Strength is Empowering
Can I wax poetic about why I love powerlifting so much?
You may have heard me talk about this before, and you may be thinking I sound like a broken record. However, I’m going to risk it anyways because I really love powerlifting.
I love strength. I love lifting heavy shit. I love feeling empowered.
I love muscles. I wear them as badge of honor because they’re intentional. They didn’t show up by accident. I earned these muscles.
And my strength didn’t show up by accident either. I earned that shit too. Rep after rep. Lifting session after lifting session. I earned it. And I love it.
The sheer feeling of lifting weights off the ground. The feeling of the barbell on my back. The feeling of bench pressing weight that could quite possibly smash my face open if I wasn’t lifting safely (but we always lift safely so that won’t happen).
And even more, I’m unapologetic about my love for strength, muscles, grit, and empowerment. I’m unapologetic about taking up space and showing up large. I’m unapologetic about my confidence.
I wasn’t always this way. It actually wasn’t until my adult life that I finally got comfortable in my own skin, and I owe it all to powerlifting.
I could write all day about why powerlifting rocks my socks off, but I’m going to give three reasons that I love strength, powerlifting in particular. But to be clear, I love all things strength. Powerlifting just holds a special place in my heart.
- Strength is empowering
When I joined the gym back in 2012, I had one goal. I wanted to be skinny. I didn’t give a damn about muscles or strength or empowerment. I just wanted to be thin. Because of this, I tortured myself with too much cardio, crazy diets, and weighing myself multiple times a day because I was only worried about shrinking my body. And while I did lose some weight, it wasn’t fun and became an obsession. I fixated all of my energy on getting smaller.
Powerlifting changed that for me. It allowed to switch my focus. As I started to see strength progressions, I became increasingly more excited in what my body was capable of instead of just what it looked like. The sheer accomplishment of seeing myself get stronger was empowering. I started actually having fun at the gym because it was an exercise of ability, instead of something I had to do to “look better.” And let me tell you, this mindset shift made all the difference for me. It paved the way for me to fully appreciate my body and all its capabilities.
2. Strength is functional
Here’s a very true story for you. Before I started working out a few years ago, I was legitimately the weakest person everyone knew. It was kind of like a running joke. I couldn’t do a single push up. I couldn’t carry a case of water in the house. I couldn’t pick up heavy-ish boxes. I just couldn’t.
At the time, I really didn’t think it mattered. I would just ask everyone else to lift the heavy stuff for me. However, what I didn’t consider at the time is that being strong is functional for life. God forbid, I’m in a situation where I need to fight off an attacker or run for my life. I never thought about the possibility of being attacked in an empty parking lot or while walking down the street at night. I simply wasn’t prepared for life.
But now, I feel badass and prepared AF for anything life throws at me. Like I dare someone to fuck with me. Well, I don’t really dare them *but* I do feel like I could give someone a run for their money if they decided they want to mess with me. Not to mention, I can carry all the groceries in the house in one trip now, and I’ll sling a case of water of my shoulder with the best of them.
Developing strong bones and muscles also has a boatload of health benefits. I’m no medical expert but my friend Dr. Tyna Moore is, and she recently published an amazing article about the health benefits of strength training. You can check it out here.
3. Strength builds character.
Developing strength is an exercise of mental fortitude as much as it is physical. When you approach the bar knowing that you are preparing to lift some really heavy shit, you have approach it with confidence, resolve, and determination. These are the same skills you need to face everyday life. Getting stronger and tougher in the gym made me more mentally prepared to handle challenges outside of the gym.
Powerlfiting gave me a new level of confidence. It helped me realize that I was stronger and more capable than I thought. This transferred over into every are of my life and gave me the confidence to do other new things and stop doubting myself.
Getting strong made me a badass at life.
So have I not persuaded you on how freaking amazing and functional being strong is? Ok, well if you won’t take my word for how badass being strong is, I want to let you know what a few of my kick ass friends and peers have to say about how strength changed the game for them.
“Nourishing, building, and strengthening the skeletal muscle organ system by building lean skeletal muscle mass is a fundamental treatment guideline that is the most potent anti-aging and regenerative medicine available. It is also one of the most basic ways to increase vitality.” – Dr. Tyna Moore, corewellnesspdx.com
I take pains to stay physically strong for the most basic of reasons: I know that it can quite literally save my life. Some people lift weights to feel empowered or to sculpt their aesthetic ideal, and those are all laudable motivators. However, as a woman who makes her living traveling the globe, I need to know that this human body of mine is capable of getting me out of shady situations at a moment’s notice–running or fighting, as needed. But even if the only travel you ever do is between your home and the grocery store, I still implore ALL women to keep their body instrument honed. After all, a bad guy can chase you down in a parking lot just as easily as he can down a dark alley in a far-flung corner of the globe. Being in possession of a quick, capable physiology stacks the odds much more in your favor and is really one of the best types of personal protection policies you can have.
