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How I Found CrossFit and Why I Stick With It (Katie)

My story isn’t like the typical ones you hear. I didn’t play sports in high school. I wasn’t an active athlete in college. I was an “A” student in high school and college, but I spent the large majority of my time partying.  Fitness wasn’t really on my radar, except for the occasional yoga class – I had more important things to do!  About 10 years after high school I decided to quit smoking. I had put on quite a bit of weight and was looking to lose a few pounds and keep my mind off of wanting to smoke. This was my first experience in a gym and I fell in love. I worked with an amazing trainer and lost 20 lbs over 8 weeks. Over the next few years, I continued to work out here and there and I even obtained certifications in group fitness and personal training. I began coaching others and digging into nutrition science. I found it all really fascinating and wanted to learn as much as I could. Although I remained at my ‘day job,’ I had a persistent desire to learn more and get more involved in the health sciences. 

When 2017 rolled around I had been smoking again for a few years and drinking more heavily than before. That was when I decided I had enough of feeling like shit and decided to quit both. Quitting the things that you’ve built your identity around is terrifying and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was lost and trying to discover who I was. I spent 6 intensive weeks working through my baggage by attending yoga every day at an amazing local studio called the Shiva Yoga Shala. I found a great amount of peace and sense of self at the Shala, but I craved more. I started looking into the local CrossFit gyms and a couple of months later I signed up – it was just what I needed. I was greatly challenged by the variations in movements and weightlifting. I had only dabbled in a bit of weightlifting before and this was so different!  

Fast forward to about 14 months later and I wasn’t making too much progress. I felt stuck and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t progressing. I decided to focus more closely on my nutrition. I worked my way through getting certified as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine where I had previously obtained my Personal Trainer certification. The science was fascinating and being able to change how I felt, as well as my performance, by switching up my diet was really empowering. I decided to further my knowledge with a more intensive program through Precision Nutrition. Digging deeper into how the body’s performance can be optimized by focusing on quality nutrients and making adjustments to support my goals was exactly what I was looking for. The program also took my coaching to a whole different level. I was better able to serve my clients and help them reach their goals.

As I finished up my certification I was eager to expand my clientele and help more people with what I had learned. I was presented with an offer to set up shop at a different CrossFit box (CrossFit Cape Coral) and create a program that I could customize with the tools I had acquired. I was shocked, however, by the difference in programming from my previous box. It was a complete change from what I was accustomed to, and I loved it! The workouts were set up in a way that any skill level could participate and feel accomplished. The coaches focused more closely on teaching the fundamentals, and unbeknownst to me, I really needed it. I found that the focus on form really helped me improve all around. Going from an atmosphere that encouraged going as fast and heavy as possible, to being encouraged to move properly and safely was a complete game-changer.  At CFCC we focus on form and impress upon our members that scaling is not failing. Not every workout needs to be performed at 100%!

The last few years have been an absolute whirlwind, and I love the community that I’m a part of now! Along with my multiple certifications in nutrition science and personal training, I’ve gotten my CF-L1. CrossFit is amazing and humbling in its ability to make you feel super strong and kick your ass at the same time. Every day is different and the variety is what keeps me coming back. I never knew that I could lift like I do. I was always ridiculed for being “too skinny” growing up and now I can lift more than some of those people who criticized me. My fellow coaches and athletes have given me the confidence to participate in multiple partner competitions and I even signed up for my first solo competition (though the flu had different plans for me!)

CrossFit is for EVERYONE. Take it from me – I wasn’t ever very athletic and now I can keep up in classes.  We all come from somewhere and being able to come and spend the best hour of my day working through my stress is an absolute blessing. I’m so grateful for CrossFit Cape Coral and the family that I’ve gained!

Katie Onufer CF-L1, is a certified Precision Nutrition Coach and CFCC Nutrition’s Head Coach.

If you’re interested in attending our first Sober Sunday workout at CrossFit Cape Coral, please click here.

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