What is CrossFit?!

Danielle Kuehnel

100-Pound Weight Loss with CrossFit
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Cat Snatch Fever: A CrossFit Love Story

Growing up, Cat Panetta never felt like the “cool kid” and was often reminded by others that “Cat rhymes with fat.”

Cat admits he had a happy, healthy childhood and family life but struggled with his relationship with food. He ended up yo-yo dieting and lost weight at times, but he never quite found a balance and always felt out of control.

During one of his many trips to Hawaii, Cat was convinced by a neighbor that he should check out a free CrossFit class at the small box CrossFit Ko’Olau. The welcoming environment and the instructors’ knowledge of fitness impressed Cat, but when he moved to British Columbia, he relied on food to help him adjust. He reached a max weight of 330 lb. at 27.

Wanting to finally make health and fitness a lifestyle and help others do the same, Cat pushed himself to attend a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course and become a coach at CrossFit Otter Point in Sooke, B.C.

He reminds us all that it never gets easier. We just get stronger over time—and personal growth comes from experiencing hardship.

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Famished, Force-Fed, 450 Pounds—and Finally Fit

Athena Perez grew up in an abusive home in which her stepmother used food “as a weapon.”

Perez was regularly made to go without food, she was often fed only bread and water, and she was even forced to eat until she vomited, creating an unhealthy relationship with food. Eventually, food became her “best friend in the world.” Perez weighed over 400 lb. by 18 and eventually reached a max weight of about 450 lb.

“I was awake and breathing, but I was half dead,” Perez says.

So large that she couldn’t make it upstairs, Perez started sleeping in the living room. She knew she needed to do something to avoid early death or bariatric surgery and its many side effects.

Perez started CrossFit slowly at CrossFit Lakeville, where the coaches helped her reclaim her life. Since starting CrossFit, Perez has lost over 175 lb., gotten off painkillers and joined a powerlifting team at CrossFit White Bear in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. She attributes her success to “having a place that felt safe.”

She admits: “I let the word ‘CrossFit’ scare me from walking into a place like this sooner.”

She hopes to share her journey with others who might ask themselves a question: “Is (CrossFit) for me?”

Perez’s response: “Hell, yeah!”

CrossFit - "I Feel Like I just Started My Life"

Christine Pereira was unhappy. At 270 lb., she felt trapped. Literally.

“Before CrossFit, I was miserable by being in a body that I felt didn’t match my inside,” Pereira explains. “Everything was impossible. Everything was difficult … just every day, going up the stairs. I was truly unhappy.”

Pereira also felt helpless. She would browse magazines, thinking there was no way she could ever be as slim as the models pictured.

“I didn’t think it was possible. Not at all,” she says. “I was gonna be that big, fat person for the rest of my life—that’s what I thought.”

That all changed when she found Brethren CrossFit in Morgan Hill, Calif.

Today, the 34-year-old is 177 lb.

“It’s made me so much more secure in myself,” Pereira says. “I feel like I just started my life.”