I’m just strong.
Strong, powerful and determined females are starting to grow in the fitness industry, however there is still that stigma going around that females should either not be strong, or they are associated with the saying “like a girl” or “for a girl”. When people say to me how strong I am, I get excited…and then they add on the “for a girl” or even worse “for a small girl”. Why does that last part need to be added on? Why can’t I just be strong? We have come to identify females as the inferior strength-wise when compared to men which I think is why it is sometimes hard to convince my female clients that they should be lifting heavy. When asking most of my female clients their goals, usually the first thing they say is to either lose weight, or lose body fat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, however I then have them choose a non-aesthetic goal. This can be anything from increasing strength on a specific exercise to performing a pull-up for the first time to beating their mile-run time. It is so important to have different types of goals when it comes to your fitness. In every client that I have asked to set a non-aesthetic goal, 100% have not only achieved that goal but became MORE excited about that goal than their initial goal of weightloss.
Strength is never something I used to set as a goal for myself either. I remember when Pinterest first became popular when I was in my junior year of college. I was stumbling along the Fitness & Health category and looking at these images of squat challenges, booty blasters and then of course all of the fitness models posted on there. I saw these images and in that moment, as an avid runner, I never thought that kind of physique was achievable for me and also didn’t realize it COULD be through heavy lifting. I was always very petite, but I was skinny fat. I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition, in fact today I laugh at what I used to eat. I made green juices and these crazy concoctions in my Ninja that I had asked for for Christmas because that’s what I thought you had to do to be “healthy”. (Side note: if you’re forcing yourself to drink kale, celery smoothies daily and plugging your nose while doing so….it’s time to reassess) My point here is that it took me YEARS and many weights later to get where I am today, however this past year has been my most successful year in my fitness journey thus far, and for that I can thank becoming a powerlifter.
Powerlifting has changed my life and mental outlook in many ways. I now strive to be as strong as a 125lb girl possibly can. That is my main goal. One year ago if you asked me what my main goal was it would have had to do with my physique. I probably would have said, “to be leaner”, with no other strings attached. Up until beginning powerlifting, I wanted to be smaller, to take up less space on this planet, which I think is something that most females want. They want to lose weight or my favorite, “tone up”. I realized when I started seriously powerlifting last December that in order to lift heavier weights, I needed to eat more. I was restricting myself to about 1300 calories per day and on weekends eating about triple of that thanks to my weekly “cheat” meals. I researched and studied the process of reverse dieting or increasing your caloric intake at a very slow pace to maintain bodyweight while increasing your metabolic rate. I ended up reverse dieting for about 5 months, maintained my weight at that time at 135 pounds. During that 5 months I had the realization that I no longer wanted to take up less space. I no longer wanted to shrink myself down to nothing. In fact, I wanted to take up MORE space. I wanted to increase my muscle mass, increase my strength and become a powerful, motivating female in the fitness industry. I was sick and tired of trying to be like every other “fitspo” account I saw on social media. I wanted to be something that young girls could relate to as well as look up to and I found that passion of mine within powerlifting. My goal of wanting a shredded six pack turned into wanting to squat 2X my bodyweight. I no longer restrict and then binge on food because I know exactly what my body needs for fuel thanks to flexible dieting. Most importantly, I walk in and out of the gym with this drive that I have never had before. I constantly want to improve, study, and better myself with each session. I thrive on my good days, and use the bad days as a lesson. When you feel lost in your journey, remember that passion never fails. Go out and find something that fuels your passion, fills your heart and betters your life.