Crossfit: The Dark Cloud With a Silver Lining
I am many things in the exercise world: a former group fitness instructor, Figure competitor, powerlifting dilettante, personal trainer, Olympic lifting newbie, nutrition coach, healthy lifestyle writer, and a die-hard, long-time yoga instructor/practitioner…
but a Crossfitter I am most certainly not; I’ve never been, not even once.
It’s simply never appealed to me. I’ve always kept busy slinging iron and conditioning. That, along with ample amounts of yoga, has produced the desired results and been so much fun that I haven’t wanted or needed to switch it up.
I’ve never done Crossfit and doubt I ever will but…
in some ways, it’s helped women’s fitness!
There. I said it.
It is changing how women exercise, how they eat, how they think of themselves, and helping them focus more on what their body is capable of rather than wasting away their days yearning to be stick thin.
Let’s back up.
As mentioned above, I’m a nutrition coach and healthy lifestyle writer. Women email me all of the time about all kinds of things, but it’s typically:
- Questions about physique change, and/or
- Inquiring about my services.
Two years ago, most emails were from women that were telling me how much cardio they were doing and how little they were eating. Their food logs were full of low-fat granola bars and bagels with fat free cream cheese. They never lifted weights due to the dreaded fear of bulking up.
Times have changed!
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Strength training for women is officially all the rage. Totally en vogue. Super cool. The ‘in’ thing.
“Thinspo” is finally phasing out (thank goodness) and women are screaming, “Strong is the
new skinny!” from the rooftops, and plastering it all over their t-shirts and websites.
Gone are the majority of emails I used to receive from cardio bunnies, and now most of the messages I get are from women that are already squatting, deadlifting, and working on their pull-ups along with other strength movements.
Sure, most of them want to get leaner and that is fine, but almost all of them want to get stronger, gain muscle, and improve certain lifts as well.
I think I speak for many when I say it is about mother-effing time that the focus was directed at performance and not towards being skinny!
We have Crossfit to thank for a lot of this.
Say whaaat? Before you make the jump to the comment section to have a meltdown, read on…
Listen, I have the same problems with Crossfit that the majority of trainers and coaches do, which is why I don’t have any desire to do it:
- There is no rhyme or reason for the routines.
- Many Crossfit gyms are ran by supposed “coaches” that have no business teaching a person how to sit onto an office chair, much less throw weighted barbells over their heads. (Like everything else, there are exceptions.)
- It is extremely tough on the adrenals to work at maximum capacity every damn session.
- Frantically performing highly technical movements with bad form and weight that is too heavy for most people is a recipe for disaster,
etc, etc, et-friggin’-cetera.
These are not new arguments, and these points have been hashed out and re-hashed ad nauseam. In lieu of the usual complaining, lets shift our attitude a bit and focus on the silver lining, because Crossfit, whether you like it or not, is here to stay, so we may as well make the best of it and focus on the great things that it has done for women.
Women are lifting weights!
:: the clouds part and angels are singing ::
Even though power lifters, olympic style lifters, and physique competitors have been privy to the benefits of strength training for decades, it’s been Crossfit that has violently shoved iron into the spotlight and popularized it, which has aroused the curiosity of women all over!
It could be the cute knee socks that initially lures the girls in (fashion has admittedly made me do some crazy things), perhaps it’s the camaraderie, or maybe it’s because women are fiercely competitive amongst other women, but something about Crossfit has inspired countless women that have never lifted before to finally – finally – get off the cardio machines and pick up a barbell!
|Hangin’ with your girls, in cute socks, working out? Uh, yeah, that sounds fun!
It’s part of my mission to get all women strength training for a multitude of reasons, so I find this alone cause for celebration!
Is it the best way for a beginner to get into lifting? Absolutely not. Are we all grown-ups and able to make our own decisions? You betcha. I freely admit that I did some really idiotic things during the beginning of my strength journey – you’d be hard pressed to find anybody that didn’t – but we make our own choices and have to learn. It’s all part of the process.
