This is a post I wrote for CrossFit Soul’s website, but I also wanted to publish it here so it has greater reach to a bigger audience. To read their awesome line of blogposts, head to crossfitsoulmiami.com.
I got a very heartfelt message on my Instagram account this week. It was from a woman in Slovenia named Marusa, and she wrote to me that she was recently diagnosed with a similar heart condition to mine. Approximately two years ago, I was diagnosed with calcification on my mitral valve that came from an irregular heart beat I acquired at the age of eight. She read about it on the blog post I made for my gym, Crossfit Soul, called The Malleability of Soul. I was really emotional about my diagnosis because I had just committed to training hard for CrossFit, and my diagnosis meant I had to give up heavy lifting. Giving up my goal of becoming a regional and Games competitor was not an easy one for me back then. The condition her and I both have a very rare, while technically not that serious, it can wreak mental havoc on those who like to train hard and heavy. Curious about what I do for it now that it has been two years, I told her I would write a post about the things I have done and still do in order to maintain a mindful, healthy lifestyle around it. This post is about the things I do to heal it, and how I have changed both my CrossFit practice at CrossFit Soul and how my figure show trainer, Silvio Schillen, owner of CrossFit Fortress, adapts while training me.
Before I begin explaining the things I do for my heart health, here is a quick synopsis of what I have. I have calcification on the tendons of my mitral valve (the chordaea tendineae) due to a leaky valve I ACQUIRED at the age of eight. I highlighted “acquired” because in my case this is the pivotal piece of why my lifestyle had to be drastically changed: if I had been born with my mitral valve prolapse, according to my doctor, the calcification would never have come up because it would be a natural occurrence. I contracted rheumatic fever heart disease when I was eight, and it was diagnosed late, resulting in, according to my doctors, a “permanent” heart condition.
I write “permanent” because I don’t believe in the permanence of anything, (except the proverbial change, of course) and I have been taking a lot of steps in order to heal and reverse the accumulated calcium deposits on my chordaea tendineae, and even have been working to help my heart pump in a fuller, more healthy way.
The hardest part of what Marusa and I share is this: we feel totally normal and healthy. We never feel sick, weak, winded, lightheaded, achy, drained, or any other symptom that can be attributed to a heart conditioned-life. We feel completely healthy and normal and energized. I’m a really hyper person by nature, and it doesn’t even affect that. If Marusa or I lift something that is too heavy, we run the risk of damaging our hearts. In my case: intrabdominal pressure, when increased too much by any kind of maximal lift, can rupture the calcified tendons that operate my mitral valve, the valve in all hearts that pumps blood out into the body. If that ruptures, then it’s immediate surgery to replace it. Not my idea of fun. There’s no guarantee that this will happen if we do lift heavy, we just really are taking a big risk if we do.
The truth of life is this: all of us at some point have to work with and around limitations. And the great thing about limitations is that they really aren’t limitations at all, they are just challenges we have to accept, face, and learn to creativity work around and with.
There’s an interesting dilemma with people who have calcified heart valve tendons: there is literally NO research on this. Not from lack of trying, but literally because NO ONE KNOWS THEY HAVE IT. Those who do learn they have it don’t usually find out until after they rupture, then it shows up as EXTREME drowsiness, too long of naps (think like 14 hours-no I’m not exaggerating), and if it persists too long it can show up like the affected person has acquired some kind of mental illness where movements are uncontrolled and speech is slurred. This, of course, can also be fatal due to lack of blood circulating to the brain and entire body.
I know how this feels from direct experience because this is what happened when I got rheumatic fever as a kid, and back then my valve was just stuck open and almost all the blood backwashed back into my heart, instead of the tendons being ruptured. It just acted in the same way. Blood wasn’t circulating to get back to my brain, so my brain was essentially starving for oxygen and nutrients. The extra long sleep was to that my brain could survive, and the jerky movements were because of it’s malfunctioning from lack of nutrition and O2.
Another problem with this condition is that those who DO learn they have it are usually between 40-60 years old and very unfit individuals. Their cords usually rupture when they strain to lift something heavy when they have been sedentary for a long time, and either they get open heart surgery right away from it or it is fatal (I believe fatality usually occurs during sleep).
So, as a CrossFitter/potential figure show competitor, here are the things I have done in the past and the things I continue to do on a regular basis to take care of myself. Do I still lift heavy? Not really. But I DO lift. And I HAVE been getting stronger.
