There is a lot of happiness in this picture, I swear.

Be Fearless: Babes With Barbells Recap

This week’s post is about a fitness competition. 175+ women from various CrossFit affiliates across the Tri-State region showed up to Huntington, West Virginia to see who could be the best at working out. Seriously.

Push-ups, stones, rowing, heavy weights, kettle bells, and burpees: Babes With Barbells.

(Thanks to Look Fit. Live Fit. for sponsoring the workout as part of the Thunder Throwdown Series!)

What does a competition with barbells have to do with happiness?

Think about when you have had to do something that makes you super anxious. Think about your nausea, your twisted stomach, your inability to eat anything for breakfast. And then think about glory. Super-human-awesomeness. Think about how amazing you felt after you finish. Was your anxiety worth the effort of your task? What made you do it in the first place?

For me, the answers to the last two questions are simple. :) I have high expectations but I’m an easy sell, so NO my anxiety wasn’t worth the effort of my task and YES I decided to compete because of the free coffee & cupcake. Anxiety wasn’t worth the swag bag freebies, people! I should have been fearless instead! And then I could have enjoyed celebrating achievements from fabulous female athletes across the age & ability spectrums.

Inspiring Athletes, Amazing Accomplishments

You’ve got Jenna (on the left during the last workout) who I overheard talking about how she wanted to go in the first heat because not as many people would be there to see her go. Look at her! She did phenomenal and said that she had a great time. Next time remember that everyone watches the first heat. 😉 We are all proud of your hard work!


You’ve got my good friend Susan, who PRd on her deadlift. Oh, and she lifted 20 pounds more than her division’s assigned weight during a particularly grueling workout.



Don’t be so tired, Heather. Sheesh!
Oh… it’s really heavy… never mind, you’re doing great!

Heather won the “OG” Masters division after also lifting 20 pounds more than her division’s assigned weight (#barbellwatch2014)… she finished the workout with the unintended extra weight and went on to smoke the last workout to take the top spot on the podium. I’m ~10 years younger and I couldn’t even finish the “particularly grueling workout”. I am humbled by your abilities, but even more ecstatic about your own humbleness! Bravo!!


How about Tina? She has cerebral palsy and had a stroke a LONG time ago. The affiliate owner of CrossFit Louisa told me that when she showed up in the tiny space their gym occupied in the beginning, Tina couldn’t stand on her GOOD leg unassisted. Now look at her amazing ability. She won the “Spirit of the Games” prize for showing EVERYONE in the converted garage the true meaning of fearlessness.

You’ve come a long way, baby!!!

Tina posted on the Facebook event page after the competition:

I wanted to thank you for a fun day. I met so many great people and had the opportunity to learn some new fun stuff. I have found a family of friendship, support and encouragement in Crossfit Louisa. Now it has been extended to many others. I appreciate all your kind words and gestures of support. It means a lot to this little old lady. Rock on.

One more of Tina: look at that extension!
One more of Tina: look at that extension!

There is Marie from Long Island, New York. She trains hard and definitely earned her “Bad Ass” division title Saturday. I had the privilege of speaking with her at the event! Her coach schedules competitions for her while she is away at school, so she shows up, does her best, and keeps smiling on to the next event. Her road has been paved with somewhat unhealthy habits, but a lifestyle renaissance hit her at the right time… or, perhaps, she created this renaissance. 45 pounds of muscle and a whole lot of self-affirmation later, she earned the right to wear the shirt pictured below.


Kareen from Ronin Fitness in Clarksburg, WV is almost as big as the ball she threw over her shoulder 16 times in 50 seconds. Then she deadlifted 275 pounds. Oh, and then she did 28 burpees in 1 minute. Back to back to back.


Old friends reunited!
Old friends reunited!

It doesn’t matter how I did. It matters how everyone else did. Did they all rise up to their expectations? Maybe not. But I know they all faced their fears, attacked them, and then buried them. Every single lady competing fought for their happiness with each rep, each tick of the clock, each encouraging word shouted from the crowd.


