Featured Athlete – Maria Stamatis
Hi, my name is Maria and I started Crossfit on January 1st of 2013.
Growing up, I was a very active child and young adult, participating in sports including track, tennis, powerlifting, basketball, and excelling especially in soccer. Athleticism and sports came pretty natural to me. Soccer was a huge part of my life and it kept me in pretty good shape. Like most athletes who don’t continue their sport through college, however, I stopped being active after highschool. It was such a bore going to the gym, I couldn’t make myself go for more than a week. I still played soccer on an adult co-ed team, but playing once a week half the year does not keep your body in tip top shape. I learned that the hard way.
After a few years I also acquired the gross habit of smoking. It was getting difficult to finish a soccer game. The soccer field used to be my “happy place” but it was becoming my enemy. I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it either because it was so hard to make myself get up and work out. I couldn’t run as fast or as far and I noticed that when I kicked the ball, there was not near as much power.
I had heard about Crossfit from friends and acquaintances before, but it wasn’t until my roommate got excited about it that I decided to try it out. Although my roommate bailed and never went with me, I dug up the courage to go alone. But I wasn’t alone when I got there. The support I received from people I had never met and the positive energy flowing through that gym was contagious and inspiring. I went as often as I could and I haven’t stopped since, and I’ll tell you something completely honest: I’ve never been happier about a decision in my life!
The feeling of conquering a weight or time is absolutely amazing! You never have to celebrate alone either, because everyone is just as excited as you are. Memories of finally doing pull-ups without the assistance of a band, RXing your first workout, or even lifting more than you had a few months ago, are what fuel me to keep going. I didn’t start off conquering everything at once, but after a year of working my butt off and putting in countless hours, I have accomplished a lot more than I ever thought I could. At the start of the year, my dead lift was at 195 lbs. I can now say I dead lift 345! The fastest I had ever ran a mile in my life was 7:05 (when i was in 8th grade). Now it is 6:47. I can go on, but my point is that there is actual proof that I am in the best shape of my life and, according to my close friends and family, I also have the most confidence I have had in a while.
Because it is not all about the physical performance that Crossfit will improve. The effect it has on your self esteem is priceless. I don’t smoke anymore, I don’t let negative words bother me, and I have a healthy way of dealing with stress. Not to mention, college is back in my future now that I have decided to pursue a career in health and nutrition. I have built lifelong friendships and met the most amazing people from not only my gym, but from others while away at competitions. Which, by the way, competitions are so much fun! With the adrenaline going and even more motivation to push yourself, it’s hard not to love them. Crossfit has given me a second chance to make myself an athlete once again and I’m excited to see what this next year will bring
So, I want to say thank you to Neal, Kara, Alika, Burt, Allie, Elyse, Erica and all of my co-athletes who have been there for me. It’s an awesome feeling to be called a “featured athlete”!