Getting Comfortable in My Skin a conversation with Crystel Armenta

Crystel Armenta: Handstandologist

Crystel Armenta is a wife, mother and all around Wonder Woman! Crystel has come a long way in her home workout journey, losing over 100lbs and overcoming depression along the way. Learn the story of how she got comfortable in her skin.

Crystel Armenta doing a handstand in her Garage Gym Life logo tank top and Garage Gym Life Women's Compression shortsCrystel, you seem to be abnormally fond of handstands. Over the course of your lifetime, how many pictures do you think you’ve taken where your feet are closer to the sun than your head is?

I am really fond of handstand, it’s amazing what the body can do. I did a lot of handstand don’t know how many.

One of my favorite pictures is of you doing a front lever at the top of your stairs. Another cool one is where you’re doing a pose from #CatsPeacockSeries. Do you randomly just do gymnastics at home?

Yes I do randomly do gymnastics at home. Mostly with my daughter so we can learn together. I really like doing this with my day because it causes mother daughter bonding time.

Did you do gymnastics growing up or is that something that came along with doing Crossfit?

No, I did not do gymnastics growing up. It just happen to come along with Crossfit. One of the main reasons I love Crossfit is because of the varieties of stuff you do each day and it’s never the same. You can get gymnastics, weight training and more in just one workout.

Speaking of Crossfit, Crystel, you said that you love to run and your new passion is Crossfit. How long have you been running and how did you get into Crossfit? Was it through Street Parking?

I have been running for 11 years and have ran a couple of marathons. I was 210 lbs after I had my daughter. Single mom and depressed. I had to change for her. I had to be mentally and physically fit for my daughter and that’s when I fall in love with fitness. I have always wanted to join Crossfit but could never work up the nerves to. Finally I did get the nerves to and went to a local Crossfit box, Crossfit Renatus, I am still a member and love it!  One day I found Street Parking and fell in love with it. And when they started their online coaching I was super excited; was a member  from day one!

 A lot of online coaches advertise private Instagram and Facebook groups but since Miranda and Julian were Crystel Armenta doing snatches in her Garage Gym Life Logo Tanktopgracious enough to allow me to peek inside the group, I can attest that you all have something special going on over there. Talk to me about what being a member of Street Parking means for you.

Street Parking is simple with little equipment and beats trying to figure out what I am going to do every morning! I met a lot of friends in Street Parking—  a lot of amazing moms! We have our own Facebook account; it’s like our own little community.

Talk about the alphabet challenge you did. That looked like a lot of fun; especially since you were able to do it with your daughter. Who came up with it, what are the rules, how often do you do it etc.

Doing the alphabet challenge through The Movement Athlete, it was a great way to get over my fear of being upside down plus it was bonding time with my girl.

Doing elevated squats on two chairs in the living room has got to be one of the most epic mom life moments! I’ve been doing them with a T handle for years but never knew the name (I’ve just been calling them, “Those” as in I did 3×20 of Those).  Anyway, that day you said in the caption, “Kids woke up early just as I was about to leave for a run #momlife so did a Metcon and ended it with some glute work!” I know that your kids are older now but a lot of moms just give up in those situations because they feel defeated about not being able to workout AND be what they see as a good parent. Talk about how you were able to find that balance.

One thing I notice about other moms they use their kids as their excuse they’re my reason. Yes it is hard to fit it in your busy schedule but you have to be flexible. Now that my kids are getting older I have less time baseball, gymnastics homework etc… the key word is to be flexible..

Crystel wearing Garage Gym Life Women's Compression ShortsYou seem to enjoy challenging yourself, which I’d say is common among Crossfitters, from the one arm hang to “Riley” (1.5 mile run/150 burpees/1.5 mile run with a weighted vest). Then there’s the one mile sled drag with 90lbs. What’s the hardest thing you’ve conquered since you started Crossfit? Did it surprise you that you could do it and what did that experience teach you about yourself?

The hardest part of doing Crossfit is starting it but once you start you realize what your body and mind is capable of. Or what it could be capable of. When I first started I had no strength . . .  couldn’t do a pull-up or push-up. Now i do weighted pull-ups and a lot more things I thought I couldn’t do. Crossfit gave me the confidence boost I needed so badly and I love how my kids join me and try to do the thing I can do now.

 You really opened up about your struggle with diastasic recti and your insecurities about your midsection. Talk about how you were able to finally accept that it’s okay to not have a “six pack” all the time no matter what Instagram filters would have you believe.

I reached my goal at 8% body fat and was down to 120lbs. It made me realize my diastasic recti didn’t go away—  I didn’t get a 6 pack. One out of three women have that—  why am I killing myself to become something everyone thinks they should look like? I am happy being a mom and becoming better for myself. So that’s what I focus more on now. I still get days when I am not happy with how I look but I expect it. It’s a learning process. This whole time I thought I would be happy if I was skinnier. I am happy being with my kids enjoying life with them. Being me. I love fitness, I like how it makes me feel, but being so strict just made me cranky, ha ha!

You mentioned that it was helpful for you to see health coach Ashley Nowe open up about diastasic recti. I checked her out and I really like her stuff especially for new moms! How did you find her?

Crystel Armenta flexes after a workout in her garage

Ashley Nowe actually found me on Instagram. I checked her profile and found her to be amazing. Seeing that made me realize I am not the only one with a diastasic recti.

Let’s talk about your gym. I know that you also visit a Crossfit Box in town but talk about the evolution of your garage setup. What were the first things you bought to exercise at home?

The first thing I bought was a kettlebell,  two little 8 lb dumbbells and a pull-up bar that hooks on the door.

Have you sold anything and later realized that you probably should have kept it?

Haven’t sold any of my gym and not planning to! I work full time and a mom of 3 kids so it’s hard to get to the box that’s why I always did stuff at home.

 You can follow Crystel’s training on Instagram @23crystel.

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on