by Emily Cloud
Nearly three years ago, I began my journey with CrossFit. For me, it started in a garage gym with a personal trainer. It was love at first lift! I loved how Crossfit challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but also how it was ever-changing and each workout was new. As I fell more in love with CrossFit, I started watching competitions online and on TV. I was amazed, especially at what the women could do. While I loved watching the competitions, CrossFit was just a hobby for me, a way to stay in shape. My exact words were, “I will never be one of those CrossFitters.”
Fast forward a year later, and my coach moved out of town which brought me to Bandit. I had been intimidated by the “Box,” but at Bandit, I immediately felt welcomed and encouraged. The other members quickly became “my people.”
After about a year at Bandit, I heard about the Boxlife Competition. At this point in my training, I was gaining confidence in my strength and form, but the idea of a competition made me anxious. Those common negative thoughts flooded my mind, “I’m not good enough,” “I will look ridiculous,” and my favorite excuse, “What if I fail?”. I was in the clear, however, because this was a partner competition, and I didn’t have a partner. I was safe.
Then, I got a text from my soon-to-be-partner, Alyssa Ferguson. She and her husband were new to the gym, and they really wanted to participate in the Boxlife Competition. She told me that some of the coaches had recommended me as a good “fit” for her. I was hesitant, but in my heart, I really wanted to participate too. So, I took a leap of faith.
On the day of the competition, I felt overwhelmed and underprepared. As I looked around at the other athletes, I realized that I was definitely in over my head. It was only recently that I had stopped squatting to a box, and I never really pushed myself with weights in the Olympic lifts.
The competition would include four total workouts. The first was a 3RM Front Squat. Front Squats are very uncomfortable for me. My hips are tight and my upper back is stiff and weak. As I watched the other women, I saw some impressive weights. Some of them had beautiful form and some of them had terrible form. I looked at Alyssa and told her that I would do my best, but that I would not risk hurting myself. She agreed. We both achieved PR’s for our 3RM! I was a little embarrassed by my score compared to the other women, but I knew I had done the best that I could do that day.
Next, we had to complete 20 calories on the bike and 10 burpees over the bar. This was just for time, but these are two of my least favorites. Alyssa went first on the bike and did great! As soon as I hopped on the bike, the seat fell to the lowest position. I was stunned, but I couldn’t do anything about it, so I kept going. It was tough and totally took it out of me for the burpees. I tried to a do few, and then Alyssa took over. The coolest part about my partner, is that at this point, we really started reading each other. The rest of the day, we communicated and worked as a team. This is what this competition is really about.
The third workout was a DT: 12 deadlifts, 9 cleans, and 6 push jerks. It was an AMRAP with a 65lb barbell. I knew this would be the one where I would fail. I had never used 65 pounds in an overhead workout. I don’t remember how many reps we completed, but we got through it together. This was my least favorite workout of the day. I felt everyone’s eyes on me as I took more breaks than I should have and struggled to keep going. I was certainly glad when it was over!
The final workout was the one that where I felt most comfortable. It included several different exercises for completion within a time cap and was very similar to the type of WOD’s we do regularly at Bandit. It was so fun, but the best part was how Alyssa and I clicked. We helped each other through this workout beautifully and finished under the time cap! The picture below is our reaction when we finished. There was so much joy at what we had accomplished that day. We were proud of each other. We were proud of ourselves.
What now? Competing in the Boxlife competition has proven to me what I can accomplish when I push myself out of my comfort zone. I feel I have really grown since then. Because I know the types of weights expected in a scaled competition, I add more during a WOD when I can. I have also gained so much confidence in myself as an athlete. This year, I have signed up for the Crossfit Open and completed every workout scaled so far. Crossfit has taught me that the human body is truly amazing and I am in awe of the feats it can accomplish. There is no secret formula. Good nutrition and persistence have been the keys to my success. I have learned that competitions are fun. Being with my Bandit family for the day, which also includes my husband, makes for a great day!