“CrossFit makes you bulky and I don’t want to get bulky.”
“CrossFit is too extreme for me.”
“I am not athletic; I can’t do CrossFit.”
These are just a few of the misconceptions women have about CrossFit. Many are unsure about doing CrossFit because they’re either afraid of gaining muscle, feel they’re not athletic enough, don’t know much about working out, or a combination of the above. When I started CrossFit in 2010, I had a lot of these same thoughts. But after just a few workouts, I began to realize how wrong I was.
Knowing that I couldn’t be alone, I decided to ask a few women who workout at CFBTS what their misconceptions of CrossFit were before they got started.
“I was afraid to gain a lot of muscle, especially in my arms, which I felt were already big. CrossFit has completely changed my mentality about my body. I love the way I look from doing CrossFit and I love how my body is constantly getting stronger. CrossFit has made me care more about myself on the inside than how I look on the outside (and the outside has never looked better!). With CrossFit, if you want to gain muscle, you can gain muscle. If you’re looking to lose weight and tone up, then you can lose weight and tone up. One thing is for sure, you’ll get in the best shape of your life and be a stronger, more confident woman!”
—Chelsey DeMarino-Ziolkowski, West Belmar, NJ (Mom of two)
“I was hesitant to join CrossFit because I don’t consider myself to be athletic at all. Physically and mentally, I’m very self-conscious. I lacked the confidence to go into a CrossFit gym not knowing anything about the sport or what I would be capable of. I was afraid of being judged. I have now been doing CrossFit for one year. It’s made me a more confident and less self-conscious person in and out of the gym. This isn’t just a result of the physical changes, but the family feel of CrossFit By The Sea. When people go out of their way to be nice to you and are supportive of you and give you tips to help you when you’re struggling, it makes you push yourself to do things you never thought you could do.”
—Liz Balestrieri, Asbury Park, NJ
Like Chelsey and Liz, I was afraid to gain muscle and become bulky. I felt I would be judged since I had never lifted much more than a few dumbbells in my life. Soon, those misconceptions fell to the wayside and I fell in love with CrossFit: the way it changed my body, the confidence it gave me both inside and outside of the gym, and especially the supportive community.
I’m lucky enough to share the sport of CrossFit with both my mother Judy, who’s a member at CFBTS (and is 58 years young!), and my sister Alexis, who’s a member at CrossFit Apex in Pennsylvania. There’s a common side effect of CrossFit that we all share: The feeling of being empowered. There’s something about throwing weights around, achieving a personal record, or just doing something for yourself that rekindles your sense of purpose, and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. I see the confidence level of our female members change daily, beginning with the first day they step into our gym.
Even more, CrossFit has redefined the idea of fitness and health for the women at CFBTS:
“CrossFit has changed my life in a number of ways. From a fitness standpoint, I’m stronger than ever and can do things that I would never attempt at a gym on my own. They way I view “working out” is much different now because I’m encouraged to push my limits in CrossFit.
As a woman, my outlook on what “healthy” means has changed. My goal of “being skinny” has taken a back seat to goals of a new PR, a faster mile, or that one extra rep. I used to eat healthy to look good, and now I eat healthy to feel good and to perform!”
—MaryKate Lavin, Ocean NJ
For me as well, my health and fitness have been completely transformed. Before I tried CrossFit, I used to spend hours on end at a regular gym, and only eat a meal or two each day. Now I spend an hour doing CrossFit and eat five to six clean meals throughout the day! I’m the fittest I‘ve ever been, and love the way I look and feel.
I hope this makes you think twice before saying “no” to trying CrossFit. It’s changed so many women’s lives already; why not let it to change yours?