Tadzia Toote: Here's My Story

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When Vivana posted a few months back that she needed guest writers each month on Everyday Lifters to tell their story, I immediately thought this was something I can do. So, I applied even though I was half thinking she would never pick me and then also if she did, I would back out.  To myself surprise she did send me an email inviting me to be a guest blogger and to an even greater surprise I said yes. I did not bail out.  So, why didn’t I? I asked myself. Because I really, really, really wouldn’t mind telling my fitness story – that’s all.

The Best Athlete I Can Be For Me

When I was a little girl. I always loved sports, playing sports and watching it (even if I wasn't good at it). Like many, I got a thrill at simply moving, it was fun. In school I played whatever our P.E. teacher told us we were doing. I never complained, I never faked being sick, I just wanted to do it. Sports was my outlet to another world.

I honestly never I was the best and to some degree I am still not the best. I haven’t won anything in my high school or haven’t been recognized nationally. I am definitely that average athlete that shows up every day, every other or every week.

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That person who genuinely loves the sport, whatever sport they are in – they love it. No explanation, no reason, we come to the gym or the track or the yoga studio because there is something inside us that drives us. And that drive for me is the fact that I want to be the best athlete I can be for me. Does that make sense?  So, with saying all of that, there is a bit of selfishness that drives us too. I mean, let’s be frank we are all humans.

Being a Runner

About 4-5 years ago I noticed something about runners, they had the best looking legs and I wanted that! So, I joined a local running club where we ran as a group and something happened that I never expected. First, I was able to talk while doing cardio (run- whaaat). Then I ran like 10 half marathons and to shock of all shocks I ran 2 full marathons – that’s 26.1 miles. I did that twice! I joined that group for killer legs and ended up with amazing friends who pushed me to run countless amounts of miles.

Running in that group helped me to be social, to be accountable, to be relentless, to be responsible, and to be consistent. But I still wanted those legs and unfortunately didn’t have them. So, I went on google. So sorry but I want to be real in this blog!

I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for, but I somehow got on this YouTube video called “Nasty Girls”. It’s a video where 3 girls where doing 3 rounds of 50 air squats, 7 muscle ups and 10 hang power cleans. I had no clue what all that meant, but these girls were tiny and strong! The workout looked hideous, they were spent, demolished - every part of them. One of them was even crying afterwards. And my first thought was – I can do that! I found myself on google again but looking up Crossfit! It took me maybe a month to research and join a gym.

I Drank the Kool-Aide

I 122% drank all the kool aide Crossfit had to offer. I didn’t (and still don’t) care what others said about Crossfit being a high risk of injury. I also forget about wanting “killer legs”. I dove into push ups, burpees, air squats, 400/800 m runs, slam balls, wallballs, kettle bell swings, box jumps, double unders, pull ups, sit ups and thrusters – wholeheartedly. I loved crossfit, I still do, probably always will. I took all I learned in my running group (how to be consistent etc) and it exploded in Crossfit. I was meeting and exceeding my personal goals. I even got an award for “member of the year” (or something) at my local box. Then life came…

I needed to have a procedure done. I had to put a hardstop on crossfit and training for a short period. I thought I would have been back to training within 4 weeks – not so, it was more like over 3 months.

It was extremely difficult waiting. I had to be so patient as I allowed my body to heal and recover. This whole time my mind, of course, decided it was going to be my enemy. It reminded me that I will lose all my “gainz”, how I was going to get fat, and oh yes I celebrated a birthday while recovering so I was now “older” and slower than the younger members in the gym - I would never EVER be the same at crossfit. UGH! Those words and thoughts are negative and poisonous. I had to bury them.

As I healed up, I finally was ready to return to crossfit. Yes, I was slow. I couldn’t do ¾ of what I did in the past. It did bothered me but there was this determination (mostly from the gym’s support) that told me if I did baby steps, just some tiny steps. I can grow, I can get stronger and get pass this stage. I was able to listen that voice. I decided I had to - no matter what - “stay in my lane” basically 100% focus on me. Not others which is very hard when you are working in a group. I had to look at the workout before class, think about what I should or even should not scale and then pace myself. Read my body afterwards – invest in a good sport massage person. Get back on my nutrition and drinking water. Be steadfast, be patient, be consistent and - be brave!

After more than a year I am back. I still have a lot of work to do, however, that’s just Crossfit. There is always something you need to improve on (and I love that). I have been in crossfit for about 4 years (18.1 makes me 4 years). Crossfit has introduced me to Olympic weightlifting which I think is fierce. I love everything about weightlifting, since my recovery I have developed a new found passion for it. I practice my lifts after my workouts. It’s not ideal so I try to keep my weights light and focus on technique (which I found out is extremely important). My goal is to do an Olympic Weightlifting Meet one day, I like to see how I would perform on the competition set.

Most of all, I want to stay active. I want to always feel challenged, always have a sporting goal, and always experience movement. I want to be breaking comfortable zones. I want to be able to look on how far I have come and appreciate my hardwork. Every so often in a year, I want to be free to thank myself for doing an awesome job. I want to be patience and I want to be brave in my fitness journey.

Thank you Vivana for allowing myself and others a platform to express their fitness journey in their own words. I hope this motivates someone (like how others motivated me).

-Tadzia G Toote