Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful
The past two weekends have been a whirlwind of travel and back-to-back I Am Not Afraid To Lift workshops. I spent yesterday and part of today recovering and trying to catch up on life and work.
It’s been a busy yet amazing time, both workshops were extremely fulfilling and a great success, but my well aged beef jerky is definitely taking time to recover.
The Group From I Am Not Afraid To #LiftOhio, Buckeye Kettlebells, Gahanna, Ohio
Christa Doran, Owner of Tuff Girl Fitness was telling me how she listened to Mike Boyle talk a few weeks ago at a Perform Better One Day and he explained how people in their twenties can recover from exercise and injury faster than those of us in our late thirties, forties and beyond. He gave the analogy that his daughter is like filet mignon, and he is like beef jerky. I thought it was hilarious. Even though I don’t act like it, I’m definitely approaching beef jerky age and I’m certainly feeling it after the intensity of these past two weeks.
I joke about being beef jerky, but the truth is that I truly believe that strength training, combined with proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and stress management is the fountain of youth.
On the topic of beef jerky 😉 … On my way to Ohio last weekend I had a layover in Washington, DC at Reagan National Airport. I sat down at a table to eat the salad I had brought with me and to write. There was a young man at a table next to me on the phone. He was maybe mid to late twenties. As I took off my jacket I thought I heard him say, “You should see this old lady, you can see her triceps through her sweater!”
The triceps comment, I’ve heard before, and I’m OK with that, but “OLD LADY”???
I know I’m less than a year away from turning 40 but I know I look younger than my age and I’ve never heard anyone call me an “Old lady” before. My thought was that I must really look haggard or I did not hear him correctly.
Of course, I had to ask him about this…
I waited for him to get off the phone and then I turned to him and said,
“Excuse me, may I ask you a question?”
He replied, “Ok…” Like who is this crazy woman??
“Did I hear you refer to me as an old lady??” I asked him.
He laughed and said, “No, no… I said oh, you should see this lady, you can see her triceps through her sweater, she definitely lifts.”
Our conversation continued to be about how most women are afraid to lift or are not sure what to do in the gym when it comes to weightlifting so they go straight to the elliptical or the treadmill to cardio their butts right off instead of building them.
This man appreciated a woman who lifts and the body that comes with it.
We need more men like that in this world.
This conversation was ironic to me because just the day before I was having a conversation with an Iron Body Studios’ client about the opposite perception of my muscles and my build.
She is from Israel and her mom was in town visiting. During her visit she came to watch her daughter train one day. On that day I was finishing up my own training, so I was wearing workout clothes, my arms were showing, I was not covered head to toe in winter layers like I usually am.
This client recently made the transition from the corporate world to the fitness world and she wants to get stronger, gain expertise in kettlebell training, and hopefully build muscle as a result. Meanwhile, her mom is still trying to figure out what it is that he daughter is looking for with this new career transition.
She told me that upon seeing me, her mom was a bit confused by my muscles and my build and her mom asked her if the reason why she wanted to train with kettlebells was because she wanted to build muscle like me.
I’m not sure the muscle I have is something that she wants for her daughter.
Although her mom is learning about all of this, I will say that it did remind me of the story that I wrote about in my post, “Once Upon A Bulky Myth”, which you can read HERE.
The fact is, her daughter wants to build more muscle, but will not ever look like me after training with kettlebells or lifting weights because we have two different body types. This particular Iron Body Studios client is tall, and has long limbs, therefore when she builds muscle, she will actually build long muscles, unlike me, and will likely NOT build as much muscle as me, and her arms will definitely not look like mine; arms which I inherited from my mother.
Lifting weights aside, and fear of getting “bulky” aside, society drives women to believe that thin is beautiful but the reality is that we are all shapes and sizes. There is no one size fits all to beauty, and in my eyes powerful, vibrant, healthy, muscular, and strong is more feminine and beautiful than thin, small, and weak.
“I want to see a movement of reinvented femininity. Instead of accepting this dated cliché of weakness and smallness, I want to see femininity turn powerful, vibrant, healthy, and strong.” ~Dani Shugart, The Sound of Secrets
Last week, in between my travels to Ohio and Connecticut, I went to watch my niece and nephew in a dance performance by Project Moves for their dance school the Gold School Of Dance. The performance opened up with a piece called “Skin”. When the dancers came out on stage they were all dressed in nude colored leotards and tights that made it look like they were naked. They were all shapes and sizes. Some built like your stereotypical dancer, some not, some muscular, some not.
A young woman opened up the piece by saying,
“How would you judge beauty if you could see souls instead of bodies?”
A question that is so simple, yet so poignant. Definitely food for thought, isn’t it?
The piece finished with a screenshot that read,
“Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful.”
Tall, short, muscular, thin, WHATEVER. YOU are YOUR OWN kind of beautiful. Embrace it and be empowered by your own individuality.
The Group From I Am Not Afraid To #LiftConnecticut, Hamden, Connecticut
If you’re interested in attending one of my Lift workshops right now I have them scheduled for,
- Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 18, 2015 at Amplify Strength & Conditioning
- New York City, New York on September 12, 2015 at Drive495
Read more and register HERE.
- Keep It Simple Nutrition & Conditioning, New York City, New York on September 13, 2015 at Drive495
Read more and register HERE.
I love this post, Artemis. Having been forced to make changes to my body because of breast cancer, the simple statement, ‘Be your own kind of beautiful’ is poignant. In a world that values conformity especially as it pertains to women, embracing individual beauty and lifting weights is an act of defiance. Bring it!