As for the photo, naturally, I have to post one of Cheryl T. She's an amazing athlete and coach and someone who I truly respect. Outside of CrossFit, she's simply a lovely person. I adore this photo because it's so tongue-in-cheek. I know Cheryl T. can, at times, be self-conscious of those "guns." But I say she should flaunt them now, shoot the shit talkers later with those guns. Heh!
A very big thank you to Alex for posting this.
I have to admit that I'm someone who has to constantly remind herself that exercise is about doing. Simply doing. It's like that Keanu Reeves film where he tells those kids that he admires them for simply showing up. Showing up and simply doing are 90% of the battle. I forget that it's rarely about the time you make or the weight that you lift. Rather, it's about what you're willing to put on the line day in and day out.
Of course, this post strikes a chord with me because beauty is the cornerstone of my work. Seriously. It's always on my mind and I'm constantly challenging my own thoughts on the matter. (Um. Yeah. I even co-authored a book about it!) In my head, I do not consider myself an ugly woman. It's taken me years to come to this place where I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. In my world, beauty is less about what I look like and more about what I feel like and how I make others feel. However, I understand that the world doesn't necessarily operate on what's going on in my head. I understand that in this country (but I will say that it's the same in most countries; I can vouch for this because I lived overseas last year), aesthetics is a big thing - even for those who refuse to admit it.
In truth, every now and again I beat myself up over what I look like. Sometimes I feel like if dropped some weight or had different features, somehow my life would be exponentially different. Sometimes wish I had the kind of features that would allow me to wear cute little tops, tight jeans, and sexy stilettos. In the rare moments I surrender to such unreasonable desires, I remind myself that I just wasn't meant to be that kind of woman. Pretty doesn't come easy or naturally for me. On the upside, there are other things that do come easily and naturally for me. And in my world, those are the things that matter.
If I were feeling a little more lawless, I’d gather all the copies of Cosmo and Seventeen, douse them in kerosene, and strike a match. I’d throw in reams of print ads from Calvin Klein and watch with delight as Kate Moss’ stick-thin image was reduced to carbon. I’d add copies of Shape and Runner’s World until the flames reached toward the heavens, and then I’d crank call the editorial desk at Muscle and Fitness until they stopped publishing pictures of women on steroids.
I’d get the master tapes of America’s Next Top Model and dub over them with “Nasty Girls”, broadcasting the results on every television station in America. I’d skywrite “CrossFit.com” across the Boston skyline, and gently admonish the hoards of long distance runners trotting along the Charles River—with a bullhorn.
I’d take every woman with mass media-induced ideals of beauty, and I’d show them what it really means to be beautiful.
Beautiful women are strong and powerful. They are athletes, capable of every feat under the sun. They have muscles, borne of hard work and sweat. They gauge their self-worth through accomplishments, not by the numbers on the bathroom scale. They understand that muscle weighs more than fat, and they love the fact that designer jeans don’t fit over their well-developed quads.
They know that high repetitions using light weights is a path to mediocrity, and “toning” is a complete and utter myth. They refuse to succumb to the marketers that prey on insecurity, leaving the pre-packaged diet dinners and fat-burning pills on the shelf to pass their expiration date.
Beautiful women train with intensity. The derive self-image from the quality of their work and their ability to excel. They don’t wear makeup to the gym, and they wouldn’t be caught dead with a vinyl pink dumbbell. They move iron, they do pull-ups, they jump, sprint, punch, and kick, and they use the elliptical machine—as a place to hang their jump rope.
They spend their weekends in sport, climbing walls, winning races, and running rivers. They laugh as they sprint circles around the unschooled, turning the image-obsessed into benchwarmers. Beautiful women don’t care if they’re soaked in sweat and covered in dirt, if their nails are chipped or their hair out of place. They care only about quality of life.
Beautiful women are happy, healthy, and strong, and they’re right there beside me, tossing conventional beauty on the ever-growing flames of what used to be.