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Real Role Models

So as I’ve been preparing for this Women’s Conference this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about female role models and the transformative power of exercise/sports.

And then the other week, when Ryan and I were watching TV, I stumbled across a woman who’d undergone a great transformation and was also a GREAT role model – Nicole Eggert.

So I don’t know how many of you have seen the show “SPLASH”…And it is actually really really stupid but for some reason we watched it anyway…And now I’m sort of glad we did because I came across Nicole…

But anyway, it is a diving show in which celebrities who have never dived before compete.

And Nicole Eggert, a lifeguard on Baywatch, was one of the participants.

Nicole in her Wonder Woman suit. YES!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – sports and exercise are incredibly empowering.

Over the course of the show, you saw a huge transformation in Nicole. She became stronger, more confident and empowered as she overcame physical challenges day in and day out.

At the beginning of the show, you could tell that she wasn’t confident in her body or in her abilities. But she had decided to compete and didn’t want to give up with her daughter looking on.¬†She even bounced back after suffering a bad fall when practicing one of her dives publicly before the show.

She could have given up and even done an easier dive when she fell from the board in warm up.

But she didn’t.

She had worked hard and she was willing to risk everything to prove to herself that she COULD do it.

And guess what!?!

She did do it!

And each week, her dives got better and you could see her confidence grow.

Nicole wasn’t a world-class athlete competing for huge rewards. Many people won’t even remember what she did because she didn’t end up evening winning the Splash title.

But she was a REAL woman working hard to overcome challenges she’d never faced before. She was a REAL woman battling the same self-doubt that most of us women struggle with daily.

Nicole did probably the hardest thing that many of us could do – she put herself out there and risked failure…and in this case…very public failure.

She put herself outside her comfort zone and didn’t give up when the going got rough. She competed to the very end.

Nicole was a REAL woman who found REAL STRENGTH through sports.

Nicole is a REAL role model.

So this weekend, decide to become your own real role model. Set some goals and take a risk to achieve something you previously thought impossible.

How do you define “strength?”

So I think I’ve been going through a little bit of a working out/healthy living identity crisis the last few months.

Actually I know I have. And I’m sorry if this post is ramble-y, but I felt I just needed to talk…er….write…through my existential crisis.

I’m not really sure what to do with myself. I don’t have anything specific that I really really want to train for right now.

I had thought about doing another kettlebell competition, but honestly, I don’t have a passion for it.

I just don’t enjoy the training process.

With working out, I don’t want to spend time doing something that I don’t enjoy….just so I can compete. I like to LOVE what I do.

So I’ve been racking my brain with what to do NEXT.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting and lifting heavy, which has been fun, but I don’t like not having direction.

So I’ve been trying to list out what I love…what inspires me…what drives me…what fascinates me and seems like a challenge.

It’s funny, but my list doesn’t keep going back to a sport or competition…

It keeps going back to the words…STRENGTH…EMPOWERMENT…

They have become my obsession.

But you can find strength and empowerment in so many different ways.

I mean…What really is STRENGTH?

We, women, are now told so many different things.

This is what came up when I  googled female strength...interesting...

This is what came up when I googled female strength…interesting…

We are told that “strong is the new skinny.”

We are told that real girls lift heavy.

And at the same time we are even told we shouldn’t be strong. That lifting heavy makes us bulky and unfeminine. We are told to do cardio and use Barbie weights.

We have so many conflicting expectations put on us that it is honestly impossible sometimes to know what do to.

There are so many definitions of what being female and strong should mean. But what does it really mean to YOU?

Does it mean lifting a ton of weight and showing the boys how it is done? Does “strong is the new skinny” speak to you?

What does STRENGTH mean?

For the longest time, I defined it by how many matches I could win. Then it was how much I could lift. Then it was whether or not I could complete the Versa Climber, Power Ropes and Kettlebell challenges.

I defined it by my accomplishments. When I proved I could DO something, that made me feel stronger.

But then I just wanted more. Yet…I didn’t have a desire necessarily to go any further with the challenges I had already taken on.

I love powerlifting…And yes would I love to be able to lift more?

OF COURSE!

Yet I don’t love it enough to want to work my butt off day in and day out to be the best powerlifter I could be.

And I don’t like doing anything half way!

So instead I do it whole-heartedly for a bit, compete, and then move on so that I can experiment and try something new!

And I guess I figured that eventually I’d find something that I’d want to commit to for the long haul. I mean…that is what I’m used to. I played tennis for the first 20 some years of my life!

And on top of that…II see all the “strong” women around me in the fitness field completely and utterly committed to one thing. They are all lifting heavy trying to hit the top numbers they can. And they keep going after it…day in and day out.

But as I’ve struggled this last month to figure out what I want next, I’ve realized that maybe what I’m after is something way less solid than winning a competition or hitting a new PR in lifting.

Maybe what I’m after is TRUE STRENGTH.

Because when I asked myself the same question I asked you above, “What is strength?”, I didn’t answer lifting 300lbs.

I answered, “I want to FEEL stronger.”

What a vague answer…GREAT.

At first I didn’t think it solved anything and it frustrated me even more that I couldn’t even describe strength to myself.

But then I realized that I had.

Strength wasn’t necessarily a lifting PR. It wasn’t running faster or jumping higher or proving I could win a competition.

It was a FEELING.

Strength was something I FELT because I’d overcome something. Because I’d challenged myself with something and had spent time working hard to accomplish it.

True strength to me was confidence.

It was my ability to believe more in myself.

To believe that I could do anything I set my mind to.

To me strength is the ability to put myself outside of my comfort zone and accomplish something beyond what I originally believed possible.

I’ve been so worried for the longest time about being the best at something…About lifting more or being physically stronger in one specific way.

But I realize that it wasn’t being physically stronger that really made me feel strong. It was the empowerment I felt when I could DO something.

When I could lift that weight I wasn’t necessarily supposed to be able to lift. When I could do something that I couldn’t do before.

So while I LOVE lifting heavy, strength isn’t measured by how much you lift.

Strength is measured by how much you challenge yourself and push yourself to do something outside your comfort zone.

To me strength has meant so many different things in terms of the physical, but only one thing when it comes to the mental.

Strength is how much you believe in yourself, not the actual acts that you do.

Strength can be gotten through so many different workout avenues…you just have to push yourself to go beyond what you thought possible.

So now I ask you one more time, “What does strength mean to you?”

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