October is Breast Cancer Awareness month so what better time to meet Farringdon member and Girls Gone RX UK Ambassador, Megan McEvoy-Hamilton. We sent resident blogger Kat to get the full low down on why it’s important for women to compete (#girlpower), why strong is the new skinny and the first ever Girls Gone RX event at Gymbox!
Can you tell me a bit about Girls Gone RX and your role in it?
Last October I competed in Battle Cancer. I loved it, and I did a lot of fundraising for the charity in the lead up to the competition. We posted a lot on social media and Lindsey Marcelli [Girls Gone RX founder] reached out to me from the States and said “have you thought about running events, and would you like to be the affiliate for this competition called Girls Gone RX?” I thought, “this is amazing!” So that’s basically how I got involved.
Girls Gone RX is an all female competition that raises awareness and money for breast cancer. I represent the UK part of that, but we have Canada, China, South Africa...and they have their own affiliates. Within those areas, they run competitions which pretty much anyone can take part in. It’s just me in the UK, I’m the affiliate here and the director.
How long have you been with Girls Gone RX?
I took on the affiliation in November, and I ran my first event in June, then one in August, then September, and in November it’ll be my fourth event. Now, we’re looking at next years events, because loads of people have gotten on board and really like the concept. So we’re growing!
How long have you personally been doing CrossFit for?
In January, I will have been training CrossFit for three years. Competitively, I’ve been on a personalised programme since about a year ago, but before that it was just for fun.
I like to call it a bit of a cult, either you get sucked in or it’s not for you! [laughs] But I love it.
What is the main ethos behind Girls Gone Rx?
As a charity, we are about empowering women in general and raising awareness and money for breast cancer.
Lindsey, who’s the founder, her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was away serving her country, which was obviously a life-changing event. Thank goodness she recovered, but Lindsey was able to make something of it. She was already a coach, running classes and the business CrossFit Eminence, so she started Girls Gone RX, and it’s kind of taken off!
We have a scaled and an RX division, so the competition is really great for girls who have never competed before. Obviously, for more advanced girls, there’s the option to be really competitive too.
Just getting together and supporting each other, and competing in general, is such an awesome experience. It’s so nerve-wracking, but at the same time people achieve really amazing things when they’re under pressure and competing, and I think that’s what we love to offer as an experience in our events.
What is the structure of your events?
How I run Girls Gone RX is that we’re never in the same location. We don’t hire out a venue, we just approach different gyms and CrossFit boxes and offer them the opportunity to host it. So obviously the boxes own community can take part, and then they have the opportunity to invite local boxes and meet more people and get to know other people in the field.
The way the event runs is we have four workouts in one day, and three women’s teams compete. You’ve got the scaled and the RX division, and the scaled we like to call Badass in the Making, which is cute! There’s no finals or qualifiers, so everyone gets to do everything, there’s just a fair, overall score for the day. The teams also have the opportunity to fundraise on their own as well. When that becomes a bigger thing, what they fundraise will contribute to their score on the day.
It’s nice you do it by score so that everyone gets to take part in all the events.
Exactly! And the four workouts aren’t just purely gas-out or high level skills, there’s something for everyone. Everyone has a weakness and everyone has a strength, so they’ll be one event geared more towards weight-lifting, there’s one that’s really cardio based and one that’s about skill. A big part of the competition is just being able to communicate and work well in a team.
Why do you think it’s so important for women to have this event to themselves, as opposed to inviting men to take part as well?
Currently, in the fitness industry and in society in general, I think we’re in a really good place where fitness is becoming more of a fashion statement. People want to be healthy, and it’s not about being thin, it’s about being strong.
For a long time, and not just in regards to fitness, women have had such restraints on them about what they can be good at, what things they can do. Now, women in the field, in CrossFit, are sometimes outdoing men, and that’s such an awesome thing!
It’s just one element of breaking stereotypes, [we’re showing] we can be good at something, and it’s not from the usual housewife expectation, or looking pretty on a magazine. It’s about doing things with your body, and your body rewarding you for the hard work you’ve put in.
I think in the last few years there’s been a bit of a societal change, where many women now want to become strong and fit as opposed to super skinny.
There’s a natural kind of physique that begins to form when you start training in functional fitness, and working muscles you’ve never worked before. If you’d asked me three years ago what kind of physique I idealised, it definitely wasn’t this one! And it wasn’t my own at the time.
I see it as, I don’t love my body particularly because of what it looks like, but because of what it can do! You know, being proud of having big quads because you can front-squat heavy, I think that’s what beauty should be.
I like that Girls Gone RX emphasises the importance of embracing both strengths and weaknesses. What is it about these events that helps athletes find new strengths?
In the competition, when you’re under a bit of pressure and stress and you have a time cap to do something, your body can do incredible things. A lot of people don’t have the courage to do that unless they have no other choice, and that’s when you’re competing. Even more so when you’re in a team, which pushes you to work harder because you’ve now got two other people relying on you! I think that’s what drives people to get PRs and things like that, taking yourself out of where you usually train, and the mindset that comes with that.
What is the main thing you want women to take from this event?
The experience I want people to have in these events is to be able to come together as women, as friends, as a team, with insecurities, strengths and weaknesses, and feel good about them.
...And it’s worked, people have had those experiences in our events! I’ve had girls who have come to every single one, and I want to build on that. These competitions aren’t just a one-off thing. You can keep coming back and pushing yourself, getting better and growing to become the best you.
What would you say to anyone who is thinking of taking part but is unsure?
It’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be! I wouldn’t say it’s a relaxed atmosphere [laughs], but it’s definitely a welcoming one. There are girls that have come to every event and they’re making friends through it, that’s what the CrossFit community is about.
I think it’s been great to merge those two things, bringing women and CrossFit together. It’s an experience to be had, and it’s time to put your hard work to the test. Don’t be scared, it might be your first of many, many competitions!
How can people take part in Girls Gone RX?
We have an instagram page and a Facebook page, and you can see all our live events there. Our next one is at CrossFit Bermondsey on the 9th November.
Our Gymbox event will be on March 14th at Gymbox Victoria, you’ll be able to sign up via Competition Corner soon!