By: Sam Stuart
I recently posted a before and after picture of myself on my Instagram to show some of the physical progress I’ve made. It was a comparison of a photo from 2015 and 2018. It is interesting to look back at older photos because in those times my head was consumed with negative thoughts and concern about what my body looked like. I remember not wanting to tell people I did CrossFit because I didn’t “look” like I did CrossFit.
When I look at those pictures now, I see there was nothing ever wrong with my body. I realize I was always focusing externally and chasing an idea of what I thought I should look like, which apparently was a CrossFit Games athlete. It felt like an added stress and pressure that made it more difficult to make healthy choices. Caring for yourself and pursuing health can look different for everyone. Health is more than just weight and shape.
A physical transformation can be empowering, but how can you pursue true health if you are emotionally and mentally struggling? When my friend Andrew got into a car accident that left him in a minimally conscious state, it put health into perspective for me. I began to pursue health by looking inward and chasing what was healthy for me.
I realized what a privilege it is to have the ability to workout and I began to appreciate CrossFit as a sport, and not something that was supposed to make me look a certain way. Getting fitter seemed to be a side effect of the healthier habits I was making. I began working really hard on my mental and emotional health, I made a career change to something I’m passionate about, and I began appreciating my body for what it is capable of doing.
If your relationship with working out and food has robbed you of joy and peace with your body, then that’s a problem. If you start shaming yourself for not being good enough, for not looking like a games athlete, for not going to the gym enough, or for not eating healthy enough, then that’s a problem. Health is not all about what you eat and what you do. It’s the voice inside your head, how you talk to yourself, and how you treat yourself.
We have several members who are/have been pregnant, we have members in all shapes, sizes, and ages. How you look is not proof of health and you do not need to aspire to look like a games athlete or anyone else for that matter. You don’t see mirrors all around our gym or anyone pressuring you to step on the scale every day. We are a CrossFit gym and we want to encourage you to be the healthiest version of yourself and for you to feel empowered. It requires you to look internally, focus on changing habits, and be kind to yourself.