The Love/Hate Relationship CrossFit Women Have with their Bodies

I recently came across an article about how CrossFit women should be proud of their bodies, have less body issues than other women, and are strong. It was written very definitively about how women who CrossFit love their strong bodies.

I’m here with the counter-argument: CrossFit women have just as many body issues as other women (maybe more so since our bodies do change significantly when you continue with CrossFit). We struggle just as much with nutrition and food choices. We do care what we look like in terms of makeup. Clothes shopping is much harder with a CrossFit body.

There is one difference NOT noted in the article:

CrossFit women have a love/hate relationship with their bodies that other women do not.

WHY CROSSFIT WOMEN LOVE/HATE THEIR BODIES

  • We are stared at. Usually in a leering way, not in a healthy way. Women either are
    CrossFit hotties at CrossFit Competition doing box jumps
    CrossFit Box Jumps

    jealous or think we look gross. Men look at us like men look at other women — they just stare longer since we DON’T look like other women they see too often.

  • Clothes don’t fit. I have given up trying to find jeans that will go over my calves and my thighs. I live in yoga pants. I have given up trying to find nice-fitting T-shirts that are small but fit my shoulders. Dresses have to be the right cut or my muscles look horrible in them.
  • Food is a real struggle. Adhering to a strict diet is a test of mental strength, which after doing a CrossFit WOD which puts us on the floor, is a battle many of us don’t have the strength for. How your body looks is all about food. Period. If you don’t eat right, you won’t look right no matter the hours you throw down at the gym.
  • We are strong but still want to be delicate flowers. I am strong. I can lift heavy items. But I don’t outside the box. Why? Because I’m a woman who wants a man to lift heavy things for me when the need arises. I don’t want to have to lift MORE heavy items after the gym.
  • Our changing bodies yield body insecurities. When people first started telling me, “Hey, Jen. You’re ripped!” I didn’t realize how muscular I had become. It was definitely an acceptance process. Now, as I lift heavier, my lats are thicker, my shoulders wider, my legs bigger. It’s an on-going battle women CrossFitters face.

It’s a fact if you lift heavy weights, you’ll gain muscle. Muscle is bulk. You will look different than your average woman. Some women I know quit CrossFit because they don’t like what CrossFit does to their bodies. Anyone who tells you you won’t bulk up is lying to you. This is part of accepting your body as it does gain muscle. And this is part of CrossFit.

CrossFit will Change Your Body

Go into CrossFit with your eyes open. Learn about it. Read and study about lifting weights. Read about the metabolic pathways. Then decide if CrossFit is for you.

You all know I love CrossFit. I love what CrossFit does for me. I love how my body looks. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle to accept how I look, to not be critical, to think I’m fat, etc.

We all have baggage we carry from childhood into adulthood and from society. It’s a mindset we all have to overcome.

It’s Not About How My Body Looks…

It’s about what it can do.

We all care about how we look.

Unless you grew up in a cornfield.

It’s ingrained in us since childhood from society and culture.

You can’t escape it.

It’s a given I don’t look like most women.  Most women don’t lift heavy weight.

When I first started CrossFit, I never thought about my body or what would happen to it.  I just love the sport and went every day.  It wasn’t until people started commenting on my physique that I started to pay attention.  I started looking around.  It was then that I noticed I had changed.  Big time.

A lot of women don’t do CrossFit because they don’t want to look like me.  I get that.

But for me, it’s about what my body can do.  I can do pull ups.  I can squat heavy.  I can do muscle ups.  I can deadlift.  I can run.  I can do almost every move.  And I’m strong.

I’m proud of my hard work.  And it shows.  When I can do something others can’t, it makes me feel special.  But it also is a reward for all the hard work I do.

Ask anyone who knows me:  I work harder than most.  I’m in the box before and after the WOD.  I work out at home.  I do skills every day.  Rarely do I have a day off without doing anything.

All this culminates in muscle ups and heavy snatches and pull ups and double unders and handstand walks.

This is why I’m so excited about the Open.  I want to know just how far I’ve come since last year compared to others my age.  I want to know that my sacrifices are worth it.

My body takes a beating.  No question about it.  If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve read all about my pulled muscles, strained ligaments and tendons, soreness, bruises, rips, etc.  CrossFit does this to you.

CrossFit also changes your body.  If you lift heavy weights, it has to.

But none of that matters.

All that matters to me is how CrossFit makes me feel.  I feel empowered.  I feel strong.  I feel capable of accomplishing any task in my life.  My self-esteem is at an all time high.  I believe in myself.  So much so I’m running for Town Board in my town.

All this because of a sport that challenges the brain as much as the body.

If it’s not hard work, then you’re wasting your time.womens-crossfit-body-920x920

Push yourself in all aspects of life.

You only live once.  Make the most of it.  Do what makes you feel accomplished and beautiful and strong and healthy and a contributing member of society.

For me, that’s CrossFit.

What is it for you?