You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, we have all heard it from someone at some point… ‘CrossFit makes women look gross.’ You’ve probably also found yourself in situations defending your love for CrossFit to people who say, ‘CrossFit is a cult. CrossFit made me too muscular. CrossFit isn’t a figure flattering sport for a woman.’ I’ve heard it first hand from other females who are actually close friends of mine. At first when I heard people saying these things, I would immediately start to rage, almost to the point of tears. I have never felt more strong, beautiful and confident – so why did these comments bother me so bad?
Whenever I go out to a bar and see people from college, I usually get someone coming up to me and uncomfortably squeezing my arms as they lower their voice to be ‘more masculine’ and say, ‘Wow, you are buff, are you just lifting a ton of weights or what?’ or ‘ Do you only eat protein?’ and for the longest time it made me upset, because I felt as if they were mocking me in a way. Mocking something I was so passionate about and something that made me feel so good about myself.
I’ve also seen hundreds of blogs online with tips on ‘how to CrossFit without getting bulky’ or ‘How to get a feminine CrossFit body’…WHAT? I mean, I’d be remiss to believe that most people don’t start CrossFit with the intention of losing weight and looking good naked, so I suppose the bloggers are doing a great job of ‘selling’ CrossFit to the audience weary of the ‘scary muscular woman figure.’
But after hundreds of blogs read, conversations (turned arguments) had, uncomfortable arm squeezes and chest bumps experienced, I have realized a few things things:
- People who haven’t tried CrossFit have no idea how it can change your life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I shouldn’t expect them to know anything more then what they see on TV.
- I am proud of my muscles and ripped hands, and don’t in any way shape or form feel gross or manly. My muscles and hands represent hard work;
- I am stronger, happier and more confident now than I have ever been in my life;
- I want to make sure I never make anyone else feel anything less than empowered and awesome;
- Strength represents so much more than just muscles.
If the bar conversations lasted longer than 10 minutes, this is what I would tell those who mock my muscles and love for CrossFit:
In February of 2008, I competed at my very last high school gymnastics meet (TEN years ago!). When the meet was over, I cried uncontrollably as I realized I would never do gymnastics again. I felt that I had no purpose. Fast forward 10 years and I can still do a standing back flip…Multiple standing back-flips…Multiple standing back-flips after doing multiple dead-lifts, actually (thank you, CrossFit!).
CrossFit keeps the gymnast alive inside of me – the one I was so devastated to let go in 2008. CrossFit constantly strengthens my mind – encouraging me to never stop trying to chase my dreams, no matter how many years go by. CrossFit grows my circle of influence by connecting me with those who only support me (what an awful cult to be a part of…sarcasm).
Most importantly, CrossFit borrows me more time with my loved ones – gives my parents the strength to keep up with their grand kids and keeps them around to experience the major milestones in my life.
I am stronger now than I was 10 years ago. However, my muscles are an after-thought when it comes to CrossFit… CrossFit has lit the fire inside of me that was missing for some time. It has encouraged me to become fearless. It has helped me remove the ‘what-if’s’ and turn them to ‘why not’s?’
I encourage others to try CrossFit, so they can dig deep to light the fire inside of them that might be missing, so they can chase their dreams!
Your muscular, weight lifting, protein eating, back-flipping, friend Lizzy