I follow Tabata Times on Facebook and read some, but not all of their articles. I’m like that with much of the stuff out there. I like it, but time constraints and other choices mean I can’t do it all, all of the time. Titles are important. Always. This one caught my eye and so I read it. 11 Reasons Why I Take My Shirt Off When I CrossFit

I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 1.5 years now. I started out old and fat (ok, Cheri, fatter than I had ever been, including fatter than when I was nine months pregnant and with that being said, I was all of a size 8) and weak and fluffy and unable to do one damn thing. I couldn’t do squat. Literally. Lunge down the mat was impossible. Anything with actual weight was beyond me.

But I have worked both consistently and as hard as I can. I’m still old. In fact, I’m even older than when I began. But I have lost about twenty pounds and lots of the fat has been replaced by lean muscle that actually works to move both my own body and some iron – although there is still much room for improvement. I’m no longer fat or fluffy. I’m stronger than I have ever been, but I’m not nearly as strong as I hope to be at some later date. I’m on a journey and the trip has been miraculous, challenging, tear-inducing, and heartwarming.

Even during the cold of winter – or as cold as it gets in South Carolina which was actually below freezing a few mornings – Ricky would sometimes take off his shirt during a WOD. He almost always does in the summer, as do most of the men I WOD with. Ricky is young and he would be melting and the shirt would be on and then it would be on the floor. Cool.

As an old woman, I was sure that I would never be somebody like that. I’ve been conditioned for decades to despise the body I have. When I look back on the body I had thirty years ago, I shake my head in total dismay. There was not a damn thing wrong with that body, but I saw flaws everywhere. I was a jock back then, playing an inordinate amount of racquetball and had muscles and was lean and powerful – and young.

By the time I got to CrossFit, all that had changed. The voices in my head said to stay covered lest someone be offended by my oldness or out-of-shapeness.

I also did not have the proper undergarments for ripping my t-shirt off. There were younger, fitter, shapelier women who had really cool sports bras who would be down to just them. I was not one of those people. See above. All about the old and fat and voices in my head.

I also need to monitor my heart rate because of the old and fat (although the voices in my head have nothing to say about this) and that includes a strap around my chest with a sensor which “speaks” to a watch and gives me a reading as to how fast my heart is beating. Usually that number is way too high, but that is part and parcel of the old thing. I think.

I had cheap and ugly from Walmart sports bras that kept the girls at bay and made the whole WOD thing not hurt – at least there. But they weren’t anything to write home about. Recently, I purchased real sports bras which felt like a dream compared to the cheap things I was wearing. They offer far more support and actually do more compression stuff and as an added bonus, do much more to keep that strap both held in place and actually covered. They are also cute.

I also began working out at noon on Thursdays. It is much warmer at noon than it is at 6 AM because of sunshine and stuff and that’s the way weather works.

I was working away at a noon class. It was in the 80s and I was hot which is going to be really difficult when summer gets here and it is even hotter. That’s a different issue. But I was working away and I was melting.

I took my shirt off. If it had been possible, I would have taken even more off because I was that over-heated, but I figured anything else gone and there would be cops involved and Jason wasn’t even the Coach. Nothing bad happened when I was shirtless. In fact, I did feel like I now had to work harder. And I was not being constrained by a sweat-drenched shirt that was sticking to me in odd places. No one died of fright and nobody said anything about getting dressed, you old fart.

All-in-all, it worked. I’m now one of those people.

I don’t quite have a six-pack – yet – but I’m close. I have muscles on my shoulders and upper arms. Taking my shirt off isn’t really quite show-offy, but it is something I would never have done when I started. My body is in better shape and quite astoundingly, the voices in my head telling me I’m not good enough are being silenced by the power of being a CrossFitter. There is stuff I can do because of all the hard work I’ve already done. One of those things is take my shirt off and not care.