More and more women embrace CrossFit and out of those an increasingly larger number get hooked on competitions. At Butcher’s Garage in Copenhagen, Denmark, we certainly feel this development as well!
This weekend, 4 all-women teams from Butcher’s Lab and Garage are competing at the “Frontline” competition in Malmö – and even more girls are regularly joining our competition-prep training once a week. We have talked to two of these girls, Line and Dalya about being a female competitor in, what many normally consider to be, a very male-dominated sport.
GETTING INTO COMPETITION MODE
- When and why did you make the transition from “fitness” CrossFit to “competition” CrossFit?
Line: ”More than 2 years had to pass before I got a taste for the competition element in CrossFit. The first competition was fun, and so were the Opens, but I didn’t really get into competition mode, as I struggled a lot with pneumonia. Then I went to see the Regionals and I got the feeling of being part of something bigger. From that day on, my aspirations in terms of competing really started to grow.”
Dalya: ” I started CrossFit 3 years ago, when I realised that I didn’t really get the results I wanted from training at a ‘regular gym’. A friend told me about CF and I was hooked and ready to compete after my first session at Butcher’s.”
- How do you prepare yourself before a competition?
Line: ”Before a competition I usually have about 6 consecutive rest days, and I make sure to get a lot of sleep and eat a lot. I also had great succes with combined mobility drills and visualisation exercises before bedtime.”
Dalya: ”The week leading up to a competition I do primarially short workouts and light weightlifting. On the day, I spend 45 mins before every workout: I warm-up for 30 mins, then I spend 10 mins alone to gather my thoughts and finally 5 mins to psych myself up and get ready to give it my all!”
- Are there any advantages/disadvantages for women in CrossFit (could be both mentally and physically)?
Line: ” I don’t really feel that women have any disadvantages in terms of competing in CrossFit. If any, I would be that some venues only offer men’s bars – but then again, we are pretty used to that from our everyday training at the gym. In CrossFit, it is generally accepted for women to have a nice V-shape, and maybe a little more booty – everybody understands why you end up looking like that, and what the muscles are for Sometimes I meet some prejudice outside the community, but fortunately the number of female CrossFitters is increasing, so maybe we can help shift the ‘ideal’ towards a more athletic body and not the typical size zero. ”
IS IT A MAN’S WORLD?
- Do you think that men and women react differently when in competition?
Line: ” In my experience, men are a bit more courageous than women – for instance when it comes to finding a 1RM. Often women tend to give up before they even attempt a weight, and I’m not any better myself. However, a no-rep should not be considered a failure, at least you gave it an honest try. Too often women choose to be too ”safe”.
Dalya: ” I agree with Line. Men are better at pushing themselves and women tend to hold back more.. unfortunately”.
- How do you feel that the CrossFit community welcomes new, female competitors?
Line:”I think that the community does a really good job on including women, not least at the competition level. I experience a lot mutual respect for ‘putting yourself out there’ and walking in in front of, sometimes, hundreds of spectators. Some women might stand amongst the spectators and think ”I could have done that and that better” – but then why are you not standing on the battlefield? It takes a lot of courage to compete, and I find that people are really aware of that and respect all competitors for the same reasons. On the outside, CF may appear as a ”man’s world” – but when women engage in the sport, we kick ass!”
Dalya: ” In my opinion, the community here in Denmark have been more welcoming towards women than towards men! I think it arises from the fact that female competitors have been, and still continue to be, in short supply compared to male competitors.”
TEAMING UP AND LOOKING FORWARD
- At the Frontline competition, teams consist of 2 women. How is it to team up with another women?
Line: ”I find it really refreshing to team up with another women at the Frontline comp. As the teams only consist of 2 persons, the format is already demanding! Being just two girls compels you to take responsibility instead of just relying on the guys to do all the c2b pull-ups etc. As an added bonus, this constellation has added a new dimension to our team spirit. ”
Dalya: ” I’m so excited about teaming up with my team buddy Sidsel! Sometimes being a female competitor on a mixed team can make you feel a bit redundant. But for this competition we both have to work equally hard!”.
- Do you have any advice for other female CrosFitters who are thinking about taking CrossFit to the next level?
Line: ”Don’t fear the heavy workouts – just go for it and don’t see a no-rep as a failure. Before joing the comp team at Butcher’s Garage, I often started on weights lower than rx’ed, but now I experience a positive pressure towards higher weights, and that has lead me to some new PR’s and even for multible reps. Beyond that, keep focus on skills, get the skills pratice that you need by incorporating it into every single training session – don’t wait for it to show up in a competition.”
Dalya: ” Don’t just do the workouts- you need to work on your strength if you want to be competitive. My best advice is to get a good weightlifting or powerlifting program to supplement your CrossFit!”.
Line: ”Competition is not just about the competition day, it is also the experience of team spirit, training together and getting better side by side. Sweat, tears and (often?) puke strenghtens the solidarity in a weird way. Staying close to people who share the same ambitions whets your appetite. Everybody is good at something, meaning there’s always someone to ask for advice. ”
From left: Sidsel, Ditte, Sarah, Dalya and Tina after completing “The Seven” @ Butcher’s Garage