My Experience: Part One - Intro To Fitness

Hey guys! My first blog post titled "My Fitness Journey" was mostly about my journey with weight loss and flexible dieting. I'm doing a four part series now on my experiences. These parts include my Intro To Fitness (and an active lifestyle), Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and CrossFit. These are more personal so they're more fun for me to write and I hope you guys enjoy learning a little bit more about me!

I started working out at around 13-14 years old. I went to a local gym in my town and just did typical bodybuilder type exercises with machines because that's all I knew. It was a mixture of that and doing some cardio machines every now and then. I remember actually wanting to do a bikini competition at one point (lol). I didn't really do any compound lifting at this point, though.

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I started running track my freshman year of high school. My best friend at the time ran and wanted me to do it with her and I didn't mind running (and we got really cool track suits, heelllooo). I started doing pre-season workouts with the team and was really enjoying it! During indoor track I ran the 55m and 300m dash. I wasn't the best at either, more middle of the pack, but still good enough to perform well in meets. During outdoor track I ran the 100m and 200m dash. If you couldn't tell, I'm more of a fast twitch athlete.  #tracklife

In practices, we'd go to the weight room about twice a week. This is when I found out that I was pretty strong. Things like squatting, power cleaning, deadlifting, etc, all came relatively easy for me and I was shocked at how heavy I could go compared to other girls. It was really cool to find something that I had somewhat of a natural gift at. 

Long story short, I ran indoor and outdoor during freshman year, then stopped running track after indoor season during my sophomore year. I started to get bored with it and realized I didn't aspire to do another 1-2 years of track. If I genuinely enjoyed sprinting that much, I could just go to my local track and add them into my workout some days. I just wanted to work out on my own at this point. 

So I started working out more at the local gym I mentioned in the beginning of the post. I was a chubby pre-teen but never extremely overweight. I was super tall and just overall big for my age at the time. I think I was about fully grown by 6th grade, haha. Anyways, I LOVED the gym. It was my second home. If I wasn't working out there, I was talking to my friends there and just joking around. After track had introduced me more to squatting, deadlifting, and power cleaning, I started adding those more into my training. I've always had an extremely developed lower body, so the first time I ever really maxed out on anything, I back squatted 235lb (15 yrs old, probably 140ish lbs), deadlifted 265, and at one point I maxed out bench at 205lbs but I was heavier then at around 155-160lbs.

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Below is the infamous photo of me starting 4th grade at LCA. I was honestly about 5ft and 125lbs.. for a 4th grader that's a brute. 

Working out all the time and watching what I was eating helped me gain a LOT of confidence and I started losing quite a bit of weight! I liked variation in my training so I did lots of super sets, tri-sets, HIIT cardio, etc. Because I was doing bodybuiding-style workouts, I was heavily intrigued in the whole bodybuilding culture, lifestyle, and community.

I even got to go to the Arnold during my sophomore year of HS with a family friend (thanks Kevin), and got to help work back stage with Jan Tana. It was such a fun experience and I got to meet a lot of the competitors that I looked up to!

I also meal prepped before meal prepping was cool haha..  ;) 

I eventually got annoyed with how low my HR was when I was doing a lot of the exercises I was doing, so I started running a lap in the gym in between sets of machine exercises. This got my HR up and helped me feel like I was getting my strength training and cardio in at the same time. As you can tell, I was starting to get bored with my training style and definitely needed to switch things up to keep things exciting and fun for me in the gym. 

This is where CrossFit comes in.

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A buddy of mine, D.j. Marsh, recommended I try out CrossFit with him at a local box. I had read about it a lot online and did a lot of research on it. It seemed like something I'd love.. strength training AND cardio at the same time at high intensity - perfect! I went with him to a class one day and let's just say it was love at first sight.. or workout. I remember the first ever workout I did. It was a 7 minute AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of 7 power cleans and 30 (I think) jumping lunges. My hamstrings and glutes were sore for a few days, let me tell ya! I loved it though and started doing my own CrossFit style workouts in the local gym that I had been going to. I couldn't afford a CF membership at the time and also couldn't drive, so it was out of the question.

Luckily, my cousin Tyler had done CrossFit before, so him and I started training together in 2013 and we still train together now! The gym didn't have a lot of things needed for CrossFit and I didn't have any proper coaching, so I had to scale kipping pull-ups to banded strict pull-ups, and my toes to bar were wacky and half-strict.. but I did what I could with the materials I had and made it work! We trained a TON.. probably overtrained a little. I would make up the silliest workouts (mostly cardio based) and write them on a huge whiteboard. I was young though, recovered fast, and could handle it so I guess I just built a good base haha. Months went by and I eventually ended up being able to join the local CF gym. 

Stay tuned next week for Part Two! :)

Ashleigh Hubbard