31 Mar How Female Athletes Can Find Beauty In Strength
Peruse any Instagram fitness influencer’s account and you’ll see a bevy of posts like this:
– “Lose 10 pounds with this cleanse!”
– “Melt body fat with this pyramid scheme supplement!”
– “Tone up for the summer!”
– “Lose your mid thighs in less than two weeks!”
It’s always the “lose this” or “cut that” or “melt this” or “tone that” messaging that makes women live in fear and question their worth.
Not only that, but it forces women to see their worth as purely physical, and not for their talents, gems, and inspiration they bring to the world.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh! The influencer from the Gram.
Let’s call her ‘Jessica.’
As you scroll your feed of ‘Jessica’ in Bali doing a perfectly staged yoga pose on the beach in her yellow bikini with her contradicting caption of loving yourself, yet paying her for detox supplements, you let your insecurities creep in.
‘Well, should I buy her cleanse? Do I need to lose weight? Should I strive to look like her?’
No! Don’t do it, reader. Don’t give ‘Jessica’ your money and let her coerce you into second guessing your worth.
Alas, I digress.
This article isn’t about ‘Jessica’ from Instagram. Nor is it about every other fitness influencer who sells based on fear, praying on women’s insecurities and making them want to be “less.”
Sure, there are a plethora of influencers in the fitness space inspiring women to lean into their authenticity, as well as encouraging them to build muscle for performance, as well as see beyond their physical worth and the number on the scale.
Let’s clap it up for them.
To that end, allow me to refute the “lose this” “cut that” “melt this” “tone that” crowd.
Instead of playing small and focusing on losing, let’s play big and focus on gaining.
As women, why can’t we become gainers, who are empowered by acquiring the resiliency and empowerment to live life wholeheartedly, and play at a high level?
Most of you who follow me are athletes, or coaches and parents of athletes.
Can you re-word your diction to things like this:
– “YAY! 10 pounds of muscle!”
– “Build strength for the summer!”
– “Develop speed and power!”
– “Get strong and powerful legs just in time for pre-season demands!”
Strength is beautiful, not doubt. And I encourage all athletes, parents and coaches to find beauty in strength.
Not only is it immensely beneficial for performance, but also injury reduction and confidence and mental health.
What is awful is, female athletes are constantly deterred from being “too much” or “too strong” or “too powerful” or “too bulky” by their peers and in the media.
In fact, after I saw the media call Serena Williams “manly” I wanted to punch a wall.
As one of the best tennis players in the world, I expect her to be as strong as she is, but also, I’m in complete awe she is able to serve a ball at 128 mph. <— get back to me when you get 50 mph. You won’t.
Too, I’d argue “manly” is a compliment in this case, and she should be commended for being that much of a beast who has dominated her sport for years.
So this bears repeating: strength is beautiful.
And oh, muscle is awesome.
Call it “manly” “bulky” “too much” or whatever you want, but having muscles, being able to out-lift trolls on the internet, and being able to out-run opponents on the pitch, are pretty freaking cool.
And confidence boosting.
And resilience building.
And these are all things we want female athletes to possess: empowerment, confidence, and tenacity.
It’s a win-win-win.
Sports are demanding.
And so is life.
Let’s allow women to be strong and powerful.
Let’s build them up.
The world is full of too much hate, criticism, negativity, and fixed mindsets already.
Let’s lean into strength.
There’s no better teacher than realizing what you’re capable of in the weight room, and overcoming new challenges against the iron.
So let’s urge female athletes to find beauty in being amazing at what they do.
To find beauty in being exceptional leaders.
To find beauty in being dominant in their area of expertise.
To find beauty in being high achieving and high performing.
To find beauty in power.
But most importantly, to find beauty in strength.