This one is for the ladies

I will never forget the day that I jogged over to my doctor’s office for a check-up, proudly got up on the scale, and weighed in at 113lbs. Up until this point I weighed around 130lbs (I was a  similar size in 7th,8th and 9th grade as I am now, minus the muscle). Stepping off the scale my Nurse Practitioner sat me down and diagnosed me with anorexia. I was 15, and had just taken up eating nutritous foods and running, I thought I was just being healthy. 113lbs for me, meant a size 0 in even the “juniors” section, and I was obsessed with being thin and becoming thinner. I am a pretty logical person (even at 15), and the stigma of being an anorexic girl was not something I was going to live with, so after being told the news I immediately made adjustments. I never again was obsessed with food and my body image to the point the of drastically compromising my health, but my desire and ongoing effort to be thin continued for years.

Run, run, run. Running was the answer. I would come home, eat way too many rice cakes (probably equivalent to 3 bowls of pasta), then I would feel guilty and run 3 miles and probably at a 9.5 minute pace. I told myself I loved to run, but I still always needed to talk myself out the door. High School lunch was always an experience. All of my friends would make fun of me, I would have a banana, dannon yogurt, and kashi cereal everyday for lunch, while my friends ate pb&j and fritos. Most of them were the same size or smaller than me, I would just laugh with them when they would tease me about my food choices. I probably would have been better off eating the same as them, I would just end up going home and binging on rice cakes or cereal because I was starving. I would eat anything that was fat-free in excess. Fat-free is what makes you thin, right? Now, I know you all know that answer to that.

College was better, although I would order cheesy bread at 4am with my roomies and then strip the bread of the cheese and think that I was really doing something for myself. What a whacko! It didn’t exactly help that James Madison University was 70% women, and there was a statistic that said about 80% of the female population had eating disorders….awesome. We were all obsessed with how we looked, it was normal.

The point of this tell-all blog post is to express my point of view of what CrossFit does for a woman. I danced, ran, cheer-leaded, was chairman of prom committee, student council VP, and yes a Delta, Delta, Delta. I never went anywhere without my hair done nicely, make-up, and very rarely without heels. Before CrossFit, my dad referred to me as twinkle toes, and would have never considered me an athlete. However, I always have loved fitness, or at least my idea of being fit. Some of us were born to run, others end up with overuse injuries. I ended up with overuse injuries, starting when I was 15 up until I found CrossFit. If I had kept running in those Asics, stability running shoes, that I was so very loyal to, I really wonder if I would even be able to walk at this point, never-mind run. CrossFit has also given me the the guidance on how to eat correctly. Paleo/zone balances my food intake  in a way that feeds my body the right amount of protein, greens, and healthy fats that will help my performance and keep me lean. No more binging on cardboard.

For women there seems to be this ongoing fear that they are going to get “big” by doing Crossfit. Will you develop muscle? Yes. Will you become bulky? Absolutely not. Most individuals lean down significantly when CrossFitting. I know personally, for my body type, I am going to stay the same weight regardless of what type of exercise I am doing, with a normal diet. I can be 135 lbs of muscle, or I can be 135 lbs of fat. Typically your body likes you at a certain weight, and to get down to less than what your body prefers, you will either need to run yourself into the ground (sidenote: I am not speaking to endurance athletes, I am referring to my personal situation of running to be thin as I know many women do) eat nothing, or both. In doing this, you get sick more often, injured frequently, and even things like your skin and hair become much less healthy. I feel much better in my clothes than I have in a long time, and that is only because I am able to maintain a much lower level of body fat, because of my increase in lean body mass.

Muscle is awesome and being strong is sexy. Ask anyone of our studly male coaches, they will tell you the same. CrossFit will help you maintain a healthy body weight as you age, after having kids, and when you go through ups and downs in your work and personal life. It is empowering and consistent….and not to mention fun. If you or one of your friends has doubts due to the thought of becoming to muscular, don’t! CrossFit has changed me from an image obsessed hungry person, to an athlete that is finally comfortable in her own skin. I will be a CrossFitter for life, and when I want to put the heels back on, do my make-up, get my hair did, and strut my stuff, I will do so feeling confident that I am not just a pretty face….but that I can also kick your ass ; )

Double WOD
10 minute AMRAP
10 Ring Dips
30 Double Unders

Level 2- 15 Double Unders
Level 1- 10 attempts

Rest 10 minutes

Every minute on the minute for 10 minutes
7 Toes to Bar
7 box jumps

Level 2/1- Treat as an AMRAP
ADV- (30,24)

Every minute that is missed row 500m.


  • johnhex

    02/01/2014 @ 5:49 am

    Hey Amy. Nice crossfit and dress up too. I am also taking my inspiration from the posted video and soon I am going to take my crossfit from

  • Ali

    01/29/2012 @ 1:26 am

    Love the video. Love the post. 🙂 It certainly is empowering to eat (FUEL) and workout (TRAIN) to be at our full physical potential and kick the shit out of most boys. 🙂

  • Jeremiah Schenzel

    01/27/2012 @ 1:35 am

    Of all the crossfit boards I follow, this post will forever stick in my mind. Way to go and keep up inspiring women everywhere! Any man who says they would rather have a size 0, unhealthy, and sick woman is kidding himself. Strong is sexy!

