Strong is Beautiful

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For the first time ever the other day, a family member saw me for the first time in a couple of months and the first thing she said to me was, “wow Emma, you have gotten BIG!” She poked and prodded my shoulders and could not believe the size of me. To be honest, initially I felt a little offended and self conscious because I have never experienced that kind of… honesty? before. So I said to her, “Not big, just strong”. Her reply was “No, BIG!” I then ended the conversation and just walked away.

I know many women in the fitness industry, and especially Crossfit, experience this type of criticism and I applaud those ladies who manage to just brush it off and walk away with confidence. But, I can also see how it can negatively impact your own sense of self and make you question whether your physique is “normal” for a woman or even attractive.

After this encounter, I thought about it a lot and about how it made me feel about myself. I have always been confident in my own body and proud of the way I look as I have worked hard for my muscles and physique. But of course, like most people, I have my insecurities. After giving this situation a lot of thought, I came to the conclusion that I am actually happy that she called me “big”. I figured that in her opinion, my physique is abnormal for a woman as she works in a very feminine industry and her own body shape resembles that of a classic woman- curvaceous and soft- so obviously my hard and muscular body was foreign to her. I am also working damn hard to build more muscle, especially in my upper body, so actually what she had to say was a compliment!

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Photo on the left was taken in 2010, photo on the right was taken December 2016

It fascinates me how many different ideals there are for the way women look. Men generally just have one ideal body type- lean and muscular. women on the other hand can be ‘curvy’, ‘skinny, ‘toned’ or ‘muscular’ and in all instances there are going to be negative and positive comments. But, what is apparent is the growing acceptance of muscular and fit looking women. Who said that girls can’t have muscles and be strong? Long gone are the days when women had to rely on men for everything. Physical fitness not only brings outer strength but also inner and mental strength which drive women to have to motivation and passion needed to succeed in a male dominated world.

So ladies, f#$k what the haters say… being strong is sexy. So embrace those muscles and walk around with confidence.

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2016, the year of the beast!

I started Crossfit almost exactly a year ago after being poached from my personal training job to become a boot camp instructor at Crossfit Grahastown. This completely changed my life and my perspective on fitness and health.

Before Crossfit, being fit meant that I was skinny with some muscle. That’s it. Now, for me fitness means that I am able to do anything I set my mind to physically and mentally. It has nothing to do with what my body looks like, but instead, what it can do. 

At the beginning, I couldn’t even do a snatch and I had to do Angie with a band (100pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats). Now I am able to deadlift almost double my body weight and do bat muscle ups in a WOD (workout of the day). I have proven to myself that anything is possible and I will continue to do so everyday of my life as I progress through this incredible sport of fitness. 

 

pull upd for days!
 
I know I said that it doesn’t really matter what my body looks like anymore- it obviously still does. But, Crossfit allows you to be flexible with your diet and still look amazing! For example, the last week of 2015 I went on a holiday and ate way too much and drank copious amounts of alcohol… But my body is still in decent condition and working out dosnt feel too horrendous. However, I do not reccommend doing that for a week… I will never do it again! You need to love your body in order for it to change and get better. 

 

after 1 week of wildness
 
Moral of the story… Crossfit is amazing and it changes lives! 

So, 2016 is here and I’m planning on doing big things! I want to start competing in national Crossfit competitions, finish my degree, work hard as a Crossfit coach and learn new things. It is indeed, the year of the beast!