At the Weightlifting World Championships, femininity and physique lead hand in hand and its all down to the worlds biggest fitness craze

About 250 of the worlds strongest wives hovered dwelling from Houston, Texas, last week after rivalling at the 2015 Weightlifting World Championships. Among them were dozens who, when they took up the boast, were told by a concerned relative: Dont do it! Weightlifting is not for girls. Youll end up looks a lot like a man.

Katrin Davidsdottir, from Iceland, was among them. She said in Houston: When I told my aunts I was weightlifting they said, Dont do it. No, its not feminine, you cant do that. But look at the girls here theyre strong but theyre beautiful. Theyre still girly.

None more so than her friend and teammate Annie Thorisdottir, known to her half thousands and thousands of followers on social media as Iceland Annieor simply Annie . When she ended her sixth and final promote of the rival, Iceland Annie was very girly surely, ricochetting up and down on the stage, applauding her handwritings and shrieking Ha-ha! before she developed her forearms in triumph.

The crowd of 300 a good turnout considering it was gone 10 pm and this was the fourth disagreement of the status of women 69 kg class clapped aloud. When it was all over the Icelandic pair, who had never emulated at such a high level and finished style down the field, went off to tell their fans, and the media, all about the experience. It was awesome, said Annie. I only enjoy it. Six out of six!

Why so much interest in two 69 kg weightlifters who did not prepare the top 30 at the World Championships? Because the glamour girls, as competitive coaches labelled them, have a combined following on Instagram alone of more than 515,000, having added various thousand more during their Houston adventure. They are also very big on Twitter. They cant walk more than five gardens here without someone stopping them to take a representation with them, said their coach.

Laura Faulkner is part of Britains Olympic development squad in weightlifting. Picture: MyProtein

The main reason is Crossfit, which has been arguably the most difficult fitness participate phenomenon of the 21 st century. These two have both won the Crossfit Games, an annual game for which the first prize is $275,000, a fortune in sponsorships and the designation fittest dame on the planet. Last time the number of members of enterings, males and, was more than 200,000.

Crossfit does not operate within the formalised world of sport or the corporate gym establishment. It peculiarity tournaments implying sandbags, tractor tyres, ropes, heaviness and amaze defies. It promotes itself on social media, and is rarely written about in newspapers, except in the business pages. Ten years ago there were 13 Crossfit gyms in the United States, where it started. Now it has subjugated most of the world it has a spirit in Mongolia, Fiji and Kazakhstan and there are 11,000 Crossfit affiliates. Forbes publication quality the firebrand at$ 4bn.

Iceland Annie, the only female double macrocosm endorse, and Katrin Davidsdottir, this years winner, are Crossfit wizards. They are significant illustrations in a flow that is changing the perception of womens boast, fitness and torso portrait. Helping to change the image of weightlifting is their latest achievement.

Femininity in the boast was discussed at the London Olympics after Zhou Lulu, from China, won the womens super-heavyweight amber medallion. People say I do not gaze feminine, thats up to them, she said. I like nostalgic and pretty substance. But when you like weightlifting you dont think about torso condition or whether its feminine. I am an Olympic champion and I am happy with my situation.

One of Chinas favourites for amber at next summertimes Olympics isouston, who is very much aware of her examines. The 63 kg lifter expends a very long time on her fingernails, has pigment her fuzz ruby-red and wears expensive earrings and a sparkling hairband while lifting. After prevailing in Houston, she said she liked to look girly its only a personal choice.

Iceland Annie, who was put forward in Vogue last year, likewise likes to look her good in rival. Positions have changed, she said before her World Championships introduction. Instead of the skinny search, its the healthy look for women now. Healthy is beautiful, being strong is beautiful.

One of Britains team in Houston, Sarah Davies, triumphed a knockout game as a student and has been a example. Whenever I mention weightlifting, people still have the stereotypical look of me being 6ft tall and with shoulders so wide-ranging I couldnt fit through a doorway. Some of my university peers strove with the concept and acquired comments like Why are you doing that Youll get so muscly.

The reality is much different now the women are the polar antonym to that stereotype. Ogle at the British, Spanish, German and USA teams. The portrait is changing, but very slowly.

Lidia Valentin is Spains most well known weightlifter and has long been a poster daughter for the sport.

Ashley Metcalfe, a former professional cricketer, has overseen a mini-boom in his two and a half years as chief executive of British Weightlifting. Merely four of 46 appraised plays are showing an increase in participation, according to Sport England, said Metcalfe. We are one of them, and our fastest raise province is girls. More and more wives are now is conscious that weightlifting can prepare you gaze better, more toned, seductive. There has been a change in perception and the spirit here of the Iceland Crossfit wives is simply help.

Iceland Annie Thorisdottir the only female Crossfit double macrocosm endorse. Picture: Dario Cantatore/ Getty Images

About 110,000 people do Olympic weightlifting as to report to body-building or informal heavines training in Britain every week. More than a third are girl and the chink with men is diminishing. Elsewhere, raise is more spectacular. Eleiko, the Swedish busines that clears steel rails for the lifters, increased product by 100% from 2013 to 2014.

Membership of USA Weightlifting has trebled to 25,000 in three years and one gym proprietor in San Francisco former Olympic team coach Jim Schmitz estimates that 20 million Americans lift heaviness. Again, raise is faster among women.

Michael Massik, chief executive of USA Weightlifting, said: We have a lot of new members who found us through Crossfit, but there has also been a change in culture, a change in outlook about weightlifting and persuasivenes sports.

The advertising for garb and other goods is aimed at the meet torso character rather than the Twiggy type. The marketing culture think this is targeting wives as fit human beings. Fit is good, strong is good.

Moira Lassen, chair of the International Weightlifting Federation womens board, said: Recital on the rival pulpit has no correlation to how masculine or feminine canadian athletes is. It is a direct result of the hours, months and years of training and faithfulnes they have given. Our female contestants are strong. Its offensive when people include for a girl to that sentiment.

The role of social media is also vital, as Massik and Metcalfe point out.

The European Fitness League is another competitive gym occurrence, which staged its grand final, Strength in Depth, in Bath last weekend. From an original entryway of several thousand, best available were left to fight it out in mixed teams of 12.

Richard Gillis, director of the European Fitness League, said: Dames engage with occasions like ours via digital and social media. Young wives have grown up with social media as a center part of their lives so its no amaze that sharing culture is critical to how they spend boast. Photos and short video clips drive interest on Instagram, Vine, Twitter and Facebook. Traditional TV coverage is playing catch-up.

The strong is the new seductive path is determining how an entire generation of young women define themselves and it affects other parts of their lives, from the brands of invests they buy to what they eat and potion. The contestants and the gathering for the boast are extraordinarily attractive to advertisers and patrons. They are hip and affluent.

Among the challengers in Bath was Laura Faulkner, who is part of Britains Olympic development squad in weightlifting. Faulkner, 23, talked to the Bath Chronicle before the event of her is committed to her boast. Sacrifices mainly come in the form of not used to go and getting drunk, and Im penalty with that. To be honest, a personal good in your clean and jerk is much more satisfying than a kebab and a headache.

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