Last weekend, Hannah and I attended the 2021 CrossFit Games. We were both very grateful for the experience. Not only was it a nice opportunity for me to get away from my everyday routine and hang out with a dear friend, the weekend provided a much deeper perspective on life—namely that 1) relationships are everything; 2) you must never stop believing in yourself; and 3) you must do things that bring you joy.
As a woman, it was very empowering to see another athlete, like Annie Thorisdottir, perform at an elite level only a year after her baby was born. The body and the mind go through so much during pregnancy and postpartum. Due to how the media often portrays women and societal notions on what is beautiful, we often don’t see or hear about the struggle…because the struggle isn’t “sexy.”
I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my son, Daxon. However, I was in denial as I sought to be the perfect mom. I wanted to be able to get back to moving my body – practicing and teaching yoga. I wanted to get back to work, to a normal routine where I would prove to the world that I was the ideal “super mom.” I set unrealistically high expectations for myself—expectations that were shaped from the outside.
I didn’t begin Crossfit until Dax was 2 years old. Looking back, I wish I would have had this movement modality in my life’s toolbelt before pregnancy. CrossFit has helped me significantly. There has been so much growth, physically and mentally. Yoga taught me about breathing, stillness, mindfulness, and quieting the ego. CrossFit nurtured my confidence and challenged me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I learned that ego can be a good thing when there is a healthy balance. Most importantly, I am rediscovering my authentic self. CrossFit has also challenged that “ideal female image” that was placed into my mind at a young age. I bought into society’s definitions of beauty and how women were supposed to look. I was always self-conscious—worried about being too muscular, or not thin enough, or looking too thick or bulky, or not having a thigh gap. I was brainwashed by the prevailing beauty standards. CrossFit has helped me embrace my body. By focusing on the technique, movements, and how I feel versus how I look was the best mental shift for me.
To witness Annie Thorisdottir’s amazing 200lb snatch performance was super emotional for me. If you haven’t seen her humbled, shocked reaction, watch it here. Annie said, “Yes I won the CrossFit Games twice and nothing will top the experience of winning the CrossFit Games…but I wasn’t even planning on being here. I didn’t think I could compete. And I podiumed.” To read more about Annie’s amazing journey to winning 3rd place at the CrossFit Games click here.
After one event, Annie gave a short interview. She mentioned that she could have made the choice to not attend the Games this year, to stay at home with her young daughter but she chose to do this for herself. She said that she owed it to herself.
She reminded me that the first relationship you have is with yourself. As Jillian Michaels said, “You’ve got to look out for yourself. No one is doing it for you.”
Many of the athletes spoke about their support teams, people who believe in them. The people around you matter SO much. It’s important to find those people who uplift you, believe in you and your joy – whether it is CrossFit related or not.
The weekend affirmed for me that I am at my best when I believe in myself, am doing things I love, and am surrounded by people who support me.