Membership Spotlight March 2020 – Andrea Pavlicek

What made you decide to try CrossFit/Yoga?

During the summer of 2018, I took a hard, realistic look at my life. The reality was, at nearly 300 pounds, I was obese and unfit.  My unhealthy state did not occur over night. For twenty plus years, I battled co-occurring health issues that made life itself challenging, never mind maintaining a fitness practice. It was surprisingly easy to use this as an excuse to stop trying. I took the concept of ‘Netflix and Chill’ to a whole new level and comfort food became my go-to. In short, my life was a vicious cycle. The more I didn’t move the more I didn’t want to move.

Suddenly I was fed up. I was tired of the limitations brought on by being overweight.  I was tired of simple things, such as tying my shoes, being difficult. I was tired of always being out of breath. I was tired of being tired of my life. I yearned for my younger healthier self who skipped and played with abandon.  I decided to take control of the parts of my life that were within my immediate power. I made a commitment to a wellness plan. I knew I had unhealthy patterns to unlearn and new behaviors to embrace. I started with reflective journaling, then slowly included mindful eating, supplying my body with more nutritious foods. 

As the summer gave way to fall, I was ready to add other modalities to help with my wellness journey.  Initially, I was drawn ELC for the meditation and yoga classes. Because while I was interested in moving my body, I didn’t want to move it that much.  I used yoga as a method of stress control to gain a more balanced and focused approach to life. And how awesome is a practice that ends with savasana and a shoulder press.  

However, two months after joining ELC in November curiosity about what happened on the non-yoga side of the gym compelled me to ask a few questions. After I was given an overview of the CrossFit and Rowing classes, I thought to myself ‘well maybe an occasional rowing class wouldn’t hurt.  I certainly wasn’t interested in all that WOD nonsense with all the barbells, burpees, bikes.’

Gradually my occasional rowing class became more and more frequent. Then I took the biggest step of all. I RSVP’d to a WOD class. In that first workout there was a series of squats (surprise surprise) Noticing that I was struggling to maintain my balance while trying to squat, Coach Stephanie suggested that I stand next to the rig and use one hand to balance myself. ‘Your body was made to squat. You will get it soon.’  

Scaled.  A new word to add to my fitness vernacular, which I define as doing the best I can do at the time I am doing it. 

A few days later the WOD consisted of burpees. Even as I watched the other participants drop all the way to the floor, I knew that movement was beyond my capability. Once again, a coach modified the movement to my skill level. Coach Lauren causally suggested I use the stack of 45-pound weights to complete the burpees. That I could do. 

And this is the strength of the ELC coaches: they meet you at your fitness level and make suggestions that work within your abilities. 

My physical successes were small in the beginning. But they were successes and one small success after another laid the groundwork to where I am now.  I have once again discovered not only joy in the moment but also joy in movement. And while my medical issues have not gone away, they now co-exist within my wellness plan. 

What is your favorite part about Empowered Living Company?

That Empowered Living is a safe place to step out of my comfort zone and learn new movements/techniques and not be hobbled by fear of the unknown.

What’s your favorite movement, lift or workout?

My fav movements fluctuate. Right now, it is the bike. But not just any bike workout.

More specifically one of these two bike workouts:

  1. a bike workout with a single digit calorie count in one round because, ‘yep I can do that.’
  2. or a bike workout with 75+ calories as a cash in because I feel like superwomen when I complete it 

Just to be Clear: Those middle of the road calorie totals on a bike are still a pain. 

What’s your favorite yoga pose or class style?

Restorative Yoga.  Hands down. Because there are still times when I don’t want to move that much.

What’s one milestone you’re most proud of so far?

The days (and sometimes weeks) when I honored my commitment to a wellness plan and showed up to a class even though I really ‘wasn’t feeling it.’

What are some unexpected benefits you’ve experienced since starting?

CrossFit forced me to brush up on my basic mental math skills.  

What is your next goal you plan to crush?

Overcoming my absolute dread of burpees. I am two months into this goal with limited success, but I plan to crush it eventually.  

What advice would you give someone walking through the Empowered Living Company door for the first time?

Workouts are as much, if not more, mental as physical. And it is not always easy to recognize the mental strength you are building because mental progress is not as measurable as your physical improvements. 

If you attend ELC classes and have to scale the hell out of the movements to even complete them, keep in mind that if you work out consistently, you are training your mind by creating new neuro pathways even if you may not feel like you are progressing physically.