By Rachel Rodney
Two and a half years ago, I walked into CrossFit Bothell outside of Seattle, not sure what to expect. Intimidated is the word that came to mind. I looked around the gym and saw people doing pull-ups and lifting these heavy weights, and I thought, that could never be me. I did not consider myself an athlete at that time, in any shape or form, but I wanted to push myself and try something new. What I found through my first CrossFit gym was the athlete inside of me, my strength, and a community in which I belonged.
It didn’t take long for me to begin to get addicted to the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a grueling workout, or setting a new squat PR. I eventually even competed in a few competitions, and while I certainly didn’t win, I felt proud. However, like many others, since starting CrossFit, my passion has waned and then come back again, in different forms. While in Seattle, I took advantage of the Olympic weightlifting classes offered at our gym. Focusing on the Olympic lifts was a whole other challenge, physically and mentally. I love that each lift can be broken down to several tiny parts and hundreds of different drills. Even the smallest adjustment can make all of the difference. You are constantly thinking, but not thinking too much, lifting slow, but fast. Just as I was hitting my stride in Olympic lifting, I was offered at job here in Richmond, and made the decision to move (back) across the country.
Before I moved, I researched. I used the USAW website and I looked for gyms with barbell clubs – while also looking for something that wasn’t outrageously expensive. I also knew that I still wanted the option to do CrossFit, if I ever felt so inclined. Once I got to Richmond, I emailed the gyms and went to personally scope out some places, which is how I found Full Circle.
The day I dropped by my first class at Full Circle, I loved how welcoming everyone was. I appreciate the number of barbell classes, the number of platforms, and the designated barbell area compared to my old, smaller gym. The structured programming that builds every week has made me stronger than ever, as my old 1 rep max back squat of 205, is now a 5 rep max of 200 pounds.
Today, as I was lifting in the evening barbell class, Jason mentioned something to me about still being a beginning lifter. I have never claimed to be an expert, but it was a gentle reminder that I have so much ahead of me in my weightlifting career (Ed; this is very true. Rachel has immense potential and 200×5 is really only the beginning). While I miss my old gym and coach, I know that no single gym is created the same, nor do they stay the same. As athletes we learn to adjust and acclimate, and hopefully we can view these changes as opportunities to grow in different ways.