Tori Kennedy

“I NEED you to take care of my mother.”

That was the impassioned plea of my daughter when I went to visit her in South Africa in April 2013. The travel over there was one of the most physically exhausting trips I had ever taken; it took me days to recover.  My heart wanted to explore the country, but I was struggling just to keep up with my daughter.  After a grueling trek across Table Mountain in Cape Town, I felt old, out of shape, and defeated — and it was evident to both of us. That’s when she made me promise to take care of her mother. I was all she had and she was truly concerned about my physical well-being.  The flights home gave me a lot of time to reflect on the trip and, especially, on the promise I had made to her.

Fortunately, I have always been in relatively good health, but physically, things were not as good.  I was beginning to find myself in high-risk categories — extra weight, pre-hypertension, high cholesterol.  I had tried for decades to get my weight under control with little success, but I realized that this was more than just a weight issue — this was a life issue.  I was going to have to make some significant changes in order to make good on my promise.

That’s when a dear friend and inspiration — Teri Anderson — told me about a new class she was taking.  I had noticed an evident change in her and asked what she had been doing.  She said it was a CrossFit class, and she told me that a new session for beginners would be starting soon.  Not having any idea what CrossFit was, she encouraged me to contact Chris Shaffer at CrossFit Bezel and said he would meet with me to show me a workout and tell me all about the program.  I made the appointment, met with Chris, and to my complete surprise, I signed up to start the next Elements session.

I have never considered myself to be athletic in any fashion.  Artistic? Yes.  Athletic? Not in a million years.  And my first Elements class confirmed exactly that.  I couldn’t even begin to do the workout without significant modifications to each aspect, yet Chris knew exactly how to coach and encourage me every step of the way.  As a coach, he understood my capabilities and my limits better than I did, and he instructed me in the proper form and technique that helped me see progress in every workout.  And as terrified as I was, I kept going back.

Fast forward two years.  I just reached my second anniversary with CrossFit Bezel, and with much gratitude to Chris, Taylor, and my CFB family (yes, we definitely are a family at this point), I am a stronger, healthier, more empowered me, and I’m in the best shape of my life — both physically and mentally.  I have accomplished things with my 55-year-old self that I never would have imagined, and I continue to be a work in progress.

What started as a promise to my daughter has now become a promise to me, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I would encourage you to do the same.

Tori Kennedy

Tori Before & After

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