Friday, September 28, 2012

But I don't want to get too bulky ...

This isn't really related to pregnancy, but I wrote an article for the monthly newsletter that CrossFit 515 puts out (spoiler alert to anyone at 515 reading this before October 1) and thought I would share it here as well.

"But I don't want to get too bulky..."

People have a lot of excuses when it comes to CrossFit, or working out it general. This one (obviously) usually comes from the females, and it has got to be the one that bothers me the most. 

[Momentary digression] -- Of course, most people that work out do it, to some degree, for aesthetic reasons. But there's a reason (most) CrossFit gyms don't use a "Look Good Naked!" or "Fat Blasting Workouts!" marketing platform. CrossFit is different from other "fitness" programs in that it is truly about fitness and health over how you look physically. We want you to track your progress in terms of faster Fran times and clean PRs, not in terms of inches lost or pounds on the scale (more on that later). It just so happens that hard work (constantly varied functional movements performed at a high intensity) translates into an attractive physical appearance. You know, turning 7s into 10s. Ok, so maybe I have to take back what I said about the marketing platform ... Anyways ...

Let's get back to the point. The "I don't want to get too bulky" thing bothers me for a few reasons. First, it's just not true. Girls -- lifting weights will not make you "bulky." Thanks to a little hormone called testosterone, women don't build muscle the way men do. Yes, there are female bodybuilders out there that I certainly don't want to look like, but it takes an incredible amount of work, dedication, and - ahem - steroids (probably) to actually look like that. Just because you throw 65# on a barbell and eat a chicken breast doesn't mean you are going to look like this: 


Second, if someone tells me she doesn't do CrossFit or is apprehensive about starting CrossFit because she doesn't want to get "gross and muscly," I take that as her saying she thinks I'm "gross and muscly." ... Because I do CrossFit ... see the connection? I've also heard "I have to be careful because I build muscle really easily." Well, I doubt that - refer to above paragraph. Sure, lifting heavy things does build muscle, but it's neither gross nor something you should be careful to avoid.

Leann Heavy Grace
Definitely not gross

Finally, I just don't relate to the mentality because I've always thought being strong was cool and attractive. (Disclaimer: In high school, I was a softball player. And on the bowling team. So you know I know what cool and attractive is all about.) I never thought it was attractive to be the girl someone might look at and think "she is literally the last person you would ever want to have with you in a life or death situation." Physical helplessness is gross.  

I think there is some truth to what the ladies talk about in the video below in that CrossFit is helping change the social perception of females' bodies. 

CrossFit - Beauty in Strength
CrossFit - Beauty in Strength

A lot of women starting CrossFit come in thinking "I want to lose 15 pounds," or "I want to target my butt and thighs because those are my problem areas." That's natural, but the quicker you get away from that way of thinking and focus on performance goals, the more successful you will be. You might lose 5 pounds of fat and gain 5 pounds of muscle. The number on the scale hasn't changed, but I guarantee you look better, feel better, and are performing better. Summary: constantly varied functional movements at a high intensity (CrossFit) = more muscle, less fat = harder to kill, more useful hottie. 

I guess the point is: Strong is Sexy. Beauty in Strength. Strong is the New Skinny. Stronger is the New Strong. Someone should put that on a T-shirt.

In other news, I feel like I'm totally back to my regular self with my workouts, and I'm looking forward to competing in Libertyville, Illinois next weekend at Fitober Fest at CrossFit Freedom! Perhaps a preview of next weekend, here's Jaime and me throwing down in partner Grace vs. Michelle and Kady:

And of course a blog post wouldn't be complete without some pictures of cute little Landon :)