Malisa McCurdy Loses 40 Pounds During Pandemic, “Better at Everything”

November 3, 2020 by
Courtesy of Malisa McCurdy
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After seeing a Facebook ad in February 2020, 42-year-old Malisa McCurdy finally decided to take the plunge and start CrossFit. Tired of living with low self-confidence and hiding herself behind “basic, homey, stay-at-home mom clothes,” her goal was simple: “I just wanted to lose 20 pounds, and be healthier, happier and feel better,” said McCurdy, who at 5-foot-7 weighed 188 pounds. But after just a handful of weeks of training at 13 Stripes CrossFit in Harrisburg, PA, the gym was forced shut due to COVID-19. 

  • Ordinarily, this would be the time McCurdy, a mother of four children, would give up, like the time she tried cutting out soda, or the time she tried eliminating carbs from her diet. This time, though, she had a secret weapon she didn’t yet know about: support.

One big thing: The moment 13 Stripes CrossFit closed its doors, Coach Nellie Williams began reaching out to McCurdy every day, giving her personalized workouts and “checking in and following up to see if I did them,” said McCurdy, who had never belonged to a gym before CrossFit.

  • McCurdy also signed up for the MyFitnessPal app and began logging what she ate. While she didn’t weigh and measure everything, the information helped Williams provide feedback. “She would look and tell me I wasn’t eating enough protein, so then I’d focus on increasing my protein by having more meat at dinner, or even a high protein, no sugar yogurt, or a protein shake,” McCurdy said. She also focused on cutting out sugary drinks and adding more green vegetables to her diet. 
  • “I had tried so many things before, but I could never do it alone. That was the biggest difference for me this time: the support,” said McCurdy, who is back training in the gym again. This support has come not just from the coaches, but from the entire community. “There are moms like me looking to get in shape, and super fit people, and older people doing mobility, and everyone supports you. That has made all the difference,” she said. 
Courtesy of Malisa McCurdy

The results: Nine months later, McCurdy is down 40 pounds,and I can see muscles in my arms that I didn’t know I had,” McCurdy said. She can also do things she didn’t think she’d ever be able to do, like push-ups and lifting 35 pounds dumbbells. “And even just lifting barbells. I never imagined myself stepping into that world, but now I love it,” she said, adding that her entire family has benefited from her lifestyle change.

  • “My boys joined in on workouts with me during (the lockdown). It was fun. It gave us something to do together, and now they want to join the gym,” McCurdy said. “It really has changed my family and the people around me.”
  • Best of all, though, is the way McCurdy feels about herself. “I go to the mall with my daughter now and it’s actually fun. Before, I only looked at clothes if I needed them, but now I’m putting on skinny jeans with cute little boots…It has boosted my confidence so much and this has made me a better wife, a better mom, just better at everything,” she said.

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