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The Paradox that All Female CrossFit Athletes Face

So often is the focus of the “Crossfit debate” on injuries or technique (kipping vs. strict etc) that the change in attitude that has evolved within Crossfit about women’s bodies, by women themselves, is overlooked.

However, this newly empowered Crossfit lass was still brought up on the same stigma as me. As a coach I see a struggle play out in almost every woman that comes in the box. The struggle between what we have been brought up to believe and what we are discovering for ourselves.

Sara-SigmundsdottirSource: CrossFit Inc


The problem with this self discovery is that, in a Crossfit box surrounded by other female Crossfitters, who are strong and self assured and know that strong is sexy, our new belief is secure. You know who you are, and you know you belong. Because no matter if you are the biggest, strongest lady or it is your second wod ever and you have the upper body strength of a lettuce leaf, the other members of your box share your outlook. Encouraging you to find the limits of your individual ability and discover the strength you never knew you had.


Yet there is a downside, at some point, no matter who you are, you are going to leave the box. And all of a sudden you are different. If you have made the decision to wear a strappy top then your traps and defined arms are on display for the world to see, if you have decided to go for short shorts/skirt then your muscular quads and bouncy bottom will most defiantly stand out. The clothes you are wearing are most likely not made by a Crossfit brand, so they don’t fit properly. You are not fat, you are not thin, you have muscle and bulk and the clothing company just didn’t factor that in!

Now you start to question those beliefs. You don’t look like the “pretty” girls, you feel uncomfortable- high heels just aren’t the same as nanos. You start to question it; can’t you be thin and fit? Strong in the box and delicate and slender in a summer dress?

You know the answer though, just as I do- no.


It is a paradox, doing Crossfit improves your self esteem and gives you something to be proud of; you are no longer defined by how you look but by what you can do. And you really can do some astounding things- not only can you lift big weights; you can walk on your hands, climb ropes, pull sleds, flip tyres, do pull ups and swing on rings. And if you can’t do that yet, it is only a matter of time before you do. Your asthma has improved, flights of stairs are no biggie, putting your suitcase into the overhead storage container is done with one arm. But you look different and your strength and confidence is threatening for other women.

It may be time you confronted your own doubts, those ones that are mirrored in the doubt of others. Because didn’t we discover that strong is sexy, and judging ourselves by what we can do and not what we look like is empowering? Maybe the woman who is making you feel different is actually just fearful that she herself couldn’t do it. That she would fail where you have succeeded. Yet you know a secret that she doesn’t. You were once in her shoes, and you did it. She could too.

Us Crossfit chicks, we are a different breed- but we all come from the same stock. Every woman is full of potential. So next time you see that expression of insincerity remember it is actually insecurity, smile, pat your derrière and give them something to think about.

That it is okay for a female to not only like the way she looks, but be proud of it.

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