I saw elation.



I saw heartbreak.


I experienced euphoria and defeat.

Yoga helps with backbends when doing "stones" evidently!
Yoga helps with backbends when doing “stones” evidently!


My happiness… I earned it with the memories of:

  • fearful thoughts, “I can’t,” and being fearless by just doing what I could
  • a too-heavy barbell, the weight of which felt like all my worries over the last month
  • peeing my pants just a tad while attempting a 250# deadlift, which reminded me I am getting older
  • jello legs after doing 28 burpees of my own… because I couldn’t let Kareen and Heather be the only ones
  • hearing countless friends and acquaintances, even a few strangers, give me encouragement when I just couldn’t do anything else except breathe


But I was also awarded more happiness when I:

  • saw a 14-year-old girl do more than what she thought with more than what was intended
  • passed along the message of my tattoo to another competitor, Psalm 34:4
  • overheard that message relayed to another person about to start
  • high fived an acquaintance after she hit a HUGE PR
  • heard our mutual friend yell with his true JOY for her accomplishment
  • talked to every first-time competitor
  • took every picture of every facial expression


And sure, the event was special because the competition was limited to females only. Our favorite men showed up, though, to support us. They were all so brave to take on the daunting task of having to tell a woman “no rep” in the heat of battle (by the way, did anyone see or hear any “no rep” calls from the men? nope? I didn’t either, funny how that happened, haha!). Thank you to each judge, flowmaster, chef, photographer, and the funny t-shirt selling man.

I’m such a rebel I need THREE judges.

Thank you to Jeremy at CrossFit Thunder and Ashley of Look Fit. Live Fit.

And thanks for making me work so hard I got to eat fried deviled eggs and part of a big cinnamon roll the next day!!


Bottom line: next time this event (or something like it) rolls around be sure to sign up. Avoid the anxiety, just show up, work hard, and enjoy your free coffee & cupcake. :)

Leave your comments below if you were there (or if you wish you would have been)! Tell me how you fought for your happiness that day, I’d love to know! Be fearless!

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  1. You hit the nail on the head with this post! Thanks for putting into words exactly how I felt Saturday. I was proud of myself, but more proud to be a small part of such an awesome day.

    1. You’re most certainly welcome. I was eager to get back to the gym after feeling like I was hit by a truck all week… as evidenced by “Team Twerk, Work, & Jerk” shenanigans this AM. The energy we had x 60 was the energy that was in the box on Saturday. 😀

    1. You’re welcome! Thank you so much for the compliment and it was fantastic to see you. I’m so proud of you… you’ve come a long way and I expect even bigger things for you & your family!

  2. I loved talking to you! Loved the socks too! What a great spirit you are! It was my first time competing and the atmosphere was awesome! You are right about all of the thoughts and emotions that go through your head! Thanks for the cards to your blog. I’ve been passing them out.

    1. Linda! In all honest, I couldn’t remember your name, and I had to keep referring to you as the “happy happy” woman. 😀 haha!

      Thank you so much for the kind words. You’re welcome back in Huntington any time if I have anything to say about it. Great job last week!!

  3. Great entry! It was a perfect description of this event! I did have a great time, although the look on my face in the picture is definitely saying “I HATE THIS KETTLEBELL!!” It was wonderful to meet you!!!

    1. Jenna! I couldn’t get a good photo of you on that workout because of where you were positioned, but I just HAD to include you in the post. So great to meet you and see your first competition.

      And as a future reference, the first heat usually gets the most spectators because there isn’t anything else going on yet. 😉 Keep being amazing.

  4. Great read! I was one of those first timers and it was a scary and amazing experience! Well worth the almost panic attack! Until the next competition….

    1. My suggestion– avoid the panic attack next time and we’ll BOTH enjoy it more. (What am I saying, Amie? Am I suggesting that I am going to compete again? Oh geez.