I never thought I’d be strong. Like never had that thought a day in my life. In fact, I’ve always considered myself weak.

I vividly remember playing basketball in middle school and not being able to throw the ball across half-court from behind the in-bounds line. I was a post player and this created a problem for my team. Needless to say, I didn’t play high school ball…

When I was diagnosed with thyroid disease 2.5 years ago (I can’t even believe it’s been that long but I was in the Mayo Clinic fall of 2010 so it has been…), I remember thinking that I was destined to be fat and unattractive for the rest of my life. I’m still not ok posting my weight, much less my highest recorded weight (I stopped stepping on a scale at a certain point too) but I’ve lost close to 75 pounds in the last year and a half. But I never thought I would ever be considered strong. Thyroid disease was going to be my excuse and it was nice to have one.

I worked out with a personal trainer at LifeTime Fitness for a year while my endocrinologist tried to figure everything out. We’re still working on my dosages and I started building muscles with Brandon, just never viewed myself as strong.

When I started CrossFit at CrossFit Matters at the end of April 2013, I knew I still had a lack of arm strength and the little pudge of skin/fat where my arms meet my body reminded me of that little fact every time I put on a tank top. In fact, most people have never seen my shoulders because I just don’t wear tank tops without a cardigan. (Sidebar: I want to change that – most of what has to change is my attitude about it but God’s working on that.) I was also recovering from a shoulder injury so I was timid and concerned about lifting correctly so as not to injure myself again.

Today was a day at the gym that I will never forget. This was a moment for me. A “defining”moment. I am strong (and getting stronger). August 21st. We found our CrossFit Total this morning. You can roll your eyes at me (I can’t see you do it thru the computer screen so it’s ok) but I’m giddy about what my body can do right now and I’m immensely thankful to God for it!

CrossFit Total – sum of one rep max’s for back squat, strict press, and deadlift. I would estimate that in April my CFTotal was 145 (55# back squat, 35# press, 55# deadlift). Today I set three PR’s!!

155# back squat, 85# strict press, and 175# deadlift!!!

This means my new CFTotal is 415! 🙂

My first thought on completing these lifts this morning was how powerful God is. He has the strength and power to help me push my physical boundaries. I have prayed that God would use my thyroid disease and how I look to His glory. I’ve also prayed that He would take this burden away from me. Until this morning, I didn’t realize He was answering my prayers every time He grants me the ability to get out of bed in the morning.

I get to be an example of His strength.

We are all made in His image (Genesis 1:27 – So God created mankind in His image, in the image of God He created them, man and woman He created them), and the definition that’s appearing in my arms and shoulders is physical proof.

I am blessed to have the body that I do.

Lord, please help my heart remember that I am made in your image and that you have me exactly how you want me to be. No mistakes. No excuses. No I-wish-I-was. No changes. Help me to be this positive and focused on you every time I was into the gym, even when I don’t set PR’s, and especially when I’m tired and don’t want to be there. And Thank You. Thank you for being faithful to me when I don’t see it. Thank you for your gift of strength. and Thank you for sending your Son to give up his strength so that I may have it for eternity. Lord, please help others in my life who struggle with bodily strength. Pleae bring them comfort and peace.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

CrossFit: July 8, 2013

Warm-Up: 2 min single unders, 2 min double unders, 30 sec plank hold, 30 sec L hold, 30 sec plank hold, 30 sec L hold, 30 sec plank hold

Strength: 3-3-3-3-3-3 squat clean with three front squats to find a challenging weight (not necessarily a 3 RPM) – I finished at 65# which is fairly light but I didn’t want to push the shoulder

WOD: Elizabeth 21-15-9 cleans and ring dips

7:12! Cleans at 55# and box dips instead of ring dips but I feel good about it. It was 6 hours ago and my shoulders and upper arms are already sore 🙂

CrossFit: July 3, 2013

Warm-Up: 3 rounds of 200m, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 single arm kettlebell swings, and 20 grasshoppers

Skill: clean warm-up

Skillz: Hand stand push-ups – we walked thru how to properly do a push-up (hand shoulder width apart, first fingers pointed straight ahead, elbows rotated to point straight back, flat back, on your toes) and then how to progress to a handstand push-up

WOD: 15 min AMRAP of 5 walkout push ups, 10 kettlebell swings (25kg), 15 box jumps (24″)

I finished 5 rounds which meant I was contintually moving at a consistent pace for the entire 15 minutes. I’m ok with it. My hamstrings need to be less tight, my push-ups still look like inch worm dance moves more often than they look like planks, and I still step off the box (instead of jumping off which is faster) but I’m there and I’m working on it. 🙂

CrossFit: June 28, 2013

The muscles in my shoulder and neck started spasm-ing during CF on Monday so today was my first day back. I spent Monday and Tuesday at the chiropractor and then Tuesday and Wednesday laying on bags of ice but felt better Thursday.

