There has been recent discussion about the athletic look of the CrossFit women. So today, I decided to give you Coach K's perspective on training and the woman in CrossFit. Please realize this is Raw and Unfiltered today. I am speaking from the heart. I give kudos to all forms of fitness, however it is the fallacies and the myths I am addressing today and talking about specifically why CrossFit Women are amazing. This goes for women of all ages, backgrounds and body types!
First, there are some common challenges with the way media portrays “fitness“
As you saw on our main page, there are a plethora of so-called “Fitness” magazines out there that tout they have the definition of fitness, the pictures of fitness and the body that “every woman wants”. this frustrates me as a coach because of all the feedback I get when women come to me to train. the most common thing we hear as coaches is: I don't want to lift a lot of weight because I don't want to get big”. Well thanks to mainstream media we have all lost touch with what is real and what is “gym myth”. We have lost the eye for what is truly appealing to most. Our society has been blessed with air-brushing and photo shoots of skinny women who tout they are “In Shape”. And yet never have I seen a CrossFit woman airbrushed her photos of a workout to make her look better. I have yet to find a CrossFit Woman who doesn't take pride in just being who they are and letting the rest work itself out. I also have yet to find a woman in CrossFit who isn't willing to try the workout of the day and push even just a little bit past their comfort zone.
I sometimes wish the media would get their shit together and realize we are promoting anorexia, and self-esteem issues. I used to worry my daughter would succumb to all the bullshit out there until she wrote a book at 10 years old called “The Best Gym Ever” about a CrossFit affiliate in California called CrossFit FTF. I worry about the images we see and how non-motivating it can become for those who need fitness the most, not those who are halfway in shape, but for those who are grossly out of shape. We need to touch these people and NOT give them even deeper rooted psychological issues. We need to realize that the average person is beautiful and the gifted are those on magazine covers and even then, they are airbrushed to a degree. We need to realize genetic potential is a human trait that is different for every man, woman and child and we need to figure out how to reach that in each one of us.
OK. Enough with that…
Women are you SURE you are ready for this?
Let's see what “Shape” Magazine shows as a Lower Body, Butt Hips and Thighs workout: Shape Magazine Video
OK. Now let's look at a Women in CrossFit Video. You tell me who is more fit! And then you tell me if these CrossFit women are “BIG”.
Here are some words to think about coming from a coach who has trained countless women and heard some of the challenges and other discussions coming from his clients: (Please be aware there is only some filtering on this post. this is raw Coach K talk today)
CrossFit is scalable to every one! It is NOT tailored ONLY for those whom are “In Shape” already. It is designed to be scalable based on your fitness level. However, having said that, we WILL push you regardless of age or gender to YOUR physical and psychological limits. Why? Because we know INTENSITY is what produces results, not being in the gym for three hours on a treadmill or elliptical trainer.
Yes you are going to gain muscle. However you will NOT look like you are on steroids unless you take steroids.
Yes your hips, ass and thighs may grow depending on your build and your fitness background. If you have never lifted weights like we do in CrossFit or never squatted more than 15 reps at a time with 2 Pink Vinyl dumbbells, then you will grow. That's OK. Your body is becoming athletic. If you have that background, we are going to do our best to make sure we find your genetic potential EVEN if you don't know what that is. It may change your shape. It may put some lean body mass on. It MAY EVEN make your jeans fit differently. But that's OK!
We understand you don't WANT to buy a new wardrobe, but if we were worried about that, we would stick you on a piece of cardio equipment for an hour.
We know the intensity is different from you're used to. It's what is so great about CrossFit. Your workout will be done in a little bit versus a long bit.
Yes, we know you want to RX the weight, but if you're not ready, we won't let you. We are here to push you not hurt you. We believe in progression as much as any other coaches.
Yes you will probably gain some weight when you first start because we understand that muscle takes up less space than fat so for every pound of fat we shave off of you, we will replace it with three pounds of muscle. The great part of this is, you will LOSE FAT and GAIN MUSCLE. We will replace it with FUNCTIONAL strength that you can actually use in life!
