Once in a while I start lamenting the fact that I found Crossfit so late in life (at the age of 36). I envy all the 20-something olds who have more time to work out AND who get more sleep at night so they recover better.
I have realised though that I need to just enjoy the ride as it is. It’s MY ride and it’s better to be a fit 40-year old than an unfit 40-yr old. I have seen that young fitties, not matter how fit they are, still struggle with a lot of issues that most young people struggle with – body image, self-confidence, what others think about you, wanting to change specific body parts, etc. etc.
I have been there, done that and I’m glad these days are (mostly) over. Note that I say ‘mostly’. Maybe by the time I’m 60 I would have truly evolved to the “no f*cks given what others think about me” level.
In Crossfit I see a bit more self confidence in women and the ability to focus on and love what the body can DO, instead of what the body looks like.
I observe women in fitness all around me though, and I’ve jotted down some reasons I find it good to be a bit older…
If you’re young, please don’t take any of this personally. I’m referring a lot to the glossy Instagram crew who probably isn’t you (because they are most definitely not reading this non-curated and non-professionally-photographed blog).
So here we go, why do I enjoy being an older fittie:
I lift heavy for many reasons but getting a big butt ain’t one
I lift because it’s super fun but also because it strengthens my bones. Bones are like muscle, they respond to being put under ‘stress’ by becoming stronger. Bone density starts going downhill the older you get so I lift them weights so I don’t break a hip (when I’m competing in the Crossfit Games in the 60+ category one day).
I seriously can’t understand this current obsession with big butts anyway. I mean I too appreciate a nice butt when I see one but it usually comes with a strong athlete attached to it that I admire for lots of other reasons. I definitely don’t look at a Kardashian (or a Kardashian wanna-be) butt and think “Awesome. A strong, confident woman who’s not afraid to lift heavy.” No, I don’t trust their butts – so much of their bodies is fake, who’s to say the butt’s for real??
I’m not in a rush to make my body into something different
I’m not in it to get ready for Ibiza. I don’t take progress photos of my muscles, I don’t measure myself, I don’t weigh myself. Fitness is not a ‘goal’ to me, it’s just part of my life and it’s something fun I do that keeps me sane and keeps me strong. Of course one of the side effects IS keeping my weight under control but it’s a good side effect, it’s not the main reason I do it.
(another good side effect of weight lifting, by the way, is keeping cellulite away from my thighs. Stop wasting money on magic creams or scrubs. They don’t work. Cellulite is actually just a normal part of how fat tissue is structured and how much of it shows depends on your genes as well as having or not having muscles)
I watch what I eat not because I need to get my body to be smaller or ‘tighter’ but because I am finally aware of how what I put into my body affects my performance / mood / skin / energy
The human body can take just about 25-30 years of being fed random stuff and from then on you start noticing VERY clearly when something just isn’t the fuel your body needs in order to perform and feel the best. I don’t count my macros and I’m not as strict with sugar as I used to be a few years ago, but I know very well by now what food doesn’t help me in getting stronger or faster. I don’t always stay away from the stuff that does nothing for my performance, food is after all also something fun and social and also something emotional, but I am very aware of how my body reacts to certain things and that helps a lot in guiding me to eat well most of the time.
I’m not in the gym to pick anyone up so I don’t care what I look like OR that I may or may not grunt and/or make other ‘unladylike’ noises at times
The good thing with Crossfit is that Crossfit chicks by large don’t seem to care that they are sweaty and loud when working out. It’s definitely different from the scene in aerobics classes at regular gyms. I have been to many, back in the day, as well as more recently. I’ve seen make up galore and worrying about sweating too much. I’ve even seen full make up in Bikram yoga and while running a marathon.
I admit I put on mascara and do my eyebrows on most days I’m out in public, without that I just look very washed out and I’m tired of people asking me if I’m well when they see me with a naked face. However, that’s where it ends and when I’m working out I couldn’t care less if I look or sound ladylike (whatever that even means!?).
My motto has always been “Look pretty on rest days”.
(except that I don’t really have rest days ;)
I don’t compare my body to somebody else’s body
Women tend to compare. Women tend to overanalyse their bodies and wanting their various body parts to look like somebody else’s body parts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally learned to appreciate MY body. All the bits that I hated growing up, and by that I mean well into my 20s, I appreciate. They never meant that I didn’t have enough friends or that boys didn’t like me. I realise that everyone’s body is just a package that holds that person. If a person is comfortable in their package and is not a jerk, the people who will love you will love you. They will not overanalyse your package.