My Instagram feed is currently taken up by friends, acquaintances and celebrity women posting empowering #strongnotskinny #girlsthatlift #crossfit posts. Several years ago the thought of women lifting weights wouldn’t occur to the majority of us. Why? Because the fear of looking too muscular, losing our curves, gaining weight, stopped us. The topic revolved around appearance rather than accomplishment.
This has now changed completely, and while it would be overly simplistic to credit Instagram with single-handedly addressing the gender gap in the gym, #strongnotskinny is a fantastic example of the power of a well-considered hashtag. It’s neat, snappy and tackles the cultural misconception head on, replacing it with a message of success. Never mind the fact that, unless your goal is to drastically alter your image, it simply won’t happen. There is now a sense of community between women that lift. We support each other, praise each other when we achieve a new Personal Best (PB) and crucially, we all know that this is no longer a man’s sport.
I can assure you, the feeling you get from achieving a new PB on your back squat, your first pull up or muscle up is absolutely brilliant. As an individual, you feel a great sense of achievement and, as a collective, we spread a message of empowerment. The CrossFit Open has just finished for the year, a competition in which you compete against several hundred thousand women across the world in a series of workouts. It’s tough, but it also makes you realise just how far you can push yourself.
The days of women being expected to stay at home are long gone; we are career-focused, driven and ambitious, and that mindset should be applied to all aspects of our lives. People constantly tell me how much more confident they have become since joining a CrossFit gym. This is because women aren’t made to feel inferior, rather, we are pushed to better ourselves and we’ve taken to social media in force to spread the word. So, for those of you that are considering giving it a go….
… go for it!