We have a poster up on the wall in the studio that goes something like, “You can’t tell someone what being strong feels like, they have to experience it”.
We talk all the time with clients and future clients about the health, performance, and physique benefits of getting stronger, for there are many, but until someone has their own breakthrough moment - OUTSIDE of the gym - they usually don’t fully get it.
What sort of breakthrough moment, you ask?
Progress in strength training has the unique benefit of being very obvious to measure. When you can goblet squat 10 reps with 50lbs instead of 30lbs, you ARE stronger. The weights don’t lie. But as thrilling as it is for a new trainee to make that measurable progress in the gym, the deep realization of what getting stronger means in life beyond your workouts happens in more surprising settings - from parking lots to mountains to bathtubs to ashrams.
For me, what I do on a daily basis as my work literally depends on my improved baseline strength. All day long I load and strip barbells for clients, clean kettlebells for their goblet squats, and re-rack heavy dumbbells. If doing this exhausted or injured me I’d have a professional problem! It doesn’t, though, because the weights I lift in training are much heavier than the stuff I shift around all day.
Over the years, I’ve collected vignettes from clients and friends about when they had their own lightning-strikes of strength realization. May they inspire you to recognize your own and keep lifting - for LIFE!
”The moment I realized my own strength came when...”
- “My doctor told me I’m far and away the strongest 63-year-old he’s ever seen.”
- ”I walked across a thin balance beam at my kid’s playground and it was surprisingly easy.”
- ”I helped a much younger person put their carry-on bag into the overhead compartment.”
- “I rearranged my living room furniture MYSELF!”
- ”I realized after I’d stepped into my shower that the stepping-over hadn’t made me nervous.”
- ”I don’t need one of those grippy things to open jars anymore.”
- ”I carried my 70-lb dog upstairs for the first time, no problem.”
- ”After more than 15 years of practicing yoga, I noticed that my tree pose suddenly became much easier since we’ve been lifting.”
- “I did the hard part of the Billy Goat Trail for the first time since I was younger.”
- ”My doctor told me I’m nearly an inch taller than last year, almost the height I was in my 30s!”
So what’s your moment? I’d love to hear in the comments section! I’ll share my own here too. Having always been active prior to beginning heavy strength training, it wasn’t until a day about a year after learning to lift that I decided to load up an absurd number of bulging tote bags and paper grocery bags from my very full grocery cart and carry all of them to my car in ONE trip. I remember a few stares in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, as I no doubt looked ridiculous. But I did it, and it felt awesome! Despite looking a little goofy, I’ve rarely taken a second trip since.