Featured Athlete: Lauren Clawson

I can remember back to third grade P.E. class. Looking out the window seeing the class before me running around the backstops thinking “if that’s what we have to do today, I’m going to the nurse.” I would fake illness just to be able to skip the exercising. I was a skinny kid growing up. Started dancing at age 3 and kept that up until I was in high school and cheerleading took over my whole life. Never really the “athletic type”, I liked to be active but wasn’t happy taking it so far that it felt like work.

When I graduated high school I weighed 95 pounds and didn’t see the need in being active, especially since there wasn’t any fun in it anymore. Never thought I would ever have to worry about getting out of shape. To me, out of shape meant overweight and I’d always been able to eat whatever I wanted without a second thought. Through college I’d go to the gym with my boyfriend and do whatever he was doing; Fifteen minutes of legs, maybe 50 crunches on the “ab roller”. How boring. I eventually got burned out and didn’t step foot in a gym for about three years.
I didn’t notice any change in my body until I was about 24. I was bartending until 4 am hitting up Waffle House after all my shifts. I started to put on a few pounds and started going to the gym getting on the treadmill, hating every second of it. When I hit 25 I was unhappy with the way I looked and thought the only option was to get a personal trainer; surely that would get me my body back. I worked with her for several months alternating between legs and abs, back and arms and cardio, which she told me I needed to come in and do on my own time at least three times a week for 45 minutes. I wanted to follow a healthy diet to go along with my workout routine. But no matter how hard I tried, I never really knew what was actually “healthy” to eat. I did notice a little change in my body and decided I had the routine down on my own. I tried to keep it up the schedule of specific muscle groups on specific days, but it got to where I would always find something better to do rather than going to the gym. I dreaded it. Who wants to go to the same place every day wandering around aimlessly ALONE trying to look like they know what they are doing?
I moved to a different city and discontinued my membership altogether. What was something new I could try? I started going to the park to run every day, until it was cold. I started practicing yoga, which I really enjoyed. I hoped doing that every morning would somehow change my body. While I did feel a little stronger and much more relaxed, my body was soft and I was still not pleased with the way I looked. To add to that, I had also been more exhausted than ever before. I was coming home every day at lunch and using my hour break to fit in as long of a nap as I could. It was the only way I could get through the afternoon. Depressed and completely void of any type of motivation, I decided to go to the doctor to find out if, either my thyroid was off, my hypo-glycemia had become worse or maybe I needed to just get some anti-depressant medication, as I had heard that affecting some people by being extremely tired.
I made an appointment and went and had blood work, but everything came back normal. I decided I’d start to try and start exercising again and hope that I would start to feel better. I tried to come up with a new “fun” workout routine, as much as that word never came to mind when thinking about anything physical. At this point, I felt hopeless, knowing that whatever I started to do, I wouldn’t stick with.
Over the previous 6 months, I had watched my co-worker, Heather Williams, transform into someone I didn’t even recognize anymore. I wasn’t sure what she was doing, but I knew that whatever it was, it was working. In January, she told me about the free two weeks at CrossFit Beaumont, where she worked out. I told her I would come give it a try. When Monday came around I had an excuse why I couldn’t; probably some reality tv show that was going to be on that night I couldn’t miss. Tuesday was the same story. Wednesday rolled around and she invited me again. I decided I would suck it up and just do it, as she obviously wasn’t going to leave me alone. I pulled up into the parking lot sick to my stomach on the verge of a panic attack. I tried to think of an excuse to leave before she got there. Somehow I mustered the composure to walk in. Stefan came up and introduced himself, along with some of the other people there. I couldn’t believe how welcoming everyone was. I thought to myself “well, these people seem super nice. Nice people don’t get too hard-core about working out”. Right? Wrong.
The workout that night was a 200m run (which , itself, was a workout for me at that time), then 21-15-9 air squats, sit ups, pushups, followed by another 200m run. Now that I look back at this wod, I can’t believe how painful it was for me that night. When we got done, I felt accomplished to have worked harder in a workout than ever before. My legs were shaking and I felt like someone had just beat the wind out of me. I got in the car and text my friend “if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will”. I was hooked.
I began at CrossFit Beaumont just two days a week. On my days off I was just recovering until my next workout. I had never been so sore in my entire life. I spent 3 months doing CrossFit with the only goal being to finish each wod. That, in itself, was a challenge for me. I moved to Mid-County in March and started going 4 days a week. By then,  I was starting to be able to finish a workout without feeling like throwing up. Finally. In May there was a competition in Lake Charles that some of the Crossfitters were going to. I decided to go just to see what they were all about. I ran my first 5k that day; this was a huge deal for the girl who had never made a quarter mile without feeling dizzy. Something about watching those athletes there that day motivated me. Why couldn’t I be an “athlete”? What was stopping me? Only the voice in my head telling me I’d never been “good” at anything before. That day I decided I was going to be good at something, and it was going to be CrossFit.
I started on Paleo, which was one of the hardest transitions I’d ever made. I was so emotionally attached to food, that it felt like someone was taking my happiness away. But after a few torturous weeks, it started to get a little easier to stick with it. My body was starting to look smoother and I had so much more energy.
Slowly I’ve kept improving and getting stronger. Every day I started going into the box with a goal of doing a little bit better than I thought I could. Once I got it in my head that majority of my weakness was mental, I began to learn how to just block out the negative thoughts that were keeping me from doing well at this sport.
In the past several months, my daily inspiration has been waking up and immediately pulling up the WOD on the website from my phone. I’m there 5-6 times a week and each of those days, I do something to surprise myself. I still get butterflies in my stomach when I pull up into the parking lot, and I freaking love that. I could go on for days about all the positive changes CrossFit has made to my life. To see people I haven’t seen in a year out in public and have them come up and say I look “amazing” is the greatest feeling in the world. Not because I like compliments (or take them well, at ALL), but because all my blood, sweat and tears are paying off. My body has been transformed from something totally different than what it was a year ago. I finally can look in the mirror and like the person looking back at me. Better than that, my mind is stronger than it’s ever been. I also have something I never thought I would; Confidence. Now, I am able to do more things and move more weight than I ever thought possible.  If I could choose one thing that makes my gym better than any other, it is the people there.  I can honestly say I’ve never felt so close to any group of people as I do the ones I’m there killing myself with every day. They push me and, more than that, believe in me day in and day out.
I am so thankful to have found CrossFit. I owe it to the family and especially coaches there for pushing me to be better and stronger every day. Because of them, I can call myself an athlete.