We understand that part of the weight gain is due to inflammation in the muscle and retention of water. We understand this is normal and we URGE YOU… THROW OUT THE SCALE because in the end.. it doesn't f-ing matter.
What to Expect of Yourself and the journey ahead
Yes we will expect you to move heavy weight quickly. It is part of being able to carry groceries, pick up your kids, play with your kids, do your job and perform the essential functions of life.
No we will NOT listen to your whining. In fact, the more you whine, the more weight, box jumps, burpees, pull-ups, air squats, shoulder presses, we will make you do.
We want you to curse our names. It means we are doing our job.
We don't care if it hurts as long as you aren't getting injured. We WANT you to be able to function better and sometimes it requires pushing beyond what you think you can do. We will always ensure that what you are doing is within an allowable and safe range of motion for you. We will always ensure your form is correct. and we will correct you if it's not.
No we don't want you to wear gloves. When in real life are you going to stop to put on your gloves before you lift a box, pick up your kids, or move things around? Why would we want you to do that at our gym?
Yes you are going to get dirty, be sweaty, mess up your hair. Hell you may even break a nail. If you don't, we aren't trying hard enough. It just means you need to work out harder! We will push you to sweat, maybe even blood and tears.
Yes you will have to look at how you are eating. Why? because why on earth would you want to put CRAP in your system when you are training for PERFORMANCE? That's like giving your High Performance vehicle Low octane fuel!
Yes you are going to get leaner, faster, stronger, but it is a process. Remember it takes TIME to get results. Try it for AT LEAST 90 days before you make up your mind as to whether it is for you or not. How can you say it's NOT for you if you only try it ONCE?
NO We will NOT let you do HOURS of cardio on the cardio machines. We don't need you to. Plus, that will end up making you frail in the long run and let's face it, “strong people are harder to kill and more useful in general”
Here's the deal.
We expect you to have some questions, concerns, and issues with your new body.
It's not what you're used to. We don't use steroids, don't promote the use of long slow distance as a substitute for hard work. we want your results probably more than you do., We just can't put the work in. YOU have to do it. we are here to motivate, educate and give you the tools. The rest is up to you. But knowing your body will change, and knowing things will start to fit differently, understand this is a natural part of the process. Understand that sometimes being athletic means your clothes may change “Shape” on your body. What we see is an amazing and beautiful woman. What we see is power, speed, strength all wrapped up into an awesome package. We may notice you are looking more lean, or more powerful or heck, even stronger, but that is our way of noticing you are getting the results you have been after.
We love you for who you are, and who you are becoming.
We cherish that you have taken an interest in improving your life, improving your being and making life easier to live. We are excited about the fact that you have chosen this lifestyle. And while you may have issues with your new body, realize those of us out there that look at you and say DAMN that girl is a CrossFitter, we love that and look forward to your continued success.
Go out today, and blaze through a WOD just because you can… and you're awesome!
Author Bio: Kevin Hughes
This post was originally published on Crossfit Salvation's website by Coach Kevin Hughes (check out his bio here).
Kevin is an experienced certified CrossFit and Strengthening and Conditioning Coach. He has been certified through several agencies including CSCS, IFPA, NASM, APEX and USTI. Prior to coming to Fresno to become a firefighter Kevin was the head strength and conditioning coach of Sacramento Fire Department for 7 years as well as a Fitness Manager for 24 Hour Fitness for the 7 years prior to that, teaching techniques and results oriented methods to not only hundreds of clients but also hundreds of trainers. His experiences in fitness led him to discover CrossFit in 2001, and begin coaching CrossFitters in 2002. He has been working with athletes, non-athletes, moms, grandmothers, triathletes, runners, swimmers, brand new fitness enthusiasts, weekend warriors for the last 20 years. The methodology of CrossFit has given him the tools to help people get even more results.Kevin’s passion for understanding and sharing exercise led him to get his degree in Exercise Physiology from UC Davis. His background in exercise physiology gives him the technical background to help people from all walks of life in their quest for ultimate fitness. He continues to strive to learn every day and preaches healthy lifestyles.