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What’s holding you back? 

I have never been accused of being athletic and I have never considered myself a physically strong person. Most of my life weight wasn’t an issue for me; I could eat what I wanted with little consequence- so working out was a social event. I could go to the gym, put in 15 minutes on the treadmill, a few minutes on a few random machines, spend the rest of my hour chatting with people and call it a day. Then I had children and nature messed everything up. For about the last 12 years or so, give or take a kid, my weight and health have been in constant flux.

It all came to a dramatic point for me this last Spring when my doctors found a nodule on my thyroid. Initial findings gave my doctors concern that it was something more serious. Many tests, a biopsy and what felt like an eternity later, we found out that it was benign. It was the push that I needed to start getting serious about my health.

I resisted joining Crossfit for a couple months after my husband, Kevin, had started. In my head, I felt like I was in high school again. “I’m not athletic” “I will look awkward” “I won’t be any good at it” rang out pretty loudly. Overall, I just felt like because I had never been athletically inclined that I wouldn’t be any good at it and I definitely couldn’t fit in. In most of the gyms we’d ever been members of, I wouldn’t even go into the weight room from sheer intimidation. As a 35 year old woman, I still wasn’t over the fear of being picked last for the team.

I’m saddened now to think that I wasted two months I could have been training. In the last 6 months, I have done things I never would have thought I could do- let alone would WANT to do. Before June, I had never picked up a barbell. I had never swung a kettlebell. I had never done a double under with a jump rope (and to this date- I have only done one- but I’m working on it!). I had also never enjoyed hiking with my family as much as I do now. I had never looked forward to playing with my boys outside like I do now. I had never been as sore I have been now, but the soreness reminds me of the muscles I am starting to see definition in.

The physical strength I have achieved through my time at Crossfit Strode Station is secondary to the inner strength I have embraced through the community and coaches. Never in my life have I been put into so many situations where I have felt so awkward and vulnerable and yet encouraged and supported. There have been so many workouts that if I were by myself- just wouldn’t get finished (there are plenty I probably wouldn’t even start if I’m completely honest)- that I have been cheered on through by others around me. My coaches have literally run uphill with me to spur me on. It’s a common joke that Crossfit is addictive- I think it’s the constant encouragement, inspiration and the culture of confidence that is the most addicting thing about it.

Stepping out into something new is hard. It takes bravery. It takes strength. No matter what your role is or has been in life, you can be stronger than you’ve ever been. Strength is contagious, it will spread to the rest of your life.

– Sarabeth Parido

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