Submitted by Jaqueline Paquin Robert
As one of the gym owners in town, my goal is to build a healthy community. And when I think about building a healthier community I think about my children, particularly my daughter as she is entering the pre-teen era. Will she be affected by social media, will she believe that the way she looks and her body shape are how we place value in her? What is the image that I want to build for her about the way women look? As a parent I often focus on the importance of reading, math, science, but what about health? What am I teaching my children about health?
I know that when I was growing up as a young girl I would buy magazines for teenage girls like Seventeen. I was always excited to see who was in the magazine, who was on the cover. It was always some hot teenage boy in denim, or a female model in a bikini. Now that I’ve grown up, things aren’t that much different. Air brushed pictures of skinny, slender girls that my daughter and other girls are trying to emulate. Many of these girls who have a low percentage of body fat look like they lack the muscle to lift their own body weight or carry a bag of salt into the basement (something that I would argue a healthy 20 year old person should be able to do!).
Today’s headlines on social media are discussing what Olympian women are wearing for outfits and how they look. These incredible athletes who have worked tirelessly to develop the top tier mastery of their sport are being highlighted for their outfits.
Even worse are other more despicable headlines and occurrences on social media such as the recent body shaming of Mexican Olympian Alexa Morena. And while I’m at it, how about this headline from the Chicago Tribune? “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics”. Corey Cogdell-Unrein is a 3-time Olympian and twice bronze medal winner, and they didn`t even use her name! There is so much wrong with this, I worry for my daughter.
So I focus on what I can control. My focus at CrossFit Haze is to help you be fit for life. As a coach, I want you to feel better about the way you move. I really don’t care about how you look. If the result of your hard work in my gym is that your tummy gets tighter, and your muscles pop out, and you shed some weight, then that’s cool. High fives for everyone. But my focus is: are we helping you improve your quality of life?
Our training regimen focuses on functional movements, movements that translate to real life. We deadlift because every time you pick up your groceries off of the ground, that’s the movement you perform. We squat, because you perform a squat each time you get yourself off of the toilet. We press because each time you reach for something in that top drawer or change a light bulb, you are performing a press. In our gym, we have gymnastics rings, tires, barbells, climbing ropes, skipping ropes, medicine balls, squat racks, pull up bars, etc. If it isn’t simple, functional and effective…you won’t find it in our gym! Our focus is helping you move better so you can achieve more things. The movement patterns we concentrate on help you get on the floor to play with your kids, or spend more time gardening without getting sore, or run a few miles further because you have the strength and endurance to do so.
Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, drew the analogy himself in the early days of CrossFit when he talked about an old woman picking up a bag of groceries – i.e. a deadlift. This has been reinforced through the years, that CrossFit keeps you vital into your golden years and keeps you out of a nursing home.
We don’t focus on your bikini butt; we don’t focus on losing weight quickly with shakes, or other gimmicks. We certainly don’t body shame like the travesty that has happened with Alexa Morena, an Olympic gymnast who is a world champion! Will you look better naked after training at CrossFit Haze? Probably, but that’s not our why. We just want you to feel better about the way you move.
So this is what I want when it comes to what I want for my daughter: I want her to realize that she has value because she is here, not because of how she looks. The value she provides to the world comes from within, she is capable of great things, and her looks and body shape do not matter.
Jaqueline Paquin Robert