For the Ladies

In the past few days I have been thinking a lot about what I want out of CrossFit, and I’ve realized that a lot of my frustration in the past few days has come from feeling like I’m not seeing the physical results that I’ve wanted. Of course, I wouldn’t admit to myself that I’d been expecting any certain physical changes to take place, because that sounds shallow. I shouldn’t be doing CrossFit just because I want a six-pack, or just because I would love for my shoulders to get just a little bit wider so I would stop dropping purses and tank top straps off their narrow, sloping edges.

I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t qualify her body by saying, “I wear a size 26,” but by saying, “I can do Fran unbroken,” or “I just power cleaned more than my bodyweight.” To me, those measurements should be more important than the size of my hips. And yet at the same time, I can’t help but want those cosmetic things too.

I’m sure many of you have seen it already, but yesterday CrossFit HQ posted an awesome video to their YouTube channel about strong women. It totally inspired me to let go of the superficial expectations I’ve been subconsciously imposing on myself.


As women, we want to be strong without giving up our femininity. How weird is it that we feel like we have to pick?


12 thoughts on “For the Ladies

  1. I watched this video yesterday and was just reflecting on it today. It made me realize how much CrossFit has changed my mindset in that respect. I have always had body image issues and had worked out over the years primarily because I was afraid that if I didn’t I would get fat. Since starting Crossfit 4 months ago that’s totally gone away and now I’m focused on making performance gains rather than worrying about my physique. It has made me an overall more confident person. It was cool to see that highlighted in the video. Also, love the last sentence of this post. Why should we have to feel like we can’t be “feminine” AND strong? Thanks for the always great posts! (and sorry for the long comment). 🙂

    • Psh, I loved your long comment! 🙂
      I totally know where you’re coming from. I also have always worked out to some extent, less motivated by a desire to be healthy and more by a fear of “getting fat.” A few months into CrossFit, I wrote a post about how I realized that my body’s worth wasn’t defined by how I looked, and how liberating it felt to finally realize that. But at the time that I wrote that, I was seeing huge physical changes–dropping pants sizes and gaining muscle–so it was easy for me to say that my physical appearance wasn’t a motivator because it was all changing very quickly, too. Those changes have slowed way down in the past month or two, and turns out I guess I’d been holding onto more of those cosmetic expectations than I realized!

  2. I bookmarked that pic yesterday when I saw it on Twitter.. I planned on using it in a post soon – I promise I didn’t steal it from you 😉
    That is such a beautiful video! I’m writing a guest post for another blogger (runner/yoga-er) on why women need to strength train. I don’t do Crossfit officially (though I’ve done some CF workouts), but lifting weights alone has given me so much more confidence. I think muscles are hot on a girl, and I know I feel pretty darn good about myself and what I’ve accomplished. You should feel so good about what you do and how you look as a result of it. You eat clean, you train hard, and I don’t think you have a thing to worry about your size if you’re fit and healthy!

    • Haha, even if you DID steal it from me, I wouldn’t care! I obviously didn’t create it on my own, either 🙂
      I definitely am working on telling myself that if I just focus on training and eating healthy, the shape of my body will work itself out. And I also had to sit myself down and realize that I have really not been holding my diet to a very high standard, which is a HUGE factor that I obviously have a lot more control over than I like to be accountable for.

      • Plus, I’m sure you’ve made big progress in how your body looks now compared to how it did before you did Crossfit. I took pics of me in February (I’m thin, so didn’t think my body would change much), but in 4 months, I started to notice more definition when I compared pics. I didn’t notice the day to day changes, but comparing start to finish was a big difference. So it’s possible you just don’t see the big progress yet in your own eyes!

  3. Alright, I’m going to toss this out there for the sake of conversation—I’m kinda conflicted on this one. On the one hand, I totally get their marketing angle. A lot of women are afraid to lift weights, and this is unfortunate, because lifting heavy things is super good for us and rarely results in us spontaneously turning into men, lol. I really like that they are trying to push a paradigm shift regarding what we consider beautiful. This is awesome and incredibly necessary. I loved hearing what all those women had to say. I especially loved when Jackie said, “I’m not working out to look good, I’m working out to be strong, to be fit.” The message about being proud of what your body can do really resonates with me, as did their thoughts on body image, confidence, and letting the body take shape by focusing on the work.

    At the same time, I’m bothered by the fact that we qualify so much of what a woman does with whether or not she looks good doing it. Does being a woman necessitate being feminine? And what does that even mean? It’s as though being strong (or smart or powerful) isn’t enough on its own. It has to be sexy, too—that’s what makes it ok. Despite all the awesome things being said, this is the style in which the ad was filmed, and that was disappointing to me.

    It’s human nature to want to be beautiful, to want to look good and to be sexy. I’m not trying to negate that. It absolutely has its place. But it’s important to remember that we are more than our looks. We are more than beauty. We are more than our femininity. We are more than our gender. And I think that we should be telling each other that it’s ok to be strong, to be fit, to be active, to be outstanding and for once to not think about what we look like doing it. That would be beautiful. To just BE.

    Thanks for letting me suss out my thoughts, and thanks for putting up such a thought-provoking post. More than anything else, that clip really makes me want to try CrossFit. Did you see that thing she was doing on the rings?! That was totally badass! I so want to be able to do that.

    • You’re totally right. This video is kind of saying, “It doesn’t matter what you look like… but look how awesome I look! And now I’m going to go workout in a sports bra and booty shorts!” Haha. But I think that really this video is getting more at the issue that strong and muscular women are still very sexy, even though women are typically nervous about weight training because they don’t want to “bulk up.”

      I also agree with what you said about doing things just for the sake of doing them, not because they are going to make you look good, and that’s the biggest thing I took away from this video. When they were all talking about their various conceptions of their bodies before CrossFit… wanting to be skinny, worrying about not being blonde enough or having a big enough butt or having a butt that was too big, and Andrea said something to the effect of, “Just worry about your diet and what you can control, and your body will end up being exactly what you want.”

      • Yes. And when I heard her say that last quote, “…your body will end up being exactly what you want,” I couldn’t help but think that’s because she’ll discover that what she really wants has changed, that it’s no longer what she thought she wanted when she started. That journey to self-awareness through action is very exciting, very motivating. That’s why my workout mantra is ‘Bring the ass, and the mind will follow.’ When you get the body working hard, the mind tends to get its act together, self-perception shifts. Win-win. Thanks again for the conversation. 😀

  4. Pingback: CrossFit mania | Kat's Korner Kafe

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