CrossFit and Me - by Lisa Kirk

Crossfit and Me - by Lisa Kirk


At the age of 52, I found myself dealing with depression, pre-diabetes, borderline high blood pressure and high cholesterol. At that time I weighed 340 pounds. My doctor told me I was going to have either a stroke or a heart attack, it was just a matter of time and the worst part would be living through it only to become totally disabled. I went home with those words playing on a loop in my head.



It was February, 2015, shortly after that visit I decided I needed to make changes so I addressed my eating first. I stopped eating fast food and soft drinks. It worked, I started losing weight and that gave me a little hope. 


I knew I needed to exercise, get moving but I had no direction. What do I need to do, how much of it, etc. My mobility was already compromised and even though my mind was strong, my body was not. I could no longer will power my way through physical challenges. I had already changed my life style to accommodate my weight. I stopped going places with stairs, stadium seating, swimming, any place that would be a challenge to get in and out of easily. It wasn’t just the physical aspect alone, it was also the embarrassment aspect…. what if the chair doesn’t hold my weight, what if I can’t make it up the stairs or down the stairs, what if people see me struggling. Staying home had become my way of life. Now I needed a direction, I didn’t want to exercise alone and I had no idea where to start. 


August 2015, I was introduced to Sam Deen owner of Crossfit Van Zandt. Right away you could hear his passion for fitness and what he was doing with every word he spoke. I wanted to believe him, I wanted so much for his words to be true but still I was doubtful. I signed up and my first class was August 3, 2015. 


The first class Sam, and his wife Ashley, covered crossfit basics, starting with the air squat. I listened and watched him demonstrate the movement. I thought ‘I can do that’. I, in fact, could not do a squat. I fell trying to do a squat. At first, I was embarrassed but it paled in comparison to the fear I started feeling. I stood there thinking ‘I’m going to die’ if I don’t listen to what this guy is telling me. He says I can do it, he says I can change my life, he says I can be strong and overcome. After that class I decided to listen and do what he said. I decided I would do what he said and not worry about what I looked like doing it, I decided I had to listen to him and try. 


Three days a week at 7:00am I went to Crossfit Van Zandt and worked, it was hard but every tiny little change in my strength I felt made me want to try harder. It was slow at first, but by 3 months  I was doing those squats I couldn’t do before. I was losing weight and becoming stronger. The community in our box and the coaches could not have been more encouraging. If I for a moment doubted myself they were there setting me straight. Crossfit changed my life, the community and coaches at Crossfit Van Zandt changed my life. 


February 2016, I started going five days a week at 6:00am. I can still remember the first time I did a split jerk of 115 pounds. It was that moment I realized I really could do just about anything I push to do. It was also that moment I realized I wanted to make Sam proud, to show him how right he had been months earlier. 


October 2017, with changes in my eating habits and crossfit, I had lost 100 pounds. I’m so much stronger than I ever believed I could be and doing things with my body I thought weren’t possible. And not just physically stronger but mentally stronger as well. I see the possibilities  and know with training and effort on my part I can accomplish so much more. 


2018, now at the age of 55 I’m well on my way to hitting my goal weight and looking forward to hitting crossfit goals too. I envision crossfit being a part of my life for the rest of my life. Medically, I no longer require medicine for pre-diabetes or blood pressure, and my inherited cholesterol has become manageable with diet and lifestyle changes. I’ve done the Open twice and will again this year but I can absolutely see me doing it when I’m 70 too. I’ve jokingly adopted the name badass for my crossfit accomplishments, it doesn’t come from being the strongest physically, it’s from powering through and doing the best that I can. I feel so strong now, I feel the possibilities. I can not express my gratitude enough for what Crossfit Van Zandt, Sam Deen, Ashley, the coaches and our box community have done for me. 


Crossfit literally changed my life, it’s not a cliche it’s a fact. I draw inspiration from my box community but also the stories I read and videos I watch through Crossfit online. I get great inspiration from watching the fittest on earth all the way to the folks like me. I hope my story inspires people too but if there’s one thing I want more than anything is for our young ones to understand their bodies and fitness. It’s up to us to show them and inspire them to make fitness a part of their daily lives. I hope my granddaughters see what I’m doing and know I’m doing it as much for them as I am for me. 


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