In order to honor Marusa’s request of everything I do, I decided to include everything in this post about what I have done and still do consistently. I wrote this for the small group of people on this planet who may be dealing with the same diagnosis as us, so as a result I wrote to completion, meaning this post is quite detailed and lengthy. This also includes a lot of great information and practices you might like to add in as well, even if you don’t have a heart condition.
And, last but not least, please understand these are the things I have chosen to do for myself. I have my degree in exercise physiology from the University of Miami, and since I graduated in 2009 I have turned to a lot of holistic and eastern practices and treatments to help with what I have, and I love them all. I am not a doctor, but if you are reading this and you are aware you have the same condition, it’s up to you to feel within yourself if some of these things are right for you. And, who knows? Maybe by reading this some of these things will work for you, or lead you to something else that does! We are all very different creatures with different needs. Also, if you do have a heart condition and your doctor tells you something specific you should be doing for it, listen to your doctor. I was recommended to take an aspirin before I went to bed every night, and I did for a long time. I feel I don’t need to do it anymore, but I always have some in my cupboard in case I do want to start again. Taking that every night made me feel better about it, and led me to these habits listed in this post.
Here is the list of what I do to make myself well, remain well, and encourage healing and steady, even, full pumping in my heart:
- I breathe a certain way when I exercise and lift.
I was very fortunate when I learned about my heart condition, because right after I learned about it, my boss and coach at CrossFit Soul, Danny, sent all of his coaches to a kettlebell seminar in Aventura, Florida. It was held at Steel Edge CrossFit, owned by CrossFit Kettlebell instructor, Eddie Ramirez.
Eddie had an interesting background in kettlebell sport, and in a sport that is simultaneously weightlifting and endurance, there is a specific way to breathe, and it decreases intra-abdominal pressure.
It’s best to learn it from someone in person, but I will do my best to explain it here.
You focus on only your exhales.
Your body inhales on it’s own naturally.
Keeping your face muscles relaxed, breathe easy out through your mouth, and let your body inhale on it’s own. It’s a cyclic type of breathing that keeps your air constantly flowing, and one of it’s advantages is that is keeps the pH level of your blood low; meaning it keeps your blood more alkaline (basic) rather than acidic. This doesn’t really affect my heart, it just affects how quickly I, or anyone else, will fatigue: your blood will build up fewer byproducts because you are efficiently breathing them out constantly, and you will tire much later than if you were practicing the usual inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth technique. In that type of breathing, you are actually stopping your air flow, and it is during that pause that pressure can build up, and for someone like myself and Marusa that can be dangerous if done under a long period of time, like in a heavy squat.
This style of breathing can really catapult you into new levels of fitness. When I learned about this, Eddie told us that when he first learned it and understood it he did a workout with a lot of wall balls (I am assuming it was Karen: 150 wall ball shots for time), that he doubled the amount of reps he could do before needing a break. Instead of doing 30 and taking a break, he did about 60 before he needed a break. It really makes a difference for both energy levels and keeping needless pressure down in your body.
I do employ this kind of breathing during strength wods, too. I am constantly keeping my awareness on my breath, and I make sure to never hold my breath in any way at any time. This is DEFINITELY no bueno for me and my heart condition.
If you are familiar with yoga breathing exercises, it is similar to kabalabati breathing, or Breath of Fire, it’s just slower and through your mouth and not just through your nose.
- I Eat DARK greens EVERY MEAL!!
When I was studying exercise physiology at the University of Miami between 2006-2010, I remember a study we looked at that involved heart health and diet. I forget which one it exactly was (we literally looked at hundreds of studies in college), but like this one study that singled out grains vs greens for heart health, greens were the winner every time. And this was true for many studies we looked at: over and over again studies said that dark greens are better for your heart health than grains ever can or will be.
I truly could not agree with this more.
Since I ran track in high school, I have always noticed the more in shape I am, the more I crave dark greens and NOT grains. Salads were always my pre-track meet meal, and when I mixed in a lot of different kinds (romaine, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, spring mix, etc.) the better I would feel, and I would feel like I had boundless energy.
Dark greens are packed with tons and tons of nutrients our bodies need for rebuilding, and our bodies rebuild by replicating cells. All the yummy vitamins and nutrients in these leafy veggies supply everything we need for the construction of the greatest natural thing on the planet: our bodies. We are natural, so we need to put natural things inside our bodies for fuel, growth, and health.
