The Naked Truth: Culture, Crossfit and Perception of the Human Body

push up

If I stare at you during a WOD, I’m not checking you out; I’m watching your mechanics.

I am a visual learner.

I can’t speak for every Crossfitter, but during a WOD, there’s no time for fantasy. If I do have a moment to ogle my friends, it’s to analyze their form, not their junk.

I have lived in Europe for nearly eight years, and I suppose I’ve been a little desensitized to the human body, because around any corner, something unexpected can pop out at you. My youngest daughter was still in her car seat when she first chimed out, “What’s Dolly Buster?” I had to explain it wasn’t a place where they sold children’s toys.

The body takes on a certain kind of practicality here. It can be beautiful or ugly, but it is natural, and many Europeans let it all hang out. It’s not a big deal–and it’s not always sexual. It seems more hypocritical to me for a culture to constantly sexualize the body, and then be shocked or offended by actual nakedness.

There’s nothing wrong with modesty–in fact, it’s something I like to instill in my daughters, but the body is nothing to be ashamed of either. It is a body. And everyone has one.

Sometimes our American perception of the body creates problems. For example, we don’t want to take physical care of our elderly because it might include dealing with someone’s nakedness. So, we hire nurses, or stow away the elderly in nursing homes rather than get over our shock at an old, wrinkled body and do the dirty work ourselves.

One thing that Crossfit in Germany has taught me is that the body is just a body. It can do incredible things if you put the time and effort into maintaining it. But there is also an extremely practical side to Crossfit–it enables me to do things like help lift my mom (in her wheelchair) up some stairs so she can enjoy a movie with us; or even place her safely into bed if she’s feeling weak that night.

The strength I gain at Crossfit not only enhances my life, but it improves her quality of life as well.

I’m not entirely angelic here. I DO like the way my body is shaping up; and I DO like feeling more attractive. But the real satisfaction is in being strong enough to help other people.

I may be odd, but I’m not attracted to a person’s body any more than I’m bowled over by flowery words. I’m a writer, so I know how cheap good rhetoric can be. Action is the evidence for one’s beliefs. In a similar way, I’m not attracted to bodies, though I am a sucker for a good set of eyes–the windows of the soul–and a great smile–but mostly, to actions & behaviors.

Having a ‘hot’ body is not the sole purpose for Crossfit: the purpose of Crossfit is to improve your body and mind so that you can not only enjoy this life to the fullest, but to help others do the same. 

There’s more I’d like to say on this subject, but it’s time for me to sign off–I have some people to uplift. 

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About crossfittermama

Crossfitter, marathon runner, author, gypsy mama of 4 fantastic kids, gluten-free, veggie-maniac, world-school curriculum developer, who aspires to write a best-seller, train her wayward young labrador, and run mountain marathons and ultras, in her spare time. View all posts by crossfittermama

2 responses to “The Naked Truth: Culture, Crossfit and Perception of the Human Body

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