On New Year’s Day I posted a very raw and vulnerable picture of myself in just a tank top and…
At Girls Gone Strong, we have a saying:
Train because you love your body,not because you hate it.
So often we spend time focusing on—and dissecting—our perceived flaws. Today, we want you to put your attention towards what you love about your body, and train with that love in mind. To get you started, we’re telling you what we love about our own bodies, and we hope you’ll join in via the comments below!
On my build, my hips are relatively narrow, but my rear end is full and gives me quite a feminine curve.
Maybe my backside is part genetics; maybe it’s a by-product of all the years of athletics and training. Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’ve always been happy with my backside and never really focused on the aesthetics of it when I train. For years I played soccer, I ran and sprinted. I’ve run the gamut of lower body exercises. Having a balanced training program in movements and muscles is important to me, so I make sure to get plenty of hip extension work, which emphasizes glute engagement. Naturally, my posterior side gets plenty of work as well, with any lower body compound lifts, athletic movements, sports, etc.
My Butt is powerful. My favorite female build is probably that of a sprinter/track athlete. Take Sanya Richards Ross, Allyson Felix, and Lolo Jones for example. It’s no surprise that these Olympic athletes all have a great set of shoulders, abs, glutes, and legs. The glutes are a powerhouse muscle group! The Gluteus Maximus is of the largest and strongest muscles in the body.
One of my favorite articles on the glutes is from a summer edition of ESPN Magazine, titled “Call of Booty” by David Fleming that says: “Among elite athletes, a well-developed backside is a badge of honor, a bulbous symbol of a lifelong, body-altering commitment to the craft.” I say, Amen.
My butt makes those jeans look good. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t love my booty so much if it weren’t for the aesthetics as well. From dresses to jeans to spandex, my rear end is one of my favorite accessories. It’s a curve that ranks one of my favorites and screams both athletic and feminine.
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“Core” is a word that gets thrown around a lot. People take it to mean abs, glutes, shoulders, trunk and a whole slew of other definitions. For this post, I am referring specifically to my anterior core (read: my abs).
My core is strong. It allows me to transfer force between my upper and lower body. It allows me to lift heavy things. It stabilizes my spine when I squat and deadlift. It makes me feel powerful.
My core keeps me healthy. Not only does a strong core help keep you safe when you’re training and safe as you age, but about 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, and a healthy gut means a well-functioning immune system. I keep my gut healthy by taking digestive enzymes and probiotics, as well as avoiding a lot of processed foods and gut irritants. I am also working on slowing down and being more mindful when I eat, and trying to chew my food more thoroughly.
The other way I use my core to stay healthy is by focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, which drives posture, helps with stress management, and much more.
My core nourishes my body. As I just discussed, the majority of your immune system resides in your gut, and not only does having good digestion help ensure a healthy gut, it also ensures that you get the most nourishment from the food you eat. It should be no surprise that the more nutrients your body can assimilate from your food, the healthier your body will be and the better you feel overall. You will have more energy for your workouts, you will think more clearly, and you will be in an all-around better mood!
My core looks great naked. I would definitely be lying if I didn’t mention that one of my favorite things about my core is how it looks. Even when I am not super lean, my tummy stays relatively lean and my abs are almost always visible. My waist is relatively small compared to my more ample hips, thighs, buttocks, and breasts, and while it can be difficult to shop for clothing at times, I wouldn’t trade my shape for anything (which is good, because, well, I can’t! I’m kinda stuck with it!)
In high school, my nickname among my softball teammates was “Delts of Doom.” It’s funny that even then—when weight training was a dreaded, unproductive after school activity in the old, dirty basement gym—my shoulders were noticeable. I never trained them specifically, they were just…beastly. But over the years that I’ve been training heavy, they have certainly earned the title given to me so many years ago, and I hold said title with honor.
My shoulders are strong. One of my favorite patterns to train is vertical pushing, or anything overhead. Whether it’s a kettlebell press, a pair of bells, a barbell press, a barbell jerk, a turkish get up or a bottom up press—a heavy thing over my head feels awesome. I’ve always excelled at overhead pressing and TGUs, and I attribute that in great deal to the strength and stability of my shoulder girdle. I’m able to move furniture and hoist heavy suitcases and other odd objects over my head, all with the help of my Delts of Doom. I love when someone asks me “Do you need help with that?” No thanks. I got this.
My shoulders are sexy. I don’t care if they’re big, these suckers are HAWT. I love wearing sleeveless tops and strapless dresses and showing off the shape of my delts. When people who don’t know me see my shoulders, they usually compliment them saying I must be pretty strong. There is no greater compliment than that!
My shoulders rip shirts. For real. This has happened to me on several occasions, and I have had to return shirts that tore through the armpit or avoided buying certain clothing altogether because it was just too tight around my delts. While this could be viewed as annoying, I think it’s hilarious and empowering. It makes me feel like a 5’1”, Lululemon wearing version of The Hulk.
If reaching a place where you feel confident in and about your body, where you are at peace with your body—where you actually love your body—sounds like an unattainable goal for you, we are here to tell you that you can get there.
From the time we’re little girls, we’re not only taught that our looks determine our worth, we’re constantly reminded that no matter how hard we try (at anything), we’re never quite good enough.
It’s no wonder we struggle to feel confident in so many areas of our lives—our bodies, our relationships, our intelligence, our contributions to the world. It’s frustrating and stifling to feel like your voice doesn’t matter, like you don’t measure up to arbitrary and ever-changing standards, or like everyone else’s preferences and needs come before yours.
What if you could feel confident in every way? What if, instead of wondering how it would feel to be good, worthy, and deserving enough… you already knew? What if you truly believed that losing a few more pounds or squeezing into a smaller size dress had nothing to do with how amazing, powerful, and valuable you are?
At Girls Gone Strong, we want to help you show up fully and authentically in your life. That’s why we’ve worked with GGS Advisory Board Member Erin Brown to create Showing All The Way Up: A Guide To Confidence with Erin Brown—and we’re so excited to share with you!