Dark greens also help with oxygen delivery to working muscles, and help to keep your brain sharp with increased focus. Bread and grains don’t do a great job of that (doesn’t mean they can’t once in a while) but greens are really where it’s at.
And greens don’t discriminate from heart condition to heart condition. All kinds of greens are great for all kinds of conditions, and I know the more I eat, the better I feel, and I know I am doing something good for my heart in the process. Help your cells replicate and grow. Not a single cell in your body lives as long as you do, so you might as well fuel your body right.
Here is a list of my favorites. I try to mix it up as much as possible: leeks, brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, watercress, beet greens, beets (I know they’re not green-but they are excellent for your ticker!), cucumbers, chard, green bell peppers, collard greens, seaweed, celery, cabbage, dandelion, wheat grass, artichoke, cauliflower, broccoli rabe, etc. Even herbs like basil, marjoram, sage, rosemary, and thyme have great oils and vitamins in them that’s awesome for heart health. Mix it up as much as possible!
- I use Doterra essential oils.
Using essential oils is by far one of my biggest alternative choices, and I never, ever would have considered doing it if it wasn’t for a yoga client of mine who invited me to a workshop she had where she explained these special oils to a group of us.
I am so amazed by the effectiveness of these oils, which I had already been using at the time I was diagnosed, I knew there had to be something there for my mitral valve.
And, believe it or not, this actually is the one that gave me the most relief.
For years since my rheumatic fever at eight years old, I would experience mild chest pains. They would periodically flare up and go away on their own, and the few times I would mention it to people, they would brush it off. I never brought it up to a doctor, and I just figured it was a normal occurrence that everyone experienced, especially when it happened once during a session with a personal training client. She waved a dismissive hand and told me it was just heartburn from something I ate.
Well, after doing some searching on Pinterest of all places, I happened across a post of a woman who had the same experience as me. For years she experienced little chest pains, and she used marjoram essential oil in an 8 oz glass of almond milk and drank it down. She claimed she only does it when she feels it, and it takes care of it instantly, and eventually it stopped all together.
I tried it, and my experience was the same. I believe it was only about 3-4 drops (look it up before you do it to make sure) and it tasted kinda bad, but as soon as I did it, it went away! I have used this remedy only a couple more times since then, and only when I have felt palpitations or other sensations in my chest, and it works extremely well. For some reason, the thick milk of either almond or coconut milk (I used coconut milk just because that was what I happened to have) is a great carrier for the marjoram. Also, keep in mind that these oils are super concentrated and really powerful, so just a tiny bit will do.
I also consulted my oil encyclopedia on what to do, and it mentioned to sleep with my diffuser on with both marjoram and lavender oils. Doing this allows me to breathe in the healing affects of both these oils while I sleep.
I got my special Doterra oil diffuser (it can’t be one that heats up; it will make the molecules break down. If you are interested in this, please make sure to get their diffuser because it mists and doesn’t heat) from the woman who ran the workshop I took, but you can easily get the diffuser and the oils off of Amazon.
The reason I mist both misting both marjoram and lavender is because the marjoram is the only one that specifically helps mitral valve prolapse, and lavender is one of the few oils that helps with breaking up calcification all over the body (which we all have anyway!).
Diffusing these will also make you sleep REALLY good because both are good for putting you to sleep. Every time I turn on my diffuser for bed, my boyfriend always tell me the next morning how great he slept. This also is a plus because getting a good night’s rest is excellent for reducing cortisol in your body by reducing stress, which, of course, is good for even the healthiest of hearts. J
- I meditate daily.
This is a big one for me. I know it’s obvious because I am a yoga teacher and I teach meditation and meditation seminars. Here is a great statistic from my meditation seminar: sleep decreases cortisol in your body by about 30%. Meditation decreases cortisol in your body approximately 70%.
Meditation helps you conquer irrational emotions like fear, anger, frustration, worry, guilt, and depression. I teach seminars on what meditation does to your brain, and over and over again MRI studies have shown that regularly meditating decreases the actual amount of grey matter mass in the fear center in your brain (the amygdala), increases grey matter in the logical part of your brain (your neocortex), and heals your brain by helping it to work in a more integrated and holistic way. A brain on meditation is a problem-solving and calm brain, even in the midst of the most challenging situations and circumstances.
