December 12, 2012
Filed under Sports
By Claire Knudsen
Strength training, for years, has been a taboo for women. Why would a woman want to lift weights and gain muscle mass? Doesn’t weight gain carry a negative connotation; one that all women try to avoid as much as possible? The recent emergence of CrossFit has changed that, with more women turning to the popular “sport of fitness.”
So what exactly is this sport of fitness? CrossFit is essentially a strength and conditioning program that appeals to many different demographics-from police academies to professional athletes to college students. The workouts take place in a gym that CrossFit athletes refer to as their “Box.” These workouts change daily in order to work different muscle groups, thus given the term Workout of the Day, or “WOD” for short.
The CrossFit games are then held to determine the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth. The games are essentially what any other championship is to another sport, which is an opportunity for the elite to compete against each other for the top title in their sport.
While the definition of the sport alone is enough to make any woman longing to be lean and strong run the opposite direction, it has actually been a fitness inspiration. Katelyn Block is a 20 year-old CrossFit competitor aspiring to compete in the 2014 regionals. An active woman with experience in many different activities such as field hockey, swimming, and long-distance running to name a few, Block always found herself going back to weight lifting and has found her true passion in CrossFit.
“As a woman, we look for lean, tight, and ‘toned’ muscles. To women, CrossFit is incredibly appealing because it offers the strength of muscle as well as leanness in body composition. The combination of strength and conditioning is like a powerhouse for lean muscle development and fat loss,” Block said.
One of the main criticisms of the sport is that women will lose their feminine physique, and become more bulky and muscular. However, Block has the first-hand experience to show that this is not the case for CrossFit.
“You will get out what you put into CrossFit, weight lifting, or any other fitness activity. CrossFit is the perfect blend of resistance training and weight lifting with metabolic conditioning. The result is lean muscle and low body fat, not bulkiness.”
Another advantage of the sport is that it helps target areas of the body that most women find difficult to work on.
“The best part is the fact that all movements are functional and target multiple joints/muscle groups at a time. The most prominent changes I’ve seen are in my belly and my glutes, the most ‘problem’ areas for a lot of women” said Block.
This is a sport that also offers another very appealing aspect for women: the opportunity to bond and create family-like relationships with the other people at their box. Block said that the relationships she has been able to build with the other athletes at her box are unlike any she has had with other teammates in the past.
“It’s the experiences you have with your trainers, your friends, and how much you push each other to be better. The community is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, which is exactly why CrossFit athletes are forged to be more mentally and physically fit than any other sport,” she said.
CrossFit is a sport that is tailored to each individual’s fitness level, strengths, and weaknesses. While everyone follows the same workouts, intensity and loads are set appropriately for each individual to what they are capable of. As women, one of the most rewarding things in terms of working out is success and seeing progress, and CrossFit is one that allows this, week in and week out.