Weak Is Out – Strong Is In
Working in an industry where skinny is the standard has become increasingly infuriating to me. You can’t flip through a high fashion magazine without finding a slew of frail models covering the pages. Our tv’s, runways and social media have been flooded with these body types, so it’s no wonder we have been trained to think this is the epitome of beauty. But we are at the height of feminine empowerment and are fighting for equality in the work-force, encouraging women around the world to stand up for what they believe in, and to no longer sit back and be quiet. So why is it still fashionable to look powerless and weak?
The stigma around being a “muscular woman” also angers me. Just because a woman has defined biceps, doesn’t mean that she can’t also be incredibly feminine. The strong women I know work incredibly hard for their bodies, and there’s something to be said for that. It took me three years of consistent work in the gym to build the muscle I have now and train my body to be strong. Isn’t that something to be proud of? I think it is.
Since I started lifting weights, I’ve had many people ask me if I’m afraid of getting bulky or putting on too much muscle. Why would I ever be afraid of that? First of all, these things don’t happen overnight. The amount of time that goes into training and dialing in your nutrition to put on muscle is a job in and of its self, so no, I’m not worried that I will suddenly wake up looking like a female Arnold. Secondly, if I did want to focus my time and energy on body-building, what would be wrong with that? At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are happy and healthy.
Although it may sound intimidating and you may have no idea even where to start, weight-lifting is something that you should be doing, no matter what kind of physique you are after. Research shows that regular strength training results in increased bone density, lower blood pressure, and a longer lifespan.
Once you learn the proper way to move and how to lift safely, it isn’t scary at all. It’s the best way to lose weight, build muscle and to prepare you for what life may throw at you. Sorry cardio queens, but it’s just plain true. Squatting, deadlifting and pressing are things we do every day. You may not realize it, but you are squatting to sit in your chair, you are deadlifting your bags off the ground, and you are pressing those dishes from the dishwasher into your cupboards. So doing these movements at your gym and loading on more weight over time will only help you increase your lifespan and the physical changes you will see are just the icing on the cake.
Coming from a girl who was incredibly weak and had a hard time lifting anything heavy a few years ago, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to handle my shit. Suddenly, I don’t have to ask for help to get my suitcase into the overhead bin, and I am helpful during a move because I can carry the same stuff as the guys. And even without self-defense training, I feel way more prepared to protect myself if I was attacked. Now, I might stand a fighting chance. Just another perk that comes along with being strong.
I believe that achieving overall health and fitness should always be the main goal because with anything in life there are always ways to overdo things. Whether that’s starving yourself to fit in your old skinny jeans or over-training your body to an unhealthy state as well. It’s all about finding the right balance of health for you.
I just hope that one day, being a woman with a strong and healthy physique will be the goal. I also hope that we will no longer be singing the praises of the frail models we see in the magazines and instead that we will celebrate strong female role models. We should be setting the tone for the generations to come by educating young girls that it’s ok to become a strong woman, in fact, it’s what they should be after. Because if we want to go toe to toe with the boys, shouldn’t we also be able to pack a punch?
Photos by Sarah Marcella Creative