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Determination and Crossfit Change Jayme’s Life

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Jayme Clark had the right idea. She went to the gym five days a week and had a relatively healthy diet. At the gym she did Pilates, ran on the elliptical machine, and did a strength and conditioning class three times a week. She wanted to be healthy. She needed to be healthy to take care of her nine children. Her family was her motivation and she stuck with her program for three years. And yet, at 34 years old she was tired all the time, worn out before her day was done, too weak to help lift her son in and out of his wheelchair, and had watched the weight slowly creep up on her 5’2” frame.

Jayme could have accepted her fatigue and weight gain. After all, she was following the popular generic advice we all hear: exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. What else was she supposed to do? If she was still worn out and gaining weight maybe it was because she has a thyroid condition that causes fatigue and makes it hard to lose weight. And nine kids keep her busy. Getting everyone ready for school on time means her day starts at 4:30 a.m. For Jayme, the school day is filled with chores such as housecleaning, yard work, grocery shopping, laundry, appointments with doctors and dentists, etc. Then it’s time for homework and dinner and baths. Who wouldn’t be tired?

But Jayme wasn’t ready to be exhausted, weak, and overweight the rest of her life. “I just wanted to be healthy. I needed to be able to take care of my kids,” she explains. “Three of them have special needs and being out of shape just wasn’t working for my family.” So when she heard about a gym in town that had a different approach to health and fitness, she decided to give it a try.

Knowledge changes everything

In October of 2014, Jayme signed up at Humboldt Crossfit (HCF) for a two-week introductory class with her teenage daughter, Gracie. Jayme loved Crossfit from the beginning and was so enthusiastic she convinced her sister, Harmony, to take the next available introductory class. Soon, the three of them—mother, daughter, sister—were working out together whenever possible.

Not too long after starting Crossfit, Jayme had an epiphany. “I was never going to get strong at my other gym,” she says. “I was doing the same routine every day, using the same 5lb weights.” Of course, Jayme didn’t know that at the time. She was doing the best she could with the information she had. It wasn’t until she went to HCF that she learned more about fitness in general and her own capabilities in particular.

The coaches at HCF teach clients not only what and how, but also why. CrossFit training emphasizes constant variation of functional movements that translate into real life capabilities. If Jayme was going to lift her 100-pound son into his wheelchair, she had to lift more than 5lb dumbbells. “At my other gym, the classes were large and there was no interaction with the coach. I didn’t know I should be lifting more,” Jayme explains. “At HCF, the coaches are always teaching. They help you focus on movements and advise when to go up in weight. I’ve learned a lot about my body and when to push myself.”

Crossfit workouts also vary in duration with an emphasis on intensity to build stamina and resilience. “Before Crossfit, I didn’t understand the importance of intensity,” Jayme explains. “My workouts were not intense enough. Pilates and the Elliptical machine were not enough. It’s no wonder I was exhausted after a late afternoon Costco run.”

After nine months of Crossfit, Jayme was gaining strength and had more energy, but felt her eating habits could use some improvement. Jayme didn’t have unhealthy eating habits exactly, but like many women, she had adopted the often counterproductive idea that less is more when it comes to calories. Jayme met with Danielle, a nutritional coach at HCF. “Working with Danielle helped me see that food is fuel,” says Jayme. “Without the right food, in the right proportions, I’m not going to be as strong or healthy as I want to be.”

It turned out Jayme actually needed more calories, but in the proper proportions of proteins, fats and carbs to fuel workouts and gain strength. “Everything started lining up with my eating and exercise and I started to lose weight,” she explains. “My weight has stabilized and I continue to build muscle. I’m happy with that.” Jayme, at 5’2”, lost 35 pounds and dropped from a size 10 to a size 4.

Are you sure you’re not an athlete?

When Jayme was working out with those 5lb weights, she didn’t know her real potential. “I’ve never been athletic in my life. I had no coordination,” she explains. “I was lacking the confidence I needed to do ordinary things because I didn’t think I could physically do them and because I was worn out.” By doing Crossfit, Jayme has gained strength and confidence and has chalked up many athletic accomplishments: handstand pushups, kipping pull-ups, rope climbs, double unders, toes-to-bar, Olympic lifting (the snatch is her favorite) and, most recently, a half-marathon.

Jayme never imagined running a half-marathon and had no desire to do so because she hated running! But Jayme looks at things differently now. With Crossfit, she learned to overcome discomfort and dislike in order to achieve a goal. “About a year and a half ago I decided I wanted to get over the fact that I hated running in the WODs,” says Jayme. “So every day I started running intervals before or after class until I didn’t hate running anymore. The next thing I knew I was up to 5 miles.” That was that, she thought, until her sister suggested they train for a half-marathon.

“I thought she was crazy. I’m not a natural runner and I have short little legs, but I agreed anyway,” Jayme says. “I ran the entire half-marathon and it was amazing. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I could accomplish something like that.”
The family that works out together…respects each other more

Nine months or so after Jayme and Gracie started Crossfit, Jayme’s teenage son, Jakob, was so intrigued that he too joined HCF. Finding common ground with teenagers can be challenging, but Jayme and her kids found a comradery amongst the members of HCF that brought them closer together. “At HCF everyone is encouraging and we all cheer each other on,” says Jayme. “It’s a good way for me to encourage my kids and for them to encourage me. It’s a neat dynamic.”

Jayme’s kids also gained a different kind of respect for their mom. “My kids got to see me set a goal, work to accomplish it and then set a new goal,” she says. “A lot of times I ended up being stronger than them and they respected that.” Alongside Jayme, Gracie and Jakob learned more about fitness and nutrition and setting goals, then working hard to achieve them. The kids also had a chance to become closer to their aunt and uncle because Harmony’s husband, Sam, joined HCF at the same time Jakob signed up.

Back in 2014, Jayme wanted to be in good enough shape to take care of her family. She didn’t let her busy schedule, her thyroid condition, or the disappointment with her previous workout routine discourage her. Instead, she took a leap of faith, worked really hard and couldn’t be more pleased. “I have the stamina now to keep up with my kids. I have the energy to do my errands and chores and still help the kids with homework or whatever they need,” Jayme says proudly. “The difference before Crossfit and now is pretty impressive. If I wasn’t living it, I’m not sure I’d believe it.”

Posted by: Brittany Borges

Written by: Yvonne Becker