I never accepted being a girl as a reason for not being able to physically do something. As a little girl I always looked up to my older brother. I watched him in envy as he raced his dirt bike through the trees and as soon as my little four year old feet could reach the kick start I was right behind him. When he signed up for BMX racing, so did I. When other girls were on their way to piano lessons I was more interested in racing my bike off a dock into the lake. When the backyard apple trees were no longer difficult to climb my dad would simply harness me up with a rope and let me climb something taller. I realized my love for adrenaline at a young age. At camp there was always one night when we’d wake up at midnight for a game of capture the flag or an obstacle course in the forest. I remember the girls chatting about wanting to spy on the cute boys in the dark, but I was knee deep in a muddy bank or half way up a tree trying to find a clear break. I simply had a love for adventure fueled by an energetic attitude.
Sadly in the school system, a young individuals athletic performance is based solely on whether or not they excel in team sports. I was in dance classes, and regularly trained at the gym but failed at P.E. simply because I hated sports. I began to think I was not athletic based on this narrow minded approach to fitness. I had an extremely competitive nature but figured my only outlet for competition would be in fitness or bodybuilding. With no desire to stand in front of an audience to be judged on my physical appearance I never pushed myself further.
Then I was in two bad car accidents that left me with numerous injuries. Being told that I would simply have to live in chronic pain did not sit very well with me. I decided I wasn’t allowing myself to live by anyone else’s limitations again. After dealing with years and years of massage, physiotherapy, back specialists, personal trainers, neck specialists and chiropractors I walked away with a new appreciation for my body. After my accident, my body still created a life, my body carried my son for 9 months and then nourished my son. My body is built from determination and strength within. It allows me to hug my loved ones, piggyback my son, run through open fields, climb mountains to explore new places and swim freely. But I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Living in pain every single day is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with, but it forces me to work with my body and not against it.
I love challenging myself to prove to myself that I can. It’s my guilty pleasure to plug in my headphones, listen to my favorite music and feel the strength of my body. I have always loved to play when it comes to fitness. I love to climb, I love to jump, I love to lift heavy things and I love to surprise myself. I just had to remember what I loved doing as a kid. This year I ziplined, I climbed past my comfort zone at adventure parks, I trained on several different obstacle courses and recently competed in a Spartan Race. I had never so much as jogged before the race, so the challenge to take up running for the first time only served as more motivation. Had I not tried, I would have missed the opportunity to learn what I was capable of. Finally finding an outlet for my physical strength after everything my body has been through has only ignited my passion. I completed every obstacle and loved the rush of climbing through freezing water, barb wire lined mud pits and steep slippery mountain trails. Now the next step is competing at a higher level at the next obstacle course race.
I stopped working out to attain a certain body, and started training because of how it makes me feel. It makes me feel strong, it makes me feel sexy and it makes me feel alive. I’ve learned to love my body for its strength, for its determination and for its resilience, not for the numbers it represents on a scale. With each small improvement I find even more desire to keep pushing further. I let go of the judgement, I let go of the criticizing and I stepped away from the constant scrutiny that so many women place on themselves. I love my body for what it’s been through. Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll prove you otherwise. I train like a girl…. and I’m damn proud of it.
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. ~ Socrates