My Take on How CrossFit Has Changed My Marriage

How CrossFit Changed My Marriage for the Better Image by Katie Nesbitt Photography

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Hi everyone! Today is Part II of the mini-series Aaron and I wrote for Drama Happens. If you missed Aaron's spiel on how CrossFit has changed our relationship, read it here. Today I'm sharing my take on how CrossFit has changed our marriage. Can you guess?  It's all good things!!

PS: Thanks for bearing with me this week as I get my ducks in a row for the new year!! I just got back from Italy on Monday and had to work Tuesday, so I'm getting readjusted back into my routine!

Now, here's the post I wrote for Drama Happens:

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For me, working out has always been better with a buddy. I first started going to the gym because there was a girl I met on Craigslist waiting for me there!  It wasn't until I met her that I started attending the gym regularly. Same was true a few years later when I moved and got a new job. I joined a gym with one of my coworkers and we went at lunch. Not long after, two other girls from the office joined us and we had a solid buddy system that helped all of us stay consistent.

Nowadays, I workout with my husband. And it's pretty effing awesome!

When I picture us, I can hardly believe it: standing side-by-side as the countdown for a gruesome Saturday morning CrossFit workout is about to begin...

"Wanna race?" I asked him a few seconds before the start. "I got this one. Don't you worry," he responded with smirk. Yea right.

Then, 3, 2, 1, GO!

The sound of the music goes way up, and we’re off! Starting with 5 burpees, 10 box jumps, 15 sit-ups, and a 200 meter run - as many rounds as you can in a 20-minute time period.

He was right on my tail! "Push, go, faster," I told myself. Beating him is some serious incentive!

Three rounds in, I’m convinced I’m in the lead. He’s starting box jumps as I’m doing sit-ups… There’s no way he can catch up!

But then, with just a few minutes left, he starts gaining on me! I head out the door for the last 200 meter run, knowing it doesn’t count if I don’t make it back before the clock strikes. I come barreling in, look up at the clock and see I’m too late. Then I see Aaron, giving me a devilish smile. We tied.

For the first time since we started Crossfit, we tied. :)

Six months ago you couldn't have convinced me that Aaron and I would be working out together at a CrossFit gym; racing no less. Sure, we'd gone running together (once before), and hiking, but we never did real workouts.

Now that we do... it's changed everything. It's improved our relationship, dare I say, 10 fold, and there's definitely no looking back. Here's what I mean:

There's a lot more togetherness + more talking.

Since we started Crossfit back in June, we started riding to work together so that we could go to Crossfit together after work. The extra time together in the car each day has given us more time to talk and I love talking! (My love language is verbal affirmation.)  We have more to talk about. On the way home from Crossfit, we share about the workout – what was hard? Or did it feel easy? Should we have lifted heavier? Lighter? Should we have finished sooner?

More laughter.

We're both always on a high after the workout too. Crossfit workouts are generally short, but hard. You give it your all and might feel like you're going to die when it's happening, but afterward, it's euphoria. You get a rush. Confidence, accomplishment, and a feeling of oh-yea-I'm-a-bad-ass comes over you and you just feel good; you feel proud.

After the initial "high" we usually get giddy. I remember one of the first nights we came home after Crossfit we laughed for 10 minutes straight. I can't even remember what was so funny! It was the kind of laugh that makes your cheeks hurt! I remember thinking, this is good - this is good for us.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 9.33.22 PM We're both obsessed.

There's also the whole bonus of having someone to obsess about crossfit with. It's addicting, and I'm sure you've heard - a common side effect of crossfitting is talking about crossfitting. I think our friends are happy we have each other to talk to about it, cause truth is, they don't get it. Most people don't. Not unless they're doing it, too.

crossfit-obsessed

There's so much more support + encouragement.

Along those same lines, we get to talk about crossfit movements, techniques, weights, and workouts together. We ask each other, "What's a hang power snatch again?" Or, "What's your 1 rep max for bench press?" And the other person just knows. We've started pairing up lately, too. Lifting together. Back squat is my favorite, but Aaron's least favorite, so it helps to team up and encourage each other. He helps me with lifts, too. He'll make small suggestions about the way I snatch or clean. (Crossfit terminology! Sorry!) And it's cool hearing it from him, because I know he's got my best interest at heart. I mean, duh, he's my husband!

We've realized: we're in this together. 

The coolest thing is that we started this together and what we've found that has allowed us to grow together.

Neither of us are crossfit experts and admittedly, we have a lot to learn, but we're learning together. I have the worst time with gymnastic moves like the handstand pushups and I tend to not lift as heavy as I could. Aaron encourages me constantly. He'll give me a thumbs up during a workout or a wink and it's so sweet, I love it! He's also been helping me work on handstands at home. I'll be so happy when I can finally do it!

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 9.33.43 PM

 Aaron showing off his handstand push-ups at home!

We have each other when times get tough.

We encourage each other a lot more than ever before. Aaron always tells me to lift a little heavier, which is what I need to hear because I’m often stronger than I think I am… I encourage him to finish strong or push himself to keep running – he hates running! I remember instagramming this photo after our first workout and sharing about our experience:

Crossfit

 

Oh y’all. We did it! Survived our first #crossfit #elementsclass and let me tell you: I am in SHOCK! Those#pullups killed me! Going from those to push-ups SUCKED. My arms were literally giving out! SO frustrating!! But, the silver lining was my babe (@aarellis) helping me add an extra band and continually asking ‘you ok?’ It was sweet! (And as you see from this photo, he’s quite pleased with his abilities tonight– he acted like it was a stroll in the park! Made jokes and kept the mood light and fun.) As for me, this is gonna be a real wakeup call/challenge! Glad I have this guy along for the show!

When one of us does good, the other feels proud.

Since then, the same has held true: I’ve been shocked and amazed at Aaron’s progress.

He probably won’t like me sharing this but at one of our first Saturday workouts, he couldn’t finish. It was a monster workout – long and tough – and he got behind because he was taking breaks. (He always says he needs to work on his cardio.) I watched as the coaches pushed him and he tried to press on, but he just couldn’t. He was so frustrated. I thought for sure he’d want to quit the whole CrossFit thing.

But you know what? He came back. And now, he’s killing those same workouts! He’s running faster and finishing sooner. He’s gotten so much stronger, too – it’s incredible! I think his one rep max for bench press is something ridiculous like 265 lbs! I remember one guy walking up to him afterward asking, “How long have you been CcrossFitting? How’d you get so strong?”

That night, he did the he-man flex 100 times. I love seeing him so happy. I have to say I’m proud.

Aaron

Physical + mental changes are ever-present.

We’ve both noticed changes in our bodies, especially in our arms and shoulders. Aaron has some big traps and mine are growing too! We’re both leaner and we’ve been trying to eat better. I think seeing the physical changes is really reinforcing because the workouts are hard, but when you see change you know it’s not for nothing. Neither of us have ever felt as strong as we do today and we have CrossFit to thank for that!

I thing mentally, too, we’re both more confident than ever before. I haven’t been obsessing about my weight or trying to reach some magical number on the scale. I’m focused on getting stronger and eating cleaner, but I’m also enjoying a feeling of contentment with my body. I think the same is true for Aaron, and when you’re feeling good about yourself, I think you’re a better mate.

Oh, and intimacy.

Let’s just say we’re both a lot more confident. Naked.

It’s all about the buddy system. It just works.

Lately I’ve noticed just how vital Aaron’s presence (and the presence of the buddy system) has been to my commitment level. There has been many days (recently) when I don’t feel like going to the gym… I’m used to going at lunch and going after work has been an adjustment, but he keeps me going. I know he’ll want to go and so I go, too, and then afterward, I’m so thankful I did! We push each other and hold each other accountable and I think we’re both better off because of it!

Now, I know I’ve gone one and on about all the wonderful things about my relationship, but we have our days, don’t you worry! Nobody’s perfect and certainly, CrossFit doesn’t make everything right with the world. It does, however, give us something else in common, something to do together, and something we can grown and learn about together — all things I think are pretty helpful in a new marriage.

I'd love to hear your experience working out with your mate! Has it been good or bad? What do you two do together that strengthens your relationship?