Caroline has been a member of Sabertooth since the garage gym days! There’s never a dull moment when CJ is around. We love having Caroline at the gym not just because of her great attitude and hark work, but also for her sense of humor (which you’ll get a nice taste of in her writing) and willingness to help anyone, with anything. Here’s what she had to say about her fitness journey so far!
“Hey Sabertooth Fam!
I’m Caroline, sometimes called CJ, C-Dangles, C-dawg, CJ Jazzy Jeff, or Housecleaning. 😛
I started Crossfit 4 years ago, OG-style, back when the gym was in Matt’s two-car garage, Tim & Sarah weren’t even dating yet, and Coach Chris’ clean & jerk left something to be desired (mad love to Coach Chris! I hope he shows his progression video again at the goal setting seminar next week. It’s fun to watch!). I started because my sister Sarah had recently gotten into it and thought I would really like it. I could only go once a week for the first six months. All of my muscles were sore. It was a bit of a mental challenge in that I wasn’t always sweating because I simply wasn’t strong enough to do the movements at an intense enough level. This was not something I was accustomed to, coming from organized sports where I had experienced general success and recognition. I also had to be more intrinsically motivated to show up every week. There wasn’t a practice schedule I had to follow, lest I receive some kind of consequence. It was just down to me, myself, and I to get myself going.
Caroline first learning kipping pull-ups in the garage (2014)
So slowly but surely I got myself going, because it felt good to move again. And it felt good to move with other people. To skip back to the beginning of this article, essay, whatever you want to call it, I greeted you all as my Sabertooth Fam, because that’s really how I’ve come to see my friends at the gym. I do literally have family at the gym (Sarah, Tim, and their baby on the way), but my life would also be so different if I didn’t get to see all you wonderful people in my life every week! Doing all these activities would mean far less if I didn’t have awesome people to share it with.
Caroline & friends doing 1 minute of “armless burpees” (our most watched video of all time). No this is not a real movement we do in workouts…just something goofy!
I digress. Back to the feeling good about moving again thing. It felt SO GOOD to move again in a complex and varied way. It felt SO GOOD to be a part of a “team” or a community of like-minded people. And it felt good to see progress, however incremental. It felt good to be learning new things – kipping pull-ups might have been my mental turning point of “I am all in to this weird Crossfit thing!” After I sprained my back I kept thinking about two things, “Will I be in pain for the rest of my life?” and “Will I have to stop doing Crossfit?!” (For anyone who has had or currently has back pain, you can probably relate to the laments that run through your brain as you’re laying in bed trying to forget that everything hurts and waiting for the meds to kick in. It’s not fun.) I am still weary of deadlifts today because of this, but I am stronger now than I was before because of my own persistence, and the infinite scale-ability of Crossfit (Gah’bless).
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Probably one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed about myself since starting Crossfit has been my mental state. I’m an introvert, I’m shy (believe it or not), I’m afraid of taking risks and failing, afraid of showing vulnerability. I am competitive and stubborn, often in ways that are totally trivial and petty. Crossfit has cracked these things wide open! I am still all of these things, but in a more balanced way. I have built so much self-confidence just from knowing how much time and effort I’ve put into being as fit and strong as I am (and I’m not under any illusions that I’m the fittest person in the world, don’t get me wrong), and have been able to translate that confidence into real life.
I’ve gotten a job in a field that I never thought I would be in, and am finding great success in it, some days still to my own dismay, lol. I am also finding great success socially and mentally as a result of all the good hormones rushing through my brain and body after constant and good workouts (happy people just don’t kill their husbands!). This became especially true after I dialed in my nutrition with in-house RD Emily during the fall holiday season. As a person who tends to spend a lot of time in their own head I find it incredibly beneficial to focus on my physical world, and Crossfit has been the perfect place for me to do that.
Maybe most importantly for me though is that I find great joy in watching other people achieve their goals, or do things they didn’t think they could do. Once a coach, always a coach. I care deeply about every success at the gym, every person’s un-abashed smile at getting their first kipping pull-up or kick-up to the wall. It’s like getting to watch your favorite episode of your favorite tv show over and over again with fresh eyes (I Ross, take thee Rachel…).
The gym, THIS gym, is a safe space for me to be me. I can be my super competitive and strong-willed self without indulging in the more negative aspects of those qualities, in part because there is an expectation set that that’s not what we’re here for. Nobody is here to win at Crossfit. Just to keep working and keep getting better, in one way or another.
Progress, not perfection.”
Doesn’t matter whether you’re a former collegiate athlete like Caroline, a 70 year old grandparent, a mom of five kids, or wherever else you’re at in life — we want to help you get fit, find confidence, feel better, and be happier! Come chat with us. Sign up for a Free Intro session today!