Monday, 4-14-14

 In Inspiration, WOD, Words

Strength : axel deadlift 5×3

WOD: For Time

30 Thrusters 135/95

An interesting article & prospective from GoHardGetStrong

Why Strong isn’t the new Skinny…

If you Google the word “Strong” there are tons of definitions; but the first one that came up when I searched was…

Strong (adj): having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks
…so let’s go with that. I also searched “skinny” and this is what I got
Skinny (adj): very lean, thin or emaciated

Both words are descriptive but, they don’t refer to the same thing (one is about what we can do and the other is about what we look like) and while appearances can be indicative of our physical abilities, things aren’t always the same.

“Strong is the New Skinny”

I really don’t like this saying, I think  it misses the point especially because it’s always paired with “fitspiration” photos. Looking strong doesn’t always mean someone is strong (or healthy) and someone can be both strong and healthy without ‘looking’ it; it all depends on the person and their body type.

Personally, I love the whole “strong” thing, its working out way better for me than “skinny” ever did. However, I may be strong, but I’m not “ripped” or “shredded” and I definitely don’t have a six-pack. I’ve been told, more than a few times, that my “lack of six-pack” is surprising considering of how hard I train.

The thing is, even when I was really skinny in high-school I still had a little bit of a tummy, that’s just how my body is built. If I wanted a six-pack I would need to REALLY lean out and in doing so I would sacrifice a significant amount of my functional strength all so I could “look” the part.

That isn’t to say girls can’t be ripped and strong – there are lots of girls who can and are killing it on both fronts. I just know that for me to be my strongest/fittest I can’t be that lean.

And there are also people who struggle to gain muscle/weight and for them to achieve that “strong physique” would be equally difficult; however, just because they don’t look strong doesn’t mean they’re less capable.

We all have natural tendencies towards a certain body type

“thin”, “curvy” “muscular” and so on

….and each of these can be perfectly healthy, attractive and strong. However, when we’re immersed in a culture that idolizes a certain body type its easy to get caught up in trying to achieve it, even if doing so is actually detrimental to our performance.

We can change our appearance through exercise and training, but we can’t override our genetics and if we want to be successful athletes we need to learn to work with our bodies not against them. And the funny thing is, this is usually when we look our best too, when we stop trying to make our bodies look a certain way and focus on performance.

Strong isn’t the new skinny, strong is strong and skinny is skinny.  I think the intention behind “Strong is the New Skinny” was good (focus on performance not being looks) but somewhere along the way the message has become warped and the point has been lost.

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