As a coach there is a time in the box, everyday, that is greeted with baited breath. It is the calm before the storm. The box is empty; the plates, bars, kettle bells and bands are all neatly put away and the music is not yet ramped up- you can hear yourself breathe. Soon the flood gates will burst and nano clad feet will tumble through the door. Followed by knee high socks to cover the box jump injuries and, until you get to the shorts, you do not even know if your nano wearing, high knee socked athlete is male or female. You only know one thing, that they are an athlete.
As a follow-on from last week’s Crossfit Chicks – The Paradox and as part of a Crossfit Chicks series, this week the focus is on what it means to walk into the box everyday- an athlete. For as long as I can remember there have only ever been two body types subscribed for woman, fat and thin. If you were anywhere along the scale from chubby to obese then you were constantly encouraged to diet (think: starve, binge, starve) and exercise (hello treadmill) to get to that body type holy grail of – thin.
Being “athletic” was only ever reserved for one very elite, very rare group of women: athletes.
Once you left school, it seemed, the only option for fitness was a gym. The sole purpose of going to the gym was to reduce your waistline. A gym was not endorsed as a place in which to become an athlete. It was a place to jog on the treadmill, sweat to loud music in a spin class or carefully navigate some of the less threatening free weights. The posters on the gym walls were to encourage you to lose a dress size or get bikini body ready. A bikini body simply being one in which your belly doesn’t overhang your briefs and the answer to “does my bum look big in this?” is “no”.
Now, any Crossfit chick reading this probably has a similar expression on their face right now to mine when I wrote that last question. The reason being, our answer is different. It is a resounding “yes, yes your bum does look big. It looks like you have been doing lots of squats, running, jumping and lunging. It looks firm and fit and it most definitely is not a bottom to hide in skinny jeans.” This sounds empowered, doesn’t it? You imagine the woman proudly patting her derrière with a knowing smirk. And most times, in public, that is exactly the case.
Crossfit has created a breed of women who aren’t afraid of lifting weights, or getting out of breath. A woman that doesn’t mind chalk under her nails, and her calluses and bruised shins are proof of her strength, determination and fitness. She knows the names of all the Olympic lifts and doesn’t need a man’s help to put her bar back into the rack, or anything else for that matter.
Crossfit has taken down the “reserved” sign and opened up a third option for women who have decided that skinny, frail and nymph just isn’t their body type. Welcome to the world of the Crossfit chick: mum or student, professional or labourer, young or old- athletes.