Warm-Up: 3 rounds of 250m row, 100 single unders, 30 sec static hold

Strength: 500m row for time (2 mins flat :))

WOD: 3 RFT of 10 manmakers, 30 frog sit ups, 30 supermans

19:42 but I did deadlifts at 75# instead of manmakers because of my shoulder. It felt good to be back at the box and I talked with Jim for awhile afterwards about my shoulder. I’m going to start focusing on my posture. Jim let me borrow a PVC pole to put behind my back and hook my elbows around while I watch TV/hangout at home to try to help me built up some basic posture muscle in my shoulders. I’m also going to focus on it at work.

CrossFit: June 19, 2013

Warm-Up: 3 rounds of 400m run, 25 hollow rolls, 20 knees to elbows, 20 pointers, 100 single unders

Strength: OHS warm-up without weight

Extra: Timed mile – 7:55!! (I typically run much closer to 11 mins)

WOD: Helen – 3 RFT: 400m run, 21 kettlebell swings (25kg), 12 pull-ups

12:00 🙂

I was so proud of my times this morning, especially since I crossed something off my bucketlist last night which meant I was out and about until 1am (on a Tuesday school night!!). I told myself I wasn’t allowed to sleep in this morning or slack off once I got the box because I was going to be exhausted.

CrossFit: June 17, 2013

Warm-Up: 400m run, 200 single unders, 30 sec box hold

Strength: clean warm-up twice (once with weight, once without)

WOD: CrossFit Matters Benchmark

3 RFT (noting the split times, not the total time)

  • 500m row
  • 40 squats (butt to ball)
  • 30 frog leg sit-ups
  • 20 push-ups
  • 10 pull-ups

7:21, 7:14, and 9:15 – the first two rounds were good but I slowed down on the row the third time thru and then didn’t pick back up. I also went home a puked in the bushes (first time in my life I’ve ever throw up because I was working out). I’m calling it a win 🙂

CrossFit: June 12, 2013

Warm-Up: 250m row, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 single arm kettle bell swings, 10 kettlebell squats

Strength: 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 Back Squats from the rack

I have a new PR! 135# (which is currently higher than my 3 rep max is haha)

WOD: 3 RFT of 10 hang cleans (55#), 10 step lunges (with the bar still), 20 kettlebell swings (25kg)

7:43! First WOD under the 8 minute mark 🙂

Maybe this actually going three times a week to crossfit thing is starting to pay off…

CrossFit: June 11, 2013

Warm-Up: 250m row, 10 kettleball swings, 10 single arm kettlebell swings, 9 spiller rolls


Strength: 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 to deadlift max

I have a new deadlift PR!! 115# for a 3 rep max 🙂


WOD: 4 RFT of 10 push press (55#), 15 burpees, 200 single unders

19:55 and I am super proud of that! The volume of each exercise is what kills you. Each round by itself is fairly easy but combine all of them for 40 push presses, 60 burpees, and 800 single unders and you’re going to be sweatin!

CrossFit: May 20, 2013

Warm-Up: 2 rounds of 250m row, 10 burpees, 80 single unders

Skill: 1 clean warm-up (no weight) and 1 rep max front squat

I’m very excited to report that I PR’ed my front squat at 125#! I’ve front squatted 95# before but had never gotten over the 100# mark.

WOD: 1000m row, 50 thrusters (35#), 30 burpees – 37:41

This whole workout and skill work made me feel incredible. I actually wanted to stop while I was doing it but I was able to complete everything in that hour for the frist time since I started at CrossFit Matters 6 weeks ago! It’s wonderful to be making progress 🙂

Lord, thank you for a body that is able to workout hard. Thank you for two normal functioning legs and two normal functioning arms. Thank you for providing a motivating space to workout in. Please show me how you would have me use this body of mine for your glory.