Empowering your daughter through CrossFit

Obesity is a nationwide health crisis. Hundreds of thousands of children are waddling around the United States. I know. I used to be one of those children. But back in the 1970's and 1980's I was in the minority. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that "Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years."

Obesity is PREVENTABLE. What can you do as a parent to help prevent your child from becoming overweight or obese?

  • Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
  • The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
  • Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.

I want to focus on the role of COMMUNITY.

Throughout my blog you have read time and time again about my love of CrossFit. CrossFit is MORE than just a gym. CrossFit is a community. CrossFit is a place where we work to not only get fit, but we work together to EMPOWER one another to be better, to be stronger, to be faster.  In many "big box gyms" parents work out, their kids go to childcare and watch TV or color.

But this doesn't happen at CrossFit. We believe in EMPOWERING the entire family. Children are allowed to watch their parents workout (safety measures are taken of course) so we are setting a good example for our children.

Depending on the age of your child, CrossFit offers classes designed specifically for your child. My box offers CrossFit Preschool, and CrossFit classes for elementary aged children, middle school kids, and teenagers.

Our CrossFit teen class is made up ENTIRELY OF GIRLS! In an environment where men often outnumber women, this is such a great opportunity for these teen girls to become empowered and build self-esteem.

They are learning that fitness is not about losing weight. They realize that it's okay to be STRONG! The focus is on being healthy from the inside out. Women’s perceptions of beauty have been conditioned, and CrossFit challenges the ideal definition of female beauty by promoting strength over skinny. Women fear bulkiness, yet bulky is in the eye of the beholder.

In an age where female teenage bullying is at an all time high, CrossFit can help to build a strong sense of self. It unleashes the strength and power within you to prove that you’re capable of more than you can imagine. Capable of what? Anything.

Dr. Nancy Etcoff, Director, Program in Aesthetics and Well Being, Department of Psychiatry at Harvard states “No
young person should leave school feeling that they can’t participate fully in life because of the way that they
think they look."
The stats are staggering!
Over 60% of girls avoid certain activities because they feel bad about their looks.
19% won’t try out for a team or club
23% won’t go to the beach or pool
13% won’t give an opinion
15% won’t go to school
(‘The Real Truth About Beauty –Revisited’, Dove Global study, 2010)
But wait...there is more!
92% of girls say they want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance,
with body weight ranking the highest.
(‘Beyond stereotypes’, Dove Global study, 2005)
Looking at magazines for just 60 minutes lowers the self esteem of over 80% of girls (Dr. Raj Persaud,
Consultant Psychiatrist, Maudsley Hospital)
The body fat of models and actresses portrayed in the media is at least 50% less than that of healthy women
(British Medical Association, 2000)
So what can parents do?
1. Pass on body confidence. I show my daughter's that my body is capable of amazing things, and I am proud and confident in what I am
able to do. Help your daughter create positive feelings about her own body.
2. Talk to your daughter(s). Give them compliments. Recognize her feelings.
3. Reinforce values that lead to body confidence
4. Eating healthy. If you eat good, healthy food, you will feel good and healthy.
And all of these concepts are encouraged, and supported through the mission of CrossFit.
Kelly Brown owner/trainer of CrossFit Agoge in Colorado states "watching kids and teenagers gain self-esteem is one of the most rewarding aspects about coaching adolescents. We’re looking for the physical gains, but also we’re looking to see those intangible gains—their ability to value themselves by what they can do with their bodies instead of what their body looks like."

When young athletes are having fun, everything else follows—fitness, health, self-esteem and, yes, elite performance at some point. But fun comes first. Once kids are having fun doing squats instead of playing video games, the obesity epidemic will be a thing of the past, and our girls will be EMPOWERED! 

What do you do to help empower your daughter/grand-daughter/niece?

Women Who Lift: Meet Kim

Welcome to my feature: Women Who Lift. If you are interested in being interviewed for the series, please email me at jennifer@metamorfit.org  I would love to spotlight you. You don't have to have a blog, you just have to be a woman who lifts!

Today I am spotlighting Kim. Kim works out at my box CrossFit En Fuego. Kim is a part of our competition team and I often have the opportunity to watch her workout and she just inspires me. She's close to my age, a mom of 3 kids, one with special needs. She sets a great example not only for her own family but for other women who think that they are too busy to be fit. 

Meet Kim

Name: Kim W.    
Age: 40
Occupation: Burn Nurse
Location: Florida
Favorite WOD: Filthy Fifty
Favorite Lift: Power or Squat Clean
Deadlift Max: 210#
Back squat Max: 165#
Overhead Max: Which lift? 120 split jerk
Favorite Girl? Grace (love my Cleans)
Got Muscle-ups? They are my NEMISIS
1 mile run: 7:15

How long have you been CrossFitting?  One year exactly.

What keeps you coming back/motivated?  
Several things keep me coming back for more.  Most of all, creating challenges and meeting them keeps me coming back.  There are always more goals to achieve.  I love becoming stronger and more efficient.  I am extremely competitive; there is no better person to compete with than yourself. Complacency never exists.  The Crossfit community mimics family.  The support and encouragement is amazing! 

How did you find CrossFit?  My husband Dan dropped in to En Fuego out of curiosity. We drive by the building pretty often. He was immediately intrigued.  I followed suit within the month.