– Kathleen Starmer, KathleenStarmer.com
“I am obsessed with the iron because training hard in the gym is a metaphor for life. Physical strength begets mental strength and it translates to other areas. The more you push through in the gym, you start to feel like you can push out of your comfort zone in other areas of your life. Complacency isn’t okay anymore, and you see potential for your relationships, your career or your own level of personal development outside the gym. The iron is transformative. It’s always there for you. When life gives you some heavy shit, lift some heavy shit.” – Jill Coleman, Jillfit.com
“Even today, my best workouts come when I bring my troubles, my pain, my heartache, my frustrations, my wounds to the gym floor. I let the “this is too hard”, “the where do I go from here?”, “the what the hell do I do now,” or “the why me!” out with every drip of sweat. They let me find my threshold, break through it, and feel the release. Training has taught me how to be weak, how to be strong, how to be vulnerable, and how to heal.” – Jeidi, SweatHuntsville.com
Strength training is so empowering. It makes you feel good, feel strong, and it boosts your confidence, plus so much more! Focusing on strength training took away the beat down I was putting myself through with running, eating like a bird, and obsessing about a number on the scale. Lifting the things transformed how and what my body could do, and what it looked liked. The focus became about how much weight I could squat or deadlift -not obsessively, like tracking the number on the scale though. My relationship with my body changed, as well as my mindset – my confidence and my self love grew ten fold. My fitness goals became oriented around what I could do vice how much I could shrink myself! That brought about a fresh perspective, growing confidence, and I fell in love with strength training. #LiftTheThings Ladies you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not lifting the things. Start today! – Candace, CandacerSmith.com
I spent my whole younger life just trying to be ‘thin’. I went to the gym with the sole purpose of burning as many calories as I possible could. It wasn’t until my more recent years that ‘skinny’ doesn’t appear to me anymore. There are 1000’s of ways to just be ‘skinny’ but to be strong is a badge of honor- you have to bust your ass for it.
– Chelsea, Chelsea-Melissa.com
The feelings that I achieve when pushing back against weighted resistance are resilience and perseverance. Not only does this feed my hunger for wanting to challenge myself more (in and out of the gym), it also spills over into my mental fortitude and for that – strength training will forever be a part of my lifestyle in some capacity. – Diane, LivingtheGoddessLife.com
“For me, weight training is prevention for my bones, strength for my muscles, hot curves for my bod, and sanity for brain. It fuels me and my everything feels powerful af. Not just physical power, but a deep profound I-am-a-fucking-QUEEN power in every cell of my being.” Jacqueline Carly, GetPlanty.com
“Strength training gives me a sense of empowerment and internal strength. Coming off 10+ years of dealing with eating disorders, there’s nothing more gratifying and therapeutic for me than lifting weights. Strength training gives me a sense of purpose and confidence I never knew existed.”
I’m unapologetic about my body. Powerlifting helped me discover that. My love for strength changed my focus from just what my body looked like and shifted my mindset to what my body was capable of. My gratitude for myself improved. My appreciation for my body soared. I realized that my intrinsic value as a person is not based on what I look like. That’s not to say that I never have aesthetic goals because I like to look like I lift as much as the next person, however, my self-image isn’t defined by that. Not to mention, I got strongAF in the process.
It’s totally cool if feeling strong and empowered via lifting heavy shit is not your thing, but it’s totally my thing. But if it is for you, well then I have just the thing for you. #PowerConditioning, my signature 12-week powerlifting and conditioning program, is on sale this week at a discounted price of $47 until 11pm PST on Friday, October 27th. It’s the perfect mix of strength and conditioning to get you StrongAF and get you conditioned enough to make your escape in the event the zombie apocalypse is a real thing.
When you purchase #PowerConditioning, you get 3 heavy lifting days per week: squat, bench, and deadlift, plus a 15-minute conditioning circuit and barbell complex for a 5th day. When you combine that with cardio finisher, what you get is the recipe for getting stronger, better conditioned, and leaner (if that’s your jam).
If you are ready to get #StrongAF and hella empowered, snag your copy of #PC here: http://chrissyking.com/powerconditioning/
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