Friday, April 18, 2014

Tales from the front - a new perspective on a newer topic

Hey all, 

For this post - I asked my goddaughter to write something about her experiences as a competitive Crossfitter outside the gym. Its a point of view that no guy can provide, for some pretty obvious reasons. This is her story. And I am damn proud of the woman she has become. 

Life outside the Box: what its like being a female Crossfitter away from the comforts of home. 

For those who don’t know me, or anything about me, I am Guy’s goddaughter and athlete, I am 24 years old, and I am training to compete in the Crossfit games in 2015 and beyond. I have been training with Guy for the past year and it is safe to say that I am a completely different person, both physically and mentally because of it. While most woman my age are concerned about how much they weight, I am more concerned about how much weight I can lift and move. My focus is on gaining muscle, which is very different from the tradition, and more common goal of many woman who focus on losing weight. I knew from the get go that both men and women look at female athletes in a different light, but it wasn't until recently that I experienced it first hand. 

In Crossfit strength is celebrated, and people are encouraged to go heavier and faster; this is the mindset I have become accustomed to. Over the past few months I have surrounded myself with like minded people; both men and women who believe that there is beauty in strength and that muscle is not something to be feared or shied away from, but rather embraced and, dare I say, sought after. While I know that there are those who do not see eye to eye with my beliefs, I do my best to avoid them. However, what is a girl to do when confronted with the challenge of finding a date, or worse, when former friends begin to comment on my obvious physical changes? At first I tried to ignore my differences, and brush off the “you really shouldn't try to get any buffer than you already are. You are going to start looking manly’ comments from other females. But this approach did not work, and just made my frustrated, as I am not one to hold my tongue. After a handful of unsuccessful dates, I began to question whether or not I should hide my strong shoulders and toned arms. or if i should even mention that I Crossfit at all. However it did not take me long to come to my senses and realize that masking what I have worked so hard for simply wasn't going to work. So what now? I could not help but hear my coach’s voice in my head repeating “its easy to be a hero [at the gym], but it is far more difficult to be a hero out there”. For me this means that it is easy to feel empowered at a box, surrounded by like minded thinks, but the true test of strength lies away from these comforts. The real test is when I am out on my own when I am surrounded by nay sayers, when my lifestyle choices are questioned, and when beliefs are called into question, and it is my response to all of these challenges that shows just how strong I really am. Being a female Crossfitter provides me with the opportunity to stand up for something I truly believe in, and the fact that it is not easy means I am doing something right 

A mom at the box I train at paid me the biggest compliment I have ever received just the other day and told me that I need to become a role model of young girls because of my strength. While I did not begin this journey to become a role model, I do hope that I can encourage women to stop being so judgmental towards themselves and their peers. When we start focusing on what we can do instead of what we look like, and stop equating muscle to masculine, then I truly believe the way beauty is viewed would be changed  forever and for the better. 

Kara Petruzzelli