December Athlete of the Month

Heather VandenLangenberg – This lady has worked very hard and been extremely dedicated to her health! Take the time to read her transformation story below, you won’t be disappointed!

Age: 32 (but 29)

Where did you grow up? Ashwaubenon born and raised.

When did you become a member at RedDoor CrossFit? March 2017

What do you do when you are not at RedDoor CrossFit? (occupation, hobbies, etc.)
I am a Parenting Program Coordinator for the Oneida Tribe (social worker). I teach parenting classes, working very closely with CPS and Indian Child Welfare. I spend much of my time with my family, my husband and our two daughters (2 and 7), and our close friends. I enjoy music, traveling, our cabin up north and cooking. I also very much enjoy challenging myself to see how much athletic clothing I can possibly buy. 

Her Amazing Story!!!
The best way to change a belief is to do something you never thought you could do. In March 2017 I walked into RedDoor CrossFit. I was looking for something new, something to do for myself. It was waaaay out of my comfort zone, especially to be walking in the door alone. I can say today that walking through those doors despite my anxious thoughts telling me to go home, was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I struggled with weight much of my life. When I got pregnant with my first daughter in 2009 I decided I needed to stop eating so much crap. It wasn’t just about me anymore. So through my pregnancy and the few years following it I made some changes. I began eating smarter. I lost weight and I felt better. I slowly added in working out, mostly on my own. Just a little movement on a treadmill or elliptical, wherever I felt the least seen in the gym that day and maybe some weight machines. In about 2013, I changed job positions and began working in a building that is attached to a family fitness center. I started working out more and it became a part of my daily routine.
Something was still missing for me. Physically and mentally I was at a plateau. I needed a change in my life and needed something different so I looked into CrossFit. Around the same time fellow RedDoor athlete Christina Courtney and I worked together and she was telling me about her new adventures at RedDoor. I emailed, signed up for fundamentals, and then the hardest part; I SHOWED UP. I met Amanda, and she made me feel instantly comfortable even though I knew nothing. Thoughts that evening included….“I’m sorry… did you just tell me to climb a rope?” And, “Pull-up…like pull up a chair and have a beer?”
I was also lucky enough to work with Tanya on my nutrition goals. She helped hold me accountable and support me in finding balance in healthy living. Her support and similar outlook on health helped keep me motivated.
Years ago I worked out to lose weight, to try and be skinnier. Once my mentality and my goals changed, and I began working out for health and strength, then my results changed. With more consistency in my nutrition and consistency at the gym I lost more weight and inches. I started seeing and feeling muscles I never thought I had. I started to shock myself with the things I could do…things I never would have thought I could do.
I learned new movements. And I screwed up movements. I climb ropes (I mean…what?!), lift heavy things, and continue to attempt pull-ups. I mastered the “pull up for a beer” task years ago. I had never even tried pull-ups in the past, just one of those things other people could do but never me. I didn’t believe I could do it. This isn’t a thought anymore, now it’s a very achievable goal. I use to limit myself, tell myself there are some things that just were never going to happen for me. I realize now how much this negative self-talk effected my life.
The support from coaches and fellow athletes is real. RedDoor is full of good people. I knew very early on that I chose the right gym. I started to feel strong. People started commenting on my physical changes, pointing out definition in my arms. “It’s just good lighting,” I normally say. But slowly this feeling of being strong became more powerful than the feeling of self-doubt and self -consciousness. I started believing I could do it, and I put the work in. I stopped caring about the parts of my body I didn’t feel were good enough. And if my booty jiggles when I do wall balls so be it, because I’m doing wall balls and that same booty can squat heavy weight. I started to love myself and embrace my body and the things it could do. Big thighs really do save lives. Facts.
Each and every coach at RedDoor supports me, and pushes me. When I’m not sure I can do something, they remind me I can. I even managed to get talked into a CrossFit competition. If you knew me at all, you would understand how out of my character this is. Did they really think I could do this? I pushed myself to do it, and I did. Shout out to Bridget, because as a team we took first place. I had lived so long being ok with being ‘unseen’ and just accepting my mind telling me I couldn’t do things other people could; so it felt weird to start feeling like things were possible, that I could have successes. But it also felt good.
I started to feel more confident in myself as a person. Not just my athletic abilities, but with who I am. I started to believe I could.
So today I SHOW UP. I keep showing up. Because when I do I’m surrounded by people who are kind, supportive, and strong AF. People that make me want to be stronger, and people who acknowledge how strong we all are already. I kept showing up because I felt challenged, and excited to learn more. I keep showing up because of the way I feel when I’m there, and how I feel when I leave. Success is an inside-out process. The change happens inside first, outside after. Wayne Dyer said, “You will see it when you believe it,” while most of us have thought it was the other way around. Life is far too short to limit yourself. Find the things and the people who help you realize that, and keep them close.