Strong is The New Beautiful

We live with a generation that promotes skinny as beautiful and mostly looks down upon fit and strong women. As people of this generation, we need to challenge that idea and encourage other women to work out, be strong and healthy. We need to exemplify that strong is the new beautiful. Meet Luz Ocampo, who is one of the UAE’s youngest Crossfit coaches, and is also the perfect example of how women can be strong, fit and feminine all at the same time.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Luz Ocampo. I am currently a student, studying full time and have a part time job as a Crossfit instructor. Crossfit is basically a mixture of cardio, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting. It is the type of sport that will challenge you no matter how fit you think you are.
As a person who has always lived a fit lifestyle, I thought that Crossfit won’t be that tough. Surprisingly, after my first session, I was drop dead tired. It was a lot tougher than I thought! My first reaction was to quit and never come again. But I knew I had to go back and master the movements and become better at them. So I challenged myself everyday and showed up to the gym regularly.


Strong is The New Beautiful

What is your schedule like?
How do you manage your time?

In my university I get to choose my timings, so I choose them according to my fitness schedule. My daily routine is something like this: I wake up at 6am. I have my first and second clients until 9am. Then I head to university and have classes until 3pm. After which I come directly back to the gym, and have clients and Crossfit group classes until 6:30pm.
How do you manage to live according to such a tight schedule?
It’s hard, but it’s given me many skills. I am more organised and prepared. And now I prefer waking up early even on the weekends, which saves me a lot more time.
Strong is The New Beautiful
People say that girls avoid weight lifting because they are afraid of injuries. Is that true?
Absolutely not! Crossfit training increases muscle mass, thus strengthening the bones, ligaments and tendons. So it’s the opposite. One of my own clients got into a car accident recently and would not have been able to walk anymore if not for her muscle mass that protected her bones in the car crash.

Additionally, a lot of people say that women shouldn’t be lifting weights because they will gain too much muscle and look manly. How do you deal with such misconceptions?
Male or female, growing muscle is not easy and requires a lot of hard work. So unless, you’re training four times a day and your diet is
extremely strict regarding what, when and how much you should eat, you are not going to be gaining extreme mass of muscle.
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When the girls at my gym tell me they want to get toned but not big, I love to use myself as an example. I love to work out, but I am not big. So I ask them, “Well look at me, do I look big to you?” To which they respond, “No! I love your body.” From there on, they trust me with my coaching.

Finally, what advice would you give to people who are just starting the gym life or their fitness regime?
It’s going to be hard at the beginning, but don’t quit! Just like I wanted to quit Crossfit but came back and persisted, you should too!

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