CrossFit and the Longevity Revolution

CrossFit and the Longevity Revolution

Posted on March 17, 2017 by Bronwyn Beightol
Editor’s Note: Bronwyn Beightol is the Chief Operating Officer of the United Way of Manatee County.

Three years ago I changed my life. Not the kind of change that was dramatic, or noticeable. It was a subtle, slow change that, as I look back now, I realize was powerful and deep.

I am not much for resolutions or emphatic "I will do this" statements. I am a planner. I see something I want to change, slowly plan a route and begin implementing small steps to ensure success. I am keenly aware that change takes time and obstacles are more prevalent than conduits. I also believe that change isn't absolute. It is a process that must be nurtured and maintained and requires a mindset of strength, flexibility, and commitment along the way.

With one favorite already out of the house and the second close behind, I became introspective. What kind of life did I want to live? Who would I be? Would I be around for grandkids and all of the greatness to come? How would I ensure good health? The most obvious first step seemed to be to find a way to invest in my physical wellbeing.

I've tried many exercise plans over the years... pilates, Zumba, yoga, aerobics, walking, biking, joining a gym and using the machines.... nothing stuck.

Then I found CrossFit. The combination of challenging weightlifting, gymnastics, and workouts that support everyday functional movement -- and the competition, even if it is internal -- had me hooked from the beginning. I am not a "joiner." As an introvert, I prefer to go, focus on getting the job done, reflect on what could improve, and go again. That is not CrossFit. (Know that I am laughing here). The success of CrossFit is its focus on building a community that supports one another and challenges one another when we seem to be taking the easy road or not pushing ourselves past our perceived limits. Sound familiar my nonprofit colleagues?

When I first announced that I was going to give this a try, I wasn't surprised by the response... Are you sure this is what you want to do? You're going to hurt yourself! This may be too much to take on. You'll quit within a month! I had some of those same concerns. What did surprise me were comments that reflected judgment... I wish I had time to devote to working out. That's great that you can work time for you into your schedule. I'm way too busy for that. One day...

Those comments are the reason I started. We need to make time for ourselves so that we can give to others ... our family, our community. There is no nobility in ignoring our personal health and wellbeing; only poor health results and a high likelihood of burnout.

I don't do this as a way of judgment on another. I do this because I find strength, courage, and confidence in identifying a goal and maintaining progress toward its achievement. If I plan to live well into the next half century, fitness, and focus on health are critical.

Because a change in lifestyle does not come easy, I did a few things to ensure success:

1. I told people and continue to tell people as a way of holding myself accountable.

2. I always have workout gear in my car so there is never an excuse.

3. I stick to a routine -- going to the same class as much as possible and identifying alternatives when I knew my schedule would be challenging.

4. When I didn't work out for a week, I did not let that become an excuse for quitting. I simply told myself this was a brief break and now time to get back to it!

5. I created a space at home to workout and focused on one day a week for at-home running (ok, jogging) so that I would not lose momentum.

6. I made the decision early to take this one step at a time -- get the exercise down first, then think about making any other lifestyle changes.

As I begin my fourth year, I look forward to learning new things, challenging myself and using the strength gained to give back to build community, thrivability, and relish time with my favorites and family.

I am deeply grateful to Aaron & Alexis Weedo (owners of CrossFit Lakewood Ranch), the coaching team and fellow WODders for investing in community by building a team and atmosphere of inclusion, support, and challenge.

#strongerthanyesterday #CrossFit #community #findyourfit #AgeFriendly

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