I was raised by a strong woman. We went to body combat together and I watched her do most of the handy-work around the house. I’ve never understood the societal backlash to the concept of strong women, but I understand that it’s there, somewhere, woven into old traditions. Luckily, my Mum’s not one for tradition.
It’s the age of toned curves and body equality now. If a man can be muscular a lady can too, and still be considered a lady. It’s the fitness fad of my generation. Even Khloe Kardashian gets behind it.
When I started CrossFit my thighs thickened and my shoulders grew more pronounced. The dial on scales went up but my body-fat percentage went down. It took me a while to understand that my hard work at the gym was making me bigger, not smaller. I worked out and the scales went up. I couldn’t work that one out – we’re not really taught that that’s a positive thing.
I’ve subscribed to the barbell trend, just like everyone else in my CrossFit class. And it’s rewarded me. There’s a lot of pride in hitting goal-posts in the gym because the results aren’t easily attainable. The figures aren’t lean like a runners, nor do they resemble the stereotypical supermodels on the front page of a teenage girl’s mind. It’s new. To me my body looks like commitment, habit and consistentcy. It looks like early mornings and oats for breakfast.
While CrossFit was bullied for encouraging bad form and regrettable injuries, it’s only grown in popularity. Name a sport with no risk of injury – it’s time to highlight the pros. There must be a reason we’re all committing 6am alarms and six hours a week to the sport.
CrossFit builds people and it builds community. It’s a fitness hybrid of olympic weightlifting and high-intensity interval training. It involves as many hi-fives as it does pull-ups. Someone once told me that people bond over suffering, and there’s a fair amount of suffering. But the suffering makes you stronger, pushing your limits both physically and mentally. You earn your thick thighs and pronounced shoulders.
Strong women conveniently became a trend as I trained, widening the circle of socially acceptable female forms and deviating from masculine prejudice. Strong women work hard to be strong. I didn’t want a CrossFitter’s body until I had one, and it’s something I’m proud of.