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Molly Tilove

Molly Tilove

 

Name

Molly Tilove

Sport

CrossFit

Current Sponsors

Kinetik Collective, United Lifters, Kimera Koffee, Marc Pro, Fran Denim, LYFT-RX, Gym Gypsy

Location

Orange County, CA

 

How old are you? 

28

Where were you born/where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Santa Clarita, about 30 minutes north of Los Angeles.

How/Why did you get introduced to CrossFit? What drives your passion for the sport?

Growing up I never played sports, and did my best in high school to find ways to ditch my PE class. Being naturally petite, I didn’t understand why I should work out if I wasn’t looking to “lose weight”. In college, my eating habits changed and I realized I needed to start working out if I wanted to maintain my current weight. I started running in the evenings after class, and slowly made working out a daily habit. I kept up the running for the next several years, running anywhere from 4-8 miles daily. By the time I graduated from college, I had completed both a half-marathon and a full-marathon.

After the full marathon, a friend (who also had run a few marathons) suggested I try out CrossFit. A new gym was opening near to where I was living at the time, and she thought it would be a good match for me. The WOD in my first class was a couplet of pushups and sprints. I felt like SUCH a badass when class was over. I LOVED it. I came back to sign up the next morning and haven’t looked back! I am passionate about CrossFit because of how much it has helped me with body image and confidence.

Growing up, I always struggled with feeling insecure and worrying that whatever I did wasn’t good enough. I spent a large chunk of my 20’s battling eating and exercise disorders, trying to fit some ideal I had concocted in my head of what “pretty” and “attractive” was. CrossFit helped me break so many of those stigmas about needing to look a certain way to feel accepted – CrossFit doesn’t care how big or little you are. It doesn’t care if you’ve got love handles, or cellulite, or thighs that touch. CrossFit cares about how quickly you can move, how much weight you can move, how many reps you can do. I quickly learned that if I wanted to get better at CrossFit and at weightlifting, I would need to change my relationship with food and with my body. It took years of work, but I overcame a lot of those demons and am now in a place where I have a great relationship with food and body image.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?  

Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. I have always really struggled with a fear of failure, and still do. I hate coming off as weak, in any sense. But if I don’t take risks, then what am I doing?! I am always consciously working at making decisions out of passion/love and less out of fear.

In your experiences what have you learned that has made the biggest positive change in your life? What are the keys to success and the struggles that you have encountered?

By far, the experience that has had the most profound effect on my life has been overcoming past eating disorders. From 19 to about 25, I struggled both openly and secretly with them. My sophomore year of college, I started a diet to help lose the couple of pounds I had put on while living off dining hall food. The diet grew more restrictive, and I began working out more. The diet turned into this restriction game where my goal each day was to eat less calories than I had the day before, and to log extra workout time than I had the day before. Before I knew it, I had let it spiral so far out of control and had lost a scary amount of weight. I couldn’t turn off that voice telling me to restrict and to workout. I developed a complete fear of gaining weight, even though I was miserable being so skinny. The anorexia changed who I was – it ruined relationships, it ruined friendships. It had become my priority. I had trouble being social, I was so self-conscious of the way I looked, and I felt incredibly trapped. I saw therapists and dieticians for months, always just BARELY hitting the goals they were setting for me. As I worked with them, I gradually began putting on weight. I was always given a calorie goal for the day, and had a terrible habit of eating maybe 100 calories throughout the day, then eating the rest of them in the evening. Eating 500, 600, or 700 calories at a time (which back then was the most daunting task ever) was creating this horrible binge pattern. My brain would tell me to restrict during the day, but by the evening I felt guilty for not hitting my dietician’s numbers, so I would binge.

As I pulled away from the anorexia, the restrictive/binging cycle continued. I was eating more during the day, but I would still binge right before bed. I couldn’t NOT do it. I was back at my pre-anorexia weight, and looked “normal” again, but still secretly struggled with the binging. This kept up secretly for years. It was something I was embarrassed to share with anyone, because it seemed so stupid. Like- JUST DON’T DO IT. But I still thought about food all day long, I still struggled with eating proper portions at meal times, and still would feel the need to go to bed super full. Taking very, very small steps away from the disordered eating habits were the keys in repairing that relationship with food and my body. Focusing on CrossFit and weightlifting, focusing on my relationships, and challenging myself daily with my food habits all helped. There was no single moment of clarity that “made me better”, or where I realized, “Hey, I no longer have an eating disorder!”. Rather, the binges started to become fewer and farther between, I began to eat more intuitively, and I found myself focusing less on food.

The last year or two, I have shared my story pretty openly with the internet. SELF magazine did an interview with me after seeing an IG post about the EDs, and many people were able to read about what I went through. The amount of girls (and even guys!) that have reached out to me since the first time I shared is astounding. It is AMAZING how many people struggle, often in secret, with the same things I have. It’s just something that is not commonly talked about. I have made so many new friends by having open conversations about this stuff. These girls have changed me and motivated me, and encourage me to keep sharing what I have been through.

What advice do you want to give others who want to make changes in their life and fitness journey?

Success in anything is never linear. So often it feels like you are taking one step forward and then two steps back. But taking small baby steps, and making little changes every day, all add up over time. It doesn’t feel like it until you look back and see just how much change all those little things amount to.

Who inspires you most and why?

Who inspires you most and why? My husband! He is the hardest worker. He does everything he can to provide an amazing life for our family. He is so BRAVE, and has dealt with some really hard and scary things in his line of work. He never lets those things discourage him or hold him back. He stays passionate, through even the hardest days, and he never lets fear of anything stop him. His work ethic inspires me, because I want to make him as proud as he makes me.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years within the sport of CrossFit?

Still having a ton of fun! I am not extremely focused on the competitive aspect of the sport – I started it originally because I loved it! And I think it’s key to keep that component in the forefront of my training. I am starting to venture more into the weightlifting side of the sport as well, so I am excited to see where that will lead!

What are your favorite things to do outside of the gym?

I run a small business, and I absolutely love it! It takes up the majority of my time, but the reward of being my own boss is truly the best feeling. My husband and I are total foodies, so we love traveling around SoCal and finding amazing new restaurants. I also love spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, and doing anything that’s creative!

How does being a CrossFit Athlete impact the other aspects of your life?

CrossFit has taught me to be more confident. I feel like that has poured over into so many other areas in my life, including relationships and in business. There are things I am doing now that I would have never imagined myself doing a few years ago, and I think that’s due to my newfound confidence!

How does your nutrition & supplementation fuel your performance?

Nutrition and supplementation are key for me. I follow a flexible diet, which helps me be sure that I am getting in the proper nutrients. There are times where there are gaps and my diet, and supplementing helps fill those in! If you are eating a crap diet, supplements will not solve that. But I do believe if you are doing your best to maintain a healthy diet, supplementation can be key in filling in any missing pieces and help get you to that next level.

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

While I do keep a pretty healthy and well-rounded diet, I do leave room in my macros for ice cream every night. I spent seven years working at various ice cream/ frozen yogurt shops when I was younger! It has ALWAYS been my favorite food!

What sets you apart from everyone else?

This is a tough one! I think I have a realistic sense of the goals I set, and I don’t stop working at something that I am truly passionate about. I know what I want out of life, and I know how to go after it!

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