We all have role models and, as we grow older, we tend to look for new ones according to the changes and needs in our lives. Positive role models influence our actions and motivate us to strive for more, discover our true potential, and overcome our weaknesses. Having them pushes us to make the most of our life.
We need a variety of role models. We pick up one positive thing from one and have another good thing to admire and aspire for in another. It’s in this diversity that we find inspiration and motivation our daily life.
I’m sure that you have your particular CrossFit superheroines that you feverishly admire. You follow them on Instagram, watch their videos to learn from their technique and movements and listen to their advice carefully. These ladies have a special place in your life, not only for CrossFit, but in your life as a woman. But have you wondered why elite CrossFit athletes like them need a coach when they already excel? It’s because good coaches act like role models. They keep them motivated, on target, inspired, and teach them how to overcome weaknesses and how to face difficult situations.
In this article, I would like to bring you closer to the ladies behind the scenes of CrossFit; from coaches to athletes to entrepreneurs. The ladies who are strong enough to keep training regimens and manage boxes, fight for gender diversity in the CrossFit industry and who are having a huge impact on enhancing the number of women in leadership positions in the sport sector. I’m sure you will find new and exciting role models to look up to.
CrossFit female leaders you should start following
The women featured on this list are just a sampling of the women making waves throughout the CrossFit industry. They are chosen deliberately and presented in no particular order.
Born and raised in Jordan, Noor is the only female CrossFit Level 3 trainer in the region. Noor was always passionate about all kinds of sports but, for her, as well as other women and girls, living in the Middle East meant facing limitations to practice sports. When Noor was 10 years old she had to stop participating in sports. However, her family made sure to provide Noor and her 7 sisters enough space to play and exercise within their home, but it wasn’t enough for her. Noor wanted a chance to take on sports professionally.
When Noor was 25 years old she relocated to the US for a 2 year period with her family. She started educating herself in different areas of fitness through certifications in spinning, TRX, bootcamp, personal training, and finally Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit. “Since starting CrossFit I have become more resilient, confident, and self compassionate. The exposure to hardships in each workout, and developing positive attitudes and strategies to tackle each workout, transferred directly to my own life and mentality,” she stated when interviewed by the Morning Chalk-up newsletter. After those 2 years in US, Noor moved back to Jordan and kept her plan of doing CrossFit and involving herself with the CrossFit community. She is currently a coach at CrossFit Crescent and at CrossFit 962. Noor is also the founder of MePower, an exercise and mental health program aimed to empowering women through healthy living. Noor graduated from the Nottingham Trent University with a Master of Art, Media and Culture.
“I believe women should have the ultimate freedom to do what they think works best for them in their lives, cultures, religions, families, environments, etc. I know that women in Jordan and the Middle East are going through a lot, but honestly no one will be able to help them but themselves. And the truth can only be tolerated when you discover it by yourself. Changing women is not my goal. Developing and teaching them the tools that they can use to be mindful about their choices on a daily basis is my goal. Sport is a great tool and CrossFit especially in the case of developing resilience, self-trust, and stress management… I represent my own self and I know how each individual is special and different, so I am working hard on trying not speak for other women. But now that I’ve found my own voice and decided to speak, I am finding it hard to fit in my past, and I am in the process of creating my future. It’s all about having a healthy body, mind and soul. It’s about seeking mental, physical and spiritual health.”
Melissa is the owner, active member and business leader of CrossFit Sanitas in Colorado.
She discovered CrossFit while seeking a more well-rounded exercise program than trail running following the birth of her twins. With four young kids and a traveling husband, Melissa experiences the real-life time challenges mothers face every day. She has found CrossFit to be the most efficient form of exercise to fit into her busy lifestyle, and wanted to share this experience with other women so she added to CrossFit Sanitas schedules and services adapted to busy moms. She was determined to create a space where women would not only feel comfortable but welcomed. The gym offers childcare 7 days a week, nutrition classes and wellness support. Plus, 4 of the 7 coaches at the gym are women and there are also classes for kids as young 6 years old.
Melissa also pays attention to taking care of her staff and the gym community. Once per month she promotes “Hip Hop & Margaritas with the coaches”. Members are invited to take dance classes with their coaches at the gym. “As a working team, we’re always looking for ways to get better. The dance classes remind us what it’s like to be a beginner. After a lot of silliness, we realize that it’s really fun…albeit REALLY difficult. One of the things I love about CrossFit is the people it attracts. They’re not afraid to take risks, to look stupid, to try something new. After enough time and effort, people are surprised at what they can learn…even in their 40s, 50s and beyond.”
Melissa holds a bachelor degree in Finance and Marketing, she is a reformed investment banker and high-tech professional. CrossFit Sanitas is her second entrepreneurial venture. CrossFit Sanitas is an example of how with determination and vision you can contribute to the well-being of your community.
Rita is the owner of Sweet Death CrossFit in Madrid and started doing CrossFit in 2013. She is considered the best CrossFit female athlete in Spain. Rita qualified for the Regionals three times, in 2016 individually, in 2017 in the teams division and again in 2018 individually. On 19.2 of the last year’s Open she suffered an injury but still qualified 5th in Spain. On 2020 Open she ranked 3rd in Spain and 153rd overall.
In an interview this year, she stated that she really enjoys coaching and running her own business. She is a teacher so her passion is with her students. Her goal for her gym is not to maximize profit, but her athletes’ potential. Sweet Death CrossFit has the philosophy of individualized coaching. Even if the gym’s capacity could host more athletes, the classes are small (10 people max) and there is an overall membership cap of 120 per month. Rita explained that she likes to be dedicated to her members as much as possible and that “people need to learn something new each day to motivate their lives, not only physical skills but inner strength”. Rita is also engaged in building a community. “Somos una familia” or, we are a family here, she says. Rita thinks that a lot of other gyms in Spain don’t promote humbleness and team spirit in their members.
From Rita (translated):
“In Spain there is a lot of unhealthy competitiveness and discrimination. At my gym we are building leaders who respect each other and respect women, regardless of their physical condition. We help each other, we are all the same and we all share the same objective which is to improve our health and well-being. I’ve been told many times that I’m too strong and that I look like a boy. But these kind of comments don’t really matter to me. Once, a guy said that if his girlfriend became as strong as me, he would break up with her. But how I see it, your partner should love you for your personality and not for your physique. My body represents my work and my training. I actually train to improve my performance and not to have a good body, but one thing naturally leads to the other.”
Rita encourages women to get into CrossFit and to embrace it in the same way she did since she started practicing.
Brenda is from Mexico and started training CrossFit in 2011 and by 2014, she already had the title of “Fittest Woman in Mexico” which she has maintained for the past 5 years. Brenda currently coaches at Crossfit Tigran in Monterrico.
In 2017, she debuted on the international stage with her head-to-head workout against Brooke Wells during the 17.4 CrossFit Open Announcement in 2017 and won! In 2018, she was at the top of the leaderboard for the CrossFit Games Latin America. In the 2019 CrossFit Open, she was awarded as National Champion of Mexico and at the Games she finished 56th overall. In this last Open, she ranked once again as 1st in Mexico and 81st in the overall rank worldwide. She is one of the favorites for this year’s Games.
Brenda’s training regime is remarkable. She starts at 9AM and goes for 3 hours. After lunch she has swimming lessons for another 2 hours. When she is not coaching, she does another CrossFit session from around 5-8pm but when she coaches, she stays after class to finish her own training. Brenda is also very active in her social media channels. She has more than 185,000 followers on Instagram where she shares tips about performance, nutrition and inspirational quotes. Brenda thinks that CrossFit is a lifestyle.
From Brenda (translated):
“Practicing CrossFit, it’s mind opening, it gives a new perspective of what you are capable of and teaches you that you are more strong than you would think. We say that CrossFit could suit everyone but I think not everybody fits into it. CrossFitters must have an open mind and clear goals to believe that it’s possible to do things you never did before. For me, the key for success is to have a clear objective, try to accomplish it as hard as you can and be disciplined. Listen to your coaches, they know you in ways you can’t tell, they are my source of motivation and inspiration.”
These four ladies have shown that they are exceptional role models. They are successful in the life they chose to live. They are using their skills in CrossFit to motivate and inspire us. Through their experiences and thoughts they are empowering us. And even more, they are challenging us to get better, to fight not only in every training session, but also outside the box for a better version of ourselves.
Keep the good work, ladies!
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Giuliana works in social development and empowering women is one of her ultimate goals. She is passionate about health, fitness and traveling. She loves CrossFit because of the variety of the workouts and the community, but also does yoga and runs with her dog, Nazca.