I’ve been away from my writing for so long I don’t know where to really start. To some people taking a month or so off from something may not be a huge issue, but it is to me. Writing is how I express myself, it’s how I choose to get out everything that I’d lose saying out loud. I’m a passionate person, it’s the way I was raise and with that sometimes I’ll speak to quickly or not at all. But not on Old Country.
This blog for what it’s worth has always been my safe place.
I’m a trainer by trade, some would say I’m a Coach. Some people would simply say I work in a gym. Either sides right really. My job is that of training people and yes this does take place in a gym. But what I’ve found in my career in the fitness industry is that it’s really more then that. The jobs more then that and your involvement in peoples life carries more weight then you’ll ever realize.
A friend of mine sent me the following video phrased with this.
“My wife thought of me when she saw this. I thought of you Zach.”
The video left me speechless really. I love my job. I love my job and the people it’s brought into my life. But a large part of my job and how I approach my work has to do with a person and a message.
That message is one we spend a week truly trying to spread once a year.
Strong is Beautiful…
I’m sure you’ve heard the catch phrase. I’m sure you’ve heard it and seen it and reheard it again. Two years ago we we decide to try do our part for the message. And that’s what this weeks about. It’s about the Beautiful change that strength can have on someones life. That it can TRULY save a life. This week you’ll hear from 5 writers, 5 writers that are finding courage inside them selves and inside a community that supports them to stand on a line. If you’ve ever taken a stand in your life and stood on a line it can be horrifying. But you do it cause you believe in it. You believe in why that line was drawn and what it means. You know that doing this puts the eyes on you but you dont care.
You believe in somethings and to quote one of my favorite movies, “Idea’s are BulletProof.”
Strong is Beautiful is part of who I am and I’m honored to do this small part every year for the message. But I said there was a Message and a person. And that person is our writer today.
Her name is Marissa Luchau.
You all may know her as Roo. You may know her as the badass Crossfit athlete that moves like a machine through workouts. You may know her as the Master of Sport in Kettlebelling or a World Record holder of the same discipline. You may know her as a coach, friend, sister, daughter or as the person that originally drew the line in the sand that she had had enough. That she wasn’t going to let anyone hurt those she cared about anymore. You may know her as one or all of these things like I do.
If you do have the privilege to know her, you know she is the suffer in silence type. This is the girl after all that went a whole year with a jaw infection and was only able to chew on one side of her mouth and never complained. To say Roo is tough is an understatement, to say she’s got the grit is an understatement. Then to see her cry while writing today’s article reminded just how much this means to her. This message is one that needs to be talked about. No matter how ugly or uncomfortable it may make you feel the empowerment behind it is something you cannot turn a blind eye too.
Roo wrote the original Strong is Beautiful article she was the first one to say no more and she stood on the line and asked others to stand with her and she inspires me everyday because of that. Five writers are going to tell their stories this week and I’m proud to be part of it.
A little over two years ago I overheard something that was being spread around the gym I worked at, little did I know at the time how big of an impact some peoples’ words would have on my life. I hadn’t been an “employee” for all that long at the gym, but I had been a part of it for well over a year, 6 months of which I had spent as an intern when this all came about. Being in the gym industry I guess one should get used to stereotypes “I don’t want to get too muscular” and “I just want long, lean muscles”, but this one was different and to be honest it has forever changed my life and made me VERY passionate about what I do. It was simple statement that was being made to those I trained that took my breath away when I was told about it.
“You shouldn’t lift heavy, you’ll get big and bulky.”
Unfortunately, this is a pretty stereotypical misconception, but this one was different… Why was this different? Because the people that were saying it should have known better. They were people who had a great influence on others and they should have known better and I just couldn’t stand by and let it happen. I had to draw the line that Zach always talks about. I can’t truly even explain how I felt when I heard this was going on in a place that went to to feel safe. But those feeling are what spurred all of this, that is what started Strong is Beautiful week on Old Country two years ago. After several conversations with Z about how much this whole thing upset me we decided to publicly stand on the line. No longer was I going to stand there and let a stereotype take root in a community that meant the world to me. I wasn’t gonna let people say what we were doing or how we were training was making people into an undesirable thing. I believed in what we were doing, not because of the “shape” it would get people in, not because of the “increase in max weights”, no it has nothing to do with numbers, nothing to do with shape, nothing to do with the way someone looks, nothing to do with how much someone weighs, nothing to do with how much someone can lift… but it was the empowerment I knew that could be found in what we do.
We live in a society full of stereotypes, a society where you must fit a certain mold to be in. If you wear a size 8 you’re too big, if you have” abs” you are too muscular, if you have wear a size 0 you’re too skinny, if you look athletic you are too big and bulky, if you look this way it’s not ok, if you look that way that’s not ok either. To be honest as a woman in my twenties I can attest to how easy it is to let all of these thoughts affect the way you think about yourself. It’s pretty easy to look in the mirror and doubt your beauty, doubt your capabilities, doubt who you are… and why? Because it seems no matter what you do in someone’s eyes your aren’t right, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not skinny enough, you’re not big enough, you’re not strong enough, you’re too tall, you’re too small, you’re too thick, you’re too skinny, you’re too strong, you’re too weak… you can’t win no matter what you do you can’t win, you can’t please people and no matter what you do you can’t win in the public’s eye. Too often we All turn a blind eye to what we don’t like to believe is real or what we don’t like to believe effects those around us or even moreso those close to us. But I was tired then and I am tired Now of this. I’m tired of people making people feel less because they don’t fit a certain mold, I’m tired of people looking down on people because they don’t look a certain way, because they don’t like a certain thing, some people have NO Idea the impact they have on people’s lives and you know what? Once again I’m going to take a stand on this, once again we are drawing a line in the sand. No More.
