I started CrossFit in order to take up space. In order to be powerful. And explosive. And physically present in my life.
How does that happen?
How do we lose that?
The ability to be visible. To stand with our shoulders back. To walk into a room and fearlessly connect. To unapologetically take up space in this world. CrossFIt. Moving our body in a way that is functional so far beyond picking up our kids or sprinting through the airport with our carry-on luggage in tow, changes that. It is the eradicator of invisibility.
And when a new and unsuspecting athlete asks me, “wait, will this make me huge?”
My answer is always, yes.
Our body speaks to our self in such curious ways. We miss that in our always being in contention against it. In trying to make it smaller or leaner or bigger or whatever-er it needs to be in order for us to finally be happy. As a woman, I was always trying to take up less space. Thin. This word has lost its pull on me, it was the force that got me on that elliptical everyday.
It is no shock that we so quickly become invisible to ourselves when our very fitness goal is to disappear. Or that we lose site of our body in its entirety when we are looking to perfect one piece at a time via dumbbells and isolation. But what happens when it isn’t? When we don’t? When we step off a machine that provides zero feedback. When we move beyond what each muscle can do, and we place a barbell in our hands. We see what our BODY can do. That it can move a barbell all the way from the floor to overhead. That it can take us to the ceiling on a rope that always seemed impossibly high in gym class. That it can do a pull-up, a push-up. These things that we forget for so many humans seem impossible. But perhaps more so, that we can be explosive and powerful and large and the world doesn’t end.
We discover that we are still feminine. Or that being masculine isn’t only about physical strength and bravado. We discover that being an athlete doesn’t mean that we are the best. Or the strongest. Or that fastest. Or that we are better than everyone else. Rather being an athlete is our showing up and our intention to work in concert with our body to do something interesting. And we discover that there was so much human there we were never aware of in trying so hard to fit.
As CrossFitters we don’t fit. Into jeans. Into button up shirts. Into normal conversations with normal amounts of conviction about one’s workout routine. And into how we’re “supposed” to look. Everything from our quads to our conviction is too big. But isn’t that the freaking point?! We were not put on this planet to be small. Or thin. Or normal. Or neat. And no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves of that, sometime we need to be shown.
We need to see our body shift and change and take up space. We need to see traps and biceps and unwieldy quads. We need to feel the weight of a barbell in our hands get lighter, not heavier, as it moves up our body towards the sky.
Will CrossFit make you huge?
Oh, you have no idea.
This is a guest post from Maddie Berky. Maddie was a NCAA Champion rower and now coaches rowing and CrossFit at CrossFit Verve in Denver, CO. She is also a writer and holistic nutritionist, specializing in all things food, sex, and worthiness. For more Maddie, check out MadWellness.com or ElevationRowing.com. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook -Mad Wellness or Elevation Rowing.
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