“A woman should be 3 things- intelligent, strong, and bad ass.” r.h. sin
My life is full of women who embody these characteristics. Intelligent, strong and bad ass. Some are ridiculously physically strong while others inspire me with their mental and/or emotional strength. They are also beautiful. Brilliant. Resourceful. Creative. Funny. Sassy. Witty. Kind. I admire and stand in awe of each and every one of them.
Yesterday I watched a woman snatch an INSANE amount of weight both before and right after a 9-minute workout. SO impressive.
A while later she showed me a picture, it was of her hanging her head looking defeated after just failing her last attempt and she said, “This picture sums up the workout.” Meaning, she wasn’t satisfied. She was upset and didn’t feel it was good enough. Both snatches were 90% or greater of her 1RM. Oh, and did I mention she smashed the AMRAP in between lifting all the weight in the gym?
It was obvious she genuinely meant what she said and it broke my heart a little bit. 14 minutes of greatness and she was hanging her head looking and feeling defeated.
Another friend who is in the middle of planning a wedding, building a house, working a full-time job and raising her step-daughter also spoke more about the negative aspects of her workout. Ummm, does she realize how amazing she is for fitting in her workouts when she has an incredibly busy and demanding life?
And me? Well, I hit a PR today but my focus and attention was solely on my poor performance in the conditioning pieces of my workouts. I couldn’t stop thinking about what went wrong, and questioning if I’m good enough. I am every bit as guilty as my friends.
Why do we get so caught up on the negative? Why do we focus on what we can’t do yet, or how we aren’t where we want to be? Why is it so easy to get down on ourselves and forget all of our blessings and abilities?
The very best thing about CrossFit is that it empowers women and celebrates our strength. For the last 7 years I have watched women (and seen myself) become more confident and courageous. Women have muscles and it is a beautiful thing. We stopped focusing only our looks and started paying attention to what our bodies could do- climbing a rope, performing pull-ups, throwing around weight became more exciting than losing a few pounds on the scale. We discovered that when we put our minds to something (finishing Murph no matter how long it took) we could not be stopped.
However, at the end of the day I still see that we often fall into the habit of comparing ourselves (and falling short) to others, ignoring (or simply missing) the moments of greatness we experience because we are focusing on what “we should have done” and most devastating of all (at least to me and for me), defining ourselves and our worth by what happens in the gym.
Can we come away from a day of training or a competition and just replay the good moments?
Can we celebrate our accomplishments and not feel guilty about doing so?
Can we build ourselves up instead of looking to others to do so?
To be honest the thought is a bit terrifying, but it is also thrilling. I want both for myself and all my friends to see that we are incredibly fierce and talented, capable of anything and everything we sets our minds on.
So, can we do it? Is it possible? YES. Yes it is.
Maybe it starts with how we treat ourselves. We start reminding ourselves that we are all on individual journeys. We are where we are, and others are where they are. We can be more intentional about celebrating our accomplishments. We can be talk to ourselves in the supportive way we speak to others. Each time we finish a training session, we can write down 1-3 positive takeaways so that we focus on what we did WELL and right. These are just a few suggestions, ones I have tried and found great success with over the last few months.
Can you think of other ways to help build yourself up?
April Lowe is a competitive CrossFit Athlete (Master’s 40-44) who’s been pushing her limits in the sport for the past 8 years. She’s been to the CrossFit Games 1 time on a team, and 2 times as an individual. April loves sharing her life experiences and passion for fitness by blogging.
You can connect with her @cfaklowe on instagram and firstname.lastname@example.org!