From Thunder Thighs to Ladies Night. –Coach Chantelle


When I was a little girl, my parents couldn’t keep me in the house.  From the moment I woke up until the streetlights came on, I was outside.  I loved to run and to jump and to climb trees.  I spent my weekends and summers playing sports with the neighborhood boys.  Kickball, soccer, softball, football; you name it and I played it. I was, and continue to be, happiest when I am engaged in physical activity.  I was an athletic little girl, and as I grew, my athleticism began to show more and more in the shape of my body. 

I was twelve the first time I was called fat; “thunder thighs” to be exact.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  Now mind you, I was by no means a fat.  I had muscle, more than most girls my age.  For that, I was ridiculed.   The name caught on, and for the rest of the summer I was taunted with the chants of the neighborhood boys…. “thunder thunder thunder thunder thighs” to the tune of the Thunder Cats theme song.   It devastated me.  I became acutely aware of my body and how thick and muscular it was compared to the other bean-pole girls in my class.  I hated it.  I wore pants for the rest of the summer.  I went on my first diet, which led to me becoming a vegetarian who refused to eat anything with fat in it.  I stopped engaging in any form of physical activity that would “bulk me up”. 

Those two words, uttered by a little boy who probably had a crush on me, had such a profound effect on my body image that it literally changed who I was.  For the next two decades, I tried to fulfill that ever present primal urge to fatigue my body with activities that wouldn’t increase my size.  I practiced light weight, high rep weightlifting so I could get long and lean like Jennifer Aniston.  I ran; I was like god damn Forrest Gump.  All of this exercise to get “skinny” and I was never truly satisfied.  My unhappiness led to a surrender…I stopped exercising, I stopped dieting, and I started to become a mushy blob. 

And then my amazing husband introduced me to CrossFit.

I remember walking into Albany CrossFit for the first time (it was just the doublewide when I joined) and seeing so many beautiful, muscular woman.  I wanted to be Arianna and Kia and Crystal.  The athlete inside of me, the woman who was longing to lift heavy things, to push her body and her muscles past the point of comfort was finally unleashed.  Since I joined almost three years ago my body has changed completely. I am thick, I am solid, I am strong and I’ve never felt more beautiful, confident, and feminine in my life. 

While I love all aspects of what we do at crossfit, lifting is my passion.  I experience such an intense feeling of empowerment each time I PR on a squat or a deadlift or any of the other lifts we do at Albany CrossFit.  When I decided to become an Assistant Coach at ACF, my primary goal was to someday share the strength I have found, both physically and emotionally, in powerlifting with the other women in our community.  Thursdays at six, that goal will become a reality when Albany CrossFit brings back Ladies Night- a power lifting class for women.  If you’re ready to get stronger, to embrace those thunder thighs, and to just have a good time with other strong women, please come check the class out.  

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