Crossfit; Where Strength Has No Gender

Over the years I have accumulated a number of subscriptions to daily newsletters and online magazines. They were a guilty pleasure, giving me something to read during my lunch breaks at work. But over time I started to notice a worrying trend as titles encouraging me to get bikini ready, tone without bulking or get a six-pack in 5 days masqueraded as ‘health advice’. The shocking thing is that some of these newsletters and magazines are totally up todate in every other article they send out. When it comes to women’s careers, gender equality, family life and more they are pretty much spot on. So why is today’s media still trying to sell us the “perfect body”? It’s no wonder so many suffer with a negative body image when we are constantly being offered ‘advice’ to slim our waists or grow our butts, depending on the current trend. Despite what the media is trying to sell, times are changing and Crossfit, the sport of fitness, is paving the way forward in how we view women’s bodies, and learn to celebrate them for their impressive feats of strength rather than their dress size..

My journey with crossfit started 5 years ago, and although I almost immediately fell in love with the sport for a variety of reasons, it’s only since I started coaching that I have been able to look back on my own journey and appreciate the platform CrossFithas given to women. I started crossfitting when my late husband insisted we find a hobby together. Until that point we went to the gym together almost daily; as soon as we arrived, we would split up as I went my way and he went his. I was a “cardio bunny” working off the calories I had eaten, training to be skinny and never daring to enter the weights section in the gym, too afraid that I would bulk up. The truth is I was reluctant about Crossfit, I couldn't see how this would really benefit me. But Rob pleaded with me to keep giving it a try and none the wiser at the time, the start of a new chapter began. When we started Rob and I were the first members of a new box and were very fortunate to have the support and undivided attention of 2 great coaches. One of these coaches was Charlotte. I would watch her coach, train and lift weights and I was in awe. Despite her size she could out lift and out preform the guys and had this incredible ability to command a room. It was exactly what I needed to see, a woman not shying away from her strength but embracing it.

Almost overnight my mindset towards training shifted and I totally forgot about the calories I needed to burn and how thin I wanted to be. I started focusing on a new set of goals. I wanted to be able to do kipping pull ups, handstand push ups, snatches, heavy back squats and deadlifts. I quickly learnt that these goals were much more achievable and far more rewarding. Over time I saw the small changes that were happening to my body, and for the first time rather then trying to hide my new found muscles I started to become proud of them as they were a symbol of how far I had come and what I had achieved.

Over the course of the past 5 years I have trained with, befriended and now coach many amazing women at our box. I have seen what happens to their confidence (and mine) through the process of goal oriented training, and it’s something that carries over to their everyday life.

Until a few years ago you wouldn’t find many women in the weights section at the gym; it was a male dominated zone. I now get to witness an even playing field every single day, where the women at the box are not only respected but also looked up to by a lot of our male members for their abilities. Crossfit has given the world a new type of female role model, especially for our kids, and as a mother of a young daughter these are the kind of women I hope she looks up to. We need to change the way we look at fitness, it’s not a punishment for what we ate but rather a celebration of what our bodies can do and Crossfit has given us a platform to do just that.

– Coach Sariet

Sarah Davidson