Friday 111202

Three rounds, 15-12-and 9 reps, for time of:

Barbell Thrusters, 135# (95#)
Weighted pull-ups, 45# (30#)

Post time to comments.

This blurb and picture was found in a popular magazine seen by millions of people every day….what is happening to our society?!  Maybe Cameron and her agents need to read this post from CrossFit Lisbeth, entitled "One Woman's Request."

"Don’t be nice to me. Not here, not in the gym. Not just because I’m a woman. You can be nice to me in the bar, on the street, in the library, at home. But in the gym I’m no longer your baby, your honey, or your sweetheart. I’m a woman in a CrossFit gym and I’m here to kick ass, not show mine.

In the gym, I’m about performance, not popularity. I’m about achievement, not appearance. I’m about strength, not sex.

Do you get that? Whether you’re my workout partner, my friend, my lover, or my coach, don’t suggest that I go easier, lighter, or with less fortitude than that of which I am capable. You’re not doing me any favors.

The gym is not a place to protect women, nor is it a place to worship them, but it is a place to exalt them. We could grow so much here. Help us to do so.

Help us to elevate ourselves by ourselves. Forget gallantry and remember weights. If our form is good on practice lifts, urge us to go heavier. Please. We often underestimate ourselves. That’s the difference between men and women in the gym. Most men overestimate what they can do, while most women underestimate what they can do. That’s where you can help us most when it comes time for the WOD. That’s where we really need you. Take that bravado and lend us a little. Tell us to go heavier, go faster, get meaner. We’ll look dismissive but we’ll take your words to heart. We will go heavier, go faster, and get meaner – at least with the weights.

Don’t baby us. Not in the gym. Not in words and not in demeanor. If you’re my coach, don’t you dare set out one WOD for the men and one WOD for the women. If my form is good, don’t you dare keep me at a light weight for months or years. Don’t you dare underestimate what my weight should be on the bar. I should know. I’m the one lifting it. And if I let you keep me down, then shame on me too.

My words may sound angry, but I am not. I am resolved. I want to be strong and to grow stronger. I just need your help in not giving me help. I need to stand on my own. Let me do that. Don’t be nice to me. Thank you."

What are your thoughts?


  1. Thank you for this. I spent time at another gym that was truly amazing except for a few times they changed the women’s workout to a different exercise in order to not build manly traps (or equally strange reasons). They were programming for what they believed the majority of their women clients wanted: the ideal socially-accepted fit female’s physique—muscular, but only in the acceptable places.
    Well, I love that Verve pushes me continually past what I believe is possible for myself and that here it’s ALWAYS about increasing what we can DO and NOT chasing after some silly, overrated body barbie body image.
    Women are strong, we just need the opportunity to discover the depths and grit of our strength.

  2. bjackson :

    Yeah….what she said!!
    Right on Tiff!

  3. CC :

    Thanks for the post JJ.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled with this dynamic. Here is one example that has stuck with me…I went into a Nortstroms to purchase some lingerie a few years ago. The sales women actually will go into the dressing room with you and help you with fittings and styles. I’m not very stylish and needed the help. After trying on a few outfits the women helping me said, “Honey I think your best bet is to stop working out”. “No more weights for you”. I was floored and while I know it was a ridiculous thing to say, we as fearlessly strong women (Yes you) feel these pressures all around us. I sometimes struggle with my body image and looking feminine. But I always go back to how amazing it is to be strong and healthy and luckily our CrossFit men agree!

  4. As someone who has never been feminine (or didn’t feel like it anyway) I’ve always gotten looks and comments about my body (good and bad-mostly bad).
    I was told by a math teacher in high school that I would be a good center on a football team. Nice huh? I wasn’t nearly as large as when I walked through Verve’s door the first time (May 2009.) I was very active but… I was a shot-putter, swimmer, soccer player and I rode and trained horses. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life not feeling like I was good enough because I was fat. Now I’m not because I’m muscular? Screw that.
    I’ve always been bigger whether fat or not. My biceps are as big or larger than “normal” women. Hell, when I was in farrier (horseshoeing) school in the 90s, my biceps rivaled that of my friggin’ MALE instructor. Either he was small or I was big.
    Add to it that I’ve now dropped weight and though not as cut as I could be, muscles can definitely be seen. I’ve had guys-guys I don’t even know- “joke” about them (re: arm wrestling) but I know that not being dainty makes it so a certain crowd finds my particular “physique” unattractive. I don’t really need them in my life. Honestly, I’m far more useful to the world (and myself) in shape, than out.
    Whatever man, I can do pull-ups now. I can run around the block now. I can do a handstand. I can run a mile with a 20# weight vest in just over 10mins. That’s fucking huge for someone like me.
    I’ve been working on changing my own mind about how I feel about how I look and mostly, how I move in the world. I’m awkward but less awkward than I used to be. It takes a really, really long time to adjust to a new body and new way of thinking, a new way of “fitting in.” An identity crisis to say the least. The last think I need to worry about is making others feel more secure about how I look.
    I am proud of my muscles and “beefiness.” I’ve done so much since May of 2009. Things that have been hard won…
    I will never apologize for how I look. I will only be proud of it and though I have experienced multiple bumps, I will keep moving forward and I will be proud.

