When I think about the reason I wanted to start a blog, it really was that I had fought so hard to find my own strength that I wanted a way to encourage other women to do the same. Running and CrossFitting for the last ten years have taught me so many lessons, and given me so much more than a healthy body.
Running has shown me the power of showing up for myself and the depth of my determination. CrossFit has empowered me in a very different, but substantial way. Today I’m sharing how CrossFitting empowers me as a woman, and why every woman should get themselves into a box near them.
If you stumbled on this blog post, and are wondering “What is CrossFit,” I’d recommend checking out this post on CrossFit.com.
How CrossFitting Empowers Women
*A huge thank you to the ladies who sent me wonderful pictures of the women in our CrossFit community.*
CrossFit Focuses on Strength – Not Weight
So many exercise programs that are marketed towards women focus almost exclusively on weight and weight loss. There’s nothing inherently wrong with working towards a specific body composition or weight loss, but it can be frustrating to feel like that’s the only focus.
Especially when there’s so many other benefits to working out for women. Improved metal health, reducing bone loss, and cardiovascular health to start with. And while CrossFit workouts are certainly great way to enjoy all of these benefits, there’s a very specific focus in the CrossFit world.
The focus is on improving strength, and in a way that is completely removed from any emphasis on weight loss. Sure, there are programs designed for athletes who want to lose a few pounds, but generally speaking the goal of CrossFit is to get stronger. Not smaller. And I love this.
I would much rather congratulate a woman on increasing her squat PR than compare body composition. And the spirit of CrossFit is in line with this. Anecdotally, I have gained about 10lbs since I started CrossFitting 10 years ago. Most of that is muscle, but certainly not all of it.
I know without a doubt that I am so much stronger than the girl who first walked into the box 10 years ago. Focusing on that feels so much better than focusing on my weight. And being a part of a community that celebrates my strength regardless of my weight is pretty freaking awesome.
CrossFit Encourages Community
I touched on this point in my post, Is CrossFit For Runners? I shared how running can often be a solitary, and sometimes lonely, sport but that CrossFit is much more community-based. And while this is great for runners, it has an even stronger impact for women.
The unfortunate reality is that in everyday life women are much more likely to feel encouraged to compete against each other rather than support each other. And I get why. A group of strong women who work together has the force and strength of a small country.
That can be scary for people in positions of power. Especially when that power has historically been reserved for the part of the population that lacks ovaries. As a woman who works in a very corporate environment for a company that is strongly impacted by politics, I can absolutely affirm that power is still unequally distributed in 2020.
But the strong women of the world are becoming much more comfortable owning their voices and raising hell in response. And I. Am. So. Here. For. It.
Political soap boxes aside, there is unspeakable strength in a group of united women. Fault line, earthquake level strength. And in a time where women are CONSTANTLY compared to one another in too many ways to even bother writing about (I still have a full time job at the moment), I have found the culture of CrossFit to be a beautiful reprieve from this.
CrossFit women support each other; in and out of the box. We show up to watch each other’s kids. We show up to celebrate graduations. We embarrass ourselves at each other’s weddings (even when we HATE weddings). We support each other in a huge way.
Do I like every CrossFit lady I’ve ever met? No, I’m still me. I’m still opinionated. And I am far from palatable to the masses. But that’s just fine. Because I know who my people are. And a lot of them are working really hard to fix their clean and jerk form.
While I don’t automatically adore every CrossFitter I’ve ever met, I have found a whole lot of badass women that I do love at CrossFit. And they’re always cheering me on when I try one more time to figure out how to walk on my hands (an obviously useful skill in every day), and ready to laugh with me about the horrors of peeing your pants mid-workout.
Having a small, but insanely mighty group of women in your corner is a level of empowerment I wish for every lady out there.
Related Post: Six Lessons From the CrossFit 2020 Open
Strength Doesn’t Stay in the Box
Which brings me to my last point. Just like running, CrossFit has impacted my life in so many ways that have nothing to do with working out.
Knowing that there are other women who recognize and believe in my strength has made me feel so much more comfortable acknowledging it myself. Knowing that I can lift weights up and over my damn head that I couldn’t imagine just picking up off the floor 10 years ago has taught me the power of continued determination.
And that strength doesn’t just stay in the box when I finish a workout. It shows up when I tell the little voice in my head that whispers that I’m not enough to shut the hell up. It shows up when I need to stand firm in my decisions at work. It shows up when I refuse to set aside my personal values to make someone else comfortable.
Recognizing, honoring, valuing, and feeling comfortable standing in my own strength feels almost second nature to me now. But it wasn’t something that 22 year old Andrea experienced very often. I was loud, I was opinionated, but I was rarely comfortable in my own skin. For a lot of reasons that aren’t important right now.
What is important is how different that is for me today. What is important is that because of the struggles I clawed my way through, I absolutely believe I have a responsibility to share these things with other women.
Because there are too many women walking around, feeling the way I did years ago. And it’s exhausting.
There is a terrifying and immeasurable strength occupying every woman I have ever met. For some of us it just requires a little coaxing to come out and do amazing things.
For some of us, all it takes is a heavy barbell and a pull-up bar to begin to realize the depths of that strength.
So to all the ladies out there, waiting for an invitation, here it is. Find a box, pick up some weights, and start owning your strength. The world isn’t ready, but I sure as hell am.