Pastor Paul’s Story – by Paul Mitchell
I’ve never described myself as an athlete because I thought it was synonymous with being a ‘jock’ – which I am not. But there have been times in my life that I was active physically, and I’ve always felt more confident and even-keeled in those times. As a pastor, my days are sedentary unless I try to do something more active. My health benefit requires me to do an annual diagnostic exam, and in June 2018 it found that I was in the “overweight” category, along with high overall cholesterol. I had held a membership at a drop-in gym, but I wasn’t using it much. So, I decided I could at least do something about my weight by participating in a group-accountability workout. I have dropped over 25 pounds since I joined CrossFit Vashon in August 2018 – five of that in the last six weeks on the Whole Life Challenge. I thrive when I have a community of practice and accountability.
I have friends who had done CrossFit in another place who are just normal people – not intimidating gym warriors. So, I was open to it. Still, I had to summon courage to walk in. Josh was so friendly and encouraging right away. I was afraid after the On-Ramp to sign up for class. I was very tentative at first. I didn’t want to overdo it or burn out right away. But I was at ease within minutes – the athletes are a community of support and practice! I was sure I would not be able to do some of the basic exercises, and it turns out I was right. But I have never felt intimidated or judged for a moment. Now I can’t imagine going without it.
My first ‘Bright Spot’?…I think it was just getting through the first three sessions!
What am I working on now?…For one thing, I’m still working on seeing my abs! I know they’re under there. I always have shoulder mobility issues, and I need to find a way to do that work and stick with it. I want to be able to do more of the motions even if it’s only with light weights. I want to keep my weight down – which requires constant vigilance. I want to feel more rested. All those things are tied together. I sleep better when my shoulders are more limber, and I am eating better. I need a day off from CrossFit in the middle of the week – five days straight is just too much for my old body. I’m trying to keep planking, but I’d like to start something aerobic outside the box a couple times a week. Hopefully that will happen with better weather. Also, I need to pay attention to blood pressure and cholesterol – which I think have been helped by the Whole Life Challenge we just did. And as always, I’m trying to be a good person!
What are you most passionate about? What’s your favorite thing about CrossFit, Vashon, or both!?
I’m passionate about community and mutually supporting each other to achieve our most balanced thriving. It’s a very high bar, I think. It’s clear to me that it starts small, and it’s dependent on embracing the unique gifts of every individual as necessary for the whole. Vashon is a beautiful place to live and is home to some amazing people. It’s a challenge to strike a balance between really knowing people deeply and being open to people you don’t know yet. I believe I’m a better pastor because I have this group of people outside the church who I enjoy and rely on for encouragement.
If you could tell yourself from a year ago something now what would it be?
Change is hard. Stick with it. The only way to get better at change is to practice it!