How CrossFit can lead to a healthier mind, body, and soul

- How CrossFit can lead to a healthier mind, body, and soul 

In the gym, Jillian Smith puts her CrossFit class through the paces, building a sense of community. It's what she needed to turn her own life around.

"It's like a second family, really, the support's there, the community's there, the accountability," she said.

Jillian was 200 lbs., pre-diabetic, drinking and smoking too much, and she was only in her 20's when she decided she couldn't live like this. She tried all the fad diet and exercise programs before finding what worked for her.

"It wasn't until I joined a group setting and hired a coach and got some nutrition help that it actually became a lifestyle change for me," she said.

Now she's helping others change their lives at Earned Not Given CrossFit in Farmington as co-owner and head coach, training people like Francesca Pernice.

"It really truly is life changing - it really truly is," she said.

Francesca got a wake up call when she hit 40 and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. As a mental health professional and professor, she knew she had to make a change.

"We can't separate mental health and physical health anymore, it's really an integrated model," she said.

Francesca said getting to the right weight combined with the proper nutrition is critical for both physical and mental health, from preventing and controlling diabetes to things like anxiety and depression, which impacts one in 25 Americans. She's a big advocate for group activities -- connections that keep people motivated and not isolated.

"A key component is a sense of community and support, which keeps people engaged and accountable and then in addition to that is just healthy eating patterns," she said.

Stacy Gissal said those healthy eating patterns might be the hardest part -- cutting back on processed foods and viewing healthy foods as fuel for a healthier life, both physically and mentally.

"We have to get out of this place where we think that feeling bad is our new normal - you can feel good. You should wake up with energy," she said. "People don't realize that really the healing usually comes from the inside out."

Healing through a healthier mind, body, and soul -- all related, all impacting each other, all in need of attention. Jillian said there's no time like the present.

"Let's pull out a planner or calendar and tell me when is the perfect ideal time because there isn't one," Smith said. "There's always something to get in the way so just get started."

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