“It Has to Stop Somewhere”
How much is your self-worth tied to your physical appearance? Where does your definition of “attractive” come from? Personally I’m pretty disturbed by the relatively narrow definition of attractiveness that I see promulgated in the media. To put it bluntly, all I see on mainstream magazines and such are skinny white women, or possibly women of color with the most Eurocentric features possible. If you fit into those category, great, I’m not knocking that, but I certainly do not want to be part of anything that promotes the idea that there’s one shape, size or color that is attractive.
So on one hand we have this obesity epidemic. On the other hand we have these multi-billion dollar industries whose survival is dependent on people’s insecurities about their appearance. Commercial diets, fitness programs, make-up industry, bariatric surgery, diet pills- the list goes on and on. What I love about Crossfit is that it’s all about what you can DO, not what you look like. Train for function, eat and sleep well. I feel like Crossfit has grown because it works for achieving strength and health, not because of a nice marketing campaign. A lot of Crossfitters have lean, fit bodies because they do real work and the physical results are the manifestation of that work. I suspect that most Crossfitters get off on doing a workout faster, achieving a PR, lifting more, convincing their body not to stop. These are the things that get us “addicted” to it, rather than chasing visual results. It’s a feeling of empowerment that can bring a whole ‘nother level of confidence out in a person. That’s attractive.
“Make your own beauty standards.”- unknown
Over the last week I’ve seen a lot of pictures circulating on Facebook of people (I’ve predominantly seen women) who appear to have lost bodyfat through Crossfitting. I’ve started to wonder, as we’re convincing people how great Crossfit will make your body look (not perform or increase health), are we selling out Crossfit? Being a sellout is when you abandon your core values based on what’s marketable. Crossfit is a strength & conditioning program and a sport. We call our participants athletes. I understand that money makes the world go round, but what is your motivation? The “Get Hot” approach doesn’t work for leading to long term lifestyle change and keeping people motivated. If it did we wouldn’t need Crossfit. There are psychological reasons that Crossfit works in addition to the physiological ones. Eating clean, doing cardio and lifting weights in front of a mirror will result in a lean body too, but most people aren’t motivated to stick with those things. What sets Crossfit head and shoulders above any other training method (I don’t mean scientifically, but from the user experience perspective) is the thrill that comes with achieving a PR, the pushing yourself harder than you thought you could, the camaraderie you feel with your community. So why when we are spreading the gospel of Crossfit do we need to revert to the same old same old that’s already been done in the fitness industry?Everyone’s motivation is individual to them. However as a community and what we represent I find it unfortunate if we reinforce the status quo with regard to the fitness and health industry. Guess what? The status quo doesn’t work!
Would I like to have a 20 inch waist, 40 inch hips and a butt you can bounce quarters off of? SURE. But that’s not realistic for my body, and frankly I’m much more rewarded by the pursuit of a body and mind that can perform at the highest possible level given the set of gifts and inadequacies that I have. When I felt nerves about working out in front of an audience at the Games, a thought that comforted me is that Crossfit spectators want to see competitors crush workouts, or lay everything out there trying to. I did not feel that I would be judged for my asymmetrical and scarred up legs, my wobbly butt or my gangly arms (or whatever other physical “flaws”). This is not a fitness pageant or body building show. Those endeavors have their own arenas, and it’s not the Crossfit Box. Ok, ok, I know everyone at the Games wants to see hot bodies, too. But it’s more about performing!!
This is one of the most beautiful songs about self acceptance that I’ve ever heard. I also love it because it reminds me of when my son was a baby and his father would sing it to him. This version is Keith John singing it for the “School Daze” soundtrack, but Stevie Wonder wrote the lyrics, just listen to them. Beautiful!