I meditate a specific way and will explain that in a moment, but know there are hundreds of ways you can meditate. You can focus on a piece of music and think of ONLY that piece of music from beginning to end. The Heart of the Rose meditation requires you to stare into the center of a rose or another flower for 5 minutes, and challenge yourself to think of NOTHING ELSE but that rose. Coloring books for meditation are popular now. Nature walks are a great moving meditation. Yoga and tai chi work well for some people, and even long distance running, swimming, or cycling is great. There are even apps like Headspace that have different exercises and guided meditations that are meant to get you out of your head and into the present moment. This is the most powerful gift you can give yourself, and I highly recommend it even if you do not have a medical condition affecting you.
I recall a study we looked at in college that had to do with brain tumor patients. Doctors had patients stare at a live image of their brain tumors on a computer screen and they told them to use their mind to concentrate on making it smaller.
Our brains are hugely powerful, and they are our first line of healing.
My favorite way to meditate is breathing exercises and chanting.
One great and easy way to begin a breathing practice is through a practice called box breathing.
I learned box breathing from Greg Amundson when I did the CrossFit Goal Setting course years ago when I first started working at CrossFit Soul. I quickly added this breathing technique to my list of exercises, and have been doing it ever since.
First, sit comfortably. This can be in a chair or on the ground on a cushion or yoga block, or if you are extremely flexible and can sit cross legged for awhile, you may sit all the way down on the ground in half- or full-lotus position.
Close your eyes and relax the muscles of your face.
Breathe in for a count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of four.
Breathe out for a count of four.
Hold your breath out for a count of four.
Repeat this 5 times.
This may be enough for you, or you may wish to add a chanting meditation. I chant with a long, tassled necklace called a mala. Malas have 108 beads. The tassel is the beginning and the end, and holding it in one hand you chant a single word per bead as you flick along the length of the necklace one bead at a time. It can be something simple and in English like “peace,” “heal,” “light,” or anything else with one syllable. It can be “om” or something else in another language. I use the Sanskrit word “srim”, pronounced “shrim”, which means abundance, and I either focus on the vibrational sounds of my voice or I focus on that which I want to make more abundant in my life. Always meditate on health, wealth, and love when meditating for abundance!
This practice has been a game changer for me in all areas of my life that I have wanted to see growth in, and I know it is helping to heal my heart and it’s valves. If our bodies have the ability to change the anatomy of our brains, it also has the ability to heal the anatomy of anything else within us.
- I NEVER max out when lifting weights.
I know this one is obvious, but when I am at my home gym, it can be hard sometimes when my friends are all grunting away under their weights. It can put me in a tight spot, too, because I look strong and I am very strong, but I really can’t push myself under heavy weight.
Do I miss it?
Hell yea, I do!
But I respect myself enough to not do it. I get a great workout in still, and if there is any kind of maxing out programmed at Soul or in a local competition I am doing, I only go to the point just before straining begins. Meaning: I stop before I have to grunt or hold my breath to lift the weight.
I also follow this rule for myself: if it’s a 1 rep max day, I do a 3 day “max”. If it’s a 3 day max day, or heavy triple rep day, I usually do 5. This works great for me, and I feel like I still benefit from the workout at hand. I feel myself getting stronger while still working within my limitations, and it really makes me grateful for the gym where I train and the space they leave for me to lift for me and how I need to.
When I started working with my figure competition trainer, Silvio Schillen, I explained all of this to him, and we do mostly dumbbell work, lots of work on sleds (SUPER easy to practice breathing out here!!) and lots of plyometrics and resistance-band sprinting and jumps. He really knows what he’s doing, and I have been seeing incredible results from the work we do together.
I really try hard to keep my weights right around my body weight for me, which is typically around 135/140, which for me is just challenging enough. I came into CrossFit with a broad strength background behind me from being a sprinter, so having to decrease my weights and give up maxing out was a bummer, but at least I still get to lift weights!
All metcons in CrossFit are safe for me. I go as hard as I like, and I can breathe as hard as I want when I push myself. Breathing hard is safe for me to do, I just can’t strain because straining increases intra-abdominal pressure.
- I NEVER wear a lifting belt.
When I went to CrossFit Soul, I was taught the proper technique for using a lifting belt, which essentially has you holding your breathe and pushing your abdomen against it. Building intra-abdominal pressure is GREAT for midline stabilization, and definitely helps you lift crazy heavy. One of the coaches there, Alex Uslar, has made awesome video blogs dedicated to this practice and has even taught seminars around it.
