Readers: Meet Taline Vartanian.
CFCT: Why did you join CrossFit CrownTown?
Taline: One day I walked into Trader Joes and someone approached me, asking if I need any help. I said, ‘’No thank you’’ rudely, because I was on the phone. The employee repeated, ‘’Are you sure you do not need any help?’’ I was so annoyed I looked up and said, ‘’Yes, I am sure!’’ Then I realized it was my old friend, Larry Cacao. I was shocked at the new Larry I was looking at. He was slimmer, built, younger looking, simply amazing. It was as if Larry had transformed into a new looking person. I asked him ‘’what have you been doing?’’ To which he responded ‘’what have you not been doing?’’ Obviously noticing my appearance, Larry was not use to seeing me this overweight. He told me I should join CrossFit and I should wait until Wayne Willette opens up his own gym because he is the best coach around. Once Larry explained to me how CrossFit works, and that it is a community I realized, this is the kind of environment I would need in order to be successful. Thank you Larry for convincing me to join I owe you big time!
CFCT: What was your life like prior to CFCT? How did you feel emotionally? Physically? Mentally?
Taline: Prior to CFCT, my life within the past four years consisted of: eating heavily once a day and watching television. There was zero activity; I was living a sedentary life-style. Throughout my life, I’ve always been active, went to the gym, and watched what I ate. Now, you can imagine why Larry was shocked to see me balloon up to 312 lbs and the last time he had seen me I was 160 lbs. Emotionally, the last four years had been very rough for several reasons and it manifested into extreme weight gain. Physically, I couldn’t move, I was ashamed of the way I looked, and never wanted to go out. I didn’t want to be seen so I hid from life, friends, and family, which only made the situation I was going through worse. Mentally, I had completely shut down. I did not want to think about what I was doing to myself.
CFCT: What results have you seen since starting CrossFit?
Taline: I have seen incredible results since I’ve joined CrossFit. In every aspect of my life there has been a complete change; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have lost 128 lbs in 10.5 months since starting CrossFit at CrossFit CrownTown, my joints no longer hurt, I’m faster, stronger, healthier and I feel good about the way I look. It’s wonderful being able to do daily tasks without having to think twice about it. I have dieted and worked-out before but hands down, since I started CrossFit, I have never felt as strong as I do now. CrossFit Taline is a hundred times stronger and can kick the old Taline’s butt that went to the gym at LA Fitness.
CFCT: Has CrossFit helped you break through any mental barriers?
Taline: I remember when I was doing ‘On Ramp’ and Coach Wayne got out the box jump and demonstrated the ’Box Jump’. I thought, ‘’this guy is crazy I will never be able to do that.’’ Coach Wayne assured me, in time you will. Sure enough, two months ago I did my very first box jump. To be able to do the ‘Box Jump’ lifted so many mental barriers. What I thought I couldn’t do I was able to do. Now I look forward to what else I’ll be able to break through. This must sound like a cliché, but with hard-work and dedication there is no limit to what you can achieve. Joining CrossFit has proven that to me every day. I am so grateful that Coach Wayne constantly pushed me to better myself when I so desperately wanted to stop. I also have a wonderful and loving CrossFit family community, who supports me and pushes me into the right direction when my body wants to quit. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all your help and support thanks to all of you CrossFit CrownTown family!!!
CFCT: What are you going to achieve over the next year?
Taline: I currently weigh 184 lbs, my goal is to weigh 140 lbs by December and to hopefully RX all future WOD’s. I need to start pushing myself even harder during WOD’s in order to drop these last 44 lbs. I’m happy that I lost 128 lbs but I will not be satisfied until I reach my goal. I can do this. My advice to anyone is: listen to your coach, do what they tell you to do, eat what they tell you to eat, and workout how they tell you to workout. Don’t second guess them, I didn’t and look at my results. CrossFit has become my healthy obsession.
I would also like to add a few thoughts of my own. Because of the life changing impact of this story, I altered Taline’s accomplishment from “Athlete of the Month” to “Athlete of the Year”. I recall the day I met her and accepting her payment of $149 for the On-Ramp fee. I told her right away, “there’s no turning back now. The payment went through.” jokingly. She looked me in the eye and told me she was committed.
I was confident in the system we have at CrossFit CrownTown knowing that no matter how out of shape someone was that if they just followed the system they would reach all of their goals. What I wasn’t confident in right away was Taline’s level of commitment. However, she quickly instilled confidence in me through her actions. She would show up to class like clockwork (3 X p/ wk). Every day she would ask me more and more about nutrition. I didn’t want to scare her away by having her go completely strict right away. I asked her questions to see what her nutrition was like. I made small adjustments here and there. For instance, it started with no sugar. She could eat anything she wanted as much as she wanted, just no sugar. Gradually, I started cutting out dairy (she loved cheese by the way), then breads, rice, and, grains. Eventually, I started talking about frequency, portion size, and balancing macronutrients. Then it got to switching to all organic sources, grass fed meats and wild caught fish. We even talked about the importance of her balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. This all happened over the course of 4-6 months. I gave her just enough to see some positive changes from manipulating her nutrition, but not too much to overwhelm her. She kept asking for more info. So,…I figured it was working perfectly.
Working out was the same. She started with wall push-ups instead of push-ups from the knees. As she mentioned, jumping on a plate instead of a box. Holding on to a post to be able to squat. I never pushed her. I only encouraged her. She would do things and you could tell she wanted sympathy, as it was extremely difficult for her. I did not give her any. I treated her the same as any other member. I told her to keep going. I was testing her work ethic. Taline wanted it and you could tell it was obvious. She would always say, “I bet you I’m the only person like me (referring to her size) that is doing CrossFit”. I didn’t acknowledge what she said (but I remembered it), I just told her to keep going.
Taline’s story is one of my proudest moments as a coach. Don’t get it twisted though. She’s not content with her current level of fitness/appearance. She is adamant about getting down to 140 pounds. Evidenced by compliments she receives and she answers quickly, “thanks, but I’m not happy yet. I’m still going.” Although, I don’t promote setting goals according to the scale just seeing that she is still motivated to get better is awesome. Taline is awesome. She has proven that anyone can do CrossFit. It takes hard work, dedication and consistency. Taline has it all. I use her as an example all the time when people say that CrossFit is intimidating, or too extreme. If Taline can do it, anyone can. Don’t look for an excuse why you aren’t involved. Instead, commit yourself to put in the hard work, dedicate yourself to reaching your goals and don’t stop until you get there. Just like Taline.
By the way, I’d like to publicly thank Larry Cacao (who is now a coach at CrownTown) for referring Taline and being the reason we had the opportunity to change her life. Thanks, Larry.
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