Tammi Saunders


In preparation for my brother’s wedding a few weeks ago, we were looking for old photos for a slide show they played during the reception and I found some photos of me at age 19 or 20. The heaviest I have ever been except during my pregnancies. I posted the throw-back pic and a picture of me about 3 years into my CrossFit journey. The transformation was unbelievable. And truly, until I saw the pictures side by side, I didn’t realize how far I had come or how significantly my life had changed. That just a few weeks shy of 48 years old, after smoking for 25 years, a lengthy battle with an eating disorder, the birth of two children and some major life disappointments, that this was where my journey had taken me….to the best mental and physical place I have ever been. How did CrossFit Dubuque transform my entire life? Simple….I  let it.

I stopped listening to that little voice in my head that had ruled my life. That kept me trapped in a scarcity mentality. A mindset that  I will never be enough, have enough, do enough, look good enough. That little voice that tells you they’ll all laugh at you, that you’ll look ridiculous, you’ll embarrass yourself. That tells you that you’re too fat, that you can’t do it. That says ‘who do you think you are????’

I finally told her. I’m Tammi mutha fu$&in Saunders and I came for everything you said I couldn’t have!
It’s a slow process. Some days I can shut her up quite easily. I can hit a  PR or kill a Wod and tell her to go **** herself. But then there are other days, the shitty days . That everything is 100 times heavier and I feel 100 times slower, that are hardest! That is when she is the loudest and relentless.

The changes don’t happen overnight and there are long stretches that feel like you are in mud and making no progress. And that is where the community that is CFD comes into play! I can say, unequivocally, without hesitation, that I would not still be doing CrossFit if it were not for the investment of my coaches and and my CFD family. The encouragement, accountability, and the love are what keep me coming back.

Two of the people I started my journey with,  Charlie Daoud, and my daughter Jamese Saunders are my biggest cheerleaders (each other’s, really). We know exactly where each other started and how far we have come. We have seen each other at our absolute worst and our absolute best. And they motivate me more than they probably realize.

CrossFit is f****** hard! The kind of hard that makes you question why you are even doing this? It’s honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It pushes you further than you think you can go. It tests your will and demands that you step outside your comfort zone every time you show up. But let me tell you this…there is an amazing empowerment in doing what once wasn’t a possibility. There is an overwhelming sense of pride when you get that lift or finally nail a new skill. When you take a risk and set fear aside and just be open to the possibility that you can be more.

That is the beauty of CrossFit . We ARE each other keepers. We all celebrate each other successes as well as losses. We build one another up. It is a place where I feel I can be my most authentic self. A place where I can show up and be seen……Where I am always enough .

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