Women are finally pushing themselves
Between training clients and doing my own workouts, I’ve been to a ton of gyms in my day, and I always notice the innumerable women doing half-assed “workouts”.
They do a set here, do a set there, walk around, goof off, chit-chat, get some water, do another set, and then call it a day, with nary a bead of sweat nor any kind of exertion to be seen!
You certainly shouldn’t be killing yourself daily in the gym, but can I please see some effort? Sheesh!
Crossfit, once again, has motivated women to get in there and work their booties off, often unnecessarily hard, however I digress… they are actually pushing themselves. Hooray for that!
Crossfit has made muscle and strength cool
Where women used to complain incessantly about their “thunderthighs”, those same thighs are now being flaunted all over Instagram in super cute Lululemon Wunder Unders with the proud hashtag of #demquads.
Females are finally loving what men have revered forever – a big, round ass, and they’ve come to terms with the fact that heavy lifting and proper nutrition is the way to get it.
I can hardly believe my eyes seeing all of these selfie pics on Facebook and Instagram, with women commenting how they are trying so hard to pack on size in their glutes, quads, delts, etc. It’s like somebody flipped the switch inside of the brains of millions of women, and now most all of them think strength gains are awesome.
It is a refreshing change from everybody vying to be so damn skinny a few years ago!
While I personally don’t find it appealing for a woman to morph into a total monster, muscles = curves = excellent. Period.
Less bird food, more real food
Crossfit peeps are big advocates of a Paleo nutritional approach. While I’m not full Paleo (I eat rice, a little dairy, etc), getting the ladies to step away from low-fat, processed Frankenfood like granola bars and fat-free cereals, and eating real food like vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and dietary fat is inarguably a wonderful thing. Convincing women to trade in their fat-free crackers for some salmon and a heap of veggies? Pfffft. You’ve got my vote.
Crossfit ladies have changed the game with their (often overly) generous consumption of steak, veg, coconut oil, and bacon errrthang. Women are no longer afraid to eat! They understand the importance of fueling their bodies and know that eating plenty of food is directly proportional to how they’ll perform in the gym. This is a huge step in the right direction! I’d much rather have women eating too much good food, than not enough terrible fake food.
Crossfit is boosting the confidence of women everywhere, and my guess is that it’s a combo of enjoying their workouts, building relationships, and really seeing what their bodies are capable of.
Hop on Instagram and search for #crossfitgirls and watch as it pulls up ~57,000 pictures, 50% of which are lifting pics but the other 50% are self-taken pics proudly touting their progress. Booty shots, quad pics, double bicep pose, you name it, and they’re showing it off.
This aspect of Crossfit thrills me to no avail. My passion is to get women in the best health and shape of their lives, and to boost their self-confidence. It’s so sad to see a woman that is self-conscious and uncomfortable with herself. If Crossfit can give her a boost, that is a huge plus in my book!
Crossfit is here to stay
Like everybody else on the planet, I’ve seen the horrific Crossfit videos of people attempting to do Olympic style lifts and nearly killing themselves (and everybody around them). There are many aspects to Crossfit that I have a problem with, but I’ve come to the realization that it is here to stay so we need to make the best of it.
What we all need to come to terms with is that bashing Crossfit and moaning about it on Facebook and your blog isn’t going to get anybody to stop doing it.
We need to focus on education and guidance for lifting newbies so that they can make intelligent choices, be safe, get results and have a blast. We are all adults and we have the right to do whatever makes us happy, regardless of what others think.
If somebody is hellbent on doing Crossfit, help them find a reputable gym with excellent coaches. If you refuse to help them, trust me when I say that they will just pick one at random and go anyways, and that may be scary. Develop a rapport with some great Crossfit coaches in your area so that you know who to refer people to.
Until we can get everybody to move flawlessly, safely, and smart every single time they train (sarcasm), lets stay positive and focus on the silver lining because with Crossfit it’s definitely there.
What do you think about Crossfit? Love it? Hate it?
Drop me a line below and lets discuss!
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