Everyone, meet Jenna. Jenna’s been WODing at CrossFit 405 South for nine months now, and she’s seeing tremendous changes in her life. We dare say she might be “hooked.” She inspires all of us by enthusiastically tackling every new challenge we throw at her. From Lurong to The Open, this girl is facing her fears and kicking butt. Read about what she’s gained by doing CrossFit, and more importantly, what she’s lost.
Name: Jenna Wetzel
December 12, 2015 was the day I had worked towards since my first day of pre-school—the day I graduated college. When I walked across the stage that morning, I was excited to receive my degree from The University of Oklahoma, but I left college for the last time with more than just a diploma. I left with almost 50 extra pounds, nearly uncontrollable anxiety, and a lot of self-doubt.
Three weeks later, I took a leap of faith and decided to try CrossFit. My parents had been going to a local box for about a year, so I joined them.
“And after nine months of WOD-ing at CrossFit 405 South, I can easily say that was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
When I first thought about my CrossFit journey over the past nine months, I thought about the things I’d gained, like strength and confidence. But then I realized that the things I’ve lost are actually what changed my life.
I Lost Weight.
We live in a culture that places so much emphasis on body image. It’s easy to fall into the trap of criticizing different parts of your body, especially after significant weight gain. My first month of CrossFit, I lost five pounds just by showing up and giving my all to each WOD. In May, I decided it was time to get serious about ditching the college pounds. I participated in the Lurong Challenge and lost another 15 pounds. More importantly, I learned how to eat (and love to eat) real, healthy food. I still have some work to do in terms of weight-loss, but thanks to CrossFit, I’m having fun in the process.
I Lost Insecurity.
I think the mental consequences of weight gain can be even more destructive than the physical consequences. Before CrossFit, I was insecure about EVERYTHING. From the way I looked, to what I wore, what I ate—every daily decision was met with a lack of confidence and a fear of judgment. It was exhausting.
When I first started CrossFit, sometimes viewing the next day’s WOD would bring out the worst of my insecurities. But with each workout and post-WOD fist-bump from other athletes, my insecurity faded. I’m not saying I don’t get insecure from time to time, because a little insecurity is human nature, but it doesn’t rule my life anymore. I owe that to CrossFit. When I log in to Wodify now and see a WOD that is out of my comfort zone, I get excited (and, I’ll admit, a bit nervous) to face the challenge.
“My insecurities don’t hold me back anymore.”
I Lost Anxiety Medication.
By the time I graduated college in December, I was prescribed three different medications to help me overcome my daily anxiety battles. By March, after CrossFitting for three months, I was down to one prescription. Today, I don’t take any medication. When something triggers an onslaught of “what-ifs” and “but what abouts,”
“I don’t reach for a mix of medication. I grab my knee sleeves, head to the box, and WOD the worries away.”
I realize that not everyone can overcome anxiety with exercise alone, but I’m fortunate that I was able to. There’s something about the encouragement and community that I’ve only experienced at CrossFit that can push the anxiety out of my head.
I Lost Dependency.
Life is more convenient when you’re strong. That might sound silly, but when you can put a heavy box on the top shelf of your closet without depending on your boyfriend or step-dad for help, it makes the day a little easier. 🙂
I Lost a Negative Attitude Towards Exercise.
I saved this one for last because I think it’s the most important. When I was in college, I told myself things like, “Wow, that meal was probably over 1,000 calories. Now you’ll have to spend hours on the treadmill to burn it off.” At first, I did spend hours on the treadmill. But it doesn’t take long for negative reinforcement to set in and a hatred of the gym to develop.
I wasn’t sure I could ever love working out until I tried CrossFit. I don’t think of CrossFit as a punishment for eating crap—because, let’s be honest, I love chocolate chip cookies. I think of CrossFit as a celebration of how far my body has come in the last nine months. My journey in CrossFit is just beginning—I have so far to go before I’m the athlete I want to be. But I’m not embarrassed about how far I have to go, or spiteful because of it. CrossFit has taught me to be excited about the process, and to celebrate milestones along the way.
When my mom was encouraging me to join CrossFit, she said something along the lines of, “Just try it. What do you have to lose?”
It turns out, I had everything to lose—and that was exactly what I needed.