It’s the 2 year anniversary of the opening of my Crossfit box in December. Which not only means PARTY time (exciting because last year I was to pregnant and moral to drink) but also a fun time to socialize with members of the box I don’t normally get to see. One of the fun little parts of the party the owners want to do is to showcase the before/after pictures of longish term members (a year or more). This got me to thinking about how my body has changed since high school, and how my fitness journey has reflected in the changes in my body.
One thing I’ve noticed is that my body is very adaptable aesthetically. What I mean is, my body tends to adopt the average “look” of whatever exercise/workout regime I’ve adopted. I was fit looking, but not particularly lean doing group exercise classes. I was lean, but not very muscular as a runner. I was wiry and small as a boxer, and as a Crossfitter I’ve got the boxy abs and the big legs. However-the less I train and workout for aesthetics, the better I think I end up looking. I don’t know if its just because I tend to be more aggressive with my training when I have a performance goal, or what but I definitely look my best when I have something to train for.
I don’t have a picture of me in high school on here. I bounced between #110-100 lbs..so smaller. My body frame is naturally pretty small-I have narrow shoulders/wrists and narrow hips. I tend to accumulate my fat in my arms and mid section, so even when i’m small my arms tend to look bigger. I think this has to do with not just my genetics but with the length of my femurs-there are more areas for the fat to settle.
However, even at that low weight I didn’t look lean. I asked for a gym membership my senior year, and my grandparents bought me a 3 year package at 24 hour fitness. This included 4 personal training sessions. Any of you who have done it, know what the first session is…the body fat testing. At 17, weighing in at 108…I had a body fat percentage of 32%. Yeah, I was gumby
First two years of college-i.e “DO ALL THE EXERCISES CLASSES”
So, post high school I moved into an apartment with my friend who had done Body for Life in high school. She introduced me to a basic workout routine, which I did four times a week (upper/lower with 45 minutes on the exercise bike, which i read a book the entire time). BUT…I was getting bored.
Enter-the globo gym (Actually it was called Club USA, and it was awesome and I think one of a kind.) as us Crossfit snobs like to call it. My friend introduced me to Yoga and I loved it. Then i did body pump…and I loved that. And of course, BOXING CARDIO CLASS. I loved exercise class, but after a brief flirtation with crash dieting, I actually fall in love and ate a lot more and worked out a lot less (i.e only 4-5 exercise classes a week, instead of 2-3 hours a day). And my body settled into a fit, if not particularly lean look (I did some personal training sessions and I think my body fat bounced between 23-25%).
Hello, handsome Man. notice the really skinny legs, and fit, but not particularly toned upper body
Running Running everywhere
Due to an increase in classes, more working hours and an upcoming wedding, I decided to start running since I couldn’t always make the gym. I started training for half marathons, and running 30-40 miles a week. I also ate less due to time constraints. I dropped about 15 lbs, some of it fat and some of it muscle. I definitely developed the “look” of a runner
I really hated long runs. I think it was 80 degrees and I ran 10 miles. Gross
Kicking butt and taking names
A little after my wedding, i discovered Kickboxing and Muay thai. I was a little “over” my long runs, and was beginning to dread the weekends when I had them planned. However, I knew they were the difference between me looking lean and me ..not. (i’m just sharing this because this was my thought process prior to working out for performance goals). A coworker introduced me to the kickboxing gym down the street…and I was hooked. After a year I signed up with a local MMA gym that had an actual Thai legend training there from Thailand. Soon, I was coming in at 6:30 am to do a brief 3 mile run, jumping rope 15-20 minutes, and doing some drills with the coach and sparring until the 8:30 AM class. Then I did class until 10-10:30 and went to work. I did this 4x a week, and 2 x a week I trained at home on my bag with some bodyweight conditioning.
That’s…alot of cardio if you don’t know anything about martial arts training. I was…small….not a lot of muscle, but lean and fast. I was also eating like a horse but probably burning close to 1500-2000 calories pure session and I definitely wasn’t eating 3000+ calories a day.
it’s the angle that makes me look abnormally bony, but you get the idea. I WAS REALLY SMALL.
I ended up moving away from my gym, and didn’t like any of the muay thai/mma gyms around me. So, I joined a Crossfit gym. It gave me the new challenge I wanted….along with some nice, surprising muscle definition. Didn’t last long (preggo body) but still…it didn’t take long for some changes to occur
still skinny but some muscle development. The day before I learned i was preggo. I also think i look ALOT better
So now where am I? well, here’s a picture from after todays workout
7.5 months post partum and i’m starting to adopt kind of the typical “Crossfit” type body. Boxy abs, arms are getting bigger, legs and butt growing (thanks, squatville). Sadly, muscle is still hard for me to attain
WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
There were two points for this entry
- It’s hard to see progress and changes when you don’t have a goal such as pounds lost. I’m a smaller person by genetics, bone structure and metabolism-the most i’ve ever weighed (without being pregnant) is 135lbs. That’s still within the realm of “healthy”, but due to smaller shoulders/hips, It tends to look “bigger” on me than it might with a bigger bone structure. Because of that, it’s hard to talk about or even quantify the aesthetic changes (Besides body fat reduction) in my body since I’ve fallen in love with fitness. So I wanted a documentation of how my body has evolved and changed over the years, and how your body reflects the progress and work you put in. My body changes when I do different exercises; if I were to stop Crossfitting and start doing Muay Thai again, I’d probably loose a shit ton of muscle and be small again.
- Second….progress in terms of performance is always a better motivation for me than aesthetics. When I work out to look good, i’m more likely to skip a workout or to half ass it. When I work out for a REASON- training for a fight, learning a new skill, trying to build muscle-I will rarely skip and NEVER half ass. I’ll work harder, push farther and do what I have to meet a goal. And the body changes happen naturally and reflect the work I’m putting in. It’s actually funny, I told my sister that Crossfit has made me have the opposite kind of issue most girls have. I want to be bigger and have more muscle! I’m insanely jealous of the weight some girls can naturally put up, and how strong they are!
What about you? Do you find that aesthetics or performance drives you more?