"CrossFit Girls are Getting Big." We’re OK with it. And we have men to thank for it!
“Girls are getting big.”
I can’t tell you how many people, both men and women, who don’t CrossFit—who happened to stumble across the CrossFit Games on TV this summer—pointed this out to me. And it wasn’t said with a tone that suggested they thought this increase in size was particularly attractive.
Having been up close and personal with many of these women—and being a larger woman myself—I can actually say: “I don’t think they care.”
It’s really easy to say the words, “I care about performance, not about what I look like.” It’s a lot harder to get to a place where you actually believe this.
On my best days, I really do believe it’s OK to be a 5’9” and 165 lb. female athlete—attractive even. But on my insecure days, I sometimes still feel myself go back to old ways of thinking.
I remember a moment while I was feeling insecure as I was warming up for an event at the CrossFit Games in 2014, and I made a comment to my coach about the size of Kara Webb’s legs. I must have said it with a tone that implied even I, a woman, thought they were too big because he looked at me like I was naiive and said, “I don’t think she cares. She’s sitting in first place.”
I instantly felt like a fool and had to remind myself why I was there in the first place. While I didn’t ever ask Kara Webb whether or not she digs her thighs, I can tell you this: Those thighs have helped her become one of the fittest women on the planet. And again, I can’t speak for Webb, but I know for myself and other women I have spoken to, certainly part of the reason we’re ok with gaining muscle mass is because CrossFit men have embraced us.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And although feminists will cringe at the following statement, whose opinion do straight women care about more? Other women, or men they’re hoping to attract?
Simply put, it’s the male beholders we hope will see our beauty.
While ordinary men might consider us too big or too muscular, a big percentage of CrossFit men do not. A big percentage of CrossFit men find large quads and muscular arms sexy.
And this is undoubtedly a big reason why many CrossFit women have come to accept and embrace themselves.
Call me superficial, but I know for me, I owe a lot to the community of CrossFit men.
When I was a gymnast, small was attractive. The first dance I ever went to was at our hotel after the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Winnipeg in 1995. I was 11. The girls on my team who were half my height slow danced with one boy after another. Nobody asked me to dance.
When I was a basketball player in University, our guards—rarely the posts—were the ones getting hit on at the bar. And when I was a rower, the lightweight women—all less than 135 lb.—were always the most sought-after ones by the male rowers.
Then I started CrossFit.
Suddenly, me—A 165 lb. WOMAN—was made to feel physically attractive by the men I worked out with. These men respected and were impressed by my performance numbers, and also impressed by the size of my thighs, which to them indicated I work my ass off to become strong—something they respected and found sexy.
A competition at my gym—the Nutts Cup—this past weekend only solidified my confidence in men.
This 26-year-old woman is beautiful. She’s 5’10” and “a solid 185 lb.,” she says. Of impressive lean muscle, that is.
We gave her the nickname Local Brooke Wells on the weekend, which could only be seen as a massive compliment to Schaper-Kotter, as Brooke Wells is commonly considered a physical beauty in the CrossFit world—with the most impressive (and not small) ass this community has to offer.
The point is she is impossible for both men and women not to notice—and in a positive way. I caught my own boyfriend starting at her on the weekend as she moved athletically through workout after workout, and at the after party, multiple interested men asked me if Local Brooke Wells was going to make an appearance.
Like most female athletes I know who have never been petite, Schaper-Kotter didn’t always embrace her size.
“I definitely struggled with low body confidence throughout University,” said the school teacher. And also like so many female CrossFit athletes I know, she no longer feels the urge to be small.
“I now realize that I would never ever want to be a size 0,” she said. “I have random strangers come up to me and ask to take a picture with me because of how much they admire my muscles. And being a school teacher, it’s super cool to see how my students look up to me…I constantly tell my female students that I almost weigh 200 lb., yet I am so incredibly confident and proud of myself and my body.”
And while Schaper-Kotter calls herself “the most single girl in the world,” she also knows some men are attracted to her physique. And these men are predominantly CrossFit men.
“I know that CrossFit men can appreciate a woman with muscles, where as men outside of the gym have a hard time understanding why we do what we do,” he said. “I pride myself on beating some guys off the rower during workouts, and the guy who ends up with me is going to need to be up for a challenge.”
The point is only to say thanks to her sport—and specifically to CrossFit men who appreciate the likes of women like myself and Schaper-Kotter—we feel respected, appreciated and more attractive than in any other community we’ve been a part of.
I guess, all this is to say, ‘Thank you!’
Thank you MEN for helping us love ourselves.
For helping us not give a shit when onlookers say, “Girls are getting big.”