One of the reasons I stayed out of the gym for so long once we moved here was because I was afraid of being shamed for the size of my body. I’ve written a few posts on the topic, one of which I try to repost every January 1 to remind people not to be rude to the people who have set their sights on a healthier new year.
I haven’t found that to be the case at my CrossFit gym, Momentum Fitness. Instead I’ve found a group of people who are really supportive and fun and I haven’t felt judged at all, just supported.
Really, really supported.
That has been the case with my CrossFit family across the U.S. too. People have been cheering me on and excited that I’ve started something that they are also passionate about.
Until recently. Recently I’ve felt a little judgment.
I expect it from time to time. I live my life on social media – it’s literally my job. Being judged is just part of the deal. But there were questions from people across the country when I did 16 rounds of “Cindy” (pushups on a bar and body rows on the rings instead of pull-ups in case you’re wondering). Or like when I did “Fran” in under 5 minutes (45# Thrusters & body rows on the rings instead of pull-ups).
Let me be perfectly clear about something: I do CrossFit for me, for health and wellness, for longevity, and because I want to look strong.
I don’t do it for anyone else. I do it for me. Am I competitive? Yes. Yes, I am. Everyone else is a benchmark. If you’ve been doing CrossFit for longer than me, you are my benchmark. I look at you and I think, “I can do what they do some day.” And on the rare occasion I lift more than you or I finish my scaled workout faster than you, it feels good, but only because I DID A THING.
There’s one gorgeous beast of a woman at my gym who goes to an earlier class than I do. I LOVE to see her numbers in SugarWOD before I start my workout because she is who I chase. I don’t chase her because I want to be able to lord it over her that I did better than her on something, because let’s be honest, she’s far and away stronger than I am and has a lot more endurance. I do it because I look up to her strength and I want to some day do what she does. At which point, I’m sure, she’ll be still doing better than I am because the goal is to keep getting stronger, right?
Even though she’s my benchmark, I’m doing this for me.
So when someone asks me, “How did you do that so quickly when I couldn’t even do it that fast?” I get a little irritated, because what I hear is, “But you’re so much bigger than me, how did you go so fast?”
And all I can tell you is that I’m scaled A.F. but I go hard
I can’t do a single pull-up, even with a band, so I have to do body rows on the rings. And not a single woman in my gym did a 65# Fran, we all scaled to 45#. So my Fran looks a little different than another athlete’s Fran, and I’m 100% Okay with that, and still ridiculously proud of my time.
I freaking L.O.V.E. Thrusters.
They make me feel super strong and I love them. I want to marry them. So yeah, I banged out some 45# Thrusters and then did body rows, and I finished my happy little scaled Fran in under 5 minutes.
I’ll be honest. I really hope that next time I do Fran, it takes me 7 minutes because I’m doing banded pull-ups instead of under 5 minutes doing body rows.
I Go Hard.
I go hard because it’s just my nature. I have a tendency to push myself to my body’s upper limits. But my upper limits aren’t someone else’s upper limits, they’re just mine. It’s not always a good thing, but fortunately I have coaches who help me scale it back when I need to.
Here’s the kicker:
The size of my body doesn’t mean I’m not strong or that I can’t finish a WOD faster than someone smaller than me or someone who has been doing CrossFit longer. The fact that I’m still a *really*big girl doesn’t mean I’m not fit.
I’m sturdy. I’m Thick. I like it that way.
I don’t aspire to ever be small because I will never be small unless I did super unhealthy things to my body. Instead, my aspirations are to be strong, and that might mean always having thunder thighs and a meaty ass and arms that are bigger than my husband’s. And I’m good with that.
And being thick or meaty doesn’t mean I’m not strong or capable.
It actually might mean that for some things, I’m *more* capable. And for other things I’m *less* capable. And I’m okay with both scenarios.
Just please don’t judge me by my size, and don’t question my numbers or my times. I’m not going to lie to you or fudge anything, because my goal is to compete with myself in this journey, and to keep getting stronger.
And maybe someday it will take me 7 minutes to complete “Fran” instead of 4:29. And I’ll probably cry that day because I will feel like I accomplished something, but it won’t be because of my size, it will have been because of my strength.