If you know me, you know I rarely come to the gym alone. Usually, my sidekick, in the form of a blonde haired little human, is in tow, along with all the goodies to occupy his time. And I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Being a mom altered my outlook on many things, but more than anything, it made me realize I am more, much more.
I am one of the OGs (original Off the Grid’ers), strolling into the gym for over 7 years. If you knew me then I was the quiet, shy, embarrassed, foolish girl wearing baggy clothes and generally unsure of EVERYTHING I did. I had zero confidence in myself. I came two days a week and ate whatever I wanted because well I “worked out”. About two years later I tried paleo and lost weight, gained a bit more confidence wearing tank tops and tighter pants, but also lost strength.
As the years rolled on, I increased my days to 3 or 4 in a week because I made friendships that made me want to be there. I got a little better at things, but still never felt like I could proudly say how long I’d been a member because I wasn’t “strong enough” or “good enough” at movements. And those girls who could wear little shorts and go shirtless were dream worthy but “never gonna happen” thoughts.
In April 2016, I found out I was pregnant and immediately thought, “how can I safely work out and what nutrition changes should I make?” I never saw pregnancy as an excuse to “eat for two” or to relax. If anything, it made me want to eat better and stay fit. I listened to Mike Doehla and the rest of the Stronger U crew, but knew counting macros wasn’t the best idea during the pregnancy so I ate as healthy as I could, within reason. I also made it a point to workout 5 days a week, whether at the gym or run at home. I was lucky enough to not gain weight and rarely felt uncomfortable during the entire pregnancy, making working out easy. In fact, modifying workouts was more of a challenge… step ups felt like a punishment, no push-up burpees were annoying on my wrists, and knee ups became the only go to for a core workout. I told everyone I was going to have abs underneath the belly of doing what felt like a million knee ups a week. The family at Off the Grid is what drove me to come back every day, even when I hated modifying everything.
My last workout was Monday and Luke arrived, planned, on Wednesday morning. The best part was when they were finishing up in the OR, my doctor leaned over to me and said, “we all have been commenting how your stomach went immediately flat again.” Embarrassed and completely unsure how to deal with compliments like that, the doctor received an awkward “thank you”.
I jumped into “recovery mode” followed by the mom role, but could not wait for the six-week point to hear the words “you’re cleared to work out again.” Learning the mom game was fun and crazy, but I was missing my drive and didn’t feel like myself. With the doctor’s approval, I started doing basic things at home and began doing some core work during Luke’s naps.
From the day I returned to the gym, I made a personal goal: Be Better. That meant in lifting and strength, in nutrition, getting all the PRs, gaining muscles that showed I spent 5+ days working out, and most importantly, confidence to wear little shorts, go shirtless, and take a compliment.
Beginning Stronger U after returning gave me the knowledge of what to eat and when to eat it. I wanted to be leaner but stronger. Ariana was the best nutrition coach for me, inspiring and giving me the #s. I made it a point to do more accessory/extra work in hopes of building up muscle in specific areas (aka the butt). Listening and focusing on coaches’ tips and ignoring that “I look stupid” feeling started sinking in, too. Thank you to the coaches who give all the tips and techniques that are actually starting to stick!
I learned from some kick ass moms before me, bring the kids in because they will adjust to the atmosphere and will see how important fitness is. In those early months, Luke took most of his naps while I worked out, many times with the help of my “CrossFit family” who rocked him, held him, repositioned that pacifier or simply spoke to him. You may not know it, but Luke and I LOVE you. Luke has no “stranger danger” and is extremely sociable for a baby who wasn’t in day care. (Apparently, the gym is not day care?!?) I’m convinced he is stronger and more independent than other non-CrossFit babies, as he lifts shopping bags, pulls himself up for many months now, stands with minimal support, and loves to climb whatever he can.
After returning with the little human in tow, I can proudly say I am PR’ing lifts and workouts. I am forcing myself to learn the correct way to do movements that I’ve always done incorrectly, or with no efficiency. I finally see and feel muscles after 7+ years of cross-fitting. Receiving compliments is unusually new, but accepting them is becoming more comfortable. And FINALLY I can say I own and wear shorts often, working out shirtless doesn’t make me nervous and if anything, I feel confident working out.
To wrap up my long story, CrossFit and specifically Off the Grid has taught me that no matter where you start physically, walking in the doors is the hardest step. After that, the community will never let you down and will do whatever is needed. Additionally, I have so much admiration for all the moms (and dads) who refuse to let parenthood take over their lives and carve out some “me time.” I’m pretty sure being a parent roughly translates into “no days off.” My gym time, even with Luke, is my time to be Kyleigh and not just Luke’s mom. As cliché as it is, we have one body and it deserves to be cared for and treated with respect, both physically, but most importantly mentally.
If you’re interested in joining our CrossFit Family, contact [email protected], if you want to learn more about nutrition programs offered at CrossFit Off the Grid by Stronger U, contact [email protected] or [email protected]. We can’t wait to meet you.