Overcoming Gym Bro Hype and Movement Myths
Hearing all those fitness gurus and diet pushers promote "no pain, no gain," "bounce back," and "bulking" approaches can be maddening and exhausting, especially for women juggling multiple roles while trying to stay active. This messaging might make you feel like you’re never doing enough, that you're not enough. If you've found yourself slowing down instead of gaining ground, here's something the fitness and diet industry doesn't want you to know (because if you know this secret, they can’t keep selling you more stuff you don't need).
You can feel and be strong and vibrant at any size.
Yes, you can be strong at any size, shape, or age. Your body can be strong and move beautifully, exactly as it is, without needing vanity metrics like a six-pack or toned physique. The best part is, gaining that strength does not have to come at the cost of your confidence and self-esteem. And you won't need any fancy equipment or a gym bro shouting at you from the top of his lungs. You need to move in a way that works for your unique body. Let go of unrealistic goals and focus on what matters: being able to enjoy your life long into old age.
Why You Need More Than a Six-Pack to Feel Strong
While having a well-defined abdominal area may be aesthetically pleasing for some, it doesn't necessarily reflect overall strength or functional fitness. People with a six-pack or a visually impressive physique often still experience weakness, stiffness, and pain in their bodies. This is because the visible six-pack muscles, known as the rectus abdominis, are only one component of the core musculature. Without a holistic, total mind-body approach, the pursuit of a six-pack often overlooks your core muscles, which are necessary for true strength and functional movement.
Many popular exercises and workouts focus on building that six-pack through crunches, sit-ups, or planks. While these exercises can help develop your core muscles, they don’t necessarily engage the deeper core muscles involved in true strength. To take a more functional, holistic approach, we need to look at all of your core muscles—the deep muscles that stabilize and support the spine, pelvis, and hips. I know, super science-y stuff there, but these muscles collectively play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture, stability during movement, and transferring force between the upper and lower body to help you avoid strains and injuries.
When your stabilizing core muscles are weak or underdeveloped, it can lead to imbalances and compensations in movement patterns. This can result in stiffness, limited range of motion, and even pain or injury. It can make you feel weak and worn out by the movement you’ve been doing to get strong and “in shape.”
Strength From Your Toes to Your Fingertips
There's also a powerful element that often goes unnoticed when it comes to strength: your fascia. Fascia is a fascinating and crucial component of our body's interconnected system. Think of it as a dynamic web that wraps around and permeates every muscle, organ, and tissue. This intricate network plays a vital role in distributing power and force throughout our body. Picture it like a supportive matrix that not only provides structure but also facilitates communication between different parts of your body. When you move or exert force, the fascia helps transmit that energy efficiently, contributing to coordinated and powerful movements.
By nurturing and working with your fascia, you can unlock a whole new world of fluid, efficient movement.
Working with your fascia not only improves your physical strength but also enhances your overall well-being. As you release tension and restrictions within the fascial network, you create space for increased flexibility, improved circulation, and enhanced proprioception (awareness of your body in space). Your movements become more fluid, graceful, and efficient, allowing you to tap into your true potential.
How to Unlock Real Strength - at Any Size
Instead of targeting isolated muscles, you need to engage and integrate the entire fascial system for true strength. This means incorporating exercises that involve multidimensional movements, such as lunges with rotational twists, dynamic stretches, and flowing sequences that encourage the fascia to release and glide smoothly. By doing so, we enhance our body's ability to transfer energy and power, resulting in a more balanced and harmonious movement experience.
To truly strengthen the core and improve overall stability, you need to incorporate exercises that target your deep stabilizing muscles. These exercises challenge the core muscles in different planes of motion, promoting balanced strength and stability. Fancy a little sample of how to switch on this inner power? Grab FREE access to my core muscles power video.
Different practices like Yoga, Pilates, or Qigong are amazing for developing core strength and stability. These practices emphasize alignment, breath control, and mindful movement and promote overall body awareness.
Movement is NOT about pushing and punishing yourself.
It’s about feeling good and strong in your body. It’s about learning to embrace your unique strengths and focusing on what you can do. It's about feeling good from the inside out and enjoying your work, your hobbies, your family, and your social life to the absolute fullest. It's also about being comfortable in your own skin and loving yourself for who you are.
Remember, strength and fitness come in many forms. A six-pack may be impressive to look at, but it's not the sole indicator of functional strength and overall well-being. Don't let societal standards or the marketing tactics of the fitness industry dictate how you feel about your body. Focus on nurturing your body from the inside out. Embrace your unique strengths, whether they are visible or not.