Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I Am Cavewoman, Hear Me Grunt!

By Crystal

I Am Cavewoman, Hear Me Grunt!
Cross-posted by Crystal Meadows from Against the Grain.

I think many of us CrossFitting women pride ourselves on being tough - physically, mentally, and emotionally.  And we are.  We're not scared of a little pain or worried about breaking a nail.  And yes, some of us even grunt in a workout.  However, I've experienced something else out in my daily life.

It seems that eating meat and lifting heavy have made me more of a girl.

Let me explain.  I was quite heavy for most of my life.  At my heaviest, I dressed sloppily, tossed my hair up in a bun all of the time, wore no make-up, and I hated shopping.  I didn't care about how I looked.  Actually, I hated the way I looked.  I was fat, and that made me feel ugly.  So why bother?  If I put effort into my appearance, I felt like I was saying to the world, "Yes, I meant to look this way.  See, I tried at it."  It was easier to just be invisible physically, or at least give the appearance that I didn't care.

I know this is all pretty basic in terms of self-esteem and body image, but it's one thing to know something intellectually, and quite another to actually experience it in your own body and mind.

Lately I've taken a lot more pride in my appearance.  It has actually happened quite naturally, as I've started to feel better about myself physically (confidence in other areas generally isn't a problem for me).  I'm certainly not a girly girl, but I now wear make-up and fix my hair every day.  I dress nicely and wear skirts and heels more.  All of the things that normal girls do.  Now, I still won't be fussing over fancy jewelry or getting a manicure anytime soon.  Seriously, I'd destroy a manicure in a workout or out on a hike, and I'd much rather have a rifle than a diamond.  I also have calluses on my hands from heavy lifts and pullups, and bruises that may take away from a feminine ensemble, but I wear those with pride.  I earned them, dammit!  All of that said, it has surprised me that I now like to take the time to look and feel like a girl outside of the gym, when the grunting is done.

So what's my point?  Looks do matter.  At least, how you present yourself to others matters.  That's a reality that I tried to avoid for most of my life, because it was one I didn't ever live up to.  I can accept that I'm no supermodel, but I really like the changes that are happening with improved fitness.  It isn't just about looking better, either.  Being more fit boosts my energy and confidence in ways that I can't adequately describe with words.  I mean, it helps knowing that I could perform several back squats with a supermodel (or two) draped over my shoulders.

Fitness isn't just about the work you do in the gym or the food you put on your plate.  It carries over into everything you do.

"...fitness is a state of mind, a way of being.  It shows up in the way you talk, walk, sleep, eat, work, play, dress, and relax.  It is the physical embodiment of the character traits of honor, courage, confidence, discipline, integrity, responsibility, dedication, and joy.
...Being physically fit is inspiring, feels good, enriches your life, and adds both years to your life and life to your years.  People that are fit seem to have a clearer, more optimistic view of life.  For us, the bottom line is this: Fitness allows you to live your best."  - excerpt from my Clear Lake CrossFit journal

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