Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weighing in on 'Strong is the new skinny'

Lately I've seen a lot of posts discussing the whole 'strong is the new skinny' mantra, and taking it in a negative direction. I can see the viewpoint behind it, the last thing everyone needs is a saying making you feel like you're inadequate. Or, it plastered against some girl's amazing abs making you feel as though you'll never get abs like those. Which isn't the intention behind the saying at all, in my opinion. (Like anything, it can be taken however you wish to take it). While I agree that the last thing most women need is another body type for them to feel like they need to measure up to, I kind of see this saying in a different way.

For me, strong means building up your body and pushing yourself to what you thought were your limits. It means forcing out those last reps when it feels like you're about to die, and it burns in a way you never thought your muscles could feel. The more I work out the more I realize in this day and age, there are very few ways that we push ourselves to our limit physically. We spend most of our time sitting around, picking our noses(maybe not the last part). We walk a couple blocks here and there, and call it a day. But there's this amazing sensation you get from physically exerting yourself to a place you've never been before. After training for a while and actually seeing your body get stronger, grow muscle, and be able to perform moves you never really thought possible of yourself. The soreness you get from a tough workout the day after is a feeling I love.

Skinny implies a lot of things also, and can be a loaded word. Most of the time if you're super skinny, it's due to genetics, or you're starving yourself(or at least I was). For me, skinny meant trying to deny myself food because I didn't think I deserved it, I was shrinking away from life in general and quite literally trying to make myself disappear. Being skinny enough meant I wouldn't have to exist, to face my fears, or anything else because I was completely obsessed with trying to consume nothing. Weakness, and fear dominated me.

So now, pushing to gain muscle, gain strength, push myself in my workouts, eat the things that will fuel my body and make it stronger, that's what strong means to me. It means not backing down when things are difficult, and it carries over to every aspect of my life. Since I can do 1 minute straight of 1 legged push up burpees means I can take over the world, right? Maybe not quite, but it gives me a confidence in myself that translates into every part of my life. So for me, strong really is the new skinny.

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