I Do CrossFit 6 Days a Week — Here’s How Much It Changed My Body

Everything changed for Alex Coll on her fitness journey once she discovered CrossFit.

Photographs courtesy Alex Coll.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one local’s story. Want to share your Transformation Story? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com

Who: Alex Coll (@fitlicity), 27, a graphic designer from Media

Height: 5’2″

Starting weight: ~130

Current weight: ~120

When I started: “If I had to put a pin in the start of my transformation story, it would be just over two years ago, in January 2016 (though I’d been a chronic diet dabbler since High School). I began my fitness journey streaming workouts in my living room and following a meal plan before transitioning into weight training and tracking macros and to where I am today: CrossFit athlete and intuitive eater.”

What inspired my transformation: “I was following what I thought was the textbook road map to your 20s: work, eat, party, sleep, repeat. And yet, I remember feeling so lost and disconnected from myself and my life, like I was just coasting by, playing by the rules of someone else’s game, with nothing to show for it but a hangover and a strong distaste for my reflection.”

What all changed: “What didn’t change? I describe my finding fitness and nutrition as coming up for air or cleaning smudgy glasses. It completely changed the way in which I navigate the world. Physically, I’m more capable than I ever imagined. When I began my fitness journey, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping, and I didn’t even think of touching more than a five-pound dumbbell. Today, I can deadlift more than double my body weight, run (multiple) sub-eight-minute miles, and do pull-ups and bar muscle-ups and all the things I set my mind to.

“But most importantly, my relationship with fitness and nutrition has changed entirely. I no longer spend my days as a chronic dieter, exercising with the sole hope of losing five pounds and popping out a six-pack. I choose to work out and fuel my body because of how it makes me feel, not look.”

How I changed my diet: “Prior to starting my fitness journey, I had the diet of an average nutritionally-unaware consumer. I had no idea what I was putting into my body, fell victim to fad diets and health halo marketing, had no perception of portion, and ate more Chinese takeout and Tastykakes than I’d like to admit. Today, my dietary preferences are simple: I choose unadulterated ingredients that come from the earth. I swapped my love for artificial and added sugar with fresh fruit, traded in grease for greens, swapped alcohol for H2O, and replaced processed foods with produce.”

“I choose to work out and fuel my body because of how it makes me feel, not look.”

How I changed my exercise plan: “I’ve tried it all — from living-room workouts to Class Pass membership to weight training — and what I fell in love with is CrossFit. I train at Broad Street CrossFit six days per week as part of the 5:30 a.m. crew (what up, fam?!), and take one rest day per week.”

The hardest part: “The hardest part of my transformation was making the decision to part ways with the program and community that [initially] propelled me on this path. Though I knew it was no longer serving and stimulating me, I found myself slipping into a bit of a social-media comparison trap, constantly wondering what I should and shouldn’t be doing, lifting, eating, etc. When I took the chance on joining CrossFit, everything seemed to align for me. It instilled a confidence in my intuition and a passion in my progress that I’m excited to see develop further.”

What I’m most proud of: “The mental transformation that led me to view fitness and nutrition as activities that benefit my life from a performance and function standpoint, not an aesthetic standpoint. That, and my fierce commitment.”

What’s next: “I’m incredibly happy with my lifestyle and level of fitness, but I view myself as ever-evolving. There are many fitness skills left for me to achieve and gains to be made, so much to discover about nutrition, and so much to learn about myself as I grow.”

What I want everyone to know: “Health and fitness is attainable and sustainable. As long as you’re nourishing your body and mind, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it, no one-size-fits all approach or guaranteed game plan. You just have to show up and trust yourself. All of those things you think you ‘can’t’ do? You absolutely can. Take it from me, a real human who overhauled her life for the better. Listen, it’s not always going to be easy, but it’s always going to be worth it.”

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