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goodrTIMES

When I was first asked to write this piece about ‘being a beast,’ I figured it would be simple, because I’ve heard this word used to describe me for as long as I can remember. But then I started to think... What the hell is a beast? Have I been called this because I impress people as an athlete? Or is it because I have not gone more than two days without training in... ever? Or maybe it’s because I was an MMA fighter and I just scare the shit out of people? I honestly had no idea until I really thought about it, but I think I have it figured out.

By my definition, to be a ‘beast’ in an athletic sense, you have to be willing to push your limits beyond what an average human would consider safe. You have to know exactly what you want to achieve physically, and be able to get yourself there mentally. You need to accept the idea that injury is likely, and know that if you lose you are probably NOT going to be okay. So pretty much, you have to be a complete psycho, and own it. And now I get it, because thaaaaaat’s me!

I look back on many of the things I have done in my life, and I often question my mental sanity. I spent the vast majority of my childhood in the gym, and I cannot remember complaining about it a single time. From the age of 3 to 16, I spent an average of 7 hours daily, training gymnastics. I only went to school for 4 hours a day, where I had maybeeee five good friends in total over the span of 13 years. I never stayed for lunch, I didn’t even know what PE was because I never had to take it. Instead, I was injured every other month with some sort of cast on my body. I got yelled at for hours a day being told I wasn’t performing well enough. I ate fast food for every meal because it’s all I had time for. I did homework from 9pm to at least midnight every single day, only to go through it all again the next morning. I conditioned with my coaches to the point of tears almost daily. I was a child who did not have a childhood. And I LOVED IT!

Fast forward to 16 years old after a career-ending hand injury, here is a girl who grew up way too fast, and all she had ever known was taken away from her. I was lost as fuck; I had WAY too much time on my hands, no real friends at school... and now I had to take PE?? WTF is that?! Long story short, it was my bright idea to quit eating for the next four years, and completely throw away the impressive and strong body I had worked hard for my entire life up until this point.

Now again, here comes the psycho. I didn’t let the lack of calories stop me from training. Nope, not even for a day. In fact, I would get on the elliptical or treadmill for a minimum of 2 hours a day, oftentimes passing out. I got kicked out of two different gyms for constantly passing out on their equipment and putting myself in danger. Which now that I think about it, might be the most ridiculous thing ever. But again... Psycho.

Anyhow, my selfish ass finally got over myself and started eating again like a normal human after a year away from the toxic life I had created for myself. I moved to Europe for a year, and there I was reminded of what my life could, and should be. It was time to buckle down and figure out what I wanted to make of myself, knowing that once I nailed it down, I would do WHATEVER it took to get there. So, don’t ask me how, but becoming a Professional MMA Fighter was that thing!

There I went, spending the next four years of my life torturing my body in a much healthier fashion than the previous; although I suppose that could be argued. I fought eight times during this time period, winning seven of them, but not one of which I came out of without some sort of broken bone or torn ligament. My first fight ever, I tore my MCL. Second, I broke my hand on a girl's face in the first round, then proceeded to knock her out in the second round with that same hand. Somewhere in the mix there was a broken nose, a few broken fingers, a fucked up back and shoulder, and then the final straw... a broken ankle three days before my final fight in Kansas CIty for Invicta. I would love somebody to tell me why it took 4 years and over 10 serious injuries to realize that MMA fighting was not the right career choice for me, but whatever. Maybe I was hit in the head too many times to figure my shit out before my first loss. Live and ya learn. But again... PSYCHO.
So finally, here I am today. A little over three years into CrossFit, and I can finally say with a bit of certainty, I have started down the right path for ME. People are constantly still telling me I am a beast, only now my face is not smashed in while hearing it. I still train five hours a day, but I am also pursuing my full-time career in real estate development. I still have a 6 pack and am stronger than ever, but I am not 95 pounds and starving myself to death, passing out on cardio machines. Instead I am 160 pounds of muscle, and I enjoy sprinkling donuts and cheeseburgers in with my chicken and broccoli. I am happy and healthy, and I can now look back on the entirety of my life and trace exactly how I got to where I am today. I am confident in myself and have finally gotten to the place where I can honestly say that I do not regret any of the decisions I made in my past. No matter how unhealthy or stupid, today I FEEL like a beast. Still sometimes injured, often pushing boundaries beyond what is considered ‘safe’ by the general public, definitely a little bit psycho, but most importantly, a lot of bit motivated and mentally strong. I am ME :)

What else do ya wanna know about Madison?

Madison McElhaney is an exemplar BEAST. She is a baller personal trainer, CrossFit, and nutrition coach at Paradiso CrossFit in Culver City and Venice, CA. She recently CRUSHED in the 2021 Granite Games and is the best dog mama to her little nugget named Peanut. Oh and she’s one of the programmers for the upcoming Paradiso Summer Classic comp! << You should probably sign up. But FIRST! Give her a follow on IG @madfitt_!

Madison wearing goodr sunglasses

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