It’s so much FUN to be a strong woman! Most days I feel so good that I want to stop every woman who passes me and spread the Word of the Barbell (and the dumbbell and the kettlebell). But I rein it in so that nobody calls the cops (again). Besides, I need to work and raise some kids and, of course, train!
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you don’t! But wherever you stand on this issue (hopefully, on the mat with a barbell in your hands), here are 10 things that strong women do:
1.) Strong Women Hold Their Heads High
Whether you’ve got a bodyweight deadlift (or 2x BW or more!) or you’re just working on learning how to use the barbell, strong women know that earning your strength is nothing to be ashamed of. You work hard for any muscle gain, so be proud of it!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this training life, it’s this: pull-ups come and go. At some points in your life, you might have a bunch of pull-ups. And at some points, you might be back on the band or the machine, recovering from an injury or some overindulgences of the nutritional kind. And some folks are still working on getting their first pull-ups!
It’s all good. The point is that strong women do the work. Pull-ups are hard fun! If I try to shirk them in my workout, my training partner jumps my case, as she should. Strong women work on their pull-ups!
3.) Strong Women Eat What/When They Need To Eat
You can’t expect to perform if you don’t eat to perform. (See what I did there? Ha!) But, seriously, fuel the tank. (Read “Muscle Always Matters and 6 Other Essentials to Remember on This Journey.) Be smart and eat what your body needs in order to do good things. Besides, starving yourself is so 1992.
They might grunt when lifting, they might swear when they miss a lift, they might yell in joy when they get a PR. But rarely does a strong woman glide into the gym and out without someone noticing her energy, even if she didn’t say a word. There’s just something about a strong woman that turns heads.
5.) Strong Women Spend Time On Protein
We ask our friends, we ask our coaches, we look online. And we talk about powders and shakes. Whey protein? Egg protein? Pea protein? What kind is best? Least expensive? Won’t make my skin break out? For all we talk about protein shakes, you would think there should be a name for this obsession and knowledge accumulation, like wine lovers get to be called wine connoisseurs. Maybe we’re protein specialists?
6.) Strong Women Wash Their Workout Gear In Some Unique Solutions
You know how this is: after a certain time, your workout clothes get this “fragrance” that won’t quit. (I’m being nice with the word “fragrance”—it’s actually a weird musty stink.) Some women use vinegar in their wash to get the smell out. I’ve been using Tide Sport and it works great too. (Are there other good solutions? Let me know!)
And then we hang those clothes up to dry because we know how unkind dryer heat is to performance fabrics. On “Smelly Clothes Washing Day” our houses look like professional laundries.
7.) Strong Women Don’t Ask The Question “Does this make my ass look big?”
Mostly, we don’t give a damn if it does. For some of us, no matter what we wear, we can’t hide our badonkadonks. (And we don’t want to, anyhow. We earned those big, beautiful glutes! We’re happy that our work paid off!) And for others, we’re working on growing that posterior chain. But, for strong women of any shape, usually the last of our concerns are opinions about our buttocks.
8.) Strong Women Don’t Waste Time Worrying Whether They Have “Too Much” Muscle
We don’t look in the mirror and think “my arms are too big” or “my quads are way too strong.” We see our bodies for what they are: marvelous human machines that are the result of a lot of hard work in the gym and in life. Let the rest of society waste time debating what a “real woman” looks like. We are real women and we’ve got stuff to do.
9.) Strong Women Enjoy Training; They Don’t Just Suffer Through It
This mindset helps so much. Not every day is going to be lovely (and strong women accept that fact), but strong women don’t look at each training session as some form of punishment or a way to earn their food. (Read “Don’t Earn Your Food in the Gym.”) On some level, strong women come to really enjoy training: the basic measure of oneself, the push, the pull, the lift, the practice, the testing of limits, the agony, the sweat, the joy—all of it. In many ways, training is just like life: it’s got the good parts and the bad parts and a whole lot of in-betweens.
Sure, some of training might be enjoyed more in hindsight than in the moment, but there is a joy found in the process that keeps us going day after day. Many people start with distractions or rewards in order to get into a routine, but once they’re in that routine, strong women settle down and learn to enjoy the process. And that’s the real secret of longevity. If you hate something, you won’t usually keep doing that thing for the rest of your life. So, learn to love training—it’s a fabulous gift to give to yourself!
10.) Strong Women Pull Other People Up. They Don’t Push Them Down
I’m not a big fan of the word “empower” (read “Do Not Empower Me”) because I like to earn my strength (and not be given it), but I do think it’s very important to think about how you’re using your power. Are you helping to elevate other people around you? Or are you making other people smaller so you can feel bigger?
Strong women know that true strength is not selfish. In the movie “Mad Max: Fury Road” there’s a scene at the end where the platform is rising and strong women are on it, leaning down and offering a hand and boosting people up onto the platform so they can rise together. That’s how I think about strong women: we help each other to rise.
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