CrossFitting our way to a Happier Marriage

When I met my husband, Jonathan Ducie, in my early twenties I was (somewhat) health conscious, felt good about myself and led an active lifestyle. He played rugby at club level and maintained a good body weight. Somehow, somewhere, and perhaps due to multiple personal tragedies that affected us both, we lost sight of what it meant to be healthy.

We drank too much, followed a “what I want, when I want it” eating plan, and slowly but surely stopped all physical activity. By the time we got married, four years later, we both weighed about 20 kilograms more than when we had met. After our wedding day, we fell into the dreaded “comfort zone”, with continued weight gain and unhealthy living.

Sure, we tried to get to the gym a few times a week and believed that that was enough, living in denial about how we looked and the damage we were doing to our bodies. To this day, when we look at photos we don’t ever remember recognising the reality of where we were at. In retrospect, all we can think is; how? How did we let ourselves get to that point?

I do remember feeling shy, worthless and ugly, not wanting to leave the house or go out. Our daily routine revolved around TV and mealtimes, instant gratification and laziness. How I felt about myself certainly affected my marriage, as I lacked the confidence to enjoy my marriage fully.

Obviously realising where we were headed, a family member suggested that we try this new type of gym called “CrossFit”. I was sceptical. I liked lazing on the couch in front of the TV and doing nothing all weekend. I liked the anonymity of going to a big gym where no one knew my name. Reluctantly, I tried it. I arrived for an “Introduction to CrossFit” class at 360Vida in my long bulky tracksuit pants, old takkies and oversized t-shirt and hated every minute. My husband, on the other hand, was instantly hooked. He pushed me to keep going, even though it really didn’t feel like it was getting any easier.

I remember being absolutely mortified as my coaches, William Schutte and Diane Teles, tried to flip my hefty body over to teach me the movement for a “skin the cat”. I’m pretty sure Di got a knee to the face and Will pulled a bicep trying to get me top-over-tail. A few months in, Will looked at my red, frustrated, angry face after a WOD and asked me; “Are you ever going to look like you enjoy CrossFit?”

That was three years ago. Now – I honestly couldn’t live without it. Between the two of us my husband and I have lost more than 60 kilograms (also known as an entire medium-sized adult). Yes, we got all the usual benefits that a dedicated exercise and healthy eating regime would give you; weight loss, muscle gain, body confidence, good health, etc., but with that we also got plugged into a community that is fun, supportive and active, we have made lifelong friends and we can’t stand lying about all weekend. We have a renewed passion for life, for each other, for our marriage; it’s much easier to treat your partner with respect when you respect yourself.

Apart from marital bliss, in many ways, CrossFit has also taught me how to deal better with stress and, as I run my own company, it has taught me how to handle a large workload. Need to proofread a 220 page document? No problem, it’s a 10 Round-For-Time WOD with 22 reps in each round. I’ve developed greater stamina and a dedication to seeing things through, even when my body (or my mind) wants to quit.

We may not be where we want to be yet, we may still have a long way to go, but we are progressing towards our goals in a healthy way, supporting each other as we go. This journey to health never ends, it must be a lifelong focus with milestones and goals set along the way. To us, CrossFit and the healthy living it promotes has become a way of life, an ethos, something we will pass on to our children, our family, our friends; to anyone that wants to improve themselves.

Written by Raynique Ducie, Member of CrossFit 360 Vida.