How I Opened Up My CrossFit Gym
Last updated: February 2023
In 2011, I lost the job that I had for almost 12 years. As I look back now, it was a blessing, but at that time, it was devastating.
Staying strong through the hard times
I remember going into a depression because I couldn’t find a job. I was out of work for two years, and it was financially hard for my husband and me, but somehow, we managed.
It wasn’t until February 2013 that my friend reached out to my husband to do some marketing for their CrossFit business. I remember she told my husband, “bring Juanita.” I thought she was crazy, but I went.
The first exposure to CrossFit
I’ll never forget walking into her CrossFit gym and the look on my face when I saw women lifting. I said, “oh hell no” I was scared but, at the same time, very intrigued. So I said, "I’m here, so let’s give this CrossFit thing a try," - and I became hooked. I started attending her gym and working out, and before you knew it, I was lifting heavy and learning how to coach. I absolutely fell in love with CrossFit. It became my life and everyday vocabulary!
Fit and feeling great!
By 2014 I was in the best shape of my life. I lost weight, I was strong, and I was smokin' hot at the age of 45. I felt the best I’ve ever felt in a long time, and it helped with my depression from not finding a job. I started coaching, then I got certified as a CrossFit coach. I was already thinking about opening up my own CrossFit gym.
Things took a turn
Then November 2014 arrived. My birthday is the 3rd, so that weekend, we had a little get-together at my house. I was already sick from what I thought was asthma. I couldn’t enjoy my birthday party. I felt horrible and just wanted to lie down and sleep. I remember my friends kept telling me to go see another doctor and find out what was wrong with me, which I did later in the month.
On November 17, 2014, I went to see the pulmonologist, and he told me if I didn’t get better, to go back. I ended up in the ER that following Monday and was admitted. The next day a bronchoscopy was done, and two days later got the worse news of my life stage 3B NSCLC. And that’s when my lung cancer journey began!
During my journey. I continued to fight and speak life into my body. I refused to sink. I still had my kids to raise, places to see, new people, to meet, and a lot of life still left in me. In December 2015, I became NED (no evidence of disease), so I thought about opening up my own CrossFit gym and went for it.
Opening my CrossFit gym
It opened up in September 2016, and that journey began. I was featured in my local newspaper on how a lung cancer survivor still battling lung cancer became a businesswoman.
Building a community
The blessing of opening up my CrossFit gym was all the wonderful people I met, became friends with, and helped along the way. They say you meet people for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Well, some were a reason and a season, but many became lifetime friends. Not only did I help them with their journey, but they helped me with mine, too.
Closing the doors to my gym, but not to other opportunities
My CrossFit gym was open for four years. Then came Covid and the pandemic. The whole country shut down, and so did my business. It was so hard to close the doors of my gym and say goodbye. It literally broke my heart. But I like to think it was just for a season, and it was time to move on to the next.
I genuinely believe there’s a reason why I opened a CrossFit gym and why it was closed and that I have to trust the process. Nonetheless, it was an awesome experience and a blessing.
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?