Four years ago, as Teela Johnson sat on the couch and watched her 9-month-old daughter Kennedy play on the floor, she had a realization: something about her lifestyle needed to change.
“She’d go to daycare all day,” Johnson said. “I’d pick her up and she’d sit on the floor and be playing and I had like no energy to do anything. I’d sit on the couch and watch her. And one day I was just like, ‘This is not OK.’”
Though she’d tried Crossfit once before and decided it wasn’t for her, Johnson decided to give it another shot.
“I went on a Monday morning at 5 a.m. and never looked back,” she said. “It’s been four years now.”
Over those four years, Johnson has lost 95 pounds, gained muscle, formed friendships and taken part in competitions. But most importantly, she says, she’s set an example for her daughter.
“I don’t want her (Kennedy) to have to have a story where she says she lost 95 pounds because I don’t ever want her to be in the position where she has to make those choices,” Johnson said.
When Johnson began Crossfit four years ago, she had little to no knowledge about fitness and nutrition.
“I had zero confidence when I entered that door at 5 a.m. that Monday,” she said. “I was terrified. I didn’t know anybody. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do stuff like they could.
But with patience and persistence, Johnson began to see changes in herself physically and mentally.
“Every class that you go to, it not only exercises you, but you get a mental exercise out of it,” she said. “Every time it’s going to be different. Whether you think you’re having a good day and you go in and can’t lift a 35-pound bar, or it’s just learning how to overcome things you think you can’t do or overcome a bad workout. It makes you see how you can apply that to different areas in life.”
After about a year and a half of Crossfit, Johnson even took part in a competition.
“I didn’t think I would be doing competitions ever in my life about anything, especially anything fitness-related,” she said. “It’s definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
Over the years, Kennedy has grown up around the atmosphere at Crossfit Repo. Johnson is appreciative of this because it allows Kennedy to see what it looks like to be strong, but also because it teaches her the importance of fellowship.
“I always said I want her to be a leader and have confidence in herself and know she can do whatever she wants,” Johnson said. “If she can’t figure it out, then there is a whole group of people that is going to be able to help her. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they are not kidding. It takes everybody.”
One of Johnson’s favorite memories over her four years at Repo was watching Kennedy take part in her first Crossfit Kids class two years ago.
“Just seeing her do that first kid’s class, she was like 3 and couldn’t really do anything nor did she really follow directions,” Johnson said. “But just seeing her being in that setting, how excited she gets, is one of my highlights.”
For those who are thinking about making a lifestyle change, Johnson stresses that it’s important to realize all parts of life will change, not just the physical aspect.
“In order to do it, you have to want it,” she said. “You have to want to change yourself and you have to be prepared for everything that’s going to change, too. It’s not just your physical appearance that changes. Your lifestyle changes…Embrace the change. Embrace the suck because it does suck sometimes. In the end it’s totally worth it.”