Whether you're a burpee fiend or have never touched a barbell, this CrossFit queen is about to serve up some epic #realtalk.
CrossFit is known to be a pretty insider activity—you know, all that "drinking the Kool-Aid" talk. But just because you don't burpee or barbell squat with the best of them doesn't mean you can't gain some serious inspiration from one of the sport's most badass athletes. Enter: Christmas Abbott, the too-cool Southern belle of the CrossFit world. She's the owner and head coach of CrossFit Invoke in Raleigh, North Carolina, moonlights as part of a NASCAR pit crew (yes, really—she's that cool), and is the author of The Badass Life and The Badass Body Diet.
We caught up with Abbott while she was promoting her new partnership with Second Skin (a new compression clothing line sold at Dick's Sporting Goods that Abbott swears by for high-intensity workouts). Her straightforward take on everything from lifting and badassery to body-shaming will immediately make you fan (if you're not already). And who knows—it just might convince you to try CrossFit too. (Luckily, we have the perfect beginner CrossFit workout to start you off.)
"That's what being badass is all about; being relentless with what you want for you."
I wasn't always a badass. I had a really turbulent adolescence and upbringing—smoking, drinking, parties, drugs. Then I changed my life in my 20s. It starts with wanting something better for yourself. I think that that's what being badass is all about: being relentless with what you want for you, whatever that looks like. I think the fact that I was willing to ignore all the naysayers and do it anyway, that's what made me a badass. It's this mental state: "Oh, you don't believe me? Fine. I'm doing it anyway. You don't have to believe me. I don't need your validation." That's really liberating, and once you have that mindset, it gets stronger and stronger.
But in all honesty, the fans chose that specific word ("badass") for me. I started to compete and people were recognizing me, I think because I'm so tiny and I was so strong. I call it my "baby monster" that comes out during competition. The joke is that I make a honey badger look like a hamster. (I get a litttle aggressive.) My fans kept saying, "Oh you're so badass," and I was like "Thanks?" After a while, I just took it and ran with it.
"You're the baddest bitch here."
A great way to channel your inner badass is to write your mantra on your bathroom mirror. (Pro tip: Permanent marker comes off with rubbing alcohol.) I use different ones at different times of day. For a while, I had on my mirror, "Do today what others won't, so you can do tomorrow what others can't." It reminds you that a little bit each day builds up to a mountain, but if you try to do it all in one day, you're never going to achieve what you think you can. If you just put a little bit of effort toward your passion, you'll be able to achieve it in a really great way. When I'm about to lift, I tell myself that I'm the baddest bitch in the gym: "You're the baddest bitch here." Whether I am or not doesn't matter. (Want more mantra inspo? Steal this empowering mantra from Ashley Graham too.)
"Normally, if someone is body shaming, it's because their insecurities are screaming."
It's important for me to make an example out of body-shaming but in a positive way. I make sure that their name is not listed, screenshot it, delete what I need to in order to protect their identity, and then I will respond to them in a way that is respectful to them and to me, and that enlightens and educates them. I think it's important to combat body-shaming with education because if we attack with negativity, we're just fueling their fire. I don't ban them because I want them to see: "You can't shame me because I love myself."
It's how you combat it and how you decide to accept it, and I just try to keep it positive as much as possible and kill it with kindness. It's the Southern way. If someone says, "Oh you're too fit or too muscular," I'll say, well let's go do a workout then. What's your 5K time? I like to play, and usually, it will disarm them, and then we can talk about what's actually happening here, because they usually are envious or jealous, and there's a fine line between the two. Normally, if someone is body-shaming, it's because their insecurities are screaming. (Check out our #LoveMyShape movement for more body-positive feels.)
"Lifting will usually give you the body you're searching for—it's just the one thing women don't want to do."
Lifting heavy gives you that beautiful shape that you're admiring all the time and trying everything else in the world to get. Lifting will usually give you the body you're searching for—it's just the one thing women don't want to do. I like to lift heavy because it does give me that bubble butt, those strong thighs. And then people start complaining about not fitting in jeans... so I say, "Why spend $200 on a pair of jeans that could make your butt look good only until you take them off, when you could spend $200 on a gym membership that makes your butt look good no matter what?" It makes you mentally and physically stronger, it gives you more confidence, it strengthens your bones. I'd rather be rocking and rolling at 80 rather than pushed around with a hip replacement. (BTW, she's totally right: Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Stop believing that and these other common CrossFit myths.)
"You'll never ever be as perfect as you want to be—until you start taking a step back and finding that happy balance."
I used to overdo it with fitness, to a point where I had no life and no friends and no fun. Yeah, it was for competition, but I see this all the time in the fitness industry. People are making themselves miserable to try to get the perfect body. Take a few steps back. If you loosen the reins a little bit, go out and have a glass of wine with your girlfriends and have a fun talk (and drink plenty of water and eat a balanced meal), it's not going to be detrimental to your life. What's going to be detrimental to your life is not taking care of yourself consistently.
I always tell people that as soon as it isn't fun, you've gone too far. The soul needs to be rejuvenated and exercised the same as the body. And for me, my soul workout is hanging out with some girlfriends, my soul food is cake (...or wine). I've also been incorporating more fun fitness into my life, like learning how to play tennis. Things that get me outside of the gym and into the sunshine. It needs to be a little bit more balanced or else you're going to drive yourself crazy and put yourself into a really dark place mentally. You'll never ever be as perfect as you want to be until you start taking a step back and finding that happy balance. (And, ICYMI, #balance might just be the most important thing for your health and fitness routine.)