When I was a kid my sport of choice was Rugby, this didn’t always please my mum who sat through my dance rehearsals every Saturday morning. Sunday mornings were my favorite. We would drive to a field where I would run around for hours on end, throwing, chasing, tackling, getting covered in bruises & dirt.
There became a point however where Sunday mornings were no more for me. This was through no choice of mine, or my parents, nor my brother.
I got to the age group where boys become boys and girls become girls.
I just couldn’t understand it.
So, you’re telling me I can’t play with the team anymore because I am a girl?!
I was gutted.
I still remember my last game. We were on the pitch doing what we did best, the final whistle blew. With that sound, that was it. I was a girl. I could no longer play with my teammates, my friends.
I remember being picked up and put onto the coaches shoulders.
And that was it, the last time I ever played a game.
Because I was a girl.
Try telling a 12 year old ‘Tom Boy’ she can no longer play the sport she loves.
Because she is a girl.
At the time there was no Girls team at the club that I played for, only Ladies. I remember my Dad having a conversation with the coach in the club house, “County”. But with the age gap there was no way I could keep up. I was do upset with my parents for making that decision for me (obviously, it makes sense). So I thought, ‘That’s it, no more to it all’.
No more dance.
No more swimming.
No more tennis.
No more rugby.
Because I am a girl.
If only that 13 year old girl knew.
I think potentially 5 years ago there was a massive gap because of what CrossFit is. I remember when I try to get my wife down to CrossFit and she said, “you will never get me doing a snatch or hanging off a rig!!”
But I think right now the gap in the field is level, the Fitness Industry is bigger and people care about how they look, what they eat and also compare their fitness to others.
It could be seen that the gap within the fitness industry is slimming, females are now less hesitant to grab that barbell, lift the dumbbell or to hang from the rig. Movements are less daunting and the benefits of CrossFit and Weightlifting is becoming more appealing.
Males and Females go through the same stimulus, the same coaching, and pretty similar adaptations. Some of these physical adaptations that you see in CrossFit seem to becoming more popular; The big shoulders and thighs are celebrated and show the female Crossfitter who can snatch and squat heavy shit as a powerhouse to be admired for their ability and physical capacity. They are optimised machines, real athletes – gender at that level I feel becomes almost irrelevant.
Are these physical attributes becoming more popular amongst all female goers, I would say yes. Not so much about the thigh gap but ‘thick’. #womenwithweights #ladiesthatlift.
The endless memes/text images floating around social media.
Perhaps for some it is not even about just ‘looking the part’, but being the part. Being strong. Being quick.
There is no denying it, there is going to be a physical capability difference in Males & Females. Men are naturally stronger, they are built that way. Testosterone levels are higher in males, it is a given. Men have more pure strength.
That 100kg on the board isn’t going to be the same number for females, but that number will still be relevant. It will be advised that we work at the same %, or RM. We all get exactly the same workout.
It is relevant for genders (and abilities).
Whether male or female individuals follow the path of progressions, adaptations, techniques, cues and work to reach a goal or achievement.
We all know that there are females CrossFitters and other athletes out there that are stronger & faster than your average male. Ok comparing a Dottir to an average Joe at the box, isn’t going to be a completely fair ‘test’. But chances are the top females and top females at your box are going to have a battling tally over who ‘wins’ a wod.
Let’s make a little comparison between genders at the 2018 CrossFit Games:
35 / 30-cal. SkiErg
30 / 25 burpees to bar
45 / 40 single-arm OHS, 50 / 35-lb. DB
40 / 45 single-leg squats
25 box jump-overs, 42 / 36-in. box
110-ft. tumbler pull, 400 / 300 lb
The top male time was 9.19. Impressive.
8 females finished ahead of this time, with 8.19 as the fastest time.
Ok ok, there is a difference in reps & weights. Going into this workout the athletes did not know what to expect. They did not know the next movement until they finished the previous. They didn’t know how many reps were to be completed. They didn’t know the weights or heights until they reached that portion of the workout.
How about something exactly the same across the board. The Bike Crit, or the Marathon row… Let’s take the marathon row because that was great fun to watch!
I personally loved tuning into this event, granted I didn’t watch it start to finish but the sections I did watch, I found fascinating. The mental game.
Row 42,195 meters.
No change in distance for males or females, no difference in equipment just the meters to row. And with the fair test it is darn interesting to see the results.
Alvarez 3.00.42 Anderson 3.00.43
Gelin 3.01.53 Jones 3.01.58
Thorisdottir 3.02.46 Paulson 3.02.09
Horvath 3.03.37 Anderson 3.03.40
Davidsdottir 3.05.19 Panchik 3.05.35
Saunders 3.06.06 Collins 3.05.48
Schuerch 3.06.08 Dunne 3.13.18
Beuerlein 3.06.26 Chalfun 3.22.54
31 female athletes finished before the final Male, that is pretty cool. They are optimised machines, real athletes – gender at that level I feel becomes almost irrelevant.
So what is the point behind this blog post, yeah I don’t think I fully know either.
Perhaps a view on how female and males are becoming a little more equal, abilities are not of grave difference and that some day there may be a level playing field? We all go to competitions or even watch individuals in the box that give outstanding performances highlighting; endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. Not exactly you Jane Fonder workout video. If only Abbye Stockton could see us all now.
But does gender even matter in your everyday Box, your standard globo, or everyday life?
Items in italics are quotes from conversations had with various members or coaches. Kelly Marshall, Daniel St John & Rhianna Parker-Simpson, thank you.