Tom Swanton

"I have improved"

I am a 51 year-old with no history of athletics other than running for pleasure and the occasional lapsed gym membership. In fact, as a child I was that guy who was usually chosen last for playground pickup games. Goaded by my CrossFitting friends, I approached the sport with no small amount of intimidation.

My wife and I attended an Open House held just before the opening of College Hill CrossFit. Seeing a demonstration of the “Burpee Challenge” – a seven-minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of Burpees – the intimidation reached a new level.  Still, after discussing it with my wife – and against my better judgment – we signed up for the “CrossFit Fundamentals” class.

That first class ended with a WOD (Workout of the Day) consisting of one movement – wall balls. In three minutes I was reduced to an old man gasping for breath. I left that night vowing not to return.  Yet something happened to me on the drive home – I began to feel the effect of the endorphins.  I felt just a little bit fitter than when I had left the house. By the time I got home I had resolved to give CrossFit a try.

That resolution was one of the best decisions of my life.  Coach Pam and the staff at CHC brought me along slowly, carefully, scaling workouts and building my strength and endurance. There were days when I didn’t think I could complete the workout, but Pam or another coach would be standing there encouraging me to keep pushing through.

That was nearly two years ago.  In the interim I have discovered every weakness I have. But I have improved.  Sometimes that improvement has been in leaps and bounds; sometimes it has been extremely hard-won. But as my strength has grown so has my confidence. That confidence has extended to other areas of life.

CrossFit is the first exercise regimen I have ever encountered that has kept my attention for this long. I love the way it makes me feel.   It comes with the added benefit of a built-in community of people who encourage and accept all levels of athleticism. And if you don’t show up to the box for a week, you will get a call or a text from someone asking how you’re doing.

Thanks to Coach Pam, Coach Tracy and the rest of the staff and athletes at CHC, I have found a way of life that I hope I never leave. Thanks to College Hill CrossFit I can say four words I never dreamed would leave my lips – I am an athlete.

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