Since I started training many years ago, one major concern comes up more than any other with my female clientele. The concern is whether they will get too bulky and muscular. Most recently I have had some of my female clients becoming insecure about developing "man arms." This usually begins with a comment from an insecure man about the fit physique of a confident woman. This in turn makes the confident woman start questioning the actual training that has given her confidence in the first place.
Let me first begin by saying the same thing I say to first time clients who voice their concern over getting too bulky. Men and women are different. Women don't have the same testosterone levels of a man and therefore will not develop like a man. Genetics will ultimately determine how a person looks with or without training. I tell people who train with us that they will look how they are genetically supposed to look at their fittest level. You can't expect to look like anybody other than yourself. That is unless you want to go under the knife.
The issue of "man arms" is another concern. I have women who are stronger than they have ever been, doing things they never thought possible, and who also look better than they have ever looked. They are walking around with a quiet confindence that they have never had before. I have yet to see one female train with us that has arms that look like any of my male clients. No matter how strong and lean a female gets, unless they take steriods, they will never have "man arms." What we are guilty of is developing strong, fit, beautiful arms. Do you think that Kelly Ripa is insecure about having "man arms?" Judging from her wardrobe, I think she is pretty confident with strong, fit arms.
I saw first hand the results of long-term Crossfit training at a recent certification. I saw a room full of some of the best physiques I have ever seen. These type of gyms are litered with them. Don't be ashamed of who you are but rather test your own limits and see what you are truly made of and what you can look like at your best.
After years of CrossFit Journals, videos, and workouts, Amber and I attended our first CrossFit Certification this past weekend. We arrived early and were slightly nervous but more in awe of the nice facility and surrounding area. When we walked up to the sign-in desk, we could see familiar faces from the CrossFit videos such as Pat Sherwood and Matt Chan. It was like seeing celebrities for us, perhaps our own taste of CrossFit Hollywood.
The certification was an organized, perfectly orchestrated series of lectures and movement clinics. I never thought doing air squats could make me so sore. But when you do 50-60 squats in each movement clinic, holding each for about 5 seconds while the trainers check form, it definitely starts to add up. We learned the nine foundational CrossFit movements such as the squat, front squat, overhead squat, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull, and the medicine ball clean. They also worked with us on the Glute Ham developer, the kipping pull-up, overhead snatch, and the muscle-up.
We ended our first day with Fran. Keep in mind that we had already spent 8 hours in an non-air conditioned lecture room and gym. We were totally exhausted from the movements throughout the day and we had to end with Fran. After ripping my hands to shreds on the larger diameter pull-up bars, we took the group photo, sweaty and red-faced. It had been a great day.
The second day was more of the same. Lectures and workouts in the sun started to really add up. We ended the second day with a detailed 50 question test that covered everything CrossFit from nutrition and exercise physiology to programming and human movement. We left knowing the definition of "Fitness" and how to spread the message to our clients.
I have been following CrossFit for years now but never really knew if I would go to a certification or not. I never in a million years would have thought that my wife Amber would go with me. When we opened our folders that contained our scores for the weekend, we both smiled and hugged each other and left happy, thankful, and totally exhausted.
We returned home to happy kids who had decorated the house with balloons and signs congratulating us and a large cookie cake saying CrossFit Winners. We are blessed and happy and now we are also CrossFit Level One Trainers.