Hi! My name is Amanda, and this is the story of how I found my way to health and fitness. It wasn’t the easiest path, but when is it ever...right?!
everything was normal...until it wasn't
While I was a normal 90s active child, i.e. spending my days running around outside with my cousins until the streetlights came on or playing any sport I could convince my parents into letting me try or that my friends and I created in the backyard, I did not do much in the way of physical activity in my young adult life. I did not play sports in high school or college. And after graduating I spent my days sitting at a desk and my evenings sitting on a couch. I was living a “typical” life as a twenty-something year old. For all I knew I was still “healthy.” I had managed to make it through college without ever gaining the freshman fifteen and maintained my high school/college weight sitting at 115-120 pounds.
However, that all changed as I began dealing with chronic pain. At first I thought it was normal “female” pains but it turned into an everyday thing. There were days I could not get out of bed because it hurt to move, in any capacity. Finally, I said enough is enough, this is NOT normal. I needed answers. I told my OB there was no way there was not a reason I was feeling this way, so he ran every test he could. When he had no more tests, he sent me to different specialists, who also ran every test they could. Yet, still I was left with no answer. Frustrated and no closer to an answer, my OB said surgery was the only option left!
surgery uncovered i had endometriosis and my life was forever changed
In May 2012, I had surgery and was diagnosed with Endometriosis. For those who do not know what Endometriosis is, it is where the lining of a woman's uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing severe pain, heavy menstrual cycles and even infertility. As a way to prevent that from happening and in an attempt to manage my pain, I was placed into medically induced menopause. They did this with monthly injections that caused me to stop producing estrogen and prevent me from having a period. As you can imagine my hormones were all over the place. I dealt with the night-sweats, mood swings, memory loss and weight gain. After coming off the second round of injections in November 2013, I had gained 32 pounds, was still dealing with chronic and debilitating pain, and had become very depressed.
looking in that mirror, i knew i had to change my life
Shortly thereafter, I was out with some friends when I saw myself in a mirror. It was at that point I realized how unhappy I was with who I was, how I felt, and how I was living with my disease. The next day I went through my pantry, refrigerator and freezer throwing out most of my food. I decided I was going to eat a Paleo-esk diet and begin “working out.” I committed to running on the elliptical twice a week and would do body weight exercises two additional days. I quickly became bored with that, so I tried Insanity. Unfortunately, I realized working out at home, alone, to DVDs was not going to hold my interest.
Having made it through two months, seeing noticeable results, and not wanting to give up on this new lifestyle I had chosen, I reached out to my Godmother who encouraged me to give CrossFit a try. I had seen her compete in a local competition and thought she was nuts for thinking I could ever do that. But I decided I had nothing to lose in trying it out. That Saturday, February 8, 2014, I tried CrossFit and immediately fell in love with it, the people, and the community it provided. By Monday I had signed-up for my on-ramp classes and the rest is history!
my healthy lifestyle has brought me so much more than a leaner body
Fast forward to today. I have been doing CrossFit for almost five years, I am a solid 136 pounds and 13.5% body fat. I am happy, healthy, part of a community of friends, and love the food I eat!!! And the best part, I no longer live my life in pain! Woohoo!!!
CrossFit has changed my life in more ways than I ever could have imagined. Not only do I no longer live with chronic pain, I have found something that I am truly passionate about and believe in. This passion has also provided me with the opportunity to show others what they are capable of and how this sport can have a positive impact on their life. Through coaching I have become even more fulfilled and hope to continue to show people of all ages what is possible when you commit to becoming the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.
Amanda R. Danko, BS, Certified Paralegal