  • Tess

    01/27/2012 @ 12:29 am

    Great post, Amy! Thank you for sharing your story, and for continuing to inspire the women (and men!) around you to strive for performance, build confidence, and improve our lives.

  • Jason

    01/26/2012 @ 11:15 pm

    Thanks Amy.. a revealing post that clearly so many can relate to. Another reason to love southie…our leaders are the best, and so human…and so able to kick ass.
    WOD 1: Rx, 5 rounds +2. Finally got DUs…15 in a row, got tripped up because I was so shocked and lost count.
    WOD 2: Completed 10 rounds without penalty. 20″ …+ after-party because I hate rowing, which I’ve come to learn means I need to do it more.

  • Amy

    01/26/2012 @ 11:12 pm

    Thank you for posting all these amazing comments. A couple years ago I would have never had the courage to put this out for the world to see. Being surrounded by so many amazing women on a daily basis, and being amongst such an embracing community, has given me the confidence to hide less behind my dark insecurities.

    You all are so great for being supportive and sharing your own stories. Thank you for making this a positive experience.

  • Joe

    01/26/2012 @ 10:32 pm

    Great post, Amy. As a male, it’s really cool to see the women at Southie focusing on their weaknesses as athletes instead of focusing on aesthetics. Even better, though, is the confidence and comfortability that you all constantly exude. Don’t think that it goes unnoticed. Ladies- keep kicking ass and inspiring others!

    Double WOD/Phil Dudley Day
    WOD 1: 7 rounds
    WOD 2: Completed ADV; thanks to all who accepted my invitation to the after-party!

  • Boyson

    01/26/2012 @ 10:17 pm

    ohhhh yaaaaa! my favorite part of this post is….

    “this one is for the ladies….I will do so feeling confident that I am not just a pretty face….but that I can also kick your ass ; )


  • Niki

    01/26/2012 @ 6:28 pm

    Amy thank you so much for this post. You speak for so many of us.

  • Niki

    01/26/2012 @ 6:27 pm

    Amy thank you so much for this post. You speak for so many of us.

  • Stephanie

    01/26/2012 @ 6:01 pm

    Also, today’s WODs:

    10 min AMRAP, 10 ring dips (red band), 15 double unders (L2) = 8+21

    10 minutes, every minute on the minute, 7 toes to bar, 7 box jumps = 9 rounds, 500m row

  • Stephanie

    01/26/2012 @ 5:55 pm

    I just love everything about this post, and everything about this community. Like Amy and the lovely ladies who posted comments, I too had struggled with weight and self image my entire life prior to crossfit. At this point that has fallen by the wayside – I am just in awe at my new-found muscles and strength.

    I LOVE yoga (obviously), but every once in a while in the studio, I get the impression it’s about who can get up into a handstand and who has the cutest lululemon outfit. In crossfit, as far as apparel is concerned, the only thing I’m worried about it keeping my pants up while doing doubleunders/burpees (note to self: I REALLY need to invest in more workout pants with drawstings). At crossfit I am focused on how much I can lift compared to how much I lifted last month, and I find amazing support everywhere I turn. And I have taken the strength and confidence I developed in crossfit these past 8 months and applied it to other aspects of my life. The effects of an increased amount of confidence and positive self image are truly remarkable.

    Thanks, Amy, for sharing. You inspire strength and beauty in every sense of the word!!

  • Porter

    01/26/2012 @ 3:33 pm

    Amy, your post really touched me.   I’ve been thinking of it all last night and today.  I struggled my entire young life with insecurities relating to my body and how I looked.  The reality is we are all gifted when we are young with so many amazing qualities, our physical appearance should fall low on the scale of how we’re perceived.  Another reality, we all grow old, and when we do, the last thing that has importance is ones looks.  It’s life accomplishments, relationships, our overall health and well-being and how we feel about ourselves that hold the most meaning.

    It’s so sad that young girls (and boys) become trapped in caring how the world perceives them from the outside.  Now that I have children, I feel it is so important to convey to them that what matters is how they feel about themselves, not how they think the world sees them.   That when they accept themselves and make smart healthy life choices, they are empowered to do anything, be anything.

    Bravo for sharing your story, and for starting an important discussion. 

  • Wheeler

    01/26/2012 @ 3:31 pm

    Amy – thank you so much for sharing your story! Like the other girls I can absolutely relate to the post. I used to be extremely unhappy about number on the scale and my big “soccer” thighs but after joining Crossfit and with the support of the coaches and community I’ve learned to embrace my big thighs and realized they actually help me with the lifts and WODs. I’ve slowly let go of obsessing about the number on the scale to focus on how I feel instead. As they say “Strong is the new Sexy,” keep up the amazing work ladies (and gents)!

  • Lindsay

    01/26/2012 @ 1:29 pm

    This post is amazing! As someone who found Crossfit after literally running into knee problems this post really resonates with me. I love Crossfit Southie for teaching me that running 3 miles a day is not necessarily fitness (for me personally) and that while I’ve been skinny my whole life I’ve NEVER been strong! So excited to keep getting stronger! Thanks Amy for such a candid post that definitely hits home for a lot of ladies!

