May 30, 2017 Healthy Living

One Tough (Mud-Covered) Cookie

I don’t know one single person who doesn’t want to improve their health in some way, shape, or form. I believe that if you pick a goal and blend it with your life, anything is possible. For my new year’s resolution, I decided it was time to take back my body. I have spent the last 11 years being a mommy and taking on all that comes with it. I put my daughter’s dance class first. I put my son’s guitar lessons first. There was never enough time for me. I decided that I wanted to see just how much I could transform myself. As luck would have it, my employer started a 30-day fitness challenge in the beginning of January. Perfect timing! I told myself that I would make it to the gym once a day no matter what. While it was far from easy, it was oh so worth it.

I tried P90X before, and I ran track in high school. Both gave me a general idea of what hard work is. About 20 years ago, I was also an avid dirt bike and ATV enthusiast. As soon as I could walk, I was placed on a dirt bike and rode it through my teen years. While I loved the adrenaline rush, it came with consequences. I ended up tearing my right ACL in half, and I had a large section of my left calf surgically removed due to an internal infection from an injury. My ACL has since retracted, and my knee is arthritic in the cold. I crack, creek, and occasionally my knee will buckle, giving onlookers a good laugh.

Before I began the 30-day challenge, I met with our staff fitness specialist. She taught me a few exercises to strengthen my knee. At first, I was not very hopeful, as I was used to living with my restricted mobility for some time. The first week was the worst. During my first spin class, I had to sit back in the saddle before everyone else, I had to stop to breathe, and my knee kept trying to fold in. I was not about to give up, though, because I knew I could only improve.

I jumped into Tabata classes, HIIT classes, core circuits, spinning, and barre. When I got home at night, my daughter was eager to hear what fun things I got to do in “mommy’s gym class.” So, I would show her and eventually these demos transitioned into second workouts. My daughter loved them, and I knew they could only help me. I always push myself hard, no matter what. I started adding extra weight to every sequence I could. Eventually, the 20-pound kettlebells became my new BFFs.

“Hitting the bag” during a HIIT session at work.

At the conclusion of the challenge, I could breathe easier during workouts and I actually noticed a difference in my knee. I had to keep going! It was then, with my colleagues’ and family’s support, that I decided to make it a 90-day challenge. Knowing that exercise is only half the battle, I altered my diet to include protein shakes and more fruits and veggies. I decided to replace my morning coffee with a smoothie, because let’s face it, 30 minutes after the coffee’s gone, I felt drained and tired again. The first few days, the headaches were not pleasant. But, after a week or so, I felt more energized and alert than ever.

“Slamming the ropes” during a HIIT session at work.

During month two I hit my first milestone. I could keep up with the spin class and my knee would no longer give out! I felt like I turned the clock back to my teen years when I had normal knees! This allowed me to stay out of the saddle and get the most out of the class. At this point, looking back I had made amazing progress.

I love to try new things and I love to challenge myself, so I decided to look into a few obstacle courses. As soon as I read up on the Tough Mudder, I knew it was for me. Who wouldn’t want to run 10 to 12 miles, jump in a pool of ice, and get shocked?

As I push toward my goal on August 19, I will continue to chronicle my training. How does one prepare for ice and electricity? This should be interesting …

My sister-in-law and friend teamed up to train on a beautiful Sunday morning!

Melissa Crosby
About the Author

Melissa joined CDPHP in 2015 as a marketing assistant. Her love of innovation and project management led her to the product innovation department, where she spent three years as a contract analyst drafting employer/member contracts, amendments, and riders to ensure that all materials comply with federal and New York state laws and regulations . With her knowledge of contracts, and member facing materials Melissa transitioned to a consumer experience analyst position where she analyzes internal and external processes, and communications to enhance our members experience. In her free time, she serves on the CDPHP Foundation Charity of Choice Committee, The Healthcare Literacy Committee, and as a wellness champion for CDPHP’s wellness team, and she annually supports the American Heart Association’s Capital Region Heart walk. In her personal time, she enjoys the outdoors where she rides her motorcycle, skis, ice fishes, kayaks, white-water rafts, hikes and bikes. Melissa also loves music, painting, upcycling wood furniture, trying new pursuits, and enjoying the simple things in life with her two children, Mason, 14 and Summer, 9.

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