How CrossFit and Weightlifting Fixed My Broken Gymnastics Body
I started my gymnastics journey at the age of 3 doing one of those tumble around and spin in circles and be cute kinda classes. I started competing at the age of 6. By the time I was 11 I had progressed through 4 levels, won a state title and acquired some bumps and bruises along the way. I continued club gymnastics until I burned out at 16 and then continued on competing for my high school. After graduation, I stayed in the gymnastics world recreationally and coaching. In all, I spent 18 years flipping around, doing crazy things, that looking back now, I don’t know how I did it!
Fortunately, I was one of the, we will say, luckier athletes. And by this I mean, I had very few injuries (not including the normal bruises, beam burns, rug burns, ripped hands, some sprains and strains, whatever other minor aches and pains that came along with the everyday crash and burns). As for some of my teammates…. The not so lucky ones… The ones on crutches, in casts, even better the multiple casts, or even the multiple casts (both feet) plus the crutches – that sounds fun!, having surgeries, getting stitches, put in braces, put in those awesome white plastic back braces, pins holding bones together, broken fingers, broken noses, broken everything, stress fracture here, hairline fracture there, torn Achilles, seriously, gymnastics takes a toll on a body!
So how exactly did CrossFit and Weightlifting help fix my broken body when I was one of the “lucky” ones? I mean I can’t say I had NO injuries… But by the time I was done with college and my fitness had been put on the back burner, all those “minor” injuries and aches and pains were back in full force, as if I were spending 30 hours a week in the gym again.
I woke up every morning with a stiff back, sore ankles, a stuck elbow with tingling and numb fingers, painful wrists, achy knees, it was literally a pain in the ass to get out of bed. I tried the running (I suck at running, so this was a challenge), I did the Jillian Michael’s videos, I tried the globo gym thing with the fancy cardio theater where I could watch a movie and spin on the elliptical like a zombie, but it wasn’t until I found CrossFit that I actually got back to a point of being fit and able to relieve my aches and pains. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a struggle when I first started. I was pretty sure my first couple months I had been hit by a bus each morning after I had worked out the day before. My aches and pains didn’t go away immediately, it was a gradual thing. Little by little I noticed knees and ankles didn’t hurt so bad, my elbow stopped sticking, shortly followed by no tingling. The bigger pains took some time. I later discovered I enjoyed Weightlifting more than CrossFit (mostly I didn’t like to sweat my own sweat). That was the trick, building stronger core muscles helped fix that last nagging back pain (who’da thought, right?). As for my wrists, well I’m pretty sure I just need new ones.
Could I have fixed my body without CrossFit? Obviously no! Tried it, didn’t happen. But not just because it’s CrossFit, but because I could walk into the gym and have my workouts all planned out for me. I didn’t have to try to figure it out on my own and do all the wrong things. I found that all around body strength and conditioning again without the hours on hours of gym time. I have found a love for Weightlifting from all this and it has led me back to a place where I can compete again, without the pains!