Women’s Only: Putting Performance First

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by TARYN HAGGERSTONE

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“Do you really want to look like that?!”

Two years ago, when I first really got into CrossFit & Olympic weightlifting, one of my friends asked if I “actually wanted to look like Annie Thorisdottir” because, she was, you know, “kinda grossly ripped.”

At that point I didn’t even know who Annie Thorisdottir was (or Rich Froning either, for that matter) and I actually had to look her up on Google. And to be honest, when I saw a picture of her I really didn’t want to look like that; she was “way too big.” I wanted to get better, faster, and stronger at CrossFit…but stay the same size, or maybe get smaller.

Brotherly Words of Wisdom

Not long after that conversation, my brother-in-law (who likes to get to the point) pretty much told me that if I wanted to be a competitive CrossFitter/Weightlifter, I had to stop “eating to lose weight/look good in a bikini” and start “eating (and training) to perform.”*

*He wasn’t trying to make tell me that eating to perform and “looking good” have to be mutually exclusive — they don’t. The point he was trying to make was that if I was constantly restricting calories in an attempt to lose those “extra” 5-10lbs, I wouldn’t see the gains I wanted. If I wanted to get better and stronger I needed fuel (food) for that, and getting stronger meant building muscle, which would probably mean putting on some weight.

PukeyEasier said than done…

From an objective point of view, I knew he was right and wanted to follow his advice, especially since at that point I was already daydreaming about making it to Regionals one day. Actually following his advice, however, was a lot harder for me to do because I’d spent a LONG time thinking smaller = better, and that couldn’t change overnight.

Even though I loved how lifting made me feel and that I was getting stronger and fitter, things like

  • weighing more than 130
  • discovering my legs were too big for my jeans, or
  • realizing I wasn’t a size “small” anymore

sometimes made me pretty upset and uncomfortable.

“Maybe I can eat less fat/calories and hit the WODs harder; you know, just until I lose a bit of weight. Then I’ll be good.”

Except it didn’t really work like that. And I started to realize that when I tried to make that number on the scale go down, my performance usually went down, too.

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