Does Your Outer Strength Match Your Inner Strength?

Old rusty weight stack in a gym.

23 Jan Does Your Outer Strength Match Your Inner Strength?

 

Weight lifting gives me a lot of juice. Maybe it’s because I have watched one too many Rocky films or comically think back to Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live and their endless efforts to “Pump you up!” I really do get pumped up from weight lifting. I prefer a gym setting, not my home. I like to remove myself from my elements and focus in on one thing: self-care. When I am at home working out, one interruption after another seems to occur. A gym or workout facility offers a meeting of the health minds, too. Glistening muscles and perfectly shaped bodies intimidate some people; I get inspired. I take the mindfulness approach, of course–the non-judgmental path. This helps me deal with those fitness phenomenons with ultra great bodies. We are where we are. No need to judge others, especially ourselves.

Most importantly, I feel good about taking care of myself. I like to see others taking care of themselves. And, I truly feel stronger at the end of a workout. It’s also measurable. What dentist doesn’t like that feature? I can see how much I lifted, and I can see the progress weight by weight.

Weight lifting is not something I would recommend without some guidance. A strength trainer can offer such guidance, or many good books or videos are available to get anyone started. Best advice: warm up slowly, and never lift too much at first. Remain non-competitive. Simply lift within range. Injuries will certainly follow if this is not done properly.

My weight lifting days started in high school; my basketball coach introduced us to the concept. Once I saw the difference it made both physically and mentally, I was hooked. I believe girls should learn how to become physically stronger. It’s a great lesson. It takes away some of the superior/inferior cultural bias placed upon girls. As little girls, we often learn how to be “sugar and spice and everything nice” while boys learn about “snips and snails and puppy dog tails.” Those children’s tales seem innocent and are well intended, but they also help our culture hold on to the stereotype of what girls and boys should behave like. So, when I found a new way to balance my masculine and feminine qualities–with weight lifting–I realized I liked the feeling of strength. Having strength helps girls (and boys) feel more capable–less dependent. Naturally, the more abilities gained, the more confidence appears.

These slow, but sure steps, increased my confidence as a girl. Somewhere in our culture, a boy’s strength becomes a measurement of his worth. Might makes right. Stronger is better. For girls, this is often a no-win situation. Our muscles may be different and may never develop to the level of a boy’s muscles. Then, we feel weaker–literally and figuratively.

I do not believe true strength is measured by someone’s muscle mass alone. Rather, it is measured by someone’s total abilities. Our world needs people with all kinds of strengths and talents. I am pleased my basketball coach showed me how to have more physical strength because I learned how my inner strength and outer strength related to one another; they synergistically increased my confidence.

Whenever I feel off track or weak as a person, I know how to strengthen my thoughts: I get back to the weights and better self-care. I feel the strength with each ten-pound increment and with each decision to make time for myself. I feel the courage and confidence to keep my life moving in the right direction. This especially holds true when I get in a couch rut–when my butt sits on a couch for too long: my mind and body start to feel mushy. Strength comes from doing. Our bodies need physical work to function properly. The weight of our own bodies can even be used, no weights needed. However done, weight bearing exercises improve our health.

Tired of feeling weak, mushy or unconfident? Try getting off the couch. Move more. Get stronger–in multiple ways!

 

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