A lot of factors led up to me deciding to seek out a coach. We (my friend, and soon-to-be business partner) had been training out of a Globo-gym, and it burned down. We trained out of a garage for a bit, but then the depths of winter hit and that was tough to maintain when the barbells froze your hands. Then we opened an Affiliate, and starting a business and all of it’s priorities overtook my training and goals.
I decided to seek out a coach because I had reached a point where CrossFit just wasn’t fun anymore. I didn’t have a purpose to my training, I wasn’t eating properly, and I was just going into the gym because I knew that I had to. I had all of these things I wanted, but I didn’t know how to get there. A total recipe for disaster, but one that could be easily fixed when pointed in the right direction.
Enter CJ Martin, my right direction. My first and foremost expectation from CJ was a set program: someone else responsible for telling me what to do; someone else I could be accountable to. That changes everything – that bit of added pressure. After spending about an hour speaking with CJ prior to starting with him, I already knew I had made the right decision. We worked together to develop a plan that would work on my weaknesses and imbalances, but not ignore my strengths. I knew every week upon opening my email that I’d have an updated program that would continue to progress on the previous week. An unexpected benefit to working with CJ has been access to his entire staff of knowledgeable coaches, as well as the support from the Sea of Green. The most gratifying (and totally unexpected!) thing CJ has done for me was to fly to Vancouver for the Canada West Regionals and offer his support as I competed.
The gains I have made since working with Invictus have been remarkable. When I started, I struggled to clean & jerk 135 lbs or snatch 115 lbs, and a muscle-up was only a distant dream I thought could not be achieved. I now clean & jerk 195 lbs (+60 lbs) and snatch 145 lbs (+30 lbs), and I can string together muscle-ups without any problems. If you had told me I would be doing that a year ago, I would have laughed at you.
But the tremendous physical gains, haven’t even been the best part. Don’t get me wrong, the numbers are important, but at the end of the day, they aren’t the reason that I am an Invictus athlete. Since I started getting custom program design and coaching, the way I approach being an athlete has changed. I was an immature athlete a year ago. I used to head into workouts with the intention to go as hard as I possibly could, without any purpose, and react negatively when things didn’t work out as I had planned. I was just a 20-something who thought she was invincible. The biggest gain I have made is in my mental approach to being a competitive CrossFit athlete. I’ve learned how to manage myself both physically and mentally during dire moments in competition, something that can take years for athletes to learn. And when I look back on the past year, this ability to have that moment of mental clarity during competition trumps all the PRs I’ve ever celebrated.
Now I’m an athlete with a coach, and that has changed everything. I have composure; I have strategy; and I have a plan. He’s given me confidence I probably couldn’t have attained on my own, and to share this journey with someone else makes it worthwhile in and of itself.