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24 thoughts on “Featured Athlete: Lauren Clawson”

  1. Let me be the first to say how PROUD I am of you Lauren. I knew if I kept on you about coming to Crossfit with me you would love it. Your have came a long way from where you started. I do believe you have passed me up. Lol!! You are a true athlete and a strong woman. I glad to say you are my friend. I love you and keep on being the amazing person that you are!!!!

  2. You Soooooooo totally deserve this title! I’m so proud of you and all you’ve accomplished! I notice little things improving like the friggen tone in your arms! It’s impressive! Your fun To compete with and are always smiling, unless your kicking that WOD in the face (that’s when your business) lol but then your all smiles again! Love you Lauren! So proud!

  3. A HUGE CONGRATS to you, Pickle! I have seen you change in the past year like an ultimate commercial for a “Get In Shape Quick!” ad. You never seemed, or looked, out of shape before, but now you have this air of confidence about you. I remember last year I had worked out for about four months straight and was in great shape… I thought wrong. You invited me to CFMC and I could not even complete the WOD without losing my lunch, haha. Keep up the good work! Kudos Pickle!

  4. Congrats Lauren!!! Your hard work and deserves to be recognized for all of your hard work and accomplishments. You defiantly a true CorssFiter and awsome athelete!!

  5. I am so proud of you Lauren! You seem like you have come a long way and I hope you keep it up. You deserve this title to the fullest. You have been passing a bunch of people up including the men…boys? Lol. Keep it up the great work Lauren!

  6. Congrats Lauren! You and Heather have kept me from going down the the girl’s rx weight on a few wods! Keep up the hard work.

  7. Lauren I sooo proud!! You deserve this in every way, you also deserve to go to Lulu and shop your heart out!! I love you!

  8. This is one of the best bio’s yet. Very inspiring! I talk to so many people who are the same way that you were, the only difference is that you put in the hard work to make these changes happen for yourself. Proud of you on all of your achievements. There’s even more to come!

  9. What a story. I know so many people, including myself, who can relate. Congrats on all of your hard work and progression. You look great!

  10. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! You have worked so hard and it shows. Great job on the article, and I look forward to seeing all you will accomplish with your new lifestyle! WOD it up, Sister!

  11. Lauren, that was absolutely, by far, the BEST and most MOTIVATING story I have ever read. You are truly an inspiring person and I am so glad to have met you!

  12. What an AWESOME and INSPIRING story!!! You DO look AMAZING! But even better than that is how you FEEL…mentally as well as pyhsically. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing with us.

  13. Lauren you have really come a long way. You are truly an athlete and I am extremely proud of you!!! Thank you for pushing me everytime we work out together, because you def do if you realize it or not. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you Keep up all the hard work!!!!

  14. This is exactly what I’m talking about. You guys are the best. Love y’all so much. Thank you for all the constant encouragement. Don’t know what I would do without you guys.

  15. I am proud for ya girl. Even though you make me look like a girl sometimes lol. Your story is very inspirational. Keep up the hard work!!!!

  16. Your story is my story. I could have been reading about myself. I just started CrossFit in southern Oregon last week and I was/am inspired by your story. I’m keeping it on my phone so that when I get discouraged I can look it up and be inspired again! Thank you for sharing!

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