To kick off our Women You Should Meet series, we introduce you to Ylva Damwijk from Balears, Spain. In this series, we bring you everyday women who inspire us with their stories of self-love, empowerment, and inspiration....all over the age of 35 years old. They teach us we are worthy of being healthy and fit at any age and it is never too late to start. I hope you enjoy it.
How old are you? 52, turning 53 this year.
When, why, and how old where you when you started your fitness journey? I started shortly before my 49th birthday. I looked at pictures of myself and was horrified by what I saw! I was also fearing that as soon as I passed the big five o, things were only got worse. I gained so much weight when I stopped smoking! And I was painfully out of shape. I couldn’t run till the end of the block!
What was the heaviest body weight or how much weight have you lost?74kg/163lbs on 160cm/5’2”. I initially lost 24kg/53lbs. After that I started bulking to build muscles and I’m now a healthy lean 56.5kg/124lbs.
What has been your biggest struggle during this transformation?Convincing others that I REALLY wanted to do this. I live on a holiday island and I work in the service industry. People come here year after year and expect you to celebrate their holidays with them. They are easily offended if you don’t except a drink from them. Also over here it’s the normal lifestyle to eat and drink out every day at lunchtime. EVERYONE does it. Not wanting to join meant I got very isolated. No one wanted to socialize with me, coz I didn’t join in the eating and drinking.
Why CrossFit, why not something else? I was overweight since my twenties. To lose weight I went on and off to the gym. But women were not supposed to be in the weight room. We were supposed to love aerobics classes and cardio. I always HATED it! I wanted to lift weights! But nobody showed me how to, or what to do. No coach wanted to train female athletes. So I always gave up after a while. It wasn’t until I was 49 that I heard about CrossFit. My friend, who was doing CrossFit herself told me to come join a class and see what it’s like. She said that women were supposed to lift heavy! I was intrigued by these words, and sold after the first class!!
What is your most vivid memory during your fitness journey? My shift in goals. I went from purely aesthetic to wanting to be strong and fast. In the regular globo gym, everyone is so occupied with how they look. Working out in front of the mirror. At CrossFit I soon realized I wanted to be strong. To be able to do muscle ups, HSPU, lift heavier! I now care more about what my body can do, not how it looks.
If you were a crossfit movement, which one would you be? The snatch! I absolutely LOVE/HATE the snatch. To me it’s the most powerful lift a woman can do. It’s also the most complicated lift. If you perform a perfect snatch, you control strength, emotions and and complicated drills.
When you feel your struggling with a workout....what is the self-talk you use to get through it? I’m no quitter! I’m proud of that and that’s what keeps me pushing through the pain.
What’s your favorite recipe that keeps you in track? My take on African Peanut Stew. It’s so versatile; I can always adjust it to my macros without giving in on flavor.
What food are you just not willing to give up? PIZZAAAAAAAAAA!!! 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
In your own words, what’s an athlete? Someone who’s willing to step outside their comfort zone to become a better version of themselves.
Can anyone workout? I’m fully 100% convinced EVERYONE can workout. No matter age or ability! Everything can be scaled to your level!
If you could give one person reading this some advice, what would it be?Don’t be afraid of the unknown, step outside your comfort zone. Set small goals that are within your reach. You are far stronger than you think, just take it one step at a time. Believe in yourself. Your own mind is your strongest ally or your biggest enemy. Find a box where you feel at home and supported. The support of your CrossFit family is powerful and helps you reach higher goals than you ever thought possible.
Ylva in Old Lady Gains "The Girls" Muscle Crop Tank