The is probably one of my favorite blogs out there, but before I talk about it, let me address something. I really don’t like the name of the blog! The author (who is awesome) explains in this post why she used the name, and makes a few very valid explantions for why. One example, “… the “fattie” label in the title also is to let others in the same shape know I get it. That’s another sociolinguistic concept; that you use particular terms to identify yourself as a member of a community.” Ok, fine. But I still wish it were called something else. 🙂

Ok, now that I got that off of my chest, today’s topic is about some major concerns that present themselves when an athlete (aka, anyone) considers walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time. The post is called “7 critical concerns for the atypical CrossFitter“. In the piece, seven very important issues are discussed that many people either might not think of, or are too afraid to bring up, during their own individual “adventures” as CrossFitters. I mention in the video that while the points are very valid and relevant to new (and potential) CrossFit athletes, I think these are points that should also resonate with all athletes, regardless of ability level!

She starts her original post with this:
“This last week I had a rather unexpected setback. I had a “minor” oral surgery procedure that managed to knock me on my butt for at least three days straight (advertised as “you’ll be up and going the day after”). I visited my wonderful physical therapist, Dr. Stephanie Thurmond, and after talking to her, and reading some blogs and comments from other folks in my position, I started thinking about CrossFit for “nonathletes” generally and what’s important for those of us who

are overweight to morbidly obese,
are over 50,
are congenitally awkward and remember PE as a torture chamber filled with humiliation,
have accumulated injuries that need accommodation,
are illness- or injury-prone,
have hormone issues (HRT, perimenopausal). and/or
have illnesses that make them hypersensitive to stimuli (fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, allergies and asthma, as examples).
I’ve discussed much of this in other posts, but I felt the need to sum up.”

With that introduction, let’s get right to it.

Also, click here to like “Confessions of a CrossFit Fattie” on Facebook.

As always, please comment with your thoughts on this topic, so we can continue the discussion!

  1. Gee, thanks for all the kind words. I’m thrilled that my list sparked your own thinking. That’s how it should work, right? You made my morning, which wasn’t starting out all that great.

    But, c’mon, Tom, tell me how you really feel about the name of my blog. FWIW, my husband wasn’t thrilled about the name of it either, but says if that’s what I need to call it to own it, then he guesses it’s alright. I can see why it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea…or butter. Words are slippery sometimes, and something neutral to one person has negative connotations to another. To be honest, I wouldn’t want someone else to call me “fattie.”

    I agree completely that these concerns are valid for any CrossFitter (or new to any fitness/sports activity). We have a friend who is very athletic, but just can’t deal with scaling, and keeps getting injured. In some ways it may even be more important for those who do consider themselves athletes but who have become deconditioned.

    You mention that I self-identify as a nonathlete. That’s absolutely right. Kelly Starrett says that everyone is an athlete. I can understand the point; fitness is something anyone can learn and achieve (with enough work and help). But the distinction between athletes and nonathletes was glaring during my “formative years” and the chasm seems too great for me to ever change that self-identification. A fit nonathlete…that I can live with.

    As always, you have thoughtful observations (particularly when you agree with me) and I think your clients are very privileged to have you as a trainer and a trainer of trainers.

    • Smashby says:

      Jodi, thanks so much for your comments! I’m glad that me sharing your piece made your morning. I only talked about it because I thought it was awesome, so thank YOU for being awesome.

      I spoke my piece on your blog name, but truly do understand why you named it that. I just hope that it comes from a place of pride now, seeing how you have become even more athletic through your training, and that it doesn’t have a negative connotation in your head. That’s all.

      Getting past very stubborn athletes and encouraging them to start slow/small/safe can be one of the greatest challenges as a coach. I try to never discourage an athlete by telling them that they CAN’T do something, but stressing the importance of working up and increasing one’s work capacity incrementally can literally a game changer for some athletes. I hope your friend slows it down so he can stay injury free and see some real gains!

      I really appreciate your feedback and support. It’s fun to be able to make so many cool friends across the country who are all passionate about getting and staying healthy!

      Looking forward to chatting with you again soon!

  2. Jake Bourgoin says:

    In response to your dislike of the use of “fattie” I think it depends on who is saying it and what is behind the use. Obviously someone else calling me a fattie would be hurtful and wrong. I also think that when I used the term in a self-deprecating way that I was deflecting with humor and trying to say the hurtful things myself before anyone else could. This tended to continue my poor self-esteem.
    Having said that, she alludes to a similarity with being an alcoholic that I find personally to be very valid. A very critical step in my journey to physical fitness was accepting and owning deep down that I was a fattie. Every speaker at an AA meeting begins with “Hi, my name is____, and I’m an alcoholic.” The subtext of that statement is, yep I have a problem and we all share this problem, here’s what I’m doing about it.
    If the attitude behind the use of the word fattie is acceptance and a willingness to find a way to make it better, I think it is great. I know that when I started looking for a different way to live my life, I would have been drawn to a self proclaimed fattie documenting her journey and been able to identify with her. One of the biggest struggles is believing that you can change. When you can barely walk up a flight of stairs, it is very hard to believe that you will ever end up in a gym. Having someone who looks like you and has the same struggles showing you, that yes you can do it and here is how I’m doing it, is wonderful.

    • Smashby says:

      Jake, that is incredible. I think your feedback on that topic is perfect. I shouldn’t be so quick to get “frustrated” by someone referring to themselves in any way. In fact, as you pointed out, that name, that thought, that feeling, might be the very reason why they ARE motivated and committed to changing their lives for the better.

      Thank you for sharing that perspective! Wow, that was awesome.

      p.s.- Let the record show that I am really proud of (and inspired by) both of you, and anyone else, who is willing to make that decision/lifestyle change to move in a healthier direction. It’s not easy for anyone, so even mentally convincing yourself that you can do it (or that you’re willing to TRY) is a HUGE milestone that requires acknowledgement!

  3. Fran says:

    Jake: That was so beautifully written! Loved it! And…you ROCK! 🙂
    Jodi: You are amazing…so, so proud of you! You got this girl! Will keep watching your progress and cheering you on!
    Tom: You truly are the best! Truly blessed to call you a friend!

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