Success Story – Rolla Salameh

By shannon
In December 29, 2013


The Pursuit of “Doing”

By Rolla Salameh

When I was asked to share my “success” with other members of the CrossFit community, I thought I’d rather write about why hearing about a success story sometimes isn’t enough. Let’s face it, everyday, whether on the internet, on TV, or even within your own friends and family circles, you hear about “success stories”. We love success and we love stories, especially inspirational ones about fitness and weight loss, no matter how fleeting the success. But sometimes knowing isn’t enough. I mean if it was as simple as that, wouldn’t everyone reach their goals in life by merely reading inspirational stories? Sometimes, actually mostly every time you need to “DO”. And if my story is about anything, it’s about doing, doing badly and doing well, but it’s fundamentally about doing.


Ruination Pentathlon 2013

I recently posted a simple question, can people change? And everyone who responded said, yes! Absolutely, but only if they want to. I believe that we all want to, but I’m not sure we all “do” So here goes my story.

At 44 years old, and 5’5”, I had ballooned into a size 18 weighing 210 pounds, with my cholesterol numbers ever increasing my doctor said lose weight or else. Given my age I was convinced that I was the product of naturally slowing metabolism and genetics. When speaking with other ladies in my age group they’d agree and respond in kind. I joined Curves; I believed I belonged there with all the other “big” ladies befitting my situation. I hated it. If there is a caution here, other than the one about giving up, It’s this, sometimes you need to get out of your circle of supportive ladies. Support is great, but honesty is better and it’s certainly more useful.

At the relentless persistence of my brother Roger, I decided to try a four week CrossFit on-ramp program. At first I was adverse to the program, I assumed it was too hard for someone my age and size. It was made up of almost every physical activity I had NEVER tried nor cared to! Running? Gymnastics? Rowing? Rope climb? Weight lifting? What the hell?? But I was at a crossroad and in a desperate attempt to get healthy and with every bone in my body screaming NO I gave it a shot. I was in for a wonderful awakening.


“Caleb” Memorial WOD

Since joining, and with the help of my family, CF friends and coaches and needless to say the scaling of almost every movement, I’ve lost 55 pounds, changed my eating habit and started running. I did my first in-house competition and my first ½ marathon, I can do handstands, toes to rings, double-unders and climb a rope! Now mind you, I had no idea what these things were before and I certainly didn’t understand their utility. I can lift weights (and shed weight), row, run and jump! In other words, I can “do”. I feel younger now than I did four years ago.

So what makes this program work as opposed to others? I’m not going to explain the science behind functional movement blah blah blah, I’ll leave that to people who understand it better than I do. What I do know that is that fundamentally CrossFit works because the group, the connections you build and the friends you make are all involved in the same pursuit. The pursuit of “doing”, not reading, not guessing and not messing around. When you’re in the box for that hour, you are surrounded by people who are serious about fitness and the pursuit of healthy lives and people who care and support you. You inspire them and they inspire you and that’s what sustains you. We all have our individual reasons for joining, our crossroads, but where CrossFit differs from other programs and why it’s successful is in its unique ability to sustain. Whereas you may start the program with great trepidation only to find yourself addicted and ecstatic to be part of such a undeniably growing community, echoing the mantra that “everyone should be doing CrossFit”.


1st Competition
State of the Nation 2013

I can recite a long list of people to thank that have helped me along this process but they know who they are and I don’t want to bore you with that detail.

This is a lifelong commitment. Growth is a journey a constant journey with ups and downs and everything in between, but for that singular hour once a day, I’ll beat the hell out of it.

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