10-5-16 Member Spotlight: Lea Kroll
Written by Jake Coleman
In February of 2014, I bemoaned to my daughter and son-in-law in Asheville that I felt old and couldn’t lose weight. They are both CrossFitters there and suggested that I should try it out. Of course, I kept coming up with excuses: I’m too this or too that, but I finally agreed that I would give it a try when I got back to Nashville. My daughters had started having children, and it was really important to me to be able to go out and play with my grandkids and not be the grandmother that had to sit on the couch and hold the baby.
When I got back, the note to look into CrossFit sat on my desk for weeks, and it wasn’t until August that I finally checked in on Forte, knowing absolutely nothing about it. I came in to talk with Evan, and it seemed to me that mass chaos was going on in the background: people jumping on boxes everywhere and weights dropping. Fortunately, the gym had a 101 class staring the next week, and I went. It was clear pretty quickly that I wasn’t able to do the movements correctly, but I told myself that I wasn’t going to give up and decided to prepay for three months so I wouldn’t chicken out (because I’m cheap like that).
When I first started, I couldn’t do a burpee on my own. I had to use the rig to haul myself up off the ground, crawling up the whole way. I didn’t know the differences between the lifts or how to do them correctly. After the WOD was posted every night, I would call my daughter and ask her to explain the workout to me and how to do it. The only movement I was really confident with was the 400-meter run, because you just have to put one foot in front of the other.
It really helped me when coach Josh encouraged me to stick with it for six months, look back and see where I was and then evaluate, because eventually, things did start to click. One day, I put on some clothes, and they were too big. That was when I knew I was doing something right, and that moment was really the beginning of the beginning. Over time, I learned the movements, got better, went on to lose 30 pounds and saw muscle definition that I haven’t had since before I met my husband 32 years ago. My stomach was no longer in knots when I left in the morning, and I looked forward to going to class, changing from three days a week to four.
It was a big moment for me when I decided to do The Open this year. Previously, I passed on it, because I didn’t want people to know how old I was. I kind of felt I was on the downhill slide, but now, I feel better and younger than ever and am not afraid to tell anybody how old I am (60).
No longer dreading getting older has been a huge transformation for me, both physically and psychologically. After experiencing how hard it was to get off the ground when I started to what I can do now, I know it’s a 180-degree turnaround, and I no longer feel that my best days are well behind me. I actually had the confidence to wear a bikini this year for the first time since I had my daughters 29 years ago, to sign up and play for my firm’s softball team and sign up and run in both 5k’s and 10k’s. I’ve conquered fears, like being upside down for handstand holds or doing the 20-inch box, and it’s all because of CrossFit. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’m so proud of that.