Monday Bacon: Shape of Strong

A FB post from a high school classmate of mine caught my eye the other day. A very successful, smart, funny (as I remember her, quick satirical sense of humor) now 46 year old woman opened up about having issues being super critical of her body. Her hopes of not passing this habit down to her daughter was at the forefront and all I could think of was that it felt like such a heavy load. It broke my heart.

In one swift swing of the low self esteem, she managed to erase every single positive aspect of her life. What. The. F*k! A few of her friends also commented about the magazines that tell us we should be a size zero, blah blah  blah. I had 2 or 3 different replies written out and rewritten until I finally said, “What shape is strong?”

First off, stop reading those stupid magazines. It’s like getting a group of women together and having an hour long discussion on the best kind of diaper to use. Pointless…an hour of your life you’ll never get back. That’s Glamour magazine (although they usually have a free sample tucked somewhere in there…free samples are fun), pointless. We’re in our 40’s now, we should expect substance when  talking, reading, watching, or doing. Truth.

But it got me thinking, really, what shape is strong? The above picture is from years ago at a Burgener Olympic lifting cert with members of his family and crew. Lots of shapes and sizes, lots of strong. It never occurred to me to look at Natalie or Aimee and say, “gee, I want to be the same shape as them.” I looked at them and said, I want to be STRONG like them (I’m still not.) Women have crossed my paths over the years where I have had the same thought.

To name just a few; Dawn Currin, Shawna Mendelson, Erin Walterman, Katie Steingraeber, Angie Bryant, Tammy Kentner, Veronique Faust, Lynn Brady, Rosanna Estes, AoD, Anita Sciscoe, Carmen Buchmann, Donna Manning, Leigh Niven, Jenny Oltmann, Brittney Boswell, Sara Hilgers, KCon, Heidi Ziegele, and Saysha…to name a few off the top of my head, heh. The shape of STRONG? Here…

All shapes and sizes, all strong by their own right. Body issues? My body issue right now is trying to figure out why my body isn’t throwing a 60′ LWD. Damn body.

And as for my daughter and what I’m “passing” down to her? I dunno, I guess I’ll ask. Oh wait, my daughter is strong, beautiful, independent, useful, active, athletic, smart, a good friend to others, and fifty other amazing things I’m not thinking of at the moment. Did I teach her all that? Probably not, but I’ve tried to show her strong and let her come up with her own version of it. That’s the best we can do.

Body issues? Stop it. It’s pointless, really. Just decide you’re done with such nonsense. You’re given the body you have, take care of it. And if you’re not already, get to YOUR version of STRONG!

To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.

Simone de Beauvoir

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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