Kelly Gardner

Kelly 2009.JPG

I’m coming up on my 8th year as a member of Crossfit Tallahassee. It struck me recently that that is a pretty long time. I haven’t had a hobby, job, or even relationship that has lasted that long. (Not yet anyway, love you hubby ) It made me reflect on why it has been so effortless to maintain this commitment to one gym. It was hard to cut 8 years down into a short testimonial, so, it isn’t short. But I want anyone who is on the fence about Crossfit to hear my story, and hear a little bit about what makes CF Tally unique and keeps members like me committed so effortlessly for so long.

Kelly 2010.jpeg

I found Crossfit Tallahassee out of frustration. I had just graduated from college; Most of my exercise in college was spent doing “cardio.” I missed the fun, competitive nature of high school sports. I would try other things, like wander around the weight machines, extremely intimidated, or sign up for a group class and then realize it involved dancing and rhythm, and duck out as fast as possible. I always just ended up on an elliptical machine. After four years of willing myself to make it to 30 minutes like a zombie on that stupid thing, I was so over it.

Kelly 2011.jpeg

That all changed when I found CF Tally. At first, Greg, one of the owners and trainers, did a lot of talking about each specific movement, why Crossfit has chosen to do them,
and why it matters to you. At first I thought, “yeah yeah, less talkie more workie outie.” But as time when on, I realized, he wasn’t treating me like a calorie-burning zombie. If you know the philosophy behind why you are doing something, you are more likely to want to do it day in and day out. After all the talk, I did my first workout, and I was immediately hooked, for a few reasons. First, it turned my competitive spirit back on. I immediately couldn’t wait to try it again and see if I could beat my previous time. The workout was actually fun to do. Second, it required me to really think about my form and what I was doing. No zombies allowed at CFT. And third, it was hard. If Crossfit does one thing, it is to humble you and help you realize that no matter what you think, you are, in fact, not in good shape.

Kelly 2012.JPG

That brings me to my next point. There is a reason that people don’t become “obsessed” with the everyday globogym, but seem to not shut up about Crossfit. When I first joined CFT, my reasons were like most people, I wanted to look good. I needed to exercise to burn calories. But somewhere in that first year, my motivation changed. I wasn’t conscious of it, but all the sudden, I realized that I went in yesterday because I knew that was the day I would finally get that unassisted pull up. And I was headed in today because I was totally going to nail that gymnastics movement on the rings I had been practicing. And tomorrow I was definitely going in to try and finish that workout my good friend (who I met at Crossfit) smoked me on last time. What that means to me is that Crossfit makes you a better human being. Sure, you are going to look better if you are working out consistently, but your motivations are going to change. You are going in to be a better athlete, lift heavy things, run farther and faster. You can walk through life just surviving, or you can thrive and be the best version of yourself possible. I think for women, this is especially empowering. Breaking the tight grip that needing to be skinny has had on you’re psyche your whole life feels like a huge breath of fresh air. You can pretend that you want to do push ups, and it isn’t just because you don’t like your flabby

Kelly 2014.jpeg

arms. Or you can actually just want to be able to do push ups. This is the transformation that happened for me. I truly attribute my personal growth over the last 8 years, building confidence in myself, having ambitions and goals and interests that are actually meaningful, and attracting the people I want to be surrounded by in my life, to CF Tally. I am much more the woman I want to be now, than the girl I was when I graduated from College. I think that is saying a lot.

Kelly 2015 2.jpeg

I’ve talked about the shift in thinking that CF Tally gave me, but there is also the day-to-day grind that you have to consider when choosing a gym. Once that shift has taken place, you still have to have a few important things to keep you coming in and working hard every day. First, I am convinced that you get what you pay for. You can pay $10 a month to globogym, wander around, do some curls in the mirror, and then promise yourself you are going to go back but never do. Even though I am a long-time member, to this day, Teresa, one of the owners and trainers, always helps me pick the perfect weight and reps for each workout. She asks me about my life, and knows how to scale things for me if I have an injury or have been gone for a week. I think this is a place where other Crossfit gyms fall short. You don’t want to pay for a Crossfit gym that is on autopilot.

Kelly 2016 2.jpeg

When you get comfortable and you know what you are doing, the coaching and
personalized treatment does not go away at CFT. This is invaluable to me. I may think I have done a clean and jerk 8 million times, but Pat, a long time trainer and manager of CF Tally, can always spot something new for me to work on, to make me do it that much more efficiently. Speak with him for 5 minutes, and you realize the importance he places on being on the cutting edge of athletic performance. He focuses on correct form over all, and he isn’t afraid to give you a little tough love when you need it. Lastly, you want to be at a gym that has been around for a long time. A gym that isn’t experimenting, but instead knows what programing is going to specifically help you with your short and long term goals. A gym that knows what works and what doesn’t. You aren’t being careless with your time and money, so your gym shouldn’t be either.

Kelly 2017 2.jpeg

This brings me to the culture at CF Tally. I did travel nursing for 6 months, and I went to a lot of other gyms during that time, and I saw how different the culture can be at each one. To me, there is a fine line that a gym has to walk. If there isn’t any competitiveness, and no one is pushing you to do your best, you aren’t going to improve. But if you are in an environment where you feel like everyone else is in a secret club you aren’t invited to, and you are intimidated, you are not going to want to go in either. You want to feel safe, like you can experiment, be a little vulnerable, and be praised for your effort no matter what that means to you. To me, CF Tally walks that line gracefully. Everyone cheers you on when you need it, or gives you space when you don’t. No one makes you feel less than, and at the end of a workout, the beginners to the veterans are praising each other, exchanging advice, and lamenting over what they accomplished that day.

Ok, that was long. So, recap:
There are no elliptical machines at Crossfit. (Eye twitch)
You won’t keep going to workout unless you are having fun. Period.

Crossfit makes you a better human being.
Spend your money and time where you are going to get the most value, and be valued as a member. I am so grateful I have had this gym and its members in my life for so long, and I want as many people as possible to come here and realize it can be home for them as well.

Greg KeeterComment