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A Dancer’s Story

CrossFit to the rescue… for life! I am currently down 6.1% body fat already and have gained 3.5 lbs of muscle.

Rachelle D.

Wow, where to start. I started my CrossFit journey only 6 months ago, walking into SoChac, having been an athlete my whole life, but never having lifted a weight (well other than some light kettle bell work from before), I was at a place in my life where I felt stuck, unmotivated by my day to day life and in desperate need of some sort of challenge both mentally and physically. Insert CrossFit, and athletically, the best 6 months of my life! I am currently down 6.1% body fat already and have gained 3.5 lbs of muscle. This has blown all my expectations out of the water and my expectations were high.

Backtrack to October 2012, living and dancing as a professional dancer in Dubai, I was at my absolute worst state of health and mental health ever. Late night gigs, hours of energy sapping rehearsals but living off of fast food, Redbull, alcohol & cigarettes and never spending a minute on myself, training my body to be an athlete, resting or practicing any kind of mindfulness. I ended up getting so sick and landed myself in hospital for a week nearly losing a kidney. It’s so funny how being seen as a dancer or athlete people always assumed I was fit and healthy.

Needless to say I had no choice but to start eating better, resting more and really fueling my body in order for it to give me the output I needed to be a better athlete. It was a long journey and led me to becoming more passionate about learning about fitness and nutrition and I ended up studying fitness & nutrition in Australia afterwards for 2 years full time. I coached dancers, was a PT using Muay Thai and HIIT as training methods and I became the healthiest, best version of myself for those 2 years between 2014 and 2016.

Fast forward to November 2022… I had been teaching, coaching and choreographing for 5 years in Austin Texas in an environment that was not conducive to me being able to maintain my mental or physical health once again. I was tired, run down, burnt out and honestly right back to almost being where I was in 2012. 10 years and the pattern repeats. Life happens, it happens to everyone, but it is those moments when you reach your end that you have decisions to make. Decisions that will definitely not be easy to begin with but that will be worth it in the end. For 7 months after quitting my job and deciding to put myself first, I once again became mindful of how I was fueling my body and started eating right and designing workout plans for myself at home.

I started an online mindset coaching business which was something I’ve always wanted, since studying Sport Psychology in College, but was always a little afraid of doing on my own if I’m being honest. But stepping out and trusting myself and who I’ve become as a human has proved to be an amazing move and I really am seeing the positive impact it’s having on young athletes’ lives. After 7 months of giving it my all I STILL FELT STUCK… how could this possibly be… I was doing all the right things, I had the space and time but I was lacking CHALLENGE!

March 2023, sitting at dinner one night with my husband feeling really frustrated and despondent I brought it up to him, being at my end once again. He knew I had mentioned CrossFit many times in the past as something I was thinking of doing and he said “Rachelle, just do it!!!!” I was so apprehensive. As a dancer, people who did CrossFit had too much muscle, there was too much risk of injury (from what I’d heard) and as a woman, training in that way just couldn’t possibly be the right thing to do… right!?! Above all of that I have so many dance injuries that I believed just wouldn’t make it work. A torn meniscus in one knee, constant pain in my other, a hiatal hernia that would definitely not withstand a pull up, a broken left arm that was at half the strength of my other, a past torn hamstring and torn ligaments in my ankle. I was a walking disaster at the age of 39.

Nevertheless, the next day I walked into CrossFit SoChac nervous as hell but now 6 months down the line this is where I’m at… My physique is what I could only have dreamed of it being, I am fitter than I’ve ever been in my life (and I used to compete for my state in Water Polo at age 18, so yeah, just saying), my pain in my knees have diminished to almost zero because, well, strength, and I have more mental and physical energy than I have ever had in my life. I am motivated, I am getting through challenges, I am competing with myself each and every day and I’ve made friends who I know will be mates for life.

The best part of it all… I am in a community and sport again that makes me feel like a true athlete AND I get to do it till the day I die. Only CrossFit gives me this! I am thankful I am excited for the future and I am crushing goals one step at a time!!! Never give up, never doubt yourself, just say YES!

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