Sunday, August 4, 2013

Strong is the New Fad?

A while back I wrote about how I was fully supporting the whole “strong is the new skinny” message that has been circulating around the watercoolers. I am still embracing this idea, but it seems that much of society is lashing out against it. So now I ask, why?

I have now seen two separate news stories claiming that this whole idea of being strong instead of skinny is probably just another unachievable fad for women. We women have been striving for this impervious level of skinniness which we work to achieve every single day by dieting, starving ourselves, saying no to dessert and hating the way the mirrors mock us every morning. We have created this new unattainable strive for physical muscle and hardness and the desire to be super-skinny has just been swapped out for being super-muscley. The new body image battle has begun!

While I completely understand the point that they are making, I can honestly say that I don’t agree with it.  In my convoluted brain, I feel like that the idea of being strong is not completely about the physical appearance. More than anything, this is about striving to meet and reach physical goals that you could never achieve from 60 minutes on an elliptical. When a woman can make a goal for herself, like squat her own body weight, and slowly increase her weight every week to meet that goal, that is what being strong is about. Working hard and making the goal. Going to the gym one day and bench-pressing 40lbs, then going the next week to find that 40 is suddenly too light, it a pretty awesome feeling. 40lbs may seem like a trivial amount of weight to a lot of people, but it definitely is not if it is more than you could do before.

Now this may come out wrong, but I feel like lifting weights is far more addictive than cardio equipment. Women are FINALLY learning that they can lift weights and not get all big and bulky. If this is a fad, then it is going to be around for a long time because being able to up your weight on a regular basis is an awesome feeling, both physically and mentally.

Maybe I have a different view of this because I am not a hard-core kind of person who has to be the best and strongest and ripest person at the gym. There will always be the gym extremists who need to be super-skinny or super-ripped. Those who want to be on either end of the spectrum will always be there, no matter what the hot trend of the moment is. The rest of us (the ones floating in the middle just trying to maintain a certain jean size and still be able to eat chocolate on a regular basis) really just want to feel good about ourselves. The message being spread around at the current moment is saying that being strong and having some form of muscle mass is going to make you feel sexier than being skinny. What’s so wrong with that? I don’t think this is the new unattainable body image battle. I think it's a hell of a lot healthier than being skin and bones and losing out female forms. 

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