Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Magic and Empowering Women

I admit, I used to be one of those gym junkies who was always on a treadmill, rower, or spin bike or in the weight room with my head phones on and a Post-It Note on my forehead that read:  "PISS OFF! Talk to me or disturb my workout and you will see 50 Shades of Bitch come out!"  Obviously, that last part is not true, but I wore that look.  I didn't want to be bothered, especially by muscled guys who thought I needed a spot on the bench press. Their lurking was always insulting and I definitely showed them with my glare after I had no problem with whatever weight I was benching.  Yeah, I was THAT person.  Then something happened...

There was a girl that started working out at the Y the same time I did and she was a badass.  She had these beautiful muscles and moved through the gym with such ease and this may sound weird, but I desperately wanted to talk to her.  I wanted to find out why she lifted so much and if she was training for anything and just to tell her that I envied her arms, her thighs, her butt.  I realized that these were some of the things that people would stop me to ask and I always found so annoying.  Hmm, reality check.  I stopped wearing headphones and would start smiling at people more.  I started noticing the personal trainers. I was in the middle of getting certified to become a personal trainer and I wanted to see how they interacted with people.  I was absolutely appalled that they never said "hi" to any other gym members, they never returned my smiles, and a lot of times they would train their clients next to each other so they could have social hour with their co-workers.  I vowed to not be that way. I dreamed of smiling and saying "hi" to everyone and in between sessions, learn some of the regulars' names when I became a personal trainer.  Well, this never happened because we moved and I joined CrossFit.  Ahh, CrossFit.

The first few times I went, I was hooked.  Not because of the amazing workouts, although that is always there, but because of the relationships.  Our coach for On Ramp was fun and my husband and I were allowed to just be ourselves and joke around.  It was socially a good time. I've been going to The Pack CrossFit now for 7 months (wow, that went fast!) and I'm noticing something. Women talk about each other.  I always hated that gossipy thing that girls did growing up and tended to hang out with the guys and as I got older, became more of a loner because I wasn't like that.  I hate the "Did you see what she was wearing?" or "Oh my gosh, did you see her haircut/how much weight she's gained/*fill in any snarky comment here*?" I felt that way at the gym I used to workout out. When I got weird looks from other women I wondered if my shorts were too short or tight or if my shirt was too tight and I had a bulgy stomach after a food binge. Is that not the most annoying thing?!  Now I know I shouldn't care what other people think and I preach that philosophy whenever possible, but the truth is I'm human.  My fatal flaw may just be that I'm self conscious.  Maybe I was teased and bullied too much as a kid (middle school was particularly bad) and that has had a lasting impression on me.  Who knows!  But I digress...women, in general, tend to talk about other women.  However, there is a magic that happens at The Pack (and I really hope at other CrossFit boxes around the world).  I now hear and say things like "Did you see her abs when her shirt came up while doing handstand push ups?! They are amazing!" "Were you there the day she got her first muscle up? Man, she fought so hard for it!" "She has the cutest Lululemon pants that make her ass look ah-mazing!"  Do you see how that is magical?  In a world full of criticism that has made me shy away from social situations, here are these amazing women EMPOWERING each other.  It's not about your size or your looks.  It is about how far you have come and the things you do well.  That is incredible!  THAT is addictive.  For the first time, I have no problem going up to people at the box I don't know and saying "hi" or cheering for them in a WOD.  I have no problem telling someone that they are so strong or that their muscles are things to be envied.  Everyone is so accepting of your strengths and your flaws.  I'm fully aware that I'm terrible at Olympic lifts right now, but I'm also aware that I'm pretty awesome at handstand walks, running, and box jumps.  It's not about age because I can name a few women at our box that are older than me that can beat me in a WOD 9 times out of 10.  I always hear about how people who don't CrossFit get annoyed by those that do because they talk about it all the time or are always posting pictures.  It's because they haven't had a taste of the magic. When you are around the most encouraging, fun people you have ever met that become like your family and love you where you're at, how can you not talk about it?  Magic...

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