Airports and planes are the only places I read magazines. Most of the time, the content in popular magazines isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but I usually have several hours of travel time to kill, so I like to warm up with what’s essentially the KFC of literature. Case in point: several years ago, during a trip out to Arizona for a conference, I’d picked up a copy of Maxim magazine. A blurb on some page about how to do things better, under the subhead “How to gracefully get out of a bad date”, read:

“If she’s crazy, won’t stop talking about her cats, or is pushing 160 pounds…”

It’s now the middle of 2013, and still that line of text floats through my head periodically. Why? Because I’m 157 pounds.

As a coach, I get to hear everything that everybody says about everybody – good, bad, and ugly. I’m aware of the opinions of your family members, business associates, and friends regarding your physical development, and I’ve become acutely aware of this simple fact: if it doesn’t fit their convention, it’s inferior.

All too often, I get to hear about how a boyfriend doesn’t like it that his girlfriend’s biceps are more defined than his, or how it’s manly to have calf muscles, or how one of my female athletes has to cover up with a shawl because she doesn’t want to embarrass anyone she’s with when she’s out because of her traps. I get to hear about how women shouldn’t be lifting that much weight, or eating that many eggs for breakfast, or how their mothers are swearing on every religious relic on the planet that they’re going to hurt themselves. I get to hear about how fat everyone thinks they are, and how they’re limiting themselves to 1,100 calories a day to lose the weight. I get to hear how weak everyone thinks they are, how much they suck in comparison to somebody else, or how all they want to do is get huge. I hear about cellulite, about how big thighs are getting, about weight gain. I get to hear about things that people have been mad at themselves about for 5, 10, 15, 20 years or more.

THAT. IS. ENOUGH.

I am not attempting to eradicate judgment – it’s actually a decent survival mechanism. I am advocating instead for duck-like backs after we encounter it and before we respond to it. I am also advocating the stance that not all judgment, even the sort you hear resonating off the insides of your own skull, is grounded in reality. To this end, and to clear my own attachment to the years-old aforementioned subhead, I am laying out a buffet table of facts about myself in my own attempt to purge the judgment call that a woman who is nearing 160 pounds somehow does not have value.

Age 30
Height 65.5 inches
Weight 157
Body Fat 25%
Neck circumference 15 inches
Chest circumfrence 37.5 inches
Waist circumfrence 27.5 inches
Hip circumfrence 40 inches
CrossFitting for Roughly 3 years
Back squat 270 lbs
Strict overhead press 115 lbs
Deadlift 300 lbs
Clean and Jerk 165 lbs
500m row 1:43
Fran 4:38, Rx
Grace 2:38, Rx
Cindy 16 rounds, Rx
Filthy Fifty 268
Max pull ups 12
Max box jump 43 inches
Max burpees (2 minutes) 46

 

I subsist mainly on a diet of 5-6 eggs, half an avocado, and a small handful of berries for breakfast, roughly a pound or so of ground beef with kimchi or red sauce for lunch, and Brazilian BBQ with veggies for dinner. I eat this way about 80% of the time. I love dark chocolate, cheeseburgers, and ice cream, and in the summer, I eat ice cream from local stands as much as 1 or 2 times a week.  I know my diet could be cleaner, but sometimes I just want dessert for breakfast.

I love my shoulders, my traps, and my butt. I have cellulite on my thighs, and there are some days that I’m okay with it. I get frustrated with how small my hands are, because I can’t hook grip a men’s 28mm bar. Sometimes I skip a WoD because I’m worried I won’t do well.

In the next six months, I’d like my back squat to go up to 285, my deadlift to go up to 325, and my C&J to go up to 185. I’d like to increase my max pull ups by 100% and be able to walk 20 feet on my hands. I’d like to lose 5% body fat and string 4 muscle ups together.

I am intentionally subjecting myself to judgment, your judgment, in writing and publishing this article. Whether you say it out loud or not, you’ll probably have an opinion about it and about me. Regardless of what you think, the take home point is this: age, weight, arm circumference, lift efforts, and WoD times are measurements – nothing more. The value assigned to those measurements by you, and those around you are the points to consider. Do you think more about the weight on the scale than the weight on your bar? Do you negate your current performance because you’re not at your goal yet? Do you listen to other people tell you how to eat, when you are a picture of health and they’re on the path to type 2 diabetes? The way you look should be a by-product of what you can do. More focus on the work, less focus on the noise. More expectations of yourself for greatness.