I love the people I have met through CrossFit. They are my best friends- we drive our significant others nuts with our constant group chat about diets, fitness, and general savagery towards people on social media. I am the only one in the group, however, married with a child and trying for more. Although my friends support me and I support them, they are not ready for that part of their lives yet, and it therefore differentiates me from them as I take a step back from competing, and they still have the drive to keep pushing forward. It’s not a secret that it’s been an internal struggle for me over the years to take the time to train after work and keep up with my best friends when I have been away from my child all day. The other day I was talking to some fellow moms at the gym- one who went to CrossFit Regionals as an individual, but after almost two years and three kids later, has lost a lot of her strength and has just returned to work on getting it back; and one who was there with her college-aged daughter working on benching just more than the bar. As I was driving home, in between the constant, “Mom?” “Yes, Charlie” … can’t think of something to say pause...“I love you” “I love you too, peanut” from the back seat; I reflected on my conversations, goals moving forward, and the positivity they shared about my situation (struggling to stay competitive while working full-time and having a four year-old, having a still birth and moving on from that, etc). I was thinking it’s funny the cliches of classes at the box- although both groups train together daily and push each other, the 5 and 6pm *usually* has the most “competitive athletes”- the ones that have that drive it takes to compete at a high level, do mobility, train for hours, etc...and then 9am CrossFit class- typically known as the “mom class.” It’s almost entirely women, a lot bring their children with them and therefore will be in and out within the hour. Most of my friends are at the later evening classes, but the “mom class” is one of my favorite groups to train with, they are so positive and inspirational even if they are not at the top of the leader board- so I wanted to write an open letter to them- my fellow CrossFitting moms.
Dear CrossFitting Mom,
You impress me. You are amazing. You are strong as hell even if you are not labeled “strong” by weightlifting standards...even if you don’t like working out necessarily... I am still talking to you! There are so many easier things you could have chosen for fitness, but you come into the gym and challenge yourself to do more pull-ups, run harder, lift heavier…seriously, how many other moms do you know that weight lift at all? I know how hard it is for you to make it to the gym some days. Sometimes its been a long night and sometimes its already been a long day at 9am. I know how frustrating it is when your child is being a little shit after you got them and you ready, drove all the way to the gym and you need just 30 f-ing minutes of time to warm-up, do a workout, and put your stuff away. I get it, I’ve been there. It’s not always easy, but that’s what makes you more impressive.
I know it can be frustrating. It has probably happened that you have lost some strength or endurance or skill you worked so hard to get. Maybe you had another child and pregnancy took its toll so you selflessly had to begin again. Maybe life got busy or someone got sick and you had to take more days off than you wanted. Maybe you want to be as good as you know you can be, but you can’t justify the hours it takes to train with the guilt of not seeing your family. You want to stay another hour and work on weaknesses, but someone at home or in the locker room needs you. I understand. I have (and I hate to admit it) cried after workouts at the gym because, despite my best effort, I’m frustrated that I didn’t preform the way I expected myself to, especially after all it took to make it to the gym.
I know it’s sometimes hard to come train in a place where people are running around with their asses hanging out in just shorts and a sports bra and your body holds the markings of carrying a child. Maybe you don’t look like you used to, maybe you are dying to take your shirt off or wear shorts, but you’re embarrassed, I understand. I have changed my clothes before the gym and kept my shirt on even when I am sweating profusely... but one day I truly hope you say to hell with it, I am 30 or 40-whatever years old and I look the way I look and I’m proud of what it took to get here, therefore I’m going to workout in whatever I feel comfortable in!
You might not be at the top of the leader board… like ever… you might PR your clean at a weight someone else just power snatched... for reps… but I want you to know that I get you, I am so proud of you. You who may scale the workout, who doesn’t cheat reps just for a better score, you who cheers on everyone, looking like a hotmess, rushing in and out carrying a kid(s) without a warm-up/cool down/moment to stretch. YOU are my inspiration. Keep on pushing yourself momma… you know those little eyes are watching! (because you see them mimicking what they see in the gym making it all worth it. :) XOXO
A fellow CrossFitting Mom