Moving from one country to another isn’t an easy transition for anyone. You miss your family, your friends and the comfort and familiarities in your life. That is exactly what happened to Estreya in 2014 when her and husband who is in the AirForce, moved to England. Estreya, a 27 year old, stay at home mom originally from Ohio, is our May Featured Plus Size Athlete who has been training in CrossFit since 2014.
Estreya bounced from one diet to the next, and never exercised, she was intimated by gyms, even though she had a membership. With the support of her friend Aimee followed by her now CrossFit coach, Alex Hammond, Estreya experienced an awakening moment. She had a mind shift and learned the importance and value of focusing on health and fitness and not the number on the scale. Now an avid crossfitter who trains 3-5 times a week in her Champion sports bra and Reebok Nanos (made for CrossFit), Estreya is living a life of freedom from self-induced stress and anxiety.
1. You started doing Cross-Fit in 2014, but you mentioned that your interest in the sport goes back even further. What is it about Cross-Fit that appeals to you, that regular gym memberships haven’t?
When I first saw a CrossFit video on YouTtube, I remembered thinking how cool it looked. How these people were lifting and running around and going into the car parks and doing things. I liked that it wasn’t in a gym where you were alone and had to set your own path. You come in and the workout is predetermined. Even though your working for your own time and your own goals there is a real sense of teamwork while doing it. Plus there are no MIRRORS!
2. When you first started, you described your experience with lots of anxiety. What aspects of it made you nervous, felt sick to your stomach? How did you manage to break through?
I have always been a fairly confident person but confidence only gets you so far when you walk into a gym or in CrossFits lingo a box and your body does the talking for you. People can easily see that someone who looks like me usually doesn’t fit in that kind of environment. I was worried about what other people thought of me. I thought they would think I was a joke. Laughing, thinking that someone like me would even think that I was able to do something like this. Or that they thought “here comes another person to give it a try and never show there face again”. I wasn’t comfortable working out. I wasn’t comfortable showing that I was vulnerable in front of other people, that I couldn’t keep up or needed to rest. I wasn’t comfortable being uncomfortable. I managed to finally get over that fear when I realized that people are so incredibly supportive of me. I was usually the last to finish (sometimes I still am) and they don’t just get there stuff and go, they hang around and cheer me on. The community and the support is unlike any other.
3. How has your self-talk around body love and body image, changed over the last year, since beginning Cross-Fit?
Such a difference. I’ve shed absolutely endless tears about the way I look, what I weigh, how I carry it and how it’s “never going to go away”. I won’t lie and say that I don’t still have days where my confidence is drained and I feel bad about myself but the difference is that those days don’t consume me. They don’t put me in a pit that I can’t get out of. I know that I’m a work in progress. I don’t have the pressure of “well I’ll start working out someday or I’l start eating right someday”. I don’t do it because I’m already there. I’m already working on myself. I just tell myself that I’m already doing something about it.
4. Having a great support system like coaches, to lead an athletic lifestyle is key. What makes your Cross-Fit coach so amazing? How has your coach met your needs?
Coach Alex Hammond is the best coach in the universe! As cliché as it sounds I feel like anything I say won’t be doing him justice! From Day 1 he has been so supportive and motivating. He pushes and encourages you. He puts his all into his coaching and it really shows. He has always treated me with such kindness and respect. He celebrates with me. He realizes that these little things for most people are BIG things for me. When I ran my first mile ever at a glacial pace of 18:00 minutes he was so excited for me. He looked at me and said “now tell me, when is the last time you ran a whole mile?” I had to be honest and say “well..never!” When I lost 20lbs he went and got a 10KG plate and made me hold it and said “this is how much you’ve lost. THIS is what you were carrying around on your joints and body before you lost it.” That was a day of tears in the box. We had a 5K back in March, Everyone had completed it and I still had about a ½ mile to go. He came out all the way to me and ran the whole ½ mile way back with me, while giving endless support and motivation. When I got back and saw that I had trimmed 3 minutes from my last 5K he was right there in being excited with me. The thing that is the best about him is he cares. He truly cares about every single member of the box. I don’t feel like I stick out like a sore thumb because he is so welcoming and accepting of me.
5. Thinking back on your experience this past year, what is the #1 lesson you have learned that you would like to share with others?
I’ve learned that wanting to be healthy and wanting to be skinny are two completely different things. You don’t have to have the body of a Hollywood star to be healthy. I like many others I’m assuming really struggled with my desire to be healthy and active and my desire to sit on the couch and not move. Ultimately I decided it was time to do something and time to get up. You will never regret saving your own life by getting in shape. Every day is a chance to make better choices. Every day is a chance to change!
6. Anything else you’d like to share?
Most CrossFit boxes have a free taster session if you’re curious about trying it out! Google your local box and call them up for information! Plus, you can follow me on Instagram @plussize_crossfitter
Thank you so much Estreya for sharing your story with us. We know that many women can relate to your intimidation experiences and that you have inspired women today, to let go of those fears and take a chance.