Building Muscle & Mental Toughness

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Coach Mike and Coach Anjo sit down with their four kids and discuss how starting CrossFit early shaped them into the confident young adults they are now. Forrest & India were the first CrossFit teens and Sierra & Maya were the first CrossFit kids at CrossFit Optimistic! They talk about how CrossFit taught them a new perspective, strong work ethic, and mental toughness.

Balance & Perspective

Forrest has been CrossFitting since he was 14 years old. He quickly transitioned into the adult classes, and is now a coach at CFO’s Alamo Heights location. For Forrest, CrossFit taught him balance and perspective. He discusses having to balance cross country with wanting to workout with a class at CFO but also needing to complete homework. It also showed him a new perspective – “Once you are able to back squat 170, 150 doesn’t seem so hard. It’s like that in life, once you do the really hard, tough things, other pieces feel easier.”

“What attracted me about CrossFit is how constantly varied it is. There was nothing to be bored about because it was always something different.” Forrest excelled quickly in adult classes; he attributes this to the solid base he gained from running with his dad and developing a large aerobic capacity. “Starting adult classes when I was young, getting able to practice the movements and knowing what CrossFit was about, helped my confidence more than anything.”

Work Ethic

Coach Anjo dotes that India is her hardest worker and has always excelled at pushing the envelope. She asks India “What did CrossFit do for you as the more introverted one?”

CrossFit gave India confidence and a high threshold for work that translated to all other areas of life, from navigating high school to being in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. For any new or hard activity, India would think “This is just a workout for my mind. If I can push myself through Murph, then solving these homework problems will be a piece of cake.”

“Without the gyms, there’s no way I’d have the love of fitness that I do now. I’m an introvert, so I would just keep pushing the envelope with grades and academics. CrossFit was this secret life I had. I remember thinking that push jerking my own weight was the coolest thing I’d ever done.”

Mental Toughness

During the school year, Sierra wakes up early to be able to join the 5am class at CrossFit Optimistic before she goes to school. The big question for Sierra was “Does CrossFit contribute to your desire to push yourself in school or is CrossFit your stress relief?” Sierra says it gets her day started on the right foot. “It’s nice to see people at the gym and start my morning off right.”

CrossFit helped Sierra develop a different kind of mental strength than her peers had. She notes that CrossFit overall pushes her to do things that others would say they couldn’t do. “I’ve done workouts harder than this, so I can do this too.” CrossFit gives Sierra something in the back of my mind to push myself harder. “I’m going to do more than x, y, z because I know I can and I have the mental toughness.”


Martinez Kids Doing CrossFit
Each of the kids in the Martinez Family doing CrossFit

Overall Strength

Coach Anjo describes Maya, the youngest of the Martinez kiddos, as the most stubborn and most social. She loves to lift and has a competitive edge if she knows she can beat somebody, and is fiercely driven when it’s something SHE wants to do.

Maya says she fell in love with weightlifting because it’s the biggest place she can see personal progress. “You can do 5 sets on something hard and keep increasing how heavy it is. That’s easy for me to get through. It’s short bursts of energy.”

Through CrossFit, Maya learned the importance of being committed to doing what’s right not just for your health but also because it’s just the right thing to do! Tune in to the 33 minute mark to hear Coach Anjo tell the story of Maya’s first clean and jerk. She’d been around the language and movements long enough to know what to do, and it surprised both her parents!

Importance of Fitness for Family & Kids

A goal of our CrossFit Kids & Teens program is to help them develop both physical and mental skills that will help them in all areas of life. “What we do in the gym complements their school work, social activities, nutrition, and makes a difference all the way around. We’re teaching them good technique, not loading them super heavy. When they’re ready, they can load more.”

Introducing a healthy, active lifestyle while they’re young will become something they take with them regardless of what they do in life. When fitness becomes a part of your routine, your nutrition will naturally fall in line. “If you’re putting in hard work in the gym then you’re more likely to choose a nutritious meal,” says Coach Anjo.

Final Notes

“Without my parents introducing fitness as a lifestyle for us, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. They set the bar high and now the rest of us are following suit. Leading by example showed us what we had to do if we wanted to lead happy, fulfilling lives and a healthy lifestyle.” – India

“While CrossFit is a big part of our lives because it’s what we do for a living, it also has a place in anyone’s life. It teaches adolescents strength, confidence, responsibility, and the importance of health.” – Forrest

“CrossFit has given us all our own strong work ethic and mental toughness, and we all blossomed from it. It’s given me self confidence that I haven’t found anywhere else.” – Sierra

“CrossFit gave me the confidence to know I could do anything. It made me stronger mentally, not just physically.” – Maya