The ‘S’ Word

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.

Skinny, and too weak to carry my own backpack

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!

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3 thoughts on “The ‘S’ Word

  1. This was a great post. I am going to be quoting you on my facebook. I too want to be strong. Strong is so much better.

  2. Pingback: » Final clean up » CrossFit NYC

  3. Pingback: Tuesday 7/5/11 • Derby City CrossFit – Louisville, KY

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