The catchphrase on the pink tank caught my eye at National Fitness Center, so I decided to explore some of the conversations our society’s been having about Strong Is the New Skinny. If ever there was a loaded phrase to both motivate and stir up divergent viewpoints, it might be this one. Many women find this inspiring as they set goals to feel stronger while building muscle, yet some feel societal pressure to aspire to yet another unattainable physical model.
Taking it in the simplest terms, I’ll strive toward strong versus skinny any day. I understand we need to be cautious as a society to not pressure women to all develop six-pack abs. Yet, the obesity epidemic indicates most of us have a lot of good health to gain if we work toward a goal of becoming stronger, leaner and more muscular. It seems that while the “strong” looking physique might seem a bit superficial as a goal, the strength itself is a goal with some real substance to it. That could be a positive for those of us with a diversity of body types.
One of my favorite strong role models is trainer Julie Smith at National Fitness Center on Tazewell Pike. Julie is constantly pushing herself and her personal training clients to be their best. When I had the privilege of training with her, she has been thoughtful, motivational and kind.
Another strong role model is Shamir Peshewa, who is fighting Saturday, September 17th in an all-woman cage fighting event in Knoxville. She has trained for several years, winning medals in grappling, competing in mixed martial arts, and helping other women reach their fitness goals.
Both women are members of the #teamNFC program.
I may neither become skinny nor caging-fighter-style ripped, but I am excited about becoming as STRONG as I possibly can. That strength comes from the inside. However it looks on the outside is secondary.