Michelle “Strong and Beautiful” Masone
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 45 years old (as of last Tuesday). I grew up in Quincy and moved to Weymouth after getting divorced about 10 years ago. I work at State Street in Quincy and have been there over 20 years and I honestly enjoy my job (especially because I get to work from home on Wednesdays and go to the noon class)! I have a black cat named Beauty that I adopted from Quincy Animal Shelter and nine year old black Lab named Bella. I’ve recently started taking golf lessons, which I’m enjoying.
2. Tell us your CrossFit story (where were you before RCFBC and where are you now?)
Immediately before RCFBC I was in a rut. I hadn’t worked out regularly in a couple of years, with the exception of a short run or a walk with my dog. I had no energy and I was always tired. Like some of my fellow members, I liked working out but I never found anything that I really stuck with. My life was a constant battle with my weight and what the number on the scale said. As I was getting older, the weight started to come on a lot faster than I could take it off.
A former co-worker of mine, Mark, had been telling me about CrossFit. He thought I would really enjoy it and encouraged me to check it out. There wasn’t a box close to where I lived and the cost seemed prohibitive so I never pursued it. But there was something I saw in Mark that I wanted – I had CrossFit envy!
A year or two later another co-worker said to me “Hey, did you see they opened a CrossFit right down the street from you?” I checked out the free trial class and it was so much fun (what else would it be with Mike coaching?) that I decided to sign up for On-Ramp. My first class was on March 4, 2013. That was the first day of my new life.
The changes I have seen in myself since joining RCFBC are actually hard for me to believe sometimes. I have so much energy, I look forward to coming to class and my strength and fitness are at the highest levels they’ve ever been. I’m stronger and fitter at 45 than I was at 25. When I first started, I could barely just hang from the rig (never mind kip) and now I can do a few toes to bar! I have lost weight and inches and have gained so much muscle. I no longer care what the scale says and rarely ask for its opinion anymore. And as for the “prohibitive” cost I mentioned, that’s BS. I just did the math and it costs me $8.45 per class (about the cost of a glass of wine.)
3. What does being part of RCFBC community mean to you?
OK, this part gets me emotional and I could probably write a 10 page essay about it. It never would have occurred to me that this would be what CrossFit is all about. For me, the physical changes just kind of happened as a side effect of showing up and being part of this amazing community. Honestly, I just wanted to get a “good body” when I got here, but what I got instead is so much more meaningful. I’ve recently gone through a very difficult time and the support and encouragement I’ve received has been overwhelming. It made me feel so good that I started coming to class five days a week. My 5:30 pm buddies have rallied around me and constantly give me positive messages and such helpful words of wisdom, and hugs when I need them. I have become very good friends with another member, Birgit, who is amazing. She has been such a positive influence in my life, inside and outside of the box. She always says “You can do this!” whether it’s lift more weight, face a grueling WOD (like Murph) or get past a personal difficulty. Birgit is just one of the truly amazing women from RCFBC that I am blessed to call a friend. The women (members and coaches) at RCFBC are a cut above. I have never met a group of women that are so supportive of one another and who are just good, kind people with big hearts with lots to give to others. The guys are pretty awesome too! I am truly grateful to each and every coach and member of RCFBC – we have made our community the awesome place it is! Where else would you find a group of adults willing to jump into the freezing water because they were “nominated”? CrossFitters are awesome, period. And clearly RCFBC wouldn’t be the place it is without Mike LeJeune. How awesome is he? Our Cards Against Humanity night is going to be a blast!
4. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
There are so many! Competing in the Box Battle in June 2013 with Eats as “Team Britney,” double unders, toes to bar, handstands, HSPUs, Murph, the Open (especially 14.5, everyone’s favorite), the many, many PRs I’ve had and the determination to keep trying. I couldn’t do much when I first got here so I was PRing constantly – that’s a good feeling and a good reason to keep showing up to class. One of my most recent accomplishments was wearing shorts to class for the first time. I’m sure that doesn’t sound like a big deal to the guys but the ladies know what I’m talking about. I’m learning, with help from all of you, to appreciate and accept my body for what it can do and not focus on the imperfections I see. I’ll never have Sarah’s legs but I’m learning to love mine just the way they are.
5. What are your challenges and goals going forward?
Again, so many! Most of what holds me back is all in my head. For example, I have an irrational fear of jumping up to the rig. I’ve done it before, with Harrison standing by, but I can’t seem to get past the fear and try again. This is something I will definitely work on and something Birgit is pushing for me to do. Another scary proposition is the 20” box jump. Also, there are very few WODs I’ve ever done Rx so that’s always something I try to work towards during class. I want to learn rope climbs and I want to do pull ups without any bands. Another thing that holds me back is my stamina. I wish I had more of it but I’m getting there. Oh, and the form-destroying, dreaded early arm pull. My biggest goal is to someday do a bar muscle up – it looks so fun!
6. Has being a part of RCFBC changed the way you feel about fitness?
Being part of RCFBC has changed the way I feel about a lot of things, but especially fitness. Coming to class is the best part of my day and I never feel like it’s a chore; I truly love it. I used to think people had to look a certain way to be fit, and if they looked that way they were fit, but what I know now is fit people come in many shapes and sizes. Just because someone has huge muscles doesn’t mean they’re fit and just because someone has a few extra pounds doesn’t mean they’re not fit. I admire the RCFBC couples and families that have made fitness and/or CrossFit a part of their lives and relationships. It seems to me, from the outside looking in, that it’s a great thing to have in common with a significant other. I never thought fitness would be important to me, especially in a relationship, and I hope I’m lucky enough to experience it in my own life someday… And maybe get a cool couple name like “Phillary”.
Michelle is one AWESOME lady!! Us coaches can’t take all the credit for Michelle’s happiness because it’s our members who make RCFBC so AMAZING! Michelle is strong inside and out. Her drive and courage to come into the gym everyday and attempt things she never thought were possible is such a cool experience to be apart of (that counts for all our members). She is a ninja at kipping swings and will get a kipping pull-up in no time. We are proud of Michelle for all her accomplishments! We are more than just a gym , we are a family!