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 ; )
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
Every minute that is missed row 500m.