There is a lot of value to breathing this way and using lifting belts properly when your heart is healthy.
This, however, would be super dangerous for me, so I don’t use one. It’s not safe for me, so I canned it a long time ago.
- I supplement fish oil.
Studies have shown that fish oil is GREAT for keeping bodily tissues soft and supple, and I remember reading right after my diagnosis that it is specifically good for heart muscle and it’s tissues in keeping it soft and pliable. I take at least one fish oil pill per day, right away in the morning with all my greens that I am mentioning in a little bit. I also eat a lot of fish, because getting fish oil in your body is also great for your heart, especially wild caught salmon and white fish. We had a whole section in my nutrition courses in college on the qualities of having a lot of fish in your diet if you have a heart condition. So, eat your seafood!!
- I supplement turmeric.
This is a GREAT natural anti-inflammatory. I learned by accident it is also great for joint injuries, too, like knees, shoulders, and any other body part. Since turmeric is so powerful at reducing inflammation, it can only do good things for my heart. I make sure to take some every day. I even add it to my eggs in the morning. I have read that taking it with black pepper increases it’s absorbancy by over 1000%, I am not sure how true that actually is, but when I add it to my eggs I always make sure to use fresh cracked pepper just in case. And it makes it taste even better, too.
Turmeric is also known to really kick cancer cells in the butt.
- I supplement spirulina, blue green algae, and marine phytoplankton.
These little greenies REALLY changed my life! My energy levels really went through the roof, and I have NO idea what I was deficient in before, but these little guys really make my brain work crazy awesome. I liken these little babies to super-duper-spinach or kale. They are dark green and natural, so I know they are heart healthy. Great for increased oxygen delivery all over your body and lowering your blood pH (by the way, the breathing exercise in the meditation section of this post also decreases blood pH levels) these give a level of vitality that lasts all day I never knew could exist. My memory is better because of these, and my fingernails and hair are much, much stronger. I can only imagine what they are doing to my insides, too. I’m pretty sure that these can and will break up the calcium deposits on my tendons in my mitral valve.
I take spirulina and blue green algae as pills every morning. I add marine phytoplankton droplets to my water. Sometimes I take some in the morning, and others in the afternoon for a pick-me-up. They also create an extra sense of grounding and present-moment awarenss, so are great for meditation. I try to take them before I meditate in the morning. I avoid taking them at night because I am afraid they will keep me awake. I sometimes take chlorella, too, just make sure to take that one with food because it can wreak havoc on your tummy.
Again, these are all great for anyone, you don’t have to have a heart condition to take these.
To read more on these, get David Wolfe’s book, Superfoods.
- I supplement bee products.
Bee products like bee pollen, natural and organic honey, bee propolis, and royal jelly are not only nature’s steroids, they also have great disease-fighting properties, too.
And, yes, you read that right: nature’s steroids.
I didn’t believe it when I read in David Wolfe’s book, Superfoods, that not only do bee products increase your physical strength, but they can also make you look more cut up, so I decided to get some and give it a try.
I swear, whenever I supplement it regularly, I get SO MANY compliments on how fit I look.
Compliments is not the reason why I take it, however. I started getting consistent with this supplement because I didn’t want to lose the strength I had when my lifting habits had to change. I truly believe that this stuff really works, at least it works for me, and I have tested it again and again based on what people say I look like. When I am working out and taking this, a lot of people tell me I look different in a great and strong way. This is a great one for ANYONE looking to be fitter and healthier. Not a direct impact on my heart, but it does have an impact on my performance in the gym and will impact my figure competition, so I leave it in.
Also, we all know cardio exercise is great for heart health, but so is lifting weights. In one sentence, here is why it is important to incorporate both into your exercise routine throughout the week: cardio increases the size of your heart chambers so it can hold more blood, weights increase the thickness of your heart walls, allowing it to contract stronger and more consistently.
- I BELIEVE my heart is healing.
If you take away any single bullet-point from this list, please let it be this one.
If you BELIEVE you are healing, whether it’s a heart condition, an injured knee, a hurt back, a hurt shoulder, calf, tendon, brian, whatever it may be, if you BELIEVE YOU WILL HEAL you WILL HEAL.
And you will heal FASTER.
