Guest post by Mollie Lipka

I started CrossFit because I loved the aesthetic CrossFit athletes had.

Anyone else? I’m sure I’m not alone.

Regardless of my superficial reasons for starting CrossFit, I’m incredibly glad I did. I’ve enjoyed marked health improvements as my body and my mind have grown faster and stronger. I’m more confident, creative and focused. I look at challenges as opportunities instead of barriers. CrossFit has changed every single part of me for the better.

Do I still love the aesthetic? Absolutely. But it’s not what I train for, and there are a few reasons why.

Aesthetic Is Very Subjective

Michael Lugo at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston, SC.

We often see ourselves differently than others will see us. If I look in the mirror and obsessively pick apart a midsection that, by all other accounts, looks pretty damn good, my goals are already skewed. Furthermore, only so much of our aesthetic is up to us thanks to genetics. Nutrition and training can only take you so far. We are built the way we are built, and you can spend a lifetime fighting it or a lifetime embracing it. I suggest the latter.

Because of the subjective nature of aesthetic goals, there isn’t much we can measure outside of data like body fat percentage, weight, inches, etc. I suppose you could measure the number of visible ‘abs’ you have, but who actually does that? These are just numbers. They are data points on a graph that could never tell the whole story. They do not translate into anything truly useful and thus, should not define us.

Measurable Success

So, what should define us? Measurable success that actually means something. Shaving a minute off your mile run. PR’ing a lift by ten pounds. Touching your toes when you couldn’t a month ago. Completing or PR’ing a benchmark or hero WOD. Getting your first pull-up, handstand push-up or ring dip. You should care more about the amount of weight you are able to get overhead thanks to a stronger, more stable core than how it looks with your shirt off.

Some people reading this will wonder why getting a pull-up or completing a hero WOD is a big deal. If you know, you know. And if you don’t, you should take that first step toward improved health by joining us for a free class at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston.

Finally, I’d love to tell you a secret. When you stop stressing so much about how your body looks and pay more attention to how it performs, your aesthetic can actually improve. (It’s science.) Don’t believe me? Step off the scale, put your head down and focus only on the work. You’ll be surprised by what you see.