I was around 350 lbs when I started CrossFit at CFED in 2012 and by the end of that first year after strict Paleo and exercise, I lost around 200 lbs. I discovered a passion for the sport, health and fitness. My favorite part was Olympic Lifting and so I started to compete in that … then my mom was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in late 2013 and all my energy went towards her. I was still working out routinely, but despite having so much success with Paleo, I hadn’t yet made a habit out of healthy eating. I turned to “easy” foods, like quick meals at grocery stores and on really long/bad days, QT. I wasn’t taught foods I could turn to that didn’t take all day meal preps. I just ate. And it caught up to me.
On top of my stress, lack of sleep, diet, I was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune and chronic diseases. I felt horrible and struggled every day just to keep up with life. I tried to keep lifting, but between Doctors visits and the need for rest I was going nowhere. I thought competing would never be on the table again.
A couple of years later while watching Wodaplooza, I saw adaptive athletes compete for the first time. I suddenly found a new passion and learning about Adaptive fitness would put me back on track to competing. I took courses through the Adaptive Training Academy. What an amazing feeling to know I wasn’t alone in wanting to compete, despite the fact that I had to burpee to a box. I was able to feel free in my diseases and my limitations. I reached out to a few competitions that are open to adaptive athletes and ensured that there would be a category for athletes with neuro disabilities. So, now I’ll be competing again, in the sport I love more than any other sport I’ve ever been involved in.
It looks so different from the days of old. Back then I focused mainly on training for hours a day. Now I have to truly focus on the things outside of the gym: my sleep, my nutrition, the support of my community. I’m adapting my workouts to my limitations. Focusing on my life over fitness has allowed me to build habits surrounding health and wellness.
What did I learn through all of this? First, that if you want something bad enough, nothing can stop you. No matter your goal, set your mind to it, put in the work, and ask for help from a coach or mentor and the community. Second, properly fuel. By tracking what I ate in a food journal, I learned I am allergic or intolerant to many foods and my body thrives on certain macronutrients. I tracked what I ate, why I ate it, and how it made me feel. Through this process of discovery I started developing healthier habits. When stressed, I’m able to stay more consistent and not have flare ups related to my diseases. It allows me to check into why and what I am eating when things seem off. Finally, I learned the definition of community. A community isn’t always the people directly around you, it’s a group of people who are like-minded with similar goals, but most importantly are SUPPORTIVE.
Coach Shawn Ahava
Born To Move >> United We Move
#movement #mindset #community