I am not sure how much this has been actually studied, but I know there are studies out there on this.
This really relates to the brain tumor patients in the bullet point about meditation: patients were placed in front a live computer-imaging screen of their actual brain tumor, and were told to use their brains to think and concentrate to make it smaller. Of course, it worked.
Is this idea a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts?
Of course it is.
Is it sort of placebo effect?
Is it something that might be really hard to ACTUALLY study and have controls for?
Does that mean it isn’t true?
Of course not.
I can write from experience that every single time I have gotten injured and I have believe that it would really affect my performance and my life, it HAS. Meaning: if I focus on and complain about what is ailing my body, it takes A LOT LONGER to heal than if I just shut up, let the pain pass on it’s own, and believe that it is healing well.
In high school I wasn’t ever injured. I just didn’t believe in injury. I knew that if something would happen to me, I would just get up and move on. I would let it heal, and go right back into my work.
In college, something changed, and when I fell at the end of the 50m dash at a track meet and broke my collar bone and bruised a bone in my foot, I thought it was the end of the world.
I continued training on injuries, which, of course, caused even more injuries!
All I did was complain about it, and talk about it to anyone who would listen any chance I got. I lived off the drama of it, and, sure enough, I had all sorts of tendinitis by the time I walked on the my track team at the University of Miami. To make matters worse, the entire time I was there I spent feeling sorry for myself and whining about my injuries and how my coach wasn’t being fair to me because she kept running me with taped ankles and knees. I felt like I was being cheated by her and the school, but in actuality I was just focusing on the bad shit that was happening in my life, most notably my injuries and bodily aches and pains.
Whatever you focus on, you help to grow.
So, if you chose to focus on your pains and ailments and injuries and conditions, that is the experience you increase in your life.
Focusing on how bad my injuries were ended up leaving me with some meniscus trouble, but I ended that pretty effectively by applying this technique coupled with the right training, scale downs, mobility, and yoga.
I just believed my knee was healing, and I pictured it already being perfect.
Whenever my knee caught, I would literally stop what I was doing and speak to it like an insane person. Yes, even when there were people present.
I would stop my workouts, bend over and give it a quick kiss, and tell it I forgave it and that I was sorry, and that I loved it.
Is this the most hippie thing ever to do?
You bet it is.
But you know what?
By CHOOSING to react positively to it, I decrease my cortisol and increase my dopamine and serotonin IMMEDIATELY. Reacting to pain and injury in a negative way increases cortisol, which studies have shown increases the amount of time it takes to heal because you are stressing out. Stress causes you to heal much, much slower. That’s why stress is such a huge factor in cancer and heart disease. It literally makes you sick and injured, and decreases your body’s ability to heal. Exercise is a great stress reducer because it decreases cortisol being dumped into your system and decreases your reaction to stressful life situations.
Yes, this means the hippies have been right all along.
When your injuries flare up, become hopeful they will heal. Believe that they will heal, and they WILL heal, and they will heal faster.
Most importantly, FORGIVE yourself for anything you did to yourself, and specifically tell your affected body part this: “[insert body part here] I forgive you for what I did to you in the past, and I love you!”
Our bodies literally possess everything you need in order to facilitate healing of all kinds, and it is not limited to our joints. I believe I can use this for me heart condition, too.
Whenever I think about my heart, I always think the words: “I am grateful my heart is healthy. My heart is capable of healing. My heart is healed. My heart pumps perfectly each and every pump. I have perfect, healthy tendons on my valves that are clear, healthy, strong, and supple.”
What you choose to believe about your life is what is actually true.
I am working on getting another appointment with my doctor who first discovered my calcification, so hopefully all of this work I have been doing the last 2-3 years is paying off!
I believe that it is. J
So, that is pretty much everything I do in order to maintain heart health and to reverse what had happened to my heart. It’s a process and takes time, but I believe it is definitely working to reverse the damage and bring about healing and a healthy output of blood from my heart chamber and into my blood vessels.
I hope, too, that this post helps with other young, fit individuals who may be experiencing the same thing. I am eternally grateful to CrossFit and especially CrossFit Soul because without this style of training, I may never have become aware of it. Knowing that I have it is truly a blessing, because it allows me to workout in an intelligent and safe way.
And, hopefully, people like us will eventually help pave the way for some future research studies done on young, healthy, fit and strong women and men who are looking for answers.