I’ve been running The Barbell Press for a little over three months now and have yet to introduce myself. Consider this my formal introduction.
There are many things I can tell you about myself, but I thought I would get personal and share my story about how lifting made me bolder.
You see, I had almost never touched a weight before I began CrossFit in March of 2010. The only experience I had with the iron was during one summer in college when I followed my then boyfriend around the gym and he taught me about “chest and tris,” “back and bis,” and “leg day.” I think the most weight I squatted that summer was the 45lb barbell and I definitely had no concept of good form. A cross-country and track athlete in high school, I knew how to run and lifting didn’t seem like the sort of thing I needed to be doing.
A few years later, that same boyfriend and I got engaged, but to simplify a very complicated situation, it didn’t work out. Though this seems irrelevant to my starting The Barbell Press, it’s not. It’s a part of my journey and was the very real catalyst that led me to discovering my passion- weightlifting.
I channeled my pain into motivation. I was intent on becoming the best version of myself that I could be in spite of what was happening in my life and that’s how I found CrossFit.
The last time I had been truly by myself, I was 15 years old and the difference between a 15 year old girl and a 25 year old woman is vast. I suddenly found myself alone and not quite certain of who I was.
CrossFit changed all of that. What began as quest to build the perfect body, turned into finding my own inner strength. I was no longer the girl following her boyfriend around the gym, trying to squat a 45 lb bar; Instead, I was the girl stacking plates on the bar and squatting 145lbs. Now, I was focused on trying to learn double unders and building strength for a pull up instead of perseverating on how lost I felt. CrossFit gave me a new drive; new meaning.
Even still, when I first began CrossFit, I did not fully understand my capabilities. It was nearly a year before I did a real push up. The only reason I attempted one was because I signed up for the 2011 CrossFit Open and 11.2 demanded that I do full push ups. So I did. I did one, and then another, and another, until I had done 12. I did multiple rounds of 12 push ups. When time was called and I peeled myself off the floor, I marveled at the fact that I had done 96 full push ups. Without this push, without the open demanding that I test my limits, I would have continued to do knee push ups for eternity.
CrossFit was forcing me to realize what I was capable of and suddenly, a new world of possibilities existed.
Though at the time I had no real intention of ever coaching, I signed up for my CrossFit Level 1 in October of that year.
This came in handy when I later joined a CrossFit closer to my home where I met two important people in my life- my future husband and our future business partner. Three years into my CrossFit journey, I was well beyond the girl learning to do push ups, I was developing real knowledge about strength and conditioning. Instead of being one of the newbies in class, I was one of the more experienced athletes. I found that I enjoyed helping the other athletes and together with my husband and our friend, decided to open a CrossFit box.
In the beginning, coaching was scary. I had taken classes with some of the other members and now, I was in front of them as their coach. I wasn’t sure if they would trust me and I had to overcome feeling shy in the spotlight as well. One approach I took was just being completely honest. If someone asked me a question about something I did not know, I was truthful about that, but I always tried to steer them in the direction of someone who did. Whatever I didn’t know, I read about. I spent any free time I had developing my knowledge so that I could be an expert the members relied upon. And of course, I continued to push myself as an athlete so I could lead by example. Now instead of squatting 145lbs, I was up to 245 lbs.
In an effort to continue my professional development, I signed up for a USA-W Level 1 class. This is where I met my current coach, Michael McKenna. I was completely in awe of his knowledge and wanted to pick his brain to learn everything he would share with me. If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s recognizing talent and knowing when someone would be a great mentor. Because of this, I approached Mike to ask if he worked with athletes from other gyms and signed up for weightlifting programming with him before the weekend even ended. And so my transition from CrossFitter to Olympic lifter began.
Though I thought in the beginning that I would be working on the lifts in order to improve my CrossFit, the opposite was true. I found that I loved weightlifting and gave up CrossFit in pursuit of becoming a better lifter.
Working with the barbell and seeing that smart, consistent work breeds results, I’ve realized that this is true in everything regarding life. It is impossible to fail if you commit to working on your goals daily and make no excuses.
That is why I have started The Barbell Press. I want to give a voice to all types of athletes: from newbies, to Master’s athletes, to Games athletes and top weightlifters. My mission is to connect weightlifters and CrossFitters, and to inspire my readers to achieve their own version of greatness. I want to share the human side of beast athletes- the insecurities and struggles, to show others that it’s possible to overcome those feelings and succeed. And of course, I want to share my knowledge about strength and conditioning with those who want to continue to develop their own knowledge base.
Please help me reach my goal of making The Barbell Press a useful resource to those looking for both inspiration and the tools to become stronger athletes. Share my posts with your friends and encourage them to sign up for my newsletter. Be a part of my success so that I can continue to be a part of yours.