Hello–I'm Leigh Ann, and this is my journey with CrossFit RHEMA as a junk food junkie! 

About two years ago and 80 pounds overweight ... 

I remember thinking to myself that I had to do something; anything. I was so tired, lazy, and eating everything within reach. I would get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs and needed help from my husband just to get off the couch. When we would take our grandchildren to Splash Country, I could not go down the slides because I was unable to hike the stairs–I became so depressed. 

I started talking about this to my niece and nephew (Jessica Etheridge and Wes Daniel), and they mentioned CrossFit. They told me they loved it and that I would too. It all sounded really good to me, and I said I would "think about it." Wes did not have it. He talked to them and scheduled a session with Coach Storm the following week. I was nervous and a bit scared. 

Upon my arrival, Coach Storm introduces himself. What a gentle giant he is. My first memory is being told to do a "bear crawl." I didn't know what that was and after Coach Storm explained and showed me what to do, I gave it a go. Oh dear! I made it maybe two "crawls." Maybe? Of course, I immediately started sweating and was out of breath. We later went to the jump ropes. I couldn't do one single jump—not one. Coach Storm wanted me to climb those stairs at Splash Country too, and we made it our goal. We kept going. We meaning, Coach Storm kept coaching and encouraging me, and I kept sweating. 

Coach Storm had me join the "CrossFit Lite" class where I met some wonderful ladies and gained a new coach, Coach Caitlin. These ladies have become such dear friends. They encouraged me and pushed me. I remember one evening we were outside on the monkey bars, and Coach Caitlin told us to do "knee raises." I stood on a huge tire to get up to the bar, hung on, and dropped straight to the ground. There would be no knee raises for Leigh Ann that day. But my friends encouraged me and kept me going and coming to class. I remember thinking to myself—"what have I done? I'll never make it!"

The CrossFit Lite class, after 6-8 months, ended and we were told we would be joining the regular Cross Fit classes. What? You want me to workout with all of those strong athletes? Are you crazy? I must confess, a time or two, I have thought, "I want to look just like her, or her, or her!" Again, the coaches encouraged us and said we would be fine and that they would scale the workout to our level. They really take care to watch everyone and make sure they are doing everything correctly. I gave it a go. (You learn that in CrossFit—a challenge never goes unanswered at CrossFit, or elsewhere in your life—they teach you this in an unspoken way.)

It's been a little over two years now since my first visit with Coach Storm. I have lost about 25 pounds and probably gained that much in muscle mass. I can jump rope now and am even attempting double-unders. Those knee raises? Easy-peasy. Squats? Near perfection. Bear crawls? Hate' em–but I can do 'em! Stairs? I'll race you to the top! 

I have found that every single coach is an amazing and knowledgeable coach–every single one of them. Coach Storm, Coach Dusty, Coach Zach, Coach Caitlin, Coach Josh, and Coach Logan— I can't thank them enough for what they have helped me accomplish. It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about where I've been, how far I have come, and the friends I have made. It's like a second home to me, and every coach and member is my extended family. 

Now, about that junk food junkie thing: I only drink water now and try to watch what I eat, but still eat stuff I should stay far away from (bread, pasta, ice cream). I have signed up to work with Coach Josh on my diet. It starts next week. Stay tuned!

They have a saying painted on the wall at RHEMA – "If all you can do is crawl–start crawling." I took a picture of that the first time I saw it. And that's what I did—I started crawling.


I was unable to hike the stairs–I became so depressed.
I was nervous and a bit scared.
I kept sweating.
I remember thinking to myself—"what have I done? I'll never make it!"
I gave it a go.
I can't thank them enough for what they have helped me accomplish.
I started crawling. 

And so can you ...