What is your athletic background?  Fitness has been a lifestyle for me for most of my life.  I played softball from the age of 6 through college.  While flirting with an eating disorder in my late teens, I thankfully chose the path of healthy eating combined with fitness.  I obtained my first job as a group fitness instructor at age 18.  This was all I knew.  I spent many hours in the gym teaching and lifting weights.  Primarily because I was obsessed with staying thin.  At times, it was an unhealthy obsession.  I continued with that passion for the next twenty years; much less because of my obsession, but because it was a lifestyle at this point.  When I met my husband I dropped the weights and joined him in his triathlon training…he actually did the TRI’s while I remained faithful to cycling and running.  Road racing on the hills of Tennessee was a love of mine until we moved to Florida.  Flat roads were not my forte.   After obtaining my BSN and having to work a “real job” is about where I found Crossfit.  This combined with running and an occasional 30 miles on my Cervelo is my happy place.

How has CrossFit changed your life, lifestyle, level of fitness? Wow.  So many ways.  I remember trying to open a pickle jar and barely had the strength to do so!  I could bike 100 miles, but couldn’t open a darn jar!  I knew I needed some tone and strength back.  Years of running and cycling did NOT provide either, especially rounding the age of 40.  I needed to add a level of lifting but the thought of going into LA Fitness to do the same old routine discouraged me to point of just not going.  Crossfit has provided me strength both physically and mentally both in AND out of the gym; strength that I don’t ever want to give up on building.  I love the fact that my coworkers will call on me to help turn their 200# pound patient or will continually place me on compressions duty in case of a code blue alert.  “She does that Crossfit stuff…she can do it!”  Crossfit has given me the ability to say, “I’ve got this” when before, I would really have to think about it.  It has also, most importantly, given my children something to strive for.  My youngest is visually impaired.  My husband and I have given him some Crossfit based exercises to work with that do not require his vision and he LOVES it!  He really has perfected his Burpees (of all things!)  It’s a heartwarming sight to see.

What is the one thing you have done at CrossFit that you never thought you could do? (muscle up, double unders, heavy deadlift, run a mile, etc.)
In the beginning, I never thought I could do a kipping pull up or a double under or lift 120# in a clean and jerk!  Still have to get that muscle up!

What motivates/inspires you?  Staying healthy and fit is my biggest motivator.  Although I stay on the healthy side of eating, I still love to eat!  A healthy exercise regimen helps me to fulfill that love.  Being an example to my children is another.  I am a huge advocate for keeping children healthy and active.  Childhood obesity and diabetes have become so prevalent in our society due in part to the many stagnant activities in their lives.  Computer games have consumed their attention.  Gone are the days where children run around outside from sun up to sun down.  My children have a limited amount of time on their devices.  We require them to be active.  My oldest just ran three miles the other day after only staring out with a ½ mile run 3 months ago.  He was so excited!  It is so much more fulfilling to cheer your child on for running even 200 yards than to high five him because of a high score on a video game!  My inspirations are the women I lift beside at En Fuego. Women of all ages and backgrounds.  They are amazing!

What is your proudest CrossFit achievement?  Most recently, it was finally my 120# clean and jerk.  That was a great day.  Even bigger than that, was during the BNI two day competition at the Fairgronds working with three amazing people on my team. We all PR’d on a few things.  We worked with every stitch of our hearts and souls and had an epic finish as a team.  It was truly the epitomy of teamwork.

Name one goal/personal achievement you would like to achieve through CrossFit? I have been working on a muscle up for a long time.  That seems like the impossible to me!

What goals have you achieved in CrossFit? When I began Crossfit, I told myself that I wanted to compete one day.  As of a few weeks ago, I completed my second competition.  It was amazing!  There will always be goals to achieve which is one of the many reasons I love the sport!  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Hobbies/Interests outside of CrossFit? Running and Cycling are my other loves in the fitness world.  Outside of the sweaty stuff is to spend the time with my family.  I have an amazing husband and three fun beautiful children.  We have great times together.  Both Dan’s and my family live local and we take full advantage of that.  Lastly, Crossfit has brought some amazing people into our lives.  Spending time with them sharing some vino and many laughs together has become one of my favorite pass times.

Do you follow a special diet? Paleo? Whole30?  I tend to follow a modified Paleo basically by cutting out the many carbohydrates I used to consume.  Pasta to me is like Crack to a crack addict. I have also increased my protein intake since becoming involved with Crossfit.  I snack on fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.

What is your favorite meal?  Sadly, Homemade pesto on top of a mound of hard core white pasta!  Not exactly Paleo, but it has always been a favorite.  Otherwise, Filet with Broccoli Rabe is a close second.

Any advice for new members?  I have told several people to go in with an open mind.  Of course, I will always direct people to En Fuego not only because we have the best BOX around but because we are taught the proper technique.  Injury would almost be a guarantee without proper technique.  Our coaches are so dedicated to the safety of their members, which is quite evident when compared to other gyms.  So, my biggest piece of advice is to ensure safety, have an open mind and have fun!

Kim proves that it's possible to live a well-rounded, fulfilled life and still take time to be KIM.

What do you do that's just for YOU?

I was on the Rachael Ray show!!

Two years ago TODAY I had the amazing opportunity to appear on the Rachael Ray show!

My sister and I were flown to NYC. In between hair, makeup and outfit changes for Rachael Ray, we got to do a little bit of sightseeing!

This was the first time Lori and I had ever taken a trip together as adults. We had so much fun!

Being a children's librarian, of course I had to make a visit to the NYC Public Library! It was so beautiful!

Click here for my clip from the Rachael Ray show!!


My eyelashes were out of this world!!

It was an amazing experience and YES, I got to keep the clothing from head to toe (earrings, dress, bracelet, rings, purse, hose, shoes, and shape wear.)

Have you ever been on a national talk show? Tell me about it!