It all began with a tire flip. Literally. And I’m not talking about your typical compact car everyday Goodyear tire. I’m talking dirty, cumbersome, 250lb tractor tire–and I flipped it with my own bare hands.
Now, before all you cross-fitters snicker and claim this feat as simple business, let me give you some context:
For the past 10 years, I have been quite an avid distance runner. Small-framed, carb-driven, with no anaerobic power whatsoever, distance runner. I could trot along 20 miles no problem, but struggled to perform even a simple traditional push-up or consecutive squat series. After completing my first full marathon, a resulting injury forced me to reconsider my current running-dominant routine, and I quickly discovered my physical strength weaknesses from literally running my body to the ground. But instead of using my time of injury to venture into the world of weights, I simply resorted to other forms of cardio. I hauled that bulky black boot up on the elliptical, stationary bike, ark trainer, etc., anywhere the boot would fit. I didn’t use the given “break time” as down time, nor did I dare to even lift a dumbbell beyond maybe 8 shoulder raises at 5lbs each. All this to say, my perspective definitely changed, and though I still made an effort to stay as active as I could, I was able to give my body somewhat of some rest from the pounding of miles and got myself out of my “running rut.”
After that, I no longer took running (or walking for that matter) for granted. Once my annoying tibial tendinitis healed, I did jump right back into my sport, but with a slightly new outlook. Through influence from my current job as a group exercise instructor and personal trainer, I was introduced to other workout styles and trends over the following years. I quickly took on on teaching HiiT classes and Abs class once a week, and liked the added variety in my structured fitness regimen. This continued for a good year or so, but needless to say, I didn’t back off of the running. But as my fitness enthusiast mind began to explore beyond its boundaries, I began to become enthralled with the art of body sculpting and total-body movement. I noticed I was beginning to lack motivation in my runs, and was subconsciously in search of something more…
The loud bang of the rustic tire hitting the pavement startled me–something I had never in my life pictured myself doing–not this skinny little distance runner with a history of distorted body image. “You’re not strong enough,” I told myself as I watched the other fitness go-ers lift and rotate the huge tractor tire over and over again down the driveway. “That thing weights more than twice your body weight. Don’t even try.”
“C’mon!” My new buddy Ron, clearly was a little more optimistic. “You can do it!” A faithful determination echoed in his voice as he helped me hoist the base of the tire on my thighs, demonstrating the skill before I attempted the maneuver myself. I bent down into a deep squat, blindly feeling under the tire’s edge for a sensible grip to latch my shaky fingers around. Face to the rubber, I inhaled deeply and lifted with all my might, until the rugged grooves of the tread dug into the top of my hips. The hardest part was done…”Push it over!” Ron yelled. Repositioning my hand placement behind the black monster, I gave that bad boy one final shove. BAM!
Amidst the rising dust, I threw my hands up in victory. My smile couldn’t hold itself in any longer–this girl had just turned the table, and to be honest, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought.
That day officially marked an entry into a new beginning. I had been curiously contemplating switching things up a bit, by sacrificing my mundane runs and substituting some reasonable strength training. I don’t know why I was so afraid, but I was. I thrive on consistency and was petrified about slipping out of my persistent exercise schedule. I wasn’t dissatisfied with my current state necessarily, but was frankly beginning to feel bored. I wanted to know what it felt like to take a step out–to work different muscles, to let go of my thin grip and experiment a little, to actually allow my body to try different forms of exercise and adapt where necessary.
Finally, the coin of “change” vs “same” had officially been flipped, and the bold face of “change” had inevitably landed face-up. The timid inkling to test the waters of strength training had been shaken, and thus confirmed with the pounding adrenaline and faithful inspiration. Ever since that exciting morning in Ron’s driveway, I have devoutly stuck to my own commitment of switching up my routine, and incorporating at least 2 strength training sessions a week (primarily upper body focused.) I no longer wanted to be that weeny runner anymore…I still wanted to be lean, fit and functional, but most of all, I wanted to be strong. I have been continuing to work towards that balance of both inner and physical strength, and am pleased to report that I have experienced noticeable “gains” over the past several months. Remembering the importance of perspective from my season of injury, I now try and make workouts fun while deliberately striving to avoid getting trapped in another forbidden rut. I enjoy being strong, capable, and able to move quicker, lift heavier, sprint faster and push harder than ever before. I feel more well-rounded, vibrant, eager and empowered. The inner peace that found me while I was forced to stop running has once again made its way back in. I deliberately cut back my running mileage in hopes of building new solid muscle, and the efforts have indeed paid off. The decision to choose change over comfort has been increasingly rewarding for this over-analyzing control freak, and has shed a whole new light on my own fitness path. Through continued education, curiosity and research, I acquired enough courage to test out some other practices relating to nutrition and lifestyle improvement. The overall accumulation of benefits from this surprise package has been exponential…and it all began with a tire flip.
Many thanks to faithful souls like Ron who believed in me from the beginning. Clear evidence that with God, all things are possible. With Jesus as your spotter, no tire is too heavy–even for the skinny former cardio bunny.