Being Strong vs Looking Strong

OMG you guys, SOCIETAL ISSUE POST!

Just kidding, I don’t have any opinions about society, or issues. But, this is a topic that’s greater than just the fitnessing world, and starts to get into squishy stuff like media, self-image, and confidence.

There are a lot of different reasons to go to the gym: working off stress, getting healthier, losing weight, bulking up, making friends, curing boredom, healing injuries, training for an athletic event, blah blah I’m bored. Anyway, most people go because they want to improve their physical appearance in some way. Which, trust me y’all, I GET IT. Losing 70 pounds was not a by-product of just wanting to get really good at box jumps. But, were I to take my own advice, then it would have been, because I would have set a series of fitness-related goals, rather than appearance-related goals. SPOILER ALERT this post is an extension of the Set Goals Y’all post. Cause, you know. Some thangs need saying.

If you have set a fitness goal, whether it be committing to a certain number of hours of workout time, getting better at burpees, running faster, or mastering a new type of exercise, and you then MEET that goal, you are then allowed to be pleased with yourself, and move on to the next, more difficult goal. You are NOT allowed to get down on yourself about not having Michelle Obama arms despite being able to do 20lb bicep curls, or not having a flat stomach despite being able to do a 3 minute plank like it’s NO BIG DEAL.

YEAH BUT I CAN DO A 3-MINUTE PLANK LIKE IT’S NO BIG DEAL AND I DON’T HAVE A FLAT STOMACH

So, I know things like this can be really frustrating. You work really hard, get really good at fitnessing, but don’t look like a health magazine cover model. First of all, we all realize that even the health magazine cover models don’t look like health magazine cover models, right? We know this? Okay. Just making sure. That is marketing. This is life. They are different. Let’s just remind ourselves of that. Comparing yourself to a magazine cover or ad is PURE IDIOCY.

Comparing yourself to other humans, that you see in real life, can also be an idiocytrap. People’s bodies are different, and react differently to life, and have thousands of years of heritage and biology that make them different from yours. People’s. Bodies. Are. Different. Oh, really, that girl’s legs look real toned even though you rarely see her at the gym? Can she bike as long as you can, or do as many squats? If she only works out once a week, she prolly can’t. You are not working out to try and look like her. You are working out to be the best version of you that you can be. Could you cut out all sugar, carbs, and alcohol to try and look more like her? Sure. Do you want that life? No. Would you rather have a cocktail with your friends? Yes.

Does that mean you can do 100 burpees but still have a muffin top? Maybe. Does it mean you are slowly increasing strength and endurance, and getting better at your workouts? YUP.

Does that other guy look really lean just from living in a 4th floor walkup, and you run 30 miles a week and still wear a large? Sure, very possible. Does that mean you need to double up on mileage until you look like him? No. You need to eat healthy, workout, and be satisfied with the results.

There’s a lot of fitness fad talk about how, for ladies, strong is the new skinny. This is a great shift, to an extent, from the 90s obsession with coke-chic, but it still puts the focus on LOOKING strong. Strength is not being able to point to your muscles without even flexing. Strength is completing something physically challenging for you. Strength is setting a goal based on your physical ability and not stopping until you reach it. Strength is not looking like you work out. Strength is working out.

OKAY YOU GUYS? Looking strong is not a goal. Being strong is a goal. Make smaller goals to reach the bigger goal. Your body will be a better version of itself, but it will not be any version of anyone else, so stop trying to make it one. YOU DO YOU. Okay whatever, now go back to watching Mob Wives or something.

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2 comments
  1. Anne said:

    Preach.

Talk about some stuff

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