So what’s the deal with being called skinny? There’s lots of talk about it online and among friends who train. It’s a word thrown about by people who don’t bother about the difference between fit and skinny, and to protest does no good. But I’m going to.
I’ve been skinny, for a lot of my life in fact. I was skinny in high school when I subsisted on cheez from a can, Triscuits, Mountain Dew and Reese’s Cups. I was skinny in college when I danced all night and lived on a liquid diet (coffee and alcohol) interspersed with pizza and fast food. And I was skinny 10 years ago when I starved myself (that diet had finally caught up) and faithfully did “Thai-bo” every day, but went backpacking through Europe, worried that I couldn’t carry a pack that weighed a whopping 20% of my bodyweight.
Back then I wouldn’t have minded at all being called skinny. My goal, in fact, was to maintain a weight just shy of triple digits. These days I’m probably in the same size clothes, but what’s under the hood is a whole different ballgame.
I’m proud of my muscles. I get that having guns isn’t for every woman, and that the solid inch of muscle I’ve built on my legs wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but I earned it with endless repetitions of heavy weights in workouts filled with sweat, frustration, elation, fear, pain, guts, desire, and a serious will to get strong. Because that’s I what I want. I don’t want to be skinny. I want, in the fiercest of ways, to be strong.
Skinny is deprivation. It’s physical weakness, it’s conformity. Strong is power, it’s fulfillment. It’s confidence. It’s knowing that if I can put 180 pounds on my — yes, lean — back, squat down low, and stand up with it that I can do anything, anything, I want to do. Skinny is doubting, trying to be good enough. Strong is unstoppable, indomitable. Skinny is ribs poking through. Strong is it’s ok if your belly’s not a sunken cave. Skinny is expected. Strong is a surprise. Skinny is tired. Strong is energy. Skinny is hungry. Strong is eating like a wolf. And seriously, strong is just fun!
Strong is a journey, a never-ending set of thrilling challenges. I can pick up 180 pounds. Can I pick up 200? I can bench 90 pounds for reps. Can I bench my body weight? I can squat 180 pounds. Can I dream of squatting double my body weight? You know what? I’m not skinny, I’m strong, so hell yeah I can!