Abs Dont Define Your Fitness
By Karnivore Kayla
Gone are the days when I took health and beauty advice from ‘Seventeen’ magazine. For someone who had an interest in one subject and one subject only, P.E. (yes, P.E. is a subject, in fact it’s more like a rarity since it’s optional), one might assume that I would not choose to spend *chore money on a trashy magazine preaching to young teens why your face has pimples all over it, why you don’t have a flat stomach, and then give you “8 Fun-tastic Versions of a Root Beer Float!”, right next to “5 Super Quick Workouts For Girls Who Just Can’t”. Because physical education hasn’t changed since 1950, I had to scavenge to understand why I was getting a pooch even though I was regularly eating “Seventeen’s Super Snack Recommendations!” consisting of low fat wheat thins with strawberry cream cheese, low fat yoplait key lime whipped yogurt and special K cereal, and doing mediocre planks and crunches during commercial breaks. I find myself acknowledging these insecurities because I am sensing a similar feeling with CrossFit.
CrossFit was the end-all to the bull honky in the fitness industry. There was no magic pill or potion (gonna vom on your pre-workout), there was no one telling you to “burn all the calories!”, and basically exposed the idea that fit comes in all shapes and sizes. UNHEARD-OF. There was a change in perspective where goals that were once based around body image were now based on work capacity and load. I’m sure this is a topic hard to swallow coming from a tall, blonde, long-legged 25-year-old, but I am so incredibly guilty of buying into the fitness industries shallow tips and tricks of “Lean out! Tone your butt because your man wants you to! Fast food items you can actually eat! Six-pack abs in just 30 seconds!” And here we are again, seeing the same tips and tricks, now coming from yours truly, CrossFit. I CAN’T.
*: Again, mom, I’m sorry for all the chores I never did, you’ll be happy to know that I love washing dishes now.
CrossFit was not made for shaping and sculpting your muscle groups so you can show all your friends how cool your are because you can move your pecs around. I could not fathom beginning CrossFit at this time. I was intimidated 6 years ago, and back then, the top athletes were normal people! They were fit, but they were normal. Being able to compete alongside those athletes was achievable! There wasn’t a perfect CrossFit body. You had the tall and lanky, the short and stalky, fluffy but fast, and lean and mean! Now, everyone looks the same. The level of competitiveness has risen astronomically which has in turn helped the sport evolve. But the top competitors aren’t exactly what they were back in 2009. We’re talking the top 1%. So what about the rest of us? Unless you are dedicated to committing all your time, energy, and money into being a competitive CrossFitter, kiss the dreams of being in the 1% good-bye. But who do we see on the cover of CrossFit magazines and journals and blogs and online stores? The athletes in the 1%. We basically went from one extreme of health and fitness, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” to the other extreme of “How eating donuts gave me abs & an 80kg snatch”. Is that an oxymoron? I think donuts also contributed to my dads heart attack.
Here’s the bottom line: I miss the diversity of body types in CrossFit.
If I said that the constant ‘in your face’ CrossFit , didn’t make me feel guilty, I’d be lying. This is what makes me nervous about the future of the sport. Goals that were once oriented around minimizing the use of a band on pull-ups or beating your grace time are now second to six-pack abs, cutting weight, and a Brooke Wells bum. Appearance is a component of your health, but it does not define your level of fitness. CrossFit is not bodybuilding. Take that crap to 24-hour fitness. There’s a reason you will not find mirrors in a CrossFit gym. The first reason being that you will be absolutely distracted by the reflection of your sexiness. The second reason being that we want you to discover body awareness and be able to feel the movement without being distracted. Move well, count correctly, boost intensity, and pat yourself on the back, because as CrossFitters we should value physcial performance over appearance. Will that six-pack you worked so hard to get make you happier? Now that you have it how will you maintain it? Will you be less happy if or when you begin to lose it? Keep your goals performace based, eat clean, and you will not have to worry about answering these questions. Stay true to CrossFit.