Strength ‘the quality or state of being physically strong’ (Wikipedia)
In Weightlifting ‘strength’ is measured by the amount of weight you can move from the ground to overhead in relation to your bodyweight – so if you Snatch 45kg at 45kg bodyweight your stronger than if you Snatch 45kg at 55kg bodyweight.
In Powerlifting ‘strength’ is measured by the amount of weight you can squat/deadlift/bench in relation to your bodyweight – so if you squat 45kg at 45kg bodyweight your stronger than if you squat 45kg at 55kg bodyweight.
In CrossFit weighted strength isn’t measured instead we say people are strong if they can complete metcon’s the most efficiently – for example someone with a 3min Fran time is ‘stronger/better’ than someone with a 6min Fran time
We are bombarded with information on measuring Strength and being ‘Strong’ and put very simply it’s easy to see how physically strong we are by comparing it to our bodyweight or sport benchmarks but I think we miss something pretty important when we talk about/read about or measure strength..
Why don’t we acknowledge the mental strength it can take to just turn up to the gym some days? What about the new parents, the grandparents, the people who want to shed a few pounds but need to actually get the confidence to walk into the gym in the first place, the shift workers on fuck all sleep, the absolute beginners, the novice athletes who have hit a plateau, the elites who have the pressure of competition hanging over them.
Basically – everyone. You see every single one of us will come up against things that require a huge amount of mental strength just to get us into the gym in the first place, what do we do about that? Well, generally we do NOTHING.
When was the last time you walked out of the gym and you told yourself ‘fuck yeah – well done for going to the gym today” – that’s it, nothing else. Just a big huge well done for actually managing to get up/feed your children/fight your demons/go to work/swallow your pride/whatever it is you needed to do to then actually show up! Because you know that really is the achievement.
Those days everything is going wrong, or those weeks that you’ve been missing lifts, those months you’ve seen the scales go up a bit – and yet – you show up, day in and day out, you get it done and ultimately the results will show. But showing up was always the first step and that took mental strength.
A strength that’s not physically measurable, a strength you can’t post a 15 second Instagram video of, a strength you may not even be comfortable talking about. And yet I believe it’s our biggest strength and it applies to every single one of Us no matter what stage we are in our fitness journey.
If you’ve made it this far into this blog I imagine you can resonate with something I’m writing – you know what your mental strength is and when you need to use it. I’d ask that you think about that, like really think about it, maybe even write it down, say it out loud even – if your feeling brave enough tell someone!! You’d tell people about your new PR wouldn’t you??
We’re generally shy about our mental strengths – I assume because they are accompanied with a mental battle and well that kind of thing is tough to talk about right? But I believe we should celebrate them more. If not to others then to ourselves.
Give yourself a high five for showing up, for fighting whatever battle you had to fight to show up in the first place and for continuing to fight any other mental battles you have to fight along the way, coz that right there is mental strength and without it you wouldn’t be where you are today.
To everyone, everywhere that shows up – I salute you, I high five you and I admire you. Be sure to feel that way about yourself too.