  • Whisler

    01/26/2012 @ 1:12 pm

    Awesome post Amy! The girls at Crossfit Southie are strong, sexy, and literally inspire / amaze me everyday. Keep killin’ it ladies!

  • Rachel

    01/26/2012 @ 12:05 pm

    Amy – You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for having the courage to share this. Thank you for being just one of the things that makes me love CrossFit so much! xoxo

  • Shannon

    01/26/2012 @ 5:25 am

    i love this post amy! years of cutting up the Victoria’s Secrets bathing suit catalog, putting it the fridge and writing go to the gym on it was never really enough inspiration to get and stay fit. Putting my body though crazy dieting made me lighter on the scale but miserable. Just like the video says i spent years wanting to be that super model skinny. Since crossfit I’ve learned that i rather be strong then look like those girls in the magazines any day. i love my muscles! Being strong and healthy is beautiful. And I go to a gym full of strong and beautiful women who inspire me to stay fit everyday. finding crossfit and a paleo life style has change my life for the better… thanks for everything crossfit southie : )

  • Andrea

    01/26/2012 @ 2:37 am

    Amy, awesome post, thank you! I know that I have dealt with issues surrounding my definition of the “perfect weight”, and its so fantastic to be part of a community that encourages healthy eating and exercising. I just went on vacation and for one of the first times in awhile I felt great (even when I was 20 lbs lighter I still was not happy)! It is such a relief to not constantly have to worry about the number on the scale, but just focus on how I can beat my last time, or out-lift my previous one rep max!

  • Meg C

    01/26/2012 @ 2:33 am

    OK, why do I receive errors when they’re not really errors…anyway…

    Amy, thank you for being a strong woman in and out of the box! I’m continually amazed by the community here at Southie. It’s such a supportive environment that I’ve never seen at any other gym. And the dialogue generated through the daily postings only makes the community stronger. It’s a bit frustrating hearing once again that I’m not alone in the body issues that I’ve struggled with for most of my life (yo-yo-ing between weight loss and weight gain), but its more reassuring to know more women are embracing our bodies and redefining the definition of beauty, strength, confidence, and mental toughness.

  • Mel

    01/26/2012 @ 2:28 am

    Amy what an amazing post! It takes so much courage AND confidence to put yourself out there like this. What a great example you are to all of us! I echo the other xfit ladies statements when I say that crossfit has set me free from worrying about food choices. Digging my new muscles- haters beware!!!

  • Jaime

    01/26/2012 @ 2:17 am

    omg lol why did my post copy so many times?!

  • Leases

    01/26/2012 @ 2:16 am

    Ames – THANK YOU!!

  • Jaime

    01/26/2012 @ 2:15 am

    Ames, this is a great post and something all of us girls can relate to. I did this crazy stuff for years too, unhealthy obessions with food and exercise. Thanks for sharing something that is so personal to you.There are so many misconceptions surrounding healthy food and being fit but I have never been more confident in myself since starting Crossfit and adopting a paleo lifestyle. Seriously, girls with muscles rock!

  • sarah p

    01/26/2012 @ 2:14 am

    i love this post, amy. thank you for sharing. the past 6 months since i started crossfit have been awesome for my mind and body. for probably the first time in my 32 years i am happy with what i have. when i was 20lbs lighter i wasn’t happy – my jeans fit better great but i wasn’t strong, i was just hungry. what’s really cool is that i find myself comparing myself to other women in terms of their awesome flexibility, wod times or strength and i am happy for them and inspired rather than giving myself the middle finger. which is pretty awesome.

  • Jaime

    01/26/2012 @ 2:13 am

    Ames, this is a great post and something all of us girls can relate to. I did this crazy stuff for years too, unhealthy obessions with food and exercise. Thanks for sharing something that is so personal to you.There are so many misconceptions surrounding healthy food and being fit but I have never been more confident in myself since starting Crossfit and adopting a paleo lifestyle. Seriously, girls with muscles rock!

  • Lexi

    01/26/2012 @ 2:09 am

    Wow…this post really touched me. I had never been someone who felt comfortable in their own body…until I started CrossFit. I now have more confidence, self-esteem, and strength (both physical and mental) than i’ve ever had- not to mention that fact that I’ve never looked or felt better. Thank you for sharing this Amy and thank you for being such an amazing coach and role model.

  • Haley

    01/26/2012 @ 2:07 am

    Thanks for posting this, Ames.. you’re amazing. You’ve always been an inspiration to me, and I know the rest of the Southie ladies (and guys!) feel the same way. Thanks for always setting such a positive example of what it means to be a strong girl, in every sense of the word

  • Gill

    01/26/2012 @ 1:43 am

    YES! Love this. I have wasted YEARS of my life worrying about food and weight and doing all the wrong things to feel in control. And I think this is really common – for most American women, when they think food and exercise, they think “guilt.” With Paleo and Crossfit I finally feel free. It’s been such a relief, and I hope other women get to experience it too. Also, muscles are totally hot!!

Comments are closed.