My name is Jessica Solomon, and I’m a plus-size CrossFit athlete. Even at my fittest in high school — while I was involved in basketball, softball, track, the dance team, swimming, rock climbing, hiking, and whatever else I could do to be active — I was still considered “plus-size.”
My journey with CrossFit started in the fall of 2015 when my husband and I decided to try to get in “good enough shape to join CrossFit” at our local YMCA. Getting in “good enough shape to join CrossFit” is not a thing, by the way. I have seen some pretty fit people get stomped by CrossFit WODs right along with me. That’s when I found out that one of my Facebook friends was moving back to my town and opening up a CrossFit box. We joined CrossFit Bayou Bluffs the first week it opened, and we haven’t looked back since.
I would see pictures from other CrossFit boxes, and their members all looked pretty fit. I began to feel like I may be doing nothing but embarrassing my coach and the owners of my box by being there.
I felt out of place at first.
I would see pictures from other CrossFit boxes, and their members all looked pretty fit. I began to feel like I may be doing nothing but embarrassing my coach and the owners of my box by being there. I didn’t want them to feel ashamed of the fact that I was wearing the gym t-shirts and promoting our box, while being plus-size. Over time I’ve gained confidence in myself and my body, and I am learning that these thoughts are a lie. Sometimes insecure feelings sneak in still, but I just have to remind myself that progress does not happen overnight. Because of the way that I am built and the way that I am training, I will never be thin. Now, my main goal is to be healthy and strong. Strong is the new skinny after all, right?
Scaled doesn’t mean weak.
I am a firm believer in not giving the excuse, “Yeah, but I scaled…” to anything. Just because a workout was scaled, does not mean that hard work was not put in. There is always a scaled version of something, and scaled does not mean weak. CrossFit is for everyone, not just the fittest of the fit. It’s taken me a little while to learn that lesson though.
And another thing. Plus-size does not mean that we can’t be active and that we aren’t fit or strong. The stigma around plus-size is that we’re lazy, and that simply is not the truth. I just completed Murph for the second time, improving last year’s 75 minute time by 16 minutes! I prove the fact that I am strong to myself and others every day by doing what I love — going to CrossFit, putting in hard work, hitting PRs, accomplishing a WOD RX, or sometimes just simply showing up because some days that really is all you can do.
The most important thing I want you to know is that it’s so important for everyone (plus-size or not) to love yourself how you are right now…You are able to pinpoint what is weak and focus on improving it, instead of trying to hide and feel ashamed.
Since starting on this journey two years ago, I have lost approximately 50 pounds. I had no idea how much it would change my body! But I still have a pretty hard time finding workout clothing that fits. I’m constantly having to pull up or readjust when it’s too big or too short — did I mention that I am 6’1”? Gap has a pretty good selection of activewear that goes up to 2x, and Torrid is another good option. But as I continue CrossFit, I find that I just constantly have to update my wardrobe as my size changes. And I’m okay with that right now.
I would love to see a more functional plus-size activewear line that is also affordable. If there were more options of clothes we could wear, maybe there would be more who would feel better about working out and losing weight, because they could do so without having to readjust or look like they are being consumed by a potato sack.
Come for the workout, stay for the community.
CrossFit is my hobby, my therapy, and my social life. Since I’ve joined, I’ve noticed that I have more energy, more drive and more strength. I now also have this incredible group of like-minded individuals that I call my FitFam, and I love them all very much! I want nothing more than to see them succeed in any and all of their challenges.
The most important thing I want you to know is that it’s so important for everyone (plus-size or not) to love yourself how you are right now. Once that can be achieved, it makes working on your flaws and your weaknesses so much easier. You are able to pinpoint what is weak and focus on improving it, instead of trying to hide and feel ashamed.
If there are others out there like me, and I know that there are… just search #plussizecrossfitter on Instagram, and you’ll find some of them…I just want them to know that CrossFit is really for everyone. Why shouldn’t plus-size athletes enjoy it as well?
Keep pushing. Don’t give up. Just trust the process. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Jessica Solomon is 32-years-old and has been married for 11 years. They both enjoy CrossFitting at CrossFit Bayou Bluffs in her hometown of Vicksburg, MS where they work and live with their two corgis and two cats. You can follow her on Instagram.