For the first 22 years of my life I never lifted a single weight. I played soccer, and my workouts were almost entirely cardio-focused. Occasionally, I would throw a set of pushups or sit-ups in there, but I never thought weight training would be of any benefit to my game. I thought that packing on muscle would slow me down, so I refused to lift.
After my final year of eligibility playing collegiate soccer, my fitness dropped off huge. I played in a couple of men’s league games once or twice a week, but wasn't getting nearly the amount of cardio that I was when I was playing competitively. Coupled with the fact that I was still in college, eating fast food every day and drinking a lot, I gained probably 20 pounds in a single semester.
When I went back to my family over the summer, they were nice enough to tell me how “healthy” I looked. I knew at that point that I needed to start working out pronto. I started lifting with my brothers but wasn’t accomplishing a ton. About a year into lifting, we met a trainer at our gym who did CrossFit and all of that changed.
Now, after four years of CrossFit, I’m not only leaner than I was during my pudgy days, but I’m stronger than I was even during my soccer days. I’m still improving, but I can honestly say that my body is capable of more than it ever has been before. When I started CrossFit I was like, "How do those guys do that?" Now I can do muscle ups, climb ropes, walk on my hands, do a standing back flip—it’s awesome.
Words of Wisdom: Know that every workout is going to suck in it’s own special way, but push yourself to do your best at whatever it is. Don’t get discouraged—not by yourself or by others. Just because someone started CrossFit three months after you and can push press more than you can doesn't mean he’s any better than you. Keep working, and you'll keep improving.