I’ve been an athlete all of my life.
I started on the local swim team at age 4, transitioned to competitive soccer at age 9 and began running marathons in college. Being that these are endurance sports, you can image I was always very thin. As a woman in today’s society, I felt the pressure to be this way. However, at a lean 5’8” and 113 pounds, I was never confident in my body. I was very aware of the fat around my tummy and the dimples in my booty. Mostly, I was aware of the way a meal full of carbs and fat would affect my body and in turn, I felt guilty eating it.
And then…I started CrossFit.
My journey went a little something like this:
I went into CrossFit seeing girls like Jackie Perez and Christmas Abbott on Instagram. I wanted to look like them. However, I noticed many different body types at the box. In all honesty, it scared me. There were girls with A LOT of muscle and while that worked for them; I didn’t want that particular body type. I wanted to look like Jackie and Christmas. I didn’t want to be bulky. I wanted to be toned. I started wondering if that body type was even possible.
A few things happened after my first couple of months consistently going to the box:
- I was hungry ALL OF THE TIME. I woke up in the middle of the night…hungry.
- My arms, legs, and back were slowly getting larger.
- My jeans were tight in the quad area but loose in the waist (when I was running, this was the other way around - interesting how the body changes with different sports).
- I had A LOT to work on.
- I was eating more and gaining weight.
With these changes, I didn’t know if I would be able to reach that Jackie or Christmas Crossfit lean body type I so badly wanted. I thought about quitting CrossFit and going back to running. I knew I would lean out if I stuck with running. However, I also knew, I never loved my body exercising that way.
Don’t get me wrong, the changes I was seeing were positive (I know that now) but at the time, it was a big adjustment and I didn’t necessarily see more muscle (which I know now, actually means less fat) as a good thing. With that being said, I met good friends at the box and met a few women who made lasting impressions. These women were strong, confident and ALWAYS happy. They were so…comfortable in their skin. While they were bigger than I was, I liked their bodies. Honestly, watching them workout was…hot! With the friendships I made and the possibly of looking and feeling like these women, I stuck with it not knowing what was going to happen.
I made a few changes from my former running days. I started eating more carbs. As a runner, I was strictly Paleo and while I believe that is a healthy diet, I needed more carbs. I added oats after a WOD and an occasional piece of bread or a potato. As soon as my diet changed, I saw changes in my body as well. Adding some carbs actually decreased the amount of fat I was eating (I was eating a lot of peanut butter before!). This led to a leaner figure. The best part, I don’t feel bad eating carbs! Now, when my body craves it, I eat it and I feel great about it! GOODBYE GUILT! Eating has taken on a WHOLE NEW MEANING for me.
Now, food is fuel.
I eat clean, I eat enough, I am always satisfied and my workouts are better because of it!
Today, I am the most confident I have ever been with my body. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did when I was running but I have less body fat. My booty is bigger but there are no more dimples, my arms are toned, and my quads are larger so…rather than squeezing into my size 00 jeans and extra small tops, I went shopping for new clothes. Because…there’s just something about pushing yourself, sweating, being confident enough to rip off your shirt mid WOD (6 pack or not) and rock it!
That’s when I feel sexiest. That’s why I didn’t quit CrossFit. And guess what, I look and feel better in my clothes because now…I fill them out! My body is tight and I have curves.
Not only is my body image better but I am more confident with life in general. I have replaced the word "can’t" with CAN in all areas of my life. I know I can change the water dispenser at work, I can open that jar, I can climb that ladder. It doesn’t matter the obstacle, if I can complete FRAN, I can do it. That is what CrossFit can do for you.
The community is changing the way we view bodies.
While we have a long way to go, I LOVE seeing the shift. Having experienced the shift myself, I want to spread the word about CrossFit and its positive influence on body image. I want all young women to feel the confidence that I feel today because of CrossFit.
So I challenge you, if you are on the fence about starting CrossFit because you don’t want to get bulky, TRY it. I promise you’ll love the changes in your body and mind. If you already CrossFit, invite your friends, your daughters, your sisters…whoever you think needs a boost in self-esteem to try it. Spread the word. Get more people feeling this way!