REBORN Success Story – Nicholette Lawson
In 2011 I walked into a CrossFit gym for the first time. I almost couldn’t believe what I was
seeing: a group comprised almost entirely of “soccer mom” type women, most of them, older
then I was, doing things I had only ever thought professional or collegiate athletes could do.
They did pull-ups that looked effortless. They lifted huge barbells over their heads again and
again and let them crash to the ground. Although I was awed, I was also disappointed. “I’ll
never be able to do that,” I thought. “I’m not like them. They’re so amazing and I’m just. .
.me.” I had been a student all my life up to that point. I had never been an athlete and fitness
had never been a priority. Four years of college, four years of medical school, and three more
years of specialty training in emergency medicine had left me physically weak as well as
chronically tired and anxious. Like many people who spend a lot of time taking care of others, I
had completely neglected to take care of myself.
I started coming to the gym three days a week, even if it meant coming straight from an
overnight shift in the ER. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my body was capable of
things I never could have imagined. It was incredibly motivating. I got measurably stronger. I
overcame my psychological limitations time and time again and pushed through workouts I
didn’t think I could finish. My thinking began to change: “What if I am like those women?”
In 2013 my husband and I moved to a different part of the city and both joined CrossFit Round
Rock. The coaches emphasized nutrition as an indispensable part of fitness. I was pretty sure
we were already eating “healthy”, but we decided to give their advice a try even though most
of it sounded like utter nonsense to us. Once again, I couldn’t believe the results. We had
more stamina for workouts. Our mental energy skyrocketed. Our clothes fit differently. We
found that we didn’t miss the foods we cut out and instead discovered new foods we loved.
We even learned to indulge ourselves occasionally without losing our newfound good habits.
Some problems that I had long accepted as part of my life—chronic nausea, headaches,
indigestion, acne—gradually evaporated.
My resolve was put to the test in 2014 when I was diagnosed with severe degenerative arthritis
of my right knee as the result of an injury I sustained in college. I underwent surgery and spent
the next six weeks on crutches. The six months that followed made me more grateful than ever
to have found CrossFit. In addition to physical therapy, I trained an hour each week one-on-one
with Coach Landon which helped me stay fit during my recovery. Instead of surrendering to a
life of chronic pain and disability, I learned the proper body mechanics I needed to be able to
return to CrossFit classes and, most importantly, live my life without fear of reinjury.
I can honestly say that nothing about my life now is the same as it was back in 2011.
Now I am the one doing effortless-looking pull-ups. I am the one under the big barbell who lets it crash to
the floor and then goes back for another rep. The only thing that has not changed is that I am
still every bit as awed as I was that first day by the people I see around me in the gym. They are
people with stories just like mine who have been transformed and rehabilitated by CrossFit
Round Rock. I feel so lucky to be a part of a community where we celebrate each other’s
successes while inspiring each other to keep reaching for the next challenge and the next
opportunity to become even better. I can’t imagine wanting anything less.