Shame kept Julia away from training until she met CrossFit: ‘Life has changed’ – 09/01/2022.

Julia Sipolatti25, she started training with weights in adolescence, but always left training because the prejudice she faced in gyms because she was overweight: “I felt like I was in the wrong place,” she says. That changed when the administrative assistant took up CrossFit and was welcomed by her peers. Then she tells how she fell in love with sports, participated in competitions and managed to inspire many:

“I tried to be physically active throughout my adolescence but it never happened. When I went to the gym I didn’t feel welcome, I got a lot of stares, people stared at me, including the instructors, it felt like I was in the wrong place place. differently, after all, I was also looking to be healthy.

It was like that until my 20s. I trained for three months but I had to go every day and eventually I gave up, I didn’t care and couldn’t find an activity I really liked.

I met CrossFit there, at the invitation of a friend who is a trainer. He said he has a project to change lives and inspire people. He asked me if I wanted to learn about sports. I trained for a day and didn’t stop.

Today I go every day, including weekends, but at first it was not easy. I didn’t go in and fall in love, it took willpower to make it a habit. I was worried when I started the way of the box [como são chamados os locais onde se pratica CrossFit]I wondered what I would do, because I was very ashamed.

But I got affection, people didn’t judge me, I felt supported and I adapted more easily. Without any embarrassment, I eventually continued. After 3 months we fall in love and become addicted.

Now I don’t miss training. If I know I won’t be able to go in the evening, when I normally train, I switch to the morning, fit in the time I can go, because I feel like I’m missing something in my day. It’s been like that for two and a half years.

I found working out at the gym monotonous. If I had to do it now, I would do it out of discipline. It’s different from CrossFit, which I love, I want to improve every day.

I even compete, I don’t know what got into me. I saw that the championship will be played in triples and I talked to my sister and cousin. We decided to go and it was amazing, better than we expected. I said we would be in last place, because of fitness. In the end, we finished ninth out of 23 triples. It was something welcome, people encouraged us to finish the tests. Later, perfecting the movements, I fit into bigger categories.

Lifting weights became Julia’s favorite part of training

Image: Personal archive

This year I will participate in two more competitions, in September and October. And I also competed in weightlifting in my boxing, I discovered I was passionate. I was always strong and it was easy to gain weight, I found myself. Today it is the training that I like the most, I have already made certain tables so that I can participate in the championship. It’s very cool.

After I started competing, I’m in all of them. It’s great to show people that anyone can do it, I get a lot of messages from people who say they feel inspired, that they started CrossFit because of me. And they can extend that to competitions, showing that they too can participate.

I didn’t really want to post videos on social networks, I just started recording and saw that people were inspired, I got a lot of nice messages and I started to enjoy sharing.

I used to be ashamed to show my body in a music video, and today I’m not interested in anything anymore. I even like people to see my struggles so they know they can go out there, do the moves and change their lives too, because after CrossFit my life changed. And this is much more than weight loss. People ask me how much weight I’ve lost, and I answer that I’ve lost a few kilos, but the change I have inside is much greater.

I feel like I’m a different person because my confidence has improved along with my daily performance. I’m much happier, it helps control my anxiety, even people comment that I’m lighter, it’s therapy. We go to train and feel much better when we leave.

Before, my self-confidence was very low, I didn’t want to or had the courage to look in the mirror. I was very shy to go out, although I have always been very extroverted — I always liked clubs, dancing. It’s just that the looks and some attitudes really bothered me, they pulled me back. I was very ashamed, it seemed that I was wrong to dance because I am fat, to bother people because I am where I am.

Now, I don’t really care about anything, I don’t need anyone, if a person looks at me wrong, that’s their problem. In the past it used to be something that would have killed me, but now it doesn’t change, I’m dealing with these issues. Of course, sometimes I get hurt by odds and struggles, it’s just that it’s much easier to get over it.

And this is reflected even in training. I trained completely in hiding, in pants and a blouse. I’m not even interested in that today. I wear a top, shorts, I look like the other girls. It makes a difference because we want to feel included. I feel good training and I’m not ashamed to show my stomach and arms.

Júlia Sipolatti, 25 - Personal archive - Personal archive

Júlia participated in her first CrossFit competition and is preparing for new championships this year

Image: Personal archive

Everything that happened to me was a process. CrossFit helped me a lot because I changed my mind. I started to be more attached to myself. If I’m afraid to wear something, I ask why I think I’ll look ugly. Is it because I’m showing a body part and people might look? Is it in my head? I created this relationship of treating myself well.

After I started training, I developed self-care and it made me more vain, which is changing my whole life. As I was very ashamed to the point that I didn’t even look in the mirror, I ended up not taking care of myself. Now I want to take care of myself, I notice myself more. I didn’t have that affection before. All thanks to the change that started when I started doing CrossFit. Self-confidence only increases.”

What does taste for physical activity depend on?

In order to engage in physical activity often, you need to find out what you like best. However, this is not always easy and depends on a kind of “physical literacy”, that is, the history you have with exercise.

“The concept includes whether a person was an active child, attended physical education classes, everything makes a difference. Physical literacy is knowledge about different activities, especially in childhood and adolescence, so you can have a range of options when you go to adults,” explains the physical education expert Miguel Bortoliniteacher UFAC (Federal University of Acre).

This knowledge affects the perception and satisfaction in engaging in physical activity, shaped by various factors — such as the environment, incentives for exercise and even the way a person feels in space. For this very reason, facing prejudice in gyms can be a very discouraging factor and can create an aversion to engaging in any other activity.

Activity adherence also depends on how a person feels in the gym - iStock - iStock

Adherence to the activity also depends on whether the person feels comfortable in the gym.

Image: iStock

“The sense of integration is also important. When the gym is not welcoming to the person, including the instructors, it does a lot of harm and ultimately discourages the practice of physical activity, which we strongly recommend in such a sedentary society,” says Marise Lazaretti Castro, endocrinologist at Sbem-SP (Brazilian Society for Endocrinology and Regional Metabolology of São Paulo) and professor at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo).

According to her, the process can be even more daunting among women who are extremely strict about their self-image. “We see a lot of difficulties in people exposing themselves in an environment that is not friendly, that is not welcoming. We need to have academies with more inclusive philosophies.”

Obstacles to playing sports can arise already in childhood, for example during physical education classes. Children who have been bullied, chosen last in the formation of teams or even excluded from the dynamic have greater discomfort and believe that they do not have the skills for activities. This scenario inhibits the development of physical literacy and, consequently, prevents people from remaining active as adults.

When looking for physical activity, the advice is to choose those that give pleasure. If you do not have a history of playing sports, a person should analyze preferences in other areas of life: are you more introverted? Therefore, individual activities (running, cycling, swimming) should be the best option, while extroverts may prefer group training.

There are people who like to practice collectively, with their best friend, there are those who like to do it individually, put a song on their phone and don’t want anyone to talk to them, comment. Bortolini, from UFAC.

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