“Why do you need Japanese steel?”

A little over a year ago something really special happened on Old Country, four writers decided to send out a message.

This Message was directly linked with the value we were preaching here on OC and with Iron Club. The Message was one that needed to broadcasted. The Message was important to every little girl or 50 year old mother that had been told differently at some point in their life.

Last year when Marissa came to me and asked if we could hold this special edition I gladly accepted the task of helping put this very special Message out for as many to people to see as possible.

The Message was very simple:
“Strong is Beautiful…”

Those Five writers last year carried the flag for that Message. Those five writers last year were fearless in their honesty. Because of those five writers, the message became more than just words. It became a rally.

One year’s time has come and gone since that inaugural Edition, and Five more writers have decided to take on the mantle this year. It all has to start somewhere, and I believe that this story of true strength discovered from within is our sendoff.

Strong is Beautiful has a voice again as a mother finds she’s as strong as any Samurai….   Z

I am everybody else. I am nothing special. I am proud of that. Why?

Because I don’t have an athletic background. I wasn’t a varsity athlete in high school; I wasn’t an athlete in college or anywhere else. I mean, like every kid in Seattle I played a little soccer, and I was on my swim team for one year in 9th grade, but after that, I spent a lot of time drinking, doing drugs and smoking. Through most of my twenties, my only exercise was dancing in the mosh pit at punk clubs in L.A. or San Francisco. Like a lot of people, I ate not horribly, but without much thought.

I walked into this gym unable to do a push-up or a pull-up. Not only that, like so many women out there – we have to be honest about this – I did not think I ever would. Those are things that you do – you who are athletes, you who are physically “gifted,” you for whom this stuff seems easy. Men do pull-ups; only very special women do them…right?

I am everybody else. I am nothing special. I am proud of that. Why?

Because when I was pregnant with my twins, I was on bed rest. I had pre-diabetes and high blood-pressure. After my babies were born, the muscles and tendons in my feet and legs had shortened and atrophied so much that it hurt to walk. And several months after my twins were born, my not-quite 5’5” frame was holding 220 lbs. I did not hate myself then – it wasn’t like that – but I was uncomfortable in my own skin. The person in the mirror, she didn’t look like me. And to be honest, I felt old, closer to death than I should be.

I walked into this gym, never having touched a barbell and never having seen a kettlebell. Women don’t do that. Olympic lifters, maybe, but come on, the rest of us? I’ve spent enough time in the average, everyday gym to know that where the bars are is like the ladies’ no-fly zone. I’d probably never used a dumbbell bigger than 20 lbs, because I wasn’t trying to “bulk up,” now was I?

I am everybody else. I am nothing special. I am proud of that. Why?

Because I walked into this gym, and I stayed. I had migraines after almost every workout for two weeks, but I told myself to come back. I finished last every day, but I kept trying. My balance was so poor that I couldn’t squat the bar on my first Wednesday, but I never, never skipped a “heavy day.” I wrote everything down. My competition was against my last performance; my foe was the old me. Did I beat her? Good.

I am everybody else. I am nothing special. I am proud of that. Why?

Because one day, I worked up the nerve to ask to join the Caliber Cycle, and it changed me. I was scared and I asked a lot of questions at first. Sometimes, Zach would just look at me and say, “Do whatever you need to do to get stronger.”

I did everything Coach said. I pushed. The Cycles tore me down. Some days, I was so exhausted, I fell asleep sitting up. Oh, and I never tried to lose weight; I learned to eat what powered me; I only tried to get stronger. I put the bar on my back over and over, and the next thing I knew, that box of clothes in my attic – the one marked “Can’t Wear Because Pregnant,” the one I was afraid to open for a long, long time – it was useless, because everything in it was too big. I wasted forty minutes shopping recently, because everything I took into the dressing room was a size too large. It’s disorienting, sometimes. Who am I now? I have wrapped my chalked fingers around the gnarl of the barbell so many times that I have become a different person than I thought I was.

Am I everybody else? Am I nothing special?

I am a woman who does push-ups and pull-ups – legit ones. I have invaded the no-fly zone of the weight room at other gyms, and no, I don’t need help, but I’ll use those big plates, thanks. I run, I jump, I climb, I throw, I swing, I lift.

I no longer know what I can and can’t do, because I have done so many things I never thought I would. The kettlebell that I could not clean into a rack position just over a year ago, it’s too light now. The deadlift weight that I didn’t think I could do touch-and-go, Coach said try it and I did three sets of ten unbroken. My one rep max squat from before I started training Iron Club style, it’s decimated.

I am strong. I really am. And I truly do not know my limits. How beautiful is that?

Article by: Destiny
Posted by: Z

19 Responses to ““Why do you need Japanese steel?””

  1. Thank you Destiny! It’s been so inspiring to watch your break throughs!

  2. Great post Destiny! Agree with Carrie! I remember the class you were in when I was talking about how people should do CC before a workout one day and next thing i know i look over and you were talking to Z about joining! you definitely are an inspiration in the gym and I’ve loved being able to watch it transpire

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. I personally am very proud of Des. She doesn’t give herself enough credit. She has come so far from when she first asked me to join the program. She sets her own standard of strength you don’t see in a lot of gyms.

    When Des says she can do pullups she not talking about kipping. In fact kipping just messes her up, cause as she says she’s “not a natural athlete.”

    But she’ll grind through workouts with 40+ pullups one full deadhang pullup at a time. Inspiring is an understate in the change I’ve seen in her. Des is a mother and she is quiet but Des in her own sweet way is truly a lion.

  4. totally awesome.

  5. Awesome post Des! I feel honored to get to workout next to you

  6. Very inspiring to read your story! I miss working out with all of the strong women of OCIC.

  7. Great post Destiny!!

  8. Thanks for sharing Destiny, you are truly an inspiration!

  9. Destiny, I read your post on the bus this morning and must admit that I teared up a little. Thank you for stating so eloquently what many of us are feeling. It’s been awesome working beside you!

  10. Really awesome (’cause I can’t think of a word that really fits) post. Your story is a lot like mine and I’m a year behind. Oh the fun yet to come! Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. You are an inspiration, Destiny!

  12. Aw you guys…thanks. You all inspire and teach me everyday – I really mean it.

  13. Unbelievably inspirational post. Terrific job, Destiny, for have the toughness to break barriers. You’re owning life.

  14. Great post.

  15. Great post, lady! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s so inspiring being included in such a strong community. Oh and the ladies in this gym are pretty fucking awesome! Thanks for bring back the strong is beautiful week, Z!

  16. Michelle B Says:

    I just read your post all the way through. I esp loved the part when you wrote:

    “My competition was against my last performance; my foe was the old me. Did I beat her? Good.”

    (punk) Rock on with your bad ass self!

  17. Thanks for your courage – both to face the challenges in the gym as well as to write about your journey and share it here. I see you with different eyes because of this article. Well written and very inspiring.

  18. Awesome. Just what I needed to hear, as I’m just starting this journey. I too had never touched a barbell, seen a kettle bell, and I come in last every time. But even in my two little months, I’m already feeling a change. Thanks for your inspiration to know that I could be as bad ass as you in a year 🙂

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