and I always set up a band for help after the first 15 or so sit-ups.  No one looked twice and, as far as I know, no one belittled me.  (Not that I would have cared by this time.)

I started going to the 6am workouts (because I was told that that class was the least attended.) Having NEVER been ANY kind of athlete, coaching was something new to me.  I soon learned that I was better off letting THEM decide how much I would scale, because I would scale WAY too much.  And you know what? I was getting better! I vividly remember the time I didn’t have to touch the band during sit-ups. I was still running 200m for warm-up (and making it my goal to beat the 400m runners back) when one day in December we had an 800m time trial.  I was assured that I was capable and that no one would lock the door and go home before I got back.  I did it in something like 6:54 walking briefly 3 different times.  I was told by my classmates that I was no longer allowed to run a 200m warm up! Recently I did that 800m without walking AT ALL in 5:57. Other milestones include moving to the bar for pull-ups (I am now down to green/purple for work-out and green for warm-up), regularly jumping on a 12” box and on a 16” for warm-up, and swinging a 26# kb. (I did 10 swings the other day with the new 30#, too!)  I actually started adding weight to that bar for lifting! And I LOVE lifting days.  The strength training we did in February and March was a blast.  I increased my ohs by 10#’s, fs by 15#’s and bs by 25#’s.  I actually think they’re even higher now!  Did I mention my 195# dead lift? Yeah.  I did that!  ME!!!

In addition to the coaching, the encouragement of teammates is something totally new to me.  Having them waiting at the door and cheering me in from a run or yelling my name when I’m back by the basketball goal or the only one still working: UNBELIEVABLY motivating.  I would do anything NOT to disappoint them.  The day we did the WOD with 150 wall balls was when I realized I may be just a little competitive.  I had scaled myself to do 100 but first I counted for Serennah who did all 150.  When I got to 100, I just kept going.  Don’t remember my time.  Don’t care.  I did 150 wall balls…using a 10# ball.

Paleo has been another adventure.  I bought Paleo Solution and was SOLD after reading his personal story in the first chapter.  I take meds for high cholesterol and I must admit, I was a little nervous.  (Nuts, WHOLE eggs, red meat and…BACON???) Know what? I don’t even crave the bread, cheese and sweets any more. Now that doesn’t mean I NEVER eat them, just not often.  I had blood work done 4 days before I started this journey and again 6 months later.  In that 6 months I had only lost 18 pounds which royally pissed me off but reminded me why I don’t weigh.  I am, however, down 2 pants sizes. My cholesterol was down from 187 to 150.  (It had been in the 226 range several times in the past.  That’s why I was on meds.) My doctor cut my meds in half and expects to discontinue them next time. Other numbers were down as well, except for the good cholesterol which went UP 10 points! He just kept smiling and shaking his head as I described my diet and exercise style.  He asked if I didn’t hurt myself.  I told him that I hurt every time I walk out of that place!

Know what else I love about CFB?  I love the young exciting people who coach and encourage me and those who work out with me.  I love the variety of the WODs.  (I do NOT check the site before I go work out!) I love doing things I never DREAMED I do. (Did you see my tire-flippin’ video?  It’s awesome!) I love it that last night in a store my son was looking for me when I was right in front of him with my back turned to him.  He said he didn’t realize it was me because I was so thin.  I love it that my daughter bought me a tank top from HER CrossFit.

I don’t miss the chance to tell folks what I am doing (and they’re starting to notice and ask so I get lost of opportunity these days!) “Crossfit and eating clean.” I also think it is my mission to let those who are scared know that if I can do it, THEY can do it.  I love the Saturday 11am free class because I usually get to encourage someone who is unsure.

What now?  I’m going to learn toe pushups and double-unders!