Posts tagged strongwoman
Women & Strength: We Don't Owe You Pretty
photo by: the loyal brand

photo by: the loyal brand

My squat doesn’t give a shit about your hard on.

The idea that a woman can’t or won’t attract a man (so many issues there to begin with) if they lift is as asinine as it is common. After all, why would a woman do annnnything that wasn’t 100% focused on making herself appear more desirable to a man? *eye roll so hard you die*. This notion is so problematic, for a myriad of reasons:

1. it assumes that women should only derive their value and worthiness from their ability to be “fuckable” (phrase from Krista Scott Dixon). If you’re not working towards that, then what’s the point? That is your only value here.
2. based on that, women ONLY engage in fitness for aesthetics and the pursuit of obtaining said fuckable status.
3. That status is rooted in being smaller, adhering to an arbitrary standard, and that women’s only source of worthiness is her appearance.

There is nothing wrong with training for aesthetics (body autonomy = you do you, boo!), but to assume that women only engage in fitness to be more aesthetically pleasing is complete bullshit. The fact that so many women have heard this break my heart. Your worth has about 0% to do with what some random ass human thinks about your level of desirability. I know it may feel that way and I know that the world has told you differently at times. But I promise, if you tell those people to sit down and shut up, a whole new world of people who see your true value opens up.

Women do not HAVE to care about being sexually desirable to the random men of the earth and Internet.

My deadlift gives literally negative fucks about some dude’s designation of me as attractive.

And yours doesn’t have to care either.

Why You Should Compete
photo by Turning Point Photography

photo by Turning Point Photography

Competing in strength sports is a lot of things: it's exhausting, it's time consuming, it’s mentally difficult, it's scary...and it is also one of the best things that I’ve ever done.

That is not to say that competing is for everyone. If you don’t want to compete, that is 100% okay. But if you have found yourself looking for a little something extra or in need of an extra push with your training, then maybe it is time to try a competition.

Why compete?

 

photo by Ladies Lift Here

photo by Ladies Lift Here

Competition gives your training purpose.

Competing puts an entirely new focus on your training. Your goal isn’t just to get in, get out, and hopefully get a good sweat. Now you have a little bigger purpose. That date on the calendar can give you that extra push when you’re sure you have nothing left for that last set of squats and gives you that mental edge when you just really, really do not want to get up on Saturday morning. It amplifies all of the reasons you originally started training and brings to light some motivations that you may not have known you had.

 

Competition gives you clarity.

There are few things that narrow your focus like knowing you have to perform on a certain day. Often times, competing comes with clarity of purpose for your training, nutrition, and stress management. You learn that maybe you don’t need to stress about something small because, I mean, you just deadlifted this morning and if you can handle that, you can handle whatever life throws at you.

 

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Competition teaches you things about yourself.

You learn what does and does not work for you. You discover how competitive you are (or aren’t). Competition teaches you what you’re made of. Nothing is given and everything is earned. You will learn what it is like to really dig deep and surprise yourself.

 

Competition gives you community.

Finding your “tribe” is one the best experiences, ever. Competitions are great places to meet like-minded people and to feel a sense of belonging. At the end of the day, you’re really just hanging out and lifting stuff with your strong friends and that is the greatest feeling. Strength sport communities are incredibly supportive and everyone cheers on everyone else.

 

Competition teaches you to be brave.

It is no easy task to put yourself out there. It takes a lot of courage to sign up and show up and compete. Competing in front of a crowd can be a very nerve wracking task and being nervous is completely normal. Once your first lift or event is done, the nerves dissipate and the excitement and fun of the day takes over. Knowing that you can go out on a platform or competition floor and put yourself out there definitely makes other “everyday” tasks seem way less intimidating.  


Competing isn’t everyone’s “thing”, but you never know if it could be your “thing” until you give it a try.

Strength is a Choice

Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of being asked to give a small seminar on all things women and strength (and a mini squat workshop) to a group of really fantastic ladies at Mayhem Fitness. I had two hours to cover whatever I wanted and felt was important, including some hands-on coaching time. I spent a loooong time trying to think about what points I wanted to drive home, what things I felt were absolutely critical to learning about the physiology and psychology of lifting and strength, and what I wanted to say to a group of relatively new (and some brand new!) trainees. I’m rather verbose (duh) and could talk about women and strength all day long so this was challenging, to say the least. I tried to think about what I wish someone would have said to me when i was first starting out. 

So what was the one thing that I wish someone had told me?

Strength is a choice.

It is a choice that you make every single day. No one puts weight on the bar for you, no one can get focused for you, and no one does the work for you. You have to choose, every single day, to go down that path.

And as you make that choice day in and day out, something sort of awesome begins to happen. All of a sudden, you become accountable. You learn what you’re made of and often times, it is surprising and a little scary. The sense of agency that comes from moving hundreds of pounds is transformative and violent and downright alarming. Coming to the realization that you are 100% in control of your own stuff and that you have more fortitude than you thought is far more panic inducing than missing a lift or going a little overboard on some cookies.

You are presented with evidence that you can do hard things - and if you just did that hard thing that you thought you couldn’t do at the gym, then you can do that hard thing in life. Fear of success becomes more crippling than the fear of failure - because failure is just a learning opportunity.  Succeeding means you raise the bar, both figuratively and literally. People may have higher expectations of you and more importantly, you have higher expectations of yourself. Settling stops becoming an option. Choosing to embrace that can be intimidating, but the choice to embrace that reality and march forward is just that - a choice.

Do we always make that choice? No.

Do you sometimes sob in your car after you miss a really important lift? Yes.

Are there days where you just can’t get it together? Absolutely.

 

Having to make that choice can be tough, but the wonderful thing about choices is that you get to make them again and again.

And you can always choose strength.