By Monique Kotze, head coach at CrossFit Uhuru
Many people define beauty based on an outward appearance, but there are many facets that define this characteristic. In my opinion, the greatest attribute that determines beauty is confidence.
Too many people allow the reflection in the mirror to define their self-esteem, self-worth and their everyday lives. The conventional definition of beauty should be redefined to break the stigma that is placed on the physical appearance and what is deemed as beautiful by society. Instead, we should find the unique attributes within ourselves and be true to who we are, not who we think we should be.
I had the privilege of working with a client in my CrossFit facility, who is a living example of the power of being true to who you are, and how this process radiates beauty. This particular client didn’t tick the conventional socially-accepted boxes that define beauty, but she might be one of the most beautiful people I have ever encountered.
She arrived at our CrossFit facility with her daughter. She was hesitant to participate as she was unfit and deemed unhealthy with regard to several general health markers. Despite her initial hesitance, she diligently showed up for training every day, week after week.
As a coach it was evident that she was struggling and constantly fighting an internal battle. On one particular Wednesday, the workout routine was brutal. She was one of the last clients left trying to complete the workout of the day (WOD), while the whole class stood around to cheer her on. From a coaching perspective I could see that she had reached her maximum capacity, and yet she continued to persevere.
The essence of beauty
After she completed the workout I could see a difference in her, as if the burden of a lifetime’s worth of physical, emotional and mental baggage had been lifted. That night she thanked me for allowing her to gain back the confidence she needed to believe in herself and her abilities. The restoration of this self-belief radiated from her, which is, in my opinion, the true essence of beauty.
The main factor that differentiates outer beauty from inner beauty is the heart. It’s what fuels the perseverance that each client or athlete exudes during of the workout they’re completing. As a coach my aim is to ensure that I allow every person who walks through the doors to my facility the opportunity to grow, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. That is why we opened CrossFit Uhuru. It’s a facility that lays the foundation for comprehensive health and fitness.
It’s rewarding for me as a coach to see how clients increase their physical capacity in the gym. Inevitably, along with that comes growth in their self-confidence as their self-belief is restored. It is the ultimate coaching experience to see a member who walked into the box shy and nervous, hiding behind their shield of inferiority, then transform into a warrior who attacks all opportunities with a sense of pride and vigour, and is ready to face the world with their head held high.
A new definition
Beauty should not be measured in centimetres and percentages. Beauty should be measured in joy and the confidence a woman has in her own skin. Every day I encounter people whose main aim is to use CrossFit as a means to trim down the number on the scale and see a better reflection in the mirror, which is based on what they think society wants to see.
But even they soon realise that CrossFit fuels more than just a physical transformation. With their self-confidence and self-belief restored, their CrossFit journey evolves from one of beating the scale to breaking their preconceived limitations. The ‘I want to lose weight’ goal becomes a ‘I want to be able to do a pull-up’, or ‘I want to be able to climb a rope’.
They start to realise the advantages of being strong instead of skinny. The inner confidence that the attainment of these new goals brings enhances the natural femininity of the person. And the confidence, pride and joy that is exuded by the way that person carries herself is what makes her beautiful.
Participation in physical activities such as CrossFit should not only be seen as a means to measure ourselves against what society defines as the standards of beauty and fitness. Rather, it should be adopted as a lifestyle that enables us to live life to the full. The end purpose should not be judged by the number on the scale, or the reflection in the mirror. Instead, the main aim should be to embrace life and ensure that your focus is on your own personal health and wellbeing, and to become the most confident and beautiful version of you. You are unique, so embrace your flaws, enhance your strengths and be true to yourself, because that’s when everything else will fall into place.
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Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.