Maxing out your physical capacity and movement proficiency won’t mean much without a healthy perspective on it all. That’s exactly what makes former elite Games athlete Kelly Graham’s book HopeRX’D a must-read for the CrossFitter. While training for the 2014 Games, the now 52-year-old Graham suffered two serious disc injuries in her cervical spine and, poof, her competitive career was over (or so many of us thought). But while her body was banged up, her mental strength grew that much stronger. Hence the genesis of HopeRX’D, which she describes as “Chicken Soup for the CrossFit Soul.”
In an exclusive interview this past winter (posted below), Graham discussed her new book as well as where she’s at in her own personal journey. She’s since gone on to qualify for the 2016 CrossFit Games in the Masters Women 50–54 division. Quite a comeback story!
What made you want to do this book?
A friend of mine brought me the book The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, and it was this book that inspired me to take my injury and find a way to turn it into an opportunity. I realized that what was done, was done, but I still had control over how I reacted to this misfortune. I wanted to create a book that would not only make a reader feel good, but was also powerful enough to help others who are facing challenges. Jack had created Chicken Soup for the Soul, so I knew this was a proven format for a motivational book and there was nothing yet like it for the CrossFit community. We all know that every box has at least one great story of a member turning his or her life around with the help of the community and the programming. So I began my journey to create Hope RX’D. After 14 months of searching and reaching out to approximately 1,000 gyms, I had enough stories to fill a book. I hired an independent publisher and my book was placed on Amazon.com on September 1, 2015.
Where is your fitness/training at now?
Today my training includes most functional fitness movements. I began with riding a stationary bike, then added planking, air squats, push-ups, pistols, strict pull-ups and so on. This progression has taken me 16 months. I added barbell work at 14 months, introducing light cleans and deadlifts. I still avoid anything heavy overhead, and the one thing that may always be dangerous for me are handstand push-ups. I’ve done a lot of strict work, but little lifting. Nerve compression has left some muscles still unresponsive in my back and arm, which affects overall strength, especially grip strength. My goal is to be able to complete all movements that are required in the 2016 Open. I’m not putting any pressure on myself regarding ranking — I just want to participate. I hope to someday return to the CrossFit Games. If I don’t, though, that’s okay. I’m finding so much fulfillment in this very unexpected journey I’m on. [Editor’s note: Since this interview, and mentioned above, Graham has in fact qualified for the 2016 Games in the Masters Women 50–54 division.]
What do you want people to take away from Hope RX’D?
Hope RX’D is a book that has the potential to inspire many people, regardless of their interests. The functional-fitness community is the common underlying thread, but Hope RX’D is not a book about fitness. It’s a collection of motivating and uplifting stories from around the world. Each of the 48 contributing authors worked with me to tell their story about how they overcame or faced adversity and challenges in a positive way. The contributors have made themselves vulnerable to the world in an effort to inspire and encourage anyone who is facing difficult times or who may just need a boost in their day! It is really a book about the strength of the human spirit and the strength of community. Each story is so varied. I’m confident that everyone will make a strong connection to this book.
For more information on Kelly Graham or her book Hope RX’D, visit www.hoperxd.com. Hope RX’D can be purchased in paperback and Kindle on amazon.com, amazon.ca and several European amazon.com sites.