May 2018. I’m 220 pounds, completely sick of myself, hate mirrors, avoid photos, can’t carry my kids up the stairs, sleep a lot, eat like crap, hate exercise. Depressed, anxious and unhappy one hundred percent of the time.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is how things would still look for me if I had never been introduced to CrossFit.

I still remember the first WOD I did. I was training with a personal trainer at another gym at the time. It was a 21-15-9 involving an adorably itty-bitty kettlebell. And it left me sweatier than ever before. I remember saying to my trainer… “More of this, please!” She encouraged me to sign up for the 2019 CrossFit games Open. And that’s how I ended up at Fortis.

I still remember the sinking feeling I had the night 19.4 came out. I had just joined Fortis that day (honestly, with the intention of staying until the Open was over and then going back to my other gym). I messaged Dan… “Ok, I can’t even do the scaled version of 19.4… should I leave my spot for someone else?” – “Don’t be silly. You show up here, we all sweat together and have a good time, and that’s all there is to it.” And from that day on, I was hooked.

You’ll hear this from people who do CrossFit. The community feeling involved, that “fit fam” culture, etc. Honestly, this was the one thing that intimidated me the most about checking out a CrossFit box. I had so little confidence in myself, I was sure I’d quickly become the laughingstock and leave embarrassed, never wanting to set foot in any kind of gym again. I was comfortable with the anonymity of a traditional gym setting where no one talks to one another.

But something completely different happened during those weeks of the Open. I was greeted with open arms into a community of people who really truly care about one another’s successes, and I quickly made friends who made me feel like I belonged.

The mental grind involved every single time you show up for a WOD is just as much of a workout as the physical aspect of it. You’ll look at a WOD and think – “well, I can’t do that”. But then, you do (because of that awesome supportive community I was talking about), and the more you do that, the more you really start believing – hey… I can do hard things!

Trust me when I tell you, that ends up translating into everyday life. It is no coincidence that I wasn’t able to lose much weight until I started CrossFit. And it’s not only because of the calories you burn. In fact, I attribute it more to the fact that with lots of practice, WOD after WOD after WOD, you learn to silence that little voice in your head that says: “You can’t do this.”

If you’re curious about CrossFit but you’re a little intimidated by it – listen. I get it. I was in your shoes, and if someone had shown me a video of what CrossFit was a year ago and said to me – “next year at this time you’ll be doing this every single day!” – I would have thought they were completely nuts. But you’re capable of more than you think. There are no better people than the people at Fortis to help you see that. All you need to do is give it a shot. I promise, you’ll never look back.

August 2019. Fifty pounds lighter, using much larger kettle bells, much happier, more confident, and just a tiny bit pissed off I didn’t discover this place sooner.

Mireille Renaud