Christmas Abbott wants every woman to feel great about herself, no matter her age, size, or physical condition. “You’re given only one body, so why beat yourself up over it?” she asks. “In order to love yourself, you have to love your body. Confidence comes from within.”

It’s easy to think that Abbott, 36, has been preaching this self-love her whole life, but she wasn’t always this kind to herself. As a teen, Abbott was rebellious, smoking, drinking, and generally getting into trouble. By her early 20s, she was looking for a change, and in January 2004, she took a job as an independent contractor at a U.S. military base in Iraq. But when some mortar rounds landed in her camp, she took it as a wake-up call that life is short and that she’d better start paying attention. She quit smoking and started exercising. “I ran my first mile on a treadmill in about 12 minutes, and I thought I was going to die,” she recalls.

Abbott dedicated herself to getting stronger. She fell in love with the strength and confidence CrossFit gave her in early 2005 and moved back to the U.S. in late 2007, bumping up her training and entering the CrossFit Games as a nationally ranked team competitor in 2012. She also became the  rst female member of a NASCAR pit team in 2013 as a front-tire changer.

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Around the same time, she began documenting her lifestyle on social media. “People started following what I was doing,” she says, “and I felt empowered to share my struggles so others could start their own journey.” Her social media presence grew. (Abbott counts more than 650,000 followers on Instagram and 750,000 on Facebook.) “My own goal now is to help others find a love for  tness.” 

But it’s Abbott’s tough talk that seems to have the most appeal. With a sleeve of tattoos and a hard-charging approach to fitness, the petite 5’3″ athlete is preaching to a new generation of women who love feeling strong, inside and out. Abbott penned The Badass Body Diet in 2015, followed last year by The Badass Life, which was created to help women build healthier habits in 30 days. “For a long time, women have been expected to be quiet and stay off on the side, but now you’re seeing a new wave who are saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to have muscles, I’m going to speak my mind, I’m going to own my life, and you’re not going to get in my way.’ ”

Abbott found herself drawing on this inner strength again last year when she fractured her foot on the set of the reality show Big Brother. A freak fall broke a third of the bones in her left foot while severing a tendon and a main nerve. “My therapy is working out, so when that was taken away from me I struggled both physically and mentally.” Although her movements were restricted, she incorporated whatever fitness she could, whether it was doing squats and dips off the couch or modified pushups. “I got to help people see that they can work through anything, even an injury like a broken bone.”

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Abbott is fired up to get back into competition, whether that’s crushing it in a Spartan Race or getting back into the CrossFit Games. Now, mostly healed from her injury, she works out four to  ve days a week at CrossFit Invoke, the gym she opened in Raleigh, NC, in 2010. She rounds out her training with indoor cycling and hot yoga. Abbott maintains her “Badass Diet” nutrition with a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. “My eating is simple but flavorful. It’s uncomplicated, but I don’t feel deprived.”

She recently introduced the Bourn Relentless line of supplements, which includes BCAAs, a pre- workout, and a nighttime recovery aid. A line of clean protein powders is coming later this year. She’s also developing her BBX body-weight workout videos and a Christmas Abbott Nutrition (CAN) coaching program.

It all ties back into pushing yourself to be your best, no matter what that may look like, says Abbott. “It’s all about getting the f— done—it’s OK to be scared, but it’s not OK to quit. And the more we can own this badass mentality, the stronger and more confident you will feel.”

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