  5. Jim D. :

    It’s all about confidence. My experience has been that people who are confident in their athletic abilities are overall more confident and secure than people whose confidence stems from their looks.
    Botox, butt lifts and breast implants instill a false confidence while rope climbing, deadlifts, clean and jerks, snatches, pullups, etc allow us to earn a confidence that will stay with us a life time. And, very well may accomplish the same objective.
    While being athletic and aggressive is a trait you all share, you are also more engaging and beautiful than the majority of women I know. I would prefer sweating along side you than being at a party conversing with them. The real beauty is in the attitude!

  6. Matt :

    I think most men that are attracted to the sign-post skinny females (females whose scapula and individual vertebrae are visible) have their own issues. Many of whom feel it necessary to voice their opinion about females with an athletic build.
    My guess: they feel inferior because of their own stature or lack of muscular build. Says a lot to me… you’ve got to work hard for those muscles.. you have to earn them. If you have a strong build because of CrossFit, I know you are willing to work hard and that transfers into all aspects of life.
    Ladies – strong is the skinny… and strong is SEXY!

  7. Beck :

    I agree with Matt, the people who object most to a strong female are probably the most insecure in their own body image and lack of discipline. It does take hard work to be fit, and I can honestly say the people at Verve really are the most attractive people I know, and we are all shapes and sizes.

  8. Ross :

    Pottsie, where is the Like button for your post?

  9. Sonja :

    This one hit a nerve for me, and I really appreciate everyone’s comments.
    I feel pressure from so many different places to conform to society’s idea of what women should look like. More than one person has said they like my arms because they’re toned “without being too muscular.” I’m never sure how to respond to that because I’m trying to get stronger, and my arms are probably going to get more muscular. It’s a compliment but at the same time the pressure is there to not work out any harder. (Actually, I haven’t gotten that compliment in awhile, so maybe my arms are already “too muscular”.)
    I even saw a video on the main crossfit site awhile ago that I found disheartening. They focused on one woman who was very cute and petite. You would have no idea she was as strong as she was just by looking at her. And then they used her to say, see, women who do crossfit don’t get “big”. Yes, she didn’t look particularly athletic, but she also wasn’t your typical crossfitter. We can’t all look like her.
    However, it’s almost always the people I work out with who are the most supportive. And I definitely agree with the comments above that the most negative responses–both from women and men–come from people who are insecure about themselves in some way. I think women being strong and athletic is still relatively new in the scheme of things. Throughout history, whenever women wanted to do something new and cool–like voting, or owning property, or working, it was called unfeminine by those who were threatened by it. I’m guessing/hoping that society’s views will shift as more women realize their potential.

  10. Hanna :

    Well said everyone, Sonja and Pottsie in particular.
    I don’t fit the “small and dainty” mold either. As a 5’10” 16-year old athlete I was once told by a female salesperson “Honey, your butt is too big to look feminine in ANYTHING ladylike.” I wish I’d had the confidence then to tell her the reason it was big was that I could outswim all the boys in my age group, high dive from 30 feet and trampoline in competition and that she was welcome to kiss it. But no, I let her chip away at my confidence instead and I didn’t wear skirts or dresses for years afterwards.
    The mental confidence from the daily ritual of looking at the WOD, convincing myself that I CAN do it and getting it done is what will make me tell the next salesperson to “Kiss it”. And the fact that my shoulders and arms will be strong and muscular when I say it – bonus!

  11. Cat — <3 <3 <3

  12. greg b :

    First let me say to every post before mine, Well said and right on. Second I want to apologize for the ass hats n hollywood that don’t think Cameron Diaz or whoever can be aleading lady if they are too fit and Third shame on the douche nozzle that wrote the above artice about it to create issues in the women of the world.
    I have never been the small or fast kid so I have relied mostly on my strength and depreciating humor to get by. I know one thing without waver that the most beautiful people I have ever been around both inside and out are the people of the crossfit community. The human factor that shines from a crossfitter is so much brighter than a globo gym person it is amazing. And ladies I can’t even begin to tell you how attractive strong fit crossfit women are. WOW keep up the great work and be proud cuz you are all amazing!

  13. Leslie :

    I was reading this- this morning- as I was stuffing myself into jeans I haven’t worn in awhile- maybe the dryer shrank? But I noticed they were tighter in the thighs but not in the waist. Last time I wore them I had weaker thighs and bigger love handles 🙂
    That is one thing I love about the Verve- so many beautiful shapes and sizes!!

  14. Danni :

    What a joke of an article. It’s sad to me that so many people think that looking strong isn’t feminine or beautiful. It’s like a slap in the face when people don’t want your body to “show“ how hard you worked. Give me a break! If I’m going to work my butt off in the gym, you better believe it’s going to show! In fact, I look up to so many women at Verve, and think how beautifully strong they are, and only HOPE that someday I can be like that. I am honored to be surrounded by such confidence at Verve, and that only pushes me to work harder every time I set foot in there. I wouldn’t change my idols for anything printed in a magazine, screw those negative opinions; I would pick strong over what is socially “acceptable” any day.

  15. James (O.G.) :

    Here’s what I think: Don’t give a shit what I think. It’s your body. It should make YOU happy, not someone else. Different people are attracted to different things. Look how you want to look and love who you are and people will be attracted to that confidence and self love.
    By the way, I don’t care how big her biceps are, Cameron Diaz needs to eat something.

  16. Thanks, yo. 🙂

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