Strong is the new skinny
Women in CrossFit
As a crossfitter and personal trainer, most of my time is spent around women who can lift heavy weights, do muscle ups and pull ups, row, run, jump, skip, burpee at fast rates and genrally kick butt in the gym/box. In correlation to the increasing number of women who do CrossFit and start to lift heavier weights is the idea that strong is the new skinny. The trend that women who are strong, workout and have muscles are the new ‘super models’ and ideal body figure for women to adhere to. Although not universially accepted the idea has gained momentum in the last couple of years and it’s relatively easy to see why. These women look great – they are promoting a healthy lifestyle which also allures to promises of endless energy fun and self-confidence.
Although strong is a better image for many women to aspire to than skinny as it encourages a lifestyle of gym, weights, and healthy eating, I’d like to think there is another reason for this increasingly popular thought. Trying to aspire to being thin holds empty promises for many women leading to hungry stomachs, tired, lethargic bodies and general unhappiness. Not to mention the undeniable guilt you feel when ‘falling off the wagon’ of your soup diet by gorging yourself with chocolate cake. We all know we’re guilty of the same thing if not something similar. I’m think Miranda eating cake out of the bin worthy. The constant cycle of failing these diets along with negative effects on your body from being on such diets can be devastating to your self-esteem and also body image. On the other hand, training and also eating to be fit and strong can have the exact opposite effect. Aiming to be fit, healthy and strong encourages working hard and achieving the results, which you have worked for reinforcing a positive self-image and also body image. It is the goals we set in the gym that motivates us to succeed. Once we achieve a personal best we want another. Its addictive and we really have to work for it!
There are no short cuts, no special pills, no way other than hard work to get there. And there is something so satisfying about reaching a goal when you put in the work. This self-recognition of achievement can boost your self-esteem and also the way you see your body. This is the difference between the fitness and beauty industry. The fitness industry offers girls tangible results, which make you feel great. It offers you a lifestyle of health, community, fun and satisfaction! Starving yourself to get to an unrealistic body figure offers you failure and emptiness and a constant cycle of guilt. As soon as you start chasing something true and give up believing the lies you can actually be happy! It’s your choice which one you want. Beauty is really only what society decides it to be. Somehow we decided it to be skinny (as a side note cultures in Africa actually force feed young women to fatten them up for marriage as this is the desirable body image). Being a strong woman is desirable and you can break that constant cycle of dieting, being upset and unsatisfied about your body! Hard work, eating well and reaching goals is a great way to get there. It can change your whole out look on what you think about your body! We have to power to decide what we want to aspire to if we must and aspiring to strong, dedicated, healthy women are an amazing opportunity to change perceptions of people for the better. Including moving away from diseases such as anorexia and bulimia which young girls are so susceptible to in this day and age.
It is a shame for someone to go their whole life without realising what their body is truly capable of. Because there is so much your body can do if you put in time and effort to get there. It is truly a spectacular feeling to be able to do something today you couldn’t do yesterday. So girls what are you waiting for? Get out there and start lifting, eat well and change your body for best! You can do it and you can change your perception of beauty and stop chasing an illusion and chase the real thing!
Elle Belle xx
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About the Author
Elle has a passion for women's fitness and helping girls improve their self-image through fitness. Her vision is to create a CrossFit gym, which allows women to learn how to move, build their strength, learn to be healthy and gain respect for their bodies showing them how amazing they really are! Find out more