I’ve never been small.
I mean sure, I was a child once, but relative to my classmates, teammates and friends growing up, I was always larger. I was an athletic kid; I was on all sorts of soccer, basketball and track teams growing up, and as I got older, I started training horses, dancing, backpacking, canoeing and added rock climbing to the mix as well. Looking back now, I really should’ve been awed by the variety of things that my size and athleticism allowed me to do – instead, I was horrifically self-conscious about it.
I can still remember the first time my mom suggested finding a conditioning coach. At the time, I was in high school and I was dead set on playing professional-level basketball. It would’ve been a fantastic idea, except I was horrified by the idea of getting big – or I should say “bigger.” For all of the incredible things that my body was capable of, I loathed my size so much that I told my mother that I was not remotely interested in the idea. I already thought of myself as strong, so how would lifting weights and adding muscle to a body that I already perceived as “too big” make *anything* better?
Now at 25, I get it. Years of rolled ankles and pulled muscles should’ve clued me into it. I should’ve caught on during the months of rehab after I totally obliterated my ACL in a basketball game. Even in my early undergrad years, I ignored the IT band irritation, the shin splints, knee pain, and back aches that I assumed were just part of the package of running half marathons.
My last year in college was when it all clicked. I had joined a Crossfit-type gym after a climbing trip forced me to reckon with the reality of my noodle-ish arms. A year after joining, I started training for a post-graduation cross-country cycling trip and I realized that my times were dropping far faster than those of my teammates. I was stronger than I had ever been before in my life, and while the shape of my body had changed a little with all of that lifting and biking, the overall size did not. I had become happier, stronger and more durable – and not any bigger than when I started.
I joined Wright Training in the fall of 2016 after my first season teaching snowboarding at Jackson Hole. I knew I wanted to ride deeper powder and steeper lines – and I needed to be able to do it after spending full days teaching kids all over the mountain. Getting into a gym here in Jackson – especially one like Wright that offers sport-specific training – has made a huge difference in my ability to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.
Above all else, my time with the coaches has helped me learn to love my body for the incredible things that it’s capable of, whether that means powering through an AMRAP, bagging peaks on an ultra-hike, or crushing the boot pack up Glory.
Now I know better: the gym doesn’t mean I’m going to be any bigger – but without a doubt, it allows me to live bigger.