Women and CrossFit: The Shift From Size & Shape to Strength & Success
When CrossFit began in the early 90’s, it attracted primarily Marines and men in law enforcement looking for an intense and effective workout. Today there are over 10 million crossfitters, 60% of whom are women. CrossFit is changing the face of fitness and promoting the idea that strong is not only desirable, but also beautiful.
The benefits of Crossfit are numerous, but why do women make up more than half of our memberships? Why are so many women sticking with crossfit and encouraging their girlfriends to give it a try? Well, here are my thoughts on why.
#4 Women want to prove their mental and physical strength.
Women, by nature, are emotional and CrossFit is not only physical, but also mental. We are often times so hard on ourselves, and with crosssfit, we are challenged beyond what we think we can accomplish, both mentally and physically. Every WOD provides an opportunity to affirm our sense of mental and physical strength. Crossfit workouts, even at their most frustrating, have a tendency to leave you feeling successful and proud.
#3 CrossFit affords women the opportunity to bring out our competitive side.
Crossfit provides a space for women to share a common interest – fitness. Exercising with like-minded women allows us to feel that competitive spark and use it as a catalyst for empowerment. Crossfit also promotes an atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie, allowing women to forge friendships with other women they may have not otherwise encountered.
#2 Our idols are strong, not scrawny.
The variety of female body types and physical abilities across all crossfit boxes is incredibly diverse. The one common trait we all have, though, is strength. Not too long ago I saw a photo of some female teen CrossFit Games competitors. They reminded me of the female teens we have trained and are currently training. I started wondering and asking myself why didn’t I have these girls to emulate when I was young and impressionable. Maybe if I had had these strong, confident, motivated girls to look up to I would not have suffered from body dysmorphia and bulimia during my late teens.
#1 Women are becoming empowered through CrossFit.
I believe this reason to be the most important, and why I love being a coach. There is no greater feeling, in my opinion, than seeing those larger than life smiles on women who have PR’ed, survived a WOD they thought they couldn’t, or nailed a lift they were nervous about. Also, crossfit is universally scaleable, meaning any woman can crossfit. Weather you just had a child, are recovering from knee surgery, haven’t stepped into a gym in years, or are super fit, all movement can be scaled to meet your individual needs. Crossfit provides a space for women to gain confidence, feel successful and become empowered.
The benefits listed here provide women with validation that strength and measurable success is more empowering than our size and number on the scale. And that is why I crossfit, why I feel so lucky to have crossfit in my life, and why I am passionate about empowering women through fitness.
There you have it.