The fear in a woman’s eyes you see when she asks you if she’s going to get “bulky” is indescribable. The fear you see when she thinks she will look a certain way that some people may see as undesirable is heartbreaking. Who are we to say who is beautiful? Honestly, I find myself questioning all of the time, “what is beautiful?” Some people have no idea the power that they have over people. I have witnessed friends of mine, people I cared about and hold dearly to my side, try to end their precious life because they didn’t feel desirable, because they didn’t feel pretty, beautiful and wanted and I’d be lying if I said I never questioned my existence because of the same feelings. But you know what? There is more to life than trying to fit some certain mold, trying to fit what someone see’s as beautiful, trying to fit what someone else see’s as perfect.
I’m not going to spend this time trying to debunk myths about how if you lift you will be big and bulky or if you lift you will look a certain way, I’ve already tried to do that in my first article “Is this your fighter… This is my Fighter…” No, what I am going to do is share with the world what I have personally found to help myself believe in myself and what I have found as a professional in the gym industry that helps women (and men for that matter) finally believe in themselves as well.
I once came across the quote, “beauty is a state of being content and strong, strong in mind, body and soul.” What makes a person beautiful? Beauty is immeasurable, but what I believe true beauty is, is the belief in ones’ self, belief that you are the person you were meant to be, belief that no matter what other people say you believe you are enough, whether it be strong enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tall enough, it doesn’t matter… as long as you believe in yourself. And to be honest, I didn’t have that until I found that strength through the Iron. I found a strength I had never had when I started lifting, and no it wasn’t a physical strength although that came along with it too, it was an inner strength. It was belief that I was enough, that I was the person I was capable of being. The strength I found through the Iron wasn’t about #s; it didn’t matter if I could squat 255# it didn’t matter if I could clean 185#, no it was the belief I had had in myself for the first time in a long time. I finally started to believe in myself, believe that I didn’t need some man’s approval, that I didn’t need to fit a certain stereotype, that I didn’t need to look a certain way. I AM ENOUGH for myself, I AM pretty, I AM strong, I don’t need to fit a certain mold as long as I believe in myself I AM beautiful. And what gave that to me? Iron. Lifting, it’s indescribable. It’s just you and the weight and no matter what the outside world has to say it’s just the two of you. You are going to lift it or your not, it’s humbling and empowering all at the same time. If you don’t believe you can you won’t, if you believe you can you will and that’s the power lifting has given me. No matter what, the Iron is always there, when it seems like no one else is, it is always there, it never lies and it will always be there for you the power it can give one is immeasurable. The power it has given me and the power I have seen it give others is indescribable;
As a coach I have seen women put on shorts that expose their legs for the first time in 10 years and walk around like they were on top of the world because they finally felt like they were enough and to be honest it didn’t matter what other people thought, they may be too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, too muscular, to big, too small in some people’s eyes, but to them they finally have that Belief in Themselves other’s perceptions no longer mattered, because they were just that, perceptions. I’ve seen women finally squat the bar below parallel and light up like they just squatted 200# and that meant more than anything, for that moment it was just them and the bar and that was all that mattered, all of the worries of the world melted away, all of the stress of everyday life didn’t exist, it was just them and the bar and for that moment they were on top of the world, no one could bring them down, other peoples’ ideals, other people’s perceptions didn’t matter, it was just them and the Iron and it was empowering.
And that is what breaks my heart. People spreading the stereotype that lifting will make you super “muscular” or “big and bulky” whether its from lack of knowledge or to target women’s fears and insecurities to benefit their pocket book breaks my heart because they have no idea what they are doing. They have no idea that they are feeding into women’s fears and feeding these negative thoughts that push women to doubt themselves, that push women to look in the mirror and hate how they look, that push women to even doubt their own existence because of what the outside world thinks. It angers me, because the power of belief in oneself in immeasurable and could save someone’s life and that is what can be found through strength, that is the power that the iron has, I can personally attest to the power of belief in myself that strength has given me and I can attest to the power it has given people in my life as well. I see it on a day to day basis and I am tired of people turning people away from what has changed my life so drastically because of myths and stereotypes, because of a fear that one may look one way or another, when in all reality that’s not what it should be about at all. Lifting and strength training is a way to build belief of oneself and that is what should matter it shouldn’t be about looks, money, stereotypes, etc… it is about the belief and confidence.
“Strong is Beautiful… finding strength through building belief in yourself” is what I like to live by and what I would like to share. It shouldn’t be about the way one looks, how much weight one can lift or can’t lift… it shouldn’t matter, but it should be about the way one feels about themselves and that is what society is missing… we need to continue to build the belief in ourselves and others, belief that we are enough and it shouldn’t matter what other people believe is Pretty or Beautiful or Strong or Weak. Believing in yourself can save your life, I found that belief through strength.
Posted By: R00