CrossFit has changed my body and my life. Whereas I used to struggle to find clothes that weren’t too long (I’m 5’1″), now I also struggle to find pants and shirts that fit. The changes have been subtle in the past year and a half: wider lats, larger quads, muscular glutes. I’ve gone from having a skinny runner’s body to having a fit runner’s body. (Let’s face it, there is no one on this planet who is going to look at me and think, “Swole.” I’m lean, but I’m shaped differently.)
Yet I don’t fit in most off-the-rack clothes, which I find ironic. CrossFit makes you look the way you’re supposed to look. Your upper body gets stronger through pull-ups, jerks, and handstand pushups. Your legs gain muscle as you squat, row, deadlift, and jump. You can carry all your groceries into the house in one trip or heave your stuffed-to-the-gills carry-on into the overhead compartment. And very few companies know how to dress a strong body.
Not a CrossFitter’s World
But you don’t fit because the modern world isn’t made for CrossFitters. We’ve been inundated with conveniences. It seems like there’s always a moving walkway or a shopping cart. Our food choices are about as far away from their original form as possible. I could talk about how conveniences are slowly killing us for hundreds of words, but I won’t. (And not just because I feel like I’m shouting into a windstorm. If you’re reading this, you already know being sedentary and eating empty calories is not conducive to good health.)
So, I don’t fit into clothes or the easy convenience of the world. In fact, I fight against it every time I step inside the box or prep chicken and sweet potatoes in batches. I don’t fit into normal conversations about health and fitness. I bring my own snacks, and it startles people when I answer why I’m eating this instead of that. “I’m trying to build lean muscle. I want to run faster and lift heavier.” Most people seem to diet and exercise. Running, and now CrossFit, has taught me to fuel and train.
My entire life, I’ve felt different. But it wasn’t until I started CrossFitting that I realized how different.
I’m Not the One Who Has to Change
But I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Those changes in my body, while terrible for clothes shopping, are fantastic for daily life. When I travel, I don’t have to ask for help with my luggage. Grocery shopping doesn’t end in 10 trips from the driveway to the kitchen. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like a helpless female.
I feel truly self-sufficient.
I’ve gone from struggling to lift bags of cat litter to easily swinging them into the back of my SUV. I have actual upper body strength, and I’ve learned how to pair it with lower body strength to do everyday tasks.
With those small daily victories outside the box, I’ve gained more confidence. I’m not saying that I don’t get anxious at times, especially in new situations. But I have more courage. I’m more likely to try something new. I’m more willing to fail because I know it’s all a learning experience.
If that means I can’t fit into clothes off the rack or conversations about health and fitness, I’ll deal.