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Denise Henry Headshot

Why This Mama Loves CrossFit

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I have been a mom for seven wonderful years, and on every Mother's Day since the birth of my first child, I have felt loved, appreciated and pampered. This year was no different. A relaxing Saturday with the family; brunch, dinner and drinks with my husband; and a massage and pedicure were a few of my activities this weekend. But instead of sleeping in late Sunday morning, I worked up a sweat at the 8 a.m. class at CrossFit South Brooklyn. Deadlifts, box jumps, hollow rocks and burpees were just one of many WODs that I was faced with on Mother's Day. And this CrossFit mama loved every minute.

In August 2013, I started taking classes at CFSBK after getting bored with just running to stay in shape. My first group class was difficult, but I survived and continued to go back week after week. My muscles were sore, but I was having fun exercising and practicing double unders and handstands. I'm usually exhausted after each workout, but I'm almost always smiling because I feel strong and healthy, and I have spent quality time on my physical well-being. I just turned 43 in February, and I feel better than I did at 33.

I gained about 45 pounds while pregnant with my first child. I was eating a lot and not exercising at all. Then, when I was pregnant with twins in 2006, my exercise consisted of walking my oldest son to school around the corner, then slowly making my way back home. Both pregnancies were rough on my body. After each birth, I lost all of the weight from breastfeeding, but I wasn't really working out. As a mother of three with a hectic schedule, CrossFit helps me decompress and sweat away life's many stresses. There will always be something to worry about in life, but exercise helps me calm down and evaluate how I choose to deal with the drama and change. My mood is directly related to how often I exercise, and it often affects the mood in my household. Focusing on a goal I can reach (5 miles or 25 unbroken wall balls) helps me relax and come back home with a clear head so I can be a good mom and wife for my family.

Exercising is key to maintaining my sanity, and I know I'm not alone. I've talked to a few moms at CFSBK who have said that they too enjoy CrossFit for the way it makes them feel as strong women, and for their precious mommy time. And this mommy time is very well spent. I've seen a lot of badass moms at CrossFit bench-pressing 90-plus pounds, doing kipping pull-ups and mastering the art of rope climbing the way most moms have mastered the art of multitasking.

But I'm not trying to compete with these moms. I just enjoy being in a welcoming space with athletes of all ages and skill levels. It feels great to be part of a strong, supportive community of people who do not judge you. CFSBK is all about teamwork and helping you build and improve your strength in a positive environment. CrossFit and a gluten-free diet have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle for myself and for my family. I want to show my children that an active lifestyle is also a fun lifestyle. It warms my heart when my children see me come back from a run or a CrossFit workout and ask, "Mama, did you have fun exercising?"

This Mother's Day, I felt a lot more confident in my parenting skills, and stronger both mentally and physically in my abilities to care for my family. I'm also happier because of the newfound burst of energy that CrossFit has given me. Energy that is necessary for me to protect, guide, and chase after my beautiful children for many more years to come. Thank you, CrossFit.

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