I see all the eyes rolling right now. I know why. Those crazy overly obsessed people bug the shit out of me too. But just read on. I promise I have something to say of value beyond some cultish explanation of why crossfit is the best.
I grew up in an era where skinny was best. Kate Moss was the ideal. Yet I have never been thin. The word most commonly used for me was “athletic” which I regarded as an insult. It was just another way of saying I was big. And yet my body, which I hated for so long, took me some pretty cool places. It paid for the majority of my college. It let me meet some incredible people, learn some tough yet life changing lessons, and it created two of the most amazing people I have ever met. As I think about what my body, my “athletic” body, has done for me, I get emotional. I never could have done any of this if I had been skinny. Yet for the last 30+ years of my life, I looked at myself in the mirror (and on the scale) and found everything I wanted to change about it. The only thing I ever thought wasn’t bad was my boobs. And well, kids killed those.
Enter crossfit. I started doing it half assed after I started dating my now husband. I had gained some weight after college due to my inability to adjust my eating habits from a college athlete to a person who did not exercise 3+ hours a day. I also drank a lot because I was completely lost (a conversation for another day about identity issues with graduating athletes). I played around with crossfit style workouts it for the next 9 years through law school, corporate jobs, babies, etc. However, after baby #2, and truly understanding the power and amazingness of my body, I decided to commit to a gym and see what happens
This was last year. In one year, crossfit has been life changing. Not because I can do hand stand pushups (which I can’t), or because I can snatch 120# (which I can’t), but because every day I push my body to try something new and improve on something. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I don’t and surprise myself. I also do it in the company of incredible people who encourage me, bring me up when I have a bad day, and challenge me to be better than yesterday. And most life changing for me, it honors and values a strong capable body, not some unachievable ideal of a skinny body. Having a strong body is beautiful in this community. No one is admiring the thigh gap. Instead, I am constantly impressed by my gym friends with their ability to improve, overcome self doubt, and develop some muscles. I’m no longer worried about losing 5 or 10 lbs. Instead I am excited to see what new skill or PR I can beat this month.
Taking a new approach to working out has liberated me to look at my body in a whole new light. I am still not skinny. I would still call myself athletic. But I am strong. I am in my 30s and can honestly say I don’t hate my body. I respect it and take care of it in a way I never have. By not looking at myself negatively, I have given myself permission to treat it well with working out and eating right and not drinking too much. Novel concept . . .
So thank you, crossfit. You have challenged me in ways that have brought me to tears. But you have also allowed me to create a community, challenge myself daily, and for the first time, not put any value on the number on the scale.