Testimonial Tuesday: Jennifer “Machine Gun Jenny” Felps

People love a before and after weight loss story. Magazine covers screaming about, “Half Her Size!” or “Big Bride Loses It All For Big Day” inevitably accompanied by a picture of the smiling subject standing in one leg of the tent-like elastic waist Mom jeans she used to call home. This is not one of those stories.

My story is the story of a globo-gym regular that was told they were not CrossFit material. I was overweight, but more than that, I couldn’t move anymore after babying a knee injury for years per doctor’s advice. Because I stopped moving, I couldn’t really breathe well. Luckily, this is also the story of a girl too stubborn to care what people say. I wanted something challenging. I wanted something hard. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I knew I needed help. So I gathered all the courage I could muster and called CFA. Boone did not miss a beat when I told him I was fat and injured. He said come in. I have never looked back.

The two weeks of On Ramp classes were the hardest two weeks of my life. Rob and Walker encouraged me constantly and answered all of my many questions, while calling me on my questionable form. It was early, it was cold, and it took every ounce of strength I could muster to get through those 3 hours a week. I couldn’t bend my knees to parallel. I couldn’t do a push-up. I was like a deer in headlights during Oly lifting lessons. But as soon as my two weeks were up, I signed up for unlimited classes. On Ramp ended on Thursday and I was back on Monday. I didn’t give myself a single reason to lose momentum. My 3 days a week became 4, and then 5 as I got back in shape.

And I just kept coming back. I was always the slowest time on the board. I had to mod nearly every WOD. But I never finished alone. Someone would come over and encourage me every single time I struggled. It was amazing. And I got better. I got stronger. Lots stronger. The key was deciding to believe the coaches. When Tristy told me I was stronger than I realized, I believed her. When Wes said I could do more weight, I put it on the bar. I take the cues and advice and really try to get better with every WOD. CrossFit Austin is the leap of faith I finally took.

And now, 10 months later, I’m a CrossFitter. While I will never be a super-fast runner or a super-high jumper, I can lift. I remember looking up at the Quarter Ton Board many times and thinking, “How is that even possible? How can I ever get from here to there?” And now my name is on it. I no longer look at the WOD on the board and think that I can’t do it. Now it’s a challenge. I know I will do it. Every time. Even if I’m last, and even if I mod, I will finish the WOD. And if anyone is still working at it when I do, I cheer them on and pay it forward. No matter how strong we are as individuals, we are stronger together. I feel that every time I walk in the doors.

So my “after” picture doesn’t have inspirational fat pants. My picture would be my husband who has a more relaxed wife, my son who has a happier mom. It would include my whole CFA family and all of the coaches. My muscles are bigger for sure, but so is my confidence, my pride, and my heart. I’m excited about my future, not afraid of my limitations. There is no greater inspiration than that.