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CrossFit Fortitude

The Discovery Health Channel calls CrossFit “… a well-rounded and very efficient way to achieve a higher level of fitness… that does not need a whole lot of fancy equipment, but does offer a nice variety to keep the interest level up and provide the challenge needed to keep the exercise fun.” Others call the intense program Jehovah's Fitness, Torture Chamber, or a cult. Erin Mulvany, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004, has heard it all.

Woman with MS doing CrossFit dead lift
Completing my WOD

My husband Patrick has been a part of CrossFit Champions in Houston for going on three years. For so very long I would listen to him describe his work out or his WOD (work out of the day) and tell myself repeatedly that there was no way I could do the intense training originally designed for police officers. Tire flipping. Rope climbing. One-legged air squats. Sumo deadlifting. People with MS do not CrossFit... right?

I had made so many excuses for my inability to workout. I couldn’t do that because I have MS. I have balance issues so jumping on a box with both feet (a box jump) would be insane. I would have a conversation with someone and actually hear myself talking about this disease as if it's my left arm. I got so sick of hearing all the excuses I was making for myself.

So I joined CrossFit this past January because I needed the guidance. I needed someone in my corner telling me that I was more than capable of doing this whether or not I believed it myself. I needed CrossFit. And so far I’ve been absolutely amazed at how my body has responded to such a vigorous workout.

My MS is very real—it affects me every single day and I would never try and minimize that. I consider myself lucky that I am strong enough to be active, let alone CrossFit. Some people think that I am pushing myself too hard and such a torturous CrossFit work out is only setting me up for future problems. I am here to tell you that there could be nothing further from the truth. CrossFit has a system set up where I do what I can do now what the four-year CrossFit vet can do. I work on myself and getting my body stronger each day.

If I live my life avoiding something that pushes me physically just because I could end up in a wheelchair, well I could also walk across the street, fall into a manhole and lose both legs. I have no choice but to live my life for right this moment. I have never felt better than I do today! Each day that I walk into that gym, finish my workout and complete something physically challenging, I feel at the top of my game.

I just did that. Really, I just did that. It may have not been pretty, but I did it!


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