Jen in competition.
What Jen has to say:
When Coach Kayla approached me to talk about my transformation over the past two years since joining LIFT, I had to take a step back and really think about my ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’. Why did I decide to make a change and what was the catalyst to start me on my way? After spending a few minutes thinking about these questions, I realized immediately that I didn’t just make a physical transformation. I made a mental transformation. My body has changed as an effect of my thoughts evolving. My body is stronger because I’m mentally stronger.
The intelligent Teddy Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. Living in a society full of social media and instant gratifications, these words have taken on an even more poignant meaning. We look at what other people have obtained and what they’re displaying to the world and we feel lesser for not meeting or exceeding who they are. In reality we will gain joy once we stop comparing ourselves to others and focus inward on the gifts within us. It took me 26 years and some hard times to really understand that quote and understand how integral our internal thoughts are to what we’re capable of.
Growing up, I was a competitive soccer player who spent countless hours on countless nights practicing and playing a sport I loved. I would always strive to be the best and, when someone could out play me, I would strive to be better. I guess you could say I was a little competitive and that competitive nature made me start to compare myself to the other players on the field. If someone was faster, stronger or had quicker feet I would start to tear myself down. I would begin thinking if I lost some weight or put in more time then maybe I could get to their level. I never once sat there and lifted up my good qualities that made me a competitive athlete and a strong player. In a way, that comparison led me to a negative mental place. It started to transform my inner thoughts from positive aspirations to negative ones. This negativity (along with a knee injury), stopped me from wanting to play the game I loved and I let my body go as a result.
About two years ago, I decided to make a big change. I moved from NJ/NY back down to my old stomping grounds here in Florida. I wanted to move back to a place that kept me grounded and allowed me to assess what I wanted and needed in my life. I needed a change and I wanted to find something that made me get out of my comfort zone and challenge me. I noticed an old high school friend had been trying this crazy thing called Crossfit. I reached out to her and the next week I was at LIFT trying out a class. I’ll never forget that first workout; it was the first time since I had played soccer that I left feeling like a truck had hit me. But I loved it! The positive atmosphere, the challenging movements, and the competitive nature just spoke to me. It was just what I was looking for.
Walking into a gym where you see people doing muscle ups and handstand pushups, it’s easy to want to follow suit and compare yourself to them. But just like any skill we’ve learned, it takes time and practice to get there. Slowly over time the positive atmosphere and supportive and knowledgeable coaches have helped me turn my ‘I can’t do that’ into ‘watch me do this’. It’s helped to change my internal dialogue to a more positive point of view where I focus on who I am and what I can make my body do. It’s crazy how powerful we can be when we really start to believe in ourselves.
Since that first day at LIFT, I walk into the gym and I’m ready to challenge myself both physically and mentally. In fact NOT being sore is a weird feeling these days… So now here I am two years later addicted to the sport and almost 30 pounds lighter. A lot of members have commented about how I’ve shed a lot of pounds, but the heaviest weight I was carrying were my doubts and fears. Once I decided to let them go and focus on what I was capable of I really started to progress and make the changes. Sometimes it’s all about cleansing what’s within us and then the rest will follow.
Jen, roughly 2 years apart, after implementing consistent exercise and proper nutrition.
What her coaches have to say: After reading what Jen had to say about her transformation, I realized that I wouldn't recognize Jen 3 years ago...and it has nothing to do with her physical body. Since day one, she has always had a strong mentality that only comes from wanting something badly and the willingness to work for it. From her witty tank tops to her classic smile in the middle of a tough workout, you can feel her positive energy. She has made the most all around fitness gains of anyone else I've watched in the last 2 years; nutrition, skills, and lifting numbers all considered; and it seemingly snuck up on us all. But now I can clearly see why she has changed so much and been able to keep going...to quote Jen "the heaviest weight I was carrying were my doubts and fears. Once I decided to let them go and focus on what I was capable of I really started to progress and make the changes. Sometimes it’s all about cleansing